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HKS in the News May 23, 2012

1. Study shows isolation may lead to corrupt state capitals (Campante) The LA Times

2. Open borders break down global trade barriers (Lawrence) India Blooms

3. How well did you choose your parents? (Putnam) The Commons (VT)

4. The least bad option on Iran (Freilich) The LA Times

Study shows isolation may lead to corrupt state capitals

The LA Times

May 23

Cited: Research by Filipe Campante

Topic: Political corruption

What makes some state capitals so much more corrupt than others? New research provides a partial answer to that long-standing question: isolated capitals breed more corruption and lack of news coverage is a major reason why. …

Filipe R. Campante of Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government and Quoc-Anh Do of Singapore Management University looked at a different factor – isolation. …

Campante and Do used a sophisticated statistical model to determine which capitals are the most isolated from their states’ population centers. They compared that measure of isolation with a database of convictions on federal corruption charges between 1976 and 2002. (Using federal convictions avoids the problem that some states may have more corruption convictions simply because local prosecutors are more aggressive. In addition, a long time period minimizes possible partisan bias). …

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Open borders break down global trade barriers

India Blooms

May 23

Quoted: Robert Lawrence, Mossavar-Rahmani Center

Topic: Report on global trade

East Asian economies have recorded marked improvements in their ability to enable trade, while traditional frontrunners Singapore and Hong Kong retain a clear lead at the top of the global rankings, according to the Global Enabling Trade Report 2012, released on Wednesday by the World Economic Forum. …

The report also finds that security, quality and trade can be mutually reinforcing through supply chain integrity efforts, but a knowledge gap in identifying buyers remains an important barrier.

“The adoption of policies that enable trade will become increasingly important, not only for enhancing development in individual countries but also for generating prosperity in their trading partners,” said Robert Z. Lawrence, Albert L. Williams Professor of Trade and Investment at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. Lawrence is the academic adviser and a co-editor of the report.

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How well did you choose your parents?

The Commons (VT)

May 23

Quoted: Robert Putnam

Topic: Income inequality and social mobility in the U.S.

Robert Putnam has written extensively about decline of social capital — the social relationships and civic engagement that are key elements of a vibrant democracy. His 1996 best-selling title Bowling Alone was a seminal book in the field.

But Putnam, a professor of public policy at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, is turning his research toward the growing inequality-of-opportunity gap in the United States.

He says there is “a catastrophic gap” when it comes to social mobility, and it is getting worse with each passing year. …

“Americans don’t have the vocabulary to talk about class,” said Putnam. “Historically, most Americans don’t care about inequality of wealth and income. But Americans are quite concerned about social mobility and equality of opportunity.” …

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The least bad option on Iran

The LA Times

May 23

Commentary by: Chuck Freilich, Belfer Center

Topic: Nuclear talks with Iran

It is a bad outcome — but it is the least bad of the available options.

When world powers meet with Iran on Wednesday in Baghdad, they may reach an interim nuclear deal. Its precise outline is unknown, but it reportedly includes Iran's agreement to cease weapons-grade uranium enrichment, ship its existing stockpile abroad for conversion into reactor fuel, and accept heightened inspections of its nuclear infrastructure. In exchange, Iran would be allowed to continue enrichment at low levels, and the punishing new American banking sanctions and European Union oil sanctions due on July 1 would be eased.

Iran has strategic reasons for wanting nuclear capability and has so far rejected all inducements to give up the effort. It has dangled the prospect of a diplomatic resolution in the past, only to renege, repeatedly using artifice and deceit, apparently in the attempt to gain time to complete development. It may be doing so again; however, the crushing weight of international sanctions — those in place and those that are imminent — may have finally changed Iran's strategic calculus. …

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Broadcast Notes

Richard Parker, Shorenstein Center

WBUR “Here and Now,” 5/22

Topic: The Euro Crisis

Ted Strickland, Institute of Politics

PBS “News Hour,” 5/22

Topic: Mitt Romney's role at Bain Capital

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

To submit an item please email Jane Finn-Foley

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