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The Humphrey School of Public Affairs is the University of
Minnesota's school of policy and planning.

Public and Nonprofit Leadership Center
The Freeman Center has sponsored a bi-weekly workshop on global economic and other policy issues since 1991.


Unless otherwise noted, sessions are held every other Tuesday from 12:45 to 2 p.m. in the Stassen Room (Room 170) of the Humphrey School of Public Affairs during the fall and spring semesters.

Next Workshop

The workshop series has ended for 2014-15 academic year. New sessions will resume in September 2015 fall semester.

Previous Workshop

Carrie Oelberger presentation videoFebruary 24, 2015, Carrie Oelberger, Humphrey School of Public Affairs, on "A Thousand Wildflowers or a Formal Garden? International Grantmaking and the Structuring of Transnational Civil Society." Civil society is often a favored approach for addressing social problems due to the assumption that it enables a greater diversity of response than government directed interventions, letting the proverbial “thousand flowers bloom.” However, it has been widely demonstrated that non-governmental organizations’ (NGOs’) reliance upon outside financial support renders them extremely resource dependent, with the grantee choices of funders wielding great power to shape the contours of civil society. Moreover, funders’ task environments, especially those working internationally, are replete with uncertainty, and research has demonstrated that organizations often mitigate uncertainty through relying upon signals from peers’ past partner selection choices. In this research, Professor Oelberger  examines the relationship between funder decisions and civil society internationally with unique access to the full population of over 31,000 grants from U.S.-based foundations to over 11,000 NGOs located in the developing world over a thirteen year period (2000 – 2012). She investigates to what extent grant choices nurture a wide diversity of NGOs, letting a thousand flowers bloom, and to what extent they provide resources to only a select few eye-catching organizations, creating instead a formal garden. Presentation slides: Wildflowers_Humphrey_Feb%202015

Recent Workshops

Prof. Deborah Levison presentation to Freeman WorkshopFebruary 10, 2015, Deborah Levison, Humphrey School of Public Affairs, speaking on: “Implications of Environmental Chores for Human Capital: Children’s Time Fetching Water and Firewood in Tanzania.”  Cross-sector collaboration is a goal of governments and project funders in low-income countries, yet many connections across sectors remain to be made. Professor Levison will argue that in many poor countries a connection exists between human capital accumulation – via children’s educational success – and environmental conditions. Using a case study in rural Tanzania, she and her colleagues consider whether children’s responsibilities for fetching water and firewood are a link between human capital and environmental conditions. Using quantitative and qualitative data, they explore which children are in school; which children participate in collecting water and firewood; and whether there are systematic relationships between these two behaviors. The evidence presented here suggests tensions between children’s engagement in environmental chores and educational success, especially for girls in relation to collecting firewood, and through the schools’ reliance on children to provide water.

Prof. Wm Black presentation at Humphrey School January 2015January 27, 2015, Professor William Black, University of Missouri -Kansas City, speaking  on: Why Financial Regulatory “Reform” Helped the Unprincipled Blow-Up the Global Economy.  How did we go from a situation in 1993 in which financial regulators were lauded for having defeated a raging epidemic of fraud at hundreds of savings and loans despite intense political resistance, to a situation in which the financial regulators became fraud enablers and deniers? How did this happen when finance and law and economics scholars assured us that financial markets were so efficient and honest that it wasn’t even necessary to have a rule against fraud? Bill Black contends that the “Achilles’ heel” of these theories was the implicit assumption that fraud by the people who control seemingly respectable banks (“control fraud”) could not occur. When the CEO is the crook, he can create a “Gresham’s” dynamic (bad ethics drives good ethics) that can make fraud common in an industry or profession. A series of public and private changes made the financial environment so criminogenic that it produced the three most destructive epidemics of financial fraud in history (appraisal fraud, liar’s loans, and secondary market frauds), hyper-inflated the residential real estate bubble, and drove the financial crisis.

Past Workshop videos and PowerPoint presentations:

View past workshops





The Freemans

Orville L. Freeman served as the 29th governor of Minnesota between January 5, 1955 to January 2, 1961. Read more...

Contact Freeman Center for International Economic Policy

Humphrey School of Public Affairs
University of Minnesota
301 19th Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN 55455