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2014 Founders’ Fellows: Smarter Government

Responsibility, Authority, the Iraqi SIV Program
By Craig Wickstrom, Cleveland State University

“Visa program fails those who aided U.S.” proclaimed a column title in the Miami Herald on October 9, 2013.  In that column, Trudy Rubin wrote that, “Early last week, with Congress in disarray over the government shutdown, something astonishing happened. … one bill was passed by unanimous consent in both House and Senate.”  That bill extended the Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) programs to Iraqi and Afghan citizens.  The original SIV bill, established in 2008, provided a special opportunity for Iraqi (and later Afghan) workers who had assisted Americans, to obtain visas to immigrate to the United States.  The SIV was limited to 25,000 Iraqi (5,000 per year from 2008 through 2012) and 8,500 Afghan immigrants.  However, Rubin writes, “only around 5,000 visas have been issued.”

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Why is China’s Savings Rate so High?
By Xueijiao Zhao, Auburn University

China overtook Japan to become the world’s second-largest economy after the United States in 2010, but China’s economy is quite distinctive in the modern world as it has a comparatively high savings rate and a very low consumption rate. According to the World Bank, in 2010, the gross national savings rate of China is 51 percent, whereas the savings rate of the United States is only 11 percent. Compared with other developing economies or East Asian countries, China’s national savings rate is still the highest.

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The Constant Call for Smarter Government
By Rachel Emas, Florida International University

As public administrators are continuously challenged by the limited resources and growing demands of the 21st century, we ask government to work smarter and do more with less.In July ofthis year, President Obama echoed this demand that “we should all want a government that’s smarter, quicker, and more responsive to the needs of the American people” (Office of the Press Secretary, 2013). This call for smarter government, though, is no recent trend.

Since the founding on of the colonies American citizens have constantly called on the public sector to advance and enhance in order to meet their needs (Kettl, 2008). The dynamic and ever-evolving nature of the American people necessitates the continuous development of its government.

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How E-Government and Technology Can Lead to a Smarter Government in the United States
By Judney Pierre, Florida International University

Inadequate leadership has been a major factor in prohibiting the American government from more efficiently meeting public needs, progressing information, and evolving into a more robust and smoother bureaucratic system. Older models have shown that our current bureaucratic system is not capable of the task of generating a sensible government system. Taken together, these factors have led many to see the public sector bureaucracy as a monolithic entity, non-responsive, and hierarchal. On top of this hierarchal pyramid the President of the United States who is vested with executive power. The ambiguous nature of the words “executive power” lacks defined objective, hinders the president’s ability to coordinate, and makes it difficult to accomplish set objectives . In The Politics of the Presidency, Revised 8th Edition, political scientists Joseph A Pika and John Anthony Maltes explained “even within the executive branch, presidential powers of command are limited and that a president’s success as an administrator depends greatly on the ability to win the trust of others.”

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Government 2.0 in Authoritarian China: Progress, Pitfalls and Prospect
By Liang Ma, Nanyang Technological University (Singapore)

Government 2.0 is the use of Web 2.0 technologies by public sector to prompt transparency, participation and collaboration. Facebook, Twitter and other social media applications are censored in China, but ironically government agencies and civil servants are active in using their domestic versions. This article reviews the latest development of Government 2.0 in China, identifies its key pitfalls and provides policy suggestions to guide its future boom.

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The Making of Smart Government
By Monica S. Fernandez, Florida International University

The mobile technology boom is spreading like wildfire across many fronts. Mobile phones, for strictly personal use, are no longer the norm. The advent of more updated models and the need for more interactivity has increased the use of mobile phones in the workplace. Open data initiatives abound and the movement towards cities becoming “smart” is palpable. Although trust in government has continued to wane over the years, the desire to see a more active citizenry has led to a surge in mobile applications (apps). Apps are being used to enhance efficiency, effectiveness, accountability in government. The apps are beneficial to both local governments and its users. Yet there are limitations in the implementation of such apps that have led to  hesitation in using apps in the public sector .

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