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The APSA Task Force Report: Democratic Imperatives

Democratic Imperatives: Innovations in Rights, Participation, and Economic Citizenship

Report of the American Political Science Association Task Force on Democracy, Economic Security, and Social Justice in a Volatile World.

 June 2012


In this recently released report, the task force offers insight from the field of political science into innovations that can help to reduce democratic deficits, increase legitimacy, and make democracy work better in new and long-established democracies.  These are not abstract philosophical blueprints but rather policies and institutions being used successfully around the world today.

The report focuses on three arenas in which promising democratic innovations are emerging: 1) human rights-based approaches to democratization, welfare, and development; 2) participatory governance; and, 3) economic citizenship. The task force draws attention to crucial themes and common objectives: deepening democracy; enhancing collective and individual agency; reducing poverty; achieving greater equality of wealth, income, power, respect, influence, legal status, or opportunity; and, cultivating solidarity in democratic communities. The task force presents key innovations for revitalizing democracy in our volatile world.

Table of Contents:

Executive Summary


  • A Volatile World
  • Aims and Scope
  • Structure of the Report

Human Rights–based Approaches

  • Introduction
  • An Analytic Framework
  • Implementation and Effectiveness
  • Conclusions

Participatory Governance

  • Introduction
  • Deepening Democracy
  • A Pragmatic Approach to Participatory Governance
  • Institutional Architecture for Participatory Governance
  • Participatory Governance and
  • Social Justice
  • Conclusions

Economic Citizenship

  • Dimensions of Economic Citizenship
  • Economic Citizenship in More Developed Countries
  • Economic Citizenship in Less Developed Countries
  • Mechanisms of Economic Citizenship
  • Conclusions

From Innovations to Imperatives: Democracy in a Volatile World

  • Connections
  • Broadening Political Science


Members of Task Force on Democracy, Economic Security, and Social Justice in a Volatile World:

  • Michael Goodhart, University of Pittsburgh, Chair
  • Archon Fung, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University
  • Varun Gauri, World Bank
  • Siri Gloppen, University of Bergen (Norway)
  • Louise Haagh, University of York (UK)
  • Patrick Heller, Brown University
  • Carole Pateman, University of California, Los Angeles, Ex Officio, 2010-11 APSA President
  • Enrique Peruzzotti, University Torcuato Di Tella (Argentina)
  • Anja Rudiger, National Economic and Social Rights Initiative (New York)
  • Hans Peter Schmitz, Maxwell School of Syracuse University
  • Guy Standing, University of Bath (UK)
  • Brian Wampler, Boise State University
  • Susanna Wing, Haverford College

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