Publications

    Competition and Costing: Indianapolis, IN – 1995 Innovations Winner

    During his successful 1991 bid for the indianapolis mayoralty, Stephen Goldsmith is clear about his preference for privatizing city services. Once in office, however, Goldsmith decides on a different, more complex approach. The inefficiency of publicly-provided services, he reflects, may not be the result of their being public but rather a reflection of the lack of competition over who will provide them. In that light, Goldsmith undertakes a bold experiment: to force city departments to bid against private providers. This case focuses on the first stages of the Goldsmith experiment, a time in which city public works crews must, for the first time, compete against private firms for a pothole repair contract. The case raises core questions as to how to structure public-private competitions to ensure that valid comparison will be possible, as well as how to determine the exact nature of public costs. In addition, it allows for discussion of more theoretical questions as to whether some functions must always be public, while others should be private and still others privately-provided but publicly-financed.

    Monroe Maternity Center, Inc.: Monroe County, TN – 1991 Innovations Winner

    The combination of East Tennessee poverty and a lack of obstetrical facilities in Monroe County lead a U.S. public health officer, Dr. Barbara Levin, to seek different ways to provide prenatal and delivery services to women of the county. This case tells the story of the slow but successful effort to use nurses and midwives to staff a free-standing ”maternity center” which ultimately led to the maternity center delivering fully a quarter of all the county’s babies. It examines the strategies which Levin employed to build local support, overcome opposition in the medical profession and build a customer base. In addition, it frames a strategic question of whether and how Levin should attempt to transplant her idea to a far different region of the state.

    Throughout August 2010, flooding continued to spread across Pakistan, eventually overtaking large portions of the southern part of the country. With Case A providing background and recounting early response efforts, Case B explores how the crisis worsened and the response intensified throughout the second half of August, highlighting actions taken at the federal level, as well as by the United States and other foreign governments. It also explores efforts by the United Nations, on behalf of the international humanitarian community, to support flood relief.

    Project Match: Illinois – 1988 Innovations Winner

    Located in one of the most troubled housing projects in Chicago, the job training program known as Project Match has an unusual approach to the task of bringing welfare recipients into the world of work. Rather than trying to broker a simple job placement, the program tries to encourage long-term change in the habits and living style of its hard-to-place population, in part by creating a social atmosphere in which work and ambition are valued. But because it receives funds from the Illinois Department of Public Aid, Project Match finds itself under pressure to produce job-placement results which demonstrate its success. The program itself urges authorities to find ways to quantify success besides simply finding someone a job – and places a premium on keeping track of those it’s trying to help, long after a first job placement. The case highlights the challenges of social service program evaluation, as well as the problems an innovative agency has explaining itself to traditional bureaucracies with which it must deal.

    CompStat: New York, NY – 1996 Innovations Winner

    The dramatic reduction in crime in New York City during the 1990s grabbed the attention of the U.S. and the world, seeming to provide evidence that new policy and management approaches could make an enormous difference for the better. This case tells the story of key management decisions that the New York Police Department itself credits with the successful attack on the city's crime rate. Specifically, it describes the approach of Police Chief William Bratton in assembling a core, reform-oriented management team and the development of a computerized crime tracking system used as the foundation for the targeting of police manpower. The epilogue raises the dramatic question of whether the goal of minimizing the misuse of force by police officers is also amenable to the measurement techniques successfully employed to the activity of criminals. This case, in addition to the questions it raises, provides a powerful telling of one of the most successful public sector management initiatives of recent times.

    The case prompts students to consider what community recovery entails, especially vis-à-vis mental health issues and resiliency; the role of different institutions therein; and how to accommodate a range of public views on these topics. It also explores broader issues in local government, most notably coordination within and across agencies as well as between the public and private sectors.  

    Division of Youth Services: Missouri – 2008 Innovations Winner

    This 10-minute video is a companion to ”Taking a Therapeutic Approach to Juvenile Offenders: The ‘Missouri Model,’” Kennedy School case number C16-09-1904.0. In it, Tim Decker, the director of the Missouri Division of Youth Services, lays out the philosophy and practice of the therapeutic process used by the department in its treatment of youth offenders. The video shows the young people as they explore the roots of their behavior and develop tools to process trauma, often by articulating and sharing their feelings and concerns in a group setting. The ultimate goal of the program, Decker explains, is to encourage internalized change and foster social competencies. Powerful testimony from some of the youth sheds light on the main challenges they experience as they struggle to rebuild their lives.

    Division of Youth Services: Missouri – 2008 Innovations Winner

    In the early 1970s, the Missouri Division of Youth Services (DYS) took its first steps toward radically changing the way it dealt with youthful offenders remanded to its custody. For years, like most states, it had incarcerated juveniles convicted of felony or misdemeanor offenses in large quasi-penal facilities called “training schools.” Instead, DYS began establishing smaller “cottage-style” residential programs that emphasized rehabilitation over punishment and applied a therapeutic approach to its troubled young charges. Over the next three decades, DYS expanded this approach to encompass its entire juvenile offender population. By the mid-2000s, the “Missouri model,” as it became known, was perhaps the most admired – and, many considered, most effective – juvenile corrections system in the U.S.

    This case describes the Missouri model – including the population it serves, the educational and therapeutic programs it offers, and the frontline staff of “youth specialists” it employs to work closely with young offenders. The case also provides an overview of Missouri’s impressively low recidivism figures and a brief discussion of the complexities of comparing such figures among states. It concludes with a discussion of the challenges the Missouri DYS has faced in sustaining its highly regarded, but demanding, approach over many years. The case can be used in classes on child welfare policy and criminal justice.

    One Church/One Child Minority Adoption Campaign: Illinois – 1986 Innovations Winner

    In 1980, the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services faced a crisis. Over 700 black children in cook County, including 69 infants, waited for adoption while the agency was unable to find black parents. A supplement to the case (856.0), this video exhibit brings to life the successful strategy of the One Church, One Child program, focusing on a presentation in a black church designed to encourage adoptions. In addition, the video includes retrospective comments from the program's administrators and vignettes of families who have adopted children as a result of the program. This case will challenge students to examine the assumptions that limit bureaucracies.

    Case Management for At-Risk Children in Detention: New York, NY – 1986 Innovations Winner

    The latest in a long string of directors of New York City’s toughest juvenile detention facility confronts a staff which is both demoralized and resentful of authority. As the jail’s first black director, she must cope with a predominantly black staff long accustomed to ”getting over” – giving less than full effort and rationalizing its attitude in terms of the perceived indifference of a ”downtown” white power structure. Battles over child abuse, insubordination and union power ensue.

    Seattle Recycling Program: Seattle, WA – 1990 Innovations Winner


    The closing of two landfill sites creates a municipal crisis in Seattle, forced to find new disposal options for the 2,000 tons of garbage it produces each day. Political concerns over what appears to be the most practical disposal option – construction of a major municipal incinerator – prompts the city’s Solid Waste Utility to undertake an innovative study to examine the extent to which recycling could minimize the city’s trash disposal needs. This case broadly examines the “Recycling Potential and Disposal Options“ study with an eye toward understanding the relationship between the political process and the techniques of public policy analysis. The case is designed to frame questions as to the proper relationship between policy analyst and elected official, and the ways in which analysis is constrained, properly or improperly, by political considerations.

    Low-Income Assisted Mortgage Program: West Virginia – 1993 Innovations Winner

    When a local chapter of the Habitat for Humanity organization learns that a state-chartered development fund might be able to provide it with financial help, the non-profit organization faces a decision. Should it accept funds from a public agency? Would doing so jeopardize its independence and push the organization in directions it might not want to go? So, too, does the Development Fund face decisions as it contemplates aiding the non-profit, which builds small homes for the near-poor, in part through the use of volunteer labor. Should Habitat’s religious affiliation bar the Fund from helping it? Should Habitat be allowed to retain control over who gets to purchase the homes it builds? This case focuses on the intersection of the public and non-profit sectors and raises questions about when they should or shouldn't overlap.

    Info/California: California – 1993 Innovations Winner

    The growth of the kind of new interactive technologies promise to make it more convenient and less expensive for government, like private providers of consumer goods and services, to serve its customers – whether they seek a driver’s license or unemployment compensation. Incorporating such technologies implies change, however, and, as this case makes clear, requires decisions about when and how automated transactions should be the norm. The story of the Info/California decision focuses on competing visions of a new, interactive system which promises to allow Californians to obtain records, licenses and program information of all sorts. For its champion within state government, it makes most sense for a scarce number of interactive terminals to be placed in public areas – supermarkets, malls and the like. He must, however, face a demand by a state agency that a terminal be used to make up for laid-off employees in a place where the public has been accustomed to going for records and licenses. Developed for the Kennedy School’s Program on Strategic Computing, this case allows for discussion of the relationship between mission and technology.

    Wraparound Milwaukee: Milwaukee County, WI – 2009 Innovations Winner

    The Wraparound Milwaukee program was created in 1995 by Milwaukee County, Wisconsin, and provides services and treatment to severely emotionally and behaviorally disturbed children and youth. The program utilizes the “wraparound philosophy” to provide the children and youth it serves with a highly individualized, community, and strength-based approach to care. The delivery of services are facilitated by a Care Coordinator who works with the family to choose the right services from Wraparound Milwaukee’s network of individual providers and community based organizations. The program’s funding is pooled from several state and county agencies. Wraparound Milwaukee’s innovative approach to care has brought considerable savings to the county $3,878 per month per child for Wraparound Milwaukee versus $8,000-$10,000 per month per child that the county paid for residential placement. Wraparound Milwaukee has seen positive outcomes in the youth it serves after disenrollment in terms of clinical health indicators as well as other indicators.

    CompStat: New York, NY – 1996 Innovations Winner

    This abridgement is based on the case ”Assertive Policing, Plummeting Crime: The NYPD Takes on Crime in New York City” (1530.0). The abridgement of the case divides the story of the change in the New York Police Department into three, roughly chronological parts – the diagnosis of the crime and organizational problems, the development of a new system of practices and incentives and a description of the variety of impacts which the new ”assertive policing” regime appeared to have. The three parts (1557.3, 1558.3, 1559.3) and Epilogue (1557.1) can be used individually or together. They should not be used along with the full case and sequel (1530.0, 1530.1) but should, instead, be considered a substitute approach.

    Science, Technology, & Democracy: Building a Modern Congressional Technology Assessment Office

    Zach Graves and Daniel Schuman, January 2020

    This paper offers recommendations and a road map for the future success of a restarted technology assessment office in Congress. We look at three potential approaches: (1) Building up the Government Accountability Office (GAO)’s OTA-like capacity in its newly created Science, Technology Assessment, and Analytics (STAA) team, and giving it greater resources and structural autonomy; (2) Reviving OTA but updating its procedures and statutory authority; and (3) A hybrid approach wherein both GAO and a new OTA develop different capacities and specializations. (Spoiler: we favor the third approach.)
     
    The next section of this paper reviews what OTA was and how it functioned. The third section discusses the history of and rationale for the defunding of OTA, other cuts to Congress’s S&T capacity, and why this congressional capacity and expertise matter for democracy. The fourth section reviews efforts to revive OTA and other efforts to build new congressional S&T capacity. The fifth section discusses the political landscape for building S&T capacity, including the legislative branch appropriations process and the different political constituencies for S&T. The final section offers a detailed discussion of various structural recommendations for a new congressional technology assessment office, including an expanded STAA unit in GAO, and a new OTA.
     
    The Hidden Face of Rights

    Kathryn Sikkink, Yale University Press, January 2020 

    When we debate questions in international law, politics, and justice, we often use the language of rights—and far less often the language of responsibilities. Human rights scholars and activists talk about state responsibility for rights, but they do not articulate clear norms about other actors’ obligations. In this book, Kathryn Sikkink argues that we cannot truly implement human rights unless we also recognize and practice the corresponding human responsibilities.
     
    Focusing on five areas—climate change, voting, digital privacy, freedom of speech, and sexual assault—and providing many examples of on-the-ground initiatives where people choose to embrace a close relationship between rights and responsibilities, Sikkink argues for the importance of responsibilities to any comprehensive understanding of political ethics and human rights.

    Randall K.Q. Akee, Eric C. Henson, Miriam R. Jorgensen, and Joseph P. Kalt; May 2020 

    Title V of the CARES Act requires that the Act’s funds earmarked for tribal governments be released immediately and that they be used for actions taken to respond to the COVID‐19 pandemic. These may include costs incurred by tribal governments to respond directly to the crisis, such as medical or public health expenditures by tribal health departments. Eligible costs may also include burdens associated with what the U.S. Treasury Department calls “second‐order effects,” such as having to provide economic support to those suffering from employment or business interruptions due to pandemic‐driven business closures. Determining eligible costs is problematic.

    Title V of the CARES Act instructs that the costs to be covered are those incurred between March 1, 2020 and December 30, 2020. Not only does this create the need for some means of approximating expenditures that are not yet incurred or known, but the Act’s emphasis on the rapid release of funds to tribes also makes it imperative that a fair and feasible formula be devised to allocate the funds across 574 tribes without imposing undue delay and costs on either the federal government or the tribes.

    Recognizing the need for reasonable estimation of the burdens of the pandemic on tribes, the authors of this report propose an allocation formula that uses data‐ready drivers of those burdens.  Specifically, they propose a three‐part formula that puts 60% weight on each tribe’s population of enrolled citizens, 20% weight on each tribe’s total of tribal government and tribal enterprise employees, and 20% weight on each tribe’s background rate of coronavirus infections (as predicted by available, peer‐reviewed incidence models for Indian Country).

    By August 2011, one year after the apex of Pakistan’s 2010 flooding crisis, recovery efforts had progressed substantially – but many Pakistanis still needed assistance. This epilogue highlights key accomplishments as well as some of the remaining challenges associated with the recovery, while also exploring actions taken by the national government to address problems experienced during the 2010 response. It closes by exploring how Pakistan and the international humanitarian community dealt with yet another round of severe flooding that occurred in late summer 2011.

    New York Acquisition Fund: New York, NY – 2008 Innovations Winner

    This three-part case study presents the initial problem, the thinking, the politics, and the design negotiations that produced New York City’s “NYC Acquisition Fund” in August 2006. The case concludes with a brief round-up of performance data and commentary from the Fund’s first two and a half years of operation.

    The NYC Acquisition Fund was created to deliver loans to small and nonprofit affordable housing developers, allowing them to compete with market-rate developers to buy property in New York City on the open market at a time of rampant speculation, rapidly rising prices, and fierce competition. It represented a groundbreaking effort to use public sector funds and authority, together with foundation capital, to leverage hundreds of millions of dollars in loan capital from private lenders. In September 2008, the Fund was named a winner of the annual Innovations in American Government competition, sponsored by the Ash Institute for Democratic Governance and Innovation at the Harvard Kennedy School, which declared it a “national model.”

    The case is divided in three parts in the interest of maximum teaching flexibility. Teachers may want to assign their students to read one, two, or all three parts, depending on the nature of the class. Although the case includes finance concepts and terms, they are presented clearly and simply for the benefit of lay readers. Part One: Birth & Launch of an Idea, pp. 1-16, describes the intellectual and political history of the Fund – how City Housing Commissioner Shaun Donovan came up with the idea, and how he and his allies made it a reality. Part Two: Portrait of the New York City Acquisition Fund LLC, pp. 17-26, describes the structure and principles of the Fund and details the six toughest design questions, negotiated among the Fund’s partners over a 14-month period: what kinds of projects would be eligible? how firm a commitment would the City make to funding each project upfront? when and how would loan underwriting be delegated? how, exactly, would risk be allocated among the lenders, foundations, and City? and what loan terms would be available to borrowers? Part Three: Fund Performance, August 2006 to March 2009, pp. 27-29, briefly sketches the Fund’s performance in its first two-and-a-half years. The case includes 11 exhibits, pp. 30-58.

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