Alliance Staff and Board Member Featured in ASPA 2023 Conference


The Volcker Alliance’s work in public finance and talent recruitment was highlighted at the American Society for Public Administration (ASPA) 2023 Conference, as well as the remarkable public service and academic career of board member Francis Fukuyama.

On March 21, Francis Fukuyama, Oliver Nomellini Senior Fellow, Stanford University Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies, delivered the Donald C. Stone Lecture. Fukuyama is a faculty member of FSI's Center on Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law. He is also the director of Stanford's Ford Dorsey Master's in International Policy, and a professor (by courtesy) of Political Science.

The theme of ASPA's 2023 conference was "Protecting Democracy for the Next Generation: The Role and Responsibility of Public Administration." As one of the world's preeminent thinkers on democracy, Fukuyama was a superb choice to deliver the Donald C. Stone Lecture this year. His lecture focused on what he describes as his "central intellectual preoccupation over the past couple of decades, which is the autonomy of the modern state and its role in a democracy." Fukuyama also built on his writings on the role of bureaucratic autonomy in democratic government, an idea he has developed in a series of articles "Valuing the Deep State" for American Purpose.

Later that day, Bill Glasgall, Volcker Alliance senior director, public finance, and Phil Dean, chief economist and public finance senior research fellow at the Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute at the University of Utah and author of the issue paper A Cloudy Crystal Ball: Pandemic Forecasting Challenges Highlight Need for Budget Relief Valves, published by the Alliance in December 2022, led a panel on budget strategies. Entitled “Budgeting for Emergencies: Fiscal Resilience Strategies for Public Sector Organizations,” the panel included presentations on A Cloudy Crystal Ball by Dean, a former Utah state budget director; Do Governments Pay Attention to Hurricanes More at Present than in the Past? A Textual Analysis of Budget Documents by Aichiro Suryo Prabwowo, a PhD candidate at the University of Maryland; and Fiscal Disparities Among U.S. Local Governments and Resilience to Natural Disasters by Koma Dzigbede, assistant professor at the State University of New York at Binghamton, who co-authored the paper with Katherine Willoughby.

On March 23, Anna Wallman, program manager at the Alliance, moderated a panel that explored how research on public sector talent pipelines can inform practitioners and drive innovation in public sector recruiting and hiring. The panel, “Research-Backed Innovation: Recruiting New Talent into Government,” began with presentations from Brian Wallace, director of strategic initiatives, Georgia Municipal Association; Charles Goldman, PhD, senior economist, the RAND Corporation; Octavia Abell, co-founder and CEO, Govern for America; and Joshua Franzel, PhD, managing director, MissionSquare Research Institute.

Dr. Franzel opened the session with a high-level look at the state of the public sector talent market, describing the dire challenges governments face in retaining and recruiting talent, especially in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Ms. Abell, Mr. Wallace, and Dr. Goldman shared three examples of evidence-informed approaches that governments and the organizations who support them can employ to address those challenges, zeroing in on the important role of research-practitioner partnerships in helping governments make the “pitch” for public service.

The Alliance is honored to lead these insightful, timely discussions and thanks ASPA for their continued partnership.