At the heart of representative government is the role of individuals in their relationships with democratic institutions and practices. As such, one component of this theme will be work on public opinion and behavior, including on electoral accountability. Additionally, it will be concerned with the development of individuals’ commitments to constitutional democracy, their understanding of the rights and responsibilities of American citizenship, and preparing individuals for informed, active, and ethical participation in democratic processes. As part of achieving these aims, we will engage in efforts to increase and improve civic education within formal K12 and postsecondary settings. 

Key questions include: 

  • How do individuals develop an understanding of and a commitment to American institutions and democratic practices? How do they develop healthy civic identities? 
  • What are developmentally appropriate and effective civic education models in K12 and postsecondary settings? 
  • What are the public’s policy positions and priorities? How well does the public hold elected officials accountable for their behavior?   
  • What are the reasons behind declining public trust in American institutions?  
Projects within this theme
Good American

Good American Citizenship Working Group


2023-24 U.S. National Election Panel

Civic Education

Citizenship in the 21st Century University

Featured Research
The Civic Bargain: How Democracy Survives
September 19, 2023 By Josiah Ober , Brook Manville

via Princeton University Press

The Civic Bargain: How Democracy Survives by Brook Manville and Josiah Ober
Accountability Reconsidered: Voters, Interests, and Information in US Policymaking
February 16, 2023 By Brandice Canes-Wrone , Charles M. Cameron , Sanford C. Gordon , Gregory A. Huber

via Cambridge University Press

Accountability Reconsidered: Voters, Interests, and Information in US Policymaking (Political Economy of Institutions and Decisions)
Election-Denying Republican Candidates Underperformed in the 2022 Midterms
February 16, 2023 By Andrew B. Hall , Janet Malzahn

via Analysis

Public Perceptions Of Technology Companies And Possible Government Actions
Polarization and Accountability in Covid Times
January 19, 2022 By Jonathan Rodden , Pablo Beramendi

via Frontiers

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Does Affective Polarization Undermine Democratic Norms or Accountability? Maybe Not
August 17, 2022 By Sean Westwood , David E. Broockman , Joshua L. Kalla

via American Journal of Political Science

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Featured Commentary
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