Publications

    Anh, Vu Thanh Tu, Laura Chirot, David Dapice, Huynh The Du, Pham Duy Nghia, Dwight Perkins, and Nguyen Xuan Thanh. 2015. “Institutional Reform: From Vision to Reality”. Read full paper Abstract
    This paper is intended to provide context for the policy discussions that will take place during the fifth Vietnam Executive Leadership Program (VELP). Over the course of the week-long VELP 2015, it is hoped that the arguments and ideas presented in this paper will be discussed, debated, and challenged, and that the paper will contribute constructively to the debate around critical questions facing the Vietnamese leadership and Vietnamese society more broadly today.
    Anh, Vu Thanh Tu, Laura Chirot, David Dapice, Huynh The Du, Pham Duy Nghia, Dwight Perkins, and Nguyen Xuan Thanh. 2015. “Institutional Reform: From Vision to Reality”. Read full paper Abstract
    This paper is intended to provide context for the policy discussions that will take place during the fifth Vietnam Executive Leadership Program (VELP). Over the course of the week-long VELP 2015, it is hoped that the arguments and ideas presented in this paper will be discussed, debated, and challenged, and that the paper will contribute constructively to the debate around critical questions facing the Vietnamese leadership and Vietnamese society more broadly today.
    Cunningham, Edward. 2015. “China's Most Generous”. Read full paper Abstract

    Edward Cunningham, January 2015 

    The growth of new wealth is one of the most important, far-reaching, and captivating aspects of change in modern China. Traditions of benevolent societies, clan-based giving, temple association support, and voluntarism have long been present in Chinese society, and coexisted alongside state-affiliated social welfare institutions throughout its dynastic, Republican, and Communist periods. Rapid economic expansion over the past 35 years has resulted in a generation of highly concentrated wealth holders who are now grappling with familiar questions of any gilded age: How should I give back to my community? Which causes are the most in need? How can I create meaningful change and have a lasting impact? Chinese philanthropy has also begun to branch into international networks of giving. This project seeks to complement existing studies and sources of data to highlight China’s top 100 donors in 2015, their giving patterns, and perhaps shift the focus away from wealth creation towards generosity in such a rapidly changing social, political, and economic context.

    Natural Disaster Management in the Asia-Pacific
    Brassard, Caroline, Arnold M. Howitt, and David W. Giles. 2015. Natural Disaster Management in the Asia-Pacific. Springer. Visit Publisher's Site Abstract

    Caroline Brassard, Arnold M. Howitt, and David W. Giles, Springer, 2015

    The Asia-Pacific region is one of the most vulnerable to a variety of natural and manmade hazards. This edited book productively brings together scholars and senior public officials having direct experience in dealing with or researching on recent major natural disasters in the Asia-Pacific. The chapters focus on disaster preparedness and management, including pre-event planning and mitigation, crisis leadership and emergency response, and disaster recovery. Specific events discussed in this book include a broad spectrum of disasters such as tropical storms and typhoons in the Philippines; earthquakes in China; tsunamis in Indonesia, Japan, and Maldives; and bushfires in Australia. The book aims to generate discussions about improved risk reduction strategies throughout the region. It seeks to provide a comparative perspective across countries to draw lessons from three perspectives: public policy, humanitarian systems, and community engagement.

    David Dapice, December 2014

    Myanmar has much less electricity per person than most Asian nations and also has a lower share of households getting grid power than its neighbors. While the supply of electricity has begun to rise in recent years, the hydro capacity and natural gas expected to be available from 2014-2019 will be insufficient to meet demand in the near future. This paper explores constraints to scaling up capacity and offers suggestions of medium term and long term steps to boost energy supply for Myanmar. (Click to read the English version.) (Click to read the Burmese version.)

    David Dapice, December 2014

    Myanmar has much less electricity per person than most Asian nations and also has a lower share of households getting grid power than its neighbors. While the supply of electricity has begun to rise in recent years, the hydro capacity and natural gas expected to be available from 2014-2019 will be insufficient to meet demand in the near future. This paper explores constraints to scaling up capacity and offers suggestions of medium term and long term steps to boost energy supply for Myanmar.

    Click to read the Burmese version

    Tony Saich, December, 2014

    A recent survey asks citizens from 30 countries for their views on 10 influential national leaders who have a global impact (see Appendix). There are many rich findings among the data. However, two general trends stand out. The first is that the responses are influenced by geopolitics. Differences between nations and national leaders are clearly reflected in the attitudes of their own citizens. Thus, it is plain that the tensions between China and Japan result in very poor evaluations of China and its leader by Japanese citizens and vice versa. Second, there is a correlation in responses between the nature of the political system and citizen opinions of their own nation’s leader. On the whole, in multiparty systems or genuine two-party systems such as in Europe and the U.S., citizens are more critical of their national leaders and policies than is the case in those nations where politics is less contested.

    Tony Saich, December 2014 

    A recent survey asks citizens from 30 countries for their views on 10 influential national leaders who have a global impact (see Appendix). There are many rich findings among the data. However, two general trends stand out. The first is that the responses are influenced by geopolitics. Differences between nations and national leaders are clearly reflected in the attitudes of their own citizens. Thus, it is plain that the tensions between China and Japan result in very poor evaluations of China and its leader by Japanese citizens and vice versa. Second, there is a correlation in responses between the nature of the political system and citizen opinions of their own nation’s leader. On the whole, in multiparty systems or genuine two-party systems such as in Europe and the U.S., citizens are more critical of their national leaders and policies than is the case in those nations where politics is less contested.

    David Dapice and Tom Vallely, December 2013 (Revised October 2014)

    Despite the encouraging developments of the past two years, Myanmar faces an uncertain future fraught with very difficult political, economic, and social challenges. This paper examines where Myanmar has been, where it is, and what kinds of changes are needed to create conditions for unity, peace, and inclusive and sustainable development. While the analysis in this paper is cautionary and often negative, its purpose is to solve problems, not complain. Creating a coalition for nation building will be easier if the poor current situation is better understood. Achieving the desired goals will not be easy and will likely take longer than many understand or imagine. Avoiding narrow coalitions that would continue current extractive policies is necessary to move forward. However, a feasible path exists and many current government policies are meant to put the nation on that path. This paper aims to contribute to those efforts and build on the progress already made.

    The Persistence of Innovation in Government

    Sandford Borins, Brookings, 2014

    In The Persistence of Innovation in Government, Sandford Borins maps the changing landscape of American public sector innovation in the twenty-first century, largely addressing three key questions: Who innovates? When, why, and how do they do it? What are the persistent obstacles and the proven methods for overcoming them? Probing both the process and the content of innovation in the public sector, Borins identifies major shifts and important continuities. His examination of public innovation combines several elements: his analysis of the Harvard Kennedy School's Innovations in American Government Awards program; significant new research on government performance; and a fresh look at the findings of his earlier, highly praised book Innovating with Integrity: How Local Heros Are Transforming American Government.

    The PerformanceStat Potential

    Robert Behn, Brookings, 2014

    It started two decades ago with CompStat in the New York City Police Department, but quickly jumped to other public agencies in New York and to police agencies internationally. Baltimore created CitiStat – the first application of this leadership strategy to an entire jurisdiction. Today, governments at all levels employ PerformanceStat: a focused effort to exploit the power of purpose and motivation, responsibility and discretion, data and meetings, analysis and learning, feedback and follow-up – all to improve government’s performance. Robert Behn analyzes the leadership behaviors at the core of PerformanceStat to identify how they work to produce results.

    Steve Kelman, Ronald Sanders, Gayatri Pandit, and Sarah Taylor, August 2014

    Senior government executives make many decisions, not-infrequently difficult ones. Cognitive limitations and biases preclude individuals from making fully value-maximizing choices. It has been suggested that, done properly, involving advisors or other outside information sources can compensate for individual-level limitations. However, the “groupthink“ tradition has highlighted ways group-aided decision-making can fail to live up to its potential. Out of this literature has emerged a paradigm Janis calls “vigilant problem-solving.“ For this paper, we interviewed twenty heads of subcabinet-level organizations in the U.S. federal government, asking each questions about how they made important decisions. Ten were nominated by “good-government“ experts as ones doing an outstanding job improving the organization's performance, ten chosen at random. Our research question was to see whether there were significant differences in how members of those two groups made decisions, specifically, to what extent executives in the two categories used a “vigilant“ decision-making process. We found, however, that similarities between the two groups of executives overwhelmed differences: at least as best as we were able to measure it, decision-making by U.S. subcabinet executives tracks vigilant decision-making recommendations fairly closely. The similarity suggests a common style of senior-level decision-making in the U.S. federal government, which we suggest grows out of a government bureaucracy's methodical culture. We did, however, develop evidence for a difference between outstanding executives and others on another dimension of decision-making style. Outstanding executives valued decisiveness in decision-making – a “bias for action“ – more than controls. Perhaps, then, what distinguishes outstanding executives from others is not vigilance but decisiveness. Contrary to the implications of the groupthink literature, the danger in government may be “paralysis by analysis“ as much or more than groupthink.

    The Responsive City: Engaging Communities Through Data-Smart Governance

    Stephen Goldsmith and Susan Crawford, Wiley, 2014

    The Responsive City is a compelling guide to civic engagement and governance in the digital age that will help municipal leaders link important breakthroughs in technology and data analytics with age-old lessons of small-group community input to create more agile, competitive, and economically resilient cities. The book is co-authored by Professor Stephen Goldsmith, director of Data-Smart City Solutions at Harvard Kennedy School, and Professor Susan Crawford, co-director of Harvard's Berkman Center for Internet and Society.

    Kelman, Steve, Ronald Sanders, Gayatri Pandit, and Sarah Taylor. 2014. ““I Won't Back Down“?: Complexity and Courage in U.S. Federal Executive Decision-Making”. Read full paper Abstract

    Steve Kelman, Ronald Sanders, Gayatri Pandit, and Sarah Taylor, August 2014

    Senior government executives make many decisions, not-infrequently difficult ones. Cognitive limitations and biases preclude individuals from making fully value-maximizing choices. And the “groupthink“ tradition has highlighted ways group-aided decision-making can fail to live up to its potential. Out of this literature has emerged a prescriptive paradigm Janis calls “vigilant decision-making.“ For this paper, we interviewed twenty heads of subcabinet-level organizations in the U.S. federal government, asking each questions about how they made important decisions. Ten were nominated by “good-government“ experts as ones doing an outstanding job improving the organization's performance, ten chosen at random. The vigilant decision-making approach is designed for difficult decisions, presumed to be informationally, technically, or politically complex. However, we found that when we asked these executives to discuss their most difficult decision, most identified decisions that were not informationally complex but instead mainly required courage to make. In this context, the vigilant decision-making paradigm might be more problematic than the literature suggests. We discuss here the different demands for decisions involving complexity and those involving courage, and suggest a contingency model of good decision-making processes that requires executives and advisors to be ambidextrous in their approaches.

    Leonard, Herman B. ”Dutch”, Christine M.Cole, Arnold M. Howitt, and Philip B. Heymann. 2014. Why Was Boston Strong?. Read Full Paper Abstract

    Herman B. ”Dutch” Leonard, Christine M.Cole, Arnold M. Howitt, and Philip B. Heymann, April 2014

    On April 15, 2013, at 2:49 pm, an improvised explosive device (IED) detonated near the finish line of the Boston Marathon. Three people died, and more than 260 others needed hospital care, many having lost limbs or suffered horrific wounds. Those explosions began about 100 hours of intense drama that riveted the attention of the nation. The response by emergency medical, emergency management, and law enforcement agencies and by the public at large has now become known colloquially as ”Boston Strong.” This report, through analysis of selected aspects of the Marathon events, seeks lessons that can help response organizations in Boston and other locales improve preparation both for emergencies that may occur at ”fixed” events like the Marathon and for ”no notice” events like those that began with the murder of Officer Collier at MIT and concluded the next day with the apprehension of the alleged perpetrators in Watertown.

    Philanthropy for Health in China
    Ryan, Jennifer, Lincoln C. Chen, and Tony Saich, ed. 2014. Philanthropy for Health in China. Indiana University Press. Visit Publisher's Site Abstract

    Jennifer Ryan, Lincoln C. Chen, and Tony Saich, editors, Indiana University Press, 2014

    Drawing on the expertise of Chinese and Western academics and practitioners, the contributors to this volume aim to advance the understanding of philanthropy for health in China in the 20th century and to identify future challenges and opportunities. Considering government, NGO leaders, domestic philanthropists, and foreign foundations, the volume examines the historical roots and distinct stages of philanthropy and charity in China, the health challenges philanthropy must address, and the role of the Chinese government, including its support for Government Organized Non-Governmental Organizations (GONGOs). The editors discuss strategies and practices of international philanthropy for health; the role of philanthropy in China's evolving health system; and the prospects for philanthropy in a country beginning to engage with civil society.

    Counting Islam: Religion, Class, and Elections in Egypt

    Tarek Masoud, Cambridge University Press, 2014

    Why does Islam seem to dominate Egyptian politics, especially when the country's endemic poverty and deep economic inequality would seem to render it promising terrain for a politics of radical redistribution rather than one of religious conservativism? This book argues that the answer lies not in the political unsophistication of voters, the subordination of economic interests to spiritual ones, or the ineptitude of secular and leftist politicians, but in organizational and social factors that shape the opportunities of parties in authoritarian and democratizing systems to reach potential voters. Tracing the performance of Islamists and their rivals in Egyptian elections over the course of almost forty years, this book not only explains why Islamists win elections, but illuminates the possibilities for the emergence in Egypt of the kind of political pluralism that is at the heart of what we expect from democracy.

    Counting Islam: Religion, Class, and Elections in Egypt

    Tarek Masoud, Cambridge University Press, 2014

    Why does Islam seem to dominate Egyptian politics, especially when the country's endemic poverty and deep economic inequality would seem to render it promising terrain for a politics of radical redistribution rather than one of religious conservativism? This book argues that the answer lies not in the political unsophistication of voters, the subordination of economic interests to spiritual ones, or the ineptitude of secular and leftist politicians, but in organizational and social factors that shape the opportunities of parties in authoritarian and democratizing systems to reach potential voters. Tracing the performance of Islamists and their rivals in Egyptian elections over the course of almost forty years, this book not only explains why Islamists win elections, but illuminates the possibilities for the emergence in Egypt of the kind of political pluralism that is at the heart of what we expect from democracy.

    In summer 2010, unusually intense monsoon rains in Pakistan triggered slow-moving floods that inundated a fifth of the country and displaced millions of people. This three-part case series describes how Pakistan’s government responded to the disaster and highlights the performance of the country’s nascent emergency management agency, the National Disaster Management Authority. It also explores the integration of international assistance, with a particular focus on aid from the international humanitarian community and the U.S. military. Case A provides background on the political situation in Pakistan at the time of the floods, as well as on the country’s water management policies and its newly formed emergency management system. It also recounts initial efforts to respond to the disaster.
    In July 2012, a gunman entered a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado and opened fire, killing 12 people, injuring 58 others, and traumatizing a community. Case A provides background on Aurora, describes the shooting, and recounts the emergency response that unfolded in its aftermath. The case then focuses more specifically on the role of the Aurora Public Schools, which under the leadership of Superintendent John L. Barry drew on years of emergency management training to play a substantial role in the response and the early community recovery efforts that took place over the ensuing days.

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