Rank #1: 164 The Causes and Consequences of Inequality
HKS and HGSE Professor David Deming delves into the complicated causes and consequences of inequality, discusses why jobs lost from traditional sectors like manufacturing aren’t likely to return, and explains his belief in education as an important piece of the solution.
Rank #2: Homeland Security’s Goldilocks Problem
HKS Lecturer Juliette Kayyem, a national security expert and author of “Security Mom,” digs into the “Goldilocks” problem of security in the United States, analyzing whether the Transportation Safety Administration (TSA) is worth the cost and hassle to air travellers; providing historical context to US approaches to safety and security; and explaining why national security is shaping up to become the central theme in the 2016 presidential general election, and what that means for the candidates.
Rank #3: 166 Where Economists Go Wrong
Prof. Dani Rodrik has never been shy about bucking conventional wisdom, and many of his insights, often deemed unorthodox at their inception, now seem prescient. Nowhere is that more clear than in his warning, twenty years ago, that unrestricted globalization could have a backlash effect, straining the fundamental ideals that support democratic governance. In this episode, Rodrik explains some of his more notable insights, and discusses his new book, which takes aim at both economists and their detractors, seeking a middle ground where academic rigor can be effectively applied in the real world.
Rank #4: The End of the American Dream?
HKS Professor Robert Putnam explains how the United States has become a class-segregated society with a growing stratification between the educated and uneducated. He describes how upward mobility has nearly vanished over the last few decades and what can be done to turn things around.
Rank #5: Big Data; Better Cities
HKS Professor Stephen Goldsmith, Director of the Data-Smart City Solutions Project at the Kennedy School’s Ash Center, describes how city and state governments can improve service to citizens by harnessing new technologies.
Rank #6: Designing Smarter Policy
HKS Professor Asim Khwaja, Co-Director of the Evidence for Policy Design program, explains the benefits of bringing academics into the field to develop policy in collaboration with practitioners.
Rank #7: Is Transparency Bad for Politics?
Professor Michael Ignatieff of the Shorenstein Center for Media, Politics and Public Policy makes the case that increased transparency in government makes it harder for politicians to find compromise by relating his experience as the leader of the opposition in the Canadian Parliament. He also laments the tendency to argue over the standing of those who make arguments on various issues, as opposed to the substance of the issues themselves.
This episode originally published in December 2014.
Rank #8: Is it Civil Rights or Human Rights?
HKS Associate Professor Moshik Temkin argues that the debate over civil rights in the United States, sparked by the unrest in Ferguson, MO, is actually a debate about human rights and the difference is not just semantic.
Rank #9: 194 Piketty’s Prescription for Wealth Inequality
Economist Thomas Piketty details the policies he believes will be key to overcoming the wealth inequality illustrated in his seminal 2013 book, “Capital in the Twenty-First Century.” He also discusses the 2018 World Inequality Report, which builds on and updates the data sets first featured in “Capital,” except on a global scale thanks to the involvement of more than one hundred economists around the world. Piketty was on campus to deliver the Wiener Center’s inaugural Stone Lecture on Economic Inequality.
Rank #10: How the Press Covers the Election
HKS Professor Thomas Patterson, author of an ongoing series of reports out of the Shorenstein Center on the media's coverage of the 2016 election cycle, discusses what he sees as troubling consequences of how the press approaches reporting on the campaign.
Rank #11: Why Hasn't Homeownership Recovered?
Christopher Herbert, managing director of Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies, explains whether there’s reason for concern about the state of the US housing market, which has been beset by falling homeownership rates, rising rents, stalling incomes and demographic shifts that threaten to exacerbate trends towards inequality.
If you’d like to learn more, you can read the 2015 State of the Nation’s Housing Report at the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies website.
Rank #12: How Presidential Campaigns Influence Governance
Republican strategist Matt Lira, a spring 2015 fellow at the Institute of Politics, discusses the early days of a presidential campaign, the importance of primaries, how campaign management eventually influences governance and what technologies will likely emerge as critical to 2016.
Rank #13: The Accidental Fall of the Berlin Wall
Professor Mary Elise Sarotte, a visiting professor at the Harvard Center for European Studies and author of “Collapse: The Accidental Opening of the Berlin Wall,” explains how the opening of the border between East and West Germany came down to a decision by a single border guard.
Rank #14: The Air Force of the Future
US Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James discusses the return of the Air Force's Reserve Officer Training Corps to Harvard; how remotely piloted drones have affected the United States' modern approach to warfare; whether serious issues regarding the command and control of US nuclear weapons have been adequately addressed; why the modernization of the nuclear arsenal is worth the $1 trillion it is expected to cost; and how the Air Force can foster more diversity in its ranks.
Rank #15: 196 Europe's Evolving Stance on Russia
Cathryn Clüver-Ashbrook, executive director of both the Future of Diplomacy Project and the Project on Trans-Atlantic and European Relations out of the Kennedy School’s Belfer Center, describes the changing nature of relations between Europe and Russia, providing historical context, examining contemporary factors such as the Syrian civil war and Russian election meddling, and describing how the new Project on Trans-Atlantic and European Relations, chaired by HKS Professor Nicholas Burns, seeks to find solutions to the emerging challenges.
Rank #16: Telling the True Story of Human Trafficking
HKS Lecturer Siddharth Kara of the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy explains how his research into the tens of millions of girls around the world who have been forced into sexual slavery led him to Hollywood, where he wrote and produced the new feature film “Trafficked.” The film, based on true stories, follows three enslaved teens who end up in a Texas brothel after being trafficked across the globe.
Rank #17: Is Transparency Bad for Politics?
Professor Michael Ignatieff of the Shorenstein Center for Media, Politics and Public Policy makes the case that increased transparency in government makes it harder for politicians to find compromise by relating his experience as the Leader of the Opposition in the Canadian parliament. He also laments the tendency to argue over the standing of those who make arguments on various issues, as opposed to the substance of the issues themselves.
Professor Ignatieff discussed “Tensions in Transparency” with Professor David King at IDEASpHERE.
Rank #18: The Criminal Injustice System
HKS Alumnus Bryan Stevenson spent his career working to address issues of racial and wealth inequality in the United States’ justice system. He believes this inequality stems from a failure of the nation to reconcile its dark history with regard to slavery and Jim Crow. His work as Executive Director of the Equal Justice Initiative focuses on defending those without the means to properly defend themselves.
This episode was originally published on November 19, 2014.
Rank #19: 183 Stop Calling It Fake News
The Shorenstein Center’s Claire Wardle and journalist Hossein Derakhshan explain how information disorder has taken the world by storm, breaking down how it’s created, produced, and distributed, paying particular attention to the ways in which social media has exacerbated the problem, and making the case that the term F*** News isn’t just inaccurate, but actively harmful to democratic institutions.
Wardle, the research director for the Shorenstein Center’s First Draft News project, and Derakhshan are co-authors of Information Disorder: Toward an interdisciplinary framework for research and policymaking.
Rank #20: Billionaires and their Newspapers
Northeastern Professor Dan Kennedy, a spring 2016 Joan Shorenstein Fellow at the Kennedy School’s Shorenstein Center, describes the fates of three newspapers, the Washington Post, the Boston Globe and the Orange County Register, that were bought in recent years by individuals with significant financial means but little background in journalism. He explains the differing approaches each paper has taken to find a sustainable business model, discusses how the models have impacted the quality of reporting, and interprets what other news organizations might learn from their examples.