Symposium 2016

Date: Friday, April 8, 2016
Symposium Theme: People, Planet, Profits: Policy Solutions for a Changing World
Keynote Speaker: Josie Gonzales, Office of the Supervisor of San Bernardino County
Location: RAND Corporation
Headquarters Campus
1776 Main Street
Santa Monica, California 90401-3208


Keynote Speaker Josie Gonzales

San Bernardino County has been home to Josie Gonzales her entire life. Supervisor Gonzales is the first Latina elected to serve as a San Bernardino County Supervisor. As a public servant she has embraced collaboration and has built innovative partnerships at the local, state and federal levels. Her “People First” philosophy is founded on bringing non-partisan resources together for the greater good of the communities she serves. She strongly believes that when we work together with the concerns and needs of the people as our priority, we can accomplish great things.

This “People First” philosophy, along with her talent for building partnerships, has led to major improvements in the lives of County of San Bernardino residents, especially those impacted by mental illness and homelessness.

Supervisor Gonzales has provided leadership in the implementation of the Mental Health Services Act in the County of San Bernardino, including providing the policy direction for the use of MHSA funds to develop a variety of innovative prevention and treatment programs to serve residents struggling with mental illness.

As a First 5 Commissioner she was instrumental in establishing the Screening-Assessment-Referral-Treatment (SART) program for children ages 0-5 who are at high risk for neuro-psychological or social-emotional problems due to either pre-natal exposure to drugs or alcohol or to violence in the home. This effort represented the first time that young children and their parents were served by the county’s mental health system to prevent the long-term behavioral problems associated with those risk factors.

Supervisor Gonzales was instrumental in providing direction for the use of MHSA funds to develop the County of San Bernardino Office of Homeless Services (OHS) and the San Bernardino County Homeless Partnership. The partnership was formalized by the Board of Supervisors in September 2007. The purpose and mission of the action was “to develop a countywide public and private partnership and to coordinate services and resources to end homelessness in the County through a system of care that is inclusive, well planned, coordinated and evaluated, and accessible to all who are homeless or at-risk of becoming homeless.”

Since the development of the San Bernardino County Homeless Partnership in 2007 there has been a 70% reduction in the number of chronically homeless individuals in the County of San Bernardino.

Supervisor Gonzales comes from humble beginnings, and she values education. Her parents opened a small restaurant in in Fontana in 1962 called “Mexico Lindo.” The strong values of dedication, hard work and perseverance that her mother and father instilled in her through their words and actions continue to influence her professional and personal decisions. Throughout her childhood, her father stressed the importance of education to his only child and encouraged her to excel academically. Her mother stressed more traditional skills such as cooking and sewing. Giving respect to both parents, she learned her mother’s lessons by day and studied her school lessons at night.

Her commitment to education continues through her close working relationship with the San Bernardino County Superintendent of Schools in the areas of early childhood education, improving academic outcomes, and meeting the needs of homeless students and their families. Supervisor Gonzales continues her role as a First 5 Commissioner focusing on early childhood education and is also a member of the Head Start Governance Board.

Supervisor Gonzales has collaborated to have both undergraduate, and graduate student interns from California State University San Bernardino, and the University of California Riverside. Those students have gone on to successful careers in a variety of professions. She has also has employed staff who have attended L.A. Policy Symposium schools including USC, Claremont Graduate University, and UCLA.

Read her full bio


8:00 – 8:45 a.m.

Check In
Light breakfast

8:45 – 10:00 a.m.

Student Presentations
Part I

10:15 – 11:15 a.m.

Panel 1: "People"
Global Conflict & National Security in the Age of Cyberwar

Moderator: Akhil Shah (RAND Corporation)

  • John Crain (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers)
  • Kristen Eichensehr (UCLA Law School)
  • Captain Brandon Johns (US Cyber Command)

11:15 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.

Keynote Speaker
Josie Gonzales – San Bernardino County Supervisor, 5th District

12:15 – 1:15 p.m.

Lunch and Networking

1:15 – 2:30 p.m.

Student Presentations
Part II

2:45 – 3:45 p.m.

Panel 2: "Planet"
Climate Change and Global Health

Moderator: Robert Lempert (RAND Corporation)

  • Hilary Godwin (UCLA Fielding School of Public Health)
  • Timothy Gulden (RAND Corporation)
  • Aizita Magana (LA County Department of Public Health)
  • Bhavna Shamasunder (Occidental College)

4:00 – 5:00 p.m.

Panel 3: "Profits"
Technology for the Social Good

Moderator: Dave Baiocchi (RAND Corporation)

  • Kurt Daradics (Esri)
  • Brian Hilton (Claremont Graduate University)
  • Captain Al Lopez (Los Angeles Police Department)
  • Subodh Bhandari (Cal Poly Pomona Department of Aerospace Engineering)

5:00 – 6:00 p.m.

10th Anniversary Evening Social, First Floor Courtyard


Panel 1: National Security and Strategies for Peace

Akhil Shah

Akhil Shah (RAND) — Moderator

Akhil Shah is a senior engineer at RAND whose interests include machine learning, cybersecurity, communications systems, cryptography, and computational physics and statistics. He received his Ph.D. in physics and an M.S. in electrical engineering from UCLA, and a combined bachelor's degree in physics and electrical engineering from UCI. He is the author, most recently, of Cyber Practices: What Can the U.S. Air Force Learn from the Commercial Sector?

Kristen Eichensehr

Kristen Eichensehr (University of California–Los Angeles Law School)

Kristen Eichensehr is a visiting assistant professor at UCLA School of Law. Her primary research and teaching interests center on international, foreign relations, and national security law issues, including cybersecurity.

Eichensehr is a graduate of Harvard University, the University of Cambridge, and Yale Law School. During law school, Eichensehr served as executive editor of the Yale Law Journal and articles editor of the Yale Journal of International Law. She also received the Cullen Prize for the best paper by a first-year student and the Lemkin Prize for the best paper on international human rights.

Read her full bio
John Crain

John Crain (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers)

John Crain is responsible for establishing strategy, planning and execution for ICANN’s external Security, Stability and Resiliency programs. He works on a cross functional basis with the ICANN executive team, staff and the community to enable and enhance capabilities that improve the overall security, stability and resiliency of the Internet's Identifier Systems and associated infrastructures and represents ICANNin operational and technical dialogues and forums to ensure the full communities engagement with these programs.

ICANN is an internationally organized, non-profit corporation that has responsibility for Internet Protocol (IP) address space allocation, protocol identifier assignment, generic (gTLD) and country code (ccTLD) Top-Level Domain name system management, and root server system management functions.

Prior to his time at ICANN, John worked as part of the executive management team at the RIPE NCC in Amsterdam ( The RIPE NCC is the Regional Internet Registry (RIR) that provides Internet resource allocations for Europe and surrounding areas. John has been directly involved in the administration of Internet Identifiers since his start at the RIPE NCC in 1995 and has worked in all areas of IP address administration. John also has extensive experience in the area of DNS administration and managing Internet infrastructure services. Currently he is responsible for the management of, one of the Internet’s 13 “Root Servers” (

Before becoming involved in Internet Administration John worked as a Design Engineer in composite materials research and development. In that role John was also responsible for local area networking of Computer Aided Design Systems and for writing and developing custom software applications.

Captain Brandon Johns (US Cyber Command)

Panel 2: Climate Change and Global Health

Robert Lempert (RAND) — Moderator

Robert Lempert is a senior scientist at the RAND Corporation and director of the Frederick S. Pardee Center for Longer Range Global Policy and the Future Human Condition. His research focuses on decisionmaking under conditions of deep uncertainty, with an emphasis on climate change, energy, and the environment. Lempert and his research team assist a number of natural resource agencies in their efforts to include climate change in their long-range plans. He has also led studies on national security strategies and science and technology investment strategies for clients such as the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.

Lempert is a fellow of the American Physical Society, a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, a member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences Panel on Assessing the Impact of Climate Change on Political and Social Stresses, and a lead author for Working Group II of the United Nation's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fifth Assessment Report and for the IPCC Special Report on Managing the Risks of Extreme Events and Disasters to Advance Climate Change Adaptation. Lempert was the Inaugural EADS Distinguished Visitor in Energy and Environment at the American Academy in Berlin.

A professor of policy analysis in the Pardee RAND Graduate School, Lempert is an author of the book Shaping the Next One Hundred Years: New Methods for Quantitative, Longer-Term Policy Analysis. Lempert received his Ph.D. in applied physics and S.M. in applied physics and science policy from Harvard University.

Bhavna Shamasunder

Bhavna Shamasunder (Occidental College)

Bhavna Shamasunder is an assistant professor of Urban and Environmental Policy at Occidental College. She works on issues related to environmental health and justice with a focus on the disparate and cumulative burdens faced by communities of color and the poor. She is also interested in how community-based organizations can leverage science to advance their health and policy goals.

Her previous research investigated how chemical biomonitoring has been leveraged by social movements to challenge widespread chemical exposures. Currently, she is working on the health impacts from unconventional oil drilling in the Los Angeles Basin. Shamasunder teaches courses on environmental health, research methods in urban and environmental policy, environment & society, and the senior comprehensive research seminar.

Aizita Magaña

Aizita Magaña (L.A. County of Public Health)

Aizita Magaña is the interim director of community resilience at the L.A. County Department of Public Health. She has more than 15 years of experience improving the health and well being of women, children and families in low-income and ethnically diverse communities. She currently direct projects to promote community-based emergency preparedness and resilience throughout County of Los Angeles.

Her specialties and interests include preventive health, community resilience, emergency-disaster preparedness, communicable disease, immunization, women's health, health disparities, philanthropy, health care, and community engagement. She holds a B.A. in women's studies from University of California at Berkeley and an M.P.H. from the University of Michigan.

Hilary Godwin

Hilary Godwin (UCLA Environmental Science and Public Health )

Professor Godwin joined the UCLA faculty in 2006 and is currently a Professor in the Environmental Health Sciences Department and in the Institute of the Environment and Sustainability. She received a B.S. in Chemistry from the University of Chicago in 1989 and a Ph.D. Physical Chemistry from Stanford University in 1994. She conducted postdoctoral research from 1994-1996 at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in the Department of Biophysics and Biophysical Chemistry, where she was a National Institutes of Health postdoctoral fellow.

Prior joining the faculty at UCLA, Dr. Godwin was on the faculty of the Department of Chemistry at Northwestern University, where she was an Assistant Professor (1996-2000), Associate Professor (2000-2006), Associate Chair (2003-2004), and Chair (2004-2006) of Chemistry. She has served as Chair of the Department of Environmental Health Sciences (2007-2008), Faculty Director for the Global Bio Lab at UCLA (2009-2011 and 2013-2014), and Associate Dean for Academic Programs (2008-2011 and 2014-present) in the Fielding School of Public Health at UCLA. Dr. Godwin's research focuses on elucidating the molecular toxicology of engineered nanomaterials and on the development of assays for detection and analysis of infectious diseases. She also works actively with local organizations and community groups to prepare for and diminish the impact of climate change on public health.

Tim Gulden

Tim Gulden (RAND)

Tim Gulden is a Policy Researcher at the RAND Corporation. His interests include conflict dynamics, modeling human/environment interaction, climate and energy issues, and the dynamics of cities. His research focuses on modeling complex systems in the context of data as well as more general policy analysis. He is the current president of the Computational Social Science Society of the Americas (CSSSA).

Before coming to RAND, he was a Research Professor with the Center for Social Complexity and Department of Computational Social Science at George Mason University. His PhD is from the University of Maryland School of Public Policy where he explored agent-based modeling as a tool for policy analysis. He has held research positions at the MITRE Corporation, the Center for International and Security Studies at Maryland (CISSM), and the Brookings Institution's Center on Social and Economic Dynamics (CSED). He attended the Santa Fe Institute's Complex Systems Summer School in 2002. During the 1990’s he was the technical director of the GIS program for Westchester County, New York.

Panel 3: Technology for the Social Good

Dave Baiocchi

Dave Baiocchi (RAND) — Moderator

Dave Baiocchi (bye-OH-key) is a senior engineer at the RAND Corporation who wants to live in a world where technology makes lives safer, healthier, and happier. As a senior science and technology researcher at RAND, he uses a multidisciplinary approach to create the kinds of narratives that foster new conversations about technological change across multiple sectors. He has worked on projects related to space exploration, surveillance, cryptography, decisionmaking under uncertainty, and national lab management for organizations such as NASA, DARPA, FEMA, and the Department of Defense.

Prior to joining RAND, Baiocchi worked at Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where he designed and built space telescopes. Several of these are currently in orbit around the Earth. He earned his Ph.D. in optical engineering from the University of Arizona in Tucson.

Read his full bio
Brian Hilton

Brian Hilton (Claremont Graduate University)

Brian Hilton is a clinical associate professor at the Center for Information Systems & Technology at Claremont Graduate University. He is interested in geospatial information system (GIS) development and the use of emerging technologies in information system development, and he is director of CGU's Advanced GIS Lab.

Hilton has taught more than 20 courses at CGU and he designed, developed, and implemented the school's GIS Solution Development concentration within the Master of Science in Information Systems and Technology degree.

Kurt Daradics

Kurt Daradics (Esri)

Kurt Daradics is the Global Program Manager for the Esri Startup Program for emerging businesses. Esri is one of the largest privately held software companies globally, and pioneered GIS (Geographic Information Systems) technology. Esri is a mission driven, for profit, social enterprise with 350,000+ customers in 135+ countries, doing work in 60+ industries.

As program manager Kurt enables hundreds of startups to be successful leveraging Esri’s ArcGIS technology and Esri’s global business network. These startups successfully collaborate with government, commercial, and other organizations to implement innovative GIS solutions.

Prior to Esri, Kurt co-founded a social enterprise called CitySourced, which pioneered the mobile 311 product category, and now powers citizen engagement apps in hundreds of cities globally.

Subodh Bhandari

Subodh Bhandari (Cal Poly Pomona)

Dr. Subodh Bhandari is a professor in the Department of Aerospace Engineering at Cal Poly Pomona and the Director of its Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) Lab. He received his PhD from University of Kansas in 2007. His area of expertise is in the area of aircraft dynamics and control, with emphasis on UAVs. His current research emphasis is on increased autonomy of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), collaboration between UAVs, unmanned ground vehicles (UGV), and unmanned underwater vehicles (UUV), robust and intelligent control of UAVs, collision and obstacle avoidance system for UAVs, and developing capabilities for widespread use of unmanned vehicles including agriculture, search and rescue, and 3-D mapping for topographic changes. Dr. Bhandari leads a large multi-disciplinary team of faculty and students from several departments within the Colleges of Engineering and Science at Cal Poly Pomona for research on unmanned systems. He has obtained grants from National Science Foundation, Department of Defense, Northrop Grumman Corporation, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and AERO Institute/NASA Armstrong for research and education on unmanned systems. He is a senior member of American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) and a member of American Helicopter Society (AHS), Association for Unmanned Vehicles International (AUVSI), and American Society of Engineering Education (ASEE).

Dr. Bhandari has been actively involved in training future generation of engineers in the area of unmanned vehicles systems. More than 150 undergraduate and graduate students currently work under his supervision on various research and student projects on unmanned systems.

LAPD Capt. Al Lopez

Captain Al Lopez (Los Angeles Police Department)

Captain Alfonso Lopez is the commanding officer of the Los Angeles Police Department's Air Support Division. LAPD's airborne law enforcement program began with one helicopter in 1956. Today, the Air Support Division (ASD) is the largest municipal airborne law enforcement operation in the world, and boasts the nation’s largest rooftop heliport.

Lopez is a graduate of the Los Angeles Police Department West Point Leadership Program, the Sherman Block Supervisory Leadership Institute, and the Los Angeles Police Department Command Development Course. He is a member of the Latin American Law Enforcement Association and the Command Officers Association. He has been the recipient of the Meritorious Unit Citation and the Police Medal.


Abstracts of Student Presentations

Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Use in Education

Sarah Calara, Yoshiha Yamakawa, Patrick Co (University of California-Los Angeles)

ICTs are a diverse set of technologies that facilitate and enhance our capacity to receive, communicate, or exchange information with others. Some examples of ICT in education include the use of computers, tablets, mobile phones, and televisions. These interventions are especially worthwhile to consider for educating marginalized children.

We researched the landscape of ICT use in developing countries and generated a database of 196 ICT education interventions, choosing 9 case studies that targeted marginalized children and teachers to further explore how implementers can serve their needs.

The main question we tried to address was:

What are the best practices implementers should consider for ICT interventions that aim to address educational problems for marginalized children at the primary and secondary school level in developing countries?

We find that the 9 case studies, though varied in targeted population, goals, and other categories, have common rationales using ICT, strengths, and challenges, and can be classified into the holistic, add-on, and one way streaming models. While each case has a wide range of implementation methods or devices used, the commonalities within them, such as operational structures, program focus, formal or informal education, teaching style, delivery of device or content, and breadth of support, allow classifying current and future ICT interventions into the three models.

Common challenges among the 9 interventions were the need for more funding and cost management. Successful and potentially promising interventions use ICT to make teacher training or pupil learning more engaging and communicative at overall lower cost.

Investigating How Black Carbon Reduces Precipitation in the Western United States

H. Rose Tseng (University of California-Los Angeles)

Black carbon (BC), the soot byproduct of incomplete combustion, is considered harmful to cardiovascular and respiratory health and is a culprit of early mortality. BC is not localized to its source region, meaning that the western United States (WUS) is subject to both domestic emissions and emissions that travel from East Asia. In addition to being a public health hazard, BC has been considered the second most important anthropogenic emission after carbon dioxide for climate change. BC warms the atmosphere by absorbing solar radiation (direct effect), alters cloud and precipitation formation by acting as cloud condensation nuclei (CCN) (indirect effect), and modifies cloud distribution via cloud burn off (semi-direct effect). Current general circulation model studies show large disagreements regarding the influence of BC on global precipitation. Even much less understood is how BC influences precipitation at a regional scale. In particular, in the drought-stricken WUS, an investigation on the impact of BC on precipitation is warranted. In this study, we employ the Weather Research and Forecasting-Chemistry (WRF Chem) model with the newly chemistry- and microphysics-coupled Fu-Liou Gu radiation scheme to investigate how BC reduces precipitation in the WUS. Results suggest that a warming phenomenon called surface dimming, along with an increase in relative humidity, triggers a reduction in convective precipitation due to the direct and semi-direct effects. This understanding of how BC changes precipitation, along with its known ability to harm human health, further affirms that governments must work together to achieve and enforce policies regarding BC emissions.

Predictive Policing: Case Studies in Chicago and Los Angeles

Oriana Luquetta, Clarissa Manning, Matt Miller (University of California-Los Angeles)

Predictive Policing is the utilization of data analytics to identify and predict crime trends. While proponents of predictive policing argue that it significantly reduces crime in a more efficient and innovative manner, critics argue that it may exacerbate already fragile police-community tensions and may violate constitutional rights.

The policy project sets out to answer the following questions: How can data derived from predictive policing models serve to improve police-community relations and mitigate civil rights concerns? Which practical factors should police departments consider when implementing predictive policing?

The findings indicate that predictive policing can lead to both social benefits and social costs contingent on how the predictive models are implemented. Furthermore, while police department leadership heavily influences the way in which predictive models are implemented, several issues belie police implementation of such models, including minimal police training, internal misunderstandings of programmatic function, and resistance to predictive strategies from the community. Predictive output provides the capacity for police departments to engage in nearly limitless monitoring, allowing officers to cast a wider net of claims of reasonable suspicion to stop and search individuals.

The paper concludes with policy recommendations based on the findings including promoting community inclusion, regularly reviewing the predictive policing models, offering internal training on the program, and utilizing crime-specific models and intervention strategies based on these models.

Drivers of Regional Attractiveness for International Capital: Three Case Studies

Olena Bogdan (Pardee RAND Graduate School)

International capital is one of the key contributors to nation’s economic growth and wellbeing. Nonetheless, in many countries foreign capital inflows are not evenly distributed within regions, and existing research provides sporadic understanding why some regions attract more foreign investments than other regions. This study examines regional differences in foreign private capital accumulation and fundamental factors that lead to them. It explores three cases of countries with observable regional disparities – China, Italy, the United States, - and investigates why foreign investments go to particular region(s) within these countries. Each case highlights different aspects of regional attractiveness for the international capital. For example, Chinese regions benefit largely from their geography and local public policies; Italian regions differ primarily in their institutional development; and decisions to invest in the U.S. regions appear to be based on pure business approach, e.g. considerations of local market size, quality of labor and infrastructure. By taking into account the presented findings policy-makers can improve regional programs to attract foreign investments and consequently reduce regional disparities in economic development.

Facilitating Sustainable Livelihoods Improvements: An Evaluation of Community Driven Development in South Asia

Ali Panjwani, Tony Rodriguez, Kelsey Mulcahy (University of California-Los Angeles)

Over the past decade, Community-Driven Development (CDD), a model which inverts the traditional “top-down” model of international agencies delivering services to communities by empowering the communities themselves with control over projects, has become increasingly utilized by major development organizations. Despite this rise in popularity, there has been a lack of rigorous analysis on the effectiveness of these projects, especially in terms of livelihood improvements. This research assesses the impacts of CDD programs in supporting short-term and/or long-term livelihood improvements in rural areas of Fragile and Conflict-Affected States (FCS) within South Asia (specifically, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Nepal, and Sri Lanka). In addition, this study determines whether there is a significant differential impact of CDD programs in South Asian FCS versus those in South Asian non-FCS (South Sri Lanka and Tamil Nadu, India).

In order to determine the effectiveness of CDD programs on improving livelihoods, we gathered data from the project implementers themselves as well as from national census bureaus. We used propensity score matching for some of the projects, and conducted a range of statistical techniques such as difference-in-difference and regression analysis. We supplemented our quantitative assessment with qualitative research, including interviews with CDD project leaders and an extensive literature review, to explore the mechanisms underlying our results. Overall, the livelihoods-focused CDD projects in South Asia that were within the purview of this study, both in conflict-affected and non-conflict affected areas, improve household consumption levels. Based on our analyses of these projects, we make both targeting and project design recommendations.

Smart Markets for Drones

David Manheim (Pardee RAND Graduate School)

Commercially operated autonomous drones may be on the horizon, especially since Google and Amazon have announced plans to start drone-based parcel delivery in 2017. A policy problem is likely to follow—allocation of scarce airspace, an issue that is complicated by the need to ensure that each drone’s flight is safe and that each flight-path segment stays within capacity. The default solution to regulating drone traffic in the skies would be an open system much like the existing rules that govern roads. The regulator places no limits on participation, so flights are controlled by regulation and natural congestion, leading to an inefficient system that is oversubscribed, slow, or even dangerous - or one that is heavily regulated to the point where few companies bother to fly drones.

We propose an alternative solution: a smart market for drone airspace. We then explain how this model benefits the public, the companies that wish to fly drones, and the regulators, while creating much more regulatory flexibility, and local control of rules.

Coauthors: This work was conducted in collaboration with Jia Xua and Fritz Raffensperger at the RAND Corporation.

The Impact of Economic Freedom on Happiness: A Cross-Country Study

Zhijun Gao (Claremont Graduate University)

One of the most fundamental forces of human development is the increase of economic freedom. In recent years, some scholars have argued that the ultimate goal of development is to promote people’s happiness. Previous literature uses overall economic freedom to explore its impact on happiness. It has limitations in providing well-targeted policy recommendations because of the difficulty in finding the most significant component of economic freedom that promotes happiness. Therefore, in order to assess which components have the greatest influence, I will deconstruct economic freedom into four components to make better-targeted policy recommendations. In addition, since I find previous scholars’ extensive use of the quantitative approach neglects the qualitative factors that could influence people’s happiness, I conducted a case study of Thailand to explore the cultural factors contributing to the nation’s relatively high level of happiness. Based on a combination of quantitative and qualitative analysis, I put forward policy recommendations to help other Asian countries that have similar characteristics with Thailand improve citizens’ happiness.

The paper has six sections. The first section introduces the evolution of economic freedom of human society and how freedom is related to happiness. The second section discusses previous scholars’ findings of the relationship between economic freedom and happiness. The third section puts forward the cross-country regression model based on 183 countries in 2014. The fourth section interprets the regression results and digs into the case of Thailand. The fifth section proposes policy recommendations. The last section draws conclusions and points out directions for future research.

Measuring Development: The Politics of Evaluation

Jennifer Rogla (University of Southern California)

How do the politics at the core of tough decisions between measurement trade-offs affect our evaluations of development? Though a number of economists have criticized the utility of macro-measurements in recent years (Stiglitz, Sen, Fitoussi 2010; Easterly, Levine, Roodman 2004), researcher incentives are at play: it is simply easier to use clearly monetized values like GDP to measure development. What are these incentives and how do they affect our metrics and subsequent inferences about development successes or failures? I seek to analyze actual development evaluations and determine if the way their sponsors are incentivized to measure outcomes is biasing their results. The global foreign aid regime provides a timely context for such a study; the OECD is attempting to create and enforce new norms for aid transparency but ultimately donors choose which projects to evaluate and publish. I propose to look at publicly available aid project evaluations and compare several variables to see if incentives like satisfying IGO or domestic transparency concerns are, for example, related to shorter evaluation timeframes and if timeframe relates to overall outcomes reported. Similarly, are pushes for data or publication driving the indicators used for measurement, or the aid sector assessed? The results of this study have enormous implications for global development, and could lead to restructuring field incentives to promote better measures and concrete policy recommendations on structuring initiatives. Additionally, this study sheds light on the dangers of analyzing development without exploring if publicly available data is representative of projects in the real world.

Sustainable Energy Infrastructure Siting: An Agent Based Approach

Zining Yang (Claremont Graduate University)

Technical, environment, social, economic and political constraints are critical barriers to the development of new renewable energy supplies. This paper is an agent-based, predictive analytics model of energy siting policy in the techno-social space that simulates how competing interests shape siting outcomes to identify beneficial policy for sustainable energy infrastructure. Using a high voltage transmission line as a case study, we integrate project engineering and institutional factors with GIS data on land use attributes and US Census residential demographics. We focus on modeling citizen attitudinal, Community Based Organization (CBO) emergence and behavioral diffusion of support and opposition with Bilateral Shapley Values from cooperative game theory. We also simulate the competitive policy process and interaction between citizens, CBOs and regulatory, utility and governmental stakeholders using a non-cooperative game theory. In addition, our model simulates the complexity of infrastructure siting by fusing citizen attitude and behavior diffusion, stakeholder bargaining and regulatory decision-making. We find CBO formation, utility message and NGO messaging have a positive impact on citizen comments submitted as a part of the Environmental Impact Statement process, while project need and procedure have a negative impact. As citizens communicate and exchange political opinions across greater distances with more neighbors, less CBOs form but those that do are more effective, increasing the number of messages citizens send. Our result also indicates that despite all the money spent on assessing the engineering aspects of major infrastructure projects, citizen participation and political power are more important to stakeholder bargaining outcomes than the level of local disruption that a project causes. Low-levels of individual income and education reduce public participation in energy facilities siting.

Coauthors: This work was conducted in collaboration with Hal T. Nelson and Mark Abdollahian of Claremont Graduate University

Mitigating Air Pollutants in the City of Los Angeles

Alyssa Gray (Pepperdine)

The natural and anthropogenic contributing factors to pollution in Los Angeles has meant that the city of Los Angeles has the worst air pollution in the nation. The county of Los Angeles has implemented and enforced serious reductions on stationary source pollution in recent years in an attempt to decrease air pollutants to comply with the Environmental Protection Agency standards. These regulations are necessary to decrease the air pollutants being emitted in to the environment however they do not address the air pollution already present. In order to decrease the air pollution in the city of Los Angeles long-term, the city should offer a contract to redesign the cityscape and incentives to companies for including more green space. The green space should be focused on incorporating desertscaping with drought tolerant plants in under utilized spaces within Los Angeles. The policy model for this type of redesigning city green space comes from the San Francisco Urban Planning Department. In 2014, the city began what is known as the Urban Forest Plan. This is a comprehensive policy approach that implements more green space through a phased introduction of a long-term plan.


Selected Event Photos

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