Alexander Hertel-Fernandez — 2019 Gladys M. Kammerer Award Recipient

The American Political Science Association (APSA) will present the Gladys M. Kammerer Award to Dr. Alexander Hertel-Fernandez  at the 2019 APSA Annual Meeting & Exhibition, the world’s largest gathering of political scientists and source for emerging scholarship in the discipline.  The $1,000 award recognizes the best book published in the previous calendar year on U.S. national policy.

Alexander Hertel-Fernandez is an assistant professor of international and public affairs at Columbia University, where he studies American political economy, with a focus on the politics of business, labor, wealthy donors, and policy.  His most recent book, State Capture, examines how networks of conservative activists, right-leaning donors, and businesses built organizations to successfully reshape public policy across the states and why progressives failed in similar efforts.  His previous book, Politics at Work, examines how employers are increasingly recruiting their workers into politics to change elections and policy.  He has published his research in leading peer-reviewed journals in political science and policy, as well as in the American Prospect, Democracy Journal, the Harvard Business Review, the New York Times, the Washington Post, and Vox, among other outlets.  He received his PhD in government and social policy from Harvard University and is currently a visiting scholar at the Russell Sage Foundation.

Here is what the Award Committee had to say about their decision:

Politics at Work (Oxford University Press), by Alexander Hertel-Fernandez masterfully documents the sharp rise in American businesses’ efforts to engage their workers in politics and shows how and why it matters for what employees — and congressional staffers attuned to the threat of district job loss — do.  It argues persuasively that these efforts may be fundamentally changing politics and policy.  Using an impressive variety of appropriate methods, including experiments with employees, congressional staffers, and managers, as well as qualitative interviews, it breaks new ground as it examines an important but overlooked problem: the renewed, robust grass-roots power of business in American democracy.  The book situates the sky-rocketing increase in employer mobilization in the context of policy changes that may have prompted it and concludes with possible policy responses to profoundly problematic employer influence over employees who are monitored by their employer, fear for the jobs, and are economically vulnerable.  The book is also extremely well-written. Of the nearly 60 books submitted for this competition, it is perhaps the most complete, well-defined, and original inquiry into a significant aspect of US national policy.

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