21st CENTURY DEMOCRACY
U.S. Capitol Building in early evening, Washington, D.C., iStock photograph
In this websection, MIT's School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences draws on the expertise of our faculty and colleagues across the Institute to provide research-based insights and resources for strengthening democracy at home and around the world.
Gallery of Publications
A Sampler of MIT Research on U.S. Democracy
A distilled selection of key research, news, and media commentaries from the past year on the state of U.S. democracy, from scholars in MIT's humanities and social science fields. What can leaders and We, the People do to sustain our democracy? Prepared for 6 January 2022.
Charles Stewart III on elections in a hyper-partisan era
What can Americans do to protect our democracy? "The 2020 election showed the resilience of the fact-based part of the election administration system — election administrators, judges, and research institutions (including universities) — that have stood for the rule of law in the face of illiberal attacks on election administration. Opponents of fair elections recognize this and have attacked all parts of this fact-based bulwark."
3 Questions: Daron Acemoglu on the “dangerous situation” still facing the U.S.
The author of “The Narrow Corridor,” about the battle to sustain democracy, weighs in on the country’s political condition.
New views of autocracy emerge from historic archives
Political science PhD student Emilia Simison has found that despotic regimes vary, and the move to democracy doesn’t necessarily guarantee policy change.
How authoritarian leaders maintain support
Study finds public anticorruption campaigns bolster leaders, even when such measures lack tangible results.
DEMOCRACY | HUMAN RIGHTS
Rt. Hon. David Miliband SM ’90 receives the 2021 Robert A. Muh Alumni Award
His award lecture proposes an "accountability agenda" to restore respect for human rights, democratic norms, and the rights of civilians in combat zones.
HONORS AND AWARDS
In Song Kim receives the 2021 Levitan Prize
New project by the inventor of LobbyView.org will advance trade theory and the ability of citizens to influence public policy-making.
What must the U.S. do now to sustain its democracy?
In the aftermath of the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, MIT political scientists and historians discuss how to strengthen U.S. democracy.
What’s Next? Challenges Ahead for the Biden Administration
A series of essays by MIT SHASS scholars, including: Melissa Nobles, Taylor Fravel, Vipin Narang, Dick Samuels, Elizabeth Wood, Barry Posen, Richard Samuels, and John Tirman.
MEET OUR STUDENTS
Profile | Nasir Almasri '21
Political science PhD candidate studies conflicts that emerge at the intersection of politics and religious traditions, with a focus on humanizing those involved.
3 Questions: Adam Berinsky on the responsibilities of political leadership and how to assess election polls
"It's the job of our leaders to stand up and challenge unsubstantiated rumors and outright falsehoods. Politicians have tremendous power to lead and to shape information, and voters need to remember this when they head to the polls — in this and every election."
3Q with political scientist Adam Berinsky
Impact of the pandemic on U.S. political life
"As they do in wartime "people are willing to give the government broader latitude, even to curtail civil liberties, to address this pandemic crisis. But this effect is also short-lived. People are willing to give up some civil liberties for months, but not years."
3Q: In Song Kim’s LobbyView.org shines a bright light on Washington lobbying
LobbyView.org makes it simple to follow the path of money in politics.
ELECTION INSIGHTS 2018
Daron Acemoglu | On Civil Society and Democracy
"What is written in a constitution can take a nation only so far unless society is willing to act to protect it. We have to keep reminding ourselves that the future of our much-cherished institutions depends not on others but on ourselves, and that we are all individually responsible for our institutions."
WHY NATIONS FAIL
Economists Daron Acemoglu of MIT and James Robinson publish new thesis on the wealth of nations
A collection of the significant reviews, interviews, videos, broadcasts about the thesis on the origins of power, prosperity, and poverty