The Moral Economy: Why Good Incentives Are No Substitute for Good Citizens

Book by Samuel Bowles: “Why do policies and business practices that ignore the moral and generous side of human nature often fail? Should the idea of economic man—the amoral and self-interested Homo economicus—determine how we expect people to respond to monetary rewards, punishments, and other incentives? Samuel Bowles answers with a resounding “no.” Policies that follow […]

Impact: How Law Affects Behavior

Book by Lawrence M. Friedman: “Laws and regulations are ubiquitous, touching on many aspects of individual and corporate behavior. But under what conditions are laws and rules actually effective? A huge amount of recent work in political science, sociology, economics, criminology, law, and psychology, among other disciplines, deals with this question. But these fields rarely inform […]

Crowdsourcing at Statistics Canada

Pilot project by Statistics Canada: “Our crowdsourcing pilot project will focus on mapping buildings across Canada. If you live in Ottawa or Gatineau, you can be among the first to collaborate with us. If you live elsewhere, stay in touch! Your town or city could be next. We are very excited to work with communities […]

NEW e-BOOK: The Global Impact of Open Data

Key Findings from Detailed Case Studies Around the World By Stefaan Verhulst, and Andrew Young Publisher: O’Reilly Released: September 2016 Open data has spurred economic innovation, social transformation, and fresh forms of political and government accountability in recent years, but few people understand how open data works. This comprehensive 459-page report, developed with support from Omidyar […]

How Technology is Crowd-Sourcing the Fight Against Hunger

Beth Noveck at Media Planet: “There is more than enough food produced to feed everyone alive today. Yet access to nutritious food is a challenge everywhere and depends on getting every citizen involved, not just large organizations. Technology is helping to democratize and distribute the job of tackling the problem of hunger in America and […]

What we see when we see transparency

Matthew Taylor at the RSA: “…social coordination theory…. is one of the most powerful ways to analyse complex social problems and to develop effective solutions. I spoke this morning to the Transparency Task Force and it gave me an opportunity to apply the theory to the issue of corporate openness. First, a very brief recap […]

Living in the World of Both/And

Essay by Adene Sacks & Heather McLeod Grant  in SSIR: “In 2011, New York Times data scientist Jake Porway wrote a blog post lamenting the fact that most data scientists spend their days creating apps to help users find restaurants, TV shows, or parking spots, rather than addressing complicated social issues like helping identify which teens […]

Participatory Budgeting and Transparency in Municipal Finances

Paper by Anthony Crossman and Dov Fischer: “In the recessionary years following the 2008 financial crisis, prominent voices predicted an imminent crisis in state and municipal finances. The voices – including Bill Gates, Josh Ruah, Meredith Whitney, Paul Volcker, and Richard Ravitch – declared or implied that the road to fiscal responsibility lies in reining in […]

Being a Scholar in the Digital Era

Book by Jessie Daniels and Polly Thistlethwaite: “What opportunities, rather than disruptions, do digital technologies present? How do developments in digital media not only support scholarship and teaching but also further social justice? Written by two experts in the field, this accessible book offers practical guidance, examples, and reflection on this changing foundation of scholarly practice. It […]

Beware of the gaps in Big Data

Edd Gent at E&T: “When the municipal authority in charge of Boston, Massachusetts, was looking for a smarter way to find which roads it needed to repair, it hit on the idea of crowdsourcing the data. The authority released a mobile app called Street Bump in 2011 that employed an elegantly simple idea: use a […]