FSI's research on the origins, character and consequences of government institutions spans continents and academic disciplines. The institute’s senior fellows and their colleagues across Stanford examine the principles of public administration and implementation. Their work focuses on how maternal health care is delivered in rural China, how public action can create wealth and eliminate poverty, and why U.S. immigration reform keeps stalling. 

FSI’s work includes comparative studies of how institutions help resolve policy and societal issues. Scholars aim to clearly define and make sense of the rule of law, examining how it is invoked and applied around the world. 

FSI researchers also investigate government services – trying to understand and measure how they work, whom they serve and how good they are. They assess energy services aimed at helping the poorest people around the world and explore public opinion on torture policies. The Children in Crisis project addresses how child health interventions interact with political reform. Specific research on governance, organizations and security capitalizes on FSI's longstanding interests and looks at how governance and organizational issues affect a nation’s ability to address security and international cooperation.

Recent Publications

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Chinese Grand Strategy

In Strategy in the Contemporary World, edited by John Baylis, James J. Wirtz, and Jeannie L. Johnson, Oriana Skylar Mastro examines the evolution of Chinese grand strategy from Mao Zedong...

Content-Oblivious Trust and Safety Techniques: Results from a Survey of Online Service Providers

A new publication from Riana Pfefferkorn of the Stanford Internet Observatory

Ordeal Mechanisms, Information, and the Cost-Effectiveness of Strategies to Provide Subsidized Eyeglasses

The cost-effectiveness of policies providing subsidized health goods is often compromised by limited use of the goods provided. Through a randomized trial involving 251 primary schools in western...

Policy Roundup: February 2022

Key policy takeaways from Didi Kuo on U.S. electoral reforms; Keith Humphreys on the opioid epidemic; Oriana Skylar Mastro on China-North Korea relations; and Michael McFaul and Francis Fukuyama...

Valuing the Time of the Self-Employed

Pascaline Dupas and co-authors Agness, Baseler, Chassang, and Snowberg leverage individual choice data they generate on farmers in western Kenya to solve a general problem: do behavioral phenomena...

Cybersecurity Tools Lie Unused in Federal Agencies’ Toolboxes

In a new Lawfare piece Jim Dempsey of the Program on Geopolitics, Technology and Governance, makes a case for breaking out a critical (and often unused) tool in the cybersecurity toolbox: the...

Pandemic Spikes and Broken Spears: Indigenous Resilience after the Conquest of Mexico

In a new paper for the Journal of Historical Political Economy, Alberto Diaz-Cayeros and Saumitra Jha examine the conditions under which indigenous communities in Mexico were able to overcome the...

Gender Equity in Vision Care Seeking Behavior Among Caregivers: Evidence from a Randomized Controlled Trial in Rural China

Background Despite rising incomes and rapid economic growth, there remains a significant gender gap in health outcomes among rural children in China....

Defending U.S. Allies and Interests Against Russian Aggression in Eastern Europe

On February 16, 2022, FSI Director Michael McFaul testified before the House Comittee on Oversight and Reform Subcommittee on National Security examining Russia’s destabilizing activity in Eastern...

Irrational Use of Medicine in the Treatment of Presumptive Asthma Among Rural Primary Care Providers in Southwestern China

Poor knowledge, scarce resources, and lack of or misaligned incentives have been widely documented as drivers of the irrational use of medicine (IUM), which significantly challenges the efficiency...

The Impact of Nonboarding on the Development of Disadvantaged Boarding Students in Western Rural China

Rural China has seen an increase in its migrant workers returning home. As a result, many of these workers’ children, who had previously boarded at school, needed to return home as well. While the...

Policy Roundup: January 2022

Key policy takeaways from Larry Diamond and Francis Fukuyama on the anniversary of the January 6 Capitol riot; Kathryn Stoner and Michael McFaul on the Ukraine-Russia crisis; and Alex Stamos and...

China’s Grand Strategy

Oriana Skylar Mastro reviews Rush Doshi’s book The Long Game: China’s Grand Strategy to Displace American Order (New York: Oxford University Press, 2021).

Displacing fishmeal with protein derived from stranded methane

Stanford researchers reveal how to turn a global warming liability into a profitable food security solution

Factors Associated with the Spectacle Wear Compliance among Primary School Students with Refractive Error in Rural China

Purpose To study the factors determining spectacle-wear compliance and reasons for non-wear among students in rural China. Methods This study was...


Didi Kuo Didi Kuo Senior Research Scholar, CDDRL, Associate Director for Research, CDDRL Academic Research & Program Manager, American Democracy in Comparative Perspective
Nariman Ustaiev Headshot Nariman Ustaeiv UELP Visiting Scholar, CDDRL
Gabrielle Hecht Gabrielle Hecht Senior Fellow Professor, History
blaydes2 Lisa Blaydes Senior Fellow Professor, Political Science
ma yue headshot Yue Ma Research Scholar
Denis Gutenko Headshot Denis Gutenko UELP Visiting Scholar, CDDRL
Andrew Grotto Andrew Grotto Director, Program on Geopolitics, Technology, and Governance
Jenny Martinez Headshot Jenny Martinez Senior Fellow, by courtesy Professor, Law
Naimark, Norman Norman M. Naimark Senior Fellow, by courtesy Professor, History, Professor, by courtesy, German Studies, Senior Fellow, the Hoover Institution
Abbas Milani photo by Babak Payami Abbas Milani Affiliate, CDDRL Research Fellow, Hoover Institution
Sagan, Scott 2012 photo Scott D. Sagan Senior Fellow Professor, Political Science
Photo of Gi-Wook Shin Gi-Wook Shin Senior Fellow Professor, Sociology