Steven Balla

Steven Balla
Associate Professor of Political Science, Public Policy and Public Administration, and International Affairs
Monroe Hall
Washington, DC 20052
[email protected]

Areas of Expertise

  • American Politics
  • Chinese Politics
  • Government Transparency and Public Participation
  • Regulation
  • Technology and Politics

Steven J. Balla is Associate Professor of Political Science, Public Policy and Public Administration, and International Affairs, and a Senior Scholar at the George Washington Regulatory Studies Center.  He researches public participation in policymaking in the United States and China.  He has served as a consultant to the Administrative Conference of the United States, drawing on his research on public commenting in the U.S. rulemaking process to make recommendations for how to improve stakeholder engagement in regulatory policymaking.  He has served as a Fulbright Scholar in China on two occasions, at Peking University in Beijing and Nankai University in Tianjin.  He is currently working on a project on mass comment campaigns in American rulemaking and a book on the Internet and political reform in China.

Current Research

“Beyond Republicans and the Disapproval of Regulations: The Institutionalization of the Congressional Review Act.” With Bridget C.E. Dooling and Daniel R. Perez.

“Diffusion or Abandonment?: A Two-Wave Audit of Policymaking Innovation in China.” With Zhoudan Xie.

“Government Transparency and Public Participation in State Administrative Rulemaking.”

“In the Midnight Hour: Public Participation in Administrative Rulemaking During Presidential Transitions.” With Christopher Carrigan, Colin Emrich, and Sean Paul.

“Notice the Comment?: Chinese Government Responsiveness to Public Participation in the Policymaking Process.” With Zhoudan Xie and Yat To Yeung.

“Polarization and Public Commenting in Agency Rulemaking.” With Mark Febrizio.

“Transparency, Participation, and Analysis in Regulatory Policymaking in the United States.” With Susan E. Dudley.


PhD, 1995, Political Science, Duke University
MA, 1992, Political Science, Duke University
BA, 1989, Government and Economics, Franklin and Marshall College


2022. “Responding to Mass, Computer-Generated, and Malattributed Comments.” With Reeve
Bull, Bridget C.E. Dooling, Emily Hammond, Michael Herz, Michael Livermore, and Beth
Simone Noveck. Administrative Law Review, Forthcoming.

2020. “Consultation as Policymaking Innovation: Comparing Government Transparency and
Public Participation in China and the United States.” With Zhoudan Xie. Journal of Chinese

2020. “Lost in the Flood?: Agency Responsiveness to Mass Comment Campaigns in
Administrative Rulemaking.” With Alexander R. Beck, Elizabeth Meehan, and Aryamala
Prasad. Regulation & Governance,

2020. “Online Consultation and the Institutionalization of Transparency and Participation in
Chinese Policymaking.” With Zhoudan Xie. China Quarterly,

2019. “Where’s the Spam?: Interest Groups and Mass Comment Campaigns in Agency
Rulemaking.” With Alexander R. Beck, William C. Cubbison, and Aryamala Prasad. Policy &
Internet, Vol. 11, No. 4, pp. 460-479.

2017. Bureaucracy and Democracy: Accountability and Performance. With William T.
Gormley, Jr. Washington, DC: CQ Press. Fourth Edition. (2012, Third Edition; 2008 Second
Edition; 2007, Chinese Edition, Fudan University Press; 2004 First Edition)

2017. “Is Consultation the ‘New Normal?’: Online Policymaking and Governance Reform in
China.” Journal of Chinese Political Science. Vol. 22, No. 3, pp. 375-392.

2015. “Government Consultation and Political Participation on the Chinese Internet.” In
China’s Contested Internet, ed. Guobin Yang. Copenhagen, DK: NAIS Press.

2015. The Oxford Handbook of Classics in Public Policy and Administration. With Martin
Lodge and Edward C. Page, eds. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

2015. “Procedural Control, Bureaucratic Discretion, and Public Commenting on Agency
Regulations.” Public Administration. Vol. 93, No. 2, pp. 524-538.

2015. “Salience, Complexity, and State Resistance to Federal Mandates.” With Christopher J.
Deering. Journal of Public Policy. Vol. 35, No. 3 (December), pp. 459-476.

2015. “What Makes a Classic?: Identifying and Revisiting the Classics of Public Policy and
Administration.” With Martin Lodge and Edward C. Page. In Oxford Handbook of the Classics
of Public Policy and Administration, eds. Steven J. Balla, Martin Lodge, and Edward C. Page.
Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.

2014. “Health System Reform and Citizen Feedback on the Chinese Internet.” China
Information, Vol. 28, No. 2, pp. 214-236.

2013. “Online Consultation and Citizen Feedback in Chinese Policymaking.” With Zhou Liao.
Journal of Current Chinese Affairs. Vol. 42, No. 3, pp. 101-120.

2013. “Police Patrols and Fire Alarms: An Empirical Examination of the Legislative Preference
for Oversight.” With Christopher J. Deering. Congress & the Presidency. Vol. 40, Issue 1
(January-April), pp. 27-40.

2012. “Information Technology, Political Participation, and the Evolution of Chinese
Policymaking.” Journal of Contemporary China. Vol. 21, Issue 76 (July), pp. 655-673.

2012. “Neighborhood Information Systems as Intermediaries in Democratic Communities.”
With Sungsoo Hwang. In Connecting Democracy: Online Consultation and the Flow of
Political Communication, eds. Stephen Coleman and Peter M. Shane. Cambridge, MA: The
MIT Press. Pp. 97-121.

2012. “The Politicization of Administration.” Georgetown Journal of Law and Public Policy,
Vol. 10, No. 2, pp. 357-358.

2011. “Institutional Design and the Management of Regulatory Governance.” In Handbook on
the Politics of Regulation, ed. David Levi-Faur. Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar. Pp. 70-83.

2011. “Outside Communications and OIRA Review of Agency Regulations.” With Jennifer M.
Deets and Forrest Maltzman. Administrative Law Review. Vol. 63 (Special Edition), pp. 149-

2009. “Municipal Environments, Nonprofit Entrepreneurs, and the Development of
Neighborhood Information Systems.” I/S: A Journal of Law and Policy for the Information
Society. Vol. 5, No. 1, pp. 111-134.

2007. “Information Technology and Public Commenting on Agency Regulations.” With
Benjamin Daniels. Regulation & Governance. Vol. 1, No. 1 (March), pp. 46-67.

2005. “Between Commenting and Negotiation: The Contours of Public Participation in Agency
Rulemaking.” I/S: A Journal of Law and Policy for the Information Society. Vol. 1, No. 1
(Winter), pp. 59-94.

2005. “Unifying Rulemaking Information: Recommendations for the New Federal Docket
Management System.” With Cary Coglianese and Stuart Shapiro. Administrative Law Review.
Vol. 57, No. 2 (Spring), pp. 621-646.

2003. “Consensual Rulemaking and the Time it Takes to Develop Rules.” With John R. Wright.
In Politics, Policy, and Organizations: Frontiers in the Scientific Study of Bureaucracy, eds.
George A. Krause and Kenneth J. Meier. Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press. Pp.

2002. “Partisanship, Blame Avoidance, and the Distribution of Legislative Pork.” With Eric D.
Lawrence, Forrest Maltzman, and Lee Sigelman. American Journal of Political Science. Vol.
46, No. 3 (July), pp. 515-525.

2001. “Interest Groups, Advisory Committees, and Congressional Control of the Bureaucracy.”
With John R. Wright. American Journal of Political Science. Vol. 45, No. 4 (October), pp. 799-

2001. “Interstate Professional Associations and the Diffusion of Policy Innovations.” American
Politics Research. Vol. 29, No. 3 (May), pp. 221-245.

2000. “Can Advisory Committees Facilitate Congressional Oversight of the Bureaucracy?”
With John R. Wright. In Congress on Display, Congress at Work, ed. William T. Bianco. Ann
Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press. Pp. 167-187.

2000. “Legislative Organization and Congressional Review of Agency Regulations.” Journal of
Law, Economics, and Organization. Vol. 16, No. 2 (Fall), pp. 424-448.

2000. “Legislative Success and Failure and Participation in Rulemaking.” Journal of Public
Administration Research and Theory. Vol. 10, No. 3 (July), pp. 633-653.

2000. “Political and Organizational Determinants of Bureaucratic Responsiveness.” American
Politics Quarterly. Vol. 28, No. 2 (April), pp. 163-193.

2000. “Position Taking, Legislative Signaling, and Non-Expert Extremism: Cosponsorship of
Managed Care Legislation in the 105th House of Representatives.” With Christine L.
Nemacheck. Congress & the Presidency. Vol. 27, No. 2 (Fall), pp.163-188.

1999. “Markets, Governments, and HMO Development in the 1990s.” Journal of Health
Politics, Policy and Law. Vol. 24, No. 2 (April), pp. 215-238.

1998. “Administrative Procedures and Political Control of the Bureaucracy.” American
Political Science Review. Vol. 92, No. 3 (September), pp. 663-673.

Personal Interests

  • Travel
  • Sports (biking, hiking, running, working out)
  • Faith-based activities
  • Service
  • Eating bar-b-que and hot pot of all types


Outside Appointments

2015-2016. Fulbright Senior Scholar
Zhou Enlai School of Government
Nankai University, Tianjin

2008-2009. Fulbright Senior Scholar
School of Government
Peking University, Beijing

Administrative Appointments

Co-Director, George Washington Regulatory Studies Center
Research Director, The George Washington Confucius Institute

Classes Taught

  • Contemporary Research on American Political Institutions (Graduate)
  • Executive Branch Politics (Graduate)
  • Politics and Public Policy (Graduate)
  • Politics of Regulation (Undergraduate)
  • Scope and Methods of Political Science (Undergraduate)