Student Research

These papers and projects are examples of the Policy Analysis Exercise, Second Year Policy Analysis, and independent research by Harvard Kennedy School students whose work was supported, in part, by the Ash Center.

2016

Bank for your Buck: Increasing Savings in Tanzania
Aneth Kasebele and Anne Ong Lopez, 2016

Formal saving is an important feature of financial services, given its impact on both the individual and country’s macroeconomic factors. In Tanzania, the proportion of adults saving cash in formal financial institutions has been decreasing since 2011 despite the increase in proportion of people claiming to save any money. The authors recommend implementing three financial products to incentivize formal savings. Read more

Gross National Happiness-Based Economic Growth: Recommendations for Private Sector Growth Consistent with Bhutanese Values
Allen Koji Ukai, 2016

Despite the foreign misperception that Gross National Happiness (GNH) is a cumulative measure of epicurean or temporal happiness, its use still represents a fundamental shift away from Gross Domestic Product’s emphasis on productivity and towards a more holistic ideation of development. The author provides five recommendations to facilitate GNH-aligned private sector growth. Read more

Closing the Digital Divide in America: Incentivizing Equitable Infrastructure Investment In Municipal RFPs
Loren Newman, 2016

This report seeks to help create citywide high speed Internet networks through the careful development of civic resources and strategic implementation of incentives when negotiating with internal and external parties throughout an RFP process. Many public-private telecommunications partnerships ignore digital inclusion due to increased focus on immediate costs and cash flow. Public officials using an RFP process to attract broadband development can close the digital divide by carefully providing incentives and sequencing the negotiations in favor of an outcome that serves an entire city. This report is dedicated to studying those key choice points through examples of similarly situated networks in order to provide guidelines for cities. Read more

Enhancing responsibility of local government borrowings in China
Zhenqian Huang, 2016

China’s local government debt has increased quickly in recent years, especially at lower level governments. Confidence on the central governments’ bailouts, GDP-focused official promotion mechanism, discretionary expenditure mandates by the central government, mismatch of the revenue and the expenditure of the local governments, and incomplete financial market have incentivized the local governments to expand spending regardless of their fiscal capacity. The author recommends short, medium, and long-term actions to address these issues. Read more

2015

What Does Civil Society Want? Broadening & Deepening Civil Society Involvement in Tunisia’s Open Government Reforms
Nada Zohdy, 2015

This analysis was developed to advise the Tunisian government and external supporters on how to strategically engage a wide range of civil society organizations in open government (OG) reforms. It offers guidelines by examining the perceptions and priorities of diverse Tunisian civil society organizations (CSOs) on such reforms. By examining the civil society landscape in its diversity, it also offers recommendations for CSOs themselves to help broaden the horizon of associations involved in open government. Read more

Improving Food Access for Poor Households in Indonesia: Cash Transfers and the Raskin Program Reform
Mabel Josune Gabriel Fernández, 2015

Although Indonesia has more than enough resources to ensure food availability for all its population, many Indonesians still do not have enough to eat, ranking 73rd out of 109 countries in food affordability. Moreover, the current government program to guarantee food access for the poor (Raskin, Rice for the Poor) is costly and low effective. The author provides policy recommendations for replacing the Raskin program with cash transfers in some areas, and redesigning the Raskin program in areas where food is scarce. Read more

Breaking the Cycle: The Effects of Batterer Intervention Programs on Domestic Violence Recidivism in Massachusetts
MaryRose Mazzola, 2015

Domestic violence (DV) is a serious, widespread, common and expensive problem, and Massachusetts is no stranger to its effects. An estimated 851000 women and 474000 men in the state will experience rape, physical violence or stalking by an intimate partner in their lifetimes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). While significant efforts have been made to combat this issue, notably new legislation entitled an Act Relative to Domestic Violence, a close evaluation of current interventions is necessary to ensure that the Commonwealth is doing all it can to prevent future violence. Read more

2014
Migrants Health Insurance in China

Migrants Health Insurance in China
Kavitha Sivadasan and Chi Zhang, 2014

While rural to urban migration has fueled the economic success of China, migrant workers have fallen between the cracks when it comes to healthcare insurance. Using an analytical model and field interviews to assess the current problems plaguing China's health insurance sector, and studying positive deviances in coastal regions, the authors suggest a long-term as well as a short-term solution to migrant workers' insurance. Read more

Creating a Shared Home: Promising Approaches for Using Shared Housing to Prevent and End Homelessness in Massachusetts

Creating a Shared Home: Promising Approaches for Using Shared Housing to Prevent and End Homelessness in Massachusetts
Amanda L. Benton, 2014

The lowest-earning 20 percent of Americans pay an average of 87 percent of their incomes toward housing costs. The Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) commissioned this Policy Analysis Exercise (PAE) to assess the viability of using “shared housing” to help homeless and at-risk families maintain housing. Read more

The Mexican Reputation: A Strategy to Improve the Stereotype Mexico Shares with Its U.S. Diaspora

The Mexican Reputation: A Strategy to Improve the Stereotype Mexico Shares with Its U.S. Diaspora
Carlos Quintero Herrera Lasso and Dante Pérez Esquivel, 2014

This paper examines whether the Mexican diaspora influences Mexico’s reputation in the United States and, if such influence exists, whether its potential can be harnessed for the benefit of Mexico. Read more

National TB Guidelines Implementation: Challenges, Deviations, and Strategies

National TB Guidelines Implementation: Challenges, Deviations, and Strategies
Christian Suharlim, 2014

Tuberculosis is a major health problem in Indonesia where it is the second leading cause of death. This paper was designed to identify the implementation challenges of Indonesian National TB Guidelines. Read more

2013
Enhancing Government Property Management With Data and Technology

Enhancing Government Property Management With Data and Technology 
Cristina Garmendia and Alexander Kapur, 2013

This study examines how the Louisville-Jefferson County Metro government can employ a data-driven and Open Government method to manage a real property portfolio. A broader objective is to suggest a structured approach for how governments might strategically leverage data and associated transparency to accomplish policy and governance goals. Read more

Improving Financial Stability for Community College Students

Improving Financial Stability for Community College Students 
Francis Assaf and Kash Patel, 2013

Today, community colleges are becoming an ever more important part of students’ lives and livelihoods. Across the U.S. and certainly in New England, community colleges have become vital for providing necessary and affordable post-secondary education, labor force retraining, and skills enhancement. However, although enrollment continues to rise, the ultimate promise of leaving with a granted degree is slipping away. Read more

Innovations in Workforce Training Programs in Ghana: Using Pay for Performance Contracts

Innovations in Workforce Training Programs in Ghana: Using Pay for Performance Contracts
Ning Fu and Shunde Tu, 2013

Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) has the potential to bridge the skills gap and help improve the productivity and diversify the economy for Ghana. However, the current TVET system has faced many challenges, including insufficient funding and lack of measureable outcomes to align the incentives in the system. Read more

Seattle skyline

Maximizing the Social and Economic Impact of Seattle's New Multi-Sport Arena 
Iain Watt, 2013

The construction of the planned multi-sport arena in the SoDo district will be a defining moment for Seattle. Not only will it restore the NBA to the city, it has the opportunity to catalyze development in the district and – in conjunction with the Alaskan Way Viaduct tunnel and waterfront development – help set SoDo on a development course for the next several decades. This report focuses on key issues that the City of Seattle must assess and act upon to maximize the impact of this investment and the social benefit of adding new sports teams and a world-class arena. Read more

Measuring the Impact of NSP Rehabilitations in Minneapolis

Measuring the Impact of NSP Rehabilitations in Minneapolis
Victor Cedeño, 2013
As a response to the foreclosure crisis the city of Minneapolis developed its Foreclosure Recovery Plan. A key component of the Minneapolis strategy was its partnership with nonprofits to acquire and rehabilitate (rehab) properties for ownership and rental under the Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP). Nonprofits have acquired almost 189 properties and completed 102 of the rehabs with funding from the city. Read more

The Rule of Law and the Post-2015 Development Agenda

The Rule of Law and the Post-2015 Development Agenda
Rosie Wagner, 2013

As the deadline for the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) approaches, discussions are underway on a post-2015 development agenda. With experience showing that the ‘rule of law, justice and security – or their absence – have a major impact on the achievement of the MDGs,’ it is expected that the post-2015 agenda will include the rule of law. This paper explores four specific rule of law reform areas to assess the benefits of, and potential challenges to, their inclusion in such an agreement. Read more

Social Consensus Building for Environmentally Friendly Life in Local Communities, Yakushima Island, Kagoshima, Japan

Social Consensus Building for Environmentally Friendly Life in Local Communities, Yakushima Island, Kagoshima, Japan 
Kanoko Kamata, 2013

Since registration as a World Heritage site in 1993, the number of tourists to Japan's Yakushima Island in Kagoshima has been increasing and is now estimated to exceed 200,000 people per year. While a positive economic effect is expected, residents remain concerned about deterioration of the natural environment. As a result, the Ministry of Education spearheaded a three cycle diaglogue experiment with the community to build social consensus. Read more

2012
American Policy Development

American Policy Development
Mitigating the U.S. Response to the EU ETS Aviation Directive
Chase Foster, 2012

At the beginning of 2012, a new European law expanded the European Union’s emissions trading system (ETS) to include aviation GHG emissions. The law has prompted diplomatic difficulties because it counts emissions produced by flights to and from non-EEAS countries in its overall carbon cap. The United States government has responded negatively to this development and the Obama Administration has threatened to engage in retaliatory measures if the law proceeds. Read more

Consensus After Conflict: Electoral System Choice in Revolutionary Egypt

Consensus After Conflict: Electoral System Choice in Revolutionary Egypt 
Daniel L. Tavana, March 2012

On February 13, 2011, the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces announced its intent to lead a pluralistic, consensus-driven democratic transition following the popular revolution that ousted President Mubarak. By summer, the SCAF called for elections and decided on a mixed-parallel electoral system, much to the dissatisfaction of Egyptian political parties. Read more

ISAF Governance and Development in Transition

ISAF Governance and Development in Transition
R. Andrew Fitzpatrick, Sarah J. Haig, Andrew G. Werner, 2012

International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) – the North Atlantic Treaty (NATO) military mission in Afghanistan – is shaping its strategy and operations around the 2014 withdrawal. This will mark the full transition of security and governance responsibility to the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan (GIRoA). Read more

Recommendations for the Pakistan Private Investment Initiative

Recommendations for the Pakistan Private Investment Initiative 
Dustin Cathcart, Meredith Gloger, Aaron Roesch, 2012

The U.S. Department of State’s Coordinator for Economic and Development Assistance in Pakistan has proposed the creation of a Pakistan Private Investment Initiative (PII), to be implemented by USAID, as an alternative to a legislated Enterprise Fund. This study surveys a range of potential options for designing the PII and proposes a model that is best suited for long-term economic growth in Pakistan. Read more

2011

Building Performance Measurement into the Wraparound Maine Initiative

Building Performance Measurement into the Wraparound Maine Initiative 
Jodi Beckstrom, 2011

This independent study is based on the author's work with Wraparound Maine (WM), a state-level High Fidelity Wraparound Initiative that began in 2007 and serves youth with complex needs who are involved in multiple service systems like Child Welfare, Behavioral Health, Juvenile Justice, and Special Education. Read more

Improving Nutrition for SNAP Recipients: A Roadmap for the Double Value Coupon Program

Improving Nutrition for SNAP Recipients: A Roadmap for the Double Value Coupon Program 
Mattea Kramer and Michael Zakaras, 2011

Wholesome Wave, through its flagship Double Value Coupon Program, doubles the value of food stamps when they are used to buy farmers’ market produce. This nutrition incentive benefits low-income consumers by making healthy fresh fruits and vegetables more affordable. Read more

Improving Nutrition for SNAP Recipients: A Roadmap for the Double Value Coupon Program

Including the Poor: Assessing the Effective use of PMT and Community Methods in Targeting of Social Programs in Indonesia 
Maria Cardenas Mendoza and Espen Beer Prydz, 2011

Although Indonesia’s poverty rates have declined in recent years, an acceleration in the pace of poverty reduction is needed to achieve the government’s goal of reducing the poverty rate from 14.2 percent to as low as 8.5 percent by the end of 2014. Read more

Increasing Women's Political Representation in the National Assembly of the Republic of Korea

Increasing Women's Political Representation in the National Assembly of the Republic of Korea 
Chenie Yoon, 2011

The Republic of Korea comes in 80th place in the “Women in Parliament” index by the Inter-Parliamentary Union with 14.7 percent representation of women in the National Assembly (January 2011). This number, below the global and regional averages, raises an important and simple question: how can we have more women in the National Assembly in Korea? Read more

Public Opinion Data and the Muslim World Public Opinion Data and the Muslim World

Public Opinion Data and the Muslim World 
Katherine Didow and Jinnyn Jacob, 2011

In January 2011, protests started in Tunisia, sparking a string of uprisings in the Muslim world with consequences yet unknown. At the same time as the Tunisian and Egyptian revolutions, the Lebanese government collapsed, bringing the Hezbollah-led March 8th coalition to power and the popular Governor of Punjab province in Pakistan was assassinated. These monumental shifts caught many policymakers, academics, journalists, and pollsters completely by surprise. As policymakers scramble to formulate policy to confront these new realities, in the context of two major wars and a brewing conflict in Libya, there is an urgent need for accurate and relevant public opinion data on the Muslim world. Read more

Reforming Title I Reforming Title I: Closing the Academic Achievement Gap for Disadvantaged Students

Reforming Title I: Closing the Academic Achievement Gap for Disadvantaged Students 
Michele Stillwell-Parvensky, 2011

Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA) aims to tackle the persistent challenge of the academic achievement gap between disadvantaged students and their more advantaged peers by giving federal funding to school districts serving low-income students to improve educational opportunities for those students. However, despite 45 years of Title I investments and the sustained hard work of teachers, principals, and school leaders, Title I has not accomplished its aspiration of closing the achievement gap. Read more

2010
 Thackston Lundy A Tale of Two Cities: Exploring Service and Education in New Orleans and Pittsburgh

A Tale of Two Cities: Exploring Service and Education in New Orleans and Pittsburgh 

Thackston Lundy, HKS MPP 2011, describes his Fellowship in Innovation working on teacher absenteeism and city-wide service in Pittsburgh and New Orleans. This fellowship was sponsored by the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation at Harvard Kennedy School. Read more

City of Innovation: Leveraging the Talent, Ideas and Creativity of Boston's Municipal Workforce

City of Innovation: Leveraging the Talent, Ideas and Creativity of Boston's Municipal Workforce 
Matthew Joyce and Jayant Kairam, 2010

City governments are most often presumed to be large, bureaucratic, slow-moving machines that churn out services with little regard for ingenuity or efficiency. But in Boston, Mayor Thomas Menino is challenging these assumptions. This Policy Analysis Exercise is focused on encouraging innovation within the municipal workforce. It considers the current culture for innovation within the City of Boston and suggests methods to encourage city workers to share and develop ideas on how to improve services and proactively address the needs of a complex and demanding constituency. Read more

Conservation of the Sundarbans in Bangladesh Through Sustainable Shrimp Aquaculture

Conservation of the Sundarbans in Bangladesh Through Sustainable Shrimp Aquaculture 
Soham G. Sen, 2010

The Sundarbans, a treasured UNESCO World Heritage Site, have degraded steadily over time. This paper argues that the Forest Department needs to “think outside of the forest” and address the primary causes of degradation, nearly all of which fall outside the forest. Read more

Microenterprise Development in Peru Microenterprise Development in Peru

Microenterprise Development in Peru: Will a Women-Targeted, One-Size-Fits-All Training Effectively Serve Peru's Female Micro-Entrepreneurs 
Samuel Downing and Lauren Murphy, 2010

The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) aims to unleash Peru’s potential by training 100,000 women micro-entrepreneurs, but the IDB risks sacrificing quality for quantity if it offers large lecture classes and exacerbating existing inequalities if it limits these classes to the cities. Read more

Policy Options for Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure in C40 Cities

Policy Options for Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure in C40 Cities
Alfred Wiederer and Ronald Philip, 2010

This Policy Analysis Exercise seeks to make policy recommendations to the Clinton Climate Initiative (CCI) on the deployment of electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure in C40 cities – a group of the world’s largest cities, which have committed to take action on climate change by reducing greenhouse
gases, including from the transport fleet. The C40 Electric Vehicle Network (C40 EVN) is a C40 initiative to facilitate the successful introduction of EVs through collective municipal actions. Read more

SJ 2020 San José 2020: A Resource Map

San José 2020: A Resource Map 
Harini Angara, 2010

This resource map has been created as part of SJ2020, the initiative to close the achievement gap in San José by 2020, led by Mayor Chuck Reed and the City of San José, Superintendent Charles Weis and the Santa Clara County Office of Education, and partner organizations across sectors in San José. The following document compiles information about the work of 52 of these partner organizations. Read more

Sunlight is the Best Disinfectant

Sunlight is the Best Disinfectant
Alejandra Vellejos Morales, 2010

Quoting Louis Brandeis' famous adage, "Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants," Alejandra Vellejos Morales, HKS MPA 2011, describes her Ash Fellowship in Innovation working on data transparency at Washington, D.C.'s Data Feeds Program. Her fellowship was sponsored by the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation at Harvard Kennedy School. Read more

Using Data to Tell a Story

Using Data to Tell a Story
Lindsay Berger, 2010

Lindsay Berger, MPP 2011, describes her Ash Fellowship in Innovation working for San Francisco Mayor Newsom's Educational Advisor on key issues related to post-secondary education. Her fellowship was sponsored by the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation at Harvard Kennedy School. Read more

2009
The Plight of Urban Migrant Children in China

The Plight of Urban Migrant Children in China
Holly Ming, 2009

The plight of migrant Chinese children living in burgeoning urban areas in many ways exemplifies the momentous challenges facing the world’s most populous nation. China has traditionally denied public schooling to migrant children, most of whose families were drawn to the cities by economic opportunity, and only recently (in 1998) did it begin to allow the children access to for-profit city schools, most of which are operated by migrants themselves. The effects and impacts of such a system are the focus of study by Holly Ming, Ph.D. 2009. Read more

2008

The Case of the Batwa: Integrating Minorities into Policy & Development

The Case of the Batwa: Integrating Minorities into Policy & Development 
Ruth Kamukama, 2008

Because of current government strategies and wartime instability, the Batwa groups in East and Central Africa are largely becoming a forgotten population. Produced by Harvard Kennedy School MPA student Ruth Kamukama through an Ash summer research grant, this documentary shares their plight and demonstrates new plans for reintroducing them to mainstream society. Watch documentary

Living on Informality Living on Informality: The Struggles of La Paz Women Street Vendors

Living on Informality: The Struggles of La Paz Women Street Vendors 
Cecilia Barja Chamas and Karina Weinsteing, 2008

Produced by Harvard Kennedy School 2008 MPA Graduates Karina Weinsteing and Cecilia Barja Chamas as part of their 2008 Ash Summer Fellowship in Innovation, this documentary provides a window into the day to day struggles of women street vendors in La Paz, Bolivia. Watch documentary

Managing Labour Migration Managing Labour Migration

Managing Labour Migration: The Case of the Filipino and Indonesian Domestic Helper Market in Hong Kong 
Emilyzen Ignacio and Yesenia Mejia, 2008

This Policy Analysis Exercise examines how designated case study governments are managing the temporary migration and employment contracts of low-skilled workers; and how these labor migration infrastructures influence the protection of overseas workers from pre-departure to employment abroad. Read more

Special Economic Zones in South Asia: A Comparative Analysis of Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and India

Special Economic Zones in South Asia: A Comparative Analysis of Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and India 
Semil Shah, 2008

The success of special economic zones (SEZs) in China motivated other developing countries to incorporate SEZs into their growth plans. From Indonesia to the Middle East, nations at different stages of development have turned to SEZs to attract foreign capital, boost exports, create jobs, stimulate industry, improve upon existing infrastructure, and many other benefits. These benefits, however, carry costs, and perhaps no country will struggle with that tradeoff more than India. Read more

Principles for Ethical Equity

Principles for Ethical Equity Investing in Microfinance Institutions 
Ben Clark, Stephanie Lazicki, and Suba Sivakumaran, 2008

The purpose of this Policy Analysis Exercise is to identify and create consensus around core issues for inclusion in a Principles of Ethical Investing document for the Council of Microfinance Equity Funds (CMEF). The authors have generated a set of recommended concepts for inclusion in the CMEF document. Read more