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New Research Scientist Joins the Team

Kelly Zhang, Stanford PhD in Political Science, joins MIT GOV/LAB as a research scientist focusing on civic technology.

Women and the Armed Maoist Struggle in Nepal

Seed grant recipient and PhD student Apekshya Prasai reports back on qualitative research exploring women’s experiences during the Maoist insurgency in Nepal.

Tracking Political Interactions in the Philippines

Political science doctoral candidate Nina McMurry navigates the archipelago, investigating the integration of indigenous communities into the nation's political institutions.

Varja Joins MIT GOV/LAB After Six Years at Twaweza

As GOV/LAB’s first practitioner in residence, Varja Lipovsek will support partner learning in transparency, participation, and accountability.

Deep Dive: Shaping Learning Questions in a Funder Collaborative

How can a funder collaborative engage with evidence to improve grantmaking practice? The first step is to ask the right learning questions.

Hacking Political Science: A Renewed Push for Diversity and Inclusion

Highlights from the Hackathon on Diversity and Inclusion hosted by the APSA Presidential Task Force on Women’s Advancement in Boston.

India Unheard: Community Journalists Turned Activists Take on Rural Issues

Uncut scenes from field work in Jharkhand and Bihar, India and supporting research with Video Volunteers and Professor Gabi Kruks-Wisner (MIT PhD ‘13) from the University of Virginia.

Re-Imagining the Future of Human Rights with Dejusticia

Our partner Dejusticia brought together eighteen young human rights defenders from the Global South to learn new skills, build community, and take a break.

Siena Harlin Joins GOV/LAB

We are excited to welcome our newest Research Support Associate! Read below how Siena’s childhood in Mexico and interest in anthropology led her to political science research at MIT.

Pilot Re-entry Project on Mental Health and Co-occurring Substance Use in Middlesex

PRESS RELEASE: MIT GOV/LAB will serve as a research collaborator to evaluate a pilot re-entry project focusing on mental health and co-occurring substance use disorders with the Middlesex Sheriff's Office.

Mapping Local Government Transparency in the U.S.

Using big data and a machine learning algorithm built from scratch, we’re working to quickly and efficiently grade governments on their openness.

MIT GOV/LAB Digest #1

We launched our first digest to share updates on new research, partner collaborations, and events.

Layered Authority: Beyond Binaries and 'Good Governance'

Report back from the Program on Governance and Local Development’s (GLD) Second Annual Conference at the University of Gothenburg, May 31-June 1, 2018.

Call for Abstracts: MIT GOV/LAB 3rd Annual Political Behavior of Development Conference

We are hosting the third annual Political Behavior of Development Conference (#PBD18) in Cambridge, MA on Friday, November 9, 2018 with a poster session the evening of November 8th.

Our Commitment to Diversity and Inclusion

Joining an MIT-wide movement, GOV/LAB drafted a diversity statement to outline the values that guide our research and how we work with partners.

When Newly Empowered Leaders of the Poor Run in Local Elections

Following up on our Making All Voices Count research, a look at how a newly-trained community leader engaged in recent local elections in the Philippines.

Fostering Learning and Effectiveness through Collaboration: A New Collaborative on Transparency, Accountability, and Participation

MIT GOV/LAB is excited to join the Learning Collaborative as a resource organization working with practitioners on transparency, participation, and accountability.

Funerals: A Communal Affair in Rural Tanzania

MIT GOV/LAB intern Neha Rajbhandary (Wellesley ‘20) explores the significance of funerals in Tanzania through an analysis of qualitative interviews.

Coming Clean, Using Data Science to Address Wrongful Convictions

Bringing together legal strategies and data science, ACLU Massachusetts presented at our seminar series on one of the largest criminal justice scandals in Bay State history.

Drought Detection to Prevention, Applying Data Science to Agriculture Markets

Sara Menker, Founder and CEO of Gro Intelligence, spoke as part of our Data Science to Solve Social Problems seminar series.

Professor Lily Tsai Receives MIT Committed to Caring Award

MIT GOV/LAB Faculty Director Lily Tsai named 2017-2018 Committed to Caring Award recipient by graduate students for great mentorship.

Using Virtual Reality to Explore Citizen Cooperation in Lagos

Seed grant recipient and PhD candidate Andrew Miller reports on measuring citizen-police cooperation in Lagos, Nigeria.

MIT News Features GOV/LAB Research Fellow Tesalia Rizzo

Tesalia Rizzo's graduate research in Mexico "Breaking Up With Political Brokers, Citizens May Find Electoral Independence" was featured in MIT News.

Drugs, Data, and District Attorneys — ACLU of Massachusetts

Our Data Science to Solve Social Problems series continues with Carl Williams and Nasser Eledroos from the American Civil Liberties Union.

Taking a Bite Out of ‘Wicked Problems’

Jake Porway, Executive Director of DataKind, spoke as part of GOV/LAB’s Data Science to Solve Social Problems seminar series.

‘Accountability without Democracy’ in the New York Times

Professor Lily Tsai’s seminal work on China was featured in connection with President Xi’s consolidation of power and the end of presidential term limits.

Using Data to Anticipate and Prevent Famines — Gro Intelligence

Our Data Science to Solve Social Problems series continues with Sara Menker of Gro Intelligence.

Twaweza learns, and so do we

A few highlights from Twaweza’s Evidence and Ideas event where MIT GOV/LAB presented research on elections and access to information in East Africa.

Welcoming New Additions to the GOV/LAB Team

We are excited to announce that three MIT Political Science PhD students are joining MIT GOV/LAB this semester; and we have a new Wellesley intern.

The Role of Data Science in Getting Power to the People — DataKind

Our Data Science to Solve Social Problems series continues with Jake Porway on how DataKind uses data science and artificial intelligence to empower civic society and drive government transparency and accountability.

Findings on Rebel-Controlled Localities in Post-War Côte d’Ivoire

Ph.D. candidate Philip Martin reports initial findings on his dissertation research, supported in part by MIT GOV/LAB seed funds.

Causes and Consequences of Uncertainty Among the Urban Poor in Lagos

PhD student Nicole Wilson reporting back from the field on the results of her GOV/LAB seed project on informal settlements in Lagos, Nigeria.

Re-Imagining Criminal Justice: The Long Beach Justice Lab

Recapping Alma Castro's talk on the Long Beach Innovation Team as part of our Data Science to Solve Social Problems series.

Incentives and Trust: Exploring Performance in the Malian Civil Service

PhD student Stuart Russell partners with Accountability Lab Mali to explore the incentives bureaucrats face in Mali's civil service with support from a GOV/LAB seed grant.

Naming and faming (not shaming) to hold public officials accountable

Accountability Lab and Integrity Idol featured in The Economist, with mention of MIT GOV/LAB’s preliminary research on the program.

The City of Long Beach Justice Lab: A Data-Driven Approach

MIT GOV/LAB's Data Science to Solve Social Problems seminar series continues with Alma Castro of the City of Long Beach Innovation Team.

Cleaning House — Experimental Evidence on Improving Citizen Engagement in the Philippines

High-level findings from our Making All Voices Count research on civic leadership training for the 'poorest of the poor' in the Philippines.

An Evaluation of Higher Education: the Student Perspective

MIT PhD candidate Loreto Cox presented findings from her research at the Centro de Estudios Públicos in Chile.

Researcher Spotlight: My Seppo

My has lived in Finland, Sierra Leone, and Myanmar; these experiences help her bring a unique perspective to GOV/LAB as a research support associate.

Top Five Highlights from 2017

A recap of our favorite stories from 2017 covering lessons from the field, corruption in politics, data science and health care, and mystery shopping as told by our top-notch research team.

Broad Policies, Narrow Networks: Data Science to Measure Healthcare Access

Bayes Impact’s Mehdi Jamei presented new tools looking at access to healthcare in California at GOV/LAB’s Data Science to Solve Social Problems seminar series.

Recap: Boston Area Working Group in African Political Economy

BWGAPE attendees heard a keynote from Harvard Professor Robert Bates, workshopped three papers in progress, and voted on the most compelling 'hack-a-thon' presentation.

Hard, but Possible: Increasing Civic Engagement Through Facebook

As part of our Data Science to Solve Social Problems series, Facebook Data Scientist Winter Mason presented on efforts to increase online civic engagement.

Dispatches from the Field

On a contentious referendum, birth rates, and Indian bureaucracy: Notes from fieldwork in the Philippines.

Using Data Science to Monitor Health Plan Compliance — Bayes Impact

GOV/LAB's Data Science to Solve Social Problems seminar series starts again this semester with Mehdi Jamei from Bayes Impact – Dec 7th. RSVP below.

Punishing Politicians and Petty Corruption

MIT GOV/LAB welcomes Professor Rebecca Weitz-Shapiro from Brown University as a visiting scholar.

Increasing Voter Knowledge with Pre-Election Interventions on Facebook

GOV/LAB's Data Science to Solve Social Problems seminar series starts again this semester with Winter Mason from Facebook's Civic Engagement Research Team – Nov 13th. RSVP below.

Second Political Behavior of Development Conference at MIT

We convened a second annual PBD conference on what determines citizen expectations of the state, support for justice, electoral and nonelectoral participation, and bureaucratic behavior.

Asking Why: Politics and Voting in Kenya

We gathered more than 200 interviews across Kenya to inform an experiment running up to the 2017 national elections.

Innovation in Transparency Award Given to GOV/LAB Partner Participando por México

The winning website, Ciudadano Contigo, provides first-ever online access to local government welfare programs and eligibility information for Mexican citizens.

Open Government and Dummy Values, but No Dumb Questions

GOV/LAB summer intern Ming Liu (MIT ’20, Course 15-3) talks local government transparency in the US and tackling null values in R.

Building Equal Footing for Good Governance in the Philippines

Can training citizens and government officials together create a more constructive relationship between the two key stakeholders? Reporting back from the field on the building blocks of good local governance.

Off-center Middlemen: Biased Brokers in Mexico

GOV/LAB intern Siena Harlin (Wellesley ‘18) reports back on clientelistic culture in Mexican government from two months of fieldwork in Yucatán, Mexico

Can 1+1 Really = 3?

MIT GOV/LAB intern Kennedy Middleton (Spelman '18) examines the 1+1=3 approach of rebel to military integration in Cote d’Ivoire.

Drugs, Community Trust, and Policing in Baltimore’s Unsolved Murders

GOV/LAB intern Nicholas Newton-Cheh explores the causes of low arrest rates for homicides in Baltimore, Maryland.

​Great expectations? Expected vs. Actual Returns to Higher Education in Chile

PhD candidate Loreto Cox reports back on the results of her GOV/LAB seed project examining the political effects of expected vs. actual returns to higher education.

Kenyan Politics: A Man’s Game?

MIT GOV/LAB Intern Soobean Jo (Wellesley ’19) explores perspectives on women and politics in Kenya through an analysis of 45 interviews.

Summer Interns with GOV/LAB

GOV/LAB welcomes four summer interns, Kennedy, Siena, Ming, and Nick. Read their bios below.

Politics of the Belly

MIT GOV/LAB intern Lisa Fan (Wellesley '17) explores 'eating' and 'overeating' in Kenyan politics through an analysis of over 180 interviews.

'Stop Frisking Me’ Takes Top Prize at Hack for Democracy

According to Boston Police and ACLU of Massachusetts, over 72,000 people in Boston were stopped and frisked between 2008 and 2013. With a text and a tweet, Team Friskers hopes to bring awareness to this issue.

Is Civic Tech Fulfilling its Promise?

Report back from #TICTeC 2017, where GOV/LAB presented on a suite of civic technology research projects in collaboration with the Omidyar Network.

Welcoming New Research Associate, Dante Delaney (MIT '16)

We are excited to welcome our latest team member, Dante Delaney (MIT '16). Read more below about Dante’s path from The Bahamas to MIT to GOV/LAB below.

Recap from We the People / Hack for Democracy

Nearly 40 people showed up for the hack on April 21-22. Hack organizers, Leah Rosenzweig and Alex Meyer, provide the play-by-play and hack highlights below.

We the People / #Hack4Democracy

MIT GOV/LAB is organizing We the People / Hack for Democracy to demonstrate MIT’s deep commitment to core American (and human) values of fairness, equality, and openness. April 21 & 22. RSVP below!

The Future of Data Science in the City of Boston

GOV/LAB's Data Science to Solve Social Problems seminar series continues with Boston's Chief Data Officer Andrew Therriault - April 10th. RSVP below.

Spring Interns Supporting GOV/LAB

GOV/LAB welcomes a new intern Tiffany Chung, from Wellesley College. Read her bio below.

Measuring Partisan Conflict in Congress Using Unstructured Data and Machine Learning

GOV/LAB's Data Science to Solve Social Problems seminar series continues with Patrick van Kessel from Pew Research Center - March 20th. RSVP below.

Taking the Mystery out of Access to Information in Kenya

MIT GOV/LAB and Twaweza sent "mystery shoppers" to 45 of 47 counties across Kenya to request public information from local government offices.

Reaching the New Voter: Political Analytics for Modern Campaigns

GOV/LAB's Data Science to Solve Social Problems seminar series continues with Charlotte Swasey from Civis Analytics - March 13th. RSVP below.

Data-Driven Government: A Case Study in U.S. Criminal Justice

How can big data be leveraged to improve government? We report back evidence from the 2017 Winter Innovation Summit on the U.S. criminal justice system.

Welcome to New GOV/LAB Interns

GOV/LAB welcomes two new interns, Lisa Fan and Soobean Jo, from Wellesley College. Read their bios below.

Grad Life: Bringing the Lab to the Field

Leah Rosenzweig and her work for GOV/LAB is featured in MIT Alumni Association's "Slice of MIT."

Building Data-Driven Government: From Filling Potholes to Disrupting the Cycle of Incarceration

GOV/LAB's Data Science to Solve Social Problems seminar series continues with Kelly Jin from the White House Office of Science, Technology and Policy - December 2. RSVP below.

Holding Algorithms Accountable: Hidden Biases in Machine Learning

GOV/LAB is kicking off a seminar series on Data Science to Solve Social Problems. Our first seminar is November 1st with Jeff Larson, Data Editor at ProPublica. RSVP below.

Political Behavior of Development Conference at MIT

We are hosting a conference Friday, October 28, 2016 examining issues of racial and intergroup relations, determinants of political participation, partisanship and mobilization as well as the influence of informal institutions and elites on attitudes and behaviors.

Aiding & Abetting: Spatial Data Analysis of Rebel Territory and Humanitarian Aid Flows after Civil Conflict

GOV/LAB intern, Carly Gottorff, takes a stab at creating a first of its kind data set looking at the spatial relationship between armed rebel groups and humanitarian aid worldwide.

#MITBetterWorld: Empowered Citizens, Accountable Governments

GOV/LAB was featured in the #MITBetterWorld campaign.

Tapping into the Political Potential of Ugandan Youth

Can election debates aimed at youth voters help activate the largest, nascent voting block in Uganda? Twaweza and Youth Coalition for Electoral Democracy in Uganda organized #WhatWouldYouthDo political debates to engage youth voters.

“1, 2, 3...Vote”: Designing Voting Games in Uganda

MIT GOV/LAB and Twaweza interviewed 1,200 Ugandans after national elections to understand how citizens conceptualize politics and make voting decisions.

Using Citizen Feedback to Improve Local Government

We wrote a Blog Post with partner organization mySidewalk about the use of civic technology in the United States.

Why Ugandan Youth Don't Vote — Learning Note 9

Youth make up the majority of Uganda’s population, yet account for a very small percentage of those who vote. What factors contribute to this disengagement?

Understanding Citizen Preferences for Political Candidates — Learning Note 8

Why is the method big news? GOV/LAB team wrote new code and a manual for this type of experiment and made the code, manuals, and apps open source.

Politicians all Make the Same Promises — Learning Note 6

“Politics” is a word that has a very negative connotation for most citizens. Below we share research findings gathered from citizens around Tanzania.

Citizen Perspectives on Politics — Learning Note 5

How do ordinary Tanzanian citizens see politics and government? What do Tanzanian citizens think of as “engagement” and “participation” in politics? How do citizens interact with parties and political elites?

Presentation at the Annual World Bank Conference on Africa

We presented at the World Bank's Annual Bank Conference on Africa (ABCA) about our research findings from our project, Trust and Cooperation in the Fight Against Ebola.

GOV/LAB: Holding Governments Accountable

MIT Spectrum Deep Dive: Lily Tsai recently launched GOV/LAB, which gives grad students hands-on experience in political research.

Presentation at the SxSW 2015 Conference

We spoke at the Method Matters in Civic Engagement--But How? panel during the South by Southwest 2015 conference about civic tech in the United States.

Presentation at the TICTeC Conference 2015

Leah Rosenzweig presented at The Impacts of Civic Technology Conference (TICTeC) in March 2015.