Research & Resources

Through our books, case studies, journal articles, papers, and surveys, the Ash Center is home to some of the world’s most advanced research and publications on issues related to democratic governance and self-governance.

To explore all research authored by Ash Center faculty, please visit the Harvard Kennedy School website. You can view the Ash Center’s open access policy here.

Case Study

From Crisis to Opportunity: How the City of Portland Embraced Democratic Innovation

In this case study of democratic innovation at the local level, the authors answer the questions: Why, in 2022, was voting representation and democratic reform firmly on Portland’s agenda? Did this shift contribute to Portlanders passing Measure 26-228?

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Reimagining Democracy for AI

Additional Resource

Reimagining Democracy for AI

“Reimagining Democracy for AI” by Aviv Ovadya was featured in the October 2023 Journal of Democracy.

Abstract: AI advances are shattering assumptions that both our democracies and our international order rely on. Reinventing our “democratic infrastructure” is thus critically necessary—and the author argues that it is also possible. Four interconnected and accelerating democratic paradigm shifts illustrate the potential: representative deliberations, AI augmentation, democracy-as-a-service, and platform democracy. Such innovations provide a viable path toward not just reimagining traditional democracies but enabling the transnational and even global democratic processes critical for addressing the broader challenges posed by destabilizing AI advances—including those relating to AI alignment and global agreements. We can and must rapidly invest in such democratic innovation if we are to ensure that our democratic capacity increases with our power.

An Aspirational Path for American Conservatism

Policy Brief

An Aspirational Path for American Conservatism

In this working paper, Stephen Goldsmith and Ryan Streeter argue that the Republican Party is philosophically adrift, and it has been for a while.

GETTING-Plurality Comments to White House OSTP on National Priorities for Artificial Intelligence

Policy Brief

GETTING-Plurality Comments to White House OSTP on National Priorities for Artificial Intelligence

The GETTING-Plurality Research Network submitted a series of memos which respond to various questions posed around the topics of bolstering democracy and civic participation; protecting rights, safety, and national security; and promoting economic growth and good jobs.

Defending Democracy in an Age of Sharp Power
Cover photo of book behind a backdrop of knives

Book

Defending Democracy in an Age of Sharp Power

In Defending Democracy in an Age of Sharp Power, editors William J. Dobson, Tarek Masoud, and Christopher Walker bring together leading analysts to explain how the world’s authoritarians are attempting to erode the pillars of democratic societies—and what we can do about it.

Putting Flourishing First: Applying Democratic Values to Technology
photo of a building that has windows that reflect red and blue shades of color

Policy Brief

Putting Flourishing First: Applying Democratic Values to Technology

In this short web ethics research brief, the authors unpack and comment on the four-step logic at the core of GETTING-Plurality’s foundational white paper, Ethics of Decentralized Social Technologies: Lessons from Web3, the Fediverse, and Beyond. They outline four assertions from the paper that demonstrate the power and the challenge of web ethics – and above all, the urgency – of placing human flourishing at the center of technology governance.

Antiracist Institutional Change in Healthcare

Policy Brief

Antiracist Institutional Change in Healthcare

The IARA project investigates new and existing strategies for antiracist transformation in the healthcare sector.