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Making Government Work in Hard Places - Princeton University



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Learn from people who have helped build better government in challenging settings around the globe, and develop your own ability to analyze and solve similar problems.With this course you earn while you learn, you gain recognized qualifications, job specific skills and knowledge and this helps you stand out in the job market.

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Cosa impari in questo corso?

Strategy Development
Social Sciences


Around the globe, there are public servants and civic leaders who want to create a better future for their fellow citizens. The challenge is how to deliver—how to create new practices, build new institutions, implement new policies, and transform incentives to sustain transformation and achieve sustainability. This course is about the “hows” of generating institutional change in hard places. Each week we focus on a different kind of challenge. You will read a case study, examine a problem in detail, help create a “solutions" toolkit, and then apply these insights to a second case. The course introduces concepts and insights from applied political economy and the science of delivery. Topics include: Reducing delay, error, and diversion of funds in citizen services Using citizen monitoring and community-driven projects to improve services in rural areas Preventing conflicts of interest or self-dealing from blocking institutional reform; building trust and community and changing public expectations Overcoming capacity traps (what to do when brain drain, political turbulence, or other problems de-skill government) Facilitating coordination at the cabinet level Developing a strategy and the incentives to sustain change. Drawn from actual experience around the world, each case starts with the problems a reform leader faced and traces the steps taken to address these. You will have a chance to assess the process and decide whether the solutions might work in your own context, as well as offer new proposals. Through quizzes and open response assignments, you will be able to share ideas with others and practice what you have learned. No certificates, statements of accomplishment, or other credentials will be awarded in connection with this course.

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Jennifer Widner Jennifer Widner is Professor of Politics and International Affairs at Princeton University. She is Director of Innovations for Successful Societies, a research program on institution building and institutional reform. Before joining the Princeton faculty, she taught at Harvard and the University of Michigan. She is author of Building the Rule of Law (W. W. Norton), a study of courts and law in Africa, and she has published articles on a variety of topics in Democratization, Comparative Politics, Comparative Political Studies, Journal of Development Studies, The William & Mary Law Review, Daedalus, the American Journal of International Law, and other publications.