John Gershman

John Gershman
Clinical Professor of Public Service

John Gershman is a Clinical Associate Professor of Public Service and the Deputy Director of NYU's MPH Program. Previously he was the Director of the Global Affairs Program at the International Relations Center and the Co-Director of Foreign Policy in Focus, a progressive think tank on U.S. foreign policy and international affairs. He has worked at a series of nonprofit think tanks since the early 1990s, including the Institute for Food and Development Policy and Partners in Health. His research, writing, and advocacy work has focused on issues of U.S. foreign policy in East and Southeast Asia, the politics of international financial institutions and multilateralism, the political economy of democracy and development, the political economy of land and water rights in Ghana and the Philippines, the politics of sanitation, and rights-based approaches to development.

Semester Course
Spring 2014 PADM-GP.2202.001 Politics of International Development

This course provides students with a rich sense of the institutional and political context within which policy is made and implemented. The course aims to give students exposure to important ongoing debates in international development and their historical context. The class will provide an overview of some of the major contemporary analytical and policy debates regarding the politics of development. Topics to be covered are: States, Regimes and Industrialization; Politics of Poverty, Growth and Policy Reform; Governance, Civil Society and Development; and The Politics of Development in the Age of Globalization.


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Spring 2014 PADM-GP.4420.001 Current Debates in U.S. National Food Politics/Policy

This two-credit, seven-week course will explore a selected set of the most intensely debated topics in food politics/policy as currently practiced in the United States. This is not meant to be a comprehensive study of food systems or even of food policy;
other Wagner and NYU courses provide such an overview. Instead we will investigate in depth several specific policy debates, reviewing the problem, currently-proposed solutions, and the complex politics of policymaking in a separated-powers system.

We will pay particular attention to key institutional actors throughout: these include the influence of lobbying groups (industry and advocacy/nonprofit); the interplay of federal departments and agencies (USDA, HHS, FDA, Executive Office of the
President); the politics of food in the U.S. Congress and judiciary; as well as the role of academic and think-tank experts in shaping political outcomes.


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Spring 2014 PADM-GP.4250.001 Hunger and Food Security in a Global Perspective (meets in New York only)

Note: This 2-credit course meets in New York only (see PADM-GP 2250 for the version of this course that meets in New York and Ghana).

This course explores the political and economic policy issues surrounding hunger and food security, drawing on many case examples and using Ghana as a case study. The course will provide an overview of some of the core dimensions of global hunger and food security policy issues, including debates over a new green revolution, food aid, fair trade, the impact of expanded biofuels production and the impact of the inter-related financial, food, and fuel crises.


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Fall 2012 PADM-GP.2202. Politics of International Development

This course provides students with a rich sense of the institutional and political context within which policy is made and implemented. The course aims to give students exposure to important ongoing debates in international development and their historical context. The class will provide an overview of some of the major contemporary analytical and policy debates regarding the politics of development. Topics to be covered are: States, Regimes and Industrialization; Politics of Poverty, Growth and Policy Reform; Governance, Civil Society and Development; and The Politics of Development in the Age of Globalization.


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Fall 2012 PADM-GP.2201. Institutions, Governance, and International Development

This course introduces the theory and practice of institutional reform in developing and transitional countries. It reviews the evolution of international development paradigms, examining how the role, structure, and management of institutions, the public sector, and non-governmental organizations have changed in response to shifting economic and political trends, with a particular emphasis on accountability. The focus is on major institutional and managerial reforms intended to promote good governance as less developed economies liberalize and their societies democratize. Key topics include issues of property rights, knowledge and innovation, learning, the rule of law, decentralization/intergovernmental relations, civil service reforms, anticorruption, citizen engagement, and public-private partnerships. In addition, the roles of international development aid and the external institutions that support institutional and managerial reform in developing and transitional countries are introduced. The course concludes with a synthetic review and a comparative case study exercise.


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Fall 2012 PADM-GP.4224.001 The United States and the World: Foreign Policy and the 2014 Elections

The rise of China. Terrorism. Nuclear proliferation. Human rights. Global poverty. Climate Change. What role should military force play in foreign policy? Arguments over how to respond to these issues reflect debates about the appropriate role that the United States should play in the world -- debates that date back to the country's founding. Should the United States aspire to global dominance? Should or can the United States foster the creation of an international society founded upon international law and cooperation? These and other questions will be explored by examining competing views on the most critical foreign policy issues of the 21st century, issues that will redefine the relationship between the United States and the world.
 


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Summer 2012 PADM-GP.2250.001 Hunger and Food Security in a Global Perspective (Accra, Ghana)

This course explores the political and economic policy issues surrounding hunger and food security, drawing on many case examples and using Ghana as a case study. The course will provide an overview of some of the core dimensions of global hunger and food security policy issues, including debates over a new green revolution, food aid, fair trade, the impact of expanded biofuels production and the impact of the inter-related financial, food, and fuel crises. The class will incorporate visits to sites in Ghana and discussions with NGOs and other organizations involved in various efforts to enhance food security.
This course requires pre-departure lectures in New York in late May and early June. Check Albert for dates and times.


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Spring 2012 PADM-GP.2411.001 Policy Formation and Policy Analysis

The purpose of the course is to deepen students’ understanding of the way in which public policy and political realities interact in American government at the national, state, and local levels: how political pressures limit policy choices, how policy choices in turn reshape politics, and how policymakers can function in the interplay of competing forces. The theme explored is how public officials balance concerns for substantive policy objectives, institutional politics and elective politics in order to achieve change. The nature of key legislative and executive institutional objectives and roles is examined. In addition, attention is given to the role of policy analysis and analysts in shaping policy decisions, seeking to identify their potential for positive impact and their limitations in the political process.

A second goal of the course is to sharpen students’ ability to think and write like professional policy analysts. Students will be asked to apply both a policy analysis framework and a political perspective to the issues under discussion


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Fall 2011 PADM-GP.2204.001 Development Assistance, Accountability and Aid Effectiveness

International development assistance has evolved considerably in the post WWII period. Although some of the initial development agencies are still operating and remain influential, the way they function has evolved and important new players have entered the field. This course provides an overview of contemporary debates in international development assistance with a detailed review of the major actors - multilateral, bilateral, and nongovernmental. The course explores the political economy of donor-client country relationships, the key accountability challenges that have emerged, and the link between accountability and aid effectiveness. Particular emphasis is given to recent approaches to development assistance that have attempted to bridge the accountability-effectiveness divide. The course closes with consideration of the likely and possible future of development assistance.


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Summer 2011 PADM-GP.2250.001 Hunger and Food Security in a Global Perspective (Accra, Ghana)

This course explores the political and economic policy issues surrounding hunger and food security, drawing on many case examples and using Ghana as a case study. The course will provide an overview of some of the core dimensions of global hunger and food security policy issues, including debates over a new green revolution, food aid, fair trade, the impact of expanded biofuels production and the impact of the inter-related financial, food, and fuel crises. The class will incorporate visits to sites in Ghana and discussions with NGOs and other organizations involved in various efforts to enhance food security.
This course requires pre-departure lectures in New York in late May and early June. Check Albert for dates and times.


Download Syllabus
Spring 2011 PADM-GP.4224.001 The United States and the World: Foreign Policy and the 2014 Elections

The rise of China. Terrorism. Nuclear proliferation. Human rights. Global poverty. Climate Change. What role should military force play in foreign policy? Arguments over how to respond to these issues reflect debates about the appropriate role that the United States should play in the world -- debates that date back to the country's founding. Should the United States aspire to global dominance? Should or can the United States foster the creation of an international society founded upon international law and cooperation? These and other questions will be explored by examining competing views on the most critical foreign policy issues of the 21st century, issues that will redefine the relationship between the United States and the world.
 


Download Syllabus
Spring 2010 PADM-GP.2202. Politics of International Development

This course provides students with a rich sense of the institutional and political context within which policy is made and implemented. The course aims to give students exposure to important ongoing debates in international development and their historical context. The class will provide an overview of some of the major contemporary analytical and policy debates regarding the politics of development. Topics to be covered are: States, Regimes and Industrialization; Politics of Poverty, Growth and Policy Reform; Governance, Civil Society and Development; and The Politics of Development in the Age of Globalization.


Download Syllabus
Spring 2010 PADM-GP.2202. Politics of International Development

This course provides students with a rich sense of the institutional and political context within which policy is made and implemented. The course aims to give students exposure to important ongoing debates in international development and their historical context. The class will provide an overview of some of the major contemporary analytical and policy debates regarding the politics of development. Topics to be covered are: States, Regimes and Industrialization; Politics of Poverty, Growth and Policy Reform; Governance, Civil Society and Development; and The Politics of Development in the Age of Globalization.


Download Syllabus
Fall 2009 PADM-GP.2202. Politics of International Development

This course provides students with a rich sense of the institutional and political context within which policy is made and implemented. The course aims to give students exposure to important ongoing debates in international development and their historical context. The class will provide an overview of some of the major contemporary analytical and policy debates regarding the politics of development. Topics to be covered are: States, Regimes and Industrialization; Politics of Poverty, Growth and Policy Reform; Governance, Civil Society and Development; and The Politics of Development in the Age of Globalization.


Download Syllabus
Spring 2009 PADM-GP.2201. Institutions, Governance, and International Development

This course introduces the theory and practice of institutional reform in developing and transitional countries. It reviews the evolution of international development paradigms, examining how the role, structure, and management of institutions, the public sector, and non-governmental organizations have changed in response to shifting economic and political trends, with a particular emphasis on accountability. The focus is on major institutional and managerial reforms intended to promote good governance as less developed economies liberalize and their societies democratize. Key topics include issues of property rights, knowledge and innovation, learning, the rule of law, decentralization/intergovernmental relations, civil service reforms, anticorruption, citizen engagement, and public-private partnerships. In addition, the roles of international development aid and the external institutions that support institutional and managerial reform in developing and transitional countries are introduced. The course concludes with a synthetic review and a comparative case study exercise.


Download Syllabus
Spring 2009 PADM-GP.2202. Politics of International Development

This course provides students with a rich sense of the institutional and political context within which policy is made and implemented. The course aims to give students exposure to important ongoing debates in international development and their historical context. The class will provide an overview of some of the major contemporary analytical and policy debates regarding the politics of development. Topics to be covered are: States, Regimes and Industrialization; Politics of Poverty, Growth and Policy Reform; Governance, Civil Society and Development; and The Politics of Development in the Age of Globalization.


Download Syllabus
Fall 2008 PADM-GP.2202. Politics of International Development

This course provides students with a rich sense of the institutional and political context within which policy is made and implemented. The course aims to give students exposure to important ongoing debates in international development and their historical context. The class will provide an overview of some of the major contemporary analytical and policy debates regarding the politics of development. Topics to be covered are: States, Regimes and Industrialization; Politics of Poverty, Growth and Policy Reform; Governance, Civil Society and Development; and The Politics of Development in the Age of Globalization.


Download Syllabus
Fall 2008 PADM-GP.2201. Institutions, Governance, and International Development

This course introduces the theory and practice of institutional reform in developing and transitional countries. It reviews the evolution of international development paradigms, examining how the role, structure, and management of institutions, the public sector, and non-governmental organizations have changed in response to shifting economic and political trends, with a particular emphasis on accountability. The focus is on major institutional and managerial reforms intended to promote good governance as less developed economies liberalize and their societies democratize. Key topics include issues of property rights, knowledge and innovation, learning, the rule of law, decentralization/intergovernmental relations, civil service reforms, anticorruption, citizen engagement, and public-private partnerships. In addition, the roles of international development aid and the external institutions that support institutional and managerial reform in developing and transitional countries are introduced. The course concludes with a synthetic review and a comparative case study exercise.


Download Syllabus
Fall 2008 ..
Spring 2008 PADM-GP.2202. Politics of International Development

This course provides students with a rich sense of the institutional and political context within which policy is made and implemented. The course aims to give students exposure to important ongoing debates in international development and their historical context. The class will provide an overview of some of the major contemporary analytical and policy debates regarding the politics of development. Topics to be covered are: States, Regimes and Industrialization; Politics of Poverty, Growth and Policy Reform; Governance, Civil Society and Development; and The Politics of Development in the Age of Globalization.


Download Syllabus
  Projects
Date Publication/Paper
2014

Gershman, John and Jonathan Morduch 2014. Credit is Not a Right [REVISED] Forthcoming in volume edited by Tom Sorell and Luis Cabrera: Microfinance, Rights, and Global Justice. Cambridge University Press.
View/Download Article
Abstract

Muhammad Yunus, the microcredit pioneer, has proposed that access to credit should be a human right. We approach the question by drawing on fieldwork and empirical scholarship in political science and economics. Evidence shows that access to credit may be powerful for some people some of the time, but it is not powerful for everyone all of the time, and in some cases it can do damage. Yunus’s claim for the power of credit access has yet to be widely verified, and most rigorous studies find microcredit impacts that fall far short of the kinds of empirical assertions on which his proposal rests. We discuss ways that expanding the domain of rights can diminish the power of existing rights, and we argue for a right to non-discrimination in credit access, rather than a right to credit access itself.

 

2011

Gershman, John and Jonathan Morduch. 2011. Credit is Not a Right
View/Download Article | View Publication
Abstract

Is credit a human right? Muhammad Yunus, the most visible leader of a global movement to provide microcredit to world’s poor, says it should be. NYU’s John Gershman and FAI’s Jonathan Morduch disagree. In their new paper, Credit is Not a Right, they ask whether a rights-based approach to microcredit will in fact be effective in making quality, affordable credit more available to poor families – and, more importantly, whether it is a constructive step in terms of the broader goal of global poverty reduction. Jonathan Morduch argues his case in this video.

2004

Gershman, J. 2004. A Secure America in a Secure World Interhemispheric Resource Center, September,
Abstract

The Bush administration’s “war on terrorism” reflects a major failure of leadership and makes Americans more vulnerable rather than more secure. The administration has chosen a path to combat terrorism that has weakened multilateral institutions and squandered international goodwill. Not only has Bush failed to support effective reconstruction in Afghanistan, but his war and occupation in Iraq have made the United States more vulnerable and have opened a new front and a recruiting tool for terrorists while diverting resources from essential homeland security efforts. In short, Washington’s approach to homeland security fails to address key vulnerabilities, undermines civil liberties, and misallocates resources. The administration has taken some successful steps to counter terrorism, such as improved airline and border security, a partial crackdown on terrorist financing, improved international cooperation in sharing intelligence, the arrest of several high-level al-Qaida figures, and the disruption of a number of planned attacks. But these successes are overwhelmed by policy choices that have made U.S. citizens more rather than less vulnerable. The Bush White House has undermined the very values it claims to be defending at home and abroad—democracy and human rights; both Washington’s credibility and its efforts to combat terrorism are hampered when it aids repressive regimes. Furthermore, the administration has weakened the international legal framework essential to creating a global effort to counter terrorism, and it has failed to address the political contexts—failed states and repressive regimes—that enable and facilitate terrorism.
2002

Gershman, J. 2002. Is Southeast Asia the Second Front? Foreign Affairs, July/August 2002
View report
Abstract

With U.S. troops on the ground in the Philippines and closer military ties developing to other countries in the region, Washington is taking the war on terror to Southeast Asia. But a military approach to the region's problems would be a deadly mistake: it could weaken local democracies and turn neutral forces into new enemies.

2000

Fox, J. & Gershman, J. 2000. The World Bank and Social Capital: Lessons from Ten Rural Development Projects in the Philippines and Mexico Policy Sciences, Vol. 33 Issue 3/4, p399-419, 21p.
Abstract

Compares rural development projects funded by the World Bank in the Philippines and Mexico. Impact of the World Bank on social capital; Indicators of institutional preconditions for informed public participation; Ethnic and gender dimensions of social capital.