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Research Completed by Fellows

As a requirement, fellows must submit a final report of the research they completed while abroad. Here is a sampling of final reports from recent fellows. 

Can Germany’s Mittelstand Companies Adapt to Digital Transformation?
Steffen Bartschat
, 2023 McCloy Fellow on Global Trends

Compared to US corporations, the Mittelstand has different challenges in running an effective innovation program. Family founder leadership is very effective in bringing new ideas to market, which is the key challenge for US corporate innovation programs. On the other hand, the Mittelstand is somewhat averse to outside ideas, especially those involving business partnerships or investments. The key current business challenges are a shortage of skilled workers, government bureaucracy, lack of risk capital, and the inertia associated with a thriving business.

Adapting to digital transformation did not seem to be a major concern for many Mittelstand leaders and it probably shouldn’t be – they are already running experiments on how to adapt to new markets and business models. Smaller Mittelstand companies lack the formal innovation programs of bigger corporations. Instead, the company CEO initiates their own solo innovation effort, many influenced by family traditions where each new generation of leaders feels compelled to reinvent their business to ensure sustained success.

German and U.S. Perspectives on AI Governance – Between Ethics and Innovation
Paula Cipierre, 2023 ACG McCloy Fellow on Global Trends

2023 was a pivotal year for Artificial Intelligence (AI). Dramatic improvements in large-language models, as epitomized by ChatGPT, have arguably led to an “AI revolution.” The promises attached to AI are enormous. At the same time, the pace of social and economic change leaves policymakers scrambling for how to leverage the opportunities of AI, while managing its risks.

Germany originally passed its National AI Strategy under former Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel in November 2018. The strategy aims to make Germany a leading hub in AI by investing in research and development and creating economic opportunities for small- and medium-sized companies (SMEs) and startups in particular. According to the German government, the stakes of AI governance are high: “This is about individual liberties, autonomy, personal rights, the individual’s freedom of choice. But also new markets for German companies, global competition, especially with the U.S. and China, and Germany’s future as an industrial location.” At a regulatory level, German policymakers, representing the German government’s position at the Council of the EU (Council), are currently negotiating the proposed EU AI Act (EU AIA), which aims to ensure that the providers and users of high-risk AI systems incorporate safety and ethics by design.

Mid-sized Economies in the Developed World
Chuck McShane, 2019 McCloy Fellow on Global Trends

The hyper-concentration of economic activity and population in urban areas captured academic and media attention in both the United States and Germany in the 2010s. More recently, though, shifting migration and work patterns accelerated by the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, have brought renewed attention to the potential of smaller economies. Mid-sized economies, in particular, have taken widely diverging economic and demographic trajectories. Through data analysis and interviews in five German mid-sized cities between 20,000 and 100,000 population, this report details strategies for economic development unique to these mid-sized areas. These include the leveraging of public anchor institutions, creative use of excess infrastructure, and promotion of heritage and natural amenity-related tourism.

After seven years of negotiations, it seems we will need another seven years for ratification
Dr. Lily McElwee
, 2022 DZ Bank Fellow on Transatlantic Business and Finance

The EU-China Comprehensive Agreement on Investment (CAI) proved short-lived. After seven years of negotiations, only five months passed between its in-principle agreement in December 2020 and the European Parliament voting to freeze ratification of the deal in May 2021. Despite its short tenure, the deal in many ways offers an ideal window into German debate on China in the post-Merkel period, as it would have deepened EU-China economic ties and, as this report shows, was not universally popular within Germany at the time – despite German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s leadership in pushing the deal through to conclusion, and suggestions by some European states that the CAI privileged the interests of Volkswagen and other German manufacturers. Drawing on semi-structured interviews and analysis of primary statements about the CAI among members of the German Bundestag (MdBs), civil society, and the business community, this report examines the landscape of reactions to the CAI within Germany.
In doing so, this report uncovers pressure points and key drivers at play as Germany dynamically seeks to reconcile its deep economic relationship with China with Beijing’s increasing tendency to act in ways that contravene European economic and political norms. Findings help distill guidelines for policymakers in Washington seeking to build transatlantic coordination vis-à-vis a changing China. The dynamics of the CAI suggest that while Germany is unlikely to mirror the U.S. in its approach to China in the near term, due to the enduring importance of the country’s economic relationship with China, the primary driver of German attitudes toward China is and will be the trajectory of a changing China. For these reasons, U.S. policymakers seeking to enhance goodwill and opportunities for joint efforts on China should increase formal and informal venues designed to regularly discuss goals with German and EU counterparts and share information on the ways in which Beijing’s behavior contravenes shared interests.

The global supply chain challenge
Laura Christen, 2022 Duisberg Fellow

In order to resolve the current vulnerabilities in global supply chains policymakers in the United States (US) and European Union (EU) are introducing initiatives and subsidy programs in an effort to partially restructure and near-/reshore supply chains. Method. Based on an empirical analysis of literature-based findings and categories derived from guideline-based expert interviews, this paper examines current challenges in global supply chains and how to resolve them on a policy and corporate level. In addition, as part of a case study challenges in the global semiconductor supply and value chain as well as two current legislative initiatives in the US and EU to tackle its existing vulnerabilities are analyzed: The US CHIPS and Science Act and the European Chips Act. Results. Among other things, global supply chains are particularly susceptible to disruptions due to a lack of diversification and a high level of geographic concentration of low value-added production and manufacturing in Southeast Asia and China. Policymakers need to incentivize supply chain diversification through near-/reshoring subsidy programs, invest in strategic stockpiling of critical goods/minerals to increase crisis preparedness and promote international collaboration with like-minded partners including in infrastructure and global manufacturing expansion, stockpiling and crisis monitoring and response. The same applies to the semiconductor industry. In general, the two Chips Acts set the right incentives and are expected to have a positive impact on supply chain resilience.

Why bank types still matter: Paycheck Protection Program lending during COVID-19
Michael Schwann
, 2022 DZ BANK Fellow

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected the U.S. economy in many different ways. A unique combination of business shutdowns, stay-at-home orders, disruptions in global trade, layoffs, and credit defaults presented a demand shock, a supply shock, and a financial shock at the same time. To counteract some of the detrimental effects, Congress passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), a $2.2 trillion spending bill that was signed into law by then-president Trump on March 20, 2020. Representing the largest economic stimulus package in U.S. history, the CARES Act triples in size the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) that followed the Global Financial Crisis and exceeds other more recent important legislation such as the 2021 American Rescue Plan Act ($1.9 trillion) or the INVEST in America Act 2021 (also known as the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill, $1.2 trillion).

In League with Rivals: Parliamentary Networks and Backroom Politics in Interwar Europe
James McSpadden
, 2022 Hunt Fellow

In considering interwar European politics, scholars often focus on the catastrophic crumbling of democracy and the rise of authoritarianism. The sheer number of monographs on the rise of Benito Mussolini and the advent of the Third Reich, for instance, far outstrip the number of books on the creation of robust interwar republics. Indeed, when one mentions Germany’s “Weimar Republic” in the context of politics, it is essentially synonymous with failure. After all, the Weimar Republic’s democracy was killed off and produced Adolf Hitler! However, making democracy’s demise the vanishing point in our narratives of interwar European politics distorts our understanding of everything that came before. Scholars reduce the interwar years to the railway tracks for European fascism, when this period was also a moment of democratic experimentation. The end of the First World War brought about a political revolution in which monarchies crumbled, new republics emerged from old empires, and universal suffrage was implemented for the first time in many countries. This upheaval reshaped Europe’s capitals, as women and working-class folks joined an older political and social elite. At the same time, the previous political systems that included unaccountable ministers, all-powerful bureaucrats, and decisions made behind palaces’ closed doors seemed consigned to the dustbin of history. Interwar Europeans looked to public decision-making and open diplomacy, and this expectation focused attention on elected parliamentarians—as representatives of the people—who would serve as ministers, diplomats, and strong checks on executive power. My work explores this unexpected parliamentary moment and the revolutionary changes that this period brought about in political culture and decision-making.

Data as a Liability: Cybersecurity Insurance and its Transatlantic Implications
by Varoon Bashyakarla, 2019 McCloy Fellow on Global Trends

Cybersecurity is an unavoidable challenge of the twenty-first century, and cyber incidents are on the rise in both the United States and Germany. A growing number of firms in both countries have started offering cyberinsurance policies to protect against the costs associated with leaks, breaches, and hacks. The evolution of cyber risk, the market response of cyber insurance, and the possibility of a cyber catastrophe bear structural resemblance to the evolution of financial risk, the development of the mortgage industry, and the 2008 financial crisis. As observed in the aftermath of the ensuing economic meltdown, a large-scale cyber disaster is likely to induce isolationist tendencies in the United States and Germany. However, given the shared set of cybersecurity challenges besetting both countries, Berlin and Washington have a unique opportunity to preserve their respective national security, diplomatic, and economic interests while strengthening the transatlantic bond in the process.

Under Fire: The Rise and Fall of Predictive Policing
by Sonja Peteranderl, 2018 Kellen Fellow

Data-driven forecasting and decision-making systems are already part of policing around the world – from rather basic scoring methods to more complex algorithms. Predictive policing has long been marketed as a magic bullet, and is supposed to make policing more efficient, objective and resource-saving. It equips officers with capabilities to zoom in on places that have been attributed a high probability to become future crime scenes (location-based predictive policing) or, to identify persons with a potentially high risk to become offenders, re-offenders or victims (person- based predictive policing) – or a combination of both approaches (Perry et al, 2013).

These predictive programs can have a massive impact on the lives of people or places declared criminal. Yet, the extent of existing programs is only gradually becoming transparent. The development of public policy frameworks, the scientific assessment and the discussion of related practical and ethical questions is still under way. Meanwhile, law enforcement agencies, companies and pilot projects have already created facts. Some of these systems have been in use since the early 2000s – despite concerns and criticism from security and technology experts, activists, scientists, or investigative journalists. Most recently, even police commissions have proved severe weaknesses. They raise concerns about the reliability of the systems and point out negative side effects that result from problematic implementation, the handling of the data and the impact of the programs. As a result, the cities of Los Angeles and Chicago had to discontinue their predictive policing programs that had previously been advertised as prestige projects (City of Chicago Office of Inspector General, 2020; Los Angeles Police Commission, 2019).

Social Media – A Tool to Empower Minorities in American Politics?
By Elia Panskus, 2019 Carl Duisberg Fellow

If we consider the fact, that more and more minorities without big financial resources and without a supporting influential network become part of the American power structure, like the congress. Moreover, if we consider the fact, that these minorities use social media instead. Does that mean, that social media is an instrument for candidates without influential networks and large amounts of money to increase their prominence and thereby ultimately leads to their election? Can social media be a tool to become successful a part the American power structures?

This scientific evaluation will follow this thesis and try to find answers. During this work, I spoke with experts in the fields of social media, American politics and campaigning. Some are quoted anonymously here and many findings of this work are based on statements by these experts. In addition to that, a lot of studies were evaluated to work out a serious base for this paper. To compare the answers, the base for the conversations was a consistent questionnaire.

Religion and Politics in Modern Germany: Insights from the Waning Migrant Crisis
By Ann Toews, 2018 McCloy Fellow on Global Trends

Many modern Germans—more than meet the eye—still embrace the faiths that underlaid the Holy Roman Empire and inspired Martin Luther. According to a May 2018 Pew Research Center study, “Being Christian in Western Europe,” nearly half of all Germans identify as Christian but do not actively practice the faith. Another 22 percent of Germans call themselves Christian and attend church regularly. Religiously unaffiliated Germans make up 24 percent of the population, and those belonging to another religion or declining to answer comprise just five percent.

I wanted to explore whether such widespread Christian identification, even in the cultural sense, impacts German society and national politics. When I posed this question in the fall of 2018, self-proclaimed Christians in Germany featured prominently in public debates on the extent to which asylum seekers should be welcomed to Germany and how they should fit in once admitted. For my McCloy Fellowship, I decided to examine German Catholic and Protestant responses to the waning European migrant crisis as a means of understanding these faith groups’ wider influence.

“Of Course the Fräulein is an Expert: Female Leadership and Expertise in Transatlantic Think Tinks”
By Carolin Wefer, 2018 McCloy Fellow on Global Trends

In the early 1960s, Dr. Helga Haftendorn, leading female expert on security policy, sat at the table with an exclusive study group, only to be asked by its chairman: “What is the Fräulein doing there?”[1] Once it had been established that Dr. Haftendorn was indeed an expert she was accepted to remain at the table – but only after initial confusion about a female presence among exclusively male ranks. Female representation in international relations continues to be a hot topic, including female representation in transatlantic think tanks[2] in Germany and the United States. Women are often sought after, in the sense of hard to find, and the historical and structural undercurrents of the field have made it difficult for women to rise to the very top in transatlantic relations. A natural assumption is missing that values and assumes the intellectual and leadership contributions of women just as we currently value and assume the contributions of men. Transatlantic think tanks are in a unique position as analytical institutions and path givers to drive change both within and outside their institutions to advance female leadership.

Constructive Transatlantic Trade Relations in Times of Economic Populism – From Industrial Policies to Bilateral Investments (August 2018)
By Dr. Efraim Chalamish, 2018 McCloy Fellow on Global Trends

U.S-Germany economic relations are at crossroads. Bilateral trade and investment flows have been rising for years and global supply chains are interconnected and global, but internal and external economic and political forces trigger economic nationalism and transatlantic tensions. As both countries negotiate their political and economic arrangements, understanding the unique characters of these economies, their challenges and opportunities, is critical for more constructive commercial relations. Moreover, U.S. and Germany have in fact a lot in common, and the focus should be on joint interests instead of the never-ending differences.  This report summarizes the research and meetings in Germany surrounding these issues. The author is very grateful for this wonderful educational and leadership opportunity.

Auto 232 puts Germany in US trade crosshairs
By Michael Cowden, 2018 McCloy Fellow on Global Trends

President Donald Trump’s Section 232 tariffs and quotas on imported steel and aluminum from the European Union show no signs of going away soon, according to trade policy and industry experts in Germany.

While Section 232 measures were welcomed by many US steel producers, fears are mounting outside the United States that they could also be applied to automobiles and auto parts.

Any such move would increase tension in relations with EU allies, interviewees in Germany said. Some also see a threat to the World Trade Organization (WTO) and consequently question whether the US is still a reliable trade partner.

Trump announced Section 232 tariffs – 25% in the case of steel from most countries – in March of last year. He subjected US allies, including the EU, to the tariffs in June.

The deep well of goodwill between the US and Germany, a keystone of the EU, was poisoned a little by the justification for Section 232: that exports from a long-time ally to US customers posed a national security threat to the US.

Feeding Germany: Food, Land, and the Social Question in Modern Germany, 1871-1923
By Carolyn Taratko, 2018 Hunt Fellowship

The 2018 Hunt Fellowship allowed me to conduct research in Germany that focuses on the development of the idea of food security between 1871 and 1923. My work examines how advances in scientific understanding in nutritional and agricultural sciences tracked alongside political and economic developments to imbue this concept with particular significance in modern Germany. I explore the cultural, social, and environmental dimensions of food and especially the discourse surrounding alimentary scarcity in late nineteenth- and early twentieth- century Germany. Through this research, I hoped to supplement the archival foundations of my project with new sources. In particular, this trip provided an opportunity to complete my research at the Bundesarchiv sites in Berlin and Koblenz and to consulting holdings at two new archives in Dresden and Hohenheim. These latter two sites allowed me to incorporate research beyond the purview of government and ministerial bodies, which have largely formed the focus of my research thus far. I was able to visit these archival sites across Germany and acquire new information to help me to flesh out the final chapters of my dissertation. This research was conducted within the framework of my dissertation, which explores how the concept of scarcity, and particularly anxieties related to food, evolved over the first decades of the twentieth century.

The Urban Mobility Challenge
By Bettina Oberhauser, 2017 McCloy Fellow on Global Trends

This analytic report will start in the future of urban mobility, 30 years from now. It will project the reader into a future that hopefully most of us will experience ourselves – and into a future that we can shape right now by taking the right decisions and action. It‘s our and our children‘s future cities that are at stake.

A comparison with past developments in urban mobility will be surprising. We think that we move always forward, but it seems that in urban mobility, under different circumstances, we make the same choices – and maybe the same mistakes – as decades before. How is that possible? Who are the players and what are the interests in urban mobility change processes?

The second part or the report will provide insights into the underlying forces that are shaping urban mobility and will probably continue to do so during the next three decades.

Protecting Families, Dividing States: The Struggle to Reform Family Law in East and West Germany, 1945–1976
By Dr. Alexandria Ruble, 2017 Hunt Fellowship

My book project, tentatively titled Protecting Families, Dividing States: The Struggle to Reform Family Law in East and West Germany, 1945–1976, demonstrates that gender and the family were battlegrounds of the Cold War between the postwar Germanys. Specifically, I explore the interplay of political, social, and economic factors that led, despite all resistance, to the reform of family law in East and West Germany in the 1950s and 1960s. After Nazi Germany’s defeat in 1945, Germans inherited the Civil Code, a relic of the nineteenth century that designated women as second-class citizens in marital rights, parental rights, and marital property schemes. After much struggle, legislators in both states replaced the old law with two new, competing versions—the 1957 Equal Rights Act in the West and the 1965 Family Code in the East—that expanded women’s rights in marriage and the family. I argue that the complex relationship of the divided Germanys in the early Cold War alternately catalyzed and halted efforts to reshape legal understandings of gender and the family after World War II.

The Feasibility of Blockchain for Supply Chain Operations and Trade Finance: An Industry Study
by Daniel P. Hellwig, 2018 DZ BANK Fellow on Transatlantic Business and Finance

Blockchain’s transformational potential has been heralded across all industries, with some particularly enthusiastic voices even comparing its emergence to that of the early internet protocols communication protocols. Over the past few years, we have witnessed several enterprises start their distributed ledger technology (DLT) journey with blockchain as the magic bullet for operational process efficiencies. However, companies have often jumped into early-stage proof of concept (POC) projects without a clear ROI goal or other KPIs defined. There have been no data-based quantifications of impact in terms of investment return or realized customer value, or large-scale feasibility studies focused on process efficiencies. Indeed, many companies continue to invest in their POC, there have been no reported realizations of efficiency claims or even lessons learned.

This paper presents a data-based perspective on the perceived feasibility of blockchain-based innovation and value creation for supply chain operations and trade finance. While expectations remain high across all regions and industries, none of the study participants indicated a financial or customer value benefit realization to date. While technical implementations were executed without major challenges, a key challenge has been the simultaneous adoption of solutions by different ecosystem stakeholders to drive actual value realization.