25 Years of Research
WHAT MAKES RESEARCH at the Kennedy School different from that carried
out in other parts of the university or at other schools of public
policy? According to Kennedy School Dean Joseph S. Nye, Jr., research
at the Kennedy School is distinct because it joins analytical excellence
with policy relevance. Through books, articles, and working papers,
as well as through presentations at legislative committees and public
forums, research at the Kennedy School provides actionable ideas
and methods for public policy practitioners to implement. The schools
research output also includes fundamental contributions to the social
sciences, providing new tools for analysis.
Many such examples exist of the interplay between
the schools work and its policy relevance. As an expert on
civil liberties issues, for example, Kennedy School researcher Juliette
Kayyem is helping advise the Massachusetts U.S. Attorneys
Office Anti-Terrorism Task Force. Recently, Ash Carter, based on
research carried out at the Kennedy Schools Preventive Defense
Project on ways to prevent North Korea from posing a greater nuclear
danger, gave the lead testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations
Clearly, says Nye in the introduction
to the schools most recent research report, the work
of the schools faculty reaches beyond the institution itself,
allowing in some instances for it to be realized and tested anew
in the arena of policymaking and implementation worldwide.
The following reflects a sampling of the schools
research accomplishments during the last 25 years. Dean Nye; former
Dean Graham Allison; Julie Wilson, director of the Malcolm Wiener
Center for Social Policy; Mark Moore MPP 1971, PhD 1973, director
of the Hauser Center for Nonprofit Organizations; and Richard Zeckhauser,
professor of political economy, were interviewed for this article.
Tools for Understanding In Micromotives and Macrobehavior,
Thomas Schelling demonstrates how individual choices produce collective
outcomes, not always in ways the choosers desire. The 1978 volumes
simple yet elegant models are employed by Schelling and his followers
to explain broad swaths of policy-relevant behavior, from patterns
of residential segregation and economic stagnation, to the propagation
of disorder and disease.
Policy Analysis Codified In 1978,
Edith Stokey and Richard Zeckhauser offer a comprehensive introduction
to the tools of prediction and decision appropriate for determining
public policies. Their book, A Primer for Policy Analysis,
becomes the major text defining the field, serving as a reference
for students of policy in both the United States and abroad.
Case Program: An Education Tool
Established in 1981, the schools Case Program, designed for
teaching about how government works and how public policy is made,
takes on real-world topics from police corruption in Hong Kong to
the Bay of Pigs debacle. Now consisting of almost 2,000 cases, the
Case Program is used by colleges and universities worldwide for
teaching about government and public policy.
Academics and Practitioners Collaborate
In 1982, Mark Moore and Frank Hartmann develop the first Executive
Session, a program that brings academics and leading practitioners
together to search for answers to important public problems. This
method has been used to deal with topics such as the juvenile justice
system, domestic preparedness for terrorism, errors in medicine,
and public service.
Community Policing Established
Beginning in 1985, a community policing effort led by Frank Hartmann
and Mark Moore, to form partnerships between community and police
for ensuring greater public safety, helps revolutionize the way
police departments across the country operate.
Market-Based Environmental Policy Instruments
Beginning in 1988, and in the years since, economist Robert Stavins
has advanced environmental protection by devising tradable permit
systems and other market-based instruments that work with the market
rather than against it to protect the environment at minimum cost.
Such innovative policy tools have been used with great success in
the pollution control realm, such as for the reduction of acid rain
in the United States, and are now being developed and applied in
other domains, ranging from achieving sustainable fisheries to reducing
the risk of global
State of Housing In 1988, publication
begins on the State of the Nation Housing Report, a widely
referenced account published annually of housing problems confronting
the nations low- and moderate-income households. Former Assistant
Secretary of Housing at HUD William Apgar of the Joint Center for
Housing Studies institutes the new publication.
Discretion and Government Procurement
Steven Kelman, in Procurement and Public Management: The Fear
of Discretion and the Quality of Government Performance, published
in 1990, argues that cumbersome purchasing rules force public employees
to pay too much and take too long to buy needed goods and services.
Kelman later puts many of his ideas for reforming this system into
practice as administrator of the Office of Federal Procurement Policy
in the mid-1990s.
Reform in Developing Countries
In 1991, Merilee Grindle and John Thomas, in Public Choices and
Policy Change, developed on the basis of real-world cases, provide
an analytic framework for helping leaders in underdeveloped countries
understand and manage difficult problems of policy decision making
Post-Soviet Nuclear Danger In 1991,
CSIA Director Ash Carter, working with a team from the center, writes
a report warning of loose nukes after the fall of the
Soviet Union and describing a sweeping program for the U.S. government
to undertake to contain Soviet nuclear weapons and fissile materials.
The report became the basis for drafting the Nunn-Lugar legislation.
A year later, Carter went to work for the Pentagon, where he ran
the Nunn-Lugar program. It resulted in the elimination of nuclear
weapons from Ukraine, Kazakstan, and Belarus, and so far
no loose nukes in Russia.
Electricity Regulation For the
past decade, William Hogan has researched the economics of electricity
based on the costs of transmission, congestion, and pricing. Called
locational marginal pricing (LMP), his work is helping to improve
competitive wholesale electricity markets in the United States and
around the world.
Welfare Overhauled In a series
of books and papers including Poor Support (1988) and Welfare
Realities (1994), David Ellwood and Mary Jo Bane make recommendations
for reforming the system of public assistance in the United States.
Their ideas play a central role in the Clinton administrations
efforts to overhaul the welfare system, and in state level reforms,
and in later reforms in Great Britain and elsewhere.
Visions of Governance In 1995,
Joseph S. Nye, Jr., launches Visions of Governance in the 21st Century
to concentrate on issues vital to the schools evolving mission.
Directed since 2000 by John Donahue MPP 1982, PhD 1988, the projects
focus has progressed from declining trust in government; to the
eclipse of the central state and the rise of distributed governance;
to the implications for governance of the information revolution,
globalization, and the growing reach and sophistication of market
forces; to the future of public service. Six edited volumes have
emerged directly from Visions faculty symposia, along with another
six books inspired or supported by Visions, two executive sessions,
and other intellectual products.
A Look at Poverty Research conducted
by sociologist William Julius Wilson on poor Chicago neighborhoods,
the results of which are published in 1996 in When Work Disappears,
shows that the problems endemic to Americas inner cities stem
from the disappearance of blue-collar jobs in the wake of a globalized
economy and not from a lack of initiative among the nations
Economic Challenges International
economist Dani Rodrik develops guidelines for developing countries
grappling with the challenges created by the new openness in global
trade. In Making Openness Work: The New Global Economy
and the Developing Countries, published in 1999, Rodrik asserts
that for developing countries to integrate successfully into the
world economy they must develop a strong set of policies and institutions
The Essence of Decision In 1999,
Graham Allison issues an updated and revised edition of Essence
of Decision: Explaining the Cuban Missle Crisis, a seminal book
first published in 1971, which spawned the discipline of public
policy by laying the foundation for new analytical approaches to
undertanding the behavior of governments and other institutions.
Decline and Revival of Social Capital Robert Putnams Bowling
Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community, published
in 2000, sparks an international debate with its argument that we
increasingly are disconnected from family, friends, neighbors, and
communities and its suggestions for why and how we should reverse
Vanishing Voter In 2000, political
scientist Thomas Patterson and his research team interview nearly
100,000 Americans to determine why electoral participation has fallen
so sharply. In The Vanishing Voter, published in 2002, Patterson
explains the decline and suggests policies and practices that could
lead to renewed interest in elections.
Reshaping Native American Constitutions
In 2000, Joseph Kalt and the Harvard Project on American Indian
Economic Development launch the Initiative on American Indian Constitutional
Reform, which serves as a forum for American Indian reform leaders,
tribal policymakers, and scholars to share information and best
practices for strengthening American Indian constitutions. More
than a dozen tribes have participated directly in the initiative.
Information gathered from this effort is also being used to develop
curricula and other materials to inform the rapidly growing number
of Indian nations engaged in constitutional and governmental reform.
Achievement Gap In 2001, Ronald
Ferguson examines the black/white achievement gap by surveying 40,000
middle and high school students in high-performing suburban school
districts. Information gleaned from this work led Ferguson to collaborate
with participating districts to create the Tripod Project, for school
improvement, in which schools in 20 districts across six states
are working to change conditions that contribute to gaps between
academic performance and potential for students of all racial and
ethnic groups, but especially for African Americans and Latinos.
This research/practice collaboration is producing additional data
and broadly applicable lessons.
The United States as an Empire?
In The Paradox of American Power: Why the Worlds Only Superpower
Cant Go It Alone, Joseph S. Nye, Jr., establishes that,
though America is militarily omnipotent, it cannot succeed unilaterally.
This work establishes a popular framework for the ongoing international
debates on the role of the United States in the world.
A Problem from Hell
Samantha Power examines the bystander attitude of American
foreign policymakers in the 20th century, probing the U.S. response
to genocide committed against Armenians, European Jews, Cambodians,
Iraqi Kurds, Bosnians, and Rwandans. Her findings were published
in A Problem From Hell: America and the Age of Genocide,
which was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 2003.
Environmental Status Report The
State of the Nations Ecosystems, produced by William Clark
working with a team of environmental organizations, businesses,
universities, and federal, state, and local governments, gives the
nation the first non-biased report on the state of its ecosystems
in 2002. This report to be updated biannually after 2007
provides guidance to policymakers on environmental legislation.
Mega-Project Politics In 2003,
in Mega-Projects: The Changing Politics of Urban Public Investment,
Alan Altshuler and David Luberoff MPA 1989 document and analyze
the unprecedented wave of large-scale public investments that occurred
in American cities during the 1950s and 1960s, the social upheavals
that stopped those projects, and the political impulses that have
shaped a new generation of
Terrorism Dissected Jessica Stern
carries out interviews with terrorist leaders around the world about
their mobilization strategies and leadership styles. Her research
culminated in the publication in 2003 of Terror in the Name of
Why Religious Militants Kill, on religious terrorists