The Future of Work and Income

17 03 2017

On March 24-25, the School of Public and International Affairs will be holding its Ridenour Faculty Fellowship Conference & High Table Celebration, at the Virginia Tech Inn. The title of the conference is Faith in the System: Rebuilding Trust in Government in a Time a Complex Governing Challenges.

During the conference, I will moderate a panel discussion (at 2:45pm on Friday, March 24) on The Future of Work and Income in an Era of Economic Inequality.

The panelists include Dr. Virgil A. Wood (Pastor Emeritus, Pond Street Baptist Church; Former Dean, Northeastern University; Former ten-year working associate of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.), Dr. Joyce Rothschild (Professor, School of Public and International Affairs, Virginia Tech), and Dr. Christian Matheis (Visiting Assistant Professor, Government and International Affairs, Virginia Tech).

Dr. Virgil Wood beside Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (Source: Getty Images)

During the panel discussion we will explore how the forces of globalization and rapid technological change, along with an overall decline in pay and wages, have resulted in the perception of a stagnant post-recession economic recovery. Emphasis on economic inequality was persistent in the 2016 presidential election along with promises to bring back jobs and industries that once supported the American Dream. The panel members will examine these major socio-economic and political shifts, and discuss what could be done to reduce economic inequality and reestablish trust in government.

The conference sessions are free, but participants are asked to register.





Congratulations Selma Elouardighi!

23 04 2016

This afternoon, Selma Elouardighi successfully defended her dissertation entitled “The Transfer of Environmental Best Practices from Developed to Developing Countries through Multinational Corporations.”

I have provided a brief excerpt from her dissertation below that captures the essence of her research.

This research was prompted by a desire to understand why Moroccan cement companies have adopted advanced environmental responsibility practices far beyond those used by companies in the other sectors of the national economy. While corporate environmental stewardship in Morocco is generally lacking, cement producers have adopted best practices. This observation prompted two questions: why did the cement sector adopt, of its own volition, advanced environmental performance in the absence of the impetus of the state (i.e., stringent and enforced regulation), and how was the industry able to change course, develop, and adopt these best practices? Answering these questions meant identifying the power structures capable of inducing behavioral change within Moroccan companies, as well as the mechanics through which new knowledge is generated within the same context.

Using process tracing as a research methodology, … this research analyzed the external business environment of cement subsidiaries in Morocco, and uncovered the processes through which the adoption of EBP by Moroccan cement subsidiaries was enabled.

Using the knowledge she obtained through her research, Selma set-up an NGO in Morocco in 2014 to help create an Industrial Cluster for Environmental Services (known as CISE-Marco). The NGO and its partners subsequently applied for and received a green entrepreneurship grant from the U.S. Department of State to promote cleaner production processes and green jobs in Morocco. Her research and subsequent work provide an excellent example of how students from SPIA’s PGG program are focusing on significant and real-world problems.

I served as the co-chair of Selma’s doctoral committee, alongside Edward Weisband (co-chair), Karen Hult, and Deborah Gallagher.

Ralph Hall, Selma Elouardighi, Karen Hult, and Edward Weisband

Ralph Hall, Selma Elouardighi, Karen Hult, and Edward Weisband





Pictures from Orientation and Cadet Parade

22 08 2015

Over the past several days, Virginia Tech as come alive with returning and new students. In the slideshow below, I capture a few images from the SPIA and UAP orientation and the New Cadets Parade that was held this morning.

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Congratulations Yehyun An!

26 02 2015

On February 24, Yehyun An successfully defended her dissertation entitled “The Operationalization of Capacity Development: The Case of Urban Infrastructure Projects in India.”

Yehyun was a doctoral candidate in the Planning, Governance, and Globalization (PGG) program at Virginia Tech, and over the past several years has been a highly valued graduate research assistant in the IITK-VT partnership on Sustainable Infrastructure Development.

IMG_1643

Guru Ghosh, Ralph Hall, Yehyun An, Michael Garvin, and Yang Zhang

Yehyun’s research explores the concept of capacity development (CD) in the context of a large urban infrastructure program in India – the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM). Her research utilized a unique combination of qualitative and quantitative methods and (I believe) is the first application of fuzzy-set Qualitative Comparative Analysis (fsQCA) in the field of CD.  The findings from Yehyun’s research make important contributions to both CD theory and practice. I have included the abstract of Yehyun’s dissertation below for those interested in reading more about her research.

ABSTRACT

Since the 1950s, Capacity Development (CD) has been an important component of international development agendas. It established the widespread consensus that the capacity of individuals and organizations is critical to maintaining and enhancing the effectiveness of development projects and programs. A problem, however, is that the concept has been applied without due consideration to how it should be adapted to the local context, making it more of a symbolic gesture. The application of CD to urban infrastructure projects in India is one such example. Recognizing the shortage of urban infrastructure as one of the major impediments in India’s economic growth and rapid urbanization, the Government of India (GOI) launched the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) in December 2005 to provide substantial central financial assistance to cities for urban development over a period of seven years. The GOI expected the JNNURM to reform institutions and strengthen human resource capability related to many areas of project delivery. During its implementation, however, the JNNURM has been confronted by problems related to a lack of capacity. This research reviews the capacity challenges related to the JNNURM program and considers the broader implications for urban infrastructure development in other developing countries.

This research begins with the question “How can CD be operationalized?” From this starting point, the research seeks to reveal the operational values of CD. Following a detailed literature review on CD, capacity factors that are applicable to the urban sector in India are identified and a CD framework is developed. Two research methods – case studies and fuzzy-set Qualitative Comparative Analysis (fsQCA) – are adopted to answer the primary research questions. By leveraging the strength of these two methods, this research advances our understanding of the relationship between capacity and development goals such as improving project performance. In the case studies, this research investigates the gaps between CD theory and practice through the lens of practitioner perceptions of CD. In addition, unlike traditional thinking on the linear relationship between capacity and project outcomes, the case studies reveal two-way causal relationships between capacity and project outcomes that form a spiral structure between the project delivery process and capacity factors. Better capacity can enhance project performance and lead to better outcomes, and project performance and outcomes also influence and reinforce capacity in the reverse direction. Moreover, through the fsQCA, this research identified causal relationships between capacity factors and outcomes and demonstrated that the capacity factors generate different outcomes through their interactions with other capacity factors. This finding contributes to our understanding of how capacity is interconnected with development goals.

In summary, this research contributes to both CD theory and CD practice based on a comprehensive approach that not only considers CD at multiple levels (environmental, organizational/network, and individual/project), but also covers different CD subjects such as context, actors, dimensions, processes, and impacts. Through this comprehensive approach, a range of important findings are developed that can help researchers and practitioners operationalize the complex concept of CD.

I served as the chair of Yehyun’s dissertation committee along with committee members Guru Ghosh, Michael Garvin, and Yang Zhang.





SOS Meeting – Agenda

29 12 2014

The information below outlines the agenda for the annual meeting of the Society of Socio-Economists (SOS) on Tuesday, January 6in Washington, D.C. A series of concurrent sessions will follow a morning plenary that is intended to provide a forum to discuss how the ‘socio-economic’ approach to economic analysis can help connect disciplines and perhaps chart new research collaborations/projects.

2014-12-11_0849A list of meeting participants can be found here.

The meeting is open to professionals, academics, and students. The registration fee is $75 for professionals and academics and $10 for students. This fee can be reduced or waived if needed.

9:00 a.m. – 11:45 a.m. Plenary Session

Topics to be discussed include…

  1. Socio-Economic Theory
  2. Sustainable Economic Growth
  3. Wealth and Income Distribution
  4. Poverty, Race, Gender, and Class
  5. Corporate Fiduciary Duties, Governance, and Social Responsibility
  6. Social Entrepreneurship
  7. Economic, Financial, and Environmental Regulation
  8. Economics of War and Peace
  9. Tax Policy
  10. Ethical Dimensions of Economic Analysis

12:15 – 1:15 p.m. Luncheon Panel

1:30 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. Concurrent Sessions

  • 1-A Connecting and Integrating Strategies for an Economic Transformation

Nicholas Ashford (M.I.T.) (Organizer/Moderator)
Ralph Hall (Virginia Tech)
Katherine McFate (Center for Effective Government)

  • 1-B Reinventing the State in an Era of Inequality

June Carbone (Minnesota) (Organizer/Moderator)
Sara Jordan (Virginia Tech)
Nina Kohn (Syracuse)
Katie Wells (Virginia Tech)

  • 1-C Socio-Economic Theory

Robert Ashford (Syracuse) (Organizer/Moderator)
Stephan Padfield (Akron)

3:15 p.m. – 4:45 p.m. Concurrent Sessions

  • 2-A Governing Environmental Justice in the Context of Climate Change

Susan M. Sterett (Virginia Tech) (Organizer/Moderator)
Jalonne White-Newsome (WE ACT)

  • 2-B Financial Services Regulation in Times of Financial Crisis

Michael Malloy (McGeorge) (Organizer/Moderator)
Colleen Baker (Illinois)

  • 2-C Socio-economics Perspectives on Economic Theory

Stefan Padfield (Akron) (Moderator)
David Bieri (Virginia Tech)
Robert Kirsch (Salisbury University)

6:00 p.m. Concluding Plenary





UAP Get To Know U Event – Photos

2 12 2014

IMG_5206This afternoon UAP held its inaugural “Get To Know U Event.” The purpose of the event was to enable students in EPP, PUA, MURP, and PGG to get to know one another and to interact with UAP faculty in a fun environment. The images below capture several moments from this afternoon’s activities.

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UAP Get To Know U Event

20 11 2014

On Monday, December 1 from 2-4pm, UAP will be holding its inaugural “Get To Know U Event” – meeting outside War Memorial Chapel. The purpose of this event is to enable students in EPP, PUA, MURP, and PGG to get to know one another and to interact with UAP faculty in a fun environment. I look forward to having all of our undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral students together in one place – it should be quite the event!

UAP Get to Know U Event