FSI Research (Governance) - NEW

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Governance

Addressing issues of democracy, dictatorship, corruption and poverty, our scholars and practitioners produce expert research and train civil society activists around the world.

Research Spotlight

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Global Populisms and Their Challenges

A white paper by the Stanford Global Populisms Project finds that established mainstream political parties are the key enablers of populist challenges—and the key solution.
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Protecting Electoral Integrity In the Digital Age

Today, free and fair elections, the primary expression of democratic will for collective government, are far from guaranteed in many countries around the world. Protecting them will require a new set of policies and actions from technological platforms, governments, and citizens.
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30 Years of World Politics: What Has Changed?

Francis Fukuyama argues that sustaining democracy will require rebuilding the legitimate authority of the institutions of liberal democracy, while resisting those powers that aspire to make nondemocratic institutions central.

Featured Scholars

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Larry Diamond

Senior Fellow at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies
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Larry Diamond

Senior Fellow at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies
Professor, by courtesy, of Political Science and Sociology
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Anna Grzymala-Busse

Senior Fellow at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies
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Anna Grzymala-Busse

Senior Fellow at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies
Director of The Europe Center
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Didi Kuo

Senior Research Scholar
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Didi Kuo

Senior Research Scholar
Associate Director for Research at the Center on Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law
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Stephen Stedman

Senior Fellow at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies
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Stephen Stedman

Senior Fellow at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies
Deputy Director at the Center on Democracy Development and the Rule of Law

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Publications

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Journal Article

Democratic Source Code for a New U.S.-EU Tech Alliance

Marietje Schaake, Tyson Barker
2020
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Commentary

How to Save Democracy From Technology

Francis Fukuyama, Ashish Goel, Barak Richman
2020

Full article appears in the January/February 2021 issue of Foreign Affairs

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White Paper

Report of the Working Group on Platform Scale

Francis Fukuyama, Barak Richman, Ashish Goel, Marietje Schaake, Roberta R. Katz, Douglas Melamed
2020

The internet economy has produced digital platforms of enormous economic and social significance. These platforms—specifically, Google, Facebook, Amazon, Twitter, and Apple—now play central roles in how millions of Americans obtain information, spend their money, communicate with fellow citizens, and earn their livelihoods. Their reach is also felt globally, extending to many countries around the world. They have amassed the economic, social, and political influence that very few private entities have ever obtained previously.

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White Paper

Election 2020: Antitrust and Privacy in the Age of Big Tech

Marietje Schaake, Rob Reich
2020

ANTITRUST AND PRIVACY CONCERNS are two of the most high-profile topics on the tech policy agenda. Checks and balances to counteract the power of companies such as Google, Amazon, and Facebook are under consideration in Congress, though a polarized political environment is a hindrance. But a domestic approach to tech policy will be insufficient, as the users of the large American tech companies are predominantly outside the United States.

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Policy Brief

Preparing for the Age of Deepfakes and Disinformation

Dan Boneh, Andrew Grotto, Patrick McDaniel , Nicolas Papernot
2020

POPULAR CULTURE HAS ENVISIONED SOCIETIES of intelligent machines for generations, with Alan Turing notably foreseeing the need for a test to distinguish machines from humans in 1950. Now, advances in artificial intelligence that promise to make creating convincing fake multimedia content like video, images, or audio relatively easy for many. Unfortunately, this will include sophisticated bots with supercharged self-improvement abilities that are capable of generating more dynamic fakes than anything seen before.

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Policy Brief

Election 2020: Foreign Interference and Domestic Manipulations Aimed at Voters and Electoral Outcomes

Marietje Schaake, Rob Reich
2020

IN 2016 WE LEARNED ABOUT EFFORTS BY FOREIGN ACTORS to interfere in the U.S. election by injecting misinformation and disinformation into public discourse on social media. False events and personas added to the polarization and manipulation of voters.

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Policy Brief

Election 2020: Political Advertising and Social Media

Marietje Schaake, Rob Reich
2020

VOTERS ARE BEING INUNDATED WITH POLITICAL ADVERTISING on social media and online platforms during the 2020 election season. Campaigns, PACs and third parties have added new tools and tactics for gathering data on voters and targeting them with advertising, and now they can pinpoint niches of potential voters on social media in ways unknown in prior election cycles.

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Policy Brief

Election 2020: Content Moderation and Accountability

Marietje Schaake, Rob Reich
2020

AS WE APPROACH THE 2020 ELECTION IN THE UNITED STATES, content moderation on social media platforms is taking center stage. From speech issues on Facebook and Twitter to YouTube videos and TikTok brigands, the current election season is being reshaped by curation concerns about what’s allowed online, what’s not, upranking and downranking, and who’s deciding.

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Journal Article

Putin, Putinism, and the Domestic Determinants of Russian Foreign Policy

Michael A. McFaul
International Security , 2020

Why did Russia's relations with the West shift from cooperation a few decades ago to a new era of confrontation today? Some explanations focus narrowly on changes in the balance of power in the international system, or trace historic parallels and cultural continuities in Russian international behavior. For a complete understanding of Russian foreign policy today, individuals, ideas, and institutions—President Vladimir Putin, Putinism, and autocracy—must be added to the analysis.

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Policy Brief

Election 2020: Social Media and Political Polarization

Marietje Schaake, Rob Reich
2020

THE EMERGENCE OF A DIGITAL SPHERE where public debate takes place raises profound questions about the connection between online information and polarization, echo chambers, and filter bubbles. Does the information ecosystem created by social media companies support the conditions necessary for a healthy democracy? Is it different from other media? These are particularly urgent questions as the United States approaches a contentious 2020 election during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Policy Brief

Election 2020: Technology’s Role in Administering Democratic Elections

Marietje Schaake, Rob Reich
2020

THE 2020 ELECTION IN THE UNITED STATES will take place on November 3 in the midst of a global pandemic, economic downturn, social unrest, political polarization, and a sudden shift in the balance of power in the U.S Supreme Court. On top of these issues, the technological layer impacting the public debate, as well as the electoral process itself, may well determine the election outcome.

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Journal Article

Political partisanship influences behavioral responses to governors’ recommendations for COVID-19 prevention in the United States

Soojong Kim
PNAS Journal , 2020

Voluntary physical distancing is essential for preventing the spread of COVID-19. We assessed the role of political partisanship in individuals’ compliance with physical distancing recommendations of political leaders using data on mobility from a sample of mobile phones in 3,100 counties in the United States during March 2020, county-level partisan preferences, information about the political affiliation of state governors, and the timing of their communications about COVID-19 prevention.

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White Paper

Bolivarian Factions: Facebook takes down inauthentic assets

Elena Cryst, Esteban Ponce de León, Daniel Suárez Pérez, Shelby Perkins, David Thiel
2020
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Journal Article

Spatial Models, Legislative Gridlock, and Resource Policy Reform

Nathan Chael, Christophe Crombez, Pieterjan Vangerven
Annual Review of Resource Economics , 2020

This review evaluates the use of spatial models for the analysis of policymaking. First, we examine spatial theory and its applications in a variety ofinstitutional settings.

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Journal Article

Hepatitis C Treatment in Prisons — Incarcerated People’s Uncertain Right to Direct-Acting Antiviral Therapy

Alexandra M. Daniels , David Studdert
New England Journal of Medicine , 2020

In a recent perspective published by the New England Journal of Medicine(NEJM), Stanford Law student Alexandra Daniels analyzed a growing body of federal litigation brought by prisoners with the hepatitis C virus (HCV) who are seeking access to treatment for their condition.

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Journal Article

Multilateral Trade Bargaining: A First Look at the GATT Bargaining Records

Kyle Bagwell, Robert W. Staiger, Ali Yurukoglu
American Economic Journal: Applied Economics , 2020

This paper empirically examines recently declassified tariff bargaining data from the GATT/WTO. Focusing on the Torquay Round (1950–1951), we document stylized facts about these interconnected high-stakes international negotiations that suggest a lack of strategic behavior among the participating governments and an important multilateral element to the bilateral bargains.

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Commentary

Can China’s Military Win the Tech War?

Anja Manuel, Anja Manuel, Kathleen Hicks
2020

As the Chinese government has set out to harness the growing strength of the Chinese technology sector to bolster its military, policymakers in the United States have reacted with mounting alarm. U.S.

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Book

The Challenges and Opportunities for Social Media Research

Nathaniel Persily, Nathaniel Persily, Joshua Tucker
2020

Concluding Chapter of Social Media and Democracy: The State of the Field and Prospects for Reform (Cambridge Press, forthcoming September 2020)

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White Paper

Political Retweet Rings and Compromised Accounts: A Twitter Influence Operation Linked to the Youth Wing of Turkey’s Ruling Party

Shelby Grossman, Fazil Alp Akis, Ayça Alemdaroğlu, Josh A. Goldstein, Katie Jonsson, Isabella Garcia-Camargo, David Thiel, Alex Zaheer
2020
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White Paper

Sockpuppets Spin COVID Yarns: An Analysis of PRC-Attributed June 2020 Twitter takedown

Carly Miller, Vanessa Molter, Isabella Garcia-Camargo, Renee DiResta, David Thiel, Alex Zaheer
2020
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Commentary

How the West could win a technological ‘shadow war’ with China

Anja Manuel, Anja Manuel
2020

A new shadow war is underway within the International Telecommunication Union, one of the obscure organizations that sets global technical standards.

International standard-setting is a morass of positive intentions and poor execution. When the process works well, it selects the best technologies based on merit and, for example, allows people to use their personal cellphone numbers anywhere on Earth. When the system fails, we end up with different electrical outlets in each country and scramble for adapters.

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Journal Article

Reassessing American Democracy: The Enduring Challenge of Racial Exclusion

Johanna Kalb, Didi Kuo
Michigan Law Review Online , 2020

American democracy is in trouble. Since the 2016 election, a sizable literature has developed that focuses on diagnosing and assessing the state of American democracy, most of which concludes that our system of government is in decline.[2] These authors point to the rise in party polarization, the increasingly bipartisan abandonment of the norms of the democratic process, the rise of populism, the degradation of the public sphere, and the proliferation of gerrymandered districts and voting restrictions to illustrate the breakdown.

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Journal Article

Ethics and Governance for Digital Disease Surveillance

Michelle Mello, C. Jason Wang
Science Magazine , 2020

Digital epidemiology—the use of data generated outside the public health system for disease surveillance—has been in use for more than a quarter century [see supplementary materials (SM)]. But several countries have taken digital epidemiology to the next level in responding to COVID-19. Focusing on core public health functions of case detection, contact tracing, and isolation and quarantine, we explore ethical concerns raised by digital technologies and new data sources in public health surveillance during epidemics.

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Journal Article

Thinking Globally, Acting Locally — The U.S. Response to Covid-19

Rebecca L. Haffajee, Michelle Mello
New England Journal of Medicine , 2020

Covid-19 has exposed major weaknesses in the United States’ federalist system of public health governance, which divides powers among the federal, state, and local governments. SARS-CoV-2 is exactly the type of infectious disease for which federal public health powers and emergencies were conceived: it is highly transmissible, crosses borders efficiently, and threatens our national infrastructure and economy. Its prevalence varies around the country, with states such as Washington, California, and New York hit particularly hard, but cases are mounting nationwide with appalling velocity.

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