Dec 262015
 December 26, 2015

MSI-DHRCThe Kenan Institute for Ethics and MSI Integrity are co-hosting a one-day workshop, MSIs, Institutional Design, and Institutional Efficacy. The emergence of multi-stakeholder initiatives (MSIs) is intertwined with the history of global “governance gaps” and the story of state struggles to regulate corporate influence in an era of globalization using an institutional architecture built during an era of nation states and superpower competition. As notions of public and private (and, concomitantly, sovereign and non-sovereign) have become increasingly fluid, MSIs have become an ever-more influential regulatory tool. This workshop focuses on the institutional design of MSIs and explores two sets of questions: First, what institutional design features are emerging as typical for an MSI, what do they do, and to whose benefit? Second, what sort of standardization might be desirable, and what sort should be resisted?

Thursday, May 26th
Ahmadieh Family Conference Room (West Duke 101)

This event is by invitation only. For more information please email Suzanne Katzenstein.


Dec 182015
 December 18, 2015

Urban poverty

Bringing together a multidisciplinary group of scholars and development professionals, this conference aims to address the crucial challenges and opportunities facing poor households and neighborhoods in the developing world. Cities are centers of great economic dynamism. In the developing world, this has resulted in massive population shifts from rural to urban areas, and cities have become centers of huge inequalities in incomes, lifestyles, housing conditions and access to services. Glass-walled office towers stand side-by-side with squalid, tented slum settlements. Yet despite the rapid growth in the ranks of the urban poor, knowledge about their lifestyles, household investments, social mobility, political behavior, and the like – remains rudimentary.Conference papers to be read in advance can be found here. 

Adam Auerbach, Assistant Professor at the School of International Service, American University
Erica Field, Associate Professor of Economics and Global Health, Duke University
Patrick Heller, Professor of Sociology and International Studies, Brown University; director of the Graduate Program in Development at the Watson Institute
Anirudh Krishna, Professor of Public Policy and Political Science, Duke University
Noah Nathan, Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Government, Harvard University
Danielle Resnick, Research Fellow in the Development Strategies and Governance Division, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI)
Tariq Thachil, Assistant Professor of Political Science, Yale University
David Toole, Joint appointments in the Divinity School, the Kenan Institute for Ethics, and the Duke Global Health Institute
Ashutosh Varshney, Professor of International Studies and the Social Sciences, and Professor of Political Science, Brown University
Erik Wibbels, Professor of Political Science, Duke University

This event is open to the public, but seating is limited. If you plan to attend, please RSVP to event coordinator Marissa Rosen

For more information and times, see the conference’s website:

Wednesday, May 18 – Friday, May 20, 2016
Rhodes Conference Room (Sanford School of Public Policy, Room 223)


Dec 052015
 December 5, 2015

QuantitativeHRQuantitative analyses have become critical tools in human rights data analysis. They can estimate the magnitude and location and timing of violations, and they can measure the effect international efforts for mitigation. But few quantitative scientists study human rights issues. The purpose of this conference is to review what has been done at the intersection of rights and mathematical modeling, identify technical and political challenges, and develop plans for growing the cadre who work in this field.

This conference is hosted by the Duke Human Rights Center at the Kenan Institute for Ethics. Support for this conference comes in part from Center for Human Rights Science at Carnegie Mellon.

Thursday, May 5 – Friday, May 6
Ahamadieh Family Conference Room (101 West Duke)

General Information:

  • Guest participants are staying at the Durham Marriott City Center
  • For those staying at the Durham Marriott City Center, please help yourself to the buffet breakfast and charge to the room. Also, two Charlene’s Safe Ride Taxis will be outside the hotel at 8:40 am, to take you to the conference site each day.
  • You can call Charlene’s safe ride for ride back to hotel when conference is over: 919 744-4444

Thursday Schedule: 

 Mostly Issues Related to Conflict Mortality Estimation

8:40- Taxi Pick up from Marriott City Center  (please have buffet breakfast at the hotel and charge to room)

9:00-9:45- Kristian Lum, Adjusting expectations for the Fscore on imbalanced data: an application to model assessment for record-linkage

10:00-10:45- Patrick Ball, Deduplicating databases of deaths in war: advances in adaptive blocking, pairwise classification, and clustering

10:45-11:00- Coffee/Tea in hallway

11:00-11:45- Anshumali Shrivastava, Probabilistic Fingerprints for Scalable and Secure Record Linkage (Deduplication)


1:00-1:45- Rebecca Steorts, Understanding the Syrian Conflict: Not Just Another Enumeration

2:00-2:45- James Johndrow, A new approach to heterogeneous population estimation

2:45-3:00- Coffee/Tea in Hallway

3:00-3:45- Robin Kirk, Mapping Human Rights: using geographical data to map the human rights past

4:00-5:00- Panel Discussion (all presenters)

6:30- Dinner at the Piedmont Restaurant (walking distance from hotel)(reservation under David Banks name)

Friday, Schedule

 Other Topics

 8:40- Taxi Pick up from Marriott City Center (Please have buffet breakfast at hotel and charge to your room).

9:00-9:45- Jay Aronson, Developing a long-term, collaborative research agenda (and funding model) for statistics and human rights

10:00-10:45- Chris McNaboe

10:45-11:00- Coffee/Tea in hallway

11:00-11:4- Megan Price

12:00-1:00- Lunch

1:00-1:45- Robin Mejia, Case studies on data issues in human rights investigation

2:00-2:45- Duncan Thomas, Costs and benefits of following the hard to follow:  Evidence on following migrants and the displaced in longitudinal surveys

2:45-3:00- Coffee/Tea in  hallway

3:00-3:45- David Banks, Cost-Benefit Analysis of War

4:00-4:45- Daniel Manrique-Vallier, Multiple-Recapture Estimation of Casualties in Armed Conflicts Using Dirichlet Process Mixtures.

4:45-5:30- Panel Discussion (all presenters)

Thursday Abstracts

Kristian Lum
Adjusting expectations for the F1 score on imbalanced data: an application to model assessment for record-linkage
Imbalanced data — binary data in which one value predominates — is routinely encountered in many modern applications. When training a classifier on imbalanced data, it is common to create balanced training sets containing roughly equal numbers of positives and negatives. Performance is often assessed by computing the F1 score on an imbalanced validation set representative of the data at large. Motivated by an application to record linkage, we demonstrate mathematically and through numerical examples that the F1 score will always degrade as validation data become more imbalanced, even if the classifier has identical predictive performance on the training and validation data. In the described scenario a reduced F1 on the testing set may be interpreted by practitioners as model over-fitting, when in fact, it is a mathematical property of the metric. We then propose an alternative approach to measuring performance of binary classifiers for record-linkage, and apply this approach to link several datasets containing the names of people killed in Syria.

Patrick Ball
Deduplicating databases of deaths in war: advances in adaptive blocking, pairwise classification, and clustering
Violent inter-state and civil wars are documented with lists of the casualties. There are often several lists, with duplicate entries in each list and among the lists, requiring record linkage to dedeuplicate them. This talk will explore how we do record linkage, including an adaptive blocking approach; pairwise classification with string, date, and integer features and several classifiers; and clustering. Assessment metrics will be proposed for each stage, with real-world results from deduplicating more than 350,000 records of Syrian people killed since 2011.

Rebecca Steorts
Understanding the Syrian Conflict: Not Just Another Enumeration
While the Syrian conflict is extremely well documented, providing a reliable enumeration is challenging. Victims are often reported in multiple data sets and are missing vital identifiers while other victims are not reported at all. The key insight is that many victims are reported in multiple data sets. Thus, in order to find a reliable enumeration, record linkage (otherwise known as de-duplication or entity resolution) is used to merge multiple noisy data sets to remove duplicated information.
Record linkage itself is a multi-step process. The crucial first step involves a data reduction component-blocking that divides the space of records into similar partitions. On any moderately sized data set it is essential to avoid all-to-all record comparisons, thus emphasizing the use of computationally scalable blocking algorithms. Once blocked partitions have been established, any record linkage method can be applied within these partitions to remove the duplicated information victims. After the duplicated victims are removed by record linkage, an enumeration and a standard error of this enumeration can be computed. We present three methods for providing such an enumeration, assessing our results, and providing insights for future directions.
Joint work with Abbas Zaidi, Anshumali Shrivastava, Megan Price, Rebecca C. Steorts

James Johndrow
A new approach to heterogeneous population estimation
Abstract: Capture-recapture methods aim to estimate the size of a closed population on the basis of multiple incomplete enumerations of individuals. In many applications, the individual probability of being recorded is heterogeneous in the population. Previous studies have suggested that it is not possible to reliably estimate the total population size when capture heterogeneity exists. Here we approach population estimation in the presence of capture heterogeneity as a specialized nonparametric density estimation problem. We show mathematically that in this setting it is generally impossible to estimate the density on the entire real line in finite samples, and that estimators of the density will converge to the true density at a logarithmic rate or worse in the sample size.  As an alternative, we propose estimating the population of individuals with capture probability exceeding some threshold. We provide methods for selecting an appropriate threshold, and show that this approach results in estimators with substantially lower risk than estimators of the total population size, with correspondingly smaller uncertainty. The alternative paradigm is demonstrated in extensive simulation studies and an application to snowshoe hare multiple recapture data.

Anshumali Shrivastava
Probabilistic Fingerprints for Scalable and Secure Record Linkage (Deduplication)
The dramatic growth in data volumes has made conventional statistical methodologies near-infeasible, due to their prohibitive computational requirements. We are soon going towards an era where, for most applications, super-liner (in the size of data) runtime is practically infeasible. In this talk, I will introduce probabilistic hashing (or fingerprinting) techniques as a solution. The proposed techniques trade a small amount of certainty, which is insignificant for most practical purposes, with huge, often exponential gains in the computational complexity.  I will demonstrate a linear time algorithm for record linkage with results on a real deduplication task over Syrian Death Records. I will then show how to modify these fingerprints to restrict the information leakage leading to privacy preserving fingerprinting.

Friday Abstracts

Daniel Manrique-Vallier
Multiple-Recapture Estimation of Casualties in Armed Conflicts Using Dirichlet Process Mixtures
Beginning with the pioneering work of Patrick Ball in Guatemala in 1999, Multiple-Recapture (MR) techniques have become a popular tool for estimating total numbers of casualties in armed conflicts from multiple incomplete lists. A major challenge in these applications is to correctly account for individual heterogeneity of capture, and dependence between lists. Classic log-linear modeling is often a simple and reasonable approach. However, difficult problems such as model selection and low tolerance to sparsity when dealing with large numbers of lists, limit their broader applicability and often require ad-hoc solutions. In this talk I present a full Bayesian method, based on Dirichlet process mixtures. This method offers a principled way of accounting for complex patterns of heterogeneity of capture, obviating the need for a separate model selection process, and is computationally efficient. Additionally it has a high tolerance for sparsity. I illustrate it using historical data from conflicts in Kosovo and Colombia.

Robin Mejia
Case studies on data issues in human rights investigation
In this talk, I’ll discuss the importance of careful assessment of data sources used in quantitative human rights investigations. The talk will focus on two case studies: investigations into child abductions that occurred in El Salvador’s civil war and deaths in Syria. El Salvador suffered a brutal civil war between 1979 and 1992. Military abductions of children were a feature of the conflict, but the extend of the practice has not been quantified. I assess data provided by the Salvadoran NGO La Asociacion Pro Busqueda por Ninas y Ninos Desparecidos (Pro Busqueda), which investigates these cases, and present a characterization of known cases. I then explore issues that arise when attempting to parse the data into multiple lists (cases opened by parents and cases opened by children) for use in establishing a capture-recapture estimate of the total number of abductions. In addition, if time permits, I will present initial results characterizing datasets provided by Syrian observer organizations to the Human Rights Data Analysis Group for use in estimating the number of observed deaths and also the number of total deaths in that conflict. Several groups have provided HRDAG multiple snapshots of their datasets — for example, providing data in May 2013 and again in June 2014. We see that not only do updates include new incidents that have occurred since May 2013, but they also include revisions to the data from the beginning of the war.

David Banks
Cost-Benefit Analysis of War
Surprisingly little seems to have been written about the tradeoffs made when a country decides to go to war.  This talk looks at the four discretionary wars fought by the United States between 1950 and 2000.  The main goal is to find sensible methods, but some calculations are possible.

Nov 282015
 November 28, 2015

Professor Michael DworkinEnJustice will discuss the ways in which classical ‘justice-theorists’ can help resolve the ethical issues of developing and operating energy systems that meet the common statutory standard of being ‘just and reasonable.’ His comments will link both 1) concrete specific scenarios faced by energy regulators with 2) the differing advice that theorists such as Aristotle, Bentham, Mills and Rawls would give for how to resolve those specific decisions. The talk will draw on his recent book with Benjamin Sovacool, Global Energy Justice (Cambridge Univ Press 2014).

Dworkin is a Professor of Law at Vermont Law School since 2005 and has also been a litigator for the US EPA, a management partner in an engineering firm, and a utility regulator. He is the Direct of the Institute for Energy and the Environment at VLS, which is an international resource for energy law and policy. He serves on the board of Vermont Energy Investment Corp and Vermont Electric Power Company and has served on the boards of the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy and the Electric Power Research Institute (ACEEE).

Co-sponsored by the Duke Energy Initiative, the Duke Human Rights Center at the Kenan Institute for Ethics and the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions.

Thursday, April 28
3:30-5:00 pm
West Duke, 08C

To receive the handouts and parking instructions for this event, please Please RSVP to Kay Jowers,



Nov 262015
 November 26, 2015

Tools for Change-01Please join us at 6pm on April 26th for the opening reception of the Citizenship Lab’s PhotoVoice Exhibition.

As part of their year-long project, students involved in the “Citizenship Lab” Bass Connections team have worked with locally resettled refugees to create an exhibit the theme of community. Twelve resettled refugees will offer their interpretations of the meaning of community through photographs and statements they have created.

The Lab is one of three Bass Connections teams this year to receive support through the Silver Family Fund at KIE. Throughout the year, the team has partnered with Durham Public Schools and the Durham City Council on the development of a set of proposals to ease the transition of refugee youth into local schools.

Tuesday April 26 at 6pm
Keohane Kenan Gallery
West Duke Building
Parking on East Campus is free after 5pm.

Nov 252015
 November 25, 2015

Grad-Working-400Kenan Graduate Scholars and Kenan Graduate Affiliates of Rethinking Regulation are invited to the next meeting of the Graduate Student Working Group on April 25th. Please contact Mercy DeMenno, Program Coordinator for the Rethinking Regulation Graduate Student Working Group, with any questions.

Monday, April 25
Gross Hall 230C (West Campus)

Parking: Closest public parking to Gross Hall is in the Bryan Center Parking Garage, Bryan Center Visitor Lot, and Science Drive Visitor Lot.

Nov 242015
 November 24, 2015

20160424 Immerse MonologuesThe six Duke University students enrolled in KIE’s DukeImmerse: Uprooted/Rerouted semester-long program will perform dramatic readings of refugee life stories collected during their recent field work in Jordan and the surrounding region. During their month of research, the students conducted interviews with refugees, mostly Syrian. Come hear the human stories of refugees attempting to find asylum as told by our students.

Sunday, April 24, 6:00pm
Reception to follow
Nasher Museum of Art Auditorium (map here)

Co-sponsored by the Kenan Institute for Ethics and the Duke Office of Undergraduate Education


Nov 212015
 November 21, 2015

2016Reg-GraphicThe Rethinking Regulation Program at the Kenan Institute for Ethics at Duke University is hosting a two-day workshop on “US-EU Regulatory Cooperation:  TTIP and Beyond,” organized by RR Co-Directors Jonathan Wiener and Lori Bennear together with Lamb Fellow Andrea Renda, and Lamb Fellow PractitionerJohn Graham.

Program agenda schedule and speakers: here.

Posted below are papers from the event speakers:

Richard B. Stewart, “State Regulatory Capacity and Administrative Law and Governance Under Globalization”

Reeve T. Bull, Neysun A. Mahboubi, Richard B. Stewart, Jonathan B. Wiener, “New approaches to International Regulatory Cooperation: The Challenge of TTIP, TPP, and Mega-Regional Trade Agreements”

Reeve T. Bull, “Developing a Domestic Framework for International Regulatory Cooperation”

Jonathan B. Wiener, Alberto Alemanno, “The Future of International Regulatory Cooperation: TTIP as a Learning Process Toward Global Policy Laboratory”

Jonathan Wiener, Brendon Swedlow, James K. Hammitt, Michael D. Rogers and Peter H. Sand, “Better Ways to Study Regulatory Elephants”

Richard W. Parker, “Facilitating Regulatory Cooperation Between the United States and the European Union: A Case Study of Aviation Safety Regulation”
Presentation available here.

Richard W. Parker, “Four Challenges for TTIP Regulatory Cooperation”

Richard W. Parker, Alberto Alemanno, “A Comparative Overview of EU and US Legislative and Regulatory Systems: Implications for Domestic Governance & The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership”

Lawrence E. McCray, Kenneth A. Oye, Arthur C. Petersen, “Planned adaptation in risk regulation: An initial survey of US environmental, health, and safety regulation”

Hans-Georg Eichler, Kenneth A. Oye, LG Baird, et al, “Adaptive Licensing: Taking the next step in the evolution of drug approval”

Kenneth A. Oye, LG Baird, A Chia, et al, “Legal foundations of adaptive licensing”

Kenneth A. Oye, Mark Pearson, Hans-Georg Eichler, Theresa Mullin, and Anton Hoos, “Managing uncertainty in drug development and use: Enhancing adaptability and flexibility in pharmaceuticals regulation”



For more information, contact Bashar Alobaidi.

US-EU Regulatory Cooperation: TTIP and Beyond
Thursday, April 21-Friday, April 22
Ahmadieh Family Conference Room: West Duke 101 (East Campus)
Download speaker bios here.

Free parking for the event is available in the GA Drive Circle Lot both days.

Nov 202015
 November 20, 2015

MontiStoryTellingwebpostCome watch Duke University students and a professor along with a Durham community member tell their true stories live for an evening exploring the theme of race. The Monti is a non-profit organization that invites people to tell personal stories without the use of notes. It’s simple storytelling. Each month, The Monti holds events around the Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill area and as far away as Greensboro. The goal is to create an intimate, open, and fun atmosphere where people can relate their personal experiences to one another through narrative.

Abhi Shah, Duke Undergrad
Derwin Dubose, Managing partner of New Majority Community Labs
Emily Brockman, Duke Undergrad
Ray Barfield, Duke Associate Professor of Pediatrics (School of Medicine) and of Christian Philosophy (Divinity School)
Torang Asadi, Duke PhD student

This event is being produced by the Monti in partnership with The Kenan Institute for Ethics at Duke University.

Tickets are $10 for students and $15 for all others and may be purchased through the Monti website:

Wednesday, April 20, 2016
The Rickhouse, 609 Foster St, Durham

Nov 192015
 November 19, 2015

Please join the Kenan Institute for Ethics and the Duke University Middle East Studies Center (DUMESC) for a roundtable discussion with Amit Sen, the United Nations Refugee Agency’s Regional Protection Officer on Statelessness for the MENA region, to explore the new and unprecedented risks of statelessness, especially among refugee and internally-displaced children. While an array of non-State actors and parties to the conflict in Syria now perform functions which are “state responsibilities,” such as presiding over criminal law and family law matters, and issuing individuals with identity documentation, this ad hoc functioning of parallel systems raises an additional set of questions — including what shape Syria may take in the future, whether it is already operating as a de facto partitioned State, and how the international community can ethically and responsibly engage with this complex set of challenges. Mr. Sen has worked in Asia as well as the Middle East, and previously adjudicated asylum claims for the United Nations in Turkey.

Tuesday, April 19
6:30-8:00 pm
Room 240 of the John Hope Franklin Center (2204 Erwin Rd, Durham).

There is a free parking at the Duke clinic across Trent Dr from the Franklin Building (which should be available after 5:30pm) – Marshall L. Pickens Bldg, 2100 Erwin Rd, Durham, NC 27705.