Measuring the quality of governance is a challenge for social scientists trying to assess a country’s ability to deliver public services to its citizens. Francis Fukuyama, the Olivier Nomellini Senior Fellow at Stanford’s Freeman Spogli Institute, recognized that many of the current ways to assess good governance are too general and do not account for the variations that occur within complex societies such as China or the United States. Fukuyama has also realized that democracy is not always a necessary ingredient for good governance and in some cases authoritarian countries govern more effectively than their democratic counterparts.
The Governance Project was launched in January 2012 at FSI’s Center on Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law to engage scholars around the world in the exercise of evaluating the quality of state institutions and government effectiveness. Over the next year, workshops at Stanford and in China will bring governance experts together to showcase the ongoing work in this field and contribute original scholarship to a working paper series. Case studies of China and the United States will conceptualize and measure state performance in the world’s largest economies, comparing and contrasting both models to better understand the inner-workings of governance.