Policy Briefs

Transforming the T: How MBTA Reform Can Right Our Broken Transportation System

Abstract:

In this report, Innovations in American Government Fellow Charles Chieppo outlines a number of reforms intended to put the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority’s (MBTA) fiscal house in order.  Specifically, Chieppo notes that the MBTA Fiscal Management and Control Board found that the T is looking at a $170 million shortfall for the current fiscal year, which is projected to grow to $427 million by fiscal year 2020. With increases in expenses far outpacing revenue growth, absent reform, the T’s financial problems will continue to compound in future years leading to deteriorating infrastructure and faltering service levels. 

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Last updated on 01/29/2020

Hydropower in Myanmar: Moving Electricity Contracts from Colonial to Commercial

Abstract:

Myanmar has less electricity per capita than Bangladesh and only a third of its population is connected to grid electricity. Although Myanmar has huge reserves of potential hydroelectricity, this paper argues that more is at stake than electricity supply, and that the political implications of hydro development are crucial to a peaceful and united future for Myanmar. It cautions that hydroelectric projects undertaken in the past decade had exceedingly disadvantageous terms that serve Myanmar poorly, and that if a stable political framework that promotes national unity is going to be realized, how hydroelectricity projects are approved and developed, and how the revenue benefits are distributed are as important as the electricity itself. Click to read the Burmese version

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Last updated on 01/29/2020

Case Study of 21st Century Civic Engagement: Code for America and the City of Boulder, CO Partnership

Abstract:

The City of Boulder and Code for America partnered on “Housing Boulder,” the community engagement process that would inform Boulder’s 2015/2016 Housing Action Plan. While this case study documents our work on a housing-related project, we believe our engagement tactics are relevant to a much broader audience. As a result, this case study also offers a series of recommendations to help governments begin using 21st-century civic engagement strategies that creatively combine in-person and digital channels.

Read full paper

Last updated on 01/29/2020

Case Study of 21st Century Civic Engagement: Code for America and the City of Boulder, CO Partnership

Abstract:

The City of Boulder and Code for America partnered on “Housing Boulder,” the community engagement process that would inform Boulder’s 2015/2016 Housing Action Plan. While this case study documents our work on a housing-related project, we believe our engagement tactics are relevant to a much broader audience. As a result, this case study also offers a series of recommendations to help governments begin using 21st-century civic engagement strategies that creatively combine in-person and digital channels.

The National People’s Congress: Functions and Membership

Abstract:

From time to time, the attention of the media in the United States and around world turns to China’s National People’s Congress (NPC), typically around the time the NPC meets in March.  This paper is intended to provide an overview of the NPC's role in China's governmental hierarchy, its functions, and its membership.

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Last updated on 01/29/2020

Institutional Reform: From Vision to Reality

Citation:

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”.

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.

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Institutional Reform: From Vision to Reality

Citation:

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”.

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.

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China's Most Generous

Citation:

Cunningham, Edward. 2015. “China's Most Generous”.

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.

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Last updated on 03/20/2020

Electricity Supply, Demand and Prices in Myanmar – How to Close the Gap?

Abstract:

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

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Last updated on 01/30/2020

Electricity Supply, Demand and Prices in Myanmar – How to Close the Gap?

Abstract:

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.)

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The Political Economy of Transparency: What Makes Disclosure Policies Effective?

Citation:

Fung, Archon, David Weil, Mary Graham, and Elena Fagotto. 2004. “The Political Economy of Transparency: What Makes Disclosure Policies Effective?”.

Abstract:

Archon Fung, David Weil, Mary Graham and Elena Fagotto, December 2004 

Transparency systems have emerged in recent years as a mainstream regulatory tool, an important development in social policy. Transparency systems are government mandates that require corporations or other organizations to provide the public with factual information about their products and practices. Such systems have a wide range of regulatory purposes which include protecting investors, improving public health and safety, reducing pollution, minimizing corruption and improving public services.

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Reflections on a Survey of Global Perceptions of International Leaders and World Powers

Abstract:

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.

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Last updated on 03/16/2020

Reflections on a Survey of Global Perceptions of International Leaders and World Powers

Abstract:

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.

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Choosing Survival: Finding a Way to Overcome Current Economic and Political Quagmires in Myanmar

Abstract:

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.

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Why Was Boston Strong?

Citation:

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

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.

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Creating a Future: Using Natural Resources for New Federalism and Unity

Abstract:

David Dapice and Nguyen Xuan Thanh, July 2013

Myanmar is a very poor country with some promising political developments but up to now limited economic reform. The historically low growth and high poverty rates have fed social tensions, most evident in the current Buddhist-Muslim violence. The continuing military pressure on ethnic states that do not effectively surrender to the Myanmar Army represents an old extractive almost feudal approach that forgoes real political negotiation in favor of occupation and exploitation of resource-rich areas. However, there are tentative signs of changes by the government. This paper proposes a set of policies to transform the current situation by combining greater tax revenues from mineral resources with better governance to create political unity and market-based economic progress.

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Unplugging Institutional Bottlenecks to Restore Growth: A Policy Discussion Paper Prepared for the 2013 Vietnam Executive Leadership Program (VELP)

Citation:

Nghia, Pham Duy, Nguyen Xuan Thanh, Huynh The Du, Do Thien Anh Tuan, Ben Wilkinson, Vu Thanh Tu Anh, Dwight Perkins, and David Da. 2013. “Unplugging Institutional Bottlenecks to Restore Growth: A Policy Discussion Paper Prepared for the 2013 Vietnam Executive Leadership Program (VELP)”.

Abstract:

Pham Duy Nghia, Nguyen Xuan Thanh, Huynh The Du, Do Thien Anh Tuan, Ben Wilkinson, Vu Thanh Tu Anh, Dwight Perkins, and David Dapice, August 2013

This paper was prepared for the fourth annual Vietnam Executive Leadership Program (VELP), held at the Harvard Kennedy School from August 26 to 30, 2013. The paper aimed to provide participants, including Vietnamese government officials, scholars, and corporate executives, with a concise assessment of some of the key public policy challenges confronting Vietnam today. This paper is by no means comprehensive; it is not possible to offer an exhaustive analysis of every policy area in a brief study. In selecting which issues to address, the authors were guided by the priorities articulated by the Vietnamese government in policy statements promulgated over the past year. By design, the paper was delivered as a work in progress, which the authors encouraged the participants to challenge and strengthen through rigorous debate over the five days of VELP. It is hoped that the paper also will serve as a catalyst for informed discussion and debate among the larger policy community in Vietnam.

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Against the Odds: Building a Coalition

Citation:

Dapice, David, and Thomas Vallely. 2013. “Against the Odds: Building a Coalition”.

Abstract:

Using a New Federalism for Unity and Progress in Myanmar
David Dapice and Thomas Vallely, March 2013

When in 2010, the President of the Union of Myanmar, the Speaker of the Lower House and several ministers decided to push for a rapid political opening, they engineered what could be called a critical juncture. This critical juncture now provides the country with an opportunity to move forward, not only with faster economic growth, but also with better quality growth and political change that will unify the nation and create broad progress. In exploring a possible approach toward unity and progress, this paper uses the framework developed in Why Nations Fail, a recent book on economic and political development and also refers to the idea of “illiberal democracy“ articulated by Fareed Zakaria. The basic idea is that a broad coalition of the incumbent party, the democratic opposition, ethnic groups and the military is needed to fundamentally change Myanmar’s past failed orientation. This broad coalition should work for a new federalism in which states (at a minimum) have fairly elected governors and meaningful revenue sources so they can run many of their own affairs. Recognizing that central to real progress is a transition from a repressive, extractive and exclusive political system with crony businesses to a broadly inclusive political system that spreads economic opportunity, the paper argues that broad political and economic change need to go hand in hand.

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Rice Policy in Myanmar: It’s Getting Complicated

Abstract:

David Dapice, April 2013

Exports of rice to China have exploded and are now over half of total exports. Because of high support prices for paddy and thus for rice in China, it is profitable to send rice and even paddy to China from Myanmar, where the imported rice can sometimes get higher local prices. This could draw rice away from “normal“ exports out of Yangon and even raise the price of paddy (and thus rice) in Myanmar to a level above the world price, causing imports to Myanmar. Imports to Myanmar would keep the price of rice lower than if the China price set Myanmar’s price. The major point for Myanmar is to use this as an opportunity for farmers to get higher prices and to produce more, but this will take different credit and input policies. This is a limited opportunity, for China may prefer to import rice officially by sea rather than informally through Yunnan. Indeed, border checks intensified in March 2013, reducing flows.

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Accelerating Success for Operational Excellence in Government Project

Abstract:

Jane Wiseman, March 2017

This paper describes findings and recommendations from 30 existing studies of government efficiency. The reports catalog a staggering number of recommendations, 2,021 in total, to improve the operations of government. Of the 30 studies, 23 include specific dollar-savings amounts that could be achieved as a result of implementing the recommendations. Annual dollar savings identified in the reports range from $18 million in Albany County, New York, to $7.3 billion in California. The total amount of savings identified in these 23 studies is nearly $17 billion in yearly value to the taxpayers of those cities and states. We estimate that if recommendations such as these were implemented across state and local government, a total of $30 billion in value could be returned to taxpayers each year.

Publisher's Version

Last updated on 03/01/2020

Lessons from Leading CDOs: A Framework for Better Civic Analytics

Abstract:

Jane Wiseman, February 2017 

A Chief Data Officer (CDO) can lead a city or state toward greater data-driven government. Data-driven executive leadership in government is relatively new, with just over a dozen cities and a handful of states having named a CDO as of late 2016. Leveraging data enables more responsive and rational allocation of government resources to address priority public needs. There is growing momentum and increasingly frequent news of the next government CDO appointment. While there is a growing proliferation of CDOs in government, there are few resources that describe the landscape, either for the benefit of the chief executive appointing a CDO or the new CDO taking office. This paper intends to help new entrants by documenting selected current practices, including advice shared by existing government CDOs, observations by the author, and analysis from government technology and analytics experts.

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Last updated on 03/20/2020

Tapping Private Financing and Delivery to Modernize America’s Federal Water Resources

Abstract:

Stephen Goldsmith, January 2017  

This report discusses how the private sector should be deployed to help deliver and maintain the United State's crucial water infrastructure in a timelier and more cost-effective manner. To achieve this end, it is imperative to remove deep-seated obstacles and biases at the federal level that impede the use of private financing modalities, such as P3s. As discussed in this report, policies and legislative barriers need to be thoughtfully modernized and amended in order to enable the Nation to transfer risk, accelerate delivery, and secure life-cycle efficiency in the delivery of critical water resource infrastructure. 

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Barbershops and Preventative Health: A Case of Embedded Education

Citation:

Wilson, Deloris, Linda Kaboolian, Jorrit de Jong, and Guy Stuart. 2017. “Barbershops and Preventative Health: A Case of Embedded Education”.

Abstract:

Deloris Wilson, Linda Kaboolian, Jorrit de Jong, and Guy Stuart, January 2017   

This is a case study of the Colorado Black Health Collaborative (CBHC) Barbershop/Salon Health Outreach Program, a community-based initiative that targeted disproportionate rates of hypertension and other health problems within the African American community. 

 

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Health Education in China's Factories: A Case of Embedded Education

Citation:

Zhang, Siwen, Hua Chen, Songyu Zhu, Jorrit de Jong, and Guy Stuart. 2017. “Health Education in China's Factories: A Case of Embedded Education”.

Abstract:

Siwen Zhang, Hua Chen, Songyu Zhu, Jorrit de Jong, and Guy Stuart, January 2017 

This case study focuses on HERhealth, the health education program within the HERproject as it was implemented in China from 2007 onwards . Based on reports supplied by BSR this case study documents the health education and its effects on the behavior of women who received the education in terms of improved reproductive health, personal hygiene, and safe sex practices.

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Last updated on 01/24/2020

HIV/AIDS Prevention on Southern China's Road Projects: A Case of Embedded Education

Citation:

Zhang, Siwen, Hua Chen, Songyu Zhu, Jorrit de Jong, and Guy Stuart. 2017. “HIV/AIDS Prevention on Southern China's Road Projects: A Case of Embedded Education”.

Abstract:

Siwen Zhang, Hua Chen, Songyu Zhu, Jorrit de Jong, and Guy Stuart, January 2017  

This is a case study of the Asia Development Bank (ADB)-sponsored HIV/AIDS prevention program implemented at expressway construction sites in Guangxi province from 2008 to 2015 . The program delivered HIV/AIDS prevention education to migrant workers working at the sites, as well as to members of the communities near the sites.

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Transforming the T: How MBTA Reform Can Right Our Broken Transportation System

Abstract:

In this report, Innovations in American Government Fellow Charles Chieppo outlines a number of reforms intended to put the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority’s (MBTA) fiscal house in order.  Specifically, Chieppo notes that the MBTA Fiscal Management and Control Board found that the T is looking at a $170 million shortfall for the current fiscal year, which is projected to grow to $427 million by fiscal year 2020. With increases in expenses far outpacing revenue growth, absent reform, the T’s financial problems will continue to compound in future years leading to deteriorating infrastructure and faltering service levels. 

Read full paper

Last updated on 01/29/2020

Case Study of 21st Century Civic Engagement: Code for America and the City of Boulder, CO Partnership

Abstract:

The City of Boulder and Code for America partnered on “Housing Boulder,” the community engagement process that would inform Boulder’s 2015/2016 Housing Action Plan. While this case study documents our work on a housing-related project, we believe our engagement tactics are relevant to a much broader audience. As a result, this case study also offers a series of recommendations to help governments begin using 21st-century civic engagement strategies that creatively combine in-person and digital channels.

Read full paper

Last updated on 01/29/2020

Case Study of 21st Century Civic Engagement: Code for America and the City of Boulder, CO Partnership

Abstract:

The City of Boulder and Code for America partnered on “Housing Boulder,” the community engagement process that would inform Boulder’s 2015/2016 Housing Action Plan. While this case study documents our work on a housing-related project, we believe our engagement tactics are relevant to a much broader audience. As a result, this case study also offers a series of recommendations to help governments begin using 21st-century civic engagement strategies that creatively combine in-person and digital channels.

Many Are Called But Few Are Chosen: Modeling the Selection Process for the Innovations in American Government Awards

Abstract:

Sandford Borins and Richard Walker, December 2012 

The adoption of new services and practices is widespread in public organizations as they respond to demands in the external environment and internal aspirations. In order to recognize these activities and disseminate good practices, awards programs have proliferated around the globe. Given the limited empirical analysis of the characteristics of innovation award winners, this article examines the 2010 Innovations in American Government Awards (IAGA) program.

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Educating for Moral Competence (for Philip Selznick)

Abstract:

Kenneth Winston, December 2012

The curricula of schools of public policy and management cover three broad areas: policy analysis, strategic management, and politics. The mission is not only to educate professionals in these areas but to enable them to integrate the three in depth. What kind of professional can do this, and are there generic skills and capacities that this person must possess? This essay explores a core dimension of professional skill that Winston refers to as moral competence – the set of attributes and dispositions that make for good governance. On the assumption that the needed skills and the nature of the polity are inextricably linked, the central question is: What constitutes moral competence for a practitioner of democratic governance? Winston sketches six generic attributes that he regards as constituent components of the good practitioner, and indicates how the case method of teaching helps to cultivate these virtues.

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Adapting to Novelty: Recognizing the Need for Innovation and Leadership

Abstract:

Joseph W. Pfeifer, January 2012

Repairs to sanitation plows and salt-spreaders usually go unnoticed, but when a truck smashes through a wall and is dangling four stories above the ground, it draws intense media attention. On August 17, 2011, at 0928 hours, a 15.5-ton truck lost control inside the Department of Sanitation's Central Repair Facility in Maspeth, Queens, and plowed through an upper floor wall. When FDNY units arrived, the driver, Robert Legall, 56, was tightly grasping the steering wheel, as three-quarters of his truck hung precariously out a window at a 45-degree angle, some 40 feet above the street. The impact of the truck showered the sidewalk and road with bricks, shattering windshields and crushing roofs of parked cars.

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Working Together In Crises

Citation:

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

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.

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Preparing in Advance for Disaster Recovery

Citation:

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

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.

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From Government 2.0 to Society 2.0: Pathways to Engagement, Collaboration, and Transformation

Abstract:

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.

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Leading in Crises: Observations on the Political and Decision-Making Dimensions of Response

Abstract:

Herman B. ”Dutch” Leonard and Arnold M. Howitt – August 2012 

Emergency response organizations must deal with both ”routine emergencies” (dangerous events, perhaps extremely severe, that are routine because they can be anticipated and prepared for) and ”true crises” (which, because of significant novelty, cannot be dealt with exclusively by pre-determined emergency plans and capabilities). These types of emergencies therefore require emergency response organizations to adopt very different leadership strategies, if they are effectively to cope with the differential demands of these events. This paper develops ideas about leadership under crisis conditions, concentrating on the political leadership and decision making functions that are thrust to the center of concern during such crisis events.

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Innovations in Post-Conflict Transitions: The United Nations Development Program in the Democratic Republic of the Congo

Abstract:

Sarah Dix, Diego Miranda, and Charles H. Norchi, February 2010

Between January and September of 2007, a team composed of Dr. Sarah Dix, Mr. Diego Miranda, and Dr. Charles H. Norchi appraised the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) country office programs, procedures, and management as implemented from 2003 to 2007. During the 2003 to 2007 period, the country program cycle focused on promoting good governance, conflict prevention, community recovery, and fighting HIV/AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis. Overall, the office managed more than $500 million for all programs, becoming among the three largest UNDP country operations in the world. This report examines the organizational dimensions of the UNDP office in the DRC, and analyzes its most important program innovations.

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Innovation as Narrative

Citation:

Borins, Sandford. 2010. “Innovation as Narrative”.

Abstract:

Sandford Borins, February 2010

This paper begins by outlining a number of key narratological concepts, such as the distinction between narrative – the events represented – and one or more narrators’ presentations of the events, implied author and implied reader, and structural analysis of narrative genres. It then applies these concepts to the three narrations of the 31 finalists of the 2008 and 2009 Innovations in American Government Awards. The paper concludes with suggestions for how public management scholars could incorporate narratological insights into their analysis, how innovation awards could ask applicants to develop more explicit narratives, and how innovators could make more effective use of narrative in communicating their achievements.

Last updated on 01/31/2020

Organising Response to Extreme Emergencies: The Victorian Bushfires of 2009

Abstract:

Herman B. Leonard and Arnold M. Howitt, September 2010

The horrific events of Black Saturday (February 7, 2009) in Victoria, Australia, constitute an extreme event. In January and February of 2009, Victoria experienced unprecedented climatic conditions of drought and heat that brought the state to a literally explosive fire condition, with tinder-dry fuels across the state needing only a combination of wind and an ignition source to touch off potentially devastating fires. Over the course of January and early February, firefighters responded to literally hundreds of fires. In the first week of February, historically high temperatures prevailed across the state, with new records set in many locations. Melbourne experienced temperatures for three consecutive days above 43 degrees Celsius (109 degrees Fahrenheit), further exacerbating already historically-threatening fire conditions.

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Suggestions for Improving Transparency Policies

Citation:

Fung, Archon, Mary Graham, and David Weil. 2009. “Suggestions for Improving Transparency Policies”.

Abstract:

Archon Fung, Mary Graham, and David Weil; March 2009

The authors offer several suggestions for ways that the federal government can improve transparency. The first section describes several general policies to create better disclosure systems; the second section offers some prototype and experimental initiatives that might begin in short order.

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Kachin State Development Prospects and Priorities

Abstract:

David Dapice, May 2016  

Kachin has just over 3% of Myanmar’s population but a much larger share of its natural resource wealth, notably in the form of large jade deposits and significant hydropower potential. Research findings indicate that currently most of that wealth is going to private and foreign interests, depriving both Kachin state and the nation of resources they need and should have. The author argues that if Myanmar is to remain united, grow stronger and richer, and attract the states so they wish to belong in the Union, it will be necessary to capture a fair share of this wealth and use it for nation-building purposes, especially in Kachin state. Options for sensible approaches to hydropower, jade revenue sharing, and the state’s development more generally are discussed.

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Last updated on 01/24/2020

Urban Champions or Rich Peripheries? China’s Spatial Development Dilemmas

Abstract:

Kyle A. Jaros, April 2016 

Amid booming urban growth in China, leaders have weighed the goal of building globally competitive metropolises against concerns about sustainable and inclusive development. This brief looks at the experience of similar Chinese provinces that have pursued different spatial development models, highlighting the hard choices policymakers face and the political conflicts that unfold.

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Governing for Growth and the Resilience of the Chinese Communist Party

Abstract:

David J. Bulman, April 2016 

Meritocratic promotions based on local economic achievements have enabled the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) to achieve not only economic growth, but also improvements in local governance, as local governments have implemented institutional reforms in pursuit of GDP growth. However, not all regions of the country have adopted GDP growth as the key priority; those that have instead prioritized social stability have experienced not only slower growth, but also worse local governance outcomes. These findings have important implications for the adaptability and resilience of the CCP.

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Last updated on 01/24/2020

To Build or Not to Build: Designing Sustainable Hydro Projects in Myanmar

Abstract:

Over 40 hydropower projects are under consideration in Myanmar. While past hydro investments score poorly on environmental impact mitigation and locally shared economic benefit, this paper argues that the country’s domestic electricity demand cannot be met adequately by other renewable energy sources alone. The paper makes the case that emphasis should be placed on developing a transparent, productive and meaningful review process which embeds mechanisms for balancing national and local interests and for securing appropriate expertise to ensure comprehensive assessments. The issue of weighing domestic need versus export markets is also considered. Click to read the Burmese version

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Hydropower in Myanmar: Moving Electricity Contracts from Colonial to Commercial

Abstract:

Myanmar has less electricity per capita than Bangladesh and only a third of its population is connected to grid electricity. Although Myanmar has huge reserves of potential hydroelectricity, this paper argues that more is at stake than electricity supply, and that the political implications of hydro development are crucial to a peaceful and united future for Myanmar. It cautions that hydroelectric projects undertaken in the past decade had exceedingly disadvantageous terms that serve Myanmar poorly, and that if a stable political framework that promotes national unity is going to be realized, how hydroelectricity projects are approved and developed, and how the revenue benefits are distributed are as important as the electricity itself. Click to read the Burmese version

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Last updated on 01/29/2020

The National People’s Congress: Functions and Membership

Abstract:

From time to time, the attention of the media in the United States and around world turns to China’s National People’s Congress (NPC), typically around the time the NPC meets in March.  This paper is intended to provide an overview of the NPC's role in China's governmental hierarchy, its functions, and its membership.

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Last updated on 01/29/2020

Institutional Reform: From Vision to Reality

Citation:

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”.

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.

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Institutional Reform: From Vision to Reality

Citation:

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”.

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.

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Electricity Supply, Demand and Prices in Myanmar – How to Close the Gap?

Abstract:

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

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Last updated on 01/30/2020

Electricity Supply, Demand and Prices in Myanmar – How to Close the Gap?

Abstract:

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.)

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Reflections on a Survey of Global Perceptions of International Leaders and World Powers

Abstract:

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.

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Reflections on a Survey of Global Perceptions of International Leaders and World Powers

Abstract:

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.

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Last updated on 03/16/2020

Choosing Survival: Finding a Way to Overcome Current Economic and Political Quagmires in Myanmar

Abstract:

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.

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Creating a Future: Using Natural Resources for New Federalism and Unity

Abstract:

David Dapice and Nguyen Xuan Thanh, July 2013

Myanmar is a very poor country with some promising political developments but up to now limited economic reform. The historically low growth and high poverty rates have fed social tensions, most evident in the current Buddhist-Muslim violence. The continuing military pressure on ethnic states that do not effectively surrender to the Myanmar Army represents an old extractive almost feudal approach that forgoes real political negotiation in favor of occupation and exploitation of resource-rich areas. However, there are tentative signs of changes by the government. This paper proposes a set of policies to transform the current situation by combining greater tax revenues from mineral resources with better governance to create political unity and market-based economic progress.

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Unplugging Institutional Bottlenecks to Restore Growth: A Policy Discussion Paper Prepared for the 2013 Vietnam Executive Leadership Program (VELP)

Citation:

Nghia, Pham Duy, Nguyen Xuan Thanh, Huynh The Du, Do Thien Anh Tuan, Ben Wilkinson, Vu Thanh Tu Anh, Dwight Perkins, and David Da. 2013. “Unplugging Institutional Bottlenecks to Restore Growth: A Policy Discussion Paper Prepared for the 2013 Vietnam Executive Leadership Program (VELP)”.

Abstract:

Pham Duy Nghia, Nguyen Xuan Thanh, Huynh The Du, Do Thien Anh Tuan, Ben Wilkinson, Vu Thanh Tu Anh, Dwight Perkins, and David Dapice, August 2013

This paper was prepared for the fourth annual Vietnam Executive Leadership Program (VELP), held at the Harvard Kennedy School from August 26 to 30, 2013. The paper aimed to provide participants, including Vietnamese government officials, scholars, and corporate executives, with a concise assessment of some of the key public policy challenges confronting Vietnam today. This paper is by no means comprehensive; it is not possible to offer an exhaustive analysis of every policy area in a brief study. In selecting which issues to address, the authors were guided by the priorities articulated by the Vietnamese government in policy statements promulgated over the past year. By design, the paper was delivered as a work in progress, which the authors encouraged the participants to challenge and strengthen through rigorous debate over the five days of VELP. It is hoped that the paper also will serve as a catalyst for informed discussion and debate among the larger policy community in Vietnam.

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Against the Odds: Building a Coalition

Citation:

Dapice, David, and Thomas Vallely. 2013. “Against the Odds: Building a Coalition”.

Abstract:

Using a New Federalism for Unity and Progress in Myanmar
David Dapice and Thomas Vallely, March 2013

When in 2010, the President of the Union of Myanmar, the Speaker of the Lower House and several ministers decided to push for a rapid political opening, they engineered what could be called a critical juncture. This critical juncture now provides the country with an opportunity to move forward, not only with faster economic growth, but also with better quality growth and political change that will unify the nation and create broad progress. In exploring a possible approach toward unity and progress, this paper uses the framework developed in Why Nations Fail, a recent book on economic and political development and also refers to the idea of “illiberal democracy“ articulated by Fareed Zakaria. The basic idea is that a broad coalition of the incumbent party, the democratic opposition, ethnic groups and the military is needed to fundamentally change Myanmar’s past failed orientation. This broad coalition should work for a new federalism in which states (at a minimum) have fairly elected governors and meaningful revenue sources so they can run many of their own affairs. Recognizing that central to real progress is a transition from a repressive, extractive and exclusive political system with crony businesses to a broadly inclusive political system that spreads economic opportunity, the paper argues that broad political and economic change need to go hand in hand.

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Rice Policy in Myanmar: It’s Getting Complicated

Abstract:

David Dapice, April 2013

Exports of rice to China have exploded and are now over half of total exports. Because of high support prices for paddy and thus for rice in China, it is profitable to send rice and even paddy to China from Myanmar, where the imported rice can sometimes get higher local prices. This could draw rice away from “normal“ exports out of Yangon and even raise the price of paddy (and thus rice) in Myanmar to a level above the world price, causing imports to Myanmar. Imports to Myanmar would keep the price of rice lower than if the China price set Myanmar’s price. The major point for Myanmar is to use this as an opportunity for farmers to get higher prices and to produce more, but this will take different credit and input policies. This is a limited opportunity, for China may prefer to import rice officially by sea rather than informally through Yunnan. Indeed, border checks intensified in March 2013, reducing flows.

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Electricity Demand and Supply in Myanmar

Abstract:

David Dapice, December 2012 

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) recently released an excellent report on Myanmar’s energy sector. In it they presented estimates of future demand growth by the Ministry of Electric Power for electricity. They show demand doubling from 12,459 million kWh in 2012-13 to 25,683 million kWh in 2018-19, a compound rate of growth of 13% a year. However, the actual production in 2012 appears to be only 10,000 million kWh, and it is unlikely that moving to 2012-13 will raise the total much beyond 10,500 million kWh. Of this output, about 1700 million kWh will be exported. (Electricity exports exceeded 1700 million kWh in both 2010 and 2011.) So, the likely electricity output in 2012-13 available for domestic use will be 3659 kWh below this year's demand estimate. Production for domestic use would have to jump by 42% to equal the expected demand. This is a massive shortfall and demand grows by over 1500 million kWh in 2013-14. So for 2013-14, supply net of exports would have to grow by nearly 5200 million kWh to account for the existing shortfall and projected growth, or by nearly 60% over 2012-13.

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Network Structure and the Aggregation of Information: Theory and Evidence from Indonesia

Abstract:

Rema Hanna, October 2012 

This paper uses a unique data-set from Indonesia on what individuals know about the income distribution in their village to test theories such as Jackson and Rogers (2007) that link information aggregation in networks to the structure of the network. The observed patterns are consistent with a basic diffusion model: more central individuals are better informed, and individuals are able to better evaluate the poverty status of those to whom they are more socially proximate. To understand what the theory predicts for cross-village patterns, this paper estimates a simple diffusion model using within-village variation, simulate network-level diffusion under this model for the over 600 different networks in our data, and use this simulated data to gauge what the simple diffusion model predicts for the cross-village relationship between information diffusion and network characteristics (e.g. clustering, density). The coefficients in these simulated regressions are generally consistent with relationships suggested in previous theoretical work, even though in our setting formal analytical predictions have not been derived. This paper then shows that the qualitative predictions from the simulated model largely match the actual data in the sense that we obtain similar results both when the dependent variable is an empirical measure of the accuracy of a village’s aggregate information and when it is the simulation outcome. Finally, this paper considers a real-world application to community based targeting, where villagers chose which households should receive an anti-poverty program, and show that networks with better diffusive properties (as predicted by our model) differentially benefit from community based targeting policies.

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