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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. 

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. 

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.

Recent Events

Records 24 / 106

New Alliances in Cybersecurity, Human Rights and Internet Governance

February 17, 2016

On Wednesday, February 24, CDDRL, in partnership with the Center for International Governance Innovation (CIGI), hosted...Posted by Stanford Center on Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law ...

Advancing Human Rights through Tech and Data

November 20, 2015

Abstract Human rights groups have only two assets: people and information.  Learn about Benetech’s decade of putting information technology tools into the hands of human rights activists, with the...

Advancing Human Rights through Tech and Data

November 20, 2015

Human rights groups have only two assets: people and information.  Learn about Benetech's decade of putting information technology tools into the hands of human rights activists, with the goal of...

Geek Heresy: Rescuing Social Change from the Cult of Technology

November 6, 2015

Over the last four decades, the United States saw an explosion of digital technologies that penetrated every corner of the country, yet during the same time span, the American rate of poverty did...

Crowdsourced Democracy: Algorithms, Platforms, and Mechanisms

October 22, 2015

While social media pervades many aspects of our lives, it has not yet proved to be an effective tool for large scale decision making: crowds of hundreds, perhaps millions, of individuals...

Narendra Modi, Twitter, and the Selfie State

October 15, 2015

Abstract:With the proliferation of online social media, political actors have a new means of reaching their constituents directly, circumventing the mainstream news media.

An Unlikely Alliance: Hackers & Human Rights Activists

October 8, 2015

Since Iran's Green Revolution, technology has demonstrated its power to mobilize millions of people demanding political and social change in countries where authoritarian regimes remained...

Bringing Connectivity through Community-Owned Cellular Networks

October 1, 2015

Cellular networks are one of the most impactful technologies of the last century, with over 3.5 billion active users in just under 25 years of operation.

Twitter and the Rebranding of Narendra Modi

September 24, 2015

India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi has almost 15 million followers on Twitter and over almost 30 million “likes” on Facebook, making him among the most followed politicians on social media.

Using Behavioral Economics and Information Communication Technology to Combat Polio in Pakistan

February 27, 2015

Speaker BioMichael CallenAssistant Professor, Public PolicyHarvard Kennedy School  Michael Callen is assistant professor of public policy at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government.

Will the Revolution be Tweeted? Information & Communication Technology and Conflict

January 30, 2015

Is communication technology conducive to collective violence? Recent studies have provided conflicting answers to the same question.

Open Government Partnership - A new platform for reforms in transparent and accountable governments

January 23, 2015

Three years ago, world leaders from 8 countries came together to launch the Open Government Partnership (OGP) - a multi-stakeholder initiative that brings together domestic reformers committed to...

Crowdsourcing a Meeting of Minds

January 16, 2015

Crowdsourcing is an increasingly powerful method for combining amateurs' efforts to recreate an expert's abilities.

Digital Destitution: A Mechanism of and for Inequality

October 23, 2014

ABSTRACT The result of not preparing people and places to manipulate the productive function of network technology is ‘digital destitution’.

Managing Collective Intelligence in Open Journalism: Power, Knowledge and Value

October 16, 2014

ABSTRACT Collective intelligence is channeled to journalism by crowdsourcing and co-creation.

Evolving into a Genuinely Digital Society

May 23, 2014

*Event is currently full.

The Long-Term Impact of Imperialism on Gender

May 22, 2014

Abstract: Gender equality is considered important for development and good governance, yet the causes of cross-national variation in gender equality are still not well understood.

Technology for Social Benefit and Civic Engagement: CITRIS and the Data & Democracy Initiative

February 14, 2014

AbstractSocial media and new technology are being harnessed for social benefit in contexts from healthcare, economic development, and sustainable energy to civic engagement and government...

"The Family of Man" and the Politics of Attention in Cold War America

February 7, 2014

  AbstractIn 1955, the Museum of Modern Art mounted one of the most widely seen – and widely excoriated – photography exhibitions of all time, The Family of Man.

Technology, Accountability and Democracy in South Asia and Beyond

January 17, 2014

Conference on the relationship between technology, accountability and democracy with a focus on South Asia

Are Crowdsourced Maps the Future of Community Self-Governance? Food, Land, and Water

January 10, 2014

AbstractEarlier generations of radicals understood themselves to be in an ongoing battle against the privatization of land and water.  They instrumentalized maps in the court system as a tool for...

Controlling "Last-Mile" Corruption Through Open Governance

November 22, 2013

AbstractTo what extent can information and technology be used to eliminate government corruption?

Initial Findings:Applying Human Centered Design to Governance Challenges

November 8, 2013

AbstractWe know poor governance when we see it, and we also have models of effective, responsive, and accountable governments across the globe.

ICT Design for Social Good: It's Potentials and Pitfalls

October 31, 2013

             AbstractAs part of the liberation technologies project and of Stanford's Hasso Plattner Institute for Design (the "") I have been a participant and an observer in a variety of...


Jeremy M. Weinstein Senior Fellow Professor, Political Science