Jonathan Fox is a professor of development studies at the School of International Service at American University, where he directs the Accountability Research Center. Launched in 2016, ARC is an action-research incubator that partners with public interest groups and policymakers on research questions that can inform strategies for change. ARC has been funded by the Hewlett, MacArthur, Ford, Open Society and Packard Foundations.
Before coming to Washington DC in 2013, Jonathan Fox taught in the Department of Latin American and Latino Studies (LALS) at the University of California, Santa Cruz. He joined the UCSC faculty in 1996, served twice as chair of the LALS Department and became Emeritus Professor in 2014. He has held fellowships in Washington, D.C. with the Council on Foreign Relations (1995-1996) and the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars (2004-2005). He previously served on the faculty of the MIT Political Science Department (1988-1995), where he also received his PhD in Political Science (1986).
His research interests include transparency and accountability, democratization, social movements, social and environmental policy, transnational civil society, immigration, race, ethnicity and youth studies. One of his most recent articles, published in World Development, focuses on countervailing power. His current research focuses on accountability reforms around the world, including a long-term focus on Mexican rural development policy. He worked with the Open Government Partnership, serving as a founding member of the International Expert Panel of its Independent Reporting Mechanism until 2016. In 2014 and 2015, he presented work on how to interpret evaluation research on the impacts of citizen engagement with the Global Partnership for Social Accountability, collaborated with the Transparency and Accountability Initiative on a report that assesses governance-oriented multi-stakeholder initiatives and co-authored a background paper for the 2016 World Development Report on whether government service delivery agencies respond to ICT-enabled citizen voice initiatives (also published in a special issue of the IDS Bulletin on “Opening Governance”).
Fox has presented at conferences in India, Mexico, Philippines, Colombia, Germany, Nigeria, Mexico, Portugal, Guatemala and the UK (see “lectures” link above). Related ‘think pieces’ include “Doing Accountability Differently,” published with U4: Anti-Corruption Resource Centre (also published in Spanish translation) and “Scaling Accountability” – published by Making All Voices Count and the Institute for Development Studies. Current research involves rethinking the concept of scale in the accountability field, as well as analysis of “accountability keywords.” His blog on the state of research in the transparency/accountability field was listed as the International Institute for Impact Evaluation’s most popular in 2019.
His most recent work on long-term work on Mexican rural development includes collaboration with Xochitl Bada on a 2021 article on “the right to stay home.” This line of work also included a decade of collaboration with the public interest website subsidiosalcampo.org.mx, as well as partnerships with civic groups that monitor government social and agricultural policies.
His teaching focuses on policy reform, public interest advocacy and collective action for public accountability, including interdisciplinary courses on action research, social science concepts and methods, accountability, Mexico and transnational civil society. His advising of doctoral students includes PhD dissertations completed at UC Santa Cruz (Politics, Sociology, Education, Anthropology, Environmental Studies, Psychology), and in Mexico (UNAM, CIESAS, UAZ, UACJ), as well as dissertations in progress at American University. In 2013, the American Political Science Association’s Committee on the Status of Latinos and Latinas in the Profession awarded him the Adaljiza Sosa-Ridell Mentoring Award for Exemplary Mentoring of Graduate Students in Political Science. In 2016, SIS recognized him as Outstanding Faculty Mentor. In 2018, SIS recognized his work for “Fostering Collaborative Scholarship.” He is also an Honorary Associate of the Institute for Development Studies (Brighton, UK).
Jonathan Fox also collaborates with a wide range of public interest groups, private foundations, public sector organizations and social organizations, with a focus on policy analysis, public interest advocacy campaigns, capacity-building, strategic planning, as well as board service – previously with Oxfam America (until 2016) and Fundar (Mexico), until 2021), Bank Information Center, the Community Agro-Ecology Network, Controla tu Gobierno (Mexico) and the advisory board of CCiudadano (Mexico).