Students in Fuyang, China, after taking exams delayed by pandemic. (Sheldon Cooper via Getty Images)


Landmark 13-year survey finds Chinese have grown more satisfied with their government

Researchers at the Kennedy School’s Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation today released a landmark study examining 13 years of Chinese public opinion about government at the national, regional, and local levels. The core finding: From the start of the survey in 2003 to its conclusion in 2016, Chinese citizens’ reported satisfaction with government increased virtually across the board. From the impact of broad national policies to the conduct of local town officials, Chinese citizens rated the government as more capable and effective than ever before. These findings counter the prevailing wisdom that as China’s prosperity grew, its citizens would demand greater political reforms. The report, “Understanding CCP Resilience: Surveying Chinese Public Opinion Through Time,” was co-authored by HKS Professor Tony Saich, who directs the Ash Center, along with Edward Cunningham, director of the Ash Center’s China Programs, and postdoctoral fellow Jesse Turiel. The research is the longest-running independent effort to track Chinese citizen satisfaction of government performance.

The number of anti-racism protests in the first three weeks of June in the United States, as counted so far by the Crowd Counting Consortium, co-founded by HKS Professor Erica Chenoweth.


HKS scholar’s crowd-counting project captures scale of anti-racism protests

A New York Times article recently reported that the Black Lives Matter (BLM) racial justice protests are likely the largest social movement in U.S. history. Among the sources cited in the story is a project co-directed by Kennedy School Professor Erica Chenoweth. She and fellow researcher Jeremy Pressman founded the Crowd Counting Consortium to determine the size of the Women’s March on Washington on Jan. 21, 2017. Then they grew the crowd-sourced effort, working with other researchers to capture data on protests daily. In a 2017 Washington Post article, Chenoweth and Pressman called the Women’s March on Washington “likely the largest single-day demonstration in recorded U.S. history.” Now, they find, the number of people taking part in the wave of racial justice protests sweeping the United States since May has overtaken the Women’s March numbers. The Crowd Count Consortium website has tallied 3,853 protest events during the first three weeks in June alone. A recent column co-authored by Chenoweth noted that BLM protests have taken place in all 50 states, even with little advance planning and amid a pandemic that has kept many people at home.



“The Meaning of July Fourth for the Negro,” A reading of Frederick Douglass’ July 5, 1852 speech, produced by the Trotter Collaborative for Social Justice.


Connecting middle-schoolers with college student tutors in lockdown can improve learning

HKS Assistant Professor Michela Carlana conducted a research project this spring in Italy to help improve educational outcomes for locked-down middle-school students. Working with Eliana La Ferrara, a professor at Bocconi University in Milan, Carlana paired university student volunteers with lower-income middle-school students across the country for tutoring sessions. Hit early and hard by the coronavirus pandemic, Italy found its school year interrupted, with students and teachers sent home to cope with an online learning scenario that no one had anticipated. Carlana, an economist with an interest in education and inequality, says preliminary results of surveys with the 1,000 participants indicate the project had positive results both for the school kids and the tutors. Carlana says: “This is a project that could be easily scalable at the international level by matching university students from urban areas with disadvantaged children all over the world.” Read this Q&A with her to learn more about the early findings.



An article explaining the uses of “Teachly,” the Kennedy School-built teaching tool that helps instructors reduce conscious or unconscious bias in virtual as well as in-person classrooms. Professor Dan Levy and Lecturer Teddy Svoronos, who work with the School’s Evidence for Policy Design project at the Center for International Development, have led the Teachly initiative since 2015 – now more relevant than ever in the virtual teaching era.


Championing human rights amid disease and discrimination

Governments have often seized on catastrophes to acquire and consolidate power. During the pandemic, some countries have restricted movement and gatherings, ramped up surveillance, and closed borders. In the latest episode of PolicyCast, Professors Mathias Risse and Jacqueline Bhabha, who are affiliated with the Kennedy School’s Carr Center for Human Rights Policy, warn that while such emergency measures may be necessary for a time to prevent loss of life, safeguards must be put in place so that human rights are not eroded over the long term. They say special care must be taken to protect vulnerable populations most at risk from COVID-19 and that the pandemic and the current intense focus on systemic racism and police brutality both underline the importance of guarding the rights of all people. Risse and Bhabha also consider the challenge of how to get people to care about others at a time when they are worried about themselves.



I think it’s fair to say that this is the largest economic recession that the world has seen since the Great Depression…. Previous recessions have ended up in some combination of sovereign debt crisis, currency crisis, and banking crisis, and sometimes all three or two of the three. So, it’s very important that we manage this situation very, very wisely to see if we can avoid those catastrophes.

HKS Professor Ricardo Hausmann, director of the Growth Lab, speaking to HKS alumni on a Wiener Conference Call.


  • Why words aren’t enough from companies claiming to support Black Lives Matter [Khalil Gibran Muhammad, Erica Licht] Boston Globe

  • The pandemic should kill regime change forever [Stephen Walt] Foreign Policy

  • Harvard study finds police shootings hurt student academic performance [Desmond Ang] CBS News

  • U.S. workers need more power [Lawrence Summers] Washington Post

  • Even now, Trump still has approval ratings far higher than George Bush. Here’s why [Matthew Baum] Los Angeles Times

  • Women must continue to persist to rise as political leaders in America [Wendy Sherman] The Hill

  • A better way to connect people with the benefits they need [Stephen Goldsmith, Betsy Gardner] Governing

  • Reopening schools was just an afterthought [Juliette Kayyem] The Atlantic

  • Two policy experts weigh in on the future of U.S. economic recovery [Jason Furman] CNBC

  • Why do we still have the Electoral College? [Alex Keyssar] Harvard Magazine

Insight. Policy. Action. Ideas from Harvard Kennedy School.

Copyright © 2020 Harvard Kennedy School, all rights reserved.

You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list.