News & Events

For recently archived stories, and for all news prior to 2009, please visit the Wiener Center's News Archive.

Amitabh ChandraAmitabh Chandra honored by his alma mater
March 1, 2012
Harvard Kennedy School
Amitabh Chandra, professor of public policy, was inducted into the University of Kentucky Gatton College of Business and Economics Alumni Hall of Fame today. "Induction into the Gatton Hall of Fame is a prestigious honor for our business school alumni," said Merl Hackbart, interim dean of the college. "The inductees represent several different professions and career paths, yet all have distinguished themselves in their business pursuits and in civic and community leadership."


Amitabh ChandraAmitabh Chandra comments on connections between exhaustion and medical malpractice
December 15, 2011
Boston Globe
"Burnout may be what reinforces the connections between malpractice, defensive medicine and poor-quality care," said Amitabh Chandra, a professor of public policy at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government and an economist who has written extensively on medical malpractice.


Kathy Edin and William Julius WilsonKathy Edin and William Julius Wilson offer perspectives on inequality in panel moderated by Dean Ellwood
December 7, 2011
Harvard Gazette
"The question is: What can we do realistically, given the present economic and political [reality]," Wilson said. "I would love to strengthen the nation’s equalizing institutions … institutions that I think played major roles in the broadly rising economics in all groups."


Alex KeyssarAlex Keyssar, Kathy Edin and other Harvard analysts suggest Rx for America’s unemployment doldrums
November 30, 2011
Harvard Gazette
As the United States copes with long-term unemployment, analysts said it’s also important to ramp up social supports. Unstable finances can create unstable families, said Kathy Edin, a professor of public policy and management at HKS who studies marriage and family structure in low-income communities.


Wiener AuditoriumHKS Earns LEED Gold Certification for Wiener Auditorium Renovations
November 18, 2011
Harvard Kennedy School
The renovation of the Wiener Auditorium, an approximately 3,000 square foot space located on the ground level of Taubman Hall, was driven by the need to reconfigure spaces to meet programmatic requirements for the HKS stakeholders, support new media and teaching practices, modify acoustical treatments, update finishes and furnishings, and increase the efficiency and quality of the lighting, heating, ventilation, air conditioning, as well as their associated controls.


William Julius WilsonWilliam Julius Wilson links rising income inequality to the emergence of a two-tiered American society
November 15, 2011
New York Times
William Julius Wilson, a sociologist at Harvard who has seen the study, argues that "rising inequality is beginning to produce a two-tiered society in America in which the more affluent citizens live lives fundamentally different from the middle- and lower-income groups. This divide decreases a sense of community."


Anthony BragaAnthony Braga comments on policing strategy and Safe Streets Program
October 30, 2011
Boston Globe
A strategy that puts teams of cops on a beat, an age-old crime-fighting tactic that Boston Police Commissioner Edward F. Davis revived in Boston more than four years ago, has helped reduce the number of shootings and robberies, according to a federally funded study.


Bob BlendonBob Blendon comments on Massachusetts poll re: controlling healthcare costs
October 21, 2011
Pollster Bob Blendon, of Harvard’s Kennedy School and the Harvard School of Public Health, spoke to WBUR’s Martha Bebinger about this survey of 1002 Massachusetts residents. BLENDON: The main reasons were excessive charges by pharmaceutical firms, hospitals and insurers. There was less concern about the things experts always talk about: using too much high cost technology, going to expensive teaching hospitals or not shopping for care. The big takeaway here is that 74% of respondents want the state to take action.


Amitabh ChandraAmitabh Chandra debates the health insurance plans' impact on health
October 3, 2011
Why don’t my parents have health insurance? Dr. Amitabh Chandra, a health economist from Wiener Center for Public Policy at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, asked that question at the 5th Health Insurance Summit of the Confederation of Indian Industry recently held in New Delhi. When I repeated a version of the question to Damien Marmion, chief executive officer of Max Bupa Health Insurance, he cited two reasons, “Awareness and services.” In India, only 60 million people have commercial health insurance while another 240 million people are covered by social government schemes.


Alex KeyssarAlex Keyssar Op-ed: The real grand bargain, coming undone
August 21, 2011
Washington Post
Despite all the recent talk of "grand bargains," little attention has been paid to the unraveling of a truly grand bargain that has been at the center of public policy in the United States for more than a century.

That bargain — which emerged in stages between the 1890s and 1930s — established an institutional framework to balance the needs of the American people with the vast inequalities of wealth and power wrought by the triumph of industrial capitalism.


Amitabh ChandraAmitabh Chandra's new research on medical malpractice claims
August 17, 2011
Note: this research study was also covered by, AFP,, and
(Reuters Health) - Virtually every doctor practicing in a high-risk specialty will face at least one malpractice claim during their career, and even physicians in low-risk areas have a 75 percent chance of facing a suit at some point, according to a new study.
Amitabh Chandra of the Harvard Kennedy School in Cambridge, Mass., who headed the study, said the results show that doctors are correct when they say they face a constant threat of lawsuits, but the findings also show that the direct cost tends to be lower than most think.


Sheila BurkeFaculty member Sheila Burke honored for work on Medicare, Medicaid and national health care agenda
June 8, 2011
Sheila Burke, RN, MPA, FAAN, is an Adjunct Lecturer in Public Policy at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University and a Faculty Research Fellow at the Malcolm Wiener Center for Social Policy. "Burke's ability to master detail and grasp key discussion points, along with her tireless dedication to working through issues from every possible angle, has earned her the praise and respect of Republicans and Democrats alike," according to a NASI announcement about the award.


Bruce Western Named Director of Malcolm Wiener Center for Social Policy
May 20, 2011
Harvard Kennedy School
Cambridge, MA – Sociologist Bruce Western has been named faculty director at Harvard Kennedy School’s (HKS) Malcolm Wiener Center for Social Policy. Western will succeed Julie Wilson, who has served as director since 1993, beginning on August 1.


Ronald FergusonClosing the Achievement Gap Without Widening a Racial One
February 13, 2011
The New York Times profiles center faculty member, Ronald Ferguson and his research on the causes of the achievement gap in American education.


Julie WilsonJulie Wilson comments on case reviews in the federal disability aid program for children (SSI)
December 13, 2010
Boston Globe
"The goal is to get kids help and see them improve," said Julie Boatright Wilson, director of the Malcolm Wiener Center for Social Policy at Harvard's Kennedy School and a specialist in poverty policy. "By not checking up, they’re sending the message of entitlement."


Ronald F. FergusonNYT features Achievement Gap Initiative – small vs. large schools and student test results.
September 27, 2010
New York Times
In 2001 testing, more students passed the state tests after failing the year before than at any other school in Massachusetts. The gains continued. This year and last, Brockton outperformed 90 percent of Massachusetts high schools. And its turnaround is getting newattention in a report, How High Schools Become Exemplary, published last month by Ronald F. Ferguson, an economist at Harvard who researches the minority achievement gap.


Gordon BrownGordon Brown advocates for global economic policies in 2010 Malcolm Wiener Lecture
September 24, 2010
Harvard Kennedy School
"These are global problems that can only be dealt with by global coordinated solutions."

Speaking at Harvard Kennedy School Thursday, former UK prime minister Gordon Brown advocated a coordinated worldwide approach to economic policy. In his speech, Brown spoke about the problems caused by the recent recession and offered his two major suggestions to improve international finance: Global coordination of economic policies and a worldwide financial constitution that sets standards across the board.



Robert BlendonRobert Blendon comments on mid-term elections and health care
September 11, 2010
Boston Globe
WASHINGTON — Republicans had promised to make the fall elections a reprise of the bitter, exhausting debate over what they call "Obamacare." But two months before the vote, the GOP has adopted a more nuanced approach and folded the issue into broader attacks on the Democrats' handling of the economy.


Ronald FergusonAGI Study Examines How High Schools Can Become Exemplary
August 11, 2010
Harvard Kennedy School
"We need to learn much more specifically about the leadership practices and specific school improvement activities that enable schools to achieve and sustain exemplary levels of performance." - Ronald Ferguson


Malcolm Wiener Center and Ash Center convene city policy makersMalcolm Wiener Center and Ash Center convene city policy makers: Improving Child Well-Being: What Cities Can Do
August 3, 2010
Harvard Kennedy School
"Faced with unemployment, failing schools, and deteriorating neighborhoods, our nation’s families are struggling to stay afloat and get the social services they need,” said Anthony Saich, director of the Ash Center."


HKS Students on Winning Team
April 14, 2010
Harvard Kennedy School

A team comprised of students from across Harvard — including Harvard Kennedy School — has been awarded first place in a national case competition to help spur innovation in urban education. The inaugural Wasington, D.C., Public Schools Urban Education Redesign Challenge took place on April 9-10 in Washington, D.C..


Robert Blendon comments on public’s opinion of health care reform
March 30, 2010
USA Today

Nearly two-thirds of Americans say the health care overhaul signed into law last week costs too much and expands the government's role in health care too far, a USA TODAY/Gallup Poll finds, underscoring an uphill selling job ahead for President Obama and congressional Democrats.


Christopher StoneChristopher Stone chairs New York Police-on-Police Shootings Task Force
March 27, 2010
Harvard Kennedy School



Harvard American Indian Project Honored with Leadership Award
March 1, 2010
Harvard Kennedy School

The Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development and its sister organization, the Native Nations Institute (NNI) at the University of Arizona, were presented with the Public Sector Leadership Award by the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) in Washington D.C. on March 1...


Why public support for health care overhaul faltered
January 20, 2010

As a candidate, Barack Obama promised to pass a health care plan with important benefits for average Americans For the typical family, costs would go down by as much as $2,500 annually. Adults wouldn't be required to buy insurance. No one but the wealthy would face higher taxes. A year later, however, the health care...