The Governance Group is a partnership of the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs (GSPIA) and the Department of Political Science, and along with faculty from three other units, Economics, Law, and Education; It serves as the primary center for applied research on governance and institutions in the University of Pittsburgh. It is the entity within the University that implements activities in the democracy and governance areas that are supported by grants and contracts. The Group is comprised of 24 full time Pitt faculty members. Their work can be supplemented by more than a dozen fellows who are linked to the University but work for other organizations or independently.
The Governance Group’s main objectives are to extend, integrate, and focus the University of Pittsburgh’s commitment to exploring issues related to governance, both internationally and domestically, through its own initiatives and in response to public sector and private sector requests for proposals. It seeks to support interdisciplinary, collaborative research projects among teams of faculty and graduate students to work on understanding and solving critical problems related to governance and institutional strengthening, and to maintain a productive dialogue between the academic and policy making communities in the process of translating theory into practice.
The Governance Group has expertise in six substantive areas including political institutions, processes and parties; capacity building and public sector reform; rule of law; decentralization, sub-national governance and civil society; conflict stabilization and property rights and land tenure.
The group also brings a full spectrum of assessment and evaluation skills to its democracy and governance work, including qualitative and quantitative assessments, and impact evaluation using randomized field experiments and/or longitudinal or other observational methods. Drawing on these capabilities, the Group brings expertise in institutional design and reform; participatory processes; applied research and training; impact evaluation; and advanced survey research and statistical methodologies. Faculty of the Governance Group have worked in a variety of geographic areas worldwide.
Recent projects undertaken by the Group include an assessment of USAID political party strengthening programs supported under a grant from USAID; research on the design and management of elections in Afghanistan under a subcontract from Democracy International; a macro-statistical analysis of the effects of USAID Democracy and Governance programs supported under a grant from USAID; and a planned set of six impact assessments to be conducted under a sub-contract from Social Impact.