Publications

    David Dapice, January 2012

    The exchange rate has moved from about 1300 kyat per dollar in 2006-07 to 800 kyat to the dollar in January 2012 while the consumer price index has jumped by over two-thirds. World rice prices in dollars have been generally strong, with Vietnamese five percent broken export prices at $520/ton in December 2011, 78 percent above their 2006/07 average. Wholesale paddy prices in Myanmar have plunged 30 percent in real terms from 2007 to 2012 and 25 percent in just the last year. For a variety of reasons, the paddy price to farmers may have fallen even more. This results in less hiring of landless neighbors, migration out of the village (often to a foreign country), less use of inputs and reduced summer paddy planting. Sharp real price declines in pulses have also been reported, though the exchange rate is only one contributing factor to their low prices. Poor quality pulses due to untimely rains and reduced demand from India also play some role.

    Leonard, Herman B. ”Dutch”, and Arnold M. Howitt. 2012. “Working Together In Crises”. Read Full Paper Abstract

    Herman B. ”Dutch” Leonard and Arnold M. Howitt, January 2012

    Severe natural disasters, large-scale industrial accidents or epidemics often expose emergency response organisations and society to previously unseen threats, response demands that exceed available resources, or familiar emergencies in unprecedented combinations or complex layers. Two kinds of leaders are likely to come to the fore: professional emergency response chiefs and political leaders.

    Gómez-Ibáñez, José A., and Nguyễn Xuân Thành. 2012. “Yangon’s Development Challenges”. Read Full Paper Abstract

    José A. Gómez-Ibáñez and Nguyễn Xuân Thành, March 2012

    Yangon is an attractive and relatively livable city that is on the brink of dramatic change. If the government of Myanmar continues its recent program of economic and political reform, the economy of the country is likely to take off, and much of the growth will be concentrated in Yangon, Myanmar’s largest city and commercial capital. This paper argues that Yangon is poorly prepared to cope with the pressures of growth because it has only begun to develop a comprehensive land use and development plan for the city that would guide the location of key activities including export-oriented industries and port terminals. In addition, the city lacks the financial resources to finance the infrastructure and other public services required to serve the existing population, let alone support a population that is larger and better off. Failure to address these challenges will not only make Yangon a less livable city but will also reduce the rate of economic growth for the entire country. Myanmar needs a dynamic and vibrant Yangon to thrive.

    Agents of Change: Strategy and Tactics for Social Innovation
    Cels, Sanderijn, Jorrit de Jong, and Frans Nauta. 2012. Agents of Change: Strategy and Tactics for Social Innovation. Brookings Institution Press. Visit Publisher's Site Abstract

    Sanderijn Cels, Jorrit De Jong, Frans Nauta, Brookings Institution Press, 2012

    Agents of Change describes imaginative, cross-boundary thinking and transformative change and explains exactly how innovators pull it off. While governments around the world struggle to maintain service levels amid fiscal crises, social innovators are improving social outcomes for citizens by changing the system from within. In Agents of Change, three cutting-edge thinkers and entrepreneurs present case studies of social innovation that have led to significant social change. Drawing on original empirical research in the United States, Canada, Japan, Germany, Denmark, and the Netherlands, they examine how ordinary people accomplished extraordinary results.

    Chinese Village, Global Market: New Collectives and Rural Development

    Biliang Hu and Tony Saich, Palgrave Macmillan, 2012

    This book is a story of one village, Yantian, and its remarkable economic and social transformation. The village sits in the Pearl River Delta, the engine of China's emergence as the hub of global manufacturing and production. The village's success relied on the creation of new economic collectives, its ability to leverage networks, and its proximity to Hong Kong to transform forever the formerly sleepy rural area. The result of almost 20 years of field work by the authors, Chinese Village, Global Market shows how outcomes are shaped by a number of factors such as path dependence, social structures, economic resources and local entrepreneurship.

    Chinese Village, Global Market: New Collectives and Rural Development

    Biliang Hu and Tony Saich, Palgrave Macmillan, 2012 

    This book is a story of one village, Yantian, and its remarkable economic and social transformation. The village sits in the Pearl River Delta, the engine of China's emergence as the hub of global manufacturing and production. The village's success relied on the creation of new economic collectives, its ability to leverage networks, and its proximity to Hong Kong to transform forever the formerly sleepy rural area. The result of almost 20 years of field work by the authors, Chinese Village, Global Market shows how outcomes are shaped by a number of factors such as path dependence, social structures, economic resources and local entrepreneurship.

    Deliberative Systems: Deliberative Democracy at the Large Scale
    Parkinson, John, and Jane Mansbridge. 2012. Deliberative Systems: Deliberative Democracy at the Large Scale. Cambridge University Press. Visit Publisher's Site Abstract

    John Parkinson and Jane Mansbridge, Cambridge University Press, 2012 

    'Deliberative democracy' is often dismissed as a set of small-scale, academic experiments. This volume seeks to demonstrate how the deliberative ideal can work as a theory of democracy on a larger scale. It provides a new way of thinking about democratic engagement across the spectrum of political action, from towns and villages to nation states, and from local networks to transnational, even global, systems. Written by a team of the world's leading deliberative theorists, Deliberative Systems explains the principles of this new approach, which seeks ways of ensuring that a division of deliberative labor in a system nonetheless meets both deliberative and democratic norms.

    Tim Burke and Gigi Georges, December 2011

    As the U.S. grapples with fiscal crisis – facing spiraling deficits, dangerous levels of debt, and the worst economic recession in some 70 years – Americans understand that all levels of their government must take action. Calls are growing louder from across the political spectrum for the same spirit of cost-cutting and financial restraint within government that so many families have had to embrace. According to a Pew Research Center poll in early 2011, however, even while Americans increasingly recognize the need to halt increases in spending, many remain reluctant to embrace specific cuts. There is still not one area of domestic federal spending – whether education, veterans' benefits, health care or public safety – that more Americans, when pressed, want to decrease more than they want to increase.

    By David Dapice and Edward A. Cunningham, December 2011

    Ensuring affordable, stable, and accessible energy supply remains one of the most critical functions of government, particularly in the developing world. The creation and expansion of a national energy system presents governments with inherent risks that must be managed if an economy is to be supplied with the energy it requires to grow. Some risks are structural, and inherent to the sector itself. Energy systems are characterized by high levels of capital intensity (e.g. oil refining), long-cycle investments with extended pay-back periods (e.g. oil exploration and production), natural monopolies (e.g. electric grid and gas transmission), and high levels of risk that result from the combination of these attributes. Energy flows may also carry the added complexity of perceived national security externalities, such as supply risk in the form of oil import dependency on one partner.

    Dapice, David O., Malcolm McPherson, Michael J. Montesano, Thomas J. Vallely, and Ben Wilkinson. 2011. “Myanmar Agriculture in 2011: Old Problems and New Challenges”. Read Full Paper Abstract

    David O. Dapice, Malcolm McPherson, Michael J. Montesano, Thomas J. Vallely, and Ben Wilkinson, November 2011

    In May 2010, a team from the Rajawali Foundation Institute for Asia at Harvard Kennedy School wrote a report on approaches to the revitalization of Myanmar's agricultural sector for Proximity Designs, a Myanmar (Burma) social entrepreneurship organization. The same Harvard Kennedy School team (with one extra member) visited Myanmar in June 2011 to update and expand upon its 2010 report. Important changes had occurred since May 2010. A new government had assumed control; in an atmosphere of anticipation and some excitement, new and potentially effective policies were being discussed and developed. The drought in the Dry Zone had ended, but unseasonable rains had affected production. Some initiative had been taken to offer more agricultural credit to farmers, an important suggestion of the May 2010 report.

    Can We Put an End to Sweatshops?
    and Dara O’Rourke, Archon Fung, Charles Sabe. 2011. Can We Put an End to Sweatshops?. Beacon Press. Visit Publisher's Site Abstract

    Dara O’Rourke, Archon Fung, and Charles Sabe; Beacon Press, November 2011

    Sweatshops The MIT scholar who broke the news about Nike’s sweatshops argues, with two colleagues, that consumer choices can improve workers’ lives globally Seventy-five percent of Americans say they would avoid retailers whom they knew sold goods produced in sweatshops. And almost 90 percent said they would pay at least an extra dollar on a twenty-dollar item if they could be sure it had not been produced by exploited workers. Knowing that information about the conditions of workers around the world can influence what we buy, Dara O’Rourke, Archon Fung, and Charles Sabel argue that making that information widely available is the best way to improve conditions. Although watchdog agencies have tried to monitor working conditions and pressure corporations to adhere to international standards, the authors show how these organizations alone cannot do enough; only consumer action and the threat of falling profits will force corporate owners to care about the conditions of their workers. Respondents include activists, scholars, and officials of the International Labor Organization and World Bank.

    Ahlers, Douglas, Arnold M. Howitt, and Herman B. "Dutch" Leonard. 2011. “Preparing in Advance for Disaster Recovery”. Read Full Paper Abstract

    Douglas Ahlers, Arnold M. Howitt, and Herman B. "Dutch" Leonard, October 2011

    In the past decade, the world has looked in horror at many heart-wrenching scenes of human suffering and physical devastation in Asia – including the tsunami of 2004, China’s earthquake of 2008, Pakistan’s floods of 2010, and Japan’s earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear accident this year. Unfortunately, these will not be the last of such tragic events, given Asia’s significant exposure to natural disasters, increasingly complex and interdependent social and economic systems, intensifying urbanisation in risk-exposed locations, and its vulnerability to the impact of climate change.

    Archon Fung and Zachary Tumin, October 2011

    In June 2010, 25 leaders of government and industry convened to Harvard University to assess the move to ”Government 2.0” to date; to share insight to its limits and possibilities, as well as its enablers and obstacles; and to assess the road ahead. This is a report of that meeting, made possible by a grant from Microsoft.

    Dapice, David O., Malcolm McPherson, Michael J. Montesano, Thomas J. Vallely, and Ben Wilkinson. 2011. “The Myanmar Exchange Rate: A Barrier to National Strength”. Read Full Paper Abstract

    David O. Dapice, Malcolm McPherson, Michael J. Montesano, Thomas J. Vallely, and Ben Wilkinson, June 2011

    The exchange rate is one of the most important tools in economic development. In Myanmar (Burma), an overvalued exchange rate is currently undermining economic activity involving all tradable goods. If this situation persists, the country’s industrial base will shrink, investors will be discouraged, unemployment will rise, poverty will deepen, more people will leave the country, the divide between rich and poor will grow, and national strength and the people’s prosperity will be diminished if not destroyed. Myanmar’s overvalued exchange rate is inconsistent with the development experience throughout Asia since 1945.

    William H. Overholt, May 2011

    Former U.S. President Bill Clinton had an enormously successful campaign slogan: “It’s the economy, stupid.“ Whereas Clinton just saved a campaign with this strategy, Park Jung Hee saved a country.

    Park Jung Hee took over the most threatened country in the world in 1961. South Korea had been devastated by the Korean War just a few years earlier. Its economy remained one of the world’s poorest. Its political stability appeared to be among the world’s poorest. It faced a formidable opponent with greater natural resources, superior industrial power, seemingly superior political stability and the backing of Mao Zedong’s unified and determined China.

    Rosengard, Jay K.; Prasetyantoko, A.; May, 2011

    This article marks a new era of collaboration between the Center’s faculty and their counterparts in Indonesia. Authors Jay Rosengard, lecturer in public policy at HKS, and A. Prasetyantoko, head of the Institute for Research and Social Service at Atma Jaya Catholic University in Jakarta, argue that Indonesia’s financial sector has two paradoxes: 1) Indonesia has been a global leader in microfinance for the past 25 years, but access to microfinance services is declining; and 2) Indonesia’s commercial banks are liquid, solvent, and profitable, and the Indonesian economy has been doing well over the past decade, but small- and medium-sized enterprises are facing a credit crunch. Although Indonesia is underbanked, most commercial banks have been unresponsive to unmet effective demand.

    In late summer 2005, Hurricane Katrina – the worst natural disaster in U.S. history – wreaked havoc along the Gulf Coast, causing massive loss of life and property damage. (Just a few weeks later, Hurricane Rita would inflict even more suffering across much of the same area.) The evacuation of special needs individuals (e.g., the institutionalized, those with medical conditions, people without access to cars, etc.) from New Orleans was especially problematic, not simply in getting people out of the city but also in tracking who had gone where, letting their families know what had happened to them, caring for them properly in receiving areas, and repatriating them to their homes and loved ones. Illustrating the challenges health officials and political leaders faced in evacuating people with special needs during Katrina and Rita, this case prompts readers to consider the complexities of managing a critical public safety function as response plans are upended and capabilities overwhelmed.
    Responsive Democracy: Increasing State Accountability in East Asia

    Jeeyang Rhee Baum, The University of Michigan Press, 2011

    Under what conditions is a newly democratic government likely to increase transparency, accountability, and responsiveness to its citizens? What incentives might there be for bureaucrats, including those appointed by a previously authoritarian government, to carry out the wishes of an emerging democratic regime? Responsive Democracy addresses an important problem in democratic transition and consolidation: the ability of the chief executive to control the state bureaucracy. Using three well-chosen case studies – the Philippines, South Korea, and Taiwan – Jeeyang Rhee Baum explores the causes and consequences of codifying rules and procedures in a newly democratic government.

    The 2009 H1N1 influenza pandemic posed enormous challenges for state health departments across the U.S. This case focuses on the experience of Tennessee – which endured an intense resurgence of the disease in late summer and early fall 2009 – and explores, in particular, how state health officials, working with their partners from local government and the private sector, mobilized in advance of this second wave of the disease. An array of preparedness efforts, such as the development of mechanisms for distributing vaccine, ultimately put the state in a strong position to deal with H1N1 come fall, but health officials still experienced considerable difficulty in several areas, including vaccine delivery, communicating with an anxious public, and managing a surge of patients seeking care. The case highlights methods for preparing for a significant public health emergency and explores the difficulties of coordinating a response involving multiple jurisdictions and a mix of actors from both the public and private sectors.
    Ports in a Storm: Public Management in a Turbulent World
    Donahue, John D., and Mark H. Moore, ed. 2011. Ports in a Storm: Public Management in a Turbulent World. Abstract
    The 9-11 attacks resulted in heightened security efforts in American ports. Any attack on a seaport would be far more disruptive to the day-to-day functions of the country than even airport closures. Much of the responsibility for increasing port security fell to the U.S. Coast Guard. In this book, Harvard Kennedy School authors focus diverse conceptual lenses on a single high-stakes management challenge – enhancing U.S. port security. The aims are two: to understand how that complex challenge might plausibly be met and to explore the similarities, differences, and complementarities of their alternative approaches to public management.

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