Skip to:

FSI Inititatives

FSI Leadership in University Initiatives


FSI is strengthening its network of affiliates to offer several initiatives that link the Institute’s policy-oriented research agenda with the work of Stanford experts across the University. FSI director Tino Cuéllar has formed relationships with faculty engaged in international work throughout Stanford schools, departments and institutes to broaden the impact of research, teaching and outreach.

The Global Development and Poverty Initiative (GDP)

The persistence of poverty around the world remains an acute challenge, raising profound practical, ethical and policy questions. The GDP is a University-wide initiative to transform Stanford’s capacity for research and action that improves the lives of the poor.  Administered jointly by FSI and the Graduate School of Business, the GDP complements and broadens SEED’s mission by focusing on problems that affect conditions for entrepreneurship and innovation in developing countries: governance and the rule of law, education, public health, security, and access to public goods and services.

Jesper B. Sørensen, director of SEED, and Mariano-Florentino Cuéllar, director of FSI, co-chair a University-appointed faculty council that solicits, evaluates and funds research proposals aimed at building institutional capacity and stimulating new lines of research. The initiative will offer large, multi-year capacity-building awards together with small seed grants for jump-starting research. Successful proposals will demonstrate commitment to addressing issues of global poverty thatlead to practical and sustainable improvements in the lives of the poor.


With a common border extending 2,000 miles and bilateral trade of more than $300 billion per year, the U.S.-Mexico relationship is among the most important and complex bilateral relationships in the world. Led by Alberto Diaz-Cayeros, the Mexico initiative was launched to strengthen Stanford’s research, education and outreach on this important region. The key aims of the initiative are to create an organizational framework and grow resource capacity to build a robust and relevant academic program on Mexico. Some highlights of research underway include:

•        Economic costs of crime and violence in Mexico (Beatriz Magaloni)

•        Youth retraining in Zapopan (Beatriz Magaloni)

•        Police reform and rebuilding the social fabric in places of violence (Beatriz Magaloni)

•        Indigenous governance, and distribution of public goods (Beatriz Magaloni, Alberto Diaz Cayeros)

•        Electoral Geography (Beatriz Magaloni, Alberto Diaz-Cayeros)

•        Atlas of governance of health (Alberto Diaz-Cayeros)

•        Innovation in Tijuana (Alberto Diaz-Cayeros)

•        Migration (Tino Cuéllar)

•        State capacity and public service (Fred Finan)

•        Oil and governance (Mark Thurber)

•        Urban poverty, mental illness and drug addiction in Mexico City (Angela Garcia)


International Education

Although poor-quality education exists at all levels, improving primary education access and quality in developing countries is a prerequisite for building a human resource base that meets the technological demands of the 21st century economy. FSI is collaborating with the Graduate School of Education to study educational disparities and policy options for improving the effectiveness and availability of schooling worldwide. FSI senior fellow Scott Rozelle and Professor of Education Francisco Ramirez are leading a broad initiative on international education. The initiative showcases new research suggesting that improvements targeted at the primary level are key to boosting educational achievement in developing countries. 

Quarterly international education seminars explore the role of international aid in shaping policies and priorities for educational development and how efficacious and cost-efficient approaches, including curriculum development, better preparation of teachers and equitable access to instructional resources can lead to better educational outcomes

Working Groups on Health Policy Challenges

Human health is a core measure of a society’s well-being.  FSI’s expanding health policy agenda combines the work of medical scientists and clinicians whose mission is to search for the causes and cures of disease, and the work of social scientists who seek to understand how societies perform in providing essential services — like health care — to their citizens.  Leveraging their joint faculty in the Center for Health Policy, FSI and the School of Medicine are teaming up to create new opportunities for research, education and outreach on the Stanford campus and beyond.  Faculty are creating new working groups to examine critical areas in health policy, including the diffusion and adoption of life-saving interventions and the provision of health care in conflict zones.  Bringing together experts from economics, decision science, pediatrics, infectious disease, global health, and other fields, researchers are undertaking a cross-disciplinary examination of the challenges confronted in caring for populations worldwide, and developing solutions to the toughest health care challenges. 

Social Science History

Led by Professor of Political Science Steve Haber and FSI Senior Fellow ??, the initiative on the history of institutions convenes faculty from across the social science disciplines to enhance appreciation for institutions and evidence associated with the discipline of history. Vertically integrated research teams of faculty and students at the graduate and undergraduate levels employ a natural science lab group model for research and use the tools and techniques of the social sciences for a careful and unbiased examination of both quantitative and qualitative evidence. Several projects are related to the initiative include: The Democracy Project seeks to understand how democratically less developed countries transition their economies and political systems to join those that are more advanced;  thePolitical Economy of Finance explores the causes of financial development and their long term role in economic growth; and the Myth of the Resource Curse employs historical data on oil and mineral producing countries to determine the effects of such production on economic and political development.

Sub-Saharan Africa

According to a recent estimate from the World Bank, nearly 50% of the population in Sub-Saharan Africa lives on $1.25 a day or less. Health outcomes and educational achievement are poor and economic development is stagnating in spite of decades of international aid investment. FSI is joining forces with faculty in the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research (SIEPR) to understand the barriers that households and governments face in fostering accumulation of human capital, in particular health and education, and how these barriers can be overcome. FSI Senior Fellow Marcel Fafchamps and Associate Professor of Economics Pascaline Dupas will lead a seminar series of seminars designed to ask and answer questions about approaches to economic and human development in Sub-Saharan Africa and how to promote and implement effective and relevant policies.

Share this Page