Government Project

– Glencoe, IL: The Free Press, 1951.
This is an account of an attempt by one of the biggest, most efficient, and most democratic of governments — that of the United States — to remake the lives of a few of its… More

Politics, Planning, and the Public Interest

– With Martin Meyerson, Glencoe, IL: The Free Press, 1955.
“This book suggests a number of generalizations about public housing in this country. The moral of the story it tells is that planning of public housing is a meaningless intellectual… More

The Moral Basis of a Backward Society

– With Laura Fasano, Glencoe, IL: The Free Press, 1958.
“This small book packs a terrific punch…. It describes a village near Potenza in southern Italy, where only officials specifically appointed for that purpose do anything for the… More

Government and Housing in Metropolitan Areas

– With Morton M. Grodzins, New York: McGraw-Hill, 1958.
Turning to Government and Housing in Metropolitan Areas, I found the steadying hand of good, sound economics…. Banfield and Grodzins point out that the two-headed aspect of the… More

A Report on the Politics of Boston

– With Martha Derthick, Cambridge, MA: Joint Center for Urban Studies of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University, 1960.
“This report was edited by Edward C. Banfield and Martha Derthick, the latter of whom went on to fame as a political scientist at the Brookings Institution and the University of… More

Political Influence: A New Theory of Urban Politics

– New York: The Free Press of Glencoe, 1961/1982. A reprint with a new introduction by James Q. Wilson was published in 2003.
In government, influence denotes one’s ability to get others to act, think, or feel as one intends. A mayor who persuades voters to approve a bond issue exercises influence. A… More

American Foreign Aid Doctrines

– Washington: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research, January 1963.
In his study, American Foreign Aid Doctrines, Professor Banfield critically examines the premises of aid doctrines as to both fact and value. As a critique of present aid doctrine, his… More

City Politics

– With James Q. Wilson, Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1963.
City Politics examines the structure of urban politics: the electoral system, the distribution of authority, the centralization of influence; and analyzes the forces and groups involved:… More

Boston: The Job Ahead

– With Martin Meyerson, Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1966.
“Two university scholars of outstanding ability, Martin Meyerson and Edward C. Banfield…. were invited by Boston business leaders to publish a series of 12 essays on key… More

The Unheavenly City

– Boston: Little, Brown and Co., 1970.
“‘This book will probably strike many readers as the work of an ill-tempered and mean-spirited fellow.’ These words begin Edward Banfield’s 1970 classic, The… More

Here the People Rule: Selected Essays

– New York: Plenum Press, 1985. Washington, D.C.: American Enterprise Institute, 1991.
This book of essays includes Edward C. Banfield’s most important insights into the American political system. “What Banfield has done…has been to challenge the central… More


The Case of the Handcuffed Sheriff

– A pamphlet in the Case Stories in American Politics Series, Robert A. Goldwin, ed., Chicago: American Foundation for Political Education, 1957.

The Case of the Growing Problem

– A pamphlet in the Case Stories in American Politics Series, Robert A. Goldwin, ed., Chicago: American Foundation for Continuing Education, 1959.

The Case of the Blighted City

– A pamphlet in the Case Stories in American Politics Series, Robert A. Goldwin, ed., Chicago: American Foundation for Continuing Education, 1959.

Ends and Means in Planning

International Social Science Journal, Vol. 11, No. 3, 1959, pp. 361-368. Reprinted in Edward C. Banfield, Here the People Rule: Selected Essays (Washington, DC: AEI, 1991).
Abstract: The word planning is given a bewildering variety of meanings. To some it means socialism. To others, the layout and design of cities. To still others, regional development schemes… More

The Training of the Executive

Public Policy, Vol. 10, 1960, Carl J. Friedrich and Seymour E. Harris, eds., pp. 16-43. Reprinted in Edward C. Banfield, Here the People Rule: Selected Essays (Washington, DC: AEI, 1991).
Abstract: The postwar popularity of executive development programs raises in slightly new form the old question of what should be the training of the executive. An executive development… More

In Defense of the American Party System

– In Political Parties, U.S.A., Robert A. Goldwin, ed. (Chicago: Rand McNally & Co., 1961), pp. 21-39. Reprinted in Edward C. Banfield, Here the People Rule: Selected Essays (Washington, DC: AEI, 1991).
Abstract: The American party system has been criticized on four main grounds: (1) the parties do not offer the electorate a choice in terms of fundamental principles; their platforms are… More

Government in Metropolis

– In New City, Man in Metropolis: A Christian Response, Chicago: Catholic Council on Working Life, Vol. 2, No. 2, April 15, 1963, pp. 7-9.

Needed: A Public Purpose

– In The Public Library and the City, Ralph W. Conant, ed., Cambridge: M.I.T. Press, 1965, pp. 102-113.

The Negro in City Politics

– (with James Q. Wilson), in Problems and Prospects of the Negro Movement, Raymond J. Murphy and Howard Elinson, eds., Belmont, CA: Wadsworth, 1966, pp. 376-394.

Book review of The City is the Frontier, by Charles Abrams

Commentary, Vol. 41, No. 3, March 1966, pp. 93-95.
Excerpt: In 1960 the Ford Foundation made grants of $25,000 each to ten authorities on housing and planning, in order to induce them to set down their thoughts on urban renewal. One of the… More

Cleavages in Urban Politics

– (with James Q. Wilson), in Politics in the Metropolis: A Reader in Conflict and Cooperation, Thomas R. Dye and Brett W. Hawkins, eds., Columbus, Ohio: Charles E. Merrill, 1967, pp. 43-55.

Rioting Mainly for Fun and Profit

– In The Metropolitan Enigma: Inquiries into the Nature and Dimensions of America’s “Urban Crisis,” James Q. Wilson, ed., Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1968, pp. 283-308.

An Act of Corporate Citizenship

– In Programs to Employ the Disadvantaged, Peter B. Doeringer, ed., Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, 1969, pp. 26-59.

Businessmen in Politics

– (with James Q. Wilson), Democracy in Urban America, revised edition, Oliver P. Williams, ed., Chicago: Rand McNally, 1969, pp. 366-379.

Power Structure and Civic Leadership

– (with James Q. Wilson), Strategies of Community Organization, Fred M. Cox and others, eds., Itasca, IL: F. E. Peacock Publishers, 1970, pp. 112-122.

Model Cities: A Step Towards the New Federalism

The Report of the President’s Task Force on Model Cities, U.S. Government Printing Office, August 1970.
Edward C. Banfield chaired this task force, which included James Q. Wilson (a former student of his), Richard Lugar (then Mayor of Indianapolis), Professor James Buchanan, and others.… More

Revenue Sharing in Theory and Practice

The Public Interest, No. 23, Spring 1971, pp. 33-45. Reprinted in Edward C. Banfield, Here the People Rule: Selected Essays (Washington, DC: AEI, 1991).
Abstract: How one evaluates revenue sharing will depend upon what one takes the central issues to be. Oddly enough, what must appear to many people to be the issue—namely, how to keep the… More

How Many, and Who, Should Be Set At Liberty?

– In Civil Disorder and Violence: Essays on Causes and Cures, Harry M. Clor, ed., Chicago: Rand McNally & Co., 1972, pp. 27-45. Reprinted in Edward C. Banfield, Here the People Rule: Selected Essays (Washington, DC: AEI, 1991).
Abstract: It is now widely held, one might almost say officially held, that not only robberies, murders, and rapes but civil disorder in general arise from society’s neglect of and… More

Some Alternatives for the Public Library

– In The Metropolitan Library, Ralph W. Conant and Kathleen Molz, eds., Cambridge: M.I.T. Press, 1972, pp. 89-100. Reprinted in Edward C. Banfield, Here the People Rule: Selected Essays (Washington, DC: AEI, 1991).
Abstract: The public library has more users and more money today than ever before, but it lacks a purpose. It is trying to do some things that it probably cannot do, and it is doing others… More

A Critical View of the Urban Crisis

– in The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, Vol. 405, January 1973, pp. 7-14. Reprinted in Edward C. Banfield, Here the People Rule: Selected Essays (Washington, DC: AEI, 1991).
Abstract: From the farmhouse in Vermont where this is written, it is several miles to the nearest city, the population of which is about ten thousand, but one can find here most of the… More

Making a New Federal Program: Model Cities, 1964-68

– In Policy and Politics in America: Six Case Studies, Allan P. Sindler, ed. (Boston: Little, Brown and Co., 1973), pp. 124-158. Reprinted in Edward C. Banfield, Here the People Rule: Selected Essays (Washington, DC: AEI, 1991).
Abstract: During the evening of the first full day of Lyndon B. Johnson’s presidency—at 7:40 P.M. on November 23,1963, to be precise—Walter Heller, chairman of the Council of Economic… More

The City and the Revolutionary Tradition

– (Washington: American Enterprise Institute, 1974), speech delivered, April 11, 1974. Reprinted in Edward C. Banfield, Here the People Rule: Selected Essays (Washington, DC: AEI, 1991).
Abstract: It would be very pleasant on such an occasion as this to say that the American city has been and is a unique and unqualified success—and to be able to show that its successes… More

Present Orientedness and Crime

– In Assessing the Criminal, R. E. Barnett and J. Hagel, eds., Cambridge: Ballinger, 1977, pp. 133-142. Reprinted in Edward C. Banfield, Here the People Rule: Selected Essays (Washington, DC: AEI, 1991).
Abstract: Since the seventeenth century, political philosophers have maintained that an irrational bias toward present as opposed to future satisfactions is natural to both men and animals… More

Policy Science as Metaphysical Madness

– In Robert C. Goldwin, ed., Statesmanship and Bureaucracy (Washington: American Enterprise Institute, 1977), pp. 1-35. Reprinted in Edward C. Banfield, Here the People Rule: Selected Essays (Washington, DC: AEI, 1991).
Abstract: In the past dozen years or so, policy-oriented social science research and analysis has become a growth industry in the United States. This has occurred in response to demand… More

Party ‘Reform’ in Retrospect

– In Political Parties in the Eighties, Robert A. Goldwin, ed. (Washington: The AEI Press, 1980), pp. 20-33. Reprinted in Edward C. Banfield, Here the People Rule: Selected Essays (Washington, DC: AEI, 1991).
Abstract: In a paper written almost twenty years ago, I maintained that a political system is an accident, and that to meddle with one that works well is the greatest foolishness of which… More

The Zoning of Enterprise

Cato Journal, Vol. 2, No. 2, Fall 1982, pp. 339-354. Reprinted in Edward C. Banfield, Here the People Rule: Selected Essays (Washington, DC: AEI, 1991).
Abstract: This chapter seeks to make two principal points. The first is that upward mobility on the part of disadvantaged persons in the cities has been, is being, and doubtlessly will be,… More

Federalism and the Dilemma of Popular Government

– In How Federal is the Constitution?, Robert A. Goldwin and William Schambra, eds. (Washington: AEI, 1985), pp. 1-15. Reprinted in Edward C. Banfield, Here the People Rule: Selected Essays (Washington, DC: AEI, 1991).
Abstract: Beginning with the Truman administration, there have been persistent and sometimes strenuous efforts to devolve many federal activities to state and local governments. These… More

Was the Founding an Accident?

– in Saving the Revolution: The Federalist and the American Founding, Charles R. Kesler, ed., New York: The Free Press, 1987, pp 265-275.

The Illiberal Tocqueville

– In Interpreting Tocqueville's Democracy in America, Ken Masugi, ed., Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 1991, pp. 239-54.

Leo Strauss

– In Remembering the University of Chicago: Teachers, Scientists and Scholars, Edward Shils, ed., Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1991, pp. 490-501.


Banfield’s Back

– Jim Cramer, Harvard Crimson, August 1, 1975.
Excerpt: What mostly upsets Banfield’s critics is that he finds that there is no urban crisis–or at least no crisis that can’t be corrected by that conservative weapon of… More

Banfield Redux

– James Cramer, Harvard Crimson, September 15, 1975.
Excerpt: Not many undergraduates around here have heard of Edward C. Banfield. Unless you’ve taken an urban studies class you probably don’t even know his name. And that’s… More

E. C. Banfield, 83, Maverick On Urban Policy Issues, Dies

– Richard Bernstein, New York Times, October 8, 1999.
Excerpt: Edward C. Banfield, a professor emeritus of government at Harvard University whose work on urban policy and the causes of poverty gave him a reputation as a brilliant maverick,… More

The Gift of a Great Teacher by Robert J. Samuelson

– Robert J. Samuelson, Washington Post, October 14, 1999.
Excerpt: If you are lucky in life, you will have at least one great teacher. More than three decades ago, I had Ed Banfield, a political scientist who taught mainly at the University of… More

The Man Who Knew Too Much

– James Q. Wilson, The Weekly Standard, October 18, 1999.
Excerpt: IN THE INCREASINGLY DULL, narrow, methodologically obscure world of the social sciences, it is hard to find a mind that speaks not only to its students but to its nation. Most… More

Remarks in the Senate

– Senator Daniel Moynihan, Congressional Record, October 18, 1999.
Excerpt: Mr. President, Edward C. Banfield has died. This had to come. He was 83. Yet little were those who loved him prepared. Or ready, you might say. He held, of course, Henry Lee… More

The Unheavenly Urban Philosopher

– James Neuechterlein, First Things, December 1999.
Excerpt: The newspapers reported the death, a few months ago, of Edward C. Banfield at age eighty-three, and in reading various obituaries and remembrances I was forcefully reminded that,… More

Memorial Minutes: Edward C. Banfield, Faculty of Arts and Sciences

– Submitted by Samuel P. Huntington, Arthur Maass, James Q. Wilson, and Harvey C. Mansfield, Harvard University Gazette, January 2001.
Excerpt: At a meeting of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences on October 17, 2000, the following Minute was placed upon the records. Edward C. Banfield, the George D. Markham Professor of… More

Edward C. Banfield: An Appreciation (Salvatori Center Colloquium)

– Henry Salvatori Center Monograph, New Series, No. 3, Claremont McKenna College (April 2002).
Excerpt: The work that follows is devoted to Edward C. Banfield, in more ways than one. To begin with, it contains the proceedings of a Henry Salvatori Center colloquium that discussed… More

Remembrance from a Former Student

– L. James Hammond, PhLit newsletter, December 27, 2002.
Excerpt: When I was a Harvard freshman in 1980, Banfield was my teacher in a small seminar. After I graduated, I sent him a copy of my book of aphorisms, a copy that I had made on my… More

Moral Sense and Society

– John J. DiIulio Jr., Claremont Review of Books, Fall 2012.
Excerpt: A one-time New Deal government employee and enthusiast, Banfield became a self-described “vintage Burkean conservative.” His early career had him immersed in the social… More

How an Idyllic Italian Village Was Crippled by Family-Centrism

– Kevin Kosar, "How an Idyllic Italian Village Was Crippled by Family-Centrism," Zocalo, Dec. 15, 2016.
Kevin Kosar revists Banfield’s landmark Moral Basis of a Backwards Society. Excerpt: More than 60 years ago, an American family arrived in a seemingly idyllic town in Southern Italy.… More

Edward Banfield Revisited

– Daniel DiSalvo, "Edward Banfield Revisited," National Affairs, Summer: 2017.    
Excerpt: Many involved in the contemporary policy debate share the view that the nation is in crisis and that bold political action is needed — even if they disagree on what that… More

Return to the Unheavenly City

– Craig Trainor, "Return to the Unheavenly City," Quillette, May 17, 2020.
Revisiting Edward Banfield’s classic work in light of current public policy challenges. Excerpt: The late senator, statesman, sociologist, and New Yorker Daniel Patrick Moynihan once… More


Edward C. Banfield Interviews

– Interviews with Stephen Smith, audio, 1977.
In late 1977, Stephen Smith, a journalist, interviewed Edward C. Banfield and many persons who knew him, for an article intended for Esquire magazine.  In these selections, Banfield… More

Development Economics: Edward Banfield

– Tyler Cowen and Alex Tabarrok, "Economic Development," video lecture, Marginal Revolution University, October 2012.
Tyler Cowen and Alex Tabarrock explain that Edward Banfield’s sociological insights are a significant forerunner of current results from behavioral economics.

Christopher DeMuth on Edward Banfield

– Interview with Christopher DeMuth, Conversations with Bill Kristol, October 27, 2014.
DeMuth and Kristol discuss the profound writings and teaching of the late Harvard Government professor.


Former Students of Edward C. Banfield

Richard Blumenethal (politician) Peter B. Clark (media executive) Christopher DeMuth (think-tank leader) Chester E. Finn, Jr. (education scholar and think-tank founder) Robert Goldwin… More