American Democracy Conferences

The Program on American Democracy in Comparative Perspective hosts conferences on issues of critical importance to democracy and effective governance. These conferences bring together scholars, policymakers, and practitioners with expertise on the United States and advanced democracies. They combine empirical findings with policy recommendations.

Parties, Representation, and Governance in the 21st Century

This conference examines different attributes of party systems in the advanced democracies of Europe and the United States, drawing historical and comparative lessons where possible. It takes stock of recent trends in party organization, including in campaign finance, mobilization of voters, and digital technology, to critically evaluate conventional theories and concepts about parties. The conference also considers policy implications and the potential for party renewal. Are there ways to strengthen intermediary organizations, or to encourage new linkages between parties and citizens? How can parties respond to transnational problems (migration, globalization)? Finally, how will ongoing challenges to parties affect prospects for democracy? November 2-3, 2018

Conference on Democracy and its Discontents

The Program on American Democracy in Comparative Perspective is holding a conference on Democracy and its Discontents on October 8-10 in Budapest, Hungary. The conference, co-hosted with Central European University, will bring together scholars of American and European politics to examine topics such as democratic backsliding, inequality, and money in politics. Saskia Sassen of Columbia University will deliver the keynote address. October 9-10, 2015

Lobbying and Campaign Finance

On November 14-15, the Program on American Democracy in Comparative Perspective hosted a conference on Lobbying and Campaign Finance. The conference brought together academics, practitioners, and lawyers to understand the impact of money in politics on a variety of outcomes, including special interest capture, democratic distortion, and inequality. The conference provided a rare opportunity to combine discussions of potential political reforms with evaluation of recent empirical findings in the area of lobbying and campaign finance. November 14, 2014

Comparative Budget Policy: Lessons for Reform in the United States

On May 8-9, 2014, the Program on American Democracy in Comparative Perspective at Stanford University hosted a workshop on comparative budget policy. The aim of the workshop was to bring together academics and policymakers from the United States and abroad to understand, and devise ways to improve, American budgetary politics. Representatives from the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development spoke about ways to assess the American budgeting framework in comparative perspective, using benchmarks and indices of best practices. Practitioners and political officials from Japan, Canada, Australia, and Italy spoke about budgetary disputes and solutions in their countries.

Electoral System Reform

On March 14-15, the Program on American Democracy in Comparative Perspective at the Center for Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law, held a workshop on electoral system alternatives in the United States. The workshop brought together a number of scholars of American electoral institutions, practitioners working to implement electoral reforms, and experts on electoral systems reforms in advanced democracies. The workshop examined how different electoral systems options have worked in other countries, and what the implications of similar reforms might be in the United States.