Improving the capacity of government to solve public problems.

The Center for Effective Government (CEG) was founded in 2019 with an ambitious but vital mission: to strengthen democratic institutions and improve the capacity of government to solve public problems.

Founded within the University of Chicago’s Harris School of Public Policy, CEG builds on a rich history of leveraging groundbreaking research to realize systemic change.

Since 1890, the University of Chicago has challenged conventional thinking and has been a force for social and political change. The Harris School of Public Policy brings social impact down to a science, driving innovative policy based not on ideology, politics, or pedigree, but on rigorous analysis. CEG builds upon this approach: we are non-partisan and scholarly, yet action-oriented and firmly grounded in reality.

The Center for Effective Government is home to the Civic Leadership Academy and activities previously run through the Project on Political Reform.

Our Politics Are Broken

Today’s governing institutions impede and distort promising efforts to address policy challenges that stand before us.  Government fails to take meaningful action on the pressing problems of our time, and when it does act, it produces ineffective, incoherent policies. As a result, Gallup polls show that public trust in the government’s handling of both domestic and international issues has reached record lows. 

A Hub for Reform

The Center for Effective Government builds bridges between scholars, students, practitioners, civic leaders, journalists, advocacy groups and others who are fighting to protect and strengthen democracy. This requires a multi-faceted theory of action that leverages:

Ideas: We conduct innovative and rigorous research to find the best solutions to ineffective government.

Education: We give practitioners and aspiring leaders tools and training they need to effectively impact their organizations, their government, and their world. We share best practices and learn from each other.

Engagement: We elevate issues of government ineffectiveness—and their potential solutions—to the public square through dialogue and discussion.

Impact

Our work is already bringing key players together and moving the needle to make our government better. 

  • We are elevating these reforms in national dialogues on issues ranging from impeachment to the global pandemic.
  • Our faculty and their research are regularly featured in the national press, including the New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Vox, and more. 
  • We've convened a series of unique bipartisan conferences with the nation's top political campaign professionals, and we were instrumental in bringing together the scholarship and legal expertise that has resulted in a series of lawsuits around the country to remove unjustifiable, election-altering biases in rules governing the order in which candidates appear on the ballot. 
  • Through our Civic Leadership Academy —now in its sixth year—we have brought together more than 180 fellows representing more than 100 government and non-profit agencies in Chicago to learn and train together. 
  • CEG Director William Howell, together with fellow UChicago scholars Anthony Fowler and Wioletta Dziuda, provide a fresh perspective on the biggest political stories not through opinion and anecdotes, but through rigorous scholarship on Not Another Politics Podcast, which has been consistently rated one of the top government podcasts on Apple. 

Leadership Team

  • William Howell, Director
  • Sadia Sindhu, Executive Director
  • Marc Farinella, Senior Advisor for Strategy and External Relations

See the entire Center for Effective Government team.

Contact Us

Email Sadia Sindhu to get involved and learn more about the Center for Effective Government.

William Howell

Sydney Stein Professor in American Politics

William Howell

William Howell has written widely on separation-of-powers issues and American political institutions, especially the presidency. He currently is working on research projects on Obama's education initiatives, distributive politics, and the normative foundations of executive power.