Cover Story

How Britain's Getting Public Policy Down to a Science

BY Jonathan Walters

Britain has a bold yet simple plan to do something few U.S. governments do: test the effectiveness of multiple policies before rolling them out. But are American lawmakers willing to listen to facts more than money or politics?


What the U.S. Can Learn from Brazil's Less-Than-Universal Preschool

In 2009, Brazil became one of only three countries to mandate early education. But it quickly found that universal preschool is a simple idea that’s difficult to implement. BY J.B. Wogan

Canada's Global Player in the Privacy Debate

Ontario Privacy Commissioner Ann Cavoukian’s ideas are the basis for what may be America’s next consumer privacy law. But her ideas have fierce critics. BY Liz Farmer

Chile’s Deceptively Simple Dementia Care Model

The United States may be a leader in the search for a cure, but it lags behind other countries when it comes to diagnosing and caring for people with dementia. BY Chris Kardish

Santander: The Smartest Smart City

The Spanish city is embedded with more than 12,000 sensors to help the government operate as efficiently as possible. It’s changing the way Europe thinks about cities. BY Tod Newcombe

PHOTOS: Desk Jobs around the World

A Dutch journalist attempted to capture the essence of civil servants through portraits of local government office workers worldwide. BY Tod Newcombe



Confronting China’s Skyrocketing Local Debt

Like the U.S., China will have to change how local officials think about public finance if it wants to stop its growing debt problems. BY Liz Farmer
Public Safety & Justice

Lessons in Gun Control from Australia and Brazil

A recent book outlines other countries’ approaches to gun control that have significantly reduced violence. Should states look to these places as a model for gun laws? BY J.B. Wogan
Health & Human Services

Switzerland Takes the Minimum Wage a Step Further

Should everyone have a guaranteed minimum income even if they don’t have a job? It’s a radical idea on the Swiss ballot that also has some support in the United States. BY J.B. Wogan and Veronika Zubo
Infrastructure & Environment

The World’s Unlikely Leader in Plastic Bag Bans

While still recovering from genocide, Rwanda implemented a national ban on plastic bags -- a feat that only one U.S. state has accomplished. BY Chris Kardish

Tallin, Estonia’s Bold Experiment with Free Public Transit

The Eastern European city found a way to offer free rides to citizens for a small cost to government. The U.S. has tried it before. Will cities try it again? BY Alan Ehrenhalt
Potomac Chronicle

How Big Cities Push Big New Ideas

As urban populations have grown, cities have become centers of innovation. BY Peter Harkness

How Did Mexico Pass a Soda Tax?

It's something more than 30 U.S. states and cities have tried and failed to do. BY David Levine
Health & Human Services

When it Comes to Organ Donation, the Message Matters

Nearly all Americans support organ donation, but only a third are registered donors. A study in the United Kingdom offers insight into what gets people to give up a part of themselves. BY Chris Kardish
Infrastructure & Environment

Israel's Solution to America's Droughts: Seawater

Thanks to desalination plants, Israel is no longer worried about its water supply. So why aren't there more desalination plants in the United States? BY Elizabeth Daigneau
Economic Engines

The Benefits of Being a 'Necessary City'

Cities aspiring to prominence on the global stage are overlooking a key economic development strategy. BY Aaron M. Renn
Urban Notebook

How Zambian Cities Are Like American Suburbs

While the two regions’ poverty problems are difficult to compare, both places have ignored the needs of their struggling populations -- until now. BY Christopher Swope



Map: Countries with the Most Government Debt

Our map shows general government gross debt as a percentage of GDP for all countries. BY Michael Maciag
Smart Management

International Students: More Than Just Dollar Signs to U.S. Universities

When students from abroad attend American universities, their ideas enrich us. BY Katherine Barrett and Richard Greene
Better Government

South Korea’s Street-Level Transparency

The country removes the anonymousness of government by publicly identifying the people responsible for particular projects on street signs. It’s an anti-corruption approach that has lots of possibilities for U.S. governments. BY Mark Funkhouser
Tech Talk

The United Arab Emirates: A Rising Star in E-Government

How the small Middle Eastern country jumped from 49th to 28th in online service delivery should have state and local CIOs in the United States paying close attention. BY Tod Newcombe
Public Money

Why Cities Can’t Go Bankrupt in Canada or Germany

There’s a lot America can learn from these two countries about how to avert municipal bankruptcies. BY Frank Shafroth
Infrastructure & Environment

One Building Divided Between Two Countries

The Haskell Free Library and Opera House was intentionally built straddling the border between Quebec and Vermont. BY David Kidd