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Conference underscores decline of democracy in US and Europe


CDDRL Deputy Director Steve Stedman (far left) with Stanford Political Science Professor Bruce Cain, Agnes Batory, and Sabine Saurugger. October 2015.
Photo credit: 
CEU/Zoltan Tuba (Kepszerkesztoseg).

The Program on American Democracy in Comparative Perspective at Stanford's Center on Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law has long explored problems of partisan polarization, voter discontent, and inequality in the context of American governance. These trends are becoming more pronounced across advanced democracies, and it is worth asking how challenges faced in the United States are similar to those in Europe. In October, the Program on American Democracy hosted a conference - Democracy and its Discontents - in partnership with Central European University to explore democratic dysfunction through a comparative lens. Specific topics included democratic backsliding, money in politics, and inequality. Scholars from across the United States and Europe discussed the rise of illiberal democracy in Eastern and Central Europe, the rise of populist parties in the U.S. and Western Europe, growing income inequality and perceptions of political corruption, and curtailment of voting rights. The conference showed that problems with democracy are not isolated to any particular region of the globe, and that comparing trends across advanced democracies can help academics and policymakers understand the causes of dysfunction and the potential impact of political reforms.

To view highlights from the conference and full conference proceedings, please see the links below:

"Democracy and Its Discontents" Examines Global Challenges to Democratic Principles. 14 Oct. 2015.

Inequality and Polarization on the Rise, "Democracy and its Discontents" Panelists Say. 16 Oct. 2015. 

Central European University

Opening Statements: 

Central Europen University President John Shattuck and CDDRL Director Francis Fukuyama



Conferece Recap: 


Featuring: Stanford CDDRL's Francis Fukuyama, Larry Diamond, and Stephen Stedman and Columbia University's Isabela Mares


Francis Fukuyama speaks at conference of Central European University. 12 Oct. 2015.

Media Coverage Report

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Conference Media Coverage Report