Explore all Articles

filter by–Region

filter by–Country

search by–Keyword

A Digitalization Compass for States


Over the past few years, scientists and experts have repeatedly warned the world community about the possibility of a new viral pandemic as a major threat to humanity. As usual, their voices were ignored. “Who was there to hear them anyway?” you might ask, when in the light of ubiquitously growing populism and nationalism, as […]

Science, Technology and Data

Not So Plum: The Shortcomings of the Plum Book and Tracking Political Appointments


Introduction “Personnel is policy” was a popular motto in the Reagan administration. Today, the phrase continues to ring true as political appointments remain vacant and appointees are hired to run agencies that they once wanted to dismantle.[1],[2] Presidents have immense power to influence the policy-making process through their personnel choices. Most of the federal government’s […]

Democracy and Governance

An Old Formula Could Stop This U.S.–China Trade War


In March 2018, President Trump stated that ‘trade wars are good, and easy to win’ as he sparked a trade war with China to fight what he called the country’s unfair bilateral trade balance and intellectual property theft. The trade war has taken longer than expected to “win,” especially as rhetoric on both sides heats […]

Development and Economic Growth

Why We Keep Doing Things We Know Don’t Work


BY JEFF LAMBART   Every year in the United States, roughly $4 billion are spent performing 700,000 surgeries that we know don’t work.[1],[2] Why? In part because, on a superficial level, it sounds so plausible. This procedure, an arthroscopic partial meniscectomy, is a knee surgery that purports to relieve pain by trimming a frayed meniscus […]

Why Voters Should Care About a President’s Emotional Intelligence


BY JOHN SCIANIMANICO In their first debates on June 26 and 27, twenty candidates made the case for why they should be the 2020 Democratic presidential nominee. The candidates highlighted a number of tangible and compelling reasons, including their prior records in government, their well-conceived policy solutions, and their electability. But, while pedigree and experience […]


Amtrak and the Ethics of Influence


Amtrak wants you to buy travel insurance, even if it’s not in your best interest. BY ELLIOTT JAMES You pick your fare, decline to bring your Scottish Terrier, fill in your credit card details and hit “continue,” with a breeziness that makes you feel like you’re already hurtling down the Northeast Corridor towards Manhattan. Only […]

How Democrats Can Win in 2019 with Behavioral Science: Ditch CTV Pledges for Vote Tripling Pledges


Democrats should ditch commit-to-vote (CTV) pledges for vote tripling pledges.  BY ROBERT REYNOLDS Instead of asking Democrats to commit to vote, campaigns should ask them to pledge to get three friends to vote. Relative to commit-to-vote (CTV) pledges, new evidence suggests voters like ‘vote tripling’ pledges more and that these pledges more effectively increase voter […]

Where are the Women at Trump’s Negotiating Table?


BY ALEXANDRA SCHMITT It’s a familiar photo in foreign affairs: a table in an ornate room, placards lined up, and a long row of men facing off on each side. One could be forgiven for thinking this was a throwback to the 1970s, when women were barred from serving as foreign service officers after marriage. […]

Trump Can Make History in North Korea by Raising Human Rights


BY ALEXANDRA SCHMITT The summit between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, scheduled for this week in Vietnam, promises to be a dramatic reunion. Trump, for his part, bragged that he and Kim “fell in love” during their last meeting in Singapore and that he “developed a very special bond” with the […]

Toward a Critical Analysis Framework of Digital Algorithms for Policy Makers


BY HANNAH MASUGA Data-driven policymaking is widely touted as the best way to improve government, but it also poses a threat to our fundamental freedoms. It’s true that research intended to drive more efficient and effective programming provides important insights into how society functions. The danger comes from leveraging technology to implement our findings. This […]

Minds Playing Tricks: Illinois’ Pension Crisis


BY LAUREN MCHUGH In the hundreds of campaign tweets made by Illinois governor candidates Bruce Rauner and J.B. Pritzker in the past several months, they have each mentioned pensions just once. This is despite the state’s unfunded pension liability exceeding the GDP of Iceland, Nicaragua and Kenya combined. Behavioral economics tells us that precisely because […]

Listening to and involving refugees when providing aid


Standards for aid provision in humanitarian relief contexts have long overlooked directly engaging with aid recipients. Organizations which buck the trend and consider refugees’ input have found it greatly beneficial in identifying aid gaps. Working directly with aid recipients to address their needs also renders aid more respectful and culturally sensitive, restoring a sense of agency to people who depend on humanitarian aid.

Call for Submissions

Join the HKS Student Policy Review—

to research, write, and learn about policy in a new way. We offer Harvard students an opportunity to engage with the most important policy issues of our time, across a whole range of topics and regions.