Mark A. Peterson
Interim Chair, Department of Public Policy; Professor of Public Policy, Political Science, and Law; Senior Fellow at the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research
Ph.D. in Political Science, University of Michigan
Areas of Interest:Aging/Gerontology, American Politics, HIV/AIDS, Health Care, Political Leadership, Politics
Office Location:6315, Public Affairs
Recently in the News
A specialist on American national institutions, much of Professor Peterson’s scholarship focuses on the Presidency, Congress, interest groups, and public opinion, evaluating interactions among them, and their implications for policy making, both within the general domain of domestic policy and with special attention to national health care policy, Medicare reform, and HIV/AIDS politics and policy. He also studies the role of evidence in policy making, including the contextual factors that promote or inhibit its influence.
He has written extensively on how Congress responds to presidential legislative initiatives, exploring how different political, economic, and institutional settings affect coalition building, promote inter-institutional conflict or cooperation, influence the president’s legislative performance, and establish the baseline for assessing the performance of individual leaders (including Legislating Together: The White House and Capital Hill from Eisenhower to Reagan, Harvard University Press). He has also investigated the ways in which presidents use relationships with organized interests to promote their administration’s political or programmatic agendas, based on the presidential objectives and strategic calculations.
As a participant in the Annenberg Institutions of American Democracy Project, with Public Policy Department colleague Joel Aberbach he co-chaired the Commission on the Executive Branch and co-edited the volume it produced on the politics and performance of the presidency and bureaucracy (Institutions of American Democracy: The Executive Branch, Oxford University Press), which won the Richard E. Neustadt Award from the Presidential Research section of the American Political Science Association. He also contributed to its study of public and elite opinion on the performance of American institutions (Institutions of American Democracy: A Republic Divided, Oxford University Press).
In addition, specific to the domain of health and health care policy, he edited Healthy Markets? The New Competition in Medical Care, Duke University Press; and co-edited both Uncertain Times: Kenneth Arrow and the Changing Economics of Health Care, Duke University Press) and the four-volume edited series Health Politics and Policy (Sage), as well as edited the special health policy journal issues, The Managed Care Backlash and Who Shall Lead?
Much of his most recent scholarship has linked these themes and extensive original research to produce a book manuscript entitled “American Sisyphus: Health Care and the Challenge of Transformative Policymaking.” Encompassing the last 100 years, it examines how recognized problems in the health care system, the influence of public opinion, transformation of the interest group community, institutional dynamics in Congress, changes in the context and demands of political leadership, various dimensions of social learning by policy makers, and strategic and tactical choices by presidents both thwarted health care reform in the past and ultimately made possible the enactment of President Obama’s Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010, but in a context that also primed the challenge of the law before the U.S. Supreme Court and prompted enduring partisan attacks on its implementation and continuation.
Professor Peterson was a founding team member of the UCLA-based multidisciplinary Blue Sky Health Initiative to transform the U.S. health and health care system, which helped advise Congress on the inclusion of disease prevention and health promotion strategies in the Affordable Care Act. Previously, as an American Political Science Association Congressional Fellow, he served as a Legislative Assistant for Health Policy in the Office of U.S. Senator Tom Daschle. During 2000-2003 he was on the Study Panel on Medicare and Markets organized by the National Academy of Social Insurance.
From 1993 to 2002, Professor Peterson was the editor of the Journal of Health Politics, Policy and Law, a leading bimonthly scholarly journal in the field. He later chaired the journal’s Executive Committee, on which he remains a member, and also served on the Board of Editors of PS: Political Science & Politics and the Board of Editors of the Journal of Politics. He has often been interviewed for television, radio, and print media stories, including for CBS News, National Public Radio and state public radio networks, CNN Money.Com, local television in Boston and Los Angeles, New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, USA Today, Christian Science Monitor, San Diego Union Tribune, Arizona Republic, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Atlanta Constitution, U.S. News & World Report, CQ Weekly, The Hill, American Medical News, Internal Medicine News, The Lancet Oncology, and newspapers and broadcast news in Latin America, Europe, and Asia.
Professor Peterson has been an elected member of the Council of the American Political Science Association (2008-2010) and a member of its Administrative Committee, a founding member of the Association’s Organized Section on Health Politics and Policy, and was elected President of its Organized Section on Public Policy. He has served on various committees for the American Political Science Association, Midwest Political Science Association, the Western Political Science Association, and AcademyHealth. He chaired the National Advisory Committees for both the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Scholars in Health Policy Research program and its Changes in Health Care Financing and Organization (HCFO) program, and was a member of the National Advisory Committees for the Foundation’s Investigator Awards in Health Policy Research Program and Center for Health Policy at the University of New Mexico. He is an elected member of the National Academy of Social Insurance. Other honors include the Pi Sigma Alpha Award from the Midwest Political Science Association, the E. E. Schattschneider Award from the American Political Science Association, the Richard E. Neustadt Award from the President and Executive Politics Section of the APSA, and a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Investigator Award in Health Policy Research.
At UCLA, he is Professor of Public Policy, Political Science, and Law, and has twice been the Chair of the Department of Public Policy. He is a Faculty Associate of the Center for Health Policy Research, the Center for Healthier Children, Families, and Communities, and the Institute for Society & Genetics; member of the Policy Impact Core for the Center for HIV Identification, Prevention, and Treatment Services; and is on the Internal Advisory Board for the Clinical and Translational Science Institute at UCLA. He previously served on the faculty boards of the Center for Policy Research on Aging, the Institute for Social Research, and the Center for American Politics and Public Policy. He is also currently a member of the University of California’s Academic Senate Health Care Task Force and the Academic Advisory Committee for the University of California Washington Center (UC in DC), and was on the University of California Office of the President’s Health Benefits Working Group.
Prior to coming to UCLA, he was Professor of Public Affairs, Political Science, and Public Health at the University of Pittsburgh, and Henry La Barre Jayne Associate Professor of Government at Harvard University.
SELECTED BOOKS & PUBLICATIONS
American Sisyphus: Health Care and the Challenge of Transformative Policymaking.
Mark A. Peterson. Book manuscript in progress.
Reversing Course on Obamacare: Why Not Another Medicare Catastrophic?
Journal of Health Politics, Policy and Law 43(4) (August 2018): 605-650.
In the Shadow of Politics: The Pathways of Research Evidence to Health Policy Making.
Special Issue on Policy Analysis and the Politics of Health Policy. Journal of Health Politics, Policy and Law 43(3) (June 2018): 341-376.
The Third Rail of Politics The Rise and Fall of Medicare’s Untouchability
Mark A. Peterson. In Alan Cohen, David Colby, Keith Wailoo, and Julian Zelizer, Medicare and Medicaid at Fifty. New York: Oxford University Press, 2015.
Interest Groups and the Executive Branch
Mark A. Peterson. In Burdett A. Loomis, ed., Guide to Interest Groups and Lobbying in the United States. Washington, D.C.: CQ Press, 2011.
Who Wants Presidential Supremacy? Findings from the Institutions of American Democracy Project
Joel D. Aberbach, Mark A. Peterson, and Paul J. Quirk. Presidential Studies Quarterly 37 (September 2007): 515-53.
It Was a Different Time: Obama and the Unique Opportunity for Health Care Reform
Mark A. Peterson. Journal of Health Politics, Policy and Law 36(3) (June 2011): 429-436.
The Ideological and Partisan Polarization of Health Care Reform and Tax Policy
Mark A. Peterson. Tax Law Review 65(4), 2012: 627-667.
Institutions of American Democracy: A Republic Divided
Annenberg Democracy Project. New York: Oxford University Press, 2007.
Health Politics and Policy, Four-Volume Set
Sue Tolleson-Rinehart and Mark A. Peterson, Editors.
Volume 1. Defining Health Systems: Path Dependence and Policy Emergence
Volume 2. Tensions in Health Policy: Ethics, Interests, and the Public
Volume 3. Health Systems in Comparative Perspective
Volume 4. The Contemporary Politics of Health System Reform
London: Sage Publications, 2010.
Legislating Together: The White House and Capitol Hill from Eisenhower to Reagan
Mark A. Peterson. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1990.