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. Looking more broadly at these issues, FSI’s Governance Project works on measuring the quality of governance and assessing a country’s ability to deliver public services.
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. One project explores how authoritarian and democratic regimes can encourage or suppress economic development. Meanwhile, the European Governance project looks at governance issues on a single continent.
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.