Dr. Chul Hyun Park and Dr. Robert C. Richards, Jr. of the University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service, along with Dr. Justin Reedy from the University of Oklahoma, recently had two research articles accepted for publication.
The articles are related to the group’s research surrounding the Oregon Citizens’ Assembly Pilot on COVID-19 Recovery, a partnership between Healthy Democracy and Oregon’s Kitchen Table, a program of the National Policy Consensus Center at Portland State University.
The Oregon Citizens’ Assembly Pilot on COVID-19 Recovery, which was held in July and August 2020, included 36 voters from across Oregon who worked together to develop recommendations for a fair and equitable path forward beyond the COVID-19 pandemic. The citizen panel was composed of randomly-selected Oregonians from all walks of life, meant to reflect a microcosm of the state in terms of age, gender, location of residence, race and ethnicity, political party, educational attainment, and level of political engagement. The assembly’s recommendations were released on August 27, 2020.
The first accepted publication from Richards and Reedy is “Convening a Minipublic During a Pandemic: A Case Study of the Oregon Citizens’ Assembly Pilot on COVID-19 Recovery.” The article will be published in the forthcoming edition of Digital Government: Research and Practice, a journal that focuses on the potential and impact of technology on governance innovations and its transformation of public institutions. The article compares survey data from the Citizen Assembly pilot with past Citizens’ Initiative Reviews and provides analysis and recommendations to improve the design and execution of future online assemblies.
From the article’s abstract:
From July-August, 2020, the nonprofit organization Healthy Democracy convened a seven-week pilot test of an online Citizen Assembly on the state of Oregon’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This pilot project presented a unique research opportunity because its organizers had ten years of experience running the Citizens’ Initiative Review, a face-to-face minipublic authorized by the State of Oregon to write voting guides for the wider electorate on ballot measures. This case study compares survey data from the Citizen Assembly pilot with the prior Citizens’ Initiative Reviews and provides analysis and recommendations that could improve the design and execution of future online assemblies.
The second article from Park, Richards, and Reedy will be published in Public Performance and Management Review, which publishes research on the performance of public and nonprofit organizations, and is titled, “Assessing Emergency Information Sharing between Governments and the Public during the COVID-19 Pandemic: An Open Government Perspective.” This article assesses the sharing of information between the government and public during the COVID-19 pandemic.
From the article’s abstract:
This study aims to conduct an assessment of emergency information sharing between the government and the public during the COVID-19 pandemic. Specifically, this study intends to explore how the government provides emergency information on the pandemic to the public, how the public provides input to the government, and how the government and the public work together to respond to the pandemic. This study employed a mixed case study method focusing on the Oregon Citizen Assembly on COVID-19 Recovery and the Oregon State Government’s pandemic response activities. This study found that ordinary citizens were overall satisfied with pandemic information provided by the state government, but they reported that they did not have sufficient opportunities to share their input with the government. Online mini-publics can serve as a meaningful and deliberative forum for civic participation during pandemics.
On March 20, Park presented a paper based on this article at the American Society for Public Administration’s Annual Conference in Jacksonville, Florida, at a program, chaired by Park, entitled “Responses to Natural and Man Made Disasters and Climate Change.”
Additionally, in April, Richards will present a paper at a workshop, “Governing through Contagion: Perspectives Across Time and Space,” at the National University of Singapore Faculty of Law. Co-convened by Associate Professor Lynette J. Chua of NUS Law and Yale-NUS College and Jack Jin Gary Lee of the NUS Centre for Asian Legal Studies & American Bar Foundation, the conference invites scholars to collaborate and engage with the concept and themes of governing through contagion.
The paper, co-written with Stephanie Burkhalter of California State Polytechnic University, Humboldt, explores patterns of governing through the COVID-19 pandemic in Oregon, whose government is highly decentralized and includes established processes of citizen participation. The paper reports results and findings from the Oregon Citizens’ Assembly Pilot on COVID-19 Recovery.