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Journal Article

Rosamond L. Naylor, Ryan Edwards, Matt Higgins, Walter P. Falcon
World Development Journal, 2019

The economic costs of Indonesia’s 2015 forest fires are estimated to exceed US $16 billion, with more than 100,000 premature deaths. On several days the fires emitted more carbon dioxide than the entire United States economy. Here, we combine detailed geospatial data on fire and local climatic conditions with rich administrative data to assess the underlying causes of Indonesia’s forest fires at district and village scales. We find that El Niño events explain most of the year-on-year variation in fire.

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Journal Article

Nathaniel Persily, Nathaniel Persily
2019

The Program on Democracy and the Internet runs the work of the Kofi Annan Commission on Elections and Democracy in the Digital Age which will produce guidelines to support democracies, particularly those of the global south. 

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Working Paper

Ken Moon, Patrick Bergemann, Daniel Brown, Andrew Chen, James Chu, Ellen Eisen, Gregory Fischer, Prashant Loyalka, Sungmin Rho, Joshua Cohen
2019

We find that rapid worker turnover significantly disrupts the productivity of responsive manufacturers. Our study uses a uniquely rich dataset drawn from China-based FATP (final assembly, testing, and packaging) facilities that produce millions of units of consumer electronic goods weekly yet exhibit high worker turnover exceeding 300% annually. The data cover the firm's weekly production plans, 52,214 workers' compensations and assignments, and assembly station productivity. To study managerial prescriptions, we extend the classical production planning problem to include endogenous worker turnover as an Experience-Based Equilibrium and use advances in reinforcement learning and approximate dynamic programming to estimate and simulate our model. Our empirical analyses exploit instrumental variables, including the firm's demand forecasts as demand shifters". We find that turnover's impact on yield waste is conservatively $146-178M, and that a well-calibrated wage increase reduces the manufacturer's variable production costs (including wages) by up to 21%, or $594M for the product we study. The wage increase reduces the firm's reliance on a larger workforce and overtime to hedge against yield disruptions from turnover; it stabilizes a leaner workforce and improves both production reliability and exibility. In settings where performance depends on workers repeating known tasks in coordinated groups, our results suggest that firms responsively matching supply to demand can pay a steep price for a disruptively turnover-prone workforce.

 

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Conference Memos

Rosamond L. Naylor
High Level Panel for a Sustainable Ocean Economy, 2019

As the global population and people’s incomes rise, the demand for ocean-derived food will continue to grow. At the same time, hunger and malnutrition continues to be a challenge in many countries, particularly in rural or developing areas. Looking to the ocean as a source of protein produced using low-carbon methodologies will be critical for food security, nutrition and economic stability, especially in coastal countries where hunger and malnutrition are a challenge.

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Journal Article

Chengfang Liu, Ye Li, Shaoping Li, Renfu Luo, Linxiu Zhang, Scott Rozelle, Spencer Hagist, Jack Hou
The Australian Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, 2019
We estimate the rates of return to education in rural China using primary survey data collected in 2016. Estimated average returns to education are 3.1 per cent. However, careful statistical analysis is required when estimating the returns to education. The paper demonstrates that when employment interruptions are accounted for, the measured returns to education rise. Our results also confirm that mismeasurement of the wage rate by using an hourly wage rate (versus daily or monthly earnings) raises the estimation of rates of return to education. Finally, our results suggest that the return to education is nonlinear in education levels but only when it reaches the tertiary level.
 
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Journal Article

Karen Eggleston,
Milken Institute Review, 2019

In the 2019 fourth quarter edition of the Milken Institute Review, Asia Health Policy Program director Karen Eggleston discusses the progress China has made since the 2009 reforms to its healthcare, which brought basic coverage to all and reduced patients' share of costs, and explains the many challenges that remain, including increasing the system's efficiency to ensure its sustainability and addressing the disparities in healthcare that echo the "yawning gap in living standards between China's rising middle class and its poorest citizens."

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Book

Karen Eggleston,
2019

In the new eBook Live Long and Prosper? The Economics of Ageing Populations, Asia Health Policy Program director Karen Eggleston, in her chapter on "Understanding 'Value for Money' in Healthy Ageing," discusses the imperative of using "value for money" as a metric for policymakers to assess and improve healthcare, in the context of aging populations and rapidly rising healthcare costs worldwide.

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Journal Article

Huan Wang, Qiran Zhao, Matthew Boswell, Scott Rozelle
Journal of School Health, 2019
BACKGROUND
Childhood malnutrition is commonplace among poor rural communities in China. In 2012, China launched its first nationwide school‐feeding program (SFP) to address this problem. This study examines the prevalence of malnutrition before and after the SFP and identifies possible reasons for the trends observed.
 
METHODS
Ordinary least squares regression and propensity score matching were used to analyze data from 2 cross‐sectional surveys of 100 rural primary schools in northwestern China. Participants were fourth‐and fifth‐grade students. Outcome measures include anemia rates, hemoglobin levels, body mass index, and height for age Z scores.
 
RESULTS
Three years after implementation of the SFP, malnutrition rates among sample students had not fallen. The SFP had no statistically significant effect on either anemia rates or BMI, but was linked to an increase in the proportion of students with below normal height for age Z scores. Meals provided to students fell far short of national recommendations that the SPF should provide 40% of the recommended daily allowance of micronutrients.
 
CONCLUSIONS
Despite significant budgetary outlays between 2012 and 2015, China's SFP has not reduced the prevalence of malnutrition among sample students. To make the SFP more effective, funding and human resources both need to be increased.
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Journal Article

Cara Tannenbaum, Robert P. Ellis, Friederike Eyssel, James Zou, Londa Schiebinger
Nature, 2019

The goal of sex and gender analysis is to promote rigorous, reproducible and responsible science. Incorporating sex and gender analysis into experimental design has enabled advancements across many disciplines, such as improved treatment of heart disease and insights into the societal impact of algorithmic bias. Here we discuss the potential for sex and gender analysis to foster scientific discovery, improve experimental efficiency and enable social equality.

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Journal Article

Lei Wang, Yaojia Zheng, Guirong Li, Yanyan Li, Zhenni Fang, Cody Abbey, Scott Rozelle
China Agricultural Economic Review, 2019
Purpose – China’s rapid pace of urbanization has resulted in millions of rural residents migrating from rural areas to urban areas for better job opportunities. Due to economic pressures and the nature of China’s demographic policies, many of these migrants have been forced to leave their children with relatives – typically paternal grandparents – at home in the countryside. Thus, while income for most migrant families has risen, a major unintended consequence of this labor movement has been the emergence of a potentially vulnerable sub-population of left-behind children (LBCs). The purpose of this paper is to examine the impacts of parental migration on both the academic performance and mental health of LBCs. Design/methodology/approach – Longitudinal data were drawn from three waves of a panel survey that . followed the same students and their families – including their migration behavior (i.e. whether both parents, one parent, no parent migrated) – between 2015 and 2016. The survey covers more than 33,000 students in one province of central China. The authors apply a student fixed-effects model that controls for both observable and unobservable confounding variables to explicate the causal effects of parental migration on the academic and mental health outcomes for LBC. The authors also employ these methods to test whether these effects differ by the type of migration or by gender of the child.
Findings – The authors found no overall impact of parental migration on either academic performance or mental health of LBCs, regardless of the type of migration behavior. The authors did find, however, that when the authors examined heterogeneous effects by gender (which was possible due to the large sample size), parental migration resulted in significantly higher anxiety levels for left-behind girls. The results suggest that parental migration affects left-behind boys and girls differently and that policymakers should take a more tailored approach to addressing the problems faced by LBCs.
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Journal Article

Conglong Fang, Chaofei He, Scott Rozelle, Qinghua Shi, Jiayin Sun, Ning Yu
Healthcare, 2019

This paper examines the effects of China’s New Cooperative Medical Scheme (NCMS) on medical expenditure. Utilizing the quasi-random rollout of the NCMS for a difference-in-difference analysis, we find that the NCMS increased medical expenditure by 12.3%. Most significantly, the good-health group witnessed a 22.1% rise in medical expenditure, and the high-income group saw a rise of 20.6%. The effects, however, were not significant among the poor-health or low-income groups. The findings are suggestive of the need for more help for the very poor and less healthy.

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Journal Article

Andrew Grotto, Graham Webster
2019

When China's government announced its ambitions for the country’s theoretical, technological, and applied artificial intelligence development to reach a “worldleading level” by 2030, governments and markets worldwide took notice. So did DigiChina. The New Generation Artificial Intelligence Development Plan (AIDP), drafed by experts across China’s bureaucracy and issued by the State Council in July 2017, was one of this nascent project's first major translations.

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Working Paper

Shelby Grossman, Daniel Bush, Renee DiResta
2019

Russia’s global strategy for reasserting itself as a geopolitical superpower has led to an increased presence in Africa, where it has broadened efforts to shape the continent’s politics and pursue new economic opportunities to allay the effects of sanctions.

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Journal Article

David Lobell, Marshall Burke, George Azzari, Sydney Gourlay, Zhenong Jin, Talip Kilic, Siobhan Murray
American Journal of Agricultural Economics, 2019

Understanding the determinants of agricultural productivity requires accurate measurement of crop output and yield. In smallholder production systems across low- and middle-income countries, crop yields have traditionally been assessed based on farmer-reported production and land areas in household/farm surveys, occasionally by objective crop cuts for a sub-section of a farmer’s plot, and rarely using full-plot harvests. In parallel, satellite data continue to improve in terms of spatial, temporal, and spectral resolution needed to discern performance on smallholder plots.

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Working Paper

Cody Abbey, Yue Ma, Guirong Li, Matthew Boswell, Claire Cheng, Robert Fairlie, Oliver Lee, Prashant Loyalka, Andrew Mi, Evan Peng, Scott Rozelle, Adrian Sun, Andy Zeng, Jenny Zhao
2019

Previous literature suggests subpar teaching is a primary reason why rural Chinese students lag behind academically. We initiate an investigation into the potential of educational technology (EdTech) to increase teaching quality in rural China. First, we discuss why conventional approaches of improving teaching in remote schools are infeasible in China’s context, referring to past research. We then explore the capacity of technology-assisted instruction to improve academic performance by examining previous empirical analyses. Third, we show that China is not limited by the resource constraints of other developing countries due to substantial policy support and a thriving EdTech industry. Finally, we identify potential implementation-related challenges based on the results of a preliminary qualitative survey of pilots of EdTech interventions. With this paper, we lay the foundation for a long-term research investigation into whether EdTech can narrow China’s education gap.

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Working Paper

Karen Eggleston, Karen Eggleston
Asia Health Policy Program working paper # 56, 2019

China’s national health reforms over the past two decades have brought the system closer to the modern, safe, reliable and accessible health system that is commensurate with China’s dramatic economic growth, improvement in living standards, and high hopes for the next generation.

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Working Paper

Mark Long
2019

The current regulatory and legislative infrastructure is poorly suited to address the new challenges to U.S. leadership and innovation in key technology sectors. This paper uses the semiconductor industry as a case study to advance a proposal for a strategic approach to technology policy capable of enabling long-term leadership. This proposal, rooted in structural changes to the federal technology policymaking process, would allow the United States to respond more effectively to strategic technology policymaking of China and other rising economic competitors.

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Working Paper

Anja Manuel, Pavneet Singh, Thompson Paine
2019
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Journal Article

Anna Grzymala-Busse
Johns Hopkins University Press, 2019

The failure of mainstream political-party competition fueled the rise of populism in Europe. Popular anxieties about immigration, economics, or cultural change are not sufficient to explain the surge in populist support. Mainstream parties on both the center-left and the center-right have failed to represent constituencies, to articulate their needs, and to propose distinct policy solutions. The center-left has abandoned its traditional social-policy commitments, and the center-right has often failed to contain xenophobes and nativists.

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Book

Andrew G. Walder,
2019

By May 1966, just seventeen years after its founding, the People’s Republic of China had become one of the most powerfully centralized states in modern history. But that summer everything changed. Mao Zedong called for students to attack intellectuals and officials who allegedly lacked commitment to revolutionary principles. Rebels responded by toppling local governments across the country, ushering in nearly two years of conflict that in places came close to civil war and resulted in nearly 1.6 million dead.

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Book

Norman M. Naimark
Belknap/Harvard, 2019

The Cold War division of Europe was not inevitable―the acclaimed author of Stalin’s Genocides shows how postwar Europeans fought to determine their own destinies.

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Journal Article

Meha Jain, Balwinder-Singh, Preeti Rao, Amit K. Srivastava, Shishpal Poonia, Jennifer Blesh, George Azzari, Andrew J. McDonald, David Lobell
Nature Sustainability, 2019

Feeding a growing population while reducing negative environmental impacts is one of the greatest challenges of the coming decades. We show that microsatellite data can be used to detect the impact of sustainable intensification interventions at large scales and to target the fields that would benefit the most, thereby doubling yield gains.

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