IZA – Inst. for Labor Econ. Working Paper – Childcare Reviews on Yelp.com

New working paper available from IZA - Institute for Labor Economics.

What Do Parents Value in a Child Care Provider? Evidence from Yelp Consumer Reviews - IZA Discussion Paper No. 11741. Click here to download.

This paper exploits novel data and empirical methods to examine parental preferences for
child care. Specifically, we analyze consumer reviews of child care businesses posted on the
website Yelp.com. A key advantage of Yelp is that it contains a large volume of unstructured
information about a broad set of child care programs located in demographically and
economically diverse communities. Thus our analysis relies on a combination of theoryand
data-driven methodologies to organize and classify the characteristics of child care
that are assessed by parents. We also use natural language processing techniques to
examine the affect and psychological tones expressed in the reviews. Our main results are
threefold. First, we find that consumers overall are highly satisfied with their child care
provider, although those in higher-income markets are substantially more satisfied than
their counterparts in lower-income markets. Second, the program characteristics most
commonly evaluated by consumers relate to safety, quality of the learning environment,
and child-teacher interactions. However, lower- and higher-income consumers evaluate
different characteristics in their reviews. The former is more likely to comment on a
program’s practical features, such as its pricing and accessibility, while the latter is more
likely to focus on the learning environment. Finally, we find that consumers in lowerincome
markets are more likely to display negative psychological tones such as anxiety and
anger in their reviews, particularly when discussing the nature of their interactions with
program managers and their child’s interactions with teachers.

Blockchain Research

Our recent research on blockchain continues to be published on Brookings TechTank. See below for links to recent articles:

Collaborators: Chen Ye, Kiran Kabtta Somvanshi, Xiaofeng Wang

External coverage: ZDNet

Unpacking Complexities of Mega-Scale Public Sector IT projects – Systèmes d’Information et Management

Page Header Isabelle Fagnot, Chen Ye, and I have a paper in the current issue of Systèmes d'Information et Management.
Mega-scale information technology (IT) projects in the public sector are significant undertakings operating within an ecosystem of stakeholders, resources, and constraints. The track record of these projects is abysmal. Employing an ecosystems lens, we study three failed mega-scale public sector IT projects: the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) Virtual Case File (VCF), the U.S.federal government’s HealthCare.gov project, and Great Britain’s National Programme for IT (NPfIT). A forensic analysis of these projects was conducted employing the Qualitative Media Analysis (QMA) methodology. The findings suggest several stakeholders in a public IT project assume roles analogous to different types of species in an ecosystem, with the public agency sponsoring the project as the keystone species. Specifically, the findings show that the public agency is susceptible to failure in hiring key personnel with proper knowledge and experience, and failure in responding to early signals alerting the impending implosion of the project ecosystem. In addition, flawed relationships between the public agency and contractors, and flawed relationship between the legislature and the public agency also contributed significantly to project failure.

Systèmes d'Information et Management (French Journal of Management Information Systems) is the major French language journals addressing information systems intended for organization management.

Mechanics for the Future – Salzburg Global Forum

Credit: Salzburg Global Seminar/Ela Grieshaber.

I am looking forward to participating in the Mechanics for the Future: How Can Governments Transform Themselves? session at the Salzburg Global Forum.

Governments worldwide are under pressure to meet complex needs as populations age, countries urbanize, and technology transforms lives and work. They have lead responsibility to prepare their societies for a radically changing world, yet face shrinking budgets and declining trust in the public sector. The machinery of government has changed, requiring governments to transform themselves, both in terms of the methodology they use and the people needed to implement the change.  What is the role of government in driving innovation?  How can countries and cities learn from each other?  How can governments recruit and retain the best people in public service with the right skills?  How can governments better harness the market, and strengthen constructive partnerships with civil society and the private sector?  What types of public communication work best to rebuild public trust?

See here for a list of attendees.

As part of the meeting, I will be leading a discussion on the potential for advances in artificial intelligence (AI) to transform how we govern. We will employ a case study that I co-authored with Richard T. Watson (Regents Professor and the J. Rex Fuqua Distinguished Chair for Internet Strategy, University of Georgia). The case study takes place in a country, Intelligensia, and is focused on deploying AI systems to modernize the national healthcare system and improve quality of life outcomes.

Cutter Business Technology Journal – Special Issue on Artificial Intelligence

New article in Cutter Business Technology Journal with Lena Waizenegger (Auckland University of Technology) and Gregory S. Dawson (Arizona State University)

9 Recommendations for Designing, Developing, Deploying, and Refining Cognitive Computing Systems

This article draws your attention to the design, development, deployment, and refinement of cognitive computing systems (CCSs). While CCSs are deployed in a variety of fields yielding benefits exceeding expectations, there are also major failures. Lack of appreciation for the differences inherent in developing a CCS versus a traditional software system is key to these failures. To assist in developing successful CCSs and to derive benefits from them, the authors offer a set of nine key recommendations based on their examination of over two dozen systems. They conclude that CCSs will be a dominant technology that will permeate all business operations for the foreseeable future.

Visiting Professor – Università Bocconi, March 2018

I will be spending time at the Università Bocconi during March 2018 as a Visiting Professor. I will deliver several lectures as part of the Innovation and Big Data in the Public Sector course taught by my colleague, Prof. Maria Cucciniello. In addition, I will be working on several research projects with colleagues in Milan.

Beijing Universities – Technological Innovation and the Public

I will be giving research presentations at Renmin University (School of Public Administration and Policy) and Beijing Forestry University (School of Humanities and Social Sciences) on November 3, 2017

Technological Innovation and the Public: 3Ps - Purpose, Process, and Products

Technological innovations are fundamentally transforming all aspects of our society. I am particularly concerned with how technological innovations impact 1) the design of our public institutions, 2) the apparatuses through which we shape, implement, and evaluate public policies, and 3) our governance frameworks for public goods. I believe that research needs to be conducted in a manner that advances the greater public good, especially in fields that are of an applied nature. Academia has a special responsibility to generate knowledge that advances society. Studying complex phenomena requires us to undertake research that 1) draws on multiple disciplines, 2) engages a diverse group of stakeholders, 3) appreciates a plurality of research approaches, and 4) generates actionable solutions. Executing inter-disciplinary research is no easy feat to accomplish. Researchers face daunting challenges from the onset; beginning with the inception of ideas, continuing to the crafting of problem statements, executing the research process, and then communicating the results via publications in academic and practitioner outlets. However, these challenges should not be viewed as an excuse to abandon inter-disciplinary research in favor of narrowly focused research exercises. Drawing on over a dozen research projects, this presentation will highlight key strategic management challenges confronting public agencies as they try to keep up with the rapid pace of technological innovations. Opportunities for use-inspired research will be discussed. In addition, I will present a working model for executing inter-disciplinary research that has served me well. I will openly share some of the trials and tribulations that I have encountered along the way.

Paper at 2017 Assoc. Budgeting & Financial Management Conference

Alfred Ho (University of Kansas) will be presenting our paper at the 2017 Assoc. Budgeting & Financial Management Conference in Washington, D.C.

Performance Budgeting in U.S. cities: A Multi-Level Analysis

Many past studies have documented different types of performance information usage in the budgetary process.  Many also show that various organizational factors influence its usage.  In this study, we take a new theoretical approach by analyzing the practice of performance budgeting through a multi-level perspective. Using data from a survey study of U.S. local departments, this study analyzes how service nature, organizational capacity, leadership, organizational culture, and political institutional forces influence how performance analytics is used or not used to impact budgetary decision-making. The empirical results show that there are different dynamics for performance-informed performance budgeting and high-impact performance budgeting.  Politics do not necessarily eliminate a need for performance-informed budgeting, but executive commitment to data-driven decision-making is necessary to achieve high impact in using performance budgeting.

Authors: Alfred Ho (University of Kansas), Rashmi Krishnamurthy (Queens University) and Kevin C. Desouza