PON Names Five Graduate Fellows for 2001-2002

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Five advanced students have been named PON Graduate Fellows for the academic year 2001-2002. They will join the Program and participate in its activities while writing their doctoral dissertations during this period. Two of the new Fellows, Michèle Ferenz and Gregg Macey, are students in the Department of Urban Studies and Planning at MIT. Noam Wasserman is currently working on a PhD, and several other interesting projects, at the Harvard Business School. Avishalom Tor, an SJD candidate at HLS, will add the Fellowship to a lengthy list of activities and honors. Stephen Garcia joins the Program from the Psychology Department at Princeton University. PON faculty and staff look forward to working with this distinguished group. The diversity of their interests will broaden the interdisciplinary horizons of the Program for all its associates. A brief outline of each Fellow’s proposed research and contact information appears below.

Michèle Ferenz, PhD Candidate
Department of Urban Studies and Planning, MIT

The working title of Michèle’s dissertation is “Negotiating Sustainable Development: The Role and Rise of Global Civil Society”. She is studying the ongoing multi-stakeholder dialogue processes instituted by the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD) in order to (1) assess the effectiveness of this pioneering effort at democratizing global governance and (2) draw lessons for future efforts, within and beyond the UN system, aimed at promoting participatory decision-making regarding sustainable development. The CSD is mandated to promote the execution of Agenda 21, the program of action adopted at UNCED. Since 1998, multi-stakeholder dialogue segments are held as part of CSD’s official meetings. Their declared purpose is to inform the inter-governmental decision making process of the CSD by allowing equal-level and direct exchanges of views and experiences on problems and consideration of possible solutions between major groups and governments. The term “major groups” includes NGOs, local authorities, business & industry, farmers, trade unions, scientists, women, youth and indigenous peoples.

The study will tackle a number of questions that are crucial for public policy making generally, and consensus building theory more specifically, including:

— Interest representation (who speaks for whom in international negotiations?);

— Knowledge formation and integration in deliberations and negotiations (which information and experience is considered relevant? How is knowledge packaged and “translated” to be fit for consumption in the diplomatic arena?);

— Resource mobilization and capacity building (does the “global community” have reasons — instrumental or ethical — for giving voice to the voiceless in global deliberations? If so, how should it proceed?);

— The evolution of institutions (how do international organizations accommodate or resist demands for change in structure and substantive focus in response to new global challenges?).

Stephen Garcia, PhD candidate
Department of Psychology
Princeton University

Steve’s research focuses on group conflict resolution. His dissertation examines group preference disputes and uncovers an aversion to winner-take-all solutions (e.g., coin toss, arbiter) for disputes that involve groups from different social categories (inter-category disputes), as opposed to groups from the same social category (intra-category disputes). Inter-category preference disputes, for instance, may involve two different companies or two different ethnic groups, whereas intra-category disputes involve two groups within a single company or ethnic group. The central hypothesis predicts that parties will be less receptive to winner-take-all solutions in inter-category disputes relative to intra-category ones. The proposed mechanism for this effect is the concern for saving “group face,” which occurs more strongly in inter-category disputes where preferences correlate with social category membership. In these cases, the disputes become less about a simple preference and more about which group wins and which loses. Intra-group preference disputes, on the other hand, are conflicts over a simple preference. In these cases, regardless of winner or loser, the shared social category always benefits and so the concern for group face becomes less of an issue.

Gregg Macey, PhD Candidate
Department of Urban Studies and Planning, MIT

Gregg is interested in the relational structure of environmental justice dispute resolution processes and their impacts on the problem-solving and power-balancing activities undertaken by community organizations. His dissertation research focuses on the implementation of agreements reached within one such process, the community-corporate compact (“good neighbor agreement”). Using comparative case study and network analysis methods, he will seek to advance the theoretical understanding of the implementation of negotiated agreements from the standpoint of contractual parameters, organizational capacity, social networks, and broader decision-making and regulatory environments.

Avishalom Tor, SJD Candidate
Harvard Law School

In addition to being a doctoral student at Harvard Law School, Avishalom Tor is Adjunct Professor of Law at Boston University School of Law, a research associate at Harvard Business School, and a Resident Pre-Law Tutor at Leverett House, Harvard University. He graduated in 1996 from an honors joint-degree program in law and psychology (magna cum laude) at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, where he was a member of the Hebrew University Law Review, and afterwards practiced at a leading Israeli firm. At Harvard Law School, from which he received an LLM, Avishalom has been a Fulbright Fellow (1997-1999), an Olin Fellow (1998-1999), and a Byse Fellow (1999-2000), before he was awarded the PON Graduate Fellowship. He has also been the recipient of a Russell Sage Foundation fellowship to the Summer Institute in Behavioral Economics, University of California – Berkeley (2000).

In his research, Avishalom applies the study of psychology of human judgment and decision making to the legal regulation of economic behavior. Specially, his legal interests include antitrust, corporate, and contract law, while his experimental work encompasses various theoretical and applied studies of judgment and choice.

Noam Wasserman
PhD Candidate
Harvard Business School

Noam Wasserman is a student in the Organizational Behavior program (Sociology and Microeconomics tracks) at Harvard Business School. His research interests include power dynamics and incentive issues in Internet firms, CEO leadership, and venture capital. Before beginning the PhD program, Noam completed his MBA at HBS, graduating in June 1999 with High Distinction (Baker Scholar). While working on his MBA, Noam did an internship in the venture capital industry at Ascent Venture Partners. His other work experience includes five years at American Management Systems, a management consulting and system integration firm, where he was a Principal and Practice Manager. He founded AMS’s Groupware Practice in 1994, and built it to 19 people before leaving to return to school. Noam did his undergraduate work in the University of Pennsylvania’s dual-degree Management and Technology program, graduating with a BSE (magna cum laude) in Computer Science and Engineering, and a BSEcon (magna cum laude) in Corporate Finance and Strategic Management from Penn’s Wharton School of Business. He currently lives in Brookline with his wife and five children.

Over the next year, Noam will continue to develop three research projects. The first project is an examination of entrepreneurship from the perspective of the “negotiator’s dilemma”: how do company founders strike a balance between creating a lot of value in their companies while attempting to claim much of that value for themselves? In particular, this research examines how Founder-CEO succession and the percentage of equity retained by founders affect company valuations in 200 private Internet firms. In a second project, Noam is examining the process by which venture capitalists build their own venture firms (i.e., attract other VCs to work with them, negotiate with their own limited-partner investors, and build the image and reputations of their own VC firms). The final project is a continuation of his research with Nitin Nohria of H.B.S., on how the contexts in which CEOs are able to have a powerful influence on their companies’ performance differ from the contexts in which CEOs have little impact on company performance.

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