September 4, 2013

SIPA faculty members Daniel Corstange, William Eimicke, Jan Svejnar, and Eric Verhoogen will pursue new studies and other programs in South America, Europe, the Middle East, and Asia thanks to individual grants  from the President’s Global Innovation Fund, a University-sponsored initiative that seeks to further research and service through Columbia’s eight Global Centers.

Daniel Corstange will use the Columbia Global Center in Amman, Jordan, as a base to study the Syrian civil war from the vantage point of those displaced by the fighting. Specifically, he plans conduct mass attitude surveys among Syrian refugees in Jordan and Lebanon to measure their views on international intervention in the civil war, their preferences over postwar governing institutions, and their support -- possibly hidden -- for actors such as the Assad regime and al-Qaeda linked groups.

In addition to its research findings, Corstange said, the study will “elaborate on the challenges of studying refugee populations” and demonstrate effective techniques to survey such populations.

William Eimicke’s Global Public Management project, a study of best practices in budget-sector management in Brazil, India, and China in addition to the United States, will be run through SIPA in partnership with Teachers College and the Mailman School of Public Health. The study will use researchers from each country to map policies related to cities, education, and public health, and also identify local cases for further study.

“The whole question of how globalization itself affects the work of public-sector managers around the world has been under-theorized,” Eimicke said. “This project will allow us to find and study examples of public-sector innovation from dynamic, fast-growing BRIC nations, and also allow for a ‘South/South’ exchange of ideas across the network of Columbia Global Centers.” An international symposium to address these issues is slated for Columbia in fall 2015.

Jan Svejnar will build on his work with the Center on Global Economic Governance to study “Strategies for Growth: The Changing Role of the State.” Drawing on resources of Columbia Global Centers in Beijing, Paris, and Rio de Janeiro, Svejnar will bring together academic, policy, and business leaders for discussion of key issues relating to economic globalization and its effects on the state. The first conference of the series, in Paris, will examine responses to economic crisis in Europe, and compare growth-oriented policies of developed economies with the strategies of emerging economies. Subsequent conferences will consider economic landscapes in Brazil and China.

Eric Verhoogen’s Rio-based project will address “industrial upgrading” in Brazil, meaning improvements in productivity, product quality, and export performance among manufacturing firms. These improvements, he suggests, are an important part of economic growth in Brazil and other developing countries. Verhoogen will explore how minimum wages and other labor-market regulations affect the behavior of manufacturing firms, including a novel hypothesis that the existence of a minimum wage prompts innovation. Verhoogen also proposes to collaborate with local government officials, and share analytical findings that could influence a new regional development strategy in Rio de Janeiro and environs.

Dean Merit Janow commended the grant-winning professors: “It is wonderful to see SIPA faculty receive recognition and support for their work,” she wrote, “and it seems particularly fitting for us to participate in programs that leverage the University’s network of Columbia Global Centers. We look forward to many more such awards in the years ahead.”