HKS in the News February 13, 2012

February 13, 2012

1. City Is Cited for Its Initiatives in Fighting Poverty (Ash Center)
The New York Times

2. The Strange Career of Voter Suppression (Keyssar) The New York Times

3. Foreign Policy Poses Challenges for Chinese Leader’s Meeting With Obama (Joseph Nye)The Epoch Times

4. Women politicos inspire girls to achieve: Study (Pande) Times of India

5. Why contests are a smart procurement tool (Kelman) Federal Computer Week

6. As Xi visits, China's U.S. crop demand a balm for tensions (Overholt) Reuters

City Is Cited for Its Initiatives in Fighting Poverty
The New York Times
February 12
Cited: Ash Center
Topic: Innovations in American Government Award

This story is also covered in The Wall Street Journal, Associated Press, NY Daily News, and the Harvard Gazette

A city office that Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg created in 2006 to try new approaches to battling poverty has won an award for innovation from the Harvard Kennedy School, the mayor announced in his weekly radio address on Sunday. …

The award, called the Innovations in American Government Award, is given every other year by the Kennedy School’s Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation to recognize particularly innovative and effective government programs. The center received roughly 500 applications for the award this year; the winner is chosen by a national selection committee.

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The Strange Career of Voter Suppression
The New York Times
February 12
Commentary by: Alexander Keyssar, Malcolm Weiner Center
Topic: Voting restrictions

THE 2012 general election campaign is likely to be a fight for every last vote, which means that it will also be a fight over who gets to cast one.

Partisan skirmishing over election procedures has been going on in state legislatures across the country for several years. Republicans have called for cutbacks in early voting, an end to same-day registration, higher hurdles for ex-felons, the presentation of proof-of-citizenship documents and regulations discouraging registration drives. The centerpiece of this effort has been a national campaign to require voters to present particular photo ID documents at the polls. Characterized as innocuous reforms to preserve election integrity, beefed-up ID requirements have passed in more than a dozen states since 2005 and are still being considered in more than 20 others.

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Foreign Policy Poses Challenges for Chinese Leader’s Meeting With Obama
The Epoch Times
February 3
Quoted: Joseph Nye
Topic: China-US relations

In foreign policy talks between People’s Republic of China’s Vice-Chair Xi Jinping and President Obama on Tuesday at the White House, Xi may not feel he is speaking from a position of strength. …

Harvard Professor Joseph Nye, former dean of the Kennedy School, who served as assistant secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs and chair of the National Intelligence Council, sees the new U.S. concentration on the Asia-Pacific region as exposing China’s deficit in soft power—the power of persuasion.

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Women politicos inspire girls to achieve: Study
The Times of India
February 12
Quoted: Rohini Pande
Topic: Gender gap in India

"…The big takeaway of our study is the importance of changing aspirations as a way of affecting change," said Rohini Pande, professor of economics, Harvard Kennedy School of Government, who with well-known economist Esther Duflo and others worked on the research. "We believe an important part of what constrains girls is limited aspirations. That is, it is harder for girls to aspire if they live in an environment where the message is that education is less relevant for them since their destiny is to get married and have children."

One of the possible reasons for such a trickle-down 'role model effect' is that women leaders invest in policies that make it possible for girls to get ahead, states the study. For instance, investing in drinking water could save hours women spend on household chores. Role-model behaviour was the other. "In addition, exposure to female leaders may be an important driver of change in voters' beliefs about what women can do and their daughter's aspirations. If scaled up, we would hope that a greater presence of women leaders would improve attitudes towards girls and increase parents' and children's willingness to invest in education," Pande told TOI.

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Why contests are a smart procurement tool
Federal Computer Week
February 9
Commentary by: Steve Kelman
Topic: Government contests promote innovation

Compared to many of my colleagues, I am more inclined to read academic journals from cover to cover rather than just the one or two papers that are directly related to my areas of research. This has the virtue of exposing me to ideas off my beaten track, which is good for creativity, but at the cost of my often being way behind on the latest issues. …

The paper’s starting point is an observation from what was probably the world’s first government-sponsored contest and perhaps the best-known one, due to its popularization in Dava Sobel’s 1996 book “Longitude”: the prize offered by the British government in the 1700s to anyone who could solve the vexing problem of determining longitude at sea. The paper notes that Sir Isaac Newton, who served on the board of scientists that reviewed the entries, predicted that the solution would need to be based on astronomical science. However, the eventual winner was a largely self-taught carpenter and clockmaker, John Harrison, who developed a chronometer suitable for the task by coming up with a design that differed from the clockmaking establishment’s typical approach.

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As Xi visits, China's U.S. crop demand a balm for tensions
February 12
Quoted: William Overholt, Ash Center
Topic: Agricultural trade between China and the US

China is half a world away from the 2,300-acre family farm in east-central Iowa where John Weber and his son plant corn and soybeans.

But 62-year-old Weber is among a number of Iowa farmers who are benefiting as rising incomes in China lead to demand for billions of dollars of American farm goods. …

"The more the Chinese come to depend on U.S. agricultural exports, the more that could potentially make a big difference on the geopolitical relationship between the two countries," said William Overholt, a senior research fellow at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University and author of "Asia, America, and the Transformation of Geopolitics".

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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 Bryan Galcik

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