February 18, 2020

Cambridge University Press to publish Fulbright lecturer’s book

February 18, 2020

Cambridge University Press, the oldest university press in the world, has agreed to publish the book Multilevel Democracy: How Local Institutions and Civil Society Shape the Modern State written by Dr. Bae Yooil, Lecturer and Founding Faculty of Fulbright School of Public Policy and Management (FSPPM) at Fulbright University Vietnam.

Dr. Bae is the co-author of the book along with Mr. Jefferey M. Sellers, Associate Professor of Political Science, Public Policy and Spatial Sciences at the University of Southern California, USA, and Mr. Anders Lidström, Professor of Political Science at Umeå University, Sweden.

This volume presents the first systematic comparative analysis of national traditions of local democracy across the developed world, as well as their origins and evolution. It reveals how inclusive local institutions that integrate national and local governance make democracy work better. Across most of the developed world, early forms of the national state entrenched the local power of elites. In Anglo-American and Swiss democracies, state formation imposed enduring tensions with local civic governance. In contrast, inclusive, integrative local institutions in Northern Europe enabled close links with central government around common local and national agendas, producing better governance and fuller democracy to the present day.


Through comparative analysis, the authors demonstrate how institutions for local governance and the participation of civil society differ widely among developed democracies, and how local democracy relates to national democracy. The resulting insights fundamentally recast our understanding of how to build and maintain more effective democracies.

The book was well received in academia, according to Cambridge University Press. 

“This book restores local democracy to its rightful place at the center of our understanding of national politics. Through an illuminating, comparative historical analysis, the authors show that systematic variations in local political incorporation have laid down enduring differences in the character of multilevel democracy, with far-reaching consequences for policymaking and the quality of democracy. A must-read!”, writes Christopher Ansell from University of California, Berkeley. 

“Local governments are often overlooked in discussions on the formation of modern democracies. This insightful and carefully researched book shows why they should not be: local institutional incorporation in the nation state is historically meaningful for democracies,” asserts Merilee S. Grindle from Harvard University, Massachusetts.

The book will be officially published in March 2020. Chapters have been posted online on the Cambridge University Press website. 

After a Postdoctoral Fellowship at Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy at National University of Singapore (2007-2008), Dr. Bae Yooil worked as an Assistant Professor at the School of Social Sciences, Singapore Management University (2008-2017) before joining FSPPM in January 2018.

Dr. Bae’s main research and teaching area include comparative politics and public policy, public management, urban and regional political economy, and international development cooperation.

His academic papers on East Asian decentralization, urban growth politics, and development have appeared in top academic journals.  He has also served as an advisor and cluster associate to The National Unification Advisory Council, Incheon Development Institute, as well as Asian Urbanism Cluster at Asia Research Institute (NUS). Dr. Bae reviewed many academic journal papers as an ad hoc reviewer. He is also a member of Asian Civil Society Network.

Dr. Bae is a native Korean and received his Master of Public Administration from Korea University (2000) and Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Southern California (2007).

Quynh Chi

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