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The Policy Analysis Exercise (PAE) is the culmination of your Harvard Kennedy School experience. Many of our MPP graduates consider it to be one of the highlights of their HKS education.

During the PAE, you examine and develop solutions for a public or nonprofit sector policy or management issue presented by a client organization. The final analysis—usually around 40 pages or 10,000 words—gives you the opportunity to integrate the technical skills and specialized knowledge you have gained from the MPP curriculum while also helping a client organization tackle an existing concern.

Rocking the vote from the ER to the Peach State

Recognizing that significant numbers of Americans are effectively disenfranchised by the many hurdles placed in their path when it comes to voting, two teams of MPP students used their Policy Analysis Exercise to work with organizations committed to strengthening civic engagement and voting access.

Your Analysis, Your Recommendations

In your second-year fall semester, you enroll in a year-long seminar in your Policy Area of Concentration (PAC)/Concentration. The PAC Seminars serve to familiarize you with key issues and policy debates in your particular area and guide you through the PAE writing process. Once you declare your PAE topic, you will be assigned a faculty advisor whose expertise aligns with that topic.

In completing your PAE, you essentially serve as an unpaid consultant to a client organization. You and your client work together to define specific issues, design research strategies, gather data, formulate and evaluate options, and, finally, make actionable recommendations. It is not unusual for client organizations to implement the PAE recommendations made by students.


PAE Showcase

Each spring, a select group of MPP students present their PAE projects and share their findings and recommendations with our HKS community. Learn more about some of these students and their projects below. They are listed by Policy Area of Concentration.

2023 Presenters and PAE Projects

Woman smiling while presenting her project.Policy Analysis Exercise (PAE) Showcase

Wexner Commons
April 25, 2023 | 4:30-6:30 p.m.

List of Presenters


Business and Government Policy (BGP)

Elena Bauer and Andy Franklin

People & Purpose: Bringing Early/Mid-Career Talent into the U.S. Federal Government
Client: U.S. Office of Personnel Management
Faculty Advisor: Nick Sinai

Thomas Cowan

The First Wave of Federally Regulated Stablecoins: An Evolutionary, Intermediary-Driven Improvement to Dollar Movement
Client: Digital Assets Policy Project
Faculty Advisor: Lawrence Summers

Ethan Lundgren, Seth Myers, and Ilya Timtchenko

The Future of U.S. Development Assistance to Ukraine: Facilitating Ukraine’s EU Accession in the Agriculture, Energy, and Tech Sectors?
Client: U.S. Agency for International Development, Bureau for Europe & Eurasia
Faculty Advisor: Robert Zoellick 

Rose O'Brien

Crossing Wires: Strategies for Addressing the Impact of Sanctions Overcompliance on Humanitarian Assistance
Client: Norwegian Refugee Council
Faculty Advisor: Robert Lawrence


Democracy, Politics and Institutions (DPI)

Jose Altamirano

Voices of the Frontline: Online Peer Communities and Local Election Official Job Satisfaction 
Client: Civic Roundtable
Faculty Advisor: Justin de Benedictis-Kessner

stephanie beja, Brianne Berry, and Zizhan Luo

Risk Appetite and Hunger: An Analysis of Conflict, Food Security, and Humanitarian Access in the Horn of Africa 
Client: Norwegian Refugee Council
Faculty Advisor: Julie Boatright Wilson

Raie Gessesse, Taylor Jones, and Brandon McGhee

Advancing Human Rights in the United States: The Case for a National Human Rights Institution 
Client: Southern Poverty Law Center
Faculty Advisor: Mathias Risse

Jason Low and Emma Strother

Discretionary Grant Competitions: Bolstering New and Diverse Applicants 
Client: U.S. Department of Education, Grants Policy Office
Faculty Advisor: Christopher Avery

Mike Manougian and hannah scott

Threats from Within: Countering Far-Right Extremism and Safeguarding the NATO Alliance 
Client: West Point Combatting Terrorism Center
Faculty Advisor: Juliette Kayyem


International and Global Affairs (IGA)

christian allard and Isabella Paternostro

From Recognition to Action: Policy Responses after U.S. Genocide Determination in Myanmar 
Client: Fortify Rights
Faculty Advisor: Mathias Risse

Alejandra Davila, Alejandro Garcia Escobar plascencia, Nesrine Mbarek, and Jamie Wu

Somos Poderosas: Scaling Up Sexual and Reproductive Health Education in Colombia
Client: Poderosas
Faculty Advisor: Dara Kay Cohen

Tammy Nguyen 

Building Health System Resilience: Preparing Norway and NATO for an Article V Scenario
Client: The Norwegian Defence Research Establishment and NATO's Committee of the Chiefs of Medical Services
Faculty Advisor: Juliette Kayyem

Jayaram Ravi and max simon

Navigating China’s Opportunistic Approach to Overseas Naval Base Acquisition 
Client: U.S. Department of Defense
Faculty Advisor: Eric Rosenbach

Bethan Saunders 

Lift Off: Scaling Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems and Autonomous Capabilities for the U.S. Department of Defense
Client: U.S. Department of Defense, Emerging Capabilities Policy Office
Faculty Advisor: Eric Rosenbach


Political and Economic Development (DEV)

emma Catalfamo

Including Students with Special Education Needs in the OECD's PISA
Client: Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) team
Faculty Advisor: Michela Carlana

Stuti Ginodia and Esther Hallsdóttir

Unlocking Potential: A Roadmap to Reduce Stunting in Sindh, Pakistan
Client: World Bank Group, Pakistan
Faculty Advisor: Asim Khwaja

Renata Koch Alvarenga

A Matter of Survival: Building Climate Resilience in the Caribbean Through Early Disaster Risk Financing
Client: World Food Programme
Faculty Advisor: Akash Deep

yi wu

Developing an Efficient Investment Framework of Transmission Grid Systems in Sub-Saharan Africa
Client: World Bank 
Faculty Advisor: William Hogan


Social and Urban Policy (SUP)

vic Hogg and Leah Kessler

River-Wide Approach: Expanding Tribal Capacity to Mitigate and Adapt to Climate Change Impacts in Interior Alaska Native Communities
Client: Alaska Venture Fund
Faculty Advisor: Joseph Kalt

gemma holt and Andrew Wei

A Watershed Moment: Enabling Cost-Effective and Equitable Regional Climate Resilience Planning in the Mystic River Watershed
Client: Resilient Mystic Collaborative
Faculty Advisor: Linda Bilmes

jacob metz

Trust the Process: Bringing Civic Innovation to Green Bay
Client: City of Green Bay
Faculty Advisor: Stephen Goldsmith

Rachel pak

Understanding and Reimagining Migration Narratives in Spain
Client: Fundación porCausa
Faculty Advisor: Jacqueline Bhabha

Analisa Sorrells

New York City to Nationwide: Strengthening and Scaling Food Action Boards
Client: Hunger Free America
Faculty Advisor: Sheila Burke


2022 Presenters and PAE Projects

Three students standing in front of their research projects.

Policy Analysis Exercise (PAE) Showcase

Wexner Commons
April 26, 2022 | 4-6 p.m.

List of Presenters

Business and Government Policy (BGP)

Charlie Bingham

Intentional DEI: Implementing Policies, Practices and Strategies to Maximize Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at Siimee, Inc.
Client: Siimee, Inc.
Faculty Advisor: Iris Bohnet

biz Peabody with Akhil Iyer and Ryan Solís

Evaluating Foreign Investment Review: Ensuring National Security and Investing in the Final Frontier
Client: U.S. Department of Defense, Office of Foreign Investment Review
Faculty Advisors: Robert Lawrence and Matthew Weinzierl

Majd Steitieh

Alive & Kickin’: How Qatar Can Host a Successful 2022 World Cup Given COVID-19 Concerns & Limitations
Client: The Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy (Doha, Qatar)
Faculty Advisor: Juliette Kayyem

Maddie Ulanow

Singing the Living Tradition: Strategies for Investing for Racial Equity in Religious Endowments
Client: The Unitarian Universalist Common Endowment Fund
Faculty Advisor: David Wood

Molly Welch

Jane Capital: Increasing Female Representation in the Start-Up Ecosystem Through Angel Investing
Client: N/A
Faculty Advisors: Nick Sinai and Jeff Bussgang

Democracy, Politics and Institutions (DPI)

Callie King-Guffey

Does the U.S. Comply with the Convention on the Rights of the Child? Inspiring Sub-National Reform in the Last Country to Ratify the CRC 
Client: Human Rights Watch 
Faculty Advisor: Kathryn Sikkink

Christine Mukamayanja

Scaling The Center for Employment Opportunities' SMS Platform for Digital Advocacy 
Client: Center for Employment Opportunities 
Faculty Advisor: Malcolm Sparrow

International and Global Affairs (IGA)

Rachel Carle 

Anticipating Climate Disasters in Yemen: Conflict-Sensitive Policy Development
Client: Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Centre
Faculty Advisor: Claude Bruderlein

Jean-André Prager

Evaluation and Policy Recommendations for The Blue Acres Program in the State of New Jersey through the Lens of Equity and Best Practice
Client: The Governor of New Jersey and The First Lady of New Jersey 
Faculty Advisor: Daniel Schrag

Zach Wehrli with Stefani Jones

Disinformation and Division: Analyzing Threats to Security and Democracy in South Africa
Client: U.S. Department of State
Faculty Advisor: Stephen Walt

Dylan Welch with Kyle Johnson, Coen Williams, and Erick Boone

The United States and China in Space: Policies and Strategies for International Relations
Faculty Advisor: Anthony Saich

Political and Economic Development (DEV)

Mayra Hoyos Benítez with Valerie Moreyra

Building Economic Autonomy of Women in Situations of Violence in Mexico
Client: The National Institute for Women in Mexico
Faculty Advisor: Janina Matuszeski

Shadin Nassief

The Gender Gap at the Top: Equity and Inclusion in the Saudi Arabian Labor Market 
Client: Alnahda Society
Faculty Advisor: Iris Bohnet

Lauren Truong with Kerianne DiBattista and Dana Radojevic

Applying the Principle of Neutrality in Today’s Complex Humanitarian Crises
Client: World Health Organization
Faculty Advisor: Matthew Andrews

Yuqi Zhu with William Mulhern

Shaping a Clean Energy Future—A Demand Flexibility Strategy for the City of Denver
Client: City and County of Denver, Office of Climate Action, Sustainability, and Resiliency (CASR)
Faculty Advisor: Henry Lee

Social and Urban Policy (SUP)

Ben Demers

Supporting San Francisco's Nightlife Ecosystem: A Report for the Office of Economic and Workforce Development
Client: Nightlife and Entertainment Sector, San Francisco Office of Economic and Workforce Development
Faculty Advisor: Ann Forsyth

Juliahna Green

One Call to Fix it All: Improving 311 Awareness and Utilization in the City of South Bend
Client: City of South Bend
Faculty Advisor: Rafael Carbonell

Tessa Holtzman with Valerie Eisenson

Scaling a Solution: Expanding Early College Programs in Massachusetts
Client: The Massachusetts Alliance for Early College
Faculty Advisors: Julie Boatright Wilson and Tom Kane

Manoela Miranda

Cinco Básicos: A Community-Based Approach to Early Childhood Development in Brazil
Client: Cinco Básicos 
Faculty Advisor: Ronald Ferguson 

Kimberly Schaefer

Confidential and Consequential: Expanding Protections for Confidential Communications for Adolescents in Hawai’i
Client: Hawai'i Pre/Inter-Conception Workgroup
Faculty Advisor: Joseph Newhouse


Award-Winning Policy Analysis Exercises
Read the PAEs of some of our MPP graduates