Spring 2015

Articles

“Examining Aid Accountability in International Development”
Elizabeth Bersin
Published: May 2015

Abstract:
As globalization has become a part of our everyday lives, so, too, have the many aid-related international organizations. With this, the problem of aid accountability arises– how do we ensure that aid dollars are being used effectively and efficiently? Aid accountability in international development is a complex issue with many problems that hinder aid development from reaching its full potential. These problems include aid organizations not being held accountable to donors and stakeholders, dispersion of aid dollars, diversion of resources, and other secondary problems that arise because of intervention by aid organizations. This memo examines how the criteria used to evaluate the effectiveness of aid dollars have evolved over time. Next, this memo inspects current standards in aid distribution, possible alternatives to the status quo, and the risks and assumptions associated with alternatives. Logic models and outcome matrices are then used to determine the most promising solution to ensuring aid accountability. This solution, despite being a viable policy option for many organizations, may not fit the needs of all organizations. Every organization should evaluate the tools at their disposal and decide, based on the analysis available, which mechanisms will befit their needs.


“Acceptance is a Tool of a Strong Homeland Defense”
Michael Breslin
Published: May 2015

Abstract:
Homeland security and the advancement of U.S. vital interests are extremely complex. It involves the acceptance, actions, and collaboration of personnel across all branches of government. Terrorism, extremism, and transnational crime are at the forefront of international issues confronting America’s policymakers. This threat strikes at the core of the American psyche. Despite the enormous cost and effort to defend its homeland and protect its vital interests, the United States is confronted by an extremely complex problem. It is diametrically opposed to an ideology espoused by people who have declared war on our way of life, an enemy who does not fit the traditional definition, nor follow the precepts, of accepted behavior. The tragedy and lasting impact of the September 11, 2001 attacks against America are not solely represented by the innocent lives lost that day; America itself awoke a different nation the morning after. The attacks struck at the core of America’s vital interests. More importantly, they also struck at the center of every American’s perceived sense of safety and security. American freedom and resilient spirit is the lifeblood of our nation’s economy and appeal to the rest of the world – it enables economic growth, innovation and supports national security. America is faced with several challenges in executing a successful homeland defense and strategic security plan to combat terrorism. A recommendation to improve upon a revised homeland security strategy should incorporate a strong strategic information campaign aimed at educating the public and heightening their level of risk acceptance in relation to the resources supporting homeland security.


“The Impact of the Affordable Care Act on Medicaid Financing Between National and State Governments”
Haile Dagne
Published: May 2015

Abstract:
The passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) will have a significant impact on how Medicaid is financed between national and state governments. Medicaid is a national program aimed at providing insurance coverage for low-income individuals and administered by state governments. The financing of Medicaid is an open-ended categorical matching grant program based on a formula called the Federal Medical Assistance Percentage (FMAP) where the national government will provide at least 50% of funds for each state’s Medicaid program. Demographic changes and the list of optional services each state selects to include in their program are critical spending determinants. The ACA expands Medicaid to individuals below 138% of the poverty line with the national government funding the expansion in full from 2014-2016 until funding is reduced to 90% by 2020. 29 states and the District of Columbia have expanded Medicaid coverage. Despite Medicaid expansion providing more low-income individuals with health insurance, the intergovernmental transfers and Certified Public Expenditures (CPEs) utilized within each state attempt to reduce the individual state’s funding responsibilities and increase national funding obligations. The ACA’s increase in national funding appropriations of Medicaid expansion endorses states’ actions to continue to decrease their funding rates. Hence, the ACA could generate unsustainable national Medicaid funding responsibilities and produce an inefficient and ineffective program. A provision limiting state utilization of intergovernmental transfers and CPEs and strict application of national funds on Medicaid alone is recommended.


“California, Serrano, & Prop 13: Cowabunga”
Eric Fox
Published: May 2015

Abstract:
California is often thought of as a liberal bastion in the US, but the inner workings of the state reveal a far more complicated policy story. This is, perhaps, most true when looking at public education expenditures and funding in the state, and the complicated relationship between state and local governments. Between the first two Serrano cases1, Proposition 13, and economic turmoil over the years, California has been a hotbed for issues involving local choice, vertical and horizontal imbalances, property taxes, equity, and educational quality. This paper will examine these aforementioned topics, as well as the Local Control Funding Formula that will be implemented in the coming years and its potential impact on educational funding and outcomes in the state.


“Arpanet – The Precursor to the Internet: A Project Management Written Analysis”
Seth Gorenstein
Published: May 2015

Abstract:
Today, more than three billion people use the Internet to such a degree that a world without it seems unimaginable. The seedlings of this worldwide technology were sowed in the research facilities of ARPA (now DARPA), a government research and development agency, and brought into existence through a succession of visionary leaders who attracted the best and brightest to work unencumbered by micromanagement or budgetary limitations. These teams developed the computer-based communications array known as ARPANET, a system at first used by academics and the military and later utilized as the foundation for the World Wide Web. The development of ARPANET demonstrates Warren Bennis and Patricia Ward Biederman’s concept of a Great Group, in which a group of experts, united in purpose and creative energy, create revolutionary products. ARPANET is also a project management case study in positive scope creep, in that an expanding project vision and costs ultimately resulted in positive dividends – the transformation of how humanity communicates.


“Impact of Female Education on Child Mortality Rates in Developing Countries”
Ly Le
Published: May 2015

Abstract:
Despite continuous efforts by government and the international community to reduce child mortality, under-five child mortality rates remain high in developing countries. This policy brief examines the impact of females’ primary and secondary education on under-five child mortality. Using evidence from the World Bank, the study finds that secondary school enrollment is negatively associated with child mortality, and that this negative association is statistically significant only for countries with GDP per capita less than $5,000. The relationship between primary school enrollment and child mortality is also negative but not statistically significant when the White robust standard errors are used.