The Center's research activities focus on developing a better understanding of the conditions fostering democratic development and democratic processes in the United States and internationally.
This research program aims at improving the democratic process in the United States and other established democracies as we enter the new millennium. Faculty are studying the impact of electoral systems, reforms to democratize the public policy process, policy implementation and evaluation, the impact of institutional structures on the representation of minorities in American politics, and public opinion toward the democratic process.
This research studies the development of sustainable democracies in Eastern Europe, East Asia, and other new democracies. For example, faculty in this program have conducted research and applied their findings to such topics as the development of a democratic constitution in Estonia, the creation of a new democratic party system in South Africa, the development of democracy in Korea, and public support for the transition to democracy in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union.
This emphasis examines the role of social movements as a form of collective action and political expression in established and developing democracies. The democratic transitions in South Africa, the Philippines, and throughout Eastern Europe were the product of broad social movements that built civil society and reinforced democratic norms. Social movements are also important political actors within established democracies, giving voice to new citizen interests and new forms of political action.
This research focuses on the intersection of race, ethnicity, and democratic politics. Several faculty projects examine the status and political role of minorities in America. The Center's initiative recognizes that race and ethnicity are central features of many modernizing societies, and will explore the political foundations of racial conflict and cooperation in democratic nations.
This emphasis studies how collective decisions are made which require some people to behave in ways not in their immediate self interest. This emphasis includes the study of public and private organizations. The topics range from Congress setting tax policy to a board of directors of a corporation shifting production from one plant to other. Much of the work assumes rational choice, but other motivations are also considered.