MOre to Explore: Finance

Researching Sustainable Energy Solutions to Rural Electrification

Client
United Nations Development Programme
Faculty
Giuliano Bosi
Team
Hillary Dale, Alex Ducett, Andrew Maguire, Lois Taylor- Kamara
As a global knowledge network, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) advocates for sustainable human development and connects countries to experiences and resources to build better lives. In Swaziland, the UNDP provides policy support for the government on poverty alleviation, equitable social services provision, and good governance. UNDP and the Swaziland Ministry of Natural Resources and Energy engaged a Capstone team to determine the policy and financing challenges and opportunities for decentralized, renewable energy approaches to rural electrification. After conducting comparative research on renewable energy use, the team traveled to Swaziland and conducted stakeholder mapping and individual interviews with rural energy users. The team’s research culminated in a final report that includes recommendations on navigating the regulatory environment, identifying financing mechanisms, and addressing gaps in knowledge and awareness of renewable energy technologies. These findings will directly inform the UNDP’s newly launched Partnerships for Affordable Renewable Energy in Swaziland (PARES) program with Swaziland’s Ministry of Natural Resources.
Capstone Year

Analysis of Public Support Program Efficacy in Supporting the Disabled

Client
The Effect of Public Support Programs on Income Volatility
Faculty
Aram Hur
Team
Rebecca Augustin, Nichole Huff, Jaimie Vernon
Income volatility—substantial variation in household income—impacts roughly a quarter of American families and disproportionately harms the disabled because they are more likely to have low income. A Capstone team undertook a research plan to assess whether existing public support programs are effectively improving income stability. Departing from current studies that fail to differentiate between specific sources of financial vulnerability the team examined how disability status and type affect program effectiveness. The scope of the team’s research included the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), a program designed to help needy families become self-sufficient. The team analyzed data from the 2014 Survey of Income and Program Participation and found significant differences in TANF effectiveness for the disabled, with important variations across disability types. These findings imply that support programs need to allocate funding according to the degree of vulnerability to effectively address income volatility.
Capstone Year

Evaluating the Feasibility of Diaspora Bonds in Financing Senegal’s Development

Client
United Nations Capital Development Fund
Faculty
Paul Smoke
Team
Youngbin Kim, Zenani Orengo, Siddharth Shah
The United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) provides technical assistance to the world’s 47 least developed countries to promote financial inclusivity and improve local development finance. As identified in Agenda 2030, developing countries require innovative financing for sustainable development. UNCDF enlisted a Capstone team to investigate the feasibility of implementing the financial instrument diaspora bonds in Senegal. The team focused on assessing the feasibility of diaspora bonds in the Senegalese city Saint-Louis through the examination of investments by the Senegalese diaspora currently around the world. The team completed a literature review, a comprehensive analysis of the economic opportunities for Saint-Louis, and extensive interviews with various stakeholders in Senegal and members of the diaspora. The team’s final report provides an in-depth analysis of potential opportunities and challenges of funding local development projects in Saint-Louis through diaspora bonds.
Capstone Year

Investigating the Impact of Partisan Campaign Spending on the Role of State Attorneys

Client
The Changing Role of State Attorneys General
Faculty
Aram Hur
Team
Dahlia Darwiche, Christopher Echeverría, Rachel Wise
As partisanship and political gridlock have increased in America, many state attorneys general (AGs) have become engaged with the national political landscape. This is a shift from the traditional AG role of chief law enforcement officer. A Capstone team investigated this change and hypothesized that the shift might be related to increased partisan donations in state elections. The team analyzed data on campaign donations and state AG races between 2006 and 2014 and employed a difieren се-in- differences design around the 2010 change in campaign finance regulations resulting from the Citizens United vs. FEC ruling. The team found significant changes and patterns in the campaign finance landscape for state AG races after the regulation changes. These findings may help policymakers better understand the state AG as a new, nontraditional player in the partisan policy arena.
Areas Of Impact
Capstone Year