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What to Read: The Governance Report 2017

The Governance Report 2017, prepared by a team of experts assembled by the Hertie School of Governance, is the fifth in a series highlighting particular approaches to governance challenges.

The 2017 edition of the Governance Report focuses on innovative policies and initiatives meant to address the causes of the democratic malaise, to foster democratic resilience, and to stimulate the (re-)consolidation and development of democratic regimes. Aiming to shed light on how to manage and care for democracy itself, the Report emphasizes solutions geared toward enhancing citizen participation and improving institutions in various contexts. Going beyond descriptions of best practices, the Report also examines the trade-offs these solutions entail and how policy-makers can make sense of them.

The Report’s cross-national analysis reveals that innovations depend on the context in which they are applied and that remedies to the contemporary malaise of democracy is a process of trial and error that requires experimentation and adaptation.



Each year, the Governance Report is accompanied by a topical set of indicators that draws on existing databases as well as original data in order to shed light on key aspects of governance. In addition to informing the annual Governance Report publications, the indicators are made available online to the public in the form of interactive tools as well as downloadable data sets and supplementary materials.




Governance innovations are novel rules, regulations and approaches that seek to address a public problem in more efficacious and effective ways, lead to better policy outcomes and enhance legitimacy.

When applicable, the Governance Report presents a selection of ideas and practices being put forth in order to meet today’s challenges to good governance. Based on a rigorous identification and selection process, these topical governance innovations are presented as case studies in the annual publication, as well as made available online to the public in shortened form. 


The Governance Report 2017 includes chapters by:

  • Claus Offe (Hertie School of Governance), offering conceptual re ections in the context of current challenges
  • Daniel Smilov (Centre for Liberal Strategies), providing an assessment of lessons from Eastern Europe
  • Didi Kuo (Stanford University), reviewing the tensions between states and the federal level in the US
  • Thamy Pogrebinschi (Berlin Social Science Centre), looking at Latin American innovations
  • Matthias Haber (Hertie School of Governance), analysing patterns and trends around the world
  • Ewa Atanassow (Bard College Berlin) and Ira Katznelson (Columbia University), examining the governance of exigencies
  • Wolfgang Merkel (Berlin Social Science Centre), exploring the limits of innovations in established democracies
  • Donatella Della Porta and Andrea Felicetti (both of the Scuola Normale Superiore), offering a look at the role of social move- ments
  • Nina Hall (Hertie School of Governance), addressing the impact of new digital advocacy organisations.

The Report also provides brief looks at innovations in selected elds by Anke Hassel and Nicole Helmerich, Olga Kononykhina, Alina Mungiu- Pippidi, Jean Pisani-Ferry, and Andrea Römmele, all of the Hertie School.

The Governance Report 2017

(ISBN 978-0-19-878732-7) is available from Oxford University Press

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The Hertie School of Governance is a private university based in Berlin, Germany, accredited by the state and the German Science Council. It prepares exceptional students for leadership positions in government, business, and civil society. Interdisciplinary and practice-oriented teaching, first class research and an extensive international network set the Hertie School apart and position it as an ambassador of good governance, characterised by public debate and engagement. The school was founded at the end of 2003 as a project of the Hertie Foundation, which remains its major partner.