Bringing Organizations Back In: Multilevel Feedback Effects on Individual Civic Inclusion

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Policy feedback scholarship has focused on how laws and their implementation affect either organizations (e.g., their resources, priorities, political opportunities, or incentive structures) or individuals (e.g., their civic skills and resources or their psychological orientations toward the state). However, in practice the distinction between organizations and individuals is not clear-cut: Organizations interpret policy for individuals, and individuals experience policy through organizations. Thus, scholars have argued for a multi-level model of feedback effects illuminating how policies operating at the organizational level reverberate at the individual level. In this theory-building article, we push this insight by examining how public policy influences nonprofit organizations’ role in the civic life of beneficiaries. We identify five roles that nonprofit organizations play. For each role, we draw on existing research to identify policy mechanisms that either enlarge or diminish nonprofits’ capacity to facilitate individual incorporation and engagement. From these examples, we derive cross-cutting hypotheses concerning how different categories of citizens may need policy to operate differently to enhance their civic influence; whether policy that is “delivered” through nonprofits may dampen citizens’ relationship with the state; and how the civic boost provided by policy may be influenced by the degree of latitude conferred on recipient organizations.





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Goss, KA, C Barnes and D Rose (2019). Bringing Organizations Back In: Multilevel Feedback Effects on Individual Civic Inclusion. Policy Studies Journal, 47(2). pp. 451–470. 10.1111/psj.12312 Retrieved from

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Kristin Anne Goss

Susan B. King Distinguished Professor of Public Policy

Professor Goss focuses on why people do (or don't) participate in political life and how their engagement affects public policymaking. Her current research projects focus on the role of philanthropic billionaires in policy debates and on the evolution of gun-related advocacy over the past decade. Her recent articles and books are here. If you want a quick summary, here are some podcasts, op-eds, and other media offerings. 

Professor Goss directs the "Duke in DC" program, which provides select undergraduates with an immersive experience combining work experience and policy-oriented seminars. In 2017, she was inducted into the Bass Society of Fellows. See more about Professor Goss at

Professor Goss has written or co-produced three books on gun politics and policy: The Gun Debate: What Everyone Needs to Know, with Philip J. Cook (Oxford University Press, 2020; 1st ed 2014); Gun Studies: Interdisciplinary Approaches to Politics, Policy, and Practice, co-edited with Jennifer Carlson and Harel Shapira (Routledge, 2018); and Disarmed: The Missing Movement for Gun Control in America (Princeton University Press, 2006, 2009). The latter book is based on her doctoral study, which won the American Political Science Association’s 2003 Harold D. Lasswell Award for the nation’s best dissertation in policy studies.

Professor Goss has also written widely on gender and politics. She is the author of The Paradox of Gender Equality: How American Women's Groups Gained and Lost Their Public Voice (University of Michigan Press, 2020 1st ed., 2013). The book documents and explains the surprising rise -- and even more surprising fall -- of American women's groups on the national stage. Systematically examining these groups' issue agendas over the last century, the book argues that public policy has profoundly shaped the nature and magnitude of women's collective voice in important national debates.

Professor Goss has published articles in journals including Perspectives on Politics, Policy Studies Journal, PS: Political Science and Politics, Interest Groups & Advocacy, Law & Contemporary Problems, Social Science Quarterly, American Journal of Public Health, American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, Politics & Gender, Women & Politics, Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, and the Fordham Law Review. She has also published chapters in major volumes on women's activism and interest groups. She is author of Better Together, the report of the Saguaro Seminar: Civic Engagement in America.

Professor Goss also is active in the Triangle Area chapter of the Scholars Strategy Network, which amplifies the voice of university-based academics in public policy debates.

At Duke, she is affiliated with the Center for Strategic Philanthropy and Civil Society, the Center for the Study of Philanthropy and Voluntarism, the Hart Leadership Program, and the Duke Center for Firearms Law.

Before her appointment at Duke, Professor Goss taught American politics courses at Georgetown University and served as a consultant for the Corporation for National and Community Service. Her Duke master’s thesis explored the challenges facing voluntary associations seeking to stop the epidemic of gun violence in Washington, D.C., in the 1990s.

Professor Goss grew up near Denver, where she developed a passion for figure skating and animal welfare. Before entering academe, she was a Washington-based journalist for six years covering non-profit organizations and foundations for The Chronicle of Philanthropy.


Deondra Rose

Kevin D. Gorter Associate Professor of Public Policy

Deondra Rose is the Kevin D. Gorter Associate Professor at the Sanford School of Public Policy with secondary appointments in the Department of Political Science and the Department of History.  She is also the Director of Polis: Center for Politics and Co-director of the North Carolina Scholars Strategy Network (SSN).  Her research focuses on U.S. higher education policy, political behavior, American political development, and the politics of inequality, particularly in relation to gender, race, and socioeconomic status.

Rose is the author of Citizens by Degree: Higher Education Policy and the Changing Gender Dynamics of American Citizenship (Oxford University Press, 2018), which examines the development of landmark U.S. higher education policies--including the National Defense Education Act of 1958, the Higher Education Act of 1965, and Title IX of the 1972 Education Amendments--and their impact on the progress that women have made since the mid-twentieth century. 

Her new book, The Power of Black Excellence: HBCUs and the Fight for American Democracy (Oxford University Press, 2024), examines the crucial role that historically Black colleges have played in American political development.

summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa graduate of the University of Georgia, Rose received her M.A. and Ph.D. in Government from Cornell University, with a specialization in American politics and public policy.

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