Reports & Papers

548 Items

A member of the Afghan security forces walks in the sprawling Bagram air base after the American military departed, in Parwan province north of Kabul, Afghanistan, Monday, July 5, 2021.

AP Photo/Rahmat Gul


Easier to Get into War Than to Get Out: The Case of Afghanistan

| August 2021

The U.S. should accept with humility its inability to fully eliminate terrorism. Specifically, U.S. policy must balance “ends, ways, and means;” establish clear and achievable objectives; adopt efficient, effective, and resource-sustainable strategies; ensure synchronization of diplomatic and military efforts; build alliances to share the burden of countering terrorism; and leverage cooperative mechanisms and regional partnerships to increase the capacity and willingness of regional states to defend their sovereignty and contribute to multinational coalitions against terrorism.  A balanced, integrated, and synchronized strategy encompassing defense, diplomacy, economic, and humanitarian assistance lines of effort should be cornerstone of a revamped foreign policy in the coming decades.

A satellite photo showing heavy snows along the Korean coast, mid-February 2011.

NASA images courtesy MODIS Rapid Response Team at NASA GSFC

Report - Applied History Project

A Policy of Public Diplomacy with North Korea

| August 2021

The Biden administration has emphasized the importance of alliances and core values of democracy in its foreign policy approach. Given this emphasis, public diplomacy—activities intended to understand, inform, and influence foreign audiences—should be considered an essential tool in achieving our long-term policy objectives in North Korea. Public diplomacy has the potential to spur domestic change in North Korea—change that could result in improved human rights conditions, leading to behavioral change in the Kim regime, and eventually denuclearization.

Xiangzhou, Zhuhai, Guangdong, China skyline

Wikimedia CC/luchangjiang~鲁昌江

Discussion Paper - Harvard Project on Climate Agreements

Lessons Learned from Sub-national Emissions Trading Systems

| June 2021

There are potential roles for sub-national climate policies in addressing climate change. Theory and experience of nesting sub-national climate policies within a broader, national climate policy indicate that the interactions between the two levels of governance can be problematic, benign, or positive, depending upon the nature, design, and stringency of the policies. When the national system is a tradable performance standard, as with China’s national system, the consequences are similar to those with cap-and-trade, but more complex.

A detail of the U.S. State Department flag.

U.S. State Department

Paper - Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in the U.S. Ambassador Corps

  • Abigail Horgan
  • Nicholas Sung
| July 07, 2021

The U.S. Department of State does not advance and protect U.S. national interests to its full potential without a diverse, equitable, and inclusive ambassador corps. This report specifically focuses on policy recommendations for improving diversity, equity, and inclusion within the U.S. Department of State’s ambassador corps.

Report - Technology and Public Purpose

Building a 21st Century Congress: A Playbook for Modern Technology Assessment

| June 2021

How can United States policymakers better understand the next generation of emerging technologies and their societal implications? How can we make more educated decisions on the basic and applied research needed to solve the next generation of emerging threats? 

The 117th Congress and the Biden Administration must urgently address these questions to protect the lives and livelihoods of those living in the United States.

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Report - Intelligence Project

Report: Climate Change, Intelligence, and Global Security

This report is derived from a half-day conference in April 2021 co-sponsored by the Intelligence Project and the Environment and Natural Resources Program at Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, along with the Center for Climate and Security and The Cipher Brief. It explores the requirements of the U.S. Intelligence Community (IC) to fulfill the mission prescribed by President Biden, DNI Haines, and Secretary Kerry. The IC must rise to challenge, unshackled from the past, to re-imagine its role in combatting climate change. The IC has talked the talk about climate change, and now it needs to walk the walk. The stakes are too high not to do so.

Report - Stavros Niarchos Foundation Agora Institute, Johns Hopkins University

Rechanneling Beliefs: How Information Flows Hinder or Help Democracy

| May 24, 2021

Despite a technically successful election with a record-breaking voter turnout,  U.S. institutions and procedures have not created the kinds of shared public consensus over the results of the 2020 election that they were supposed to. The authors write that the United States needs a dynamic stability, one that incorporates new forces into American democracy rather than trying to deny or quash them. This report is their attempt to explain what this might mean in practice

Discussion Paper - Harvard Project on Climate Agreements

Investor Rewards to Climate Responsibility: Stock-Price Responses to the Opposite Shocks of the 2016 and 2020 U.S. Elections

  • Stefano Ramelli
  • Alexandre Ziegler
  • Richard Zeckhauser
| May 2021

Donald Trump’s 2016 election and his nomination of climate skeptic Scott Pruitt to head the Environmental Protection Agency drastically downshifted expectations on U.S. policy toward climate change. Joseph Biden’s 2020 election shifted them dramatically upward. The authors study firms’ stock-price movements in reaction. As expected, the 2016 election boosted carbon-intensive firms. Surprisingly, firms with climate-responsible strategies also gained, especially those firms held by long-run investors. Such investors appear to have bet on a ‘‘boomerang’’ in climate policy. Harbingers of a boomerang already appeared during Trump’s term. The 2020 election marked its arrival.

Protesters chant slogans against the regime in Cairo, Egypt, early Saturday, Sept. 21, 2019.

AP Photo/Nariman El-Mofty


Contagious Protests

  • Simeon Djankov
  • Alou Adessé Dama
  • Ha Nguyen
| March 2021

This paper explores the spillover of protests across countries using data on nonviolent and spontaneous demonstrations for 200 countries from 2000 to 2020. Using an autoregressive spatial model, the analysis finds strong evidence of “contagious protests,” with a catalyzing role of social media. In particular, social media penetration in the source and destination of protests leads to protest spillovers between countries. There is evidence of parallel learning between streets of nations alongside the already documented learning between governments.