Rockefeller Institute of Government

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The Nelson A. Rockefeller Institute of Government is a public policy research institute that conducts studies and related projects on state and local government and finance, American federalism, public management, and New York State issues. The Institute is located in Albany, New York, and is part of the State University of New York.


The Institute was founded in 1981 in conjunction with the Nelson A. Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy, University at Albany, as a proposal by then-SUNY chancellor Clifton Wharton to acknowledge the role that Governor Rockefeller played in building up the State and City universities.

Warren Ilchman was the first director of the Institute until 1987, at which time David Andersen was named interim director. In 1989, Richard Nathan became the Institute’s second director. Prior to coming to Albany, Nathan was a professor at Princeton University, worked at the Brookings Institution, and served in the first Nixon administration. From 2005 to 2009, the Institute had two co-directors, Richard Nathan and Thomas Gais. On October 23, 2009, Richard Nathan retired, after successfully leading the Institute for 20 years. On July 1, 2010, Thomas Gais became the third director. As part of an effort to expand the Institute, Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher appointed Jim Malatras the Institute's first president in 2017.

Study areas[edit]

The Institute's mission is to provide independent information on the finances, programs, and operations of state and local government. It has often used a field network methodology in analyzing whether and how national and state policies are implemented.

Areas of study include:

  • Fiscal Policy
  • Federalism
  • State and local Government
  • Health Care
  • Education
  • Social Services
  • Economic Development and Workforce

Past research[edit]

State Finance.

State Revenue Reports. Since 1990, the Institute has published quarterly analyses of tax revenue collection in the 50 states, based on the Institute's survey.
Fiscal Trends. State reports are issued several times a year. They are periodic analyses of trends in state and local government spending and taxes.

Implementation Studies. The Institute has conducted studies of the Implementation of major national initiatives at the state and local levels.

State Capacity Study of the 1996 Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act. To understand whether and how states would use the flexibility under the 1996 work-based time-limited welfare reform law, the Institute launched a study of twenty states and twenty-one localities.
Front-Line Management and Practice Study. As a follow-up of the State Capacity Study, the Institute studied a random sample of 1,000 interactions between welfare workers and program clients.
Workforce Investment Act. A study of the 1998 Act was conducted in 8 states for the U.S. Department of Labor.
Medicaid. The Institute's Medicaid research has examined a variety of Medicaid issues. The role of Medicaid in financing the activities of faith-based organizations, state efforts to increase Medicaid enrollment, and the implementation of Medicaid managed care.

Government Capacity and Political Responsiveness.

The Commission for the State and Local Public Service (a.k.a. Winter Commission). Established in 1990, this commission was chaired by former Mississippi Governor William Winter. The Commission's report was presented to President Bill Clinton at the White House.
State Campaign Finance Reform. In 1998, the Institute published The Day After Reform, on the implementation of campaign finance reform in the states.

New York State and Local Government Studies. One of the Institute's major purposes is to assist governments and government officials throughout New York State. It does so by bringing expertise and data-analysis skills to bear in ways that aid government officials.

The Institute published New York State Government and the annual New York State Statistical Yearbook.

Community and Urban and Community Organization Studies. Since 1995, the Institute has conducted community studies such as:

The national evaluation of the Empowerment Zone Initiative, and an evaluation of the Neighborhood Preservation Initiative of The Pew Charitable Trusts.
The study of Urban Neighborhood and Community Capacity Building identified and studied minority neighborhoods with a majority of nonpoor inhabitants.
Urban Hardship tracks social and economic conditions among the largest cities in the nation's most-populated metropolitan areas over the past 30 years.
Faith-based Organizations and the Delivery of Social Services. From 2002 to 2008, the Institute was home to the Roundtable on Religion and Social Welfare Policy. The Roundtable was created "to engage and inform government, religious and civic leaders about the role of faith-based organizations in the social welfare system by means of nonpartisan, evidence-based discussions on the potential and pitfalls of such involvement."

Institute Staff[edit]

  • Jim Malatras, President
  • Thomas L. Gais, Director
  • Patricia Strach, Deputy Director for Research
  • Heather Trela, Chief of Staff
  • Patricia Cadrette, Assistant Director, Finance and Administration – Sponsored Funding
  • Joseph Chamberlin, Director of Information Systems
  • Michael Cooper, Director of Publications
  • Heather Stone, Senior Staff Assistant for Finance and Administration
  • Michele Charbonneau, Staff Assistant for Publications

Research staff[edit]

Research Staff

Jim Malatras, President

Thomas Gais, Director

Patricia Strach, Deputy Director for Research

'Education Studies

Alan Wagner, Director

Bruce Johnstone, Senior Fellow

Jason Lane, Senior Fellow

Hamp Lankford, Senior Fellow

Lucy Sorensen, Faculty Fellow

Teniell Trolian, Visiting Fellow

Jonathan Gagliardi, Visiting Fellow

Hal Lawson, Visiting Fellow

Ruirui Sun, Research Analyst

Fiscal Policy

Donald J. Boyd, Director

Lucy Dadayan, Senior Research Scientist

Youngsung Kim, Research Analyst

John Cape, Senior Fellow

David Matkin, Faculty Fellow

Laura Schultz, Faculty Fellow

Elizabeth Searing, Faculty Fellow

Gang Chen, Visiting Fellow

Jim DeWan, Visiting Fellow

Peter Kiernan, Visiting Fellow

Brian Stenson, Visiting Fellow

Kathleen Tempel, Project Administrative Officer

Yimeng Yin, Program Analyst

Health Policy Studies

Erika G. Martin, Director

Roderick MacDonald, Senior Fellow

Richard Nathan, Senior Fellow

Ashley Fox, Visiting Fellow

Ade Dwicaksono, Research Assistant

Local Government

Michael Hattery, Director

Jimmy Mathew, Student Assistant

Social Policy

Swati Desai, Senior Fellow

Rus Sykes, Visiting Fellow

Pooya Ghorbanizigsari, Research Analyst

Junsheng Yuan, Student Assistant


Richard Roper, Senior Fellow

Jeremy Creelan, Visiting Fellow

Rebecca Dixon, Visiting Fellow

Jennifer Dodge, Visiting Fellow


External links[edit]