Learning Agenda Questions
(April 2016 – July 2017)

The DRG Center’s Learning Agenda is a set of questions that address assumptions and questions integral to how USAID designs programs in the DRG sector. Under each question, existing data will be organized and disseminated, new evidence will be generated, and new programming recommendations produced. As a first step, interdisciplinary teams of faculty and PhD students produce an overview, assessment, and synthesis of the relevant empirical research.

Brown University - Diffusion of Grassroots Reforms
Northwestern University - Reducing Corruption through Better Civil Service
University of Colorado - Addressing the Shrinking of Civic Space
University of Denver - Human Rights and Pressure “From Below”
University of Minnesota - Consequences of Human Rights Awareness Campaigns
University of Virginia - Increasing the Civic and Political Participation of Women
Wayne State University - Increasing the Civic and Political Participation of Women


Theories of Democratic Change Research Initiative
(November 2013 – July 2017)

The purpose of this research initiative is to improve the capacity of the DRG Center to conduct strategic planning by strengthening the link between sector analysis and program design. This project responds to an expressed need from USAID’s DRG field officers to have a tool that allows them quickly and confidently to ground DRG programming and programmatic assumptions in extant academic theory that provides justification for the implied causal linkages behind how a program intervention will affect both intermediate outcomes and high-level development results. A team led by Yale University and the University of Virginia conducted the research for Phase I: Theories of Democratic Backsliding. Phase II, to be conducted from July 2016 – July 2017 by a team from Michigan State University, will cover theories that explain paths away from authoritarianism; Phase III will cover theories that explain democratic consolidation.

Yale University - Theories of Change Phase I: Democratic Backsliding
Michigan State University - Theories of Democratic Change Phase II: Paths Away from Authoritarianism


DRG Research and Innovation Grants: Initial Solicitation
(October 2013 – August 2016)

The 2013 Research and Innovation Grants Annual Program Statement (APS) funded innovative research to enhance both a deep theoretical and an applied understanding of dynamics within the DRG sector. Eight research teams led by Arizona State University; the College of William and Mary; Georgia State University; the University of California, Los Angeles; the University of Denver; the University of Michigan; the University of Notre Dame; and Williams College conducted cutting-edge research in diverse fields in the DRG sector, including human rights, electoral integrity, community governance, and transitional justice, among others.

Arizona State University - Does Women’s Political Presence Matter? Examining Descriptive, Substantive, and Symbolic Representation via a Natural Experiment
College of William and Mary - China and the African State: Evidence from Surveys, Survey Experiments, and Behavioral Games in Liberia
Georgia State University - Legitimacy Deficits in Colombia's Peace Talks: Elites, Trust, and Support for Transitional Justice
University of California, Los Angeles - Evaluating the Impact of Election Observers on Election Fraud, and on Political Representation and Accountability
University of Denver - Human Rights, Civil Resistance, and Corporate Behavior: Mapping Trends and Assessing Impact
University of Michigan - Development of an Election Forensics Toolkit: Using Subnational Data to Detect Anomalies
University of Notre Dame - Can Indigenous Associations Foster Trust, Tolerance, and Public Goods? Exploring the Role of Grinw in Rebuilding Civil Society and Democracy in Post-Conflict Mali
Williams College - Value for Money in Purchasing Votes? Vote-buying and Voter Behavior in the Laboratory


Counter-Trafficking in Persons (C-TIP) Campus Challenge Research Grants
(October 2013 – August 2016)

Since 2001, USAID has implemented C-TIP programs in more than 68 countries. Despite the complexity of the crime and efforts by many national and international organizations to eliminate it, there is limited research on the nature and extent of human trafficking, its underlying dynamics, and the effectiveness of C-TIP programs. Through three Research and Innovation Grants, research teams led by Texas Christian University, the University of Southern California, and Vanderbilt University implemented public opinion surveys in USAID priority countries for C-TIP programming, generating data to inform the design of programs to raise awareness about trafficking among vulnerable populations and to influence knowledge, attitudes, and practices related to trafficking.

Texas Christian University - Gauging Public Opinion on Human Trafficking in Moldova and Albania: Employing Survey Experimentation to Inform Effective Prevention and Awareness Programs
University of Southern California, Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism - Assessing Changes in Attitudes, Awareness, and Behavior among Indonesian Youth: A Multi-Method Communication and Social Media Approach
Vanderbilt University - Human Trafficking Vulnerability: An Experimental Intervention Using Mass Media to Change Knowledge, Attitudes, Beliefs, and Practices in Nepal


Understanding Social Movements Grant
(November 2013 – February 2015)

The social movements of the Arab Spring brought protesters onto the streets in several countries in and beyond the Middle East, leading to unprecedented political transitions and changes. Traditionally, the international development community, including USAID, has focused on supporting formal civil society actors, yet the success of a social movement also depends on informal actors. Under this grant, a research team led by the University of California, San Diego conducted a mixed-methods case study to explore the informal networks, systems, and leadership that characterized the social movements of the Arab Spring.

University of California, San Diego - Online and Offline Activism in Egypt and Bahrain