Donald F. Kettl

Professor of Public Affairs and Academic Director, D.C Center for the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs, University of Texas at Austin
Areas of Expertise:
  • Media & Public Opinion
  • Civic Engagement
  • Democracy & Governance

About Donald

Kettl’s work focuses on strategies to ensure the effective and efficient pursuit of public policy, especially through the management and reform of government. He has testified frequently before Congress and has been a regular contributor to debates about public affairs in the media. In addition, he has chaired two blue-ribbon commissions appointed by the governor in Wisconsin: on campaign finance reform and on state-local fiscal partnerships. He has served on advisory committees for the U.S. Office of Management and Budget and for the U.S. Department of Energy, and he’s consulted extensively for government agencies in the U.S. and around the world.

No Jargon Podcast

In the News

"Public Employee Unions Evicted From Offices As Result Of Trump's Executive Orders," Donald F. Kettl, Interview with Brian Naylor, NPR, August 7, 2018.
Donald F. Kettl quoted on performance pay and pay increases in Erich Wagner, "Prospects Unclear for Trump’s $1 Billion Performance Fund" Government Executive, March 27, 2018.
Donald F. Kettl quoted in Kate Magill, "Howard School Budget Proposal Aims to End Health Fund Deficits" The Baltimore Sun, January 25, 2018.
Donald F. Kettl quoted in Brando Marcetic, "Dark Money at the Pentagon" Jacobin, January 24, 2018.
Donald F. Kettl quoted in John Harwood, "Obamacare Repeal Effort is Counting on States to Shoulder the Burden - but States Don't Want it" CNBC, September 25, 2017.
Donald F. Kettl quoted on federal rules for downsizing in Reema Khrais, "Education Department Learns How to Downsize as Threat of Budget Cuts Looms" Marketplace, April 27, 2017.
Donald F. Kettl quoted on public opinion of institutions in Eric Schulzke, "Why It Matters That Fewer Americans Trust Government to 'Do the Right Thing'" Deseret News, December 14, 2016.
Donald F. Kettl quoted on Trump's inexperienced cabinet in John Harwood, "Running the Government with No government Experience: Another First for Team Trump" CNBC, December 14, 2016.
Guest to discuss improving government on National Public Radio, Donald F. Kettl, November 21, 2016.
"Is Cato Right? Are Federal Employees Overpaid?," Donald F. Kettl, Washington Monthly, October 14, 2015.
"Scott Walker's Real Legacy," Donald F. Kettl, Washington Monthly, June/July/August 2015.


The Transformation of Governance: Public Administration for the 21st Century, Updated Edition (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2015).
Takes a searching look at the great ideas shaping the practice of governance in the United States, especially the enduring struggle between Madisonian and Hamiltonian principles, and the challenges posed by new governance strategies in the 21st century. Co-winner of the National Academy of Public Administration’s 2003 Louis Brownlow Book Award for the best book in public administration.
System under Stress: Homeland Security and American Politics, 3rd Edition (Congressional Quarterly Press, 2014).
Asks how did the September 11 terrorist attacks, followed by the 2005 assault on the Gulf Coast by Hurricane Katrina, reshape the way government works and performs? Co-winner of the National Academy of Public Administration’s 2005 Louis Brownlow Book Award for the best book in public administration.
Government by Proxy: (Mis?)Managing Federal Programs (Congressional Quarterly Press, 1988).
Explores how, as government relies more on third parties – through grants, contracts, loans, regulations, tax expenditures, and other strategies – the patterns of governance and accountability and the performance of government have fundamentally changed.