Publications

    John D. Donahue, February 2006 

    In a phrase coined by Lord Bryce and popularized by Justice Louis Brandeis, America's separate states are seen as “laboratories of democracy,“ giving the United States 50 channels for generating fresh new approaches to public problems. The potential advantages are apparent. But how fully this potential is realized depends on how rapidly and reliably innovations developed in each “laboratory“ diffuse to other states. As the literature on the diffusion of innovations is limited, the archives of the Innovations in American Government Awards offer a promising but mostly untapped data set for exploring the replication of valuable innovations. In this publication, Donahue identifies state-level award winners and traces the pace and pattern of their diffusion.

    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.

    Gilberto Garcia, July 2005 

    After analyzing 271 government programs qualified as innovative through having won a national government and local management award in Mexico, and submitting a questionnaire to the 79 persons responsible for some of the best practices in the municipal government in the years 2001, 2002, and 2003, this paper identifies and analyzes variables that have a bearing on the emergence and sustainability of the innovation process in Mexico’s local governments. The results show paradoxes in the process of innovation of organizations needing to accomplish increasingly complex objectives through a lack of mechanisms to accrue intermediate and long-term technical expertise, as well as organizational learning. This paper also describes the differences in the process of innovation according to three contextual variables: organization capability, institutional development, and political and electoral competition.

    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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