LAFF Society





Success and Failure of Democracies to Create Equal Opportunities

Jorrit de Jong and Gowher Rizvi, Editors

Democracies are judged by whether their citizens have equal

access to public services, economic opportunities, justice, and, of

course, participation in the democratic process. Rules and regula-

tions may guarantee this access in theory, but in reality the picture

is often very different.

Malfunctioning of institutions in democratic governance creates

inequalities of access for a number of reasons, including exclu-

sionary policymaking, insufficient attention to minorities, rationing

strategies due to inadequate funding, and inflexible delivery and

enforcement systems. The access paradox bedevils democracies:

the citizens who most depend on the state to guarantee equal

access are often least able to use the proper channels to have their

entitlements enforced. The State of Access, edited by Jorrit de

Jong and Gowher Rizvi, documents the worrisome gap between

principles and practice in democratic governance and presents

ideas designed to narrow that gap.

The State of Access is an international collaboration of scholars

with diverse expertise. Together they take a cross-disciplinary

approach to determining why democracies fail or succeed in creat-

ing equal opportunities for all their people. They identify where and

why democracies have failed while at the same time recommending

steps that may improve the state of access, thus bringing the prom-

ise of true democratic governance closer to realization.

Jorrit de Jong is a research fellow with the Ash Institute for Democratic

Governance and Innovation at the Harvard Kennedy School and cofounder

of the Kafka Brigade, an action research organization investigating exces-

sive bureaucracy. Gowher Rizvi is vice provost for international programs

and professor of global affairs at the University of Virginia. He was formerly

the director of the Harvard Kennedy School's Ash Institute for Democratic

Governance and Innovation.


Bina Agarwal (Delhi University), Maurits Barendrecht (Tilburg University),

Jorrit de Jong (Harvard Kennedy School), Peter Kasbergen (Utrecht Uni-

versity), Albert Jan Kruiter (independent researcher), Maaike de Langen

(United Nations Development Programme), Michael Lipsky (Georgetown

University), Deborah L. Rhode (Stanford University), Susan Rose-Acker-

man (Yale University), Gowher Rizvi (University of Virginia), Alexander

Schellong (Goethe University), Anwar Shah (World Bank), Guy Stuart

(Harvard Kennedy School), and Arre Zuurmond (Delft University).


DISCLAIMER: The views expressed in these pages are the views of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the LAFF Society.


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