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Financial Times

Writing for the Financial Times, Andrew McAfee, a principal research scientist and co-founder of the MIT Initiative on the Digital Economy, examines how new proposals in the EU to regulate AI could hinder innovation. “Restricting the field of potential innovators to those who can afford high upfront costs is a bad idea,” writes McAfee. “It leads to slower progress and growth and fewer hometown success stories, which are also risks.”

The Wall Street Journal

A new paper co-authored by Prof. James Poterba finds that not all projects to enhance infrastructure are worth investing in, reports David Harrison for The Wall Street Journal. “If we are going to commit a significant amount of resources to new infrastructure projects or to maintain our existing infrastructure, bringing some discipline to the way we decide what we’re spending on is an important element of this,” says Poterba.

Issues in Science and Technology

Writing for Issues in Science and Technology, President L. Rafael Reif examines Vannevar Bush’s groundbreaking 1945 Science, the Endless Frontier report and considers how our needs today have changed. “To meet this moment, we need to ensure that our federally sponsored research addresses questions that will enhance our competitiveness now and in the future,” writes Reif. “Our current system has many strengths…but we must not allow these historical advantages to blind us to gaps that could become fatal weaknesses.”

Marketplace

President L. Rafael Reif speaks with Sabri Ben-Achour of Marketplace about the importance of the Senate passing a new bill that invests in research and development. “We are in a science and technology race for the future,” says Reif. “It is with science and technology that we address things like Covid and the biggest challenges the world has; the health of our economy, our security. That is key to all of the above.”

New York Times

Prof. Jonathan Gruber speaks with New York Times reporter David Leonhardt about the importance of the U.S. Senate passing a new bill that will increase funding for research and development, and establish a program aimed at making American innovation more geographically diverse. “We are too big a nation to have all of our innovation concentrated on the coasts,” Gruber said.

The Hill

Prof. Ronald Prinn writes for The Hill about the urgent need for countries to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to help reduce global temperature increases. Lowering “transition risks toward net-zero-emissions economies will involve integration of both physical and transitional components, a process that requires new and improved models and frameworks,” writes Prinn. “The goal is to empower decision-makers in government and industry to lower the transition risks as an integral companion to mitigation strategies.”

New York Times

A new study co-authored by Professor Scott Stern finds that stimulus measures enacted during the pandemic may have contributed to a surge in start-ups in America, particularly in Black neighborhoods, reports Quoctrung Bui for The New York Times. “The idea that the pandemic has kind of restarted America’s start-up engine is a real thing,” says Stern. “Sometimes you need to turn off the car in order to turn it back on.”

New York Times

Writing for The New York Times, Prof. Amy Finkelstein makes the case that cash transfers can do more to help the poor than expanding health insurance. “Cash helps recipients directly, while health insurance would pay mainly for care that many uninsured people were already receiving at low or no cost,” writes Finkelstein.

GBH

Prof. Evan Lieberman speaks with Craig LeMoult of GBH about his new study, which finds there are mixed reactions when people are informed of the racial disparities in Covid-19 outcomes in the U.S. “We are so interconnected as a society - economically, socially, politically,” says Lieberman, “and [it’s important] to remind everyone that we are all potential vectors for this epidemic so it really behooves all of us to cooperate and to be able to end this pandemic as soon as possible.”

The Tech

MIT has announced a new climate action plan aimed at helping the Institute tackle climate change, reports Kristina Chen for The Tech. The plan offers increased opportunities for student involvement and a new organizational structure. Maria Zuber, MIT’s vice president for research, explains that MIT feels “that it’s our responsibility and duty to try to make a genuine difference, and to do that, we’re going to need the help of everyone in the community.” 

The Boston Globe

Writing for The Boston Globe, President L. Rafael Reif emphasizes the importance of finding affordable, equitable ways to bring the global economy to net-zero carbon by 2050. “If individuals and institutions in every part of the economy and society tackle the pieces of the problem within their reach and collaborate with each other,” writes Reif, “we have a real shot — an Earthshot — at preserving a habitable world.”

National Public Radio (NPR)

Prof. Evan Lieberman speaks with NPR’s Michael Martin about how the pandemic’s racial disparities have affected people’s public policy views. “I think it's important for us to keep reminding one another how interconnected we are, how our shared fate exists together depending on the actions we take and don't take, and perhaps that we have a common purpose beyond, you know, national borders and obligations towards one another,” says Lieberman.

Bloomberg

Bloomberg reporter Benjamin Bain writes that Prof. Gary Gensler has been confirmed as the new head of the Securities and Exchange Commission. Bain writes that Gensler is “poised to confront everything from the fallout of the GameStop Corp. trading frenzy to the deluge of special purpose acquisition companies and the collapse of Archegos Capital Management.”

Associated Press

Prof. Gary Gensler has been approved to lead the Securities and Exchange Commission, reports Marcy Gordon for the AP. The appointment signals “an emphasis on investor protection for the Wall Street watchdog agency after a deregulatory stretch during the Trump administration,” writes Gordon.

The Interchange

On The Interchange podcast, Prof. Jessika Trancik discusses her research exploring the cost declines in lithium-ion batteries and what it will take to reach mass-market adoption of electric vehicles.