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

populism

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

Upcoming Events

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Publications

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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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Journal Article

Beyond War and Contracts: The Medieval and Religious Roots of the European State

Anna Grzymala-Busse
Annual Review of Political Science , 2020

Where does the state come from? Two canonical answers have been interstate wars and contracts between rulers and the ruled in the early modern period. New scholarship has pushed back the historical origins of the European state to the Middle Ages, and focused on domestic institutions such as parliaments, universities, the law, inheritance rules, and cities. It has left open questions of the causes of territorial fragmentation, the structural similarities in state administrations, and the policy preoccupations of the state.

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Commentary

How to use the next stimulus to counter China

Anja Manuel, Anja Manuel, Stephen J. Hadley
2020

“Build back better” was the mantra New Orleans adopted after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina. It should be our country’s motto as we work to recover from the economic and public health crises caused by covid-19.

Read more at The Washington Post

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Journal Article

Weasel Words and the Analysis of “Postcommunist” Politics: A Symposium

Anna Grzymala-Busse
East European Politics and Societies , 2020

A weasel word is a term used in academic or political discourse whose meaning is so imprecise or badly defined that it impedes the formulation of coherent thought on the subject to which it is applied, or leads to unsubstantiated conclusions. In this symposium we consider several key terms central to the study of postcommunist politics and discuss the extent to which they fall into this category. The terms discussed here include regime terminology, the notion of postcommunism, the geographic entity “Eurasia,” socialism, populism, and neoliberalism.

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Journal Article

China’s Challenges: Now It Gets Much Harder

Thomas Fingar, Jean C. Oi
The Washington Quarterly , 2020

The easy phases of China’s quest for wealth and power are over. After forty years, every one of a set of favorable conditions has diminished or vanished, and China’s future, neither inevitable nor immutable, will be shaped by the policy choices of party leaders facing at least eleven difficult challenges, including the novel coronavirus. 

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White Paper

Global Populisms and Their Challenges

Anna Grzymala-Busse, Didi Kuo, Francis Fukuyama, Michael A. McFaul
2020

“Populism” has claimed enormous amounts of popular and press attention, with the Brexit vote of 2016, the election of President Donald J. Trump, and the rise of self-proclaimed populists in Europe and elsewhere. But what exactly is populism? And is populism in Poland the same phenomenon as in the United States? Does populism have the same set of universal causes, or are there many paths to populist resurgence?

“Global Populisms and Their Challenges” finds that established mainstream political parties are the key enablers of populist challenges—and the key solution.

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Journal Article

Egypt’s Consolidated Authoritarianism

Amr Hamzawy
2020

The current Egyptian political scene reveals an important paradox: since its ascendancy to power in 2013, the military-led authoritarian government has not faced significant challenges from civil society despite systematic human rights abuses and continuous societal crises.

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Journal Article

Political Reform and American Democracy

Didi Kuo
2020

The 2016 election brought into sharp relief the anomalies and imperfections of our democratic institutions. Trump, beating out a crowded field of primary candidates, won the election having lost the popular vote. Despite intense media coverage, the party primaries were still low-turnout events, and party infighting undermined the legitimacy of the final candidates. Third-party candidates who stood no chance of winning nonetheless drew significant votes in swing states.

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Journal Article

Consequences of Authoritarian Party Exit and Reinvention for Democratic Competition

Anna Grzymala-Busse
Comparative Political Studies , 2020

How do the successors to authoritarian ruling parties influence subsequent democratic party competition? The existing literature does not distinguish among these parties, nor does it differentiate among the distinct strategies of their adaptation to the collapse of authoritarian rule. As a result, the impact of these parties on democracy has been unclear and difficult to discern.

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Journal Article

“Nash-in-Nash” tariff bargaining

Kyle Bagwell, Robert W. Staiger, Ali Yurukoglu
Journal of International Economics , 2020

We provide an equilibrium analysis of the efficiency properties of simultaneous bilateral tariff negotiations in a three-country model of international trade. We consider the setting in which discriminatory tariffs are allowed, and we utilize the “Nash-in-Nash” solution concept of Horn and Wolinsky (1988). We allow for a general family of political-economic country welfare functions and assess efficiency relative to these welfare functions.

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Commentary

CNN Perspective with Andy Grotto: Why unlocking Apple iPhones for law enforcement isn't the answer

Andrew Grotto, Andrew Grotto
2020

Despite pressure from President Donald Trump and Attorney General William Barr, Apple continues to stand its ground and refuses to re-engineer iPhones so law enforcement can unlock the devices. Apple has maintained that it has done everything required by law and that creating a "backdoor" would undermine cybersecurity and privacy for iPhone users everywhere.

Apple is right to stand firm in its position that building a "backdoor" could put user data at risk.

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Working Paper

Engaging, Empowering, and Enabling Youth to Lead Social Action in the Favelas of Rio de Janeiro

Beatriz Magaloni, Veriene Melo
2020

This study is the result of over four years of active collaboration between the Poverty, Violence and Governance Lab (PovGov) and the Rio-based NGO Agency for Youth Networks (hereafter, Agency). What began in 2012 as an informal conversation between PovGov researchers and the program’s founder and director, Marcus Faustini, led to a solid partnership that has produced not only this research but also opportunities for engagement through events both in California and in Rio de Janeiro.

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Journal Article

Public Good Provision and Traditional Governance in Indigenous Communities in Oaxaca, Mexico

Beatriz Magaloni, Alberto Díaz-Cayeros, Alexander Ruiz Euler
2020

Can ethnically distinct communities ruled through “traditional” assemblies provide public goods and services better, than when they are ruled by leaders elected through “modern” multiparty elections? We exploit a unique institutional feature in the state of Oaxaca, Mexico, where municipalities are ruled by traditional governance institutions, to explore the effect of these forms of governance on the provision of public goods. Using locality-level census data, we study the provision of local public goods through a geographic discontinuity approach.

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