Publications

    This working paper focuses on the gendered concepts of women that emerge from the texts of the Geneva Conventions of 1949, especially the concept of “honor and modesty.” Through analysis of historical materials, the paper describes the background to Article 27 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, which refers to the protection of women from rape and enforced prostitution. In particular, the paper examines the question of why the Conventions’ drafters did not include rape in the list of acts that constitute grave breaches of the Conventions, worthy of special condemnation.

    This essay discusses the multiple roles played by the members of the Human Rights Committee in giving effect to the rights guaranteed by the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. It argues that the most important contribution the members make to the human rights project consists in their credible, professional elaboration of those rights, particularly by means of the Committee’s Views and General Comments, as emphasized by the International Court of Justice in the Diallo case. While the Committee members should be open to learning from the insights of other treaty bodies, they should resist urgings toward a simplistic harmonization. The texts and interpretations of other ‘core’ human rights treaties must be used with care in the members’ independent exercise of their own interpretive function.

     

    In an economy historically dominated and controlled by the state, Cuban entrepreneurs have experienced a unique set of challenges and opportunities. Economic reforms implemented by President Raul Castro in 2010 reflect the nation's changing attitude towards private enterprise, but the fate of Cuban entrepreneurs is still unknown as they continue to blaze their own trail. The far-reaching social and economic implications of private entrepreneurship are further complicated by the concurrent circulation of two separate currencies: the Cuban peso (used for all public and government purposes) and the CUC (convertible peso pinned to the US dollar used primarily for private business and the booming tourist industry). As Cuban entrepreneurs accumulate higher disposable income relative to their public sector counterparts, fascinating social and economic questions arise: What are the major social and economic barriers to successful entrepreneurship in Cuba? How are successful entrepreneurs spending their new-found disposable income? And finally, how (if at all) is said income trickling down to their non-private counterparts? During my three-month trip to Cuba this summer I plan to investigate these questions by interviewing Cuban entrepreneurs in Havana and collecting quantitative data on their spending habits.

     

     

    Andrea Blasco, Olivia S. Jung, Karim R. Lakhani, and Michael E. Menietti. Working Paper. “Motivating Effort in Contributing Public Goods Inside Organizations: Field Experimental Evidence”. Publisher's Version Abstract

    We investigate the factors driving workers’ decisions to generate public goods inside an organization through a randomized solicitation of workplace improvement proposals in a medical center with 1,200 employees. We find that pecuniary incentives, such as winning a prize, generate a threefold increase in participation compared to non-pecuniary incentives alone, such as prestige or recognition. Participation is also increased by a solicitation appealing to improving the workplace. However, emphasizing the patient mission of the organization led to countervailing effects on participation. Overall, these results are consistent with workers having multiple underlying motivations to contribute to public goods inside the organization consisting of a combination of pecuniary and altruistic incentives associated with the mission of the organization.

     

    The movement of Effective Altruism and social impact investing signifies a shift in philanthropy towards measured impact. GiveDirectly, a nonprofit organization that facilitates unconditional cash transfers to the poor in Kenya and Uganda, operates under the reasonable premise that poor people know what makes them better off. Microfinance institutions operate under the same assumption and provide low-interest loans to the poor. Models of providing poor people with funds through unconstrained donations or microloans tout how the funds are often used to start businesses. Research suggests that this is true in practice[1] and, more importantly, that business creation is an important component of economic development[2].

    These models, however, neglect the influence of culture on the use of funds. Some empirical research has already shown that culture influences how people spend money[3]. It is plausible that members of ‘interdependent’ communities allocate a smaller proportion of their income to personal spending due to a social stigma in comparison to ‘individual’ communities. This phenomenon plausibly extends to the use of unconstrained funds that are either donated or loaned. This research project will study the relationship between cultures of interdependence and spending. It will investigate the question: how does interdependence in a community influence the ways in which community members spend donated or loaned funds?

     

     

    [1] Canales, Rodrigo, Dean Karlan, and Tony Sheldon. "What Are the Realities of Microfinance?" Yale School of Management. N.p., 20 Sept. 2016. Web. 18 Dec. 2016.

     

    [2] Szirmai, Adam, Wim Naudé, and Micheline Goedhuys. "Entrepreneurship, Innovation, and Economic Development: An Overview." Entrepreneurship, Innovation, and Economic Development (2011): 3-32. Web.

    [3] Boris, Cynthia. "New Study Shows Cultural Impact on Shopping Habits." Marketing Pilgrim Links RSS. N.p., 3 July 2013. Web. 18 Dec. 2016.

     

    Singapore’s historical developmental economy and policies incentivizing rapid growth have imparted a pragmatic culture that has persisted through neoliberal reforms (Liow 2011, Robison et. al 2005). As the country attempts to move to a knowledge based economy (KBE), despite Singapore identifying risk-aversion as a weakness for entrepreneurs within the city state, the country hosts a robust, heavily-subsidized, and comparatively risky venture capital center within Asia (PwC 2015, Garry et al. 2002,  Singapore’s Transition). Has government funding reduced the perceived risk of investment for those venture capitalists receiving government money, making investors behave differently than those in surrounding cities? Or, as Singapore provides a haven for foreign venture capital, are foreign investors actually those primarily making earlier and more tech-driven investments? To answer these questions, I propose research to be conducted this winter in Singapore interviewing investors from three cohorts - government-subsidized domestic venture capital firms, non-subsidized domestic venture capital firms, and internationally headquartered firms - to better understand how venture capital is perceived in Singapore and how the highly-speculative capital has come to flourish in a pragmatic culture.

    Felipe Barrera-Osorio, David S. Blakeslee, Matthew Hoover, Leigh L. Linden, Dhushyanth Raju, and Stephen Ryan. Working Paper. “Leveraging the Private Sector to Improve Primary School Enrolment: Evidence from a Randomized Controlled Trial in Pakistan 1”. Abstract

    We evaluate the effects of publicly funded private primary schools on child enrollment in a sample of 199 villages in 10 underserved districts of rural Sindh province, Pakistan. The program is found to significantly increase child enrollment, which increases by 30 percentage points in treated villages. There is no overall differential effect of the intervention for boys and girls, due to similar enrollment rates in control villages. We find no evidence that providing greater financial incentives to entrepreneurs for the recruitment of girls leads to a greater increase in female enrollment than does an equal compensation scheme for boys and girls. Test scores improve dramatically in treatment villages, rising by 0.67 standard deviations relative to control villages. (November 2013)

    This paper presents the evaluation of the program Computers for Education. The program aims to integrate computers, donated by the private sector, into the teaching of language in public schools. The authors conduct a two-year randomized evaluation of the program using a sample of 97 schools and 5,201 children. Overall, the program seems to have had little effect on students’ test scores and other outcomes. These results are consistent across grade levels, subjects, and gender. The main reason for these results seems to be the failure to incorporate the computers into the educational process. Although the program increased the number of computers in the treatment schools and provided training to the teachers on how to use the computers in their classrooms, surveys of both teachers and students suggest that teachers did not incorporate the computers into their curriculum.

    Nicole S. Simon, Susan Moore Johnson, and Stefanie K. Reinhorn. Working Paper. “The Matchmaking Process: Teacher Hiring in Six Successful, High-Poverty, Urban Schools”. Abstract

    This qualitative analysis of teacher teams is part of a larger, comparative case study, “Developing Human Capital Within Schools,” conducted by the Project on the Next Generation of Teachers.  Within one city, we interviewed 142 teachers and administrators in six high-poverty schools (three charter and three district), all of which had achieved the highest ranking in the state’s accountability system.  Here, we analyze how each school approached the process of teacher hiring and how both administrators and teachers experienced it.  All schools assessed candidates through a two-way hiring process which provided both schools and candidates with opportunities to exchange information and assess one another before making an offer or signing a contract.  Each school’s hiring process included multiple steps, such as screening résumés and cover letters, a pre-interview phone screening, an interview with the principal, a teaching demonstration and debrief, and a school visit.  Throughout these steps, schools recognized that they needed to court candidates if they offered a position, so that the applicant would accept it.  Those involved were clear that the investment of time and resources was very worthwhile and helped to ensure a good, secure fit between a school and its teachers.  

    Susan Moore Johnson, Stefanie K. Reinhorn, and Nicole S. Simon. Working Paper. “Ending Isolation: The Payoff of Teacher Teams in Successful High-Poverty Urban Schools”. Abstract

    Teacher teams are increasingly common in schools today, yet their record for promoting meaningful collaboration is uneven. Recently, however, research suggests that teams have promise for supporting teachers’ development and improving student achievement (Rondfelt, Farmer, McQueen, and Grissom (2015); Author, forthcoming.) For this qualitative study of school-based teacher teams, we interviewed 142 teachers and administrators in six schools (3 district, 3 charter) located in one city. All schools served students in high-poverty, high-minority communities and had achieved the highest ranking in the state’s accountability system. Five of the six schools relied on teams as a central mechanism for school improvement, dedicating substantial blocks of time each week for teachers’ meetings. Teams focused on matters of content (curriculum, lesson plans, and student achievement) and the student cohort (individual progress, group behavior, and organizational culture). Teachers valued their work on teams, saying that it supported their instruction and contributed to their school’s success by creating coherence across classrooms and shared responsibility for students. Factors that supported teams included having a worthy purpose in support of the school’s mission; sufficient, regular time for meetings; engaged support by administrators; and facilitation by trained teacher leaders. We discuss implications for policy, practice, and research.

     

    This qualitative analysis of teachers’ experiences of school-level data routines is part of a larger, comparative case study, “Developing Human Capital Within Schools,” conducted by the Project on the Next Generation of Teachers. Within one city, we interviewed 142 teachers and administrators in six high-poverty schools (traditional, charter, and turnaround), all of which had achieved the highest ranking in the state’s accountability system. Here, we analyze how teachers and administrators used student learning data to inform and direct instruction. In all six schools, teachers regularly and collaboratively gathered, analyzed and responded to a range of types of data, including common interim assessments, samples of student work, teacher-administered reading assessments, responses to questions on exit slips, teacher-made quizzes, unit tests, performance assessments, homework completion records and disciplinary records such as demerits and detentions. Importantly, the data practices in these school extended well beyond efforts to simply raise state test scores despite the significant pressure these schools experienced for improving their results. Teachers used data routines in conjunction with curriculum planning and other professional activities to collaboratively build their knowledge of what they were teaching, how to teach it, how to assess students’ progress and what to do when students were not reaching standards.

    Mercè Crosas. Working Paper. “The Rise of Data Publishing (and how Dataverse 4 can help).” Journal of Technology Science. Publisher's Version Abstract

     The research community needs reliable, standard ways to make the data produced by scientific research available to the community, while getting credit as data authors. As a result, a new form of scholarly publication is emerging: data publishing. Data pubishing - or making data long-term accessible, reusable and citable - is more involved than simply providing a link to a data file or posting the data to the researchers web site. In this paper, we define what is needed for proper data publishing and describe how the open-source Dataverse software helps define, enable and enhance data publishing for all.

    Universities require faculty and students planning research involving human subjects to pass formal certification tests and then submit research plans for prior approval. Those who diligently take the tests may better understand certain important legal requirements but, at the same time, are often misled into thinking they can apply these rules to their own work which, in fact, they are not permitted to do. They will also be missing many other legal requirements not mentioned in their training but which govern their behaviors. Finally, the training leaves them likely to completely misunderstand the essentially political situation they find themselves in. The resulting risks to their universities, collaborators, and careers may be catastrophic, in addition to contributing to the more common ordinary frustrations of researchers with the system. To avoid these problems, faculty and students conducting research about and for the public need to understand that they are public figures, to whom different rules apply, ones that political scientists have long studied. University administrators (and faculty in their part-time roles as administrators) need to reorient their perspectives as well. University research compliance bureaucracies have grown, in well-meaning but sometimes unproductive ways that are not required by federal laws or guidelines. We offer advice to faculty and students for how to deal with the system as it exists now, and suggestions for changes in university research compliance bureaucracies, that should benefit faculty, students, staff, university budgets, and our research subjects.

    Rachel Sieder and María Teresa Sierra. Working Paper. Indigenous Women’s Access to Justice in Latin America. CMI - Chr. Michelsen Institute, 45. Bergen: CMI - Chr. Michelsen Institute. Publisher's Version Abstract

    http://www.cmi.no/publications/publication/?3880=indigenous-womens-acces...

    This paper gives an overview of the challenges which indigenous women in Latin America face in accessing both formal state justice and indigenous legal systems, including a focus on normative frameworks, legal awareness, access to appropriate justice forums and the achievement of satisfactory remedies. In addition, it highlights promising examples of how different actors within civil society and governments are taking steps to improve indigenous women’s access to justice in different contexts. Recognizing that each of these are likely to be very context specific, it draws out the key lessons and challenges from these approaches, making recommendations on how this work can best be supported.

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