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Our mission

The Center for Effective Government (CEG) was founded in 2019 at the Harris School of Public Policy with an ambitious but vital mission: to study, debate, and enhance public understanding of reforms that have the potential to strengthen democratic institutions and improve the capacity of government to solve public problems.

2022-23 Annual Report

As the world continues to change around us, the role faltering institutions play in our public policy has never been more clear. In 2022-23, CEG continued centering scholarship in conversations on institutional reform in the broader context of strengthening our democracy: conversations that bring together myriad stakeholders and transcend stark differences to achieve our ultimate goal of a flourishing democracy and effective government.

Read our 2022-23 Annual Report to learn more about our work this past year.

Previous reports

2021-22 CEG Annual Report >

2020-21 CEG Annual Report >

What we do

The challenge

Today’s governing institutions impede and distort promising efforts to address policy challenges that stand before us. Our government regularly fails to take action, and when it does, it produces policies that are incoherent, inefficient, and ineffective. The result is a growing number of costly, seemingly intractable problems, along with the erosion of public trust in government.

Our solution

Government reform is hard work. It won't happen overnight, and we know we can't do it alone. To achieve meaningful change, built on the best policies and firmly grounded in reality, we employ a multi-faceted theory of action that leverage ideas, education, and engagement:

As an academic institution with unique opportunities to work with key players in the worlds of politics, policy, law, advocacy, and the media, we can build bridges with those fighting to protect and strengthen our democracy. As such, CEG's programming and activities are varied and robust: from training seminars to direct engagement with political practitioners, conferences to student events, research grants to fellowships, op-ed series to podcasts, CEG will do what it takes to bring issues of reform to the fore and fix our broken institutions.

Our values

Given our priorities and the gravity of our work, CEG organizes its work around three core commitments. In everything we do, we strive to be:


We understand that inclusivity is fundamental to functional governance. It’s not possible to develop effective solutions in a silo.


We are not interested in being clever. There is nothing more crucial to human progress than government that facilitates human flourishing. But in a complex world, this is hard work, and we take it seriously.


We believe in big ideas. We also believe in putting them into motion—in harnessing them to materially improve our government, our nation, and our world.

The University of Chicago

Founded within the University of Chicago’s Harris School of Public Policy—which has a rich history of leveraging groundbreaking research to realize systemic change and remains a driving force for policy based not on ideology, politics, or pedigree, but on rigorous analysis and evidence—CEG’s approach is non-partisan and scholarly, while remaining action-oriented and firmly grounded in reality.