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Tag Archive: harvard

Tale of the tape: Political giving by the Fed frontrunners

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The Federal Reserve's Open Markets Committee opens two days of meetings Wednesday amid growing speculation about whom President Barack Obama will nominate to steer the nation's financial policy after Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke's term ends early next year. 

The two presumed frontrunners, former Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers and Fed Vice-Chair Janet Yellen, both have active rooting sections. And there's plenty of handicapping about which one is in a better position to win favor of the president -- and the senators who must confirm the appointment. From our perch at Sunlight covering the political influence game, however, there ...

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Legal and Academic Open Access

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For far too long, getting access to important documents has meant having a very expensive subscription to an exclusive service. This has held true across disciplines, including politics, law, and academia. The Internet is starting to change this, lowering the cost of storing and transferring information to nearly nothing. With the help of pioneers like Carl Malamud and Lawrence Lessig, essential information -- whether governmental, academic, legal, or scientific -- is being freed from the boundaries set by traditional publishers, whose role as information stewards has too often ignored the interests of the general public, and served the needs of paying specialists.
(Disclosure: I'm happy to say that Professor Lessig is on Sunlight's Advisory Board, and Public.Resource.org is a Sunlight grantee.) (more)

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Positive Feedback in the Political (Pierson’s Path Dependence)

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(From the Open House Project blog.)

I'm reading Politics in Time by Paul Pierson (link), and am struck by how little academic political science seems to affect government policy and political discussion. I find political and social analysis incredibly stimulating, especially given how tiresome I find the current presidential punditizing.

I'm particularly interested in Pierson's purportedly novel conception of how political institutions develop over time, apparently filling the gaps that other models fail to address. (He sets his conceptions against "historical institutionalism" and "rational choice theory".) His analysis is abstract enough to be rigorous and challenging at first, but takes a broad enough view that he can abstract common elements out of disparate systems in a useful, applicable manner. He seeks to "explicate different ways in which things happen over time in social life, drawing attention to processes that are unlikely to be visible without specifically addressing questions of temporality" (p. 10). (more)

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Transparency, via GAO and Academia

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Paul Blumenthal just came across this document from the GAO, transcribing a pithy speech by the Comptroller General of the United States, David Walker (the head of the GAO). Transparent Government and Access to Information: A Role for Supreme Audit Institutions provides a neat tour of the advantages of transparent public administration, from the viewpoint at the top of the nation's leading accountability officer.

(more after the jump.)

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