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Kahan, J.P.

Kahan, J.P.

Jim Kahan, born in New York City, New York, USA, in 1942. Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Senior Scientist at RAND Corporation, Santa Monica.

Fellow (1 September 1994 – 30 June 1995)

In my second NIAS fellowship year, I took the opportunity to pursue paradoxicality in its many guises, a topic that first got my attention during my first NIAS year in 1977/78, but which I had not been able to dedicate much time to in the intervening period. Paradoxicality is at the heart of the concept of the social dilemma, which concept formed the core of the theme group to which I belonged this year. Much of my thinking centered around some very diverse real-life applications of seeming paradoxicality that are productive in nature, as opposed to the more typical consideration of the negative consequences of social dilemmas. This thinking resulted in a number of journal articles that appear to have no connection unless one is reminded of my central interest. Thus, I wrote papers on the use of Zen concepts in teaching international folk dancing, how a game based on an imaginary city can help busy public officials to better solve the problems of their own cities, and cultural differences that explicate the differences between American and Dutch driving rules and customs.

In addition to this professionally divergent but intellectually central tack, I continued my more mainstream thinking about how scientifically-grounded investigations can assist in the formulation of improved public policy. I worked with the Social Dilemmas theme group on a project regarding the policies for the Dutch companies that supply drinking water, as well as completing previously-begun work on the better delivery of health services and the use of social science methodologies in policy analysis.