Policymaking describes a complex, non-linear process, comprised of good research, creative approaches to policy design, political considerations, careful implementation strategies, and thoughtful program evaluation. All too often, good policy ideas are left unrealized because of a disconnect between these critical processes.
The more we know about how policymaking works, the more we can improve on this process. Publishing plays a role— whether in academic journals, news outlets, or online blogs—in filtering and disseminating information to try to improve the decision making process for citizens and policymakers. In the case of the PolicyMatters Journal, our mission is to serve as an outlet for thoughtful policy analysis and recommendations, highlight provocative new approaches to old ideas in the policy world, and stimulate discussion around what works and what does not in our highly varied and nuanced policymaking space. It is with this spirit and these ideas in mind that we present the twelfth edition of the PolicyMatters Journal.
The Fall 2013 installation of PolicyMatters Journal includes key political and policy issues being debated both in the United States and abroad. We open the Journal with two articles on domestic politics and policy. First, David Jonas presents a thought-provoking take on primary elections, arguing that eight percent of voting-age Americans disproportionately impact the American political landscape. Our second piece on domestic politics and policy is a candid interview with Congresswoman Ellen Tauscher in which the Congresswoman discusses the roll-out of the Affordable Care Act, her work on the New START Treaty, and her views on partisanship and gridlock in Washington.
Next in the Journal is one of two features. Ann Hollingshead, in a piece on digital currency, discusses the policy challenges associated with stemming the tide of illicit financial flows and increasing transparency and information-sharing between governments in the international financial system. Daniel Baker, in his second PMJ appearance, presents a provocative argument on the fallibility of statistical assumptions, most notably in the finance arena.
The second half of the Journal starts with a conversation on food systems and sustainable food with esteemed author and advocate Anna Lappé. Next, in the first of two articles on Chile, Patricio Domínguez describes the evolution of Chile’s national pension system, framing his analysis around Paul Pierson’s dual theories of credit claiming and blame avoidance. In a piece on renewable energy in Chile, Juan Pablo Carvallo examines the legislative and executive underpinnings of Chile’s uptake of renewable energy policies. We end this edition of the PolicyMatters Journal with a provocation by Daniel Smith on kidney trafficking and policy options available to address the shortage of kidney donors in the United States.
The PolicyMatters Journal would like to thank all of the Goldman School students that made this issue possible through their work on the article selection committee, as editors, and in layout and distribution. They are an invaluable resource for the Journal and we could not be more grateful for their ideas, energy, time, and hard work. Special thanks goes to Martha Chavez and our Faculty Advisory Board for their never-ending wisdom and support. We would like to give special recognition to our new Faculty Advisory Board members, Professors Hilary Hoynes and Amy Lerman, whose ideas we are already implementing, as well as to Professor Jack Glaser for his years of service on the Board. Finally, the journal would not be possible without the dedication and skill of our fellow Editorial Board members. Our very special thanks to Emily Vaughan, Charu Gupta, Chelsea Kelleher, and Leo Covis for their commitment and insight.
The Ruling Eight Percent
By David Jonas
A Conversation with Ellen Tauscher
Interview by Shirin Panahandeh and Emily Vaughan
A New Frontier in Illicit Financial Flows? Digital Currency and Implications for Economic Development
By Ann Hollingshead
Legalized Kidney Markets and Presumed Consent Laws:Implications, Considerations and Feasibility
By Daniel Smith
What is "Sustainable" Food? A Conversation with Sustainable Food Advocate Anna Lappe
Interview by Allison Domicone and Miranda Everitt
The Politics of Pension Reform: The Chilean Exception that Proves Pierson's R_ule
By Patricio Domínguez
Policy Process and Institutional Change for Renewable Energy in Developing Economies: The Case of Chile
By Juan Pablo Carvallo
Joint Probabilities Lead to Fundamental Uncertainty
By Daniel Baker