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HKS in the News May 7, 2012

1. What happens when you change an entire health care system? (Chandra) The Boston Globe

2. Dealing With a Chinese Monroe Doctrine (Walt) The New York Times

3. The limits of plug-and-play development (Hanna) The Economist

4. The story of Annie, and the lesson behind it (Madrian) ABA Banking Journal

5. Mitt Romney Can't Dodge Paycheck Fairness and Win Over Women (Budson) U.S. News and World Report

6. The XX Factor: What's Holding Women Back? (Dobriansky) The Wall Street Journal


What happens when you change an entire health care system?

The Boston Globe

May 7

Quoted: Amitabh Chandra

Topic: Health care reform

Few issues today are as heatedly debated as health care reform, which has inspired some of the most antagonistic moments in recent American politics (remember “You lie!”?). As a debate, it seems perfectly designed to push us to the brink of collective madness. Beneath the difficult moral argument about what’s fair and right lies yet another difficult argument, an irredeemably wonky one about cost, value, and economic incentives. It’s a deadly combination—the policy equivalent of texting while driving. …

“Many, if not all debates in health care are argued out of opinion and anecdote,” says Amitabh Chandra, a professor of public policy at the Harvard Kennedy School. “It’s always a story about how my doctor treated me, or about what happened to my uncle when he had a heart attack. What Amy has done, and done repeatedly, is say, ‘I’m going to use lots and lots of data and give you a more realistic, complete characterization of what’s happening.’ She can give us the number that helps us weigh costs and benefits.”

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Dealing With a Chinese Monroe Doctrine

The New York Times

May 2

Commentary by: Stephen Walt, Belfer Center

Topic: U.S. – China relations

If China’s economy keeps growing, intense security competition with the United States is likely. States cannot assume that others will remain benevolent, so they tend to hedge against the worst case. Beijing is already converting some of its growing wealth into greater military power and it will surely try to create a more favorable security environment in its neighborhood, just as the United States did during its own rise to power.

In the 19th century, a rising America proclaimed the “Monroe Doctrine” and gradually drove the European great powers out of the Western Hemisphere. By the same logic, a powerful China will not want the United States to have close alliances and a large military presence near its borders, and it will undoubtedly try to push U.S. forces out of the Asia-Pacific region. But the United States will not leave willingly, because Chinese dominance in Asia would leave Beijing free to meddle elsewhere. …

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The limits of plug-and-play development

The Economist

May 4

Cited: Research by Rema Hanna

Topic: Technology and development

Hanna’s research was also cited in The Globe and Mail (Canada)

… The Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves (GACC), a public-private initiative, is making a big push for 100m homes in the developing world to switch to clean stoves by 2020. But a new NBER paper by Rema Hanna from Harvard University and Esther Duflo and Michael Greenstone from MIT, questions the long-term health or environmental benefits from this programme. The authors evaluated a clean-stove programme in eastern India, covering 15,000 households over five years. Their study found that after the initial year, enthusiasm for the stoves waned and households didn't make the necessary investments to maintain them. As a result, the programme had very little effect on respiratory health or air pollution. …

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The story of Annie, and the lesson behind it

ABA Banking Journal

May 3

Quoted: Brigitte Madrian, Mossavar-Rahmani Center

Topic: Financial planning

… While one might think that failing to tap the expertise of a banker that one personally knows would be an aberration, research cited by speaker Brigitte Madrian indicated that that’s far from the case. Many people go down financial paths with much less planning and forethought than one would suspect.

Often, said Madrian, the outcomes that consumer experience “aren’t always the result of conscious decision-making.” Madrian is Aetna Professor of Public Policy and Corporate Management at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. She has studied consumer savings efforts intensively, and found that people are as likely to save by default as by deliberate intent. …

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Mitt Romney Can't Dodge Paycheck Fairness and Win Over Women

U.S. News and World Report

May 4

Quoted: Victoria Budson, Women and Public Policy Program

Topic: Mitt Romney’s campaign

Presumptive GOP nominee Mitt Romney is determined to make 2012 about the economy, but women's issues keep getting in his way.

In upcoming weeks, Senate Democrats are expected to bring the Paycheck Fairness Act to the floor for a vote. The bill would expand safeguards to ensure women earn equal pay to that of their male counterparts, and experts agree Romney can't stay silent on this one.

"Mitt Romney will need to address this because it is an issue of great importance to 51 percent of the population in the United States and their families," says Victoria A. Budson, founding executive director of the Women and Public Policy Program at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. "Paycheck Fairness is not just about equality for women, but about equality for families in the Untied [sic] States." …

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The XX Factor: What's Holding Women Back?

The Wall Street Journal

May 7

Quoted: Paula Dobriansky, Belfer Center

Topic: Women and the economy

You would think the problem would be solved by now.

Business and government leaders have been talking for decades about advancing more women to top leadership and professional roles. Young women today are entering the workforce better prepared and more ambitious than ever, with more education and higher career aspirations than men. …

Government also should set an example of diversity, says Paula Dobriansky, an adjunct senior fellow at Harvard University's JFK Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs. Seeing women advance in national and state capitals "can really have an impact on leadership of our businesses." …

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This selection of media appearances is compiled by the Office of Communications and Public Affairs.

To submit an item please email Jane Finn-Foley

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