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News/Events/Announcements--Archive

Archive Items...

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Health Care Fraud: Media accounts (prior to 2014) quoting Malcolm Sparrow, or citing his work include:

August 29, 2014: The Nader Page: "The Crime of Overbilling Healthcare"
August 19, 2014: The Cato Institute: "The Size and Scope of Fraud in Medicare" Nicole Kaeding
August 17, 2014: Washington Post: "A Medicare Scam That Just Keeps Rolling" David Fahrenthold
June 4, 2014: CNBC: "Medicare Advantage billing errors cost taxpayers billions" Schulte, Donald & Durkin
February 18, 2014: Boston Globe: "Funding the Fight Against Medicare Fraud" Farah Stockman
January 25, 2014: New York Times: "Doctors Abusing Medicare Face Fines and Expulsion" Robert Pear
January 20, 2014: Politifact: On fraud rates in EITC, Medicare, Medicare & Food Stamps Programs. Tom Kertscher
January 13, 2014: Huffington Post: "Medical Price Gouging and Waste Are Skyrocketing" Ralph NaderDecember 19, 2013: Inlander: "A Law to Nowhere" Daniel Walters
October 21, 2013: Chicago Tribune & Forbes: "What's Wrong With Private Insurance?" Tomas Philipson
July 26, 2013: Washington Post: "Budget cuts force scale back of health care fraud investigations" Fred Schulte
Dec. 2, 2012: Atlanta Journal Constitution: "Fake Medical Providers slip through Medicare loophole"Michael Pell
November 14th, 2012: "Preserve Benefits: Cut Gouging & Inequities" Op-Ed by Ralph Nader
February 1st, 2012: Eurasia Review: "Follow the Bills" Op-Ed by Ralph NaderNovember 19th, 2011: Fast Company: "Cracking Down on $70 Billion Worth of Medicare Fraud" by Tristam Korten
November 14th, 2011: Associated Press: "Report shows federal health officials struggle to monitor myriad of Medicare fraud contractors" by Kelli Kennedy
July 12th, 2011: Associated Press: "Feds' Health Care AntiFraud Systems Failing" by Kelli Kennedy
July 4th, 2011: National Journal: "Entitlement Bandits" by Michael F. Cannon
April 13th, 2011: Reuters: "Special Report: Taking on the Real Miami Vice: HealthCare Fraud." by Tom Brown.
January 4th, 2011: Time Magazine: "Washington Ratchets Up the Fight Against Medicare Fraud."
September 1, 2010: The Cato Institute, on "Medicare Reforms."
July 16, 2010: CBS 60 Minutes, reporting Russian Organized Crime ring busted for $251 million Medicare fraud.
January 11,2010: NBC Nightly News & MSNBC's Daily Nightly, "Battling the Medicare Fraud Epidemic."
October 30,2009: Forbes, "What's Wrong with Private Insurance?"
October 26, 2009: Fox Business/America's Nightly Scoreboard, "Fraud & Reform: Two Sides of Health Care." (video)
October 23,2009: American Spectator, "Medi-fraud for everyone."
October 2, 2009: Wall Street Journal, "Making the World Safe for Medicaid Fraud."
August 28, 2009: Wall Street Journal Digital Network/Smart Money, "Claim Denied? Fraud Score may be to Blame."
August 24, 2009: Senator Tom Coburn claims 20% of Medicare funds are lost to fraud. PolitiFact.com examines claim.
August 18, 2009: Fox Business/America's Nightly Scoreboard, "Cost of Medical Fraud." (video)
August 7, 2009: CNN American Morning: "Health Care Reform--Forgetting Fraud?"
August 21, 2008: New York Times, "Report Rejects Medicare Boast of Paring Fraud." (on measuring loss rates)
June 13, 2008: Washington Post, on "The Growing Problem of Medical Fraud"
October 11, 2007: NPR's Morning Edition, examining structural failings of existing fraud controls in the health care system.
.....listen to the audio segment, or review the (more detailed) transcript
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December 2013

The GRumbler now available for Mac users!

A new version of the GRumbler, designed to be compatible with Macs as well as PCs, is available on "The GRumbler" page of this website. It has not been extensively tested in a Mac environment, although all macros now seem to run without problems on Mac installations of Excel 2011. Thanks to Andy Faulkner, my programming wizard friend in Maidstone, England, for his help unravelling all the curious ways in which Mac implementations of Excel misbehave.

Mac users: please let me know whether this file works for you or not, and what version of Excel your Mac is running.

The GRumbler remains compatible with Excel 2003, Excel 2007, and with both 32-bit and 64-bit installations of Excel 2010.

The GRumbler Instructions file has not been updated, as the functionality is unchanged. Please report any further compatability issues to me directly at malcolm_sparrow@harvard.edu. Thanks, and Happy GRumbling.
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December 2013

International Conference on Financial Supervision, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Professor Sparrow presented the Opening Keynote Address at a conference on financial supervision hosted by the Dutch National Bank in Amsterdam on Friday 13th December 2013. The conference was held in part to celebrate the publication of the book "Financial Supervision in the 21st Century," Kellerman, de Haan, de Vries, eds. (Springer Verlag, 2013) and to explore the challenges of risk-based supervision (regulation), particularly at the European level.
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October & November 2013
Professor Sparrow hosted by ANZSOG in Australia and New Zealand.

Professor Sparrow chaired the Australia & New Zealand School of Government (ANZSOG) 1 week executive program Managing Regulation, Enforcement & Compliance in Brisbane, Australia, and conducted seminars for New Zealand's Department of Internal Affairs, Queensland's Department of Health, the New South Wales Environmental Protection Agency, Victoria's Department of Environment & Primary Industries, the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency, and the Australian (Commonwealth) Department of Health. He also presented the Opening Keynote Address at the annual conference of the Australasian Environmental Law Enforcement and Regulators Network (AELERT), held in Melbourne on November 13th-14th, 2013.
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July 2013
Professor Sparrow's paper, "Governing Science," featured in summer 2013 edition of HKS Impact Magazine.

On-line version of the Impact article, written by Robert O'Neill, is available here. Download pdf of the printed article here.
The paper, "Governing Science," is available through the National Institute of Justice website here.
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June 2013
"Financial Supervision in the 21st Century," editors A. Joanne Kellerman, Jakob de Haan, Femke de Vries, published by Springer Verlag. The "Foreword" was written by Professor Sparrow.

See publisher's information about the book here.
Download a free pdf of Professor Sparrow's Foreword here.
Download a free pdf of the book's "front matter" (including Professor Sparrow's Foreword , Authors' Preface, and Table of Contents) here.

HKS Connections:
Heidi Richards (Australian Prudential Regulation Authority), author of Chapter 5, is an alumna of the HKS MPP Program.
Femke de Vries (Dutch National Bank, editor, author of Chapter 11), is an alumna of the HKS Executive Program "Strategic Management of Regulatory and Enforcement Agencies" (SMREA).
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April 2013
Professor Sparrow delivered the keynote address at the Annual Conference of the Federation of State Medical Boards, Thursday April 19th in Boston.

The keynote address, titled "The Art of Harm-Reduction: Lessons from the World of Regulatory Practice,” was aired via live webcast beginning at 8:30a.m. Eastern Time.
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March 2013
Ralph Nader asks President Barack Obama to pay more attention to Malcolm Sparrow's work on Health Care Fraud!

Read Ralph Nader's Letter to the President, March 18th 2013.
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February 2013
Professor Sparrow hosted by ANZSOG in Australia and New Zealand.

In February Professor Sparrow delivered a series of seminars sponsored by ANZSOG in Australia and New Zealand. Host agencies included the New Zealand Internal Revenue Department, New Zealand Commerce Commission, the Australian Clean Energy Regulator, the Australian Medicare Program, and the Victoria Environmental Protection Agency.
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January 2013

Professor Sparrow hosted by the Companies & Intellectual Property Commission in Pretoria, South Africa.

In January Professor Sparrow chaired a 3-day workshop/seminar for the South African Department of Trade and Industry. The visit was sponsored and hosted by the Companies & Intellectual Property Commission.
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October 2012

Professor Sparrow delivered the opening keynote address at the 23rd Annual Problem-Oriented Policing Conference, held in Providence, Rhode Island, October 22nd to 24th.

Professor Sparrow's Keynote presentation slides are available as a pdf file here. All conference presentations will also be posted in due course on the POP Center website. ____________________________________________________________________________________________________
June 2012
"Unravelling a Risk-Management Challenge" by Malcolm Sparrow is published in "Ports in a Storm: Public Management in a Turbulent World" edited by John D. Donahue & Mark H. Moore, Brookings Institution Press, Washington D.C., 2012

This book examines the efforts of the U.S. Coastguard, working with industry and a broad range of other agencies, to increase the security of U.S. ports in the wake of the terrorist attack of 9/11/2001. Malcolm Sparrow's analysis (Chapter 3, pages 25-54) uses an Operational Risk-Management perspective to assess what these efforts are likely to have accomplished and what work still remains to be done. His essay draws a sharp conceptual distinction between "improving security systems" and "improving security" and shows how progress on the former does not necessarily guarantee progress on the latter.

The book is available through Brookings Institution Press.
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May 2012
"Crime Control through a Regulatory Approach: Joining the Regulatory Fold" an invited Policy Essay written by Malcolm Sparrow is published in Criminology & Public Policy, Vol. 11, Issue 2.

Download pdf here.
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March 2012
"The Sabotage of Harms: An Emerging Art Form for Public Managers," by Malcolm Sparrow.

The Character of Harms is featured by ESADE, Institute of Public Governance & Management, in their March 2012 newsletter. In an accompanying essay, Professor Sparrow makes the case that the field of public management scholarship needs to take note of the sabotage of harms as an emerging professional art-form, full of promise but surely in need of development, formalization and refinement.

Extract...."Roughly half the work that governments do involves the control of harms. Law enforcement, security, intelligence and social regulatory agencies all exist primarily to protect citizens from harms of one type or another. True, they deliver services too, and the public management literature has a great deal to say about how to do service-delivery well. But their core task is to identify “bads” (hazards, risks, threats, problems, or harms) and to control them effectively, thereby making citizens safer, healthier, and more secure. Little guidance has been available to public officials on the issues peculiar to the risk-control business, even as a series of disasters (quickly dubbed “regulatory failures”) unfold. Practitioners need the field of Public Management to pay much more attention to the distinctive challenges associated with this type of work."

Read the full essay here on the ESADE website: English version, Spanish version, or Catalan version.
Download printable (pdf) version.
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February/March 2012
Scottish Environmental Protection Agency Hosts Professor Sparrow in Edinburgh

Professor Sparrow visited Edinburgh, Scotland, 27th February through March 9th as a guest of the Scottish EPA. He delivered workshops on "Managing Regulation, Enforcement & Compliance" for senior regulators. Participants included environmental regulatory managers from Scotland, England & Wales, Northern Ireland, and the Republic of Ireland; as well as representatives of several other European regulatory agencies including the Scottish Executive; Scotland Water; Scotland's Health & Safety Executive; Scotland's Food Standards Agency; Audit Scotland; Healthcare Improvement Scotland; Ayr Animal Health Office; Marine Scotland; the Isle of Man Agency for the Environment, Food and Agricutlure; and the Netherlands' Authority for Financial Markets.
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February 2012
Delaware's Health Security Act mandates Fraud Control Model from Sparrow's "License to Steal"

Paragraph 1606 of the Health Security Act (February 2012) ("Purpose of the Health Security Act") requires:
"Fully fund, install and utilize the seven components of the health care fraud-control strategy explained by Dr. Malcolm Sparrow in his publication titled License to Steal: How Fraud Bleeds America's Health Care System and a minimum of ten percent of our state's health care funds will be saved from fraud. Dr. Sparrow, Professor in the School of Government at Harvard University, is our nation's recognized authority on health care fraud." How about that!
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November 2011
How to Steal Millions of Dollars from Medicare, in 6 easy steps...

Tristam Korten, writing for Fast Company explains it here: "How to commit Medicare Fraud in Six Easy Steps" November 22nd, 2011. Following Korten's guide (and thereby emulating thousands of others who have got rich quick at Medicare's expense) carries very little risk of detection or prosecution. In fact, as Korten explains, the government's standard responses to the threat of such scams actually helps the perpetrators clean up their (fake) billings, making their fraud schemes more robust and harder to detect in the future.

Tristam Korten is in fact a responsible journalist, and no doubt figures he's not creating any new dangers by explaining all this on the web. There is plenty of evidence, after all, that the crooks already know these basic truths about the Medicare system, and the equivalent vulnerabilities of many other highly automated public payment programs.

The following recent articles and testimony, by Malcolm Sparrow, relate directly to the threat posed by scams of the type Korten describes; and explain the fundamental shift in thinking required to control them effectively.

(1) "An e-ripoff of the U.S.: Disbursing public funds electronically sets up the federal government to be victimized by massive fraud" Los Angeles Times, August 21, 2011.

(2) "Criminal Prosecution as a Deterrent to Health Care Fraud" Testimony, Senate Committee on the Judiciary, Subcommittee on Crime & Drugs, May 20th, 2009.

(3) "Fraud in the U.S. Health Care System: Exposing the Vulnerabilities of Automated Payment Systems"
Social Research: An International Quarterly of the Social Sciences, Vol. 75, No. 4, Winter 2008. pp1151-1180

(4) "Why are Dead Doctors Allowed to Practice?" Miami Herald, Thursday September 4th, 2008.
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August 2011
Op-ed by Malcolm Sparrow, August 21, 2011. Los Angeles Times, "An e-ripoff of the U.S.: Disbursing public funds electronically sets up the federal government to be victimized by massive fraud"

Last week, a Los Angeles jury convicted a local pastor and his wife of fraudulently claiming $14.2 million from Medicare. The culprits recruited parishioners to help run fake durable medical equipment companies, and spent the proceeds on expensive cars and other luxuries. Assistant U.S. Atty. Gen. Lanny A. Breuer described their efforts as "persistent and brazen" and said "they treated the Medicare program like a personal till." Read the complete article. ____________________________________________________________________________________________________
August 2011

GRumbler update

Malcolm Sparrow has upgraded the GRumbler in response to requests from GRumbler users who needed greater capacity than the original version offered.The new version (released August 2nd 2011) can handle class-sizes up to 5000, allows users to define up to 20 different types of conflict variables, and can generate up to 50 successive sets of group assignments. For users working on very large classes (over 1000) or who want to conduct truly exhaustive searches for optimal distributions, additional speed is also available by installing the TurboGrumbler.exe (a precompiled executable file) as an optional extra. See TurboGrumbler Information & Installation Instructions.

Note: with the upgraded GRumbler.xls file (August 2011 version), the majority of users will not need to use the TurboGrumbler.

Malcolm Sparrow has created the GRumbler (or "Group Rumbler") to help with the frustratingly complex and inherently mathematical task of dividing classes of students into small groups for the purposes of group discussions, exercises, or project work--groups which are simultaneously balanced in terms of gender, nationality, experience, job description, or any other factors that course administrators deem important as a basis upon which to optimize mixing.

The GRumbler was first released in January 2011, and has been featured twice by columnist Natalie Houston in the "ProfHacker" column she writes for the Chronicle of Higher Education. Read the ProfHacker articles here (3rd May 2011) and here (25th August 2011).

Brian Moynihan, of UNC's School of Medicine, discovered the GRumbler through the ProfHacker article, and has created an excellent 11-minute instructional video, demonstrating the GRumbler's functionality. See his GRumbler YouTube video.
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June 2011
Conference on the Future of Regulatory Supervision, Delft, The Netherlands

Professor Sparrow delivered the Keynote Address at the Congress on Supervision & Science held in Delft on June 21st & 22nd 2011. In his address, Professor Sparrow commended the Dutch regulatory community for its effectiveness in bridging between the worlds of theory & practice, and on pursuing a more promising reform path than that embodied in the wider European movement on "Better Regulation." He also thanked Professor Ferdinand Mertens (host) personally for his extraordinary contributions over several decades to our understanding of the importance and complexity of the role of the professional regulator. (See the Conference introduction to Professor Sparrow's speech here.)

During his visit to the Netherlands (June 19th-24th), Professor Sparrow also worked with the Dutch National Bank and the Authority for Financial Markets (AFM) on their risk-based supervision programs.
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May 2011
May 11th, 2011: The Nation publishes "Stop the Bleeding: An Interview with Medicare Fraud Expert Malcolm Sparrow," by Sasha Abramsky

[Extract]....Malcolm Sparrow, a professor of public management at Harvard's Kennedy School and the author, most recently, of License to Steal:How Fraud Bleeds America's Health Care System, has long argued that government agencies underestimate the scale of a fraud epidemic that he believes costs taxpayers hundreds of billions of dollars annually. His work suggests that better fraud control systems can help significantly trim government budgets without impacting services. Such ideas are of peculiar importance in this era of public-sector austerity.

Read the summary version of the interview, published by The Nation. Read the full interview here.
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March 2011
Recovery Independent Advisory Panel's Recommendations published (on Recovery.gov)

The Advisory Panel was appointed by President Obama in March 2010, and Professor Sparrow is Deputy Chair. The Panel's recommendations were presented to the Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board (RATB) at a Board meeting held in Washington DC on March 4th, 2011. The Board has taken the Panel's seven recommendations under advisement, and the Board Chairman, Earl Devaney, has directed the Board's staff to determine the steps necessary to implement as many of the recommendations as possible. This set of recommendations from the Advisory Panel relate to the need for fuller reporting of the tax and entitlement portions of the Stimulus spending, and fraud, waste and abuse issues associated therewith; adoption of valid measurement methods (incorporating random or representative audits) for estimating overpayment and loss rates; and increased transparency regarding measured loss rates (as envisaged by the Improper Payments Act of 2002), where available, in relation to programs which Stimulus funds have been used to augment or to which Stimulus funds have been applied.
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March 2011
International Regulatory Reform Conference, Amsterdam.

Professor Sparrow delivered the Keynote Address to conclude the International Regulatory Reform Conference, held in Amsterdam on March 10th & 11th 2011. The conference was the fourth in a series of European annual conferencess on regulatory reform, and was organized by the Bertelsmann Stiftung (Germany) in cooperation with the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs, Agriculture and Innovation. The central purpose of the conference was to determine the future direction of the "Better Regulation" movement in Europe and throughout the OECD. Download IRRC conference program.
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January 2011
“Governing Science” published by National Institute of Justice.

Malcolm K. Sparrow's paper, "Governing Science," critiques the claims of the Evidence-Based Policy movement, and Evidence-Based Policing in particular, urging practitioners to appreciate and embrace a broader range of scientific and analytical contributions from academia. The paper contrasts the modes of inquiry employed within the Natural Sciences and the Social Sciences, and concludes the police profession needs to pursue a lot more of the former, and that the claims of social science and criminology to be the arbiters of "what works in crime control" should be moderated through a broader appreciation of diverse investigative, analytic, inquiry, and intelligence techniques more closely aligned with the practical and operational demands of the police profession. The paper has relevance to many professions beyond policing, and should appeal to scholars and practitioners eager to understand the contribution and limitations of the broader evidence-based policy movement.

"Governing Science" is published as a product of the second "Executive Session on Policing and Public Safety," a collaboration of NIJ and HKS' Program on Criminal Justice Policy & Management. NIJ website provides free pdf.
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March 2010

Professor Sparrow appointed by President Obama to the Recovery Independent Advisory Panel

Press Release by Doug Gavel: Harvard Kennedy School Professor Malcolm Sparrow has been named by the White House to the Recovery Independent Advisory Panel, charged with monitoring the integrity of the national stimulus program spending. The $787 billion package, passed by Congress last year, was designed to pull the nation out of the recession, but has come under fire for alleged waste and abuse. Sparrow says the panel will help ensure that the money is well spent. "The intention is to have some outside-government experts offer strategic advice to the administration about protecting the integrity of the stimulus package spending," Sparrow says. "I assume the threats to be protected against include fraud, waste, abuse, bogus performance reporting, bogus evaluation, diversion, and lack of transparency in purpose or allocation."

Information about the other members of the Panel, and its work, can be found on Recovery.Gov
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December 2009
Professor Sparrow testifies to House Committee on Financial Services, on Control of the Risks
associated with Internet Gambling

Read Malcolm Sparrow's testimony (December 3rd, 2009), and report (12/2/2009). Watch video of testimony.
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September 2009
"One Week in Heron City" Case Studies published by National Institute of Justice

Malcolm Sparrow's sequence of cases entitled "One Week in Heron City," are designed to serve as a basis for discussion regarding: (a) the relationships among a range of contemporary policing strategies (including: Community Policing, Problem-Oriented Policing, Compstat, Intelligence-Led Policing & Evidence-Based Policing), and (b) the nature of analytic support that modern operational policing requires. These cases are the first papers to be published as products of the second "Executive Session on Policing and Public Safety," a collaboration of NIJ and the Kennedy School of Government.

Free downloads of Heron City Part (A) & Part (B) are available from the Kennedy School's Program on Criminal Justice Policy & Management website, and a "Teaching Note" is also available on request.
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May 2009
Professor Sparrow testifies to Senate Judiciary Committee, Subcommittee on Crime & Drugs, regarding "Criminal Prosecution as a Deterrent to Health Care Fraud"

Read Malcolm Sparrow's testimony on HKS website (May 20th, 2009), or on the Committee website.
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September 2008
"Managing Risks in Civil Aviation: A Review of the FAA's Approach to Safety" published by the U.S. Department of Transportation.

Malcolm K. Sparrow (principal author), Edward W. Stimpson (Chair), J. Randolph Babbitt,
William O. McCabe, Carl W. Vogt. Report of the Independent Review Team, a Blue Ribbon Panel appointed by Secretary of Transportation Mary E. Peters. Washington D.C., September 2nd, 2008. Download report (pdf).
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June 2008
HKS Virtual Book Tour features "The Character of Harms: Operational Challenges in Control"

Malcolm Sparrow's latest book, published in April 2008 by Cambridge University Press, is featured on the Harvard Kennedy School's Virtual Book Tour. Professor Sparrow introduces the book in a short video.
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May 2008

HKS Insight Series features interview with Malcolm Sparrow on "Controlling Risk"

Read Doug Gavel's interview (June 5th) with Malcolm Sparrow regarding his research and teaching on operational risk control. Also see a video extract of the interview.
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