University of Pittsburgh
June 7, 2012

APSA Task Force on Democracy, Economic Security, and Social Justice in a Volatile World—Chaired by Pitt Political Science Professor Michael Goodhart—Releases Report

Report is titled “Democratic Imperatives: Innovations in Rights, Participation, and Economic Citizenship”
Contact:  412-624-4147


PITTSBURGH—The global economic and financial crisis of 2008 created tumult spreading far beyond the economy, with bank bailouts that sparked outrage and shook democratically elected governments in many countries. In addition, the upheavals of the Arab Spring of 2011, protest movements like Occupy and the Indignados, the ongoing War on Terror, and climate change all have challenged politicians and policy makers.

Amid these convulsions, in 2009, the American Political Science Association (APSA) convened the Task Force on Democracy, Economic Security, and Social Justice in a Volatile World to address the issues affecting democracy. Chaired by Michael Goodhart, associate professor of political science in the University of Pittsburgh’s Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences, the task force was formed to rethink familiar political, economic, and societal assumptions in light of worrisome global trends.

In its newly released report titled “Democratic Imperatives: Innovations in Rights, Participation, and Economic Citizenship,” the task force argues that in emerging and established democracies alike, the promise of democracy remains unfulfilled. The report focuses on policies and institutions designed to deepen democracy by increasing respect for human rights, promoting participatory governance, and securing the economic bases of democratic citizenship. It documents how these measures can help to reduce democratic deficits by making government and politics more responsive, more accountable, and more transparent, and by enabling citizens to take a greater role in governing themselves.

In particular, the task force assessed recent policy innovations in three broad, related areas: basic income, participatory budgeting and planning, and rights-based models of welfare and development. According to Goodhart, this task force “also delivered on the objective of all APSA task forces: to bring relevant and timely research in the field of political science to the attention of policy makers and the public and to promote interest in important policy questions within the discipline.”

Report authors and task force members come from, in addition to Pitt, Brown, Harvard, and Syracuse universities; the Universities of Bath (UK), Bergen (Norway), and California-Los Angeles; Haverford College; the National Economic and Social Rights Initiative in New York City; and the World Bank, among other institutions.

The APSA was established in 1903 and is the leading professional organization in its field, with more than 15,000 members in 80 countries. For more news and information about political science research, visit the APSA media Web site,




University Units