Pam McCann joined the Evans School faculty in 2011. Her research focuses on the intersection between congressional behavior, bureaucratic delegation, federalism, and public policy. She explores the influence of the states and state political institutions on national political maneuvering and policy choices. In particular, she examines the influence of policy actors’ intergovernmental context on legislative choices. Her current work considers the impact of the interaction of state and national political institutions on political choices and policy outcomes.
In additional co-authored work with Charles R. Shipan (University of Michigan) and Craig Volden (University of Virginia), she examines the influence of national policy actions on state political choices (and vice versa) in the diffusion of tobacco policies across the states. Further, she analyzes the construction of judicial review provisions in national legislation from 1947-2008 with Charles R. Shipan (University of Michigan) and Yuhua Wang (University of Pennsylvania).
McCann was the recipient of the University of Michigan’s Gerald R. Ford Fellowship (2010-2011), the University of Michigan’s Rackham Pre-Doctoral Fellowship (2009-2010), the Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (2008-2009 and 2004-2005), and was a National Science Foundation IDEAS IGERT fellow (2006-2008).
Areas of specialization
McCann, P. J. C. (2009) ?Agency Discretion and Public Health Service Delivery. Health Services Research, 44: 1897–1908. This paper uses a time-series design to consider how different types of agency discretion influence implementation of changes mandated by state newborn screening laws from 1990 through 2006. During this period, newborn screening technology changed dramatically as did state newborn screening laws. Newborn screening is the largest public health program in the United States and public health practitioners faced tremendous change during the time span of this study. This study finds that agency flexibility with respect to programmatic and fiscal concerns (such as changes newborn screening fees, adding new disorders to the newborn screening tests, or changing the type of tests conducted) facilitated adaptation to new changes mandated by state legislatures. In contrast, discretion over the goals or criteria of the newborn screening program in a state hindered the ability of newborn screening practitioners to meet new demands of new state newborn screening laws.
Work in Progress
McCann, P.J.C. (2012) ? Patchwork Nation: The Strategic Use of Congressional Intergovernmental Delegation. Congressional delegation choices are widely studied, but scholars have overlooked the states and individual national legislators as an inherent part of this process. How do members of Congress with state constituents make delegation choices allocating responsibility to the states? This paper incorporates states and legislators with state-based interests in a theory of intergovernmental delegation and argues that members of Congress consider their relationship with their state government vis-à-vis their connection with the national executive branch as they make intergovernmental delegation choices. This theory is tested against current explanations of decentralization: Republican devolution, average partisan congruence between Congress and the states, and policy type using a novel dataset spanning over 30 years and 178 significant laws. Not only is support for the theory of intergovernmental delegation found, but alternative explanations fail to explain the degree of responsibility delegated to the states in national law, demonstrating the importance of national and state political contexts on delegation.
McCann, P.J.C. (2012) ? Partners in Policy: Congressional Intergovernmental Delegation of Authority: A Consideration of House and Senate Coalition Formation. A critical aspect of congressional policy design is the decision to allocate policy authority to different levels: national entities, state policy actors, or both through intergovernmental partnerships. Scholars studying congressional behavior have overlooked federalism and federalism scholars often ignore the politics of bill passage. The failure of these two literatures means we do not fully understand how the common use of decentralization by Congress affects bill passage. I utilize a bargaining framework to consider how coalitions form in the House and the Senate based on the intergovernmental allocation of authority to the states, national actors, or both in a joint partnership. I test the resulting hypotheses on a dataset of vote choices for votes on cloture motions in the Senate against alternative arguments regarding the pivotal legislator. I find support for the intergovernmental theory of coalition formation indicating the need to consider the influence of state political context for vote choices.
McCann, P.J.C. (2012) ? Intergovernmental Policy Diffusion: National Influence on State Policy Adoptions. National political institutions, such as Congress and the president, can influence state-level policymaking by adopting laws that specifically direct the states to take certain actions, or by providing financial incentives to take certain actions. But can these national institutions also influence state-level adoptions by drawing attention to an issue and by providing information about it, even when these activities do not produce laws? In other words, do policy ideas diffuse from the national government to the states? In this paper we explore the influence of national policymaking activities on state-level adoptions. More specifically, we examine whether hearings and the introduction of bills in Congress stimulate state level adoptions and whether this effect varies systematically according to characteristics of the state. Our findings reveal that national policymaking activities influence state-level adoptions, but that not all states view national-level attention to a policy area in the same manner.