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To elucidate the impact of polarization on the daily lives of U.S. citizens, the research community may need to modify its benchmarks for what constitutes a successful public policy. The authors suggest that we need a better understanding of how polarization affects the quantity and substance of rulemaking, regulations, and judicial decisions. We also need to examine the effects of partisan polarization at the state and local levels of government, how much polarization complicates the conduct of defense and foreign policy, and precisely how polarization affects different policy areas. The publication should be of interest to members of Congress, presidential candidates, civil servants, political scientists, reporters, and stakeholders seeking to influence public policy.

Table of Contents

  • Chapter One

    Polarization in the United States

  • Chapter Two

    History and Causes

  • Chapter Three

    Consequences of Polarization

  • Chapter Four

    Potential Remedies

  • Chapter Five

    Future Directions

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The research contained in this report was made possible by the generosity of donors to the Pardee RAND Graduate School, particularly Paul Volcker and Eugene and Maxine Rosenfeld.

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