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 is funded by private foundations, including the Hewlett, Open Society, MacArthur, Packard and Mott 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. His current research focuses on accountability reforms around the world, including a long-term focus on Mexican rural development policy. His recent articles address accountability ‘keywords,’ whether international developments projects contribute to long-term power shifts, ‘the right to stay home‘ in rural Mexico and the roles of frontline rural health rights defenders. 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, he collaborated with the Transparency and Accountability Initiative on a report that assessed governance-oriented multi-stakeholder initiatives and he co-authored a background paper for the 2016 World Development Report on whether government service delivery agencies respond to civic tech-enabled citizen voice initiatives.
Fox has presented in person 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, a comparative study of sandwich strategies for reform, 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 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. 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. The AU School of International Service recognized him as Outstanding Faculty Mentor in 2016 and for Outstanding Contribution to Collaborative Scholarship in 2018. 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 and strategic planning. Current non-profit board service includes the Community Agro-Ecology Network, Controla tu Gobierno (Mexico), the advisory board of CCiudadano (Mexico), and Fundar (Mexico, honorary board member).