HKS in the News February 9, 2012

February 9, 2012

1. Born in the USSR (Borjas)
Inside Higher Ed

2. Ireland can show Greece a way out of the crisis (Hausmann) Financial Times

3. Tweeting with a pile of Saudi money (Kayyem) The Boston Globe

Born in the USSR
Inside Higher Ed
February 9
Quoted: George J. Borjas, Malcolm Weiner Center
Topic: Knowledge migration

The collapse of the Soviet Union in 1992 meant the end of the Cold War, the dismantling of Lenin statues, and the near-disappearance of the schlocky Soviet stereotype in a certain kind of Hollywood movie. It also resulted in a migration of Soviet scholars, which greatly affected the field of mathematics in the United States, according to two professors who have co-authored a paper called “The Collapse of the Soviet Union and the Productivity of American Mathematicians” to be published in a forthcoming issue of the Quarterly Journal of Economics.

George J. Borjas, a professor at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government, and Kirk B. Doran, an assistant professor of economics at the University of Notre Dame, said in their paper that the influx of Soviet mathematicians into the U.S. beginning in 1992 affected the productivity of domestic math scholars when their research overlapped, and may have contributed to many American-born math scholars moving away from research areas where the Soviets were stronger. Their research, which looked at a data set that includes every paper published in math over the last 70 years, also found that the migrants from U.S.S.R. helped filled gaps in knowledge in their areas of expertise. The study provides insights into the increasingly global market for scholarly talent.

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Ireland can show Greece a way out of the crisis
Financial Times
February 8
Commentary by: Ricardo Hausmann, Center for International Development
Topic: Greek debt crisis

...Greece does not have what it takes to be as rich as it is. In our book "The Atlas of Economic Complexity," my co-authors and I calculated the amount of “productive knowledge” across various countries. A country with a high level of productive knowledge is one that exports many different goods and where these goods are complicated to make. Productive knowledge predicts how rich a country will be and hence how fast it will grow.

Here’s the bad news for Greece: in our sample of 128 countries, it had the biggest gap between its current recorded level of income and the knowledge content of its exports. Greece owes its income to borrowed foreign spending it cannot pay back. It produces no machines, no electronics and no chemicals. Of every 10 US dollars of worldwide trade in information technology, it accounts for one cent....

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Tweeting with a pile of Saudi money
The Boston Globe
February 9
Commentary by: Juliette Kayyem, Belfer Center
Topic: Twitter allowing censorship

SAUDI ARABIA’S Prince Alwaleed bin Talal Alsaud was in town yesterday, hosting a gala event with former President Jimmy Carter on intercultural dialogue and understanding. Bin Talal has invested millions of dollars in American academic institutions, including Harvard University, to promote Middle Eastern and Muslim studies. Not a bad idea, since Americans first heard of him when former New York City mayor Rudolph Giuliani sharply rejected the prince’s contributions to a 9/11 memorial fund on the grounds that it was from Saudi Arabia, where most of the hijackers and Osama bin Laden originated.

Over 10 years later, skepticism toward Saudi money still exists. “Shove it’’ is fewer than 140 characters, and that’s what some users of Twitter are saying in the wake of the prince’s $300 million investment in the site. To hear them tell it, bin Talal is aiming for global domination through control of free speech. Throw in a few hashtags, and the whole controversy creates nostalgia for Giuliani’s visceral bluntness.

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Broadcast Notes

David King
PRI’s “The World,” 2/8
Topic: Climate change in politics

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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