Designing Systems for the Co-Production of Public Knowledge: Considerations for National Statistical Systems

I am pleased to say that “Designing Systems for the Co-Production of Public Knowledge: Considerations for National Statistical Systems,” written with Derrick Anderson of Arizona State, is now forthcoming at Policy Design and Practice. PDP is a new journal from Taylor & Francis. Here’s the abstract:

The functions of government are increasingly complex and information-driven. However, for many developing countries, the quality of information is poor and the consequences of that information poverty are substantial. If the goal is to establish or advance effective systems of government – in terms of formulating or implementing public policies by laws or rules – we have to consider how the design process can help attain that goal through improved information, data and evidence. National statistics are problems of governance, knowledge and design. While governments are primary users of national statistical systems, national statistical capacity is jointly determined because without contributions from non-state actors there is little hope of observing accurate data that expresses important social, economic and natural phenomena in any state – but especially so in failed, transitioning or struggling states. This paper discusses several findings from research studies for those who design and implement systems that collect, disseminate and interpret government statistics. These findings are derived from the literature on the co-production of public knowledge. The growth of complex, high dimensional data, accompanied by calls for investment in “big data” technologies and methods, will change how we collect and interpret data in many countries. Yet, our most important data enterprises are built on a human infrastructure with prospects that are both limited and supported by social factors. Organizations themselves must expend resources to navigate a world in which data is growing at exponential rates. But organizations are constrained and enabled by broader aspects of society that go well beyond government’s role in collecting, processing, and disseminating statistical data. As we discuss, one notable example is the relative presence of general purpose information technologies.

Please contact me or Derrick if you’d like a prepublication copy.

The end of PSLF?

From The Hill:

A bill from House Republicans would end a program that forgives student loans for graduates who enter public service, The Wall Street Journal reported Monday.

The GOP bill to reauthorize the Higher Education Act, introduced by Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.) on Friday, would eliminate the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program, which erases student debt for those who work for qualifying employers after making payments for 10 years.

The qualifying employers include government organizations and nonprofits, according to the federal student aid website. Those who volunteer for the Peace Corps or AmeriCorps are also eligible.

The Department of Education proposed eliminating the debt forgiveness program in its budget earlier this year.
Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has overseen the elimination or rescinding of several guidances or programs within her department.

The department has also reportedly considered ending other policies that would eliminate debt forgiveness, including an Obama administration rule that erased the debt of students defrauded by predatory for-profit programs.

John Gaus Award nominations sought

Along with Kelly Leroux of the University of Illinois, Chicago (Committee Chair) and Jill Nicholson-Crotty of Indiana University, I am serving on the APSA John Gaus Award Committee. The John Gaus Award is one of APSA’s ten career awards. We welcome nominations!

The John Gaus Award and Lectureship honors the recipient’s lifetime of exemplary scholarship in the joint tradition of political science and public administration and, more generally, recognizes and encourages scholarship in public administration. The award carries a $2,000 prize and the recipient delivers a lecture at the APSA Annual Meeting.

The deadline for nominations from individuals is Monday, February 12, 2018. Nominations are made online through an electronic form. Please submit at this link:

http://www.apsanet.org/PROGRAMS/APSA-Awards/John-Gaus-Award

Data for dissertations

36874 Eurobarometer 86.1: Parlemeter 2016, Future of Europe, Media Pluralism and Democracy http://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR36874.v1

36952 Millennium Cohort Study http://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR36952.v1

36107 Lone Wolf Terrorism in America: Using Knowledge of Radicalization Pathways to Forge Prevention Strategies, 1940-2013 http://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR36107.v1

36639 Multi-site Family Study on Incarceration, Parenting and Partnering, 2008-2014 [5 States] http://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR36639.v1

36650 Afrobarometer Round 6: The Quality of Democracy and Governance in Botswana, 2014 http://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR36650.v1

36797 General Social Survey, 1972-2016 [Cumulative File] http://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR36797.v1

36815 Newly Licensed Registered Nurse Survey, 2013 http://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR36815.v1

36816 Newly Licensed Registered Nurse Survey, 2015 http://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR36816.v1

36833 Community College Civic Outcomes Survey, Spring 2015 http://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR36833.v1

36955 State of Michigan: Taking Action on Flint Water Test Results, 2015-2017 http://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR36955.v1

More examples of nudges in the public sector

Here’s an interesting story about the UK’s Behavioural Insights Team. With some useful examples that might make for interesting classroom cases/exercises:

As an example, Moore pointed to a program in Lexington, Ky., where there were 7,000 overdue water bills that totaled about $4 million. A nudge in this situation meant sending a mailer alerting people to their delinquency. Some of them included handwritten notes addressing recipients by name. In less than a month, the campaign resulted in the reconciliation of $139,000 in unpaid bills.

Santiago Garces, chief innovation officer of South Bend, Ind., described BIT’s work in his city as “wizardry.” Using mapping, South Bend found that homeowners in low income areas were less likely to take advantage of mortgage-related tax exemptions they were entitled to. This is, in many ways, what behavioral influence looks like at its best: A hard data study upends a presumption (in this case, that lower income families would be most likely to pursue tax breaks) and city government subsequently works to nudge a behavioral change for the good of its residents.

Nudges aren’t limited to exerting public influence. Andres Lazo, director of citizen-centered design for Gainesville, Fla., said he was working to use the idea internally, a strategy Moore had seen deployed elsewhere to encourage employees to share efficiency ideas by offering incentives like recognition and prizes.

Data for dissertations November 6, 2017

36615 Los Angeles Metropolitan Area Surveys [LAMAS] 6, 1973
http://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR36615.v1

36644 Afrobarometer Round 6: The Quality of Democracy and Governance in
Algeria, 2015
http://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR36644.v1

36721 Afrobarometer Round 6: The Quality of Democracy and Governance in
Nigeria, 2014-2015
http://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR36721.v1

36763 Afrobarometer Round 6: The Quality of Democracy and Governance in
Liberia, 2015
http://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR36763.v1

36814 Newly Licensed Registered Nurse Survey, 2011
http://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR36814.v1

36838 Afrobarometer Round 6: The Quality of Democracy and Governance in
Sudan, 2015
http://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR36838.v1

36902 The National Survey of Fertility Barriers, 2010 [United States]
http://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR36902.v1

36950 Chicago Health Aging and Social Relations Study: Attrition
http://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR36950.v1