The APSA-IPSA Theodore J. Lowi First Book Award is presented annually to honor for a book in any field of political science that exemplifies qualities of broad ambition, high originality, and intellectual daring, showing promise of having a substantive impact on the overall discipline, regardless of method, specific focus of inquiry or approach to subject.
Rachel Augustine Potter is an Assistant Professor of Politics at the University of Virginia. Her research interests include American political institutions, regulation, public policy, public administration, and the separation of powers. Her book Bending the Rules: Procedural Politicking in the Bureaucracy (University of Chicago Press, 2019) explores how unelected bureaucrats leverage procedures in order to exercise influence in the policymaking process. Her research has been published in numerous peer-reviewed journals and has appeared in the Washington Post, the Brookings Institution blog, and in congressional testimony. Before becoming a political scientist, she worked for a number of governmental institutions, including the White House Office of Management and Budget, the U.S. Government Accountability Office, and the German Federal Ministry of the Interior. She lives in Charlottesville, VA, with her husband and two daughters.
Citation from the Award Committee:
The Award Committee was unanimous in its decision to award the Theodore J. Lowi First Book Award for 2020 to Rachel Augustine Potter. Dr. Potter’s publications have appeared in the Journal of Politics, Journal of Law, Economics, & Organization, International Studies Quarterly, and Journal of Public Policy. She holds degrees from the University of Michigan, the University of Southern California, and Boston College, among others. In the 2018-19 academic year, she was a visiting scholar at the Center for the Study of Democratic Politics at Princeton University.
Dr Potter’s first book, Bending the Rules: Procedural Politicking in the Bureaucracy, explores how unelected bureaucrats leverage procedures in order to exercise influence in the policymaking process of the Congress, the president and the courts. She represents a very innovative argument about bureaucratic discretion. The empirical findings of this book draw from multiple methodologies and accumulated cross-field research. The book illuminates in an excellent way our understanding of how government policy decisions are made by public agencies.
APSA thanks the International Political Science Association (IPSA) for its support of the award and the committee members for their service: Professor Dr. Ferdinand Müller-Rommel (chair), Leuphana Universität; Ana De La O Torres, Yale University; and Gary Herrigel, University of Chicago.