HKS in the News January 26, 2012

January 26, 2012

1. Edith Stokey, founding mother of JFK School at Harvard, 88 (Stokey)
The Boston Globe

2. Choice management (Madrian) Harvard Gazette

3. Cycle of crisis looms over emerging markets (Frankel) The Bangkok Post

4. The Obama Way of War (Nye) The Weekly Standard

5. Young voters getting engaged in politics (Della Volpe) The Detroit News

6. Signs of New Life as U.N. Searches for a Climate Accord (Stavins) The New York Times

7. Sanctions Against Iran Grow Tighter, but What’s the Next Step? (Burns) The New York Times

Edith Stokey, founding mother of JFK School at Harvard, 88
The Boston Globe
January 26
Profile of: Edith Stokey
Topic: Remembering Edith Stokey

Long considered the unofficial “founding mother’’ of the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, Edith Stokey was an economist, a teacher, a researcher, an author, an administrator, a mother, and more, but one of her most cherished roles was citizen.

“Her sense of citizenship was extraordinary,’’ her son Roger of Falmouth said in a eulogy during her memorial service Saturday in First Parish in Wayland. “She considered the right to vote sacrosanct and never missed voting in an election her entire life: not a primary, not a general election, and never a Town Meeting.’’

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Choice management
Harvard Gazette
January 24
Quoted: Brigitte Madrian
Topic: Poor choices in personal investing

Trying to make sense of the breadth and complexity of the financial markets can be a Herculean task, one that frustrates even the most seasoned investors. Why, then, do many companies ask their employees to do just that?

They shouldn’t, according to Brigitte Madrian, Aetna Professor of Public Policy and Corporate Management at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, and David Laibson, the Robert I. Goldman Professor of Economics.

In a paper published last year, Madrian and Laibson argued that employers should strive to “design institutions that facilitate good choices, rather than assuming that giving people every option under the sun will lead to the right decision.”

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Cycle of crisis looms over emerging markets
Bangkok Post
January 26
Commentary by: Jeffrey Frankel
Topic: The future of developing nations

Emerging markets have performed amazingly well over the last seven years. In many cases, they have far outperformed the advanced industrialised countries in terms of economic growth, debt-to-GDP ratios, counter-cyclical fiscal policy, and assessments by ratings agencies and financial markets.

As 2012 begins, however, investors are wondering if emerging markets may be due for a correction, triggered by a new wave of "risk off"' behaviour. Will China experience a hard landing? Will a decline in commodity prices hit Latin America? Will the European Union's sovereign-debt woes spread to neighbours such as Turkey? Indeed, few believe that the rapid economic growth and high trade deficits that Turkey has experienced in recent years can be sustained. Likewise, high GDP growth rates in Brazil and Argentina over the same period could soon reverse, particularly if global commodity prices fall - not a remote prospect if the Chinese economy begins to falter or global real interest rates rise this year.

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The Obama Way of War
The Weekly Standard
January 30
Quoted: Joseph Nye
Topic: President Obama’s military strategy

Joseph Nye was also quoted in The Wall Street Journal discussing the Middle East.

…The Obama administration came to office convinced that a failure to pay sufficient attention to the Asia-Pacific region was the other giant strategic blunder of its Bush predecessors. Harvard’s Joseph Nye recently captured the fundamentals of administration thinking: “Asia’s return to the center of world affairs is the great power shift of the twenty-first century,” he wrote. “But, rather than keeping an eye on that ball, the United States wasted the first decade of this century mired in wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.” Nye also agreed with National Security Adviser Tom Donilon’s fawning praise of the president: “[B]y elevating this dynamic region to one of our top strategic priorities, Obama is showing his determination not to let our ship of state be pushed off course by prevailing crises.”

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Young voters getting engaged in politics
The Detroit News
January 26
Quoted: John Della Volpe, Institute of Politics
Topic: Increased interest in voting among young people

Harvard's Institute of Politics has been tracking the youth vote for more than a decade. Up until 2010, there had been more engagement, participation and excitement among youths regarding politics, Della Volpe said….

"Since then, it's been hard to govern based on the partisanship in Washington," Della Volpe said. "It's been hard to get the economy back on track, and young people are now questioning somewhat the efficacy of their vote. They are disappointed. Their expectations were high. They told us in the last couple surveys they are not sure they want to participate in 2012 in the same level they did (in 2008)."

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Signs of New Life as U.N. Searches for a Climate Accord
The New York Times
January 24
Quoted: Robert Stavins
Topic: Climate change conferences

WASHINGTON — Critics and supporters alike agree that the U.N. forum for negotiating international climate change policies is an ungainly mess, its annual gatherings marked by discord, disarray and brinkmanship….

Robert N. Stavins, director of the environmental economics program at Harvard University, said that Durban had helped resuscitate an international effort that appeared close to collapse. He said that the tasks before it were still difficult — producing meaningful emissions reductions quickly and at acceptable cost — but, unlike previous promises, there was at least now a structure that binds all the major players.

“Only time will tell whether the Durban Platform delivers on its promise,” Mr. Stavins said, “or turns out to be another ‘Bali Roadmap,’ leading nowhere.”

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Sanctions Against Iran Grow Tighter, but What’s the Next Step?
The New York Times
January 24
Quoted: Nicholas Burns
Topic: Iran’s nuclear program

WASHINGTON — As the Obama administration and its European allies toughened economic sanctions against Iran on Monday — blocking its access to the world financial system and undermining its critical oil and gas industry — officials on both sides of the Atlantic acknowledge that their last-ditch effort has only a limited chance of persuading Tehran to abandon what the West fears is its pursuit of nuclear weapons….

“If there were an alternative to the sanctions, that would be one thing,” said R. Nicholas Burns, the former under secretary of state in the George W. Bush administration who was an architect of the sanctions policy that began in 2006. “But is there? No. If you don’t have a military answer right now, you’re far better off continuing this strategy and trying to see if while doing all this, you can open up the path to negotiations.”

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Broadcast Notes

Tarek Masoud, Ash Center
PBS “NewsHour,” 1/25
Topic: Post-Mubarak Egypt

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

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