Tag Archives: Research

NCDG Fellow Contributes to “State Smart” Initiative

 

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November 7, 2014

Christoph Demers, Fellow at the National Center for Digital Government, contributed to the National Priorities Project’s “State Smart” initiative, from June – August, 2014. Released October 2014, State Smart examines how federal dollars flow to states. State Smart aims to recreate the Census Bureau’s Consolidated Federal Funds Report (CFFR), which had been a vital tool to economists and researchers for decades, before it was cancelled in 2011 due to budget cuts. Other attempts by the federal government to make government spending data more accessible, such as the USASpending.gov website, have thus far failed to provide researchers with a reliable and consistent data source. Most recently, a Government Accountability Office report found that for 2012, USASpending.gov was missing $619 billion in federal government spending.

With State Smart, as with the CFFR before it, researchers can download a wide range of (clean!) data sets detailing state and federal level funding flows, including data on federal grants to states, federal contracts, DOD contracts, business and individual, and federal compensation. As the Washington Post noted, the CFFR was “crucial to the work of a small set of researchers, academics and journalists, offering a broad view of how federal money is transferred to states.” But State Smart isn’t meant to be a resource just for researchers and journalists.

State Smart goes beyond the Census’ Consolidated Federal Funds Reports, as it is housed in a user-friendly website with comparative and within-state analyses. The accessible nature of the site allows any interested member of the public to quickly gain an overview of how federal dollars play a role in their own as well as other states. For example, here we see State Smart’s graphic representation of per-person federal aid to individuals by state, with Massachusetts highlighted in green:

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Or this 10 year view of the California’s revenue by source:

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Importantly, State Smart will be updated as new data from various government sources flows in, ensuring that CFFR-type data will continue to be available to researchers, journalists, and active citizens.

Demers, a research intern at the National Priorities Project, assisted National Priorities Project staff in combining and then analyzing the assorted data sets that make up State Smart, including those from the Census, the Bureau of Economic Analysis, the IRS, and USASpending.gov, among others. “Christoph played a critical role in the launch of State Smart. He quickly learned the nuances of troubleshooting and cleaning disparate data sources, and the final product is a testament to his detailed-oriented approach,” said Becky Sweger, Director of Data and Technology at the National Priorities Project.

 

The National Priorities Project is a national non-profit, non-partisan research organization dedicated to making complex federal budget information transparent and accessible.

 

World Social Science Forum panel on Transformation of Public Policy in the Digital Age

Seok-Jin Eom newSeok-Jin Eom, associate professor at Seoul National University and former NCDG fellow, joined Jane Fountain and international colleagues as part of an international panel titled “Transformation of Public Policy and Governance in the Digital Age,” at the World Social Science Forum, October 13-15, at the Palais des congrès de Montréal Canada. The conference theme was “social transformation in the digital age.”

The international panel was organized by the Korean Social Science Research Council and the Korean National Commission for UNESCO. It brought together scholars from several major countries to cast a critical look at public policy and governance, one of the important social transformations in the digital age, in a comparative setting. To this end, the KOSSREC invited internationally recognized scholars on the subject from four countries including China, Japan, Korea, and the USA.

The panel was coordinated by Yong-duck Jung, President of the Korean Social Science Research Council and Professor, Seoul National University. Invited scholars and their papers included:

Professors Seok-Jin Eom and Yong-duck Jung (Seoul National University), “Administrative Information Sharing and its Impacts on Governance in Korea”

Professor Hiroshi Shiratori (Hosei University), “Transformation of Public Policy and Governance in the Digital Age: The Case of Japan”

Professor Sun Yu (School of Government, Beijing Normal University) and Dang Shengcui, Fang Bin, and Zhao Qiuyan (China Academy of Social Management, Beijing Normal University, Beijing, China), “Public Access to Administrative Information and Participatory Governance in the Digital Age: Findings from China’s Survey”

Professor Jane Fountain (National Center for Digital Government and University of Massachusetts Amherst) “Virtual Agencies: Cross-Agency Collaboration in the U.S. Federal Government”

The invited scholars presented their country experiences with an eye toward finding common themes cross-nationally. The panel discussion focused on the ways and the results in which digital technologies are being used for public policy development and innovation in governance. A key theme that emerged from the panel presentations and discussion is the centrality of cross-agency collaboration and its importance for innovation in government globally.

 

New report: Implementing Cross-Agency Collaboration

Jane Fountain has published a new report, “Implementing Cross-Agency Collaboration: A Guide for Federal Managers” released today by the IBM Center for the Business of Government.  The GPRA Modernization Act of 2010 and new technologies have led to requirements and initiatives for greater collaboration across federal agencies. The report focuses on two levels of analysis: interpersonal and management skills necessary for effectiveness in networks and effective organizational processes to ensure sound management and communication across jurisdictional boundaries.