Stories of Research in Action
Fletcher faculty are constantly immersed in meaningful research and lead a wide array of innovative efforts that are making an impact on today's world. From climate change to cyber security, and rate hikes to refugees, our faculty have their finger on the pulse of where our global society is going and what they can do to improve it. Below, you'll find a sample of just a few of these important efforts.
EconoFact: Fighting Fake News with Real Data
How do we really know what's "fake news" and what isn't? In an effort to distinguish fact from fiction, Michael Klein, professor of international economic affairs at The Fletcher School, and Edward Schumacher-Matos, director of the Edward R. Murrow Center for a Digital World, created "EconoFact."
EconoFact is a non-partisan, digital, weekly memo that shares economic analysis and data from over 80 academic economists on economic and social policies. Armed with extensive policy experience working in government and institutional organizations, this team of economists delivers analysis on complex economic and social issues in everyday language to give journalists, policymakers, thought leaders and other academics objective commentary on some of the most important and debated issues facing the world today.
Topics covered by EconoFact memos include international trade, immigration policy, the federal budget deficit, jobs and employment, crime and criminal justice, economic and monetary policy, and education policy.
Eduardo Porter, economics reporter for The New York Times, is an EconoFact partner, and regularly hosts webinars with various EconoFact network members on topics ranging from a possible looming recession, to universal base income, to immigration, bringing contributors' commentary and insights to life for the audience of journalists, policymakers and other industry thought leaders tuning in.
Read a full archive of all past memos at EconoFact's website.
Karen Jacobsen Studies Refugees in Towns and Across the Globe
The Fletcher School's Henry J. Leir Professor of Global Migration, and Director of the Refugees and Forced Migration Program at the Feinstein International Center, Professor Karen Jacobsen focuses her current research on urban displacement and global migration systems, with a specialty in the livelihoods and financial resilience of migrants and refugees. Working closely with practitioners and international refugee organizations, she also consults frequently with U.N. High Commission on Refugees (UNHCR), the International Rescue Committee (IRC), the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), UNICEF, and the World Bank.
Jacobsen is currently conducting a research project called Refugees in Towns, which develops case studies of how refugees become integrated in towns and cities. The goal of Refugees in Towns is to understand the process of immigrant integration from the 'ground-up,' and influence policymakers' approaches to integration, beginning at the municipal level. The project also collects narratives of urban refugee and host populations, and seeks to provide guidance and information for community leaders, NGOs and local government officials in order to shape local policy. One such case study, conducted by three then-Fletcher students, focused on the process of refugee/immigrant integration within the New England town of Augusta, Maine. The progress and impact of the research was followed closely by the state's local media, with articles published in the Kennebec Journal in April and July of 2017, highlighting the work of the Fletcher students.
Karen was recently quoted in Newsweek and The Wall Street Journal and was recently published in The Conversation for a piece on the primary motivation for migrants to travel in groups: safety. She has also previously contributed to The Hill and has appeared on-air with C-SPAN to share her expertise around the screening process for refugees entering the U.S.
Learn more about Karen's research and her other publications.
Understanding the Digital Planet
Digital Planet is an interdisciplinary research initiative out of The Fletcher School's Institute for Business in the Global Context (IBGC), led by Dean of Global Business at The Fletcher School, Bhaskar Chakravorti. The world's first pulse check of the global digital economy, and dedicated to understanding the impact of digital innovation on the world, Digital Planet provides actionable insights for policymakers, businesses, investors, and innovators.
With several editions of research focused on different regions from across the globe, Digital Planet partners with Mastercard to better understand how the world's digital economy is performing.
The Digital Planet's Digital Evolution Index 2017 is the first follow-up research to the original Digital Planet, published in 2014, and combines more than 100 different indicators across four key drivers – supply conditions, demand conditions, institutional environment, and innovation and change. The report captures both the state and rate of digital evolution, as well as identify implications for investment, innovation, and policy priorities. This research also adds a newly devised analysis of digital trust, as concerns around security amongst data reaches new heights.
Building "Smart Societies" – A Blueprint for Action – seeks to explore the "smartness" of each country in the world. Researchers measured this by examining the outcomes that policymakers and other key decision-makers are aiming for, the progress they have made, and the gaps they need to close. Smart countries don't just keep up with the technology of the day, they take a proactive stance of envisioning the desired societal outcomes of technology and investing in appropriate digital technologies to realize these positive outcomes.
The Digital Evolution Index (DEI) Latin America-Caribbean (LAC) edition, is the latest release of in-depth regional analysis of the pace of digital evolution of 24 LAC countries, across four key drivers of supply, demand, institutional environment and innovation. To learn more about the findings and recommended next steps from the DEI LAC, released in late 2018 click here.
Learn more about all of the Digital Planet research.
Confronting Climate Change via The Climate Policy Lab at the Center for International Environment & Resource Policy (CIERP)
Created to analyze critical global environmental problems through an interdisciplinary approach, the Center for International Environment and Resource Policy (CIERP) is co-led by Professor of Energy and Environmental Policy Kelly Sims Gallagher and Professor of Development Economics Jenny Aker. Sims-Gallagher was formerly a Senior Policy Advisor for the Obama Administration and Senior China Advisor in the Special Envoy for Climate Change office at the U.S. State Department. She was also responsible for getting China signed on to the Paris Agreement. Research topics of focus for CIERP include: energy, climate, and innovation; agriculture, forests, and biodiversity; sustainable development, diplomacy, and governance; and sustainable development economics.
One of CIERP's newest initiatives is The Climate Policy Lab (CPL), which seeks to better understand which energy and climate policies work, which don't, and why. The Lab is a source of independent and objective advice for governments contemplating new climate policies as they implement new domestic policies consistent with the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.
One of the most recent pieces of research to come out of The CPL is co-authored by Kelly, titled "Policies Governing China's Overseas Development Finance: Implications for Climate Change." This research identifies and evaluates Chinese policies governing China's overseas investments, and focuses particularly on how those policies influence environmental outcomes in recipient countries.
Learn more about CIERP's research.
The Center for Strategic Studies (CSS) Revamps Data on U.S. Military Intervention with The Intervention Project
Director of the Center for Strategic Studies (CSS) and Professor of International Politics Monica Duffy Toft, who began her career as a Russian linguist for the U.S. Army, has led research on topics including U.S. foreign policy and international security, ethnic and religious violence, and civil wars and demography.
With the CSS, Toft focuses her research on security, U.S. foreign policy, long-term unintended consequences of military intervention, and alternative policies and strategies to the use of force. Her research on globalization and security has been published in The Oxford Handbook of Global Studies and her research on freedom of religion has been published in The Review of Faith & International Affairs several times.
The CSS' first major research program, The Intervention Project (TIP), which is led by Toft and Research Fellow Dr. Sidita Kushi, is currently in its first phase. TIP seeks to improve upon existing intervention data sets and build a working definition of the phenomenon. The hope is that it will serve as a platform for dialogue on the nature and consequences of the use of force abroad, and to form bridges across academic and policy arenas in matters of foreign policy and security.
Learn more about the CSS and the current phase of TIP research and stay updated on TIP as it moves into its next phases.