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HKS in the News April 23, 2012

1. The Cookstove Conundrum (Hanna) The New York Times

2. In France, Using Lessons From Obama Campaign (Liegey) The New York Times

3. Afghan militants return to peace talks (Semple) The Washington Times

4. Why CEOs shouldn’t run the world (Summers) The Financial Times

5. Tech experts believe cash and credit cards may disappear by 2020 (Crawford)

The Daily Caller


The Cookstove Conundrum

The New York Times

April 23

Cited: Rema Hanna

Topic: Cooking methods in developing countries

Hanna was also cited in The Boston Globe and The Washington Post

Cooking the family meal can be a dangerous business for poor people in developing countries. According to a study by the World Health Organization, indoor air pollution from “primitive household cooking fires” is the leading environmental cause of death in the world. …

In a working paper released this month, Rema Hanna, a professor of public policy at Harvard’s Kennedy School, and Esther Duflo and Michael Greenstone, economics professors at M.I.T., report the results of a randomized controlled trial on the adoption of clean stoves in India… The study found that acceptance and, crucially, usage, of a new stove wasn’t universal even initially, and usage declined rapidly over time, as stoves broke down and households failed to make the necessary repairs or investment in maintenance. …

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In France, Using Lessons From Obama Campaign

The New York Times

April 21

Quoted: Guillaume Liegey MPA 2010

Topic: France’s presidential election

Arthur Muller, Vincent Pons and Guillaume Liegey, young Frenchmen who met in Cambridge, Mass., at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government and M.I.T., are working hard to get out the vote, American-style, for the Socialist challenger for the French presidency, François Hollande.

For the last few months, they have been working to recruit and train 70,000 volunteers to knock on almost 3.5 million doors. Having witnessed the successful campaign of President Obama, they are back in France, using American models of canvassing to get left-leaning voters who would normally abstain to instead cast ballots. Their work, said Mr. Liegey, 31, is concentrated in the banlieues, poorer suburbs heavily populated with ethnic minorities, where alienation and abstention are high. …

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Afghan militants return to peace talks

The Washington Times

April 19

Quoted: Michael Semple, Carr Center

Topic: Afghan peace talks

A militant group responsible for the deaths of U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan has rejoined peace talks with President Hamid Karzai’s government, and four other factions followed after Afghan security forces crushed an attack by terrorists in Kabul earlier this week. …

Michael Semple of the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy at Harvard Kennedy School played down the significance of Hizb-i-Islami’s participation in the peace talks. “I doubt that the current [Hizb-i-Islami] delegation has the capacity to affect either Kabul politics or the insurgency,” Mr. Semple said.

“The Afghan Taliban movement is by far the most significant insurgent actor, and any process without its full involvement is a sideshow,” he added. …

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Why CEOs shouldn’t run the world

The Financial Times

April 21

Quoted: Lawrence Summers, Center for Business and Government

Topic: Business and government

Just before the US invaded Iraq in 2003, I was debating the matter over brunch with a friend who is a multimillionaire entrepreneur. “Of course we should invade,” he said. “The Middle East can’t get any worse, so if you change something, it’s bound to get better.” I don’t know what surprised me more: the weirdness of his argument or his certainty in expressing it. He was suffering from what I now know as the “CEO fallacy”: the belief that if you have run a successful company, you can run a country.

Mitt Romney’s campaign for president rests on the “CEO fallacy”. As Romney says, “Other people in this race have debated about the economy … but I’ve actually been in it.” However, the CEO fallacy is a fallacy. To quote Larry Summers, former adviser to Barack Obama, now professor at Harvard’s Kennedy School: “The idea that you can extrapolate from the one-business level to the national economy seems to me a profound confusion.” …

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Tech experts believe cash and credit cards may disappear by 2020

The Daily Caller

April 17

Quoted: Susan Crawford, Shorenstein Center

Topic: Monetary technology

If tech experts are right, the use of cash and credit cards will have mostly fallen out of use by the end of the decade. …

“There is nothing more imaginary than a monetary system,” said Susan Crawford, a professor at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. “Of course we’ll move to even more abstract representations of value. Other countries are already content to use their phones; we’ll catch up eventually.” …

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