The Center for Business and Government conducts
research on a broad range of public policy issues, with an eye towards
positively impacting public/private sector relations and training
the next generation of leaders in all sectors of society. Professor
Roger Porter embodies that mission, joining the Harvard faculty
in 1977. He is an accomplished writer and public policy advisor,
and one of the most beloved professors at the University.
For as long as it has been in existence, Porter
has been a cornerstone of CBG. He occupies the founding faculty
chair, the IBM Professorship in Business and Government. He served
as the Center's fourth Director from 1996-2000, when he actively
sought to more thoroughly engage the Boston business community into
the Center's activities. He was integral in formulating CBG's initiatives
on regulatory policy, trade policy, and on the intersection between
business, government, and education as well as examining comparative
business-government relations with the Kansai Keizai Doyukai Program,
a working relationship with a major Japanese business organization.
He serves as faculty chair of the Business and Government cluster
and annually teaches courses on business/government relations.
Beyond his direct contributions to the Center for
Business and Government, Porter has engaged students, conducted
research, and served as a White House economic adviser to three
Presidents. In all, he aims to synthesize the "ideal"
and the "real" - to develop and explore systematic theories
while recognizing the importance of the reality of policymaking.
As Porter says, "My 11+ years in the West Wing provide a backdrop
of experiences that have grounded my thinking about issues and policy
options in the reality of the inner workings of policy making. I
endeavor to incorporate a healthy dose of both the theoretical and
the practical in each course I teach and in my research."
In addition to his course on the business-government
relationship in the United States, Porter teaches one of the University's
most popular courses, cross-listed in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences,
on The American Presidency. He chairs the Kennedy School's Senior
Managers in Government Program as well as teaches in a variety of
other executive programs at the School. The notable disparity in
background and experience among his students has become one of the
shining aspects of Porter's experience as a professor at the Kennedy
School. "One of the great things about the Kennedy School is
the opportunity to teach outstanding students - younger and experienced
alike - including current high level officials in our Executive
Programs," said Porter. "The blend of U.S. students and
very able students from outside the U.S. allows both to learn a
great deal from one another."
The diversity in people, perspectives, and topics
of study at the Kennedy School and Harvard has enlightened Porter's
research as well as his teaching. He is the author of several books
on economic policy and numerous papers and chapters. Porter's recent
work explores the challenges of the multilateral trading system
in the book Efficiency, Equity and Legitimacy: The Multilateral
Trading System at the Millennium; the President and the formulation
of education policy; and economic decision making in recent Administrations.
He's currently working on a paper in anticipation of the 100th Anniversary
of the West Wing in November on how the West Wing has shaped the
Presidency and presidential decision making.
"My research covers a broad range, from budgets
and entitlements to trade policy and education, from presidential
decision making to comparative business/government relations and
the management of large organizations. In that way, it is a lot
like the research and mission of the Center for Business and Government,"
added Porter. "CBG and the Kennedy School are full of insightful,
engaged, and committed people genuinely interested in tackling the
major challenges we face as a society today. The most frustrating
part of my work is that there are far more interesting things in
which to become involved than there are hours in a day."