RESEARCH

 

Algorithmic Interventions: The Power and Politics of Public Decision-Making Systems

 

Algorithmic interventions are a new and expanding avenue to influence social policy. Decision-making software is now being integrated within governing institutions ranging from the criminal justice system to social welfare programs. However, within any governing context, both the determinations about implementation and the software’s efficacy are dependent on many institutional and strategic constraints. In particular, I discuss three considerations when analyzing decision-making software used in government agencies or institutions: the intervention’s alignment, strength, and scope. The relative policy alignment of the algorithmic intervention focuses on whether an intervention seeks to strengthen a current policy or reform (or otherwise change) it. The strength of the algorithmic intervention refers to how binding the output is for the decision-making structure (i.e. requiring mandatory outcomes or providing a suggestion as a decision aid). Lastly, the scope of an algorithmic intervention refers to the number of points in the process that the algorithm impacts. In an apolitical world we might expect these considerations to be purely decided on bureaucratic optimization, but in the highly politicized and contentious arena of criminal justice or social welfare services, we can expect each of these decisions to be opportunities for strategic interactions between interested parties. This research explores these interactions and discusses how they might be considered when evaluating the implementation of such technology.

Dissertation 
Research
Doctoral Candidate
The University of Minnesota- Twin Cities
2012 - 2018 (expected)

Dissertation: “Algorithmic Interventions: The Politics and Governance of Public Decision-Making Software

Fields: International Relations, American Politics

Supporting Program: Science and Technology Policy

 

B.A. Political Science
The University of Nevada, Reno

2008 - 2012

 

Education
Technical Competencies

R

Python​

STATA

Machine Learning techniques

Awards and Accomplishments

National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow

 2014-2017

Clara Ueland Graduate Fellow, 2012-2013

Ronald E. McNair Post-baccalaureate Scholar

2011-2012

Nevada Women’s Fund Scholarship Recipient

2011

National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow

 2014-2017

Clara Ueland Graduate Fellow, 2012-2013

Ronald E. McNair Post-baccalaureate Scholar

2011-2012

Nevada Women’s Fund Scholarship Recipient

2011

Curriculum Vitae

Project Fellow, 2016-2017

University of Minnesota, The City of St. Paul, MN

 

This is an initiative between the University of Minnesota and the City of St. Paul, MN. I serve as a researcher and data analyst for several projects that focus on data-driven justice initiatives. 

 

Legal Research Aid, 2013-2014

University of Minnesota Law School

 

I worked on drafts of a petition to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights on the behalf of a child soldier previously detained at Guantanamo Bay.

University of Minnesota Law School

 

Research Assistant, 2013-2014

University of Minnesota-Twin Cities

 

I worked as a researcher and social media consultant for an online human rights initiative

 

 

Research Assistant, 2010-2012

University of Nevada, Reno

 

I assisted in a large-scale survey project focused on lobbying strategies in the California State Legislature

 

 

Related Experience
Teaching 
Experience
University of Minnesota
 
  • Cyber War & Foreign Policy, University of Minnesota, Guest Lecturer, Spring 2017

  • U.S. Foreign Policy, University of Minnesota, Teaching Assistant, Spring 2017

Volunteer Activities 
Boreas Leadership Program

Student Advisory Team

2016-Present​

 
Graduate Student Life Committee

Committee Member

2016- Present

Secondhand Hounds

Foster and Volunteer

 2014 – Present

League of Women Voters

Project Committee Member

2013

Big Brothers, Big Sisters

Mentor

2010-2012​

Obama for America

Intern

2007-2008

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© 2017 by Jenn Halen
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Contact

halen012@umn.edu​

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