Sarah Binder — 2018 Gladys M. Kammerer Award Recipient

The American Political Science Association (APSA) will present the Gladys M. Kammerer Award to Mr. Mark Spindel at the 2018 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.

Sarah Binder is a professor of political science at George Washington University and a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, specializing in Congress and legislative politics. She received her B.A. from Yale University in 1986 and her Ph.D. in political science from the University of Minnesota in 1995, and was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2015.

In addition to articles in the American Political Science Review, American Journal of Political Science and elsewhere, she is author or co-author of five books on Congress, including her most recent book with Mark Spindel, The Myth of Independence: How Congress Governs the Federal Reserve (Princeton University Press 2017). The Myth of Independence was awarded the Richard F. Fenno Prize for the best book published in legislative politics in 2017 and the Gladys Kammerer Award for the best book published in 2017 on U.S. national policy. Her earlier books include Minority Rights, Majority Rule: Partisanship and the Development of Congress (Cambridge University Press 1997); with Steven S. Smith, Politics or Principle? Filibustering in the United States Senate (Brookings Institution Press 1997); Stalemate: Causes and Consequences of Legislative Gridlock (Brookings Institution Press, 2003) (awarded the Richard F. Fenno Jr. Prize) and with Forrest Maltzman, Advice and Dissent: The Struggle to Shape the Federal Judiciary (Brookings Institution Press 2009).

Binder is also an associate editor of The Washington Post’s Monkey Cage blog and a former co-editor of Legislative Studies Quarterly.

In The Myth of Independence, Sarah Binder and Mark Spindel have crafted a foundational work for understanding the history and politics of the Federal Reserve, one that unveils the compelling tensions between economics and politics and between independence and public accountability. They skillfully illuminate how and why members of Congress have paid attention to the Federal Reserve, and to what extent they have shaped its architecture and behavior. The heartbeat of American prosperity depends on the Fed, but does it reflect the will of the American people in any way? Binder and Spindel demonstrate that Congress has much more influence over the often inscrutable Fed than conventional wisdom allows. Employing a rich set of methodological tools ranging from archival research to data analysis of congressional voting, the authors demonstrate the connections between legislative efforts to regulate the Fed’s discretion and transparency and the performance of the nation’s economy. Beautifully written, this book ultimately captures the extent to which the Fed and Congress are interdependent institutions. Few authors could make such a complex subject so compelling, accessible, and engaging.