Poor governance-manifested in corruption, absence of rule of law and state abuse, ineffective government, and political instability and violence-is a leading cause of poverty and its persistence. Although there tends to be consensus on the importance of good governance for poverty alleviation, not enough is known about the conditions under which it comes about and how it can be replicated.
There are various interrelated elements that are necessary for better governance, including accountability, so that public officials are answerable for government behavior and their actions are monitored and deviations sanctioned; organizational capacity to develop, target, implement and monitor poverty reduction programs; citizens' participation in the design and implementation of projects as well as access to information about government behavior; and the strengthening of the rule of law, such that state officials, agencies, and private individuals are all answerable to a politically neutral legal system.
Our program is committed to researching the effects on poverty relief of different governance structures, formal and informal institutions, forms of civic engagement and community organization, foreign aid and its interaction with local political institutions and organizations. This research will be empirically based, methodologically rigorous, and policy relevant.
The program supports the following ongoing activities:
- Seminars, workshops, and conferences, where leading scholars and practitioners of these policies report on what they are learning and doing. These meetings will result in reports, working papers, and academic publications, to inform the community of affiliated scholars about the latest developments in the field.
- Faculty research support, to enable affiliated faculty and staff to conduct research on these problems. We are particularly interested in evaluations of policy interventions involving quasi-experimental or experimental methods to assess causality.
- Support of undergraduate and graduate student research and internships, to fund Stanford students pursuing thesis research in this area, or wishing to serve in a summer internship in a government, non-governmental, or international agency dealing with this policy challenge.