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Click here to access the PBRC's "The First Ten Years: 1991 - 2001"

2010-2013: The Evolution of Development Theory and Practice
This project will tell the story of how the views and actions of development experts and practitioners have evolved over the past 65 years, critically assess these changes, project the likely future evolution of development thinking and practice, and point to the remaining challenges and the avenues for addressing them. In the process, it hopes contribute to broader public understanding and consensus around the aims and purposes of U.S. foreign aid and assistance, a more “broadly shared understanding,” as one old development hand put it over half a century ago, “of the what, why, and how of aid.” It is not simply that the American people question these aims, and have been for as long as the life of the Republic. (Washington himself, our first president, departed office warning against “entangling foreign alliances.”) Our political biases have never had the benefit of a clear awareness of the historical record, of what has been actually said and done and written by development practitioners as well as by the intellectuals and bureaucrats who guide them, support them, and sometimes use them for their own expedient ends.

2009-2012: Economic Development Strategies and Inter-Group Conflict
Though many scholars and practitioners recognize that development and conflict are intertwined, there is much less understanding (or at least consensus) about the mechanism behind these linkages. In many cases, the causes of violence can be traced to social and economic conditions that produce frustration and humiliation among disadvantaged social groups. The question, which thus far has stayed outside of research focus, is how to identify strategies of development to reinforce the peaceful coexistence of different elements of the population and to encourage their cooperation.

A global conflict syndrome – the sum of factors that work in parallel to undermine the stability of the international system and erode the foundations of human security – requires rigorous analysis of multiple linkages between development patterns and conflicts as well as innovative ideas of how to effectively incorporate conflict prevention into development interventions. Policy interventions based on erroneous theoretical assumptions or inconclusive empirical basis are known to have brought unanticipated negative results. Greater understanding of the links between economic development patterns and predispositions to avoid or engage in such conflicts would be very valuable to policymakers, policy advocates, and officials of agencies providing bilateral and multilateral assistance.

2008-2010: Physical Infrastructure Development
In an effort to address the key challenges of balancing economic growth, poverty alleviation, and environmental protection in the development of major physical infrastructure, ranging from transport to energy, the PBRC in 2010 published, in cooperation with Palgrave Macmillan, William Ascher and Corinne Krupp, eds. Physical Infrastructure Development: Balancing the Growth, Equity, and Environmental Imperatives. Contributions to this volume reflected the perspectives of economics, engineering, planning, political science, and urban design on the impact of alternative financing and pricing arrangements, and the opportunities and risks of public-private partnerships. They also assess emerging approaches for restoring ecosystems degraded by past infrastructure development, and strategies for promoting farsighted infrastructure planning and protecting vulnerable people impacted by physical infrastructure expansion.

2008-2010: Change and Persistence in an Era of Globalization
With this project, culminating in William Ascher and John M. Heffron, eds. Cultural Change and Persistence: New Perspectives on Development (Palgrave Macmillan, 2010), PBRC examines how cultural groups and organizations in societies influenced by globalization respond to opportunities and pressures for cultural change. It addresses how these societies create new social values that allow individuals and groups to function effectively in an increasingly interdependent, international society, while protecting valued cultural traditions that give meaning to peoples’ lives. Various case studies explore the sources of cultural tensions arising from internationalization and “modernization” of societies in Asian and Latin American countries bordering the Pacific Basin, including:

  • assessment of opportunities for cultural advancement offered by globalization;
  • examination of ways in which groups and organizations value and/or assert control over cultural traditions in a changing world;
  • demonstration and empirical measurement of processes of cultural transition;
  • examination of how cultural and social institutions are reshaped to accommodate change;
  • illustration of tensions between local and global forces of change and persistence, identifying who or what determines change.

2007-2009: Leadership for Development in a Globalizing Society
This research project on “leadership for development” explores how individuals and organizations in the Pacific Basin exercise effective leadership on economic, social and political issues of global or regional concern within and across national borders. It asks how global interdependence among organizations in Pacific Basin nations affects approaches to and practices of leadership that influence decisions on important development issues. Culminating in the publication of Dennis A. Rondinelli and John M. Heffron, eds. Leadership for Development: What Globalization Demands of Leaders Fighting For Change (Kumarian Press, 2009), the project focuses on differences and similarities in leadership styles, approaches, concepts and methods across Pacific Basin cultures and societies and on how individuals and organizations influence development decisions.

2005-2007: Globalization in Transition
Beginning 2004/2005, PBRC set out to re-examine concepts and approaches to human development in its social, economic, political, and cultural dimensions, examining ways in which changes in development policy can lead both in principle and in fact to a more peaceful society. Invited contributors explore the types of changes that have occurred in Asia as a result of development policies seeking to adjust to and capture the benefits of globalization, how adjustments were initiated and nurtured, and how changing development policies were implemented.

This project explores the historic interplay of domestic and international political and economic forces in the region, asking whether and how mutually interactive forces, in a period of transition, are serving to alter the pace and characteristics of globalization in the Asian Pacific Rim and in the rest of the world.  It seeks to understand how and why governments, social organizations, and private enterprises in Asian countries have attempted to respond to globalization. The results of this investigation appear in Dennis A. Rondinelli and John M. Heffron, Globalization and Change in Asia (Lynne Rienner, 2007)