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The Princeton Policy Podcast enterprise features all podcasts produced at the Princeton School of Public and International Affairs. At SPIA, we're dedicated to integrating world-class scholarship and a commitment to service in order to make a positive difference in the world. Hear how our faculty do this through our Endnotes series, which connects books and publications to breaking events. Or check out our #Changemakers podcast to find out how our alumni are making change happen globally, na ...
 
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Whether it be earning a college degree, buying a house, or addressing income shortfalls, access to credit is essential for many people’s well-being and social opportunities in today’s richest countries. Yet, with credit also comes the burden of debt, which many are shouldering in an unsteady economic climate. But why are some people in some countri…
 
Dennis McBride MPA '80 is the 17th mayor of Wauwatosa, Wisconsin — his hometown. He's had a long career in government, law, and even public relations. In this episode, he discusses being a mayor during the tumultuous year of 2020. He advises those going into government to develop a "thick skin" and always play on your home field.…
 
“I can’t breathe.” Those were George Floyd’s final words before he was murdered by police in Minneapolis — just outside a store known as the best place to buy menthol cigarettes. Today’s rise in Black deaths, cries of “I can’t breathe,” and the menthol cigarette can all be linked to a long history of race and exploitation. This is revealed in a new…
 
President Joe Biden confirmed the final withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan just 11 days shy of the 20th anniversary of 9/11. Now, Afghanistan remains in turmoil following a takeover by Taliban forces.The melancholy moment has thrust into focus the past 20 years, as experts comment on how the U.S. could’ve done better. Yet, much of what tran…
 
Maribel Hernández Rivera MPA ’10 came to the United States, undocumented from Mexico, when she was 13 years old. Since then, she’s dedicated her life to immigration law and policy. Today, she is district director for Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY). She previously served as executive director of legal initiatives for the New York City Mayor’s …
 
As the president and founder of the Harwood Institute of Public Innovation, Rich Harwood MPA '84, is passionate about seeing communities do their best. The Harwood Institute’s mission is to empower communities with the tools to bridge divides, build capacity, and tackle shared challenges. His newest book, "Unleashed: A Proven Way Communities Can Sp…
 
Evan Draim '16 is a current student at George Mason University's Antonin Scalia Law School. After graduating from Princeton University in 2016, Evan moved to northern Virginia and accepted a job at Service Source, a nonprofit that provides job employment opportunities to people with disabilities. In this episode, he discusses his journey to law sch…
 
For Martín E. De Simone MPA ’18, growing up during the Argentinian economic crisis of 2001 shaped his desire to work in public policy. Today, he’s an education specialist for the World Bank in the Western and Central Africa region and credits the Princeton SPIA for preparing him for the role. He discusses his journey from Argentina to the United St…
 
Yasmin Elhady MPP ’15 is an attorney, public policy specialist, and stand-up comedian. She’s performed all over Washington, D.C., including at The Kennedy Center and The DC Improv, and she’s toured nationally and internationally in the United Kingdom. Her alter ego is “Yasguru,” a hyperactive relationship advisor with silly videos on YouTube and In…
 
While on the campaign trail in 2015, President Donald Trump referred to Mexicans as “criminals” and “rapists,” inciting disdain from Hispanics, Latinos, and other racial groups. The rhetoric wove itself not only into the campaign but Trump’s entire tenure as president, marking a sharp turn from racially coded dog-whistle politics to more explicit w…
 
Tackling today's biggest challenges — from the COVID-19 pandemic to climate change — will require innovative solutions from energized leaders. And among them is Annamie Paul MPA '01, leader of the Green Party of Canada. In this episode, Annamie lays out her policy priorities for Canada and reflects on how Princeton SPIA influenced her varied career…
 
Between 1966 and 1996, the French government conducted 193 nuclear weapon tests in the islands of the South Pacific. These explosions profoundly altered the health, wellbeing, and environment of the people living in this region, who spent decades amid radioactive polluted air, water, and soil. A new book, "Toxique," by Sebastian Philippe of the Pro…
 
A zip code can define one’s destiny and, for many, this means a lifetime of poverty. To move people out of poverty, governments will need to make policy choices that tackle barriers to economic opportunity, while emboldening people to be agents of change in their own communities. Today, we’re in a political moment ripe for change, which makes it cr…
 
For more than two decades, Jeremy Barnicle MPA ’04 has been working at the intersection of policy, philanthropy, and social change. At Mercy Corps, he helped guide the organization’s global strategy, positioning the nonprofit as one of the most respected humanitarian organizations in the world. Today, he serves as executive director of Ecotrust, wh…
 
No day is the same for Larry Handerhan MPA ‘12 who serves as chief of staff for the D.C. Department of Human Services. In his current role, he manages external affairs and supports day-to-day operations for the Department’s $600 million budget and 1,100-person workforce.In this episode, Larry discusses how he learned to see across silos and connect…
 
Using new technologies like AI to improve humanity is at the core of Robert L. Gordon’s work. As chief growth officer of SBG Technology Solutions, Rob is using a multi-sector approach to bring technology to the masses.Throughout his career, he’s also learned how to be a thoughtful and strategic leader. He boils it down to three main tenets: know wh…
 
Nathan Eckstein '16 MPA '20 most recently was the political and outreach director for a U.S. Congresswoman in Western Illinois who sought re-election to a fifth term. He fought with a small team to build support, turn out voters and ultimately secure a win in the most competitive environment the Congresswoman had ever faced.In this episode, he disc…
 
Dalia Katan '15 is the CEO and founder of Presently (www.getpresently.com), a social commerce startup that's helping people celebrate special occasions more meaningfully while also empowering conscious consumerism.In this episode, she gets into what motivated her to create Presently and how she uses her Princeton SPIA training to be an effective le…
 
For 200 years, the grand project of liberal internationalism has been to build a world order that is oriented toward progressive ideas. Today, this project is in crisis, threatened by illiberal challengers and nationalist-populist movements. A new book by G. John Ikenberry offers the first full account of liberal internationalism’s long journey fro…
 
While climate change has been with us far longer than Covid-19, the response to the pandemic could present an opportunity to begin building a greener, more equitable economy. Yet significant roadblocks exist, from some people’s distrust of science to opposing political views on how to tackle the issue. Michael Oppenheimer joins Before the Ballot to…
 
Several killings of unarmed Black citizens at the hands of police this year, most notably George Floyd, sparked nationwide protests, against the backdrop of a pandemic that is emphasizing racial and economic inequalities.Keith Wailoo joins Before the Ballot to discuss the events of 2020 — placing them within historical context and discussing what m…
 
Whether to bring children back into the classroom — and how to do so safely — recently became the country’s biggest education issue. Yet, the pandemic is illuminating many longstanding issues in education policy, from budget shortfalls to disagreements over the goals of the U.S. public school system.In this episode, Jennifer L. Jennings discusses t…
 
Countries such as Russia and Iran are influencing U.S. politics by spreading disinformation and propaganda through social media. At the same time, the Trump administration’s rejection of long-negotiated agreements such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Paris Agreement has arguably altered perceptions of the U.S. among its allies.Jacob N. Sha…
 
With the coronavirus revealing the cracks in the U.S. health care system, and the Affordable Care Act (ACA) being challenged before the Supreme Court, how will health care access and affordability impact voters’ decisions in November?Heather Howard joins Before the Ballot to discuss how the pandemic is intertwined with the economic crisis, its effe…
 
The executive branch’s power has grown in ways beneficial to both Republican and Democratic presidencies — from the expansion of federal agencies to an increased reliance on executive orders. How have the Constitutional checks and balances fared over the past four years, and what effects might the Trump presidency have on the future of the office?S…
 
Since the onset of the pandemic and subsequent slowing down of the economy, lawmakers have debated how best to provide ongoing economic relief to individuals, businesses, and state and local governments.Cecilia Rouse joins Before the Ballot to discuss the politics and efficacy of government aid options; inequalities laid bare by the pandemic in inc…
 
Amid a growing chorus calling to “defund the police,” some worry about the potential for rising violence on the one hand and a question about what replaces the police on the other. Patrick Sharkey joins Before the Ballot to discuss the public health consequences of violence on children’s outcomes, the role of police and other community-building org…
 
In 2013, the Senate passed — but the House failed to consider — a bipartisan immigration reform bill that would have provided a path to citizenship for many undocumented immigrants. This year, voters will consider President Trump’s and Joe Biden’s vastly different approaches on border security, refugee admissions, the separation of families at the …
 
The Trump administration has departed from longstanding U.S. policies in the Middle East, relocating the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem and cutting aid to the Palestine Liberation Organization. While Israel has normalized relations with some other countries in the region, it is unclear what the future is for a two-state solution between Israelis and Pal…
 
Editor’s note: This episode was recorded before the passing of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.In recent years, the Supreme Court has ruled on cases involving polarizing issues in U.S. politics, including campaign finance, the Affordable Care Act, and same-sex marriage. The nomination and confirmation processes for new Justices have also …
 
August marked the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th amendment, which legally ended the use of sex a qualification for the right to vote. In this episode, Corrine McConnaughy takes listeners back in time to what gave the movement legs, explaining how "coalition politics" were the lynchpin women securing the right to vote. She also di…
 
This week’s show is special: We’re running an episode of Democracy Works, a podcast produced by Penn State University’s McCourtney Institute for Democracy. (You may remember we swapped episodes with them last summer.)This episode features Tehama Lopez Bunyasi, assistant professor at the School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution at George Mason Un…
 
World leaders have been tested in their ability to protect their citizens against Covid-19, which has upended nearly every facet of society. Stable leadership is needed now more than ever.In this episode, Dr. Laura Kahn shares her take on the skills necessary to lead during such uncertain times, the subject of her book, “Who’s In Charge? Leadership…
 
Policymakers worry that “ungoverned spaces” pose dangers to security and development. Why do such spaces exist beyond the authority of the state? In a new book, Melissa M. Lee argues that foreign subversion undermines state authority and promotes ungoverned space. In this episode, Lee discusses the findings from her book, “Crippling Leviathan: How …
 
“Deaths of Despair and the Future of Capitalism” is a groundbreaking account of how the flaws in U.S. capitalism have dire consequences for America’s working class. In this interview, authors Anne Case and Sir Angus Deaton discuss why capitalism is destroying blue-collar America, laying a large part of this at the door step of the U.S. health care …
 
The United States would be wise to avoid further conflict with Iran, especially given America’s history of war in poor countries with politically mobilized populations. If past conflicts serve as a guide, such armed intervention could attract a dangerous wrath of nationalists in these countries. This is one of many conclusions drawn from a new book…
 
Paul Volcker has spent most of his professional life in public service. In this WooCast, he discusses the importance of public service, its role in good governance and his advice for students charting career paths in public service. He also talks about the papers he donated to Princeton’s Seely G. Mudd Manuscript Library.…
 
Some argue that U.S. foreign affairs should be left to Congress and the President. But as more executive and legislative actions arise in this arena, is a judicial defense of fundamental rights needed? “Restoring the Global Judiciary: Why the Supreme Court Should Rule in U.S. Foreign Affairs,” turns old arguments on their head, making the case for …
 
Free markets and representative elections triumphed throughout the 20th century, giving rise to a robust form of democratic capitalism. Today, this is under threat due to insurgent populism, extreme polarization, and crippling income inequality.How did we get here, and where are we going next? Carles Boix traces the history of democratic capitalism…
 
Health care in America is expensive, but it doesn’t have to be, according to the late Uwe Reinhardt, a leader in health care policy. Reinhardt provides an incisive look at the American health care system in a new book, “Priced Out: The Economic and Ethical Costs of American Health Care,” published by Princeton University Press. Tsung-Mei Cheng, hea…
 
Party polarization and economic inequality have had profound impacts on America’s governing institutions. Frances E. Lee, co-editor of “Can America Govern Itself?” with Nolan McCarty, discusses what’s new and what’s perennial in challenges to democracy at this fraught moment.Lee is jointly appointed in Princeton University’s Department of Politics …
 
Are Americans more likely to vote for celebrities than traditional politicians? And what exactly enables these stars to win? Lauren Wright, author of “Star Power: American Democracy in the Age of the Celebrity Candidate," discusses celebrities in power in this episode.Wright is associate research scholar and lecturer in politics and public affairs …
 
Contrary to public opinion, Nolan McCarty argues that the 2016 election was a natural outgrowth of 40 years of polarized politics, rather than a significant break with the past. His new book, "Polarization: What Everyone Needs to Know," investigates the origins, development, and implications of polarized politics in America. We discuss it in this e…
 
In a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court ruled that federal courts do not have to address partisan gerrymandering claims. Sharing his response to this news in the audio clip below is Nolan McCarty, Susan Dod Brown Professor of Politics and Public Affairs, at Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs.McCarty’s rese…
 
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was reelected in Israel’s elections and will begin his fifth term in office. What’s next for the country under his leadership?Sharing his response to this news in the audio clip below is Daniel Kurtzer, lecturer and S. Daniel Abraham Professor in Middle East Policy Studies at Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson S…
 
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