Our research focuses on the paradoxes, unintended consequences, and hidden costs of efforts to promote democracy. On the surface, democratic reforms are designed to enhance the quality of democracy, but such reforms do not always lead to outcomes that are, in fact, democratic. Citizen empowerment movements define and constrict "valid" modes of political participation. Efforts to regulate political finance may entrench the power of dominant political parties and interest groups rather than spur new contestants and electoral competition. The adoption of electoral systems ostensibly designed to be more representative often mask hidden undemocratic motives. Mechanisms put in place to reduce electoral fraud sometimes increase fraud, alienate voters, or prevent people from going to the polls. In countries across the globe, middle class citizens endorse order and stability rather than mass participation, freedom, or equality as the goals of good government. Scholars in this cluster draw on a variety of methods rooted in interpretive, historical, post-structural, and quantitative research traditions.