Dr. Moynihan gave the Herbert A. Simon Award lecture on “Embedding Institutions of Public Sector Change,” examining the purpose of research in improving the quality of public sector solutions and outcomes. Dr. Moynihan argued that “government institutions both offer the key means to direct governance but also risk becoming stale, failing to adapt to public concerns.”
“The question is what role academics can play in making them work better,” he said.
The award honors Dr. Moynihan’s research in a variety of areas, such as public sector performance reforms, administrative burdens experienced by the public and the operation of civil service systems. Dr. Moynihan drew on this research to discuss the important role academics can play in driving positive change.
“As researchers we have the luxury of not just doing empirical research on important topics, but also in imagining new approaches to make government a more positive presence in people’s lives by diagnosing problems and designing solutions,” he said.
At the McCourt School, Professor Moynihan serves as co-director of the McCourt School’s Better Government Lab, which seeks to partner with government agencies to improve their effectiveness and make programs and services more accessible.
Dr. Moynihan’s writing and research has been cited by the White House (Obama and Biden Administrations) and leading publications, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, The New Yorker and The Atlantic. His research has also won awards from the American Society of Public Administration, the Academy of Management, the American Political Science Association, the Association for Public Policy and Management and the National Academy of Public Administration.