Rocco's research examines the political economy of policy knowledge in the United States. A central dilemma of contemporary American politics is that ideological polarization has eroded a shared cognitive basis for reasoning about how to solve public problems. To better understand this dilemma, his work builds on comparative political economy scholarship on how the US “knowledge regime”—the organizational infrastructure that generates ideational frameworks, analysis, and advice—affects the way that policymakers recognize problems, build coalitions, and develop viable policy solutions. While existing work treats variation in knowledge regimes across national contexts, he shows that variation within the US context—across time, policy area, and institutional venue—has significant consequences for the character of public policy. His published and forthcoming work also focuses on how fragmented policy designs are shaping the politics and policy of health care in the US, as well as how policymakers and frontline workers overcome challenges associated with fragmentation.
No Jargon Podcast
In the News
Argues that “intense policy demanders” played an important role in defining the policy alternatives that comprised congressional Republicans' efforts to repeal and replace the ACA.
Shows how the Affordable Care Act's intergovernmental structure, which entails the participation of both the federal government and the states, has deeply shaped the politics of implementation. Focusing on the creation of insurance exchanges, the expansion of Medicaid, and execution of regulatory reforms examines how opponents of the Act fought back against its implementation.
Draws on interviews with state health-insurance personnel in over thirty states to show the influence and limits of partisanship on shaping patterns of collaboration between federal and state officials under the Affordable Care Act.
Outlines a method for noticing difficult-to-spot changes to public policy that happen “off the radar,” without formal changes in legislation or rules.
Compares the Affordable Care Act to the Universal Credit in the United Kingdom to show how increasing demand for individualized government services cannot be met under conditions of increasing budget austerity and a polarized politics of accountability.