Private Roles for Public Goals in China and the U.S.: Contracting, Collaboration, and Delegation

Thursday, October 11, 2018
12:00 PM - 1:30 PM
Philippines Conference Room 
Encina Hall, 3rd Floor 
616 Serra Mall, Stanford, CA 94305
  • Richard Zeckhauser,
  • John Donahue

China and the United States both have public needs that far outstrip the abilities of their governments alone to deliver.  Zeckhauser and Donahue will discuss their book (joint with Karen Eggleston) exploring an important, and perhaps surprising, shared feature of efforts by policymakers in China and the United States to forge prosperous, stable futures for their citizens:  public-private collaboration to accomplish some of each society’s most vital collective purposes. Collaborative governance entails private engagement in public tasks on terms of shared discretion. Zeckhauser and Donahue will discuss the two countries’ collaborative approaches to health policy and elder care, comparing and contrasting with approaches to other activities ranging from education and infrastructure to hosting the Olympics.

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Richard Zeckhauser is the Frank P. Ramsey Professor of Political Economy, Kennedy School, Harvard University. He graduated from Harvard College (summa cum laude) and received his Ph.D. there. He is an elected fellow of the Econometric Society, the Institute of Medicine (National Academy of Sciences), and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. In 2014, he was named a Distinguished Fellow of the American Economic Association. His contributions to decision theory and behavioral economics include the concepts of quality-adjusted life years (QALYs), status quo bias, betrayal aversion, and ignorance (states of the world unknown) as a complement to the categories of risk and uncertainty. Many of his policy investigations explore ways to promote the health of human beings, to help markets work more effectively, and to foster informed and appropriate choices by individuals and government agencies. Zeckhauser has published over 300 articles and several books.

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John D. Donahue is the Raymond Vernon Senior Lecturer in Public Policy, Kennedy School, Harvard University. He is also Faculty Chair of the Master in Public Policy (MPP) Program and the SLATE Curriculum Initiative Co-Chair for Cases and Curriculum. His teaching, writing, and research mostly deal with public sector reform and with the distribution of public responsibilities across levels of government and sectors of the economy, including extensive work with the HKS-HBS joint degree program. He has written or edited twelve books, most recently Collaborative Governance (with Richard J. Zeckhauser, 2011) and Ports in a Storm (with Mark H. Moore, 2012). He served in the first Clinton Administration as an Assistant Secretary and then as Counselor to the Secretary of Labor. Donahue has consulted for business and governmental organizations, including the National Economic Council, the World Bank, and the RAND Corporation, and serves as a trustee or advisor to several nonprofits. A native of Indiana, he holds a BA from Indiana University and an MPP and PhD from Harvard.