Programs & Initiatives

The Rappaport Institute for Greater Boston is a university-wide entity housed at HKS that aims to improve the governance of greater Boston. Professor Jeffrey Liebman is the director and Polly O’Brien is the interim executive director of the institute.

The Program on Education Policy and Governance, founded and directed by Paul E. Peterson, (PEPG) has distinguished itself as a significant contributor to the systematic analysis of education policy and governing arrangements.

The Harvard Kennedy School Government Performance Lab conducts research on how governments can improve the results they achieve for their citizens. An important part of our research model involves providing pro bono technical assistance to state and local governments. Through this hands-on involvement, we gain insights into the barriers that governments face and the solutions that can overcome these barriers. By engaging current students and recent graduates in this effort, we are able to provide experiential learning as well.

The Program on Crisis Leadership, directed by Dutch Leonard and Arnold Howitt, conducts research, develops teaching and research case studies, and mounts executive education programs that examine the challenges that leaders face in extraordinary circumstances.

The Saguaro Seminar: Civic Engagement in America, directed by Robert Putnam, conducts applied research on social capital, with an eye towards restoring the nation’s stock of social capital.

The Harvard Kennedy School Autonomous Vehicles Policy Initiative hosts a forum for information exchange, research and policy formulation regarding the social impacts of autonomous vehicles.

The Transition Term is a program for Harvard graduate students to work in the transition offices of newly-elected Mayors and Governors during January Term. Students complete short, meaningful projects while learning how an executive team moves from campaigning to governing.

Urban Physical and Economic Development has been and remains one of the central focuses of Taubman Center research. Edward Glaeser, Jose Gomez-Ibanez and Alan Altshuler have been faculty leaders of this area which focuses on issues of urban growth and economic success.


Several other important programs reside under the Taubman Center umbrella.

The Health Care Policy Program is a new program housed within the Taubman Center. Led by Professor Amitabh Chandra this inter-faculty initiative also includes Joseph Newhouse (HSPH, HMS and HKS), Michael Chernew (HMS) and Katherine Baicker (HPSH). The programs focuses on balancing the twin challenges of restraining cost-growth in healthcare, when at the same time, new and highly beneficial medical technologies often cost more money. Its core faculty have testified to the US Senate, the Institute of Medicine, the US Civil Rights Commission, and have served on the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) and the Council of Economic Advisors, and have had their research featured in the New York Times, National Public Radio and in the New England Journal of Medicine.

PerformanceStat: Performance Management in Government is a research and executive education project led by Robert Behn focusing on the leadership and management strategy that he calls "PerformanceStat," which includes CompStat, CitiStat, and similar efforts by governmental jurisdictions and public agencies to produce results.