Publications

    Governance and Politics of China
    Saich, Tony. 2015. Governance and Politics of China . Palgrave Macmillan. Visit Publisher's Site Abstract
    This systematically revised fourth edition of the leading text on Chinese politics covers the major changes under Xi Jinping and Li Keqiang and their predecessors, and the recent attempts to restore Chinese Communist Party prestige and strengthen the role of the market in economic reforms whilst managing urbanization and addressing corruption.
    Political Governance In China
    Saich, Anthony J. 2015. Political Governance In China . Edward Elgar Publishing. Visit Publisher's Site Abstract
    Including key research articles from specialists in the field, this volume provides an introduction and critical insights into the most important debates surrounding the governance of contemporary China. The material will enable readers to understand how China is ruled, how participation and protest are regulated by the authorities, and the relationship between the Central state and its local agencies. Spanning the most important areas of the subject, the chosen articles explore the study of Chinese politics, the nature of the Chinese political system, the policy-making process, the nature of the local state, participation and protest, and authoritarian resilience or democratization. Professor Saich’s collection brings together essential reading for students of China, those who are interested in comparative politics, and the general reader who wants a coherent introduction about how China is ruled.
    The topic of moral competence is generally neglected in the study of public management and policy, yet it is critical to any hope we might have for strengthening the quality of governance and professional practice. What does moral competence consist of? How is it developed and sustained? These questions are addressed in this book through close examination of selected practitioners in Asian countries making life-defining decisions in their work. The protagonists include a doctor in Singapore, a political activist in India, a mid-level bureaucrat in central Asia, a religious missionary in China, and a journalist in Cambodia – each struggling with ethical challenges that shed light on what it takes to act effectively and well in public life. Together they bear witness to the ideal of public service, exercising their personal gifts for the well-being of others and demonstrating that, even in difficult circumstances, the reflective practitioner can be a force for good.
    The Arab Spring
    Brownlee, Jason, Tarek Masoud, and Andrew Reynolds. 2015. The Arab Spring . Oxford University Press. Visit Publisher's Site Abstract
    Several years after the Arab Spring began, democracy remains elusive in the Middle East. The Arab Spring that resides in the popular imagination is one in which a wave of mass mobilization swept the broader Middle East, toppled dictators, and cleared the way for democracy. The reality is that few Arab countries have experienced anything of the sort. While Tunisia made progress towards some type of constitutionally entrenched participatory rule, the other countries that overthrew their rulers, Egypt, Yemen, and Libya remain mired in authoritarianism and instability. Elsewhere in the Arab world uprisings were suppressed, subsided, or never materialized. The Arab Spring's modest harvest cries out for explanation. Why did regime change take place in only four Arab countries and why has democratic change proved so elusive in the countries that made attempts? This book attempts to answer those questions. First, by accounting for the full range of variance: from the absence or failure of uprisings in such places as Algeria and Saudi Arabia at one end, to Tunisia's rocky but hopeful transition at the other. Second, by examining the deep historical and structure variables that determined the balance of power between incumbents and opposition. Brownlee, Masoud, and Reynolds find that the success of domestic uprisings depended on the absence of a hereditary executive and a dearth of oil rents. Structural factors also cast a shadow over the transition process. Even when opposition forces toppled dictators, prior levels of socioeconomic development and state strength shaped whether nascent democracy, resurgent authoritarianism, or unbridled civil war would follow.
    Economics of the Public Sector
    Stiglitz, Joseph E, and Jay Rosengard. 2015. Economics of the Public Sector. W.W. Norton & Company. Visit Publisher's Site Abstract
    What should be the role of government in society? How should it design its programs? How should tax systems be designed to promote both efficiency and fairness? Nobel Laureate Joseph Stiglitz and new co-author Jay Rosengard use their first-hand policy-advising experience to address these key issues of public-sector economics in this modern and accessible Fourth Edition.
     
    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.

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