$3M commitment from Berggruen Institute to support UCLA research partnership


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Berggruen Institute

“The Berggruen Institute gift allows us to continue exploring the relationship between the quality of democracy and the quality of life – a crucial issue in today’s world,” said UCLA Luskin’s Helmut Anheier.

The UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs has received a $3 million gift from the Berggruen Institute to produce and disseminate the Los Angeles–based think tank’s Berggruen Governance Index, which evaluates countries based on their quality of political and administrative governance.

With the capacity of democratic governance being tested around the world, the index seeks to deepen public understanding of the relationship between democracy, government competence and the provision of public goods.

“The Luskin School is thrilled to partner with the Berggruen Institute on this incredibly important and timely work,” said Gary Segura, the school’s dean. “In a period where governments the world over struggle to cope with global crises, including the current pandemic, the effectiveness, transparency and capacity of states to care for the needs of their people is of critical importance. With this gift, the Luskin School can help advance our understanding of what makes government effective.”

For policymakers and policy analysts, the index will serve as a much-needed tool for grasping how governance relates to social and economic progress in various political contexts. A better understanding of these relationships, say UCLA Luskin researchers, is particularly relevant as liberal democracies face increasing threats from autocratic rivals.

“We are excited to deepen our relationships at UCLA through this partnership with the Luskin School,” said Dawn Nakagawa, executive vice president of the Berggruen Institute. “This important collaboration will lead to new insights about how to enhance government capacity in ways that lead to better quality-of-life outcomes.”

Led by Helmut Anheier, an adjunct professor of social welfare, the team based at UCLA Luskin will curate, advance and disseminate the Berggruen Governance Index over a five-year period, helping to increase awareness of the index’s findings among policymakers, analysts and the general public through various events and media formats.

“The Berggruen Institute gift allows us to continue exploring the relationship between the quality of democracy and the quality of life — a crucial issue in today’s world,” Anheier said. “Governance is about how effectively we address public problems. The index is designed to reveal how different countries are managing in this regard.”

Anheier, who is also a professor of sociology at the Hertie School in Berlin, where the index originated, noted that other governance indices do not focus on the process of governance that is central to the Berggruen Governance Index, which looks closely at how the delivery of public goods contributes to the quality of life of citizens.

The 2019 Berggruen Governance Index analyzed 25 different aspects of the performance of 38 countries over a 14-year period, tracking national differences in three crucial areas of governance: quality of democracy, quality of government and quality of life.

The Berggruen Institute was founded in 2010 by investor and philanthropist Nicolas Berggruen, and editor Nathan Gardels.

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