Data and Modeling for Public Good


Capacity building for government and nonprofit use of data.  Modeling and data combining novel datasets and innovative methodologies for public value.



Data Analytics

Advancing Data Science for Charitable Organizations: Jesse Lecy is participating in a project with Carleton University to enhance the data capacity of Canada’s charities. The aim is to promote impact and innovation by providing data analytic tools and training to support key functions, including program evaluation and performance assessment, fundraising, volunteer and human resource management and general operations. The project establishes a partnership between key stakeholders in the charitable sector in Canada and leading academics from nonprofit studies and data science to create the Centre for Charitable Data Studies (CCDS). This Centre will enrich the data environment, enhance access to this data, create an open-source library of data science applications that help charities build evidence-based cultures, and further the diffusion of adaptive data practices.

Nonprofit Open Data Collective: The recent release of several large government datasets has created an opportunity to extend the frontiers of scholarship in the nonprofit sector through availability of vastly better data, with 4,000 variables for 3.5 million organizations covering many aspects of nonprofit management, human resources, mission, governance, political activity, and grant-making. The files were released in an unstructured format, however, with little documentation. A group of academics and industry leaders have formed the Nonprofit Open Data Collective, a group of data scientists and policy experts working to process raw data files, convert them into structured databases, create data dictionaries and other documentation, and release them as open data files for use in research and policymaking. The collaboration includes Jesse Lecy of Arizona State University and faculty from Syracuse University and Carleton University.

New Technologies and Big Data in Entrepreneurship: The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation will be hosting a workshop on New Technologies and Big Data in Entrepreneurship, though plans for April 2020 have been delayed. Yushim Kim has helped to organize the workshop, which will bring together prominent scholars from several disciplines, practitioners, and doctoral students who are exploring questions related to new technologies and big data in entrepreneurship and innovation. The goal of the workshop is to generate and identify new and ongoing research agendas that will be relevant to entrepreneurs and practitioners, including “next generation priority research questions.” 

Big Data Analytics and Social Simulation for Public Safety in Connected Society: Yushim Kim is involved in an international interdisciplinary research project at Hanyang University in South Korea. She has examined the way in which inter-organizational emergency response networks formed and evolved during the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome outbreak in Seoul in May-June 2015. In August 2018, the team was selected as the recipient of a ten million-dollar, five-year grant from the Korea National Science Foundation. She is collaborating with other members of the university's engineering school who are developing a tool that helps us mine text-based media data to construct emergency response networks.

Policy Evaluation and Causal Impacts

Picking 'Winners' in Space: Impact of Local Industrial Encouragement Policy on Firm Productivity in ChinaAnthony Howell examines the spatial patterns and the distributional impact of industrial encouragement polices (e.g. subsidies, tax holidays, and preferential access to loans) on firm productivity in China.  Descriptively, he shows that China’s industrial support policies tend to exhibit a prominent spatial feature of targeting firms located in lagging cities with lower density.  Counterfactual analysis reveals that pursuing an alternative, space-neutral industrial encouragement policy would increase average productivity by 14-16%, in aggregate, but also contribute to significantly higher regional inequality.

Impact of Social Policy on Micro-Enterprise Formation in Rural China: Anthony Howell is studying the impact of Dibao, China’s largest anti-poverty social protection program, on micro-enterprise formation in poor rural villages of China.  In line with credit constraints theory, he finds that cash transfers from the Dibao program increase the likelihood that a household transitions from agriculture to self-employment in the cottage industry. The size of the Dibao effect is larger for ethnic minority versus Han households, indicating that expanding Dibao coverage across villages may help to alleviate existing ethnic-based disparities in self-employment. 

Public Roads, Cost-sharing, and Rural Development During a Global Economic Crisis: Anthony Howell examines the impact of cost-sharing requirements on the provision of public transport infrastructure via a novel policy abandonment experiment in China. This policy temporarily eliminated the 25-35% cost-sharing burden normally imposed on locales for public infrastructure projects as part of the country's massive 2009-10 economic stimulus program (ESP). Howell finds that by eliminating the local cost-sharing requirements, the ESP credit promotes rural development in treated villages and increases villages own public spending on agricultural services and other transport projects. These findings suggest that suspending local matching requirements in times of economic crises is a cost-effective strategy to help build local resilience and speed-up economic recovery.


Kim, Y., Kim, J.H., Oh, S.S., Kim, S-W, Ku, M., & J. Cha. (2019). Community analysis of a crisis response network. Social Science Computer Review.

Kim, Y., Ku, M., & Oh, S.S. (2019). Public health emergency response coordination: Putting the plan into practice. Journal of Risk Research.

Kim, Y., Kim, J.H., Oh, S.S., Kim, S-W, & Ku, M. (2019). Subgroup analysis of an epidemic response network of organizations: 2015 MERS outbreak in Korea. Proceeding of 20th Annual International Conference on Digital Government Research (pp. 177-185). New York, NY: ACM. DOI:

Xu, R., Frank, K. A., Maroulis, S. J., & Rosenberg, J. M. (2019). konfound: Command to quantify robustness of causal inferences. The Stata Journal, 19(3), 523-550.

Maroulis, S., Santillano, R., Jabbar, H., & Harris, D. N. (2019). The push and pull of school performance: Evidence from student mobility in New Orleans. American Journal of Education, 125(3), 345-380.

Maroulis, S., Diermeier, D., & Nisar, M. A. (2020). Discovery, dissemination, and information diversity in networked groups. Social Networks, 61, 67-77.

Howell, A. (2019). Minimum wage impacts on Han-minority workers’ wage distribution and inequality in urban China. Journal of Urban Economics, Forthcoming. 

Howell, A. (2019). Heterogenous impacts of China’s economic and development zone program.
Journal of Regional Science, 59:797-818. 

Howell, A. (2019). Relatedness economies, absorptive capacity and economic catch-up:
Firm-level evidence from China. Industrial and Corporate Change, Forthcoming.

Howell, A. (2019). Industry relatedness, FDI liberalization and the Indigenous innovation process in China. Regional Studies, Forthcoming. 

Howell, A. (2019). Agglomeration, absorptive capacity and knowledge governance: Implications
for public-private firm innovation in China. Regional Studies, Forthcoming. 

Howell, A. (2019). Clustering effects on firm exporting with productivity-enhancing R&D in
China. The World Economy, 42:3168-3187. 



Wang, C., Kim, Y., & Oh, S.S. (2020). Epidemic response coordination networks in “living documents.” Presentation at 53th HICSS conference. January 7-10, 2020. Maui, Hawaii.



Yushim Kim and Chan Wang.  William Petak Award for best conference paper on emergency and crisis management accepted for the 2020 American Society for Public Administration.   “Planned, But Not Planned Effectively: Public Health Emergency Response in Korea,” on 2015 outbreak of the MERS coronavirus.

Chan Wang and Yushim Kim.  2nd place, ASU Graduate Poster Competition, Fall 2019.“Planned Actors Matter in a Crisis Response Network?”

Anthony Airdo.  Participation on 2nd place team, 2020 NASPAA student simulation competition at Pepperdine University site.


Visiting Fellow

Catalina Cifuentes, Ph.D. Student, Fall 2019