Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name



Political Science

Committee Chair

Farrier, Jasmine, 1970-


Public administration--Decision making; Political planning--United States--Case studies; Bankruptcy--United States


The purpose of this study is to analyze two Congressional decisionmaking models and two policymaking models to identify which provides the strongest explanation of the bankruptcy reform process between 1997 and 2005. The two models of Congressional decisionmaking are the partisan model described by Mann and Ornstein and Binder's institutional model. The two policymaking models considered in this project are Kingdon's revision of the "garbage can model" delineated in his work on policymaking, and Baumgartner and Jones' punctuated equilibrium model described in their policymaking research. The Binder and Kingdon models provide the most accurate description of the bankruptcy reform process largely due to their emphasis on internal structures in the policymaking process. Baumgartner and Jones overestimate of the impact of the media's agenda setting role. Mann and Ornstein fail to explain the long period of debate in Congress despite the legislation passing every floor vote.