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Dr. Petrovsky Reports from Afield

This year, Dr. Petrovsky, one of the Martin School’s professors, is spending his sabbatical in Hong Kong! When he isn’t enjoying delicious roast duck, he’s learning from the students and professors at the City University of Hong Kong.

“Basically, I'm an apprentice/participant observer in the Laboratory for Public Management and Policy here at City University of Hong Kong, so I can learn the practicalities of designing and running experiments about public management questions,” he says. This fall, for instance, they’re doing an experiment on campus to better understand how to incentivize recycling for academic departments. They aren’t just working on local projects, though. The Lab is also working with a student to create an app that queries poll recipients about their public service experiences. The cool thing about this new app is that it “could obtain the location of the participants and so it might be possible to get a better understanding of whether people react in the same way depending on whether they are currently using a service (e.g. public transportation) or not.”

Dr. Petrovsky is also soaking up the political and policy landscape of both China and Hong Kong through a seminar and meeting new people. The relationship between mainland China and the self-governing city is at odds at times; many people, and especially many younger people, worry about the future status of the city. However, Hong Kong also has its share of public policy problems. The young graduate students Dr. Petrovsky has met are concerned about their professional prospects and how to find affordable housing. “So, there is the fantastic city that created so much wealth and has offered so much opportunity to people and has such well-working public services, but now it faces serious trouble.”

It’s clear Dr. Petrovsky is not only enjoying his sabbatical, but will also bring back important skills that will enhance his research. We look forward to having him back at the Martin School!