Another whirlwind year in the books and we are continuing our tradition of voting on our favorite stories and content from the last year. The top highlights is a snapshot of the year at MIT GOV/LAB and our collaborations with partners (you can also see the top stories from 2022, 2021, 2020, 2019, 2018 and 2017).

Here are our top five picks from 2023 with a few extras thrown in.

Governing for Our Descendants. This MIT News piece covers Professor Lily Tsai’s essay on how to include future generations, who will face the climate crisis we’ve created, in our definition of our collective society. We like this piece because it lays out key considerations for the next phase of our work on the future of governance and how to think of decision-making and the possibility of new tools, like machine learning and artificial intelligence.  

Unearthing the Hidden Stories of Budgets and Audit Reports. Graduate Research Fellow and MIT GOV/LAB seed grant recipient, Jerik Cruz, is pioneering a new data set of government audit reports on the Philippines with the Ateneo School of Government to better understand transparency and corruption issues using machine learning methods. A Q&A on his research project also won the MIT Prize for Open Data for excellence in open data. Interested in more graduate student work? Check out this story from Anum Mustafa on air pollution in South Asia.

Contextualization is Key: The Importance of Tailoring Development Projects to Local Needs. New data and methods, and especially machine learning, to investigate governance challenges is a growing trend in our work. A working paper “Mind the Aid Effectiveness Gap” published by the World Bank and our 2021 practitioner-in-residence Luke Jordan uses a machine learning model to show that development projects that are tailored to a country’s context are tied to successful development outcomes.   

Designing Governance Innovations in Resource-Constrained Settings. This series of learning cases shares the pathways and bottlenecks to designing governance innovations with cases from Nigeria and Sierra Leone. Building on this work, along with MISTI and PKG, we created a new fellowship to support student research on governance innovation with Global South governments. We also produced our first ever podcast, Power to the WHO, with governance innovators from around the world — give it a listen

Championing Health Workers to Lead Vaccination Efforts in Uganda. Trust continues to be an important thread throughout our work and this MIT News story highlights findings from a research publication with partners at the Makerere School of Public Health on importance of trust and trusted messengers for public health campaigns. (In case you missed it, our Trust Mini Guide dives more into our work on trust, how to measure it, and why trust matters). 

Here’s to a bright 2024, Happy New Year!

Photo by Johannes Plenio on Unsplash