Robert Stoker

Associate Professor of Political Science, and Public Policy and Public Administration
Faculty: Full-Time
Address: Hall of Government
Washington, DC, 20052
Phone: 202-994-5831
Fax: 202-994-7743

Areas of Expertise

  • Policy analysis
  • Policy implementation
  • Politics of the policymaking process
  • Research methods
  • Social welfare policy


Robert P. Stoker is Associate Professor of Political Science, Public Policy, and Public Administration.  He specializes in public policy, including methods of policy analysis, program evaluation, implementation analysis, and analysis of U.S. social and urban policy.  He has been a consultant to numerous government agencies and non-profit organizations including the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development; the Department of Fiscal Services, state of Maryland; the Brookings Institution, Metropolitan Politics Program; the Herman Deleeck Centre for Social Policy at the University of Antwerp, Antwerp, Belgium; and the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Professor Stoker has been a guest blogger on the Huffington Post and the Monkey Cage, writing about taxes and social policy. 

Professor Stoker has been a member of the Political Science faculty at GWU since 1985 and is a founding member of the Trachtenberg School of Public Policy and Public Administration.  His current research interests focus on social policy issues (such as poverty, inequality, and the working poor) and urban distress.  He recently published a co-authored book focusing on the role of good governance in urban revitalization initiatives (Collaborative Governance for Urban Revitalization, Cornell University Press, 2014, with Michael Rich).  His upcoming book, a comparative study of neighborhood improvement efforts in several North American cities, is scheduled for publication in 2015 (In a New Era: The Politics of Neighborhood Revitalization in the Post-Industrial City, University of Chicago Press, with Clarence Stone and multiple co-authors).    


Ph.D., University of Maryland, College Park, 1983
M.A., University of Maryland, College Park, 1979
B.A., The Ohio State University, 1976


Selected Publications


In a New Era: The Politics of Neighborhood Revitalization in the Post-Industrial City, Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, expected 2015, with Clarence Stone and multiple co-authors.

Collaborative Governance for Urban Revitalization: Lessons from Empowerment Zones, Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2014, with Michael J. Rich.

When Work is Not Enough: State and Federal Policies to Support Needy Workers, Washington, DC: The Brookings Institution Press, 2006, with Laura A. Wilson.

Reluctant Partners: Implementing Federal Policy, Pittsburgh, PA: University of Pittsburgh Press, 1991.


"The Effects of Beneficiary Targeting on Support for Social Policies." Policy Studies Journal, Vol. 41, Number 2, 2013, with Eric Lawrence and Harold Wolman.

“Rethinking Empowerment: Evidence from Local Empowerment Zone Programs.”  Urban Affairs Review, Vol. 45, Number 6, July 2010, with Michael Rich.

“Crafting Urban Policy: The Conditions of Public Support for Urban Policy Initiatives.” Urban Affairs Review, Vol. 45, Number 3, January 2010, with Eric Lawrence and Harold Wolman.

“Lessons and Limits: The Limits of Tax Incentives for Rebuilding the Gulf Coast after Katrina,” with Michael Rich.  Brookings Policy Brief, August 2006, Metropolitan Politics Program, The Brookings Institution, Washington, D.C.

“Welfare Bureaus as Moral Tutors: What Do Clients Learn from Paternalistic Welfare Reforms?” Social Science Quarterly, Vol. 80, Number 3, September 1999, with Laura Wilson and Dennis McGrath.

“Verifying Compliance: Social Regulation and Welfare Reform.” Public Administration Review, Vol. 58, Number 5, September/October 1998, with Laura Wilson.

“Paternalistic Welfare Reform: Behavioral Models and Client Perceptions.” Journal of Health and Human Services Administration, Vol. 20, Number 1, Summer 1997, with Laura Wilson‑Gentry, Larry Thomas, and Grace Clark.

"Policy Design and Implementation Effectiveness: Structural Change in a County Court System.” Policy Studies Journal, vol. 20, No. 3, 1992, with Ronald Lippincott.

 “A Regime Framework for Implementation Analysis: Cooperation and Reconciliation of Federalist Imperatives.” Policy Studies Review, vol. 9, No. 1, 1989.

Book Chapters:

“Managing Partners: Performance Based Contracting in Baltimore’s Empowerment Zone.”  In Participatory Governance: Planning, Conflict Mediation and Public Decision-Making in Civil Society, edited by W. Robert Lovan, Michael Murray, and Ron Shaffer. (Hampshire, England: Ashgate Publishing, 2004).

“Who is Empowered? Innovative Governance in Baltimore’s Empowerment Zone.”  In Innovation and Entrepreneurship in State and Local Government, edited by Michael Harris and Rhonda Kinney.  (Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2003).

 “Is Federal Welfare Reform Helping or Hurting Poor Families?”  In Feuds about Families: Conservative, Centrist, Liberal, and Feminist Perspectives, edited by Nijole V. Benokraitis. (Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 2000), with Laura Wilson.

"Baltimore: The Self‑Evaluating City?"  In The Politics of Urban Development, edited by Clarence Stone and Heywood Sanders (Lawrence, KS: University Press of Kansas, 1987).


Policy Research Scholar, George Washington Institute for Public Policy, (a competitive award for research support), George Washington University, 2001.

Dilthey Award, (a competitive award for summer support for inter-disciplinary research), George Washington University, 2000.

Summer Fellow in Public Policy, (a competitive award for summer support for policy oriented research), Graduate Institute for Public Policy Research, George Washington University.

Junior Scholar Incentive Award, Columbian College, George Washington University.

Graduate Assistantship, Department of Government and Politics, University of Maryland, 1976-1980.

Outstanding Graduating Senior (one of ten), 1976, The Ohio State University.

President of Senior Honorary Society, 1975-76, The Ohio State University.

University Honorary Society Membership, 1973-1976, The Ohio State University.