Publications

    The Education of Nations: How the Political Organization of the Poor, Not Democracy, Led Governments to Invest in Mass Education

    Stephen Kosack, Oxford University Press, 2012 

    What causes a government to invest – or not invest – in poor citizens, especially mass education? In The Education of Nations, Stephen Kosack focuses on three radically different developing countries whose developmental trajectories bear little resemblance to each other – Brazil, Ghana, and Taiwan – and offers an elegant and pragmatic answer to this crucially important question. Quite simply, the level of investment in mass education is the product of one of two simple conditions, one political and one economic. The first condition is the nature and success of political entrepreneurs at organizing the poor politically; the second is the flexibility of the labor market faced by employers who need skilled workers.

    Francisca M. Rojas, June 2012 

    The public disclosure of transit information by agencies is a successful case of open data adoption in the United States. Transit transparency offers insights into the elements that enable effective disclosure and delivery of digital information to the public in cases where there is a strong demand for that information, and where the disclosed information is available at the right place and time for users to act upon.

    Deliberative Systems: Deliberative Democracy at the Large Scale
    Parkinson, John, and Jane Mansbridge. 2012. Deliberative Systems: Deliberative Democracy at the Large Scale. Cambridge University Press. Visit Publisher's Site Abstract

    John Parkinson and Jane Mansbridge, Cambridge University Press, 2012 

    'Deliberative democracy' is often dismissed as a set of small-scale, academic experiments. This volume seeks to demonstrate how the deliberative ideal can work as a theory of democracy on a larger scale. It provides a new way of thinking about democratic engagement across the spectrum of political action, from towns and villages to nation states, and from local networks to transnational, even global, systems. Written by a team of the world's leading deliberative theorists, Deliberative Systems explains the principles of this new approach, which seeks ways of ensuring that a division of deliberative labor in a system nonetheless meets both deliberative and democratic norms.

    Decentralizing Governance: Emerging Concepts and Practices
    Cheema, G. Shabbir, and Dennis A. Rondinelli, ed. 2007. Decentralizing Governance: Emerging Concepts and Practices. Brookings Institution Press. Publisher's Version Abstract
    The trend toward greater decentralization of governance activities, now accepted as commonplace in the West, has become a worldwide movement. Today's world demands flexibility, adaptability, and the autonomy to bring those qualities to bear. In this thought-provoking book, experts in government and public management trace the evolution and performance of decentralization concepts, from the transfer of authority within government to the sharing of power, authority, and responsibilities among broader governance institutions. The contributors to Decentralizing Governance assess emerging concepts such as devolution and capacity building; they also detail factors driving the decentralization movement such as the ascendance of democracy, economic globalization, and technological progress.
    Full Disclosure: The Perils and Promise of Transparency
    Fung, Archon, Mary Graham, and David Weil. 2007. Full Disclosure: The Perils and Promise of Transparency . Cambridge University Press. Visit Publisher's Site Abstract
    Which SUVs are most likely to roll over? What cities have the unhealthiest drinking water? Which factories are the most dangerous polluters? What cereals are the most nutritious? In recent decades, governments have sought to provide answers to such critical questions through public disclosure to force manufacturers, water authorities, and others to improve their products and practices. Corporate financial disclosure, nutritional labels, and school report cards are examples of such targeted transparency policies. At best, they create a light-handed approach to governance that improves markets, enriches public discourse, and empowers citizens. But such policies are frequently ineffective or counterproductive. Based on an analysis of eighteen U.S. and international policies, Full Disclosure shows that information is often incomplete, incomprehensible, or irrelevant to consumers, investors, workers, and community residents. To be successful, transparency policies must be accurate, keep ahead of disclosers' efforts to find loopholes, and, above all, focus on the needs of ordinary citizens.
    Which SUVs are most likely to roll over? What cities have the unhealthiest drinking water? Which factories are the most dangerous polluters? What cereals are the most nutritious? In recent decades, governments have sought to provide answers to such critic
    Which SUVs are most likely to roll over? What cities have the unhealthiest drinking water? Which factories are the most dangerous polluters? What cereals are the most nutritious? In recent decades, governments have sought to provide answers to such critical questions through public disclosure to force manufacturers, water authorities, and others to improve their products and practices. Corporate financial disclosure, nutritional labels, and school report cards are examples of such targeted transparency policies. At best, they create a light-handed approach to governance that improves markets, enriches public discourse, and empowers citizens. But such policies are frequently ineffective or counterproductive. Based on an analysis of eighteen U.S. and international policies, Full Disclosure shows that information is often incomplete, incomprehensible, or irrelevant to consumers, investors, workers, and community residents. To be successful, transparency policies must be accurate, keep ahead of disclosers' efforts to find loopholes, and, above all, focus on the needs of ordinary citizens.
    What a Mighty Power We Can Be: African American Fraternal Groups and the Struggle for Racial Equality

    Theda Skocpol, Ariane Liazos, & Marshall Ganz, Princeton University Press, 2006 

    From the nineteenth through the mid-twentieth centuries, millions of American men and women participated in fraternal associations – self-selecting brotherhoods and sisterhoods that provided aid to members, enacted group rituals, and engaged in community service. Even more than whites did, African Americans embraced this type of association; indeed, fraternal lodges rivaled churches as centers of black community life in cities, towns, and rural areas alike. Using an unprecedented variety of secondary and primary sources – including old documents, pictures, and ribbon-badges found in eBay auctions – this book tells the story of the most visible African American fraternal associations. The authors demonstrate how African American fraternal groups played key roles in the struggle for civil rights and racial integration. Between the 1890s and the 1930s, white legislatures passed laws to outlaw the use of important fraternal names and symbols by blacks. But blacks successfully fought back. Employing lawyers who in some cases went on to work for the NAACP, black fraternalists took their cases all the way to the Supreme Court, which eventually ruled in their favor. At the height of the modern Civil Rights movement in the 1950s and 1960s, they marched on Washington and supported the lawsuits through lobbying and demonstrations that finally led to legal equality. This unique book reveals a little-known chapter in the story of civic democracy and racial equality in America.

    Empowered Participation: Reinventing Urban Democracy

    Archon Fung, Princeton University Press, 2006 

    Every month in every neighborhood in Chicago, residents, teachers, school principals, and police officers gather to deliberate about how to improve their schools and make their streets safer. Residents of poor neighborhoods participate as much or more as those from wealthy ones. All voices are heard. Since the meetings began more than a dozen years ago, they have led not only to safer streets, but also to surprising improvements in the city's schools. Chicago's police department and school system have become democratic urban institutions unlike any others in America. Empowered Participation is the compelling chronicle of this unprecedented transformation. It is the first comprehensive empirical analysis of the ways in which participatory democracy can be used to effect social change. Using citywide data and six neighborhood case studies, the book explores how determined Chicago residents, police officers, teachers, and community groups worked to banish crime and transform a failing city school system into a model for educational reform. The author's conclusion: Properly designed and implemented institutions of participatory democratic governance can spark citizen involvement that in turn generates innovative problem-solving and public action. Their participation makes organizations more fair and effective.

    Fung, Archon, David Weil, Mary Graham, and Elena Fagotto. 2004. “The Political Economy of Transparency: What Makes Disclosure Policies Effective?”. Read the full report Abstract

    Archon Fung, David Weil, Mary Graham and Elena Fagotto, December 2004 

    Transparency systems have emerged in recent years as a mainstream regulatory tool, an important development in social policy. Transparency systems are government mandates that require corporations or other organizations to provide the public with factual information about their products and practices. Such systems have a wide range of regulatory purposes which include protecting investors, improving public health and safety, reducing pollution, minimizing corruption and improving public services.

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