News & Events

Leadership Transition at the Taubman Center

After a remarkable decade at the helm, Ed Glaeser is stepping down as director of the Taubman Center for State and Local Government as of June 30th. Ed has been an extraordinary leader. While here, his work has focused on the determinants of city growth and the role of cities as centers of idea transmission. He has produced scholarship and public writings that have helped shape discussions around land use planning, urban entrepreneurship and the importance of education for local success. He has been an incredible supporter of junior faculty here, running a special seminar and serving as a mentor for many. Ed is the Fred and Eleanor Glimp Professor of Economics in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, and he will continue to teach courses on urban and social economics and microeconomic theory. He will also remain heavily involved in the Taubman Center.

I am very pleased to announce that Jeff Liebman has agreed to serve as our next director of the Taubman Center. He is the ideal person to fill this vital role. Jeff, who received his Ph.D. in Economics from Harvard, is the Malcolm Wiener Professor of Public Policy. His research focuses on tax and budget policy, social insurance, poverty, and income inequality. He spent the first two years of the Obama Administration at the Office of Management and Budget, first as executive associate director and chief economist and then as acting deputy director. Since returning to the Kennedy School from Washington, his attention has turned to public sector management issues, particularly how state and local governments can more effectively procure social services. He established the Harvard Kennedy School Social Impact Bond Technical Assistance Lab (SIB Lab), which is providing pro bono technical assistance to 8 state governments and 2 city governments in an effort to study how governments can foster social innovation and improve the results they obtain with their social spending. The SIB Lab has a team of nine government innovation fellows imbedded in the governments being served, thus providing experiential learning opportunities to our students and recent graduates. In his new role in the Taubman Center, Jeff is planning to test whether the SIB Lab model of direct collaboration with state and local governments can be expanded to a broader set of public sector management issues -- with the goals of learning what techniques work to improve government effectiveness and of inspiring our students to work on these issues once they graduate. He is a superb teacher and colleague.

Please join me in thanking Ed Glaeser for his outstanding service and in supporting Jeff Liebman in his new role.

David T. Ellwood, Dean

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Research Assistant Position in Urban Economic Development

Description of Research Assistant (RA) Position: During the fall session of 2014, Harvard Adjunct Lecturer Steven Strauss will be teaching a new course on urban economic development at Princeton's Woodrow Wilson School. He is seeking to hire an RA whose primary responsibility will be to assist with background research in developing this course, including but not limited to: Preparing lists of academic and practitioner experts, reviewing and summarizing case studies and articles for possible inclusion in the course materials, providing feedback on potential assignment questions, and taking notes at expert interviews. The RA will also be expected to assist with various ad hoc projects related to public sector management and economic development.

Time Commitment: 10 - 15 hours per week, between now and September, possibly continuing into the 2014-2015 academic year. Compensation is $16.50/hour.

Qualifications: The RA should be a Harvard Masters or Ph.D. student, with a strong interest in urban economic development and public sector management. The RA should have good PowerPoint, Word and library research skills (e.g., familiarity with Hollis).

Bio: Steven Strauss has extensive experience as an American business, not-for-profit, and government executive. He is currently on the faculty of the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. He originally joined Harvard as an Advanced Leadership Fellow. In 2010-2011, Steven was selected as a member of the Silicon Alley 100. Immediately prior to Harvard, he was a Managing Director at the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCE) and founded NYC's Center for Economic Transformation. For NYC, he authored a series of reports on NYC's economic development which recommended a focus on technology based industries for future growth. In order to implement this vision, he recommended and supervised the creation of Applied Sciences NYC (the expansion of Cornell, Columbia and NYU's engineering programs in NYC). Prior to working for NYC, Steven was an executive with the World Economic Forum and McKinsey & Co. Steven has a B.A. from New York University, and a Ph.D. in Management from Yale University.

Submission: Applicants should email their CV with a cover email describing their interest and background in urban economic development.  Applications and any questions should be sent to Steven Strauss' attention at

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White Paper on Boston Marathon Bombing Released

A white paper entitled "Why Was Boston Strong? Lessons from the Boston Marathon Bombing," was publicly released on Thursday, April 3, 2014. The report highlights a number of factors that contributed to a largely successful response and emphasizes what, exactly, made Boston Strong and resilient in the face of tragedy. It also provides a set of recommendations for jurisdictions to consider going forward.

Read the paper and more about the research team's initiative here.

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Professor Brigitte Madrian Appointed to FINRA Board of Governors

Taubman Center faculty member, Professor Brigitte Madrian has been appointed as a public Governor to the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority Board of Governors.

Read more about Professor Madrian's research and new appointment here.

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President Obama Refers to Saguaro Seminar White Paper in Economic Mobility Speech

A Saguaro Seminar study co-authored by Robert Putnam, Carl Frederick, and Kaisa Snellman provided the social science behind President Obama's economic mobility speech.

Read more about the study and speech here.

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WSJ Op-Ed from Professor Paul Peterson: "The Obama Setback for Minority Education"

Read the latest op-ed from Professor Paul Peterson (Program on Education Policy and Governance): "The Obama Setback for Minority Education."

Steady gains for black and Hispanic students under No Child Left Behind have come to a virtual standstill. Read more here.

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Robert Putnam Awarded National Humanities Medal by National Endowment for the Arts

Taubman affiliate Robert Putnam, the Peter and Isabel Malkin Professor of Public Policy at Harvard Kennedy School, has been awarded the National Humanities Medal by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). He received his medal at a ceremony at the White House on July 10th. According to a White House press release, "Putnam’s writing and research inspire us to improve institutions that make society worth living in, and his insights challenge us to be better citizens." MORE >

Read the Harvard Gazette story on Putnam's award here.

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Preliminary Thoughts and Observations on the Boston Marathon Bombing from the Program on Crisis Leadership

Arn Howitt and Dutch Leonard have written a Program on Crisis Leadership (PCL) discussion paper about their initial thoughts and observations about the marathon bombing. You can read their paper here.

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Support for State and Local Governments Announced to Develop Innovative Approach to Social Programs

The Social Impact Bond Technical Assistance Lab (SIB Lab) at the Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) announced today that, with funding from The Rockefeller Foundation, it will be offering pro bono technical assistance to support four more state and local governments in implementing a “pay-for-success” approach to social spending using social impact bonds. Over the past year, the SIB Lab has helped Massachusetts and New York State develop this approach. MORE >

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The Tohuku Disaster: Responding to Japan's 3/11 Earthquake, Tsunami and Nuclear Accident

On November 14th, Arn Howitt, faculty co-director of the Program on Crisis Leadership, led a seminar on the Japanese government's emergency management response to the Great East Japan Earthquake, tsunami and nuclear accident. How did they rate? How did the different levels of government respond? You can find out for yourself here.

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New study by Filipe Campante finds that isolated capital cities are more associated with corruption

Taubman Center affiliate professor Filipe Campante has authored a recent study which finds that capital cities that are more isolated have a higher association with corruption.

Campante and his co-author Quoc-Anh Do of Singapore Management University recently told the New York Times: "Massachusetts, with its population quite concentrated around Boston, is measured as considerably less corrupt than New York and its isolated Albany... and Boston newspaper readers might be more interested in what goes on in Beacon Hill than the New York papers' is in what takes place in Albany."

You can find the full text of the paper here.

For more media coverage on the study:
New York Times
New York Daily News
LA Times

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Systems Failure: A new article on Emergency Management in Japan by the Program on Crisis Leadership's Arn Howitt and Dutch Leonard

Arn Howitt and Dutch Leonard have authored a new article in the journal Crisis/Response about the after effects of the natural disasters in Japan, and how the country's emergency systems responded.

Howitt and and Leonard say that "the threat of large-scale systems failure requires emergency managers to take bold steps to avert or mitigate damage and to be ready for more complex and extensive emergency responses."

You can read the article here.

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New Policy Brief Examines Seven Notable Trends From Newly Released Census Data

In a new Rappaport Institute/Taubman Center Policy Brief titled Which Places are Growing?  Seven Notable Trends From Newly Released Census Data,  Edward Glaeser, director of both the Rappaport Institute for Greater Boston and the Taubman Center for State and Local Government, identifies seven key facts about county-level population growth that emerge from census data that were released on March 24, 2011.  The seven facts are:

1.    Population growth was much higher in counties with higher incomes as of 2000.  Americans unsurprisingly moved to areas that deliver higher wages.
2.    January temperature continues to be a strong predictor of population growth.  This fact reflects both a natural affinity for warmth, and also the tendency of many Sunbelt areas to have fewer barriers to building.
3.    Population growth was faster near ports.  While 19th century Americans populated the American hinterland, 21st century Americans are moving to the country’s periphery.
4.    People are moving to dense areas, but not the densest areas.  Despite the decline in transportation costs, people are still disproportionately moving to places that had higher density levels as of 2000, responding to the enormous productivity advantages associated with proximity.
5.    The education level of a county as of 2000 strongly predicts population growth over the last decade.  Again, this trend reflects the tendency of skilled areas to generate far higher incomes.
6.    Manufacturing employment predicts lower population growth.  While manufacturing has predicted urban decline for decades, the connection between manufacturing and lower levels of growth across all U.S. counties is a more recent phenomenon.
7.    Limits to housing supply that come from either nature or regulation will also limit population growth.  The most expensive areas have not grown all that much and the areas that have grown most demonstrably are not that expensive.

Glaeser concludes by noting that while these trends do not dictate any particular public policies or suggest any particular course of action, they should be relevant for policy-makers at both the local and the national level.

The full text of “Which Places are Growing?  Seven Notable Trends From Newly Released Census Data,” is available here.

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Crisis in Japan: Dutch Leonard authors new paper

Professor Herman (Dutch) Leonard, Program on Crisis Leadership, has authored a paper on the crisis in Japan, titled "Preliminary Observations on the Japanese 3/11 Earthquake and Tsunami."

The short paper provides a general background on the earthquake/tsunami hazard, discusses how well-prepared Japan was for the event, and explores what the response and recovery processes will likely entail.

To read a copy of the paper, please click here.

You can read more information about the Program on Crisis Leadership or Professor Dutch Leonard on their websites.

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Taubman Center Director Edward Glaeser appeared on The Daily Show

Taubman Center Director Edward Glaeser appeared on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart on February 14th to promote his new book Triumph of the City. Watch the very enjoyable five minute video here (Flash required).

The Daily Show - Edward Glaeser
Tags: Daily Show Full Episodes,Political Humor & Satire Blog,The Daily Show on Facebook

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Edward Glaeser's new book, Triumph of the City, is out now!


Over 249 million Americans, or two-thirds of us, live on the three percent of land that contains our cities. Yet cities get a bad rap: they're dirty, poor, unhealthy, crime-ridden, expensive, environmentally unfriendly...or are they? In Triumph of the City: How Our Greatest Invention Makes Us Richer, Smarter, Greener, Healthier, and Happier (The Penguin Press), Edward Glaeser, Harvard's pioneering and iconoclastic urban expert, shatters these myths and reveals the physical, cultural, and economic miracles that unfold every day in our cities. He also makes an urgent, eloquent case for appreciating and supporting our cities, no matter where we live. 

Pick up a copy at your local bookstore, and find out if Ed is coming to a city near you:

You can also follow Triumph on Twitter, and become a fan on Facebook.

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Edward Glaeser Elected Member by American Academy of Arts and Sciences


April 19, 2010 
Edward Glaeser, Fred and Eleanor Glimp professor of economics; director, Taubman Center for State and Local Government; director, Rappaport Institute for Greater Boston at Harvard Kennedy School, is among the two hundred and twenty-nine leaders in the sciences, the humanities and the arts, business, public affairs and the nonprofit sector who have been elected members of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. 

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Kennedy School Team places 2nd at the 2010 Education Leadership Case Competition!


Pittsburgh Public Schools:
The Pathway to the Promise Starts Here

On February 13th Kennedy School students Thackston Lundy, Kendall Fitch, Jonathan Bailey, and Edith Coakley competed against other business school teams at the Education Leadership Case Competition at the Hass School at UC-Berkeley and came away with 2nd place!  This year’s competition focused on Pittsburgh Public Schools and the nationally recognized work of Superintendent Mark Roosevelt. The presentations were judged by a panel that included Mark Roosevelt, marking the first time in the history of the competition that the head of an urban school district has attended as a judge.  Other judges included Amy Malen and Holly O’Donnell, both of the Pittsburg Public Schools. 

The Taubman Center is extremely proud to have helped sponsor these exceptional students. 

Haas Education Leadership Case Competition: Pittsburgh Public Schools

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