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John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation;
Since 2015, the MacArthur Foundation's Big Bet On Nigeria is investing in efforts to reduce corruption in Nigeria by supporting Nigerian-led endeavors that strengthen transparency, accountability, and participation. Corruption, impunity, and lack of accountability in Nigeria have far-reaching impacts on access to and quality of public services, the well-being of Nigerians, and overall development. The On Nigeria strategy builds on Jonathan Fox's "sandwich" theory,1 which recognizes the importance of the combination of a push from below and a squeeze from above to effect change and sustain momentum. The push from below is the "voice"— representing citizens' actions to demand change and develop local solutions to corruption, while the squeeze from above is the "teeth"—representing the efforts of government and other high-level actors to develop and enforce laws and regulations, using incentives to discourage corruption and sanctions to punish it. The On Nigeria theory of change harnesses the "voice" of Nigerian citizens and the "teeth" of Nigerian public and private institutions, and combined with capacity building and collaboration, intends to address the problem of corruption in Nigeria.
The On Nigeria evaluation and learning framework seeks to answer three overarching evaluation questions: (1) How is the MacArthur Foundation's strategy contributing to changing transparency and accountability of government and private-sector actors? (2) How is the MacArthur Foundation's strategy contributing to changing social norms and citizens' behaviors related to corruption? and (3) What kinds of adaptation or changes are needed in the theory of change and/or strategy to achieve better results? The framework is designed to provide specific information related to On Nigeria's landscape, outcomes, impacts, and feedback on the strategy to assess progress and adapt the strategy as needed.
Uganda's Oil Industry has attracted huge foreign investment, but participation by SMEs has remained poor despite their importance in income generation, employment and poverty eradication. Although the Oil industry is highly specialised, it provides indirect investment opportunities for SMEs who make up 80 percent of Uganda's private sector. The opportunities available however have not been sufficiently usurped by SMEs due to the information gap on how to create business partnerships, requirements of the industry and actors in the industry.
Open Society Foundations;
The need for the European Union's involvement in the Western Balkans, Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine has never been more acute. The European Commission's structures are not up to the job. A new approach is needed to respond to the realities on the ground and in member states.
The European Union needs to boost the tools of the European Commission to move the process on from enlargement and move decisively towards the unification of Europe. This means creating a directorate general that would have the resources to drive forward the accession process with the Western Balkans countries and the ambitious trade and reform agenda in Ukraine, Georgia, and Moldova. A new directorate general Europe could play this role.
Open Society Foundations;
Concern over online interference in elections is now widespread—from the fallout of the Cambridge Analytica scandal to the pernicious effects messaging apps have had in elections in Kenya or Brazil. Yet regulatory and monitoring efforts have lagged behind in addressing the challenges of how public opinion can be manipulated online, and its impact on elections. The phenomenon of online electoral interference is global. It affects established democracies, countries in transition, and places where freedom of expression and access to information are tightly controlled.
But fundamental questions of what should be legal and illegal in digital political communication have yet to be answered in order to extend the rule of electoral law from the offline to the online. Answering these questions would help determine the right scope for online election observation, too. This scoping report explains why social media is one of the elements of a democratic, rule of law–based state that observer groups should monitor. It aggregates experience from diverse civil society and nongovernmental initiatives that are innovating in this field, and sets out questions to guide the development of new mandates for election observers. The internet and new digital tools are profoundly reshaping political communication and campaigning. But an independent and authoritative assessment of the impact of these effects is wanting. Election observation organizations need to adapt their mandate and methodology in order to remain relevant and protect the integrity of democratic processes.
Open Society European Policy Institute;
The 2011 EU Framework for National Roma Integration Strategies (the EU Roma Framework) set ambitious goals to close the gap between Roma and non-Roma in education, employment, housing, and health, as well as to protect Roma against discrimination. While there have been many achievements since 2011, the EU Roma Framework has failed to reach its goals in all policy areas, including combating discrimination. Its objectives were unrealistic and did not consider crucial missing elements.
This report recommends the creation of a fully-fledged strategy on Roma and the EU, not just a framework, and how to make future goals more concrete and achievable.
Center for Effective Government;
OMB Watch partnered with Georgetown University's Public Policy Institute and Accenture's Institute for Public Service to craft consensus recommendations for the next president related to improving government performance measurement systems. The project convened a wide range of policy experts, academics, government representatives, and others to explore areas of agreement in a very disparate field.
Center for Economic and Policy Research;
Patent monopolies on prescription drugs raise their price by one or two orders of magnitude above the free market price. In this way, they are equivalent to tariffs of several thousand percent or even tens of thousands of percent. Just as tariffs lead to economic distortions, and provide incentives for corruption, so do patent monopolies on prescription drugs. We continually see evidence of this as drug companies are routinely found to make payoffs to keep generics out of the market, promote their drugs for uses for which they are inappropriate, and conceal evidence they are less effective than claimed, or even harmful.
The enormous distortions from patent monopolies mean that there are large potential gains from working around them. This working paper discusses four mechanisms for getting drug prices closer to free market levels with actions at the state or local level or by private actors.
Center for Economic and Policy Research;
In the absence of national paid leave laws, some states have responded by creating programs that provide partial replacement of lost wages when urgent health or family needs mean workers must miss work. The three states with the longest track records are California, which implemented paid family leave in 2004; New Jersey, which implemented it in 2008; and Rhode Island, which followed in 2014. All three have had paid medical leave to address a worker's own serious illness for 70 years or more. Today, six states and the District of Columbia have enacted laws that provide workers with paid family and medical leave. Despite the existence of these state laws, both awareness and usage — especially among workers in low-paid jobs and members of minority communities — have been low.
This report examines a number of innovative projects in California, New Jersey, and Rhode Island designed to produce usable knowledge about what works — and what doesn't — in raising awareness among workers most likely to need paid family leave and least likely to know about it. It draws the lessons learned in the field and provides guidance to advocates in states with paid family and medical leave programs as they design interventions to address this challenge.
Indian Land Tenure Foundation;
This ninth issue of the Message Runner discusses on fractionation of ownership title and provides ways for effective land management.
Carsey School of Public Policy at The University of New Hampshire;
The share of people without health insurance has dropped dramatically since the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), but declines have been most dramatic among young adults age 19 to 25. In 2008, one-in-three 23-year-olds were uninsured, likely reflecting their graduation from college and therefore, their ineligibility to be covered on parental plans. Beginning in 2010, the ACA allowed young adults to remain on their parents' plans until age 26; the orange line in Figure 1 reflects this shift, as 26-year-olds, rather than 23-year-olds, became the most often uninsured by 2013.
Rockefeller Archive Center;
I visited the Rockefeller Archive Center to research the William H. Whyte papers for my doctoral dissertation, "Transactional Terrains: Partnerships, Bargains and the Postwar Redefinition of the Public Realm, New York City 1965-1980," that traces the architectural and urban history of the privatization of the public realm. At the center of the research is New York City during the "urban crisis" years of the 1960s. The period saw an ongoing shift in how city and state governments initiated, financed, and managed architecture and urban development. As an administrative apparatus of crisis management, the public-private partnership was the fiscal and legal device that was at the center of this shift. With the public-private partnership, there was an increased emphasis on transactions between jurisdictional authorities and private sector actors. The 1960s witnessed the beginnings of organized cultivation of private sector participation by city and state governments, in the funding, management, and provision of public goods (parks, plazas, and housing). By examining the ecology and economy of these public-private partnerships, the dissertation seeks to examine the privatization of the public realm in New York City as a series of complex intersections between the city's economic, political, urban, architectural and real-estate histories beginning in the 1960s. Urbanist William H. Whyte's writings, research, and speeches on the design and value of public spaces in New York City have shaped policy and theory in architecture, urban design, and planning since the early 1960s. He was a prominent figure, specifically for my first chapter.
John S. and James L. Knight Foundation;
How did misinformation spread during the 2016 presidential election and has anything changed since? A new study of more than 10 million tweets from 700,000 Twitter accounts that linked to more than 600 misinformation and conspiracy news outlets answers this question.
The report reveals a concentrated "fake news" ecosystem, linking more than 6.6 million tweets to fake news and conspiracy news publishers in the month before the 2016 election. The problem persisted in the aftermath of the election with 4 million tweets to fake and conspiracy news publishers found from mid-March to mid-April 2017. A large majority of these accounts are still active today.