2010

2010 Mar 04

Crossing the Chasm in Tough Times

5:00pm

Location: 

124 Mt. Auburn Street, Suite 200-North, Room 226, Cambridge, MA

Jerry Mechling, Lecturer in Public Policy

About the Seminar
Innovations often have great trouble crossing the chasm” between invention and widespread use, between the culture of pioneers and that of settlers. Tough times, surprisingly, make certain kinds of chasm-crossings more likely. This seminar explored how current pioneers and settlers in government assess the problems of chasm-crossing and view their priorities for innovations related to information technology.... Read more about Crossing the Chasm in Tough Times

2010 Mar 03

Can Immigration Policy be Both Liberal and Democratic?

4:10pm to 5:30pm

Location: 

Pop Center, 9 Bow Street, 1st Floor Conference Room

Gary Freeman, University of Texas, Austin

About the Seminar
Are liberal immigration policies compatible with democratic policymaking? Contemporary migration to Western countries has well-known implications for their ethnic and religious compositions but less well-known implications for democratic governance. In no Western country, with the exception of Canada, are current immigration policies supported by majorities. Countries with liberal policies (the United States) rarely enjoy broad support for their programs; countries with more democratic policy processes (Switzerland) run the risk of having their liberal policies scuttled by the voters. The immigration that has turned Europe into a destination region and has recently approached historic magnitudes in traditional immigration countries is driving the most far-reaching social transformation of Western countries since the industrial revolution. That such portentous changes are taking place without unambiguous popular consent and persist in the face of significant opposition identifies a serious democratic deficit at the heart of Western political systems.... Read more about Can Immigration Policy be Both Liberal and Democratic?

2010 Mar 01

Strategies for Fostering Social Innovation in U.S. Cities

8:30am

Location: 

Belfer Center, Bell Hall

Panel of Social Innovators

About the Seminar
Guests joined us for breakfast with a panel of social entrepreneurs and urban leaders to discuss different approaches to encourage and support social innovation in American cities. Moderated by former Indianapolis Mayor Stephen Goldsmith, current director of the Innovations in Government Program at the Ash Center, the panel included:

Christopher Gergen, Director of the Entrepreneurial Leadership Initiative at Duke University

David Harris, President and CEO of the Mind Trust in Indianapolis

Paul Vandeventer, President and CEO of Community Partners in Los Angeles... Read more about Strategies for Fostering Social Innovation in U.S. Cities

2010 Feb 22

Public Policies and Private Behaviors

4:10pm to 5:30pm

Location: 

124 Mt. Auburn Street, Suite 200-North, Room 226, Cambridge, MA

Achieving Policy Goals through the Tapping of “Moral Resources”
Claus Offe, Hertie School of Governance in Berlin

About the Seminar
All policies have target actors (“policy takers”) whose courses of action are to be changed from what they would be in the absence of a particular policy. In this seminar, Claus Offe started with the distinction of three mechanisms by which public policies can reach their goals. Apart from laws and their enforcement through (the threat of) coercive sanctions, there are mechanism of taxing and spending which appeal to the rational interest of policy takers. In addition, there are “soft” mechanisms of appealing to social and moral norms, the compliance to which is held to promote public goods and collectively desirable changes. He focused upon policy areas in which neither deterrence through coercion nor incentivization through taxes, benefits, or transfers are promising tools of public policy. One of many such examples is the issue of parental preventative care for child obesity through appropriate nutritional practices.... Read more about Public Policies and Private Behaviors

2010 Feb 18

Why Replication Rarely Happens

5:00pm

Location: 

Allison Dining Room, Taubman Building, 5th Floor

Professor Robert Behn, Kennedy School of Government

About the Seminar
In this seminar, Professor Behn explained how although experimentation designed to achieve a public policy objective can result in innovation – an innovation that could benefit other jurisdictions and agencies – true, meaningful replication of such innovations rarely happens. Why?

This event was part of the Innovation in Government Seminar Series, which explores various aspects and approaches to the study of government innovation. This year-long series seeks to educate and inform the next generation of government innovators.... Read more about Why Replication Rarely Happens

2010 Feb 17

A Theory of State Formation

4:10pm to 5:30pm

Location: 

124 Mount Auburn, Suite 200-North, Room 226

Carles Boix, Princeton University

About the Seminar
To explain the transition from stateless, relatively equal communities to agrarian, unequal and state-governed societies, that has taken place since about 8,500 BC, this seminar discussed a model with the following traits:

  • income-maximizing agents, who may either choose between a productive strategy or an expropriatory strategy, coordinating on peace without permanent political institutions, provided their economic conditions are relatively equal;

  • as soon as inequality rises (due to a biased technological shock), their spontaneous coordination around peace becomes unfeasible;

  • agents sort out into different types and states are formed, either of a monarchical type (where the more productive agents make a transfer to the less productive ones in exchange for permanent protection) or a republican system (where the former invest directly on some defensive structures to deter the latter from looting them).... Read more about A Theory of State Formation

2010 Feb 10

What Happens in Legislative Debates?

4:10pm to 5:30pm

Location: 

124 Mt. Auburn Street, Suite 200-North, Cambridge, MA

A Deliberative Analysis of Two Contrasting Examples
André Bächtiger, University of Bern

About the Seminar
In this seminar, Professor Bächtiger provided an update of the Deliberative Quality Index applied to two controversial bills in the Swiss legislature, one eventually decided relatively consensually and the other by a close majority vote. His analysis revealed different sequences in deliberative style, with elements that run from the reasoned” to the competitive.”... Read more about What Happens in Legislative Debates?

2010 Feb 03

The Politics of Citizenship

4:10pm to 5:30pm

Location: 

Pop Center, 9 Bow Street, 1st Floor Conference Room

Marc Howard, Georgetown University

About the Seminar
In this seminar, Marc Howard addressed immigrant integration, one of the most critical challenges facing European countries today, the resolution of which will in large part depend on how foreigners can become citizens. Howard’s research shows that despite remarkable convergence in their economic, judicial, and social policies, the countries of the European Union still maintain very different definitions of citizenship. Howard’s argument focused on the politics of citizenship, showing in particular how anti-immigrant public opinion – when activated politically, usually by far right movements or public referenda – can block the liberalizing tendencies of political elites.... Read more about The Politics of Citizenship

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