The Carr Center for Human Rights Policy serves as the hub of the Harvard Kennedy School’s research, teaching, and training in the human rights domain. The center embraces a dual mission: to educate students and the next generation of leaders from around the world in human rights policy and practice; and to convene and provide policy-relevant knowledge to international organizations, governments, policymakers, and businesses.

 

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Latest Publications

Data as Collectively Generated Patterns: Making Sense of Data Ownership

Citation:

Mathias Risse. 4/26/2021. “Data as Collectively Generated Patterns: Making Sense of Data Ownership.” Carr Center Discussion Paper Series. See full text.
Data as Collectively Generated Patterns: Making Sense of Data Ownership

Abstract:

Data ownership is power. Who should hold that power? How should data be owned?  The importance of data ownership explains why it has been analogized to other domains where ownership is better understood. Several data-as proposals are on the table: data as oil, as intellectual property, as personhood, as salvage, data as labor, etc. Author Mathias Risse proposes another way of thinking about data.  His view characterizes data in ways that make them accessible to ownership considerations and can be expressed as a data-as view: data as collectively generated patterns. Unlike the alternatives, data as collectively generated patterns does not create any equivalence with another domain where ownership is already well-understood. It reveals how ownership considerations enter, but we must explore afresh how they do. Accordingly, he proposes a way for ownership considerations to bear on data once we understand them that way. And if we did understand them that way, the internet should presumably be designed very differently from what we have now. 

 

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: Mathias Risse | April 26 2021
: Data ownership is power. Who should hold that power?
Last updated on 04/26/2021

Practice What You Preach: Global Human Rights Leadership Begins at Home

Citation:

John Shattuck and Kathryn Sikkink. 4/20/2021. “Practice What You Preach: Global Human Rights Leadership Begins at Home .” Foreign Affairs, May/ June 4/20/2021. Read the article.
Practice What You Preach: Global Human Rights Leadership Begins at Home

Abstract:

The international standing of the United States has taken a serious hit over the past four years. Former U.S. President Donald Trump’s strident “America first” foreign policy is partly to blame, but so are his attacks on democracy and human rights, both internationally and domestically. Abroad, Trump set the cause of human rights back by embracing authoritarians and alienating democratic allies. At home, he launched an assault on the electoral process, encouraged a failed insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, and systematically undermined civil rights protections, leaving his successor to grapple with multiple, overlapping human rights crises. As if that were not enough, a host of other problems await, from the pandemic to increasing competition with China and the overall decline of American power.

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: John Shattuck and Kathryn Sikkink | Apr 20 2021
: The international standing of the United States has taken a serious hit over the past four years.

Rethinking the “necessary” trade-offs of distributing value to suppliers: An analysis of the profit-sharing model

Rethinking the “necessary” trade-offs of distributing value to suppliers: An analysis of the profit-sharing model

Abstract:

Far too often, global supply chains distribute value in ways that contribute to income inequality and the uneven accumulation of wealth. Despite a surge of innovations to address this problem—such as fair trade, corporate social responsibility, and creating shared value—the issue of value distribution persists as a pressing priority for the international development and business communities. This article puts forth a first attempt at theorizing profit sharing as a potential mechanism for more equitable value distribution in global value chains. Drawing on two in-depth, multi-method case studies of companies that share profits in the coffee sector, we develop eight theoretical propositions about the applicability and efficacy of profit sharing as a tool for redistribution. Our research suggests that profit sharing can distribute value without requiring suppliers to compromise price stability, profit maximization, value creation, or alternative economic opportunities. This conclusion challenges extant theory which asserts (based on studies of fair trade certification, direct trade, and solidarity trade) that these tradeoffs are typically necessary or inevitable. We also extend the literature on profit sharing. Extant literature examines firm-level attempts to maximize productivity and minimize dissent. We contribute by theorizing profit sharing’s fitness for redistributive objectives in the context of value chains. The implication of our findings is that, in some contexts, companies may be able to increase prices and improve income stability without requiring suppliers to compromise other economic priorities.

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: Elizabeth A. Bennett et al. | April 7 2021
: Exploring profit sharing as a potential mechanism for more equitable value distribution in global value chains.
Last updated on 04/07/2021
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“The Carr Center is building a bridge between ideas on human rights and the practice on the ground. Right now we are at a critical juncture. The pace of technological change and the rise of authoritarian governments are both examples of serious challenges to the flourishing of individual rights. It’s crucial that Harvard and the Kennedy School continue to be a major influence in keeping human rights ideals alive. The Carr Center is a focal point for this important task.”

 

- Mathias Risse