Skip to content

Malcolm Sparrow

Professor of the Practice of Public Management

Harvard University

John F. Kennedy School of Government

Faculty: Expert contributors

79 JFK Street, Cambridge, MA 02138, United States

Close up image of Malcolm Sparrow

Missing or inaccurate information?

Directory update request

Areas of Expertise

Regulatory Strategy
Law-Enforcement
Risk-Control
Fraud Control
Corruption Control
Performance-Measurement in Risk-Control Settings
Analytic Support for Risk-Management

Malcolm K. Sparrow is a leading international expert in regulatory and enforcement strategy, security and risk control. He is the Professor of the Practice of Public Management at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, and Faculty Chair of the Executive Program on Strategic Management of Regulatory and Enforcement Agencies.

He is the author of nine books, including the recently released Fundamentals of Regulatory Design (2020), and the widely acclaimed The Regulatory Craft: Controlling Risks, Solving Problems and Managing Compliance (2000), and The Character of Harms: Operational Challenges in Control (2008). A mathematician by training, he joined the British Police Service in 1977, serving for ten years and rising to the rank of Detective Chief Inspector. At that rank, he headed the Kent County Constabulary Fraud Squad. He has also conducted internal affairs investigations, commanded a tactical firearms unit, and had extensive experience of criminal investigation and general police management. In 1988, he left the police to take up a faculty appointment at Harvard University.

Prof Sparrow’s research interests relate to the risk-control functions of government, and to the special managerial challenges which relate to the roles of social regulation, compliance management, law enforcement, and security. He holds a M.A. in Mathematics from Cambridge University (England); a M.P.A. from the Kennedy School of Government; and a Ph.D. in Applied Mathematics from the University of Kent at Canterbury (England). He is also a patent holding inventor in the area of automated fingerprint identification systems [AFIS].

ANZSOG programs

Prof Sparrow is a Fellow of ANZSOG and teaches in the following ANZSOG courses/workshops:

Managing regulation, enforcement and compliance (Perth)
Managing regulation, enforcement and compliance (Brisbane)
Managing regulation, enforcement and compliance (Melbourne)
The modern regulator (Melbourne)
The modern regulator (Sydney)

Selected publications

Sparrow, M.K. (2018) Problem-oriented policing: matching the science to the art, Crime Science (2018) 7:14.
Sparrow, M.K. (2016) Handcuffed: What Holds Policing Back, and the Keys to Reform, Brookings Institution Press, Washington D.C., 2016.
Sparrow, M. (2014) Managing the Boundary Between Public and Private Policing. New Perspectives in Policing series, National Institute of Justice, Washington D.C. & The Program in Criminal Justice Policy & Management, Harvard Kennedy School, Cambridge, Massachusetts, September.
Sparrow, M. (2014) Governing science. Australasian Policing, 6(2): 24-35.
Sparrow, M. (2012) Unravelling a Risk-Management Challenge. In J. D. Donahue & M. H. Moore (eds.), Ports in a Storm: Public Management in a Turbulent World. Washington DC: Brookings Institution Press, chapter 3, p. 25-54.
Sparrow, M. (2012) Crime Reduction through a Regulatory Approach: Joining the Regulatory Fold. Criminology & Public Policy, 11(2): 345-359.
Sparrow, M.K. (2008) The Character of Harms: Operational Challenges in Control, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, England & New York, USA, 2008.
Sparrow, M.K. (2000) License to Steal: How Fraud Bleeds America’s Health Care System (2nd edition), Westview Press, Denver, Colorado & Oxford, England, 2000.
Sparrow, M.K. (2000) The Regulatory Craft: Controlling Risks, Solving Problems, and Managing Compliance, Brookings Institution Press, Washington D.C., 2000.