Research Library

Viterna, Jocelyn, and Cassandra Robertson. Forthcoming.

New Directions in the Sociology of Development

, Annual Review of Sociology 41. Download Paper
Simmons, Beth A, Volha Charnysh, and Paulette Lloyd. Forthcoming.

Frames and Consensus Formation in International Relations: The Case of Trafficking in Persons

, European Journal of International Relations.Abstract
This article examines the process of consensus formation by the international community on how to confront the problem of trafficking in persons. We analyze the corpus of UNGA Third Committee resolutions to show that (1) consensus around the issue of how to confront trafficking in persons has increased over time; and (2) the formation of this consensus depends on how the issue is framed. We test our argument by examining the characteristics of resolutions’ sponsors and discursive framing concepts such as crime, human rights, and the strength of enforcement language. We conclude that the consensus formation process in international relations is more aptly described as one of “accommodation” through issue linkage than a process of persuasion.
Simmons, Beth A, and Richard A Nielsen. Forthcoming.

Rewards for Ratification:

Payoffs for Participating in the International Human Rights Regime?

, International Studies Quarterly.Abstract
Among the explanations for state ratification of human rights treaties, few are more common and widely accepted than the conjecture that states are rewarded for ratification by other states. These rewards are expected to come in the form of tangible benefits - foreign aid, trade, and investment - and intangible benefits such as praise, acceptance, and legitimacy. Surprisingly, these explanations for ratification have never been tested empirically. We summarize and clarify the theoretical underpinnings of "reward-for-ratification" theories and test these propositions empirically by looking for increased international aid, economic agreements and public praise and recognition following ratification of four prominent human rights treaties. We find almost no evidence that states can expect increased tangible or intangible rewards after ratification. Given the lack of empirical support, alternative explanations seem more appealing for understanding human rights treaty ratification.
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Simmons, Beth, and Judith Kelley. Forthcoming.

Politics by Number: Indicators as Social Pressure in International Relations

, American Journal of Political Science.Abstract
The ability to monitor state behavior has become a critical tool of international governance. Systematic monitoring allows for the creation of numerical indicators that can be used to rank, compare and essentially censure states. This article argues that the ability to disseminate such numerical indicators widely and instantly constitutes an exercise of social power, with the potential to change important policy outputs. It explores this argument in the context of the United States’ efforts to combat trafficking in persons and find evidence that monitoring has important effects: countries are more likely to criminalize human trafficking when they are included in the US annual Trafficking in Persons Report, while countries that are placed on a “watch list” are also more likely to criminalize. These findings have broad implications for international governance and the exercise of soft power in the global information age.
Asad, Asad, and Tamara Kay. Forthcoming.

Theorizing the Relationship Between NGOs and the State in Medical Humanitarian Development Projects

, Social Science and Medicine: 1-9. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Social scientists have fiercely debated the relationship between non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and the state in NGO-led development projects. However, this research often carries an implicit, and often explicit, anti-state bias, suggesting that when NGOs collaborate with states, they cease to be a progressive force. This literature thus fails to recognize the state as a complex, heterogeneous, and fragmented entity. In particular, the unique political context within which an NGO operates is likely to influence how it carries out its work. In this article, we ask: how do NGOs work and build relationships with different types of states and – of particular relevance to practitioners – what kinds of relationship building lead to more successful development outcomes on the ground? Drawing on 29 in-depth interviews with members of Partners in Health and Oxfam America conducted between September 2010 and February 2014, we argue that NGOs and their medical humanitarian projects are more likely to succeed when they adjust how they interact with different types of states through processes of interest harmonization and negotiation. We offer a theoretical model for understanding how these processes occur across organizational fields. Specifically, we utilize field overlap theory to illuminate how successful outcomes depend on NGOs' ability to leverage resources – alliances and networks; political, financial, and cultural resources; and frames – across state and non-state fields. By identifying how NGOs can increase the likelihood of project success, our research should be of interest to activists, practitioners, and scholars.
Frieden, Jeffry. 2014.

The Crisis and Beyond: Prospects for International Economic Cooperation

, in Ministero dell'Economia e delle Finanze and Centre for Economic Policy Research Joint Conference. Harvard DASH repositoryAbstract
An integrated world economy requires cooperation among major economic powers. Without determined cooperation among the principal powers, globalization is unlikely to survive the inevitable shocks to which it is subjected. The world faces a difficult adjustment to reduce the macroeconomic imbalances that were a major cause of the current crisis. This means reducing the surpluses of the major surplus countries in East Asia and Europe, and reducing the deficits of the major deficit countries in North America and Europe. Both processes require substantial domestic economic changes; economies and people will be tempted to turn inward, and governments will be tempted to reduce the priority they give to their external ties. This increases the risks of a breakdown in international cooperation. Historical precedent is instructive. During the interwar period, a global macroeconomic imbalance was a major cause of the eventual economic catastrophe. During the 1920s, Germany borrowed heavily from the United States. But when a crisis hit, it turned out that neither country was politically prepared to maintain cooperative policies. Americans, focused on domestic concerns, were unwilling to help work out a cooperative resolution of the crisis. Germany exploded into social and political unrest and ended up in the hands of rabid nationalists and protectionists. The problem was political: a lack of domestic support for the sacrifices necessary to maintain international cooperation. As the crisis winds down and post-crisis adjustment begins, major governments will be challenged to work together to support a well-functioning international economy. They will need to address the concerns of constituents who will chafe at the economic changes forced upon them. Governments that can build domestic political support for international economic engagement will be in a stronger position to work to sustain an integrated global economy.
Mennillo, Giulia, and Suryapratim Roy. 2014.

Ratings and Regulation: A Case of an Irreversible Marriage?

What are the rationales for policymakers to rely on putatively disinterested actors such as credit rating agencies (CRAs) for financial regulatory input? This paper draws on perspectives from International Political Economy and Comparative Legal Studies to analyze the reasons behind the use and retention of external ratings as an indirect instrument of financial regulation. We find that allowing "market practice" to determine the relationship between ratings and regulation creates tautological justifications of the CRAs' authority, and raises compelling questions in terms of legitimacy. The purpose of this paper is to uncover the constitutive elements of the tacit acquiescence underlying the subordination to CRA ratings in regulatory matters. The examination of possible conceptualizations of legitimacy may help conduct further inquiries into the politics of technocracy.
Mylonas, Harris. 2014.

Scotland Rejects Independence as U.K. Vows to Give It More Power

. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Scotland voted to stay in the U.K. in a referendum on independence, stepping back from a breakup of the 307-year-old union while wringing promises of more financial power from Prime Minister David Cameron. After a count through the night, 55.3 percent of Scottish voters supported the “no” campaign against 44.7 percent who backed independence. U.K. shares helped lead European equities to a 6 1/2-year high and the pound rose to the strongest level in two years against the euro after the Better Together campaign posted a wider margin of victory than opinion polls suggested. There was a record turnout of more than 90 percent in some of the 32 districts. The Scottish Independence Vote: Breakdown of Results “I accept the verdict” of the people, Alex Salmond, the leader of Scotland’s semi-autonomous government in Edinburgh, said in a speech. While conceding defeat, he stressed the broad movement that resulted in 1.6 million votes for independence. “The unionist parties made vows and Scotland will expect them to be delivered in rapid course,” he said. The referendum outcome follows two years of increasingly bitter arguments over the economic viability of independence, the currency to be used, custody of the health service and North Sea oil revenue, leaving a legacy of a divided Scotland while inspiring self-determination movements across Europe. The FTSE 100 Index added 0.7 percent in London, and the Stoxx Europe 600 Index rose 0.6 percent. The pound gained as much as 0.9 percent versus the euro and traded 0.4 percent higher at 78.52 pence at 12:09 p.m. in London. The benchmark 10-year U.K. government bond yield fell 1 basis point to 2.57 percent. The two-year gilt yield rose 3 basis points to 0.89 percent as investors bet the decision to reject independence clears the way for the Bank of England to raise interest rates as early as the spring. Extra Powers Cameron said he would stick with his promise to cede more policy-making powers for Scotland after a “no” vote. He also pledged a constitutional shakeup of the U.K. that would take into account how England and Wales are governed. Scotland's Vote for Independence Outside his Downing Street office in London, Cameron said the Scottish people had spoken and “we hear you.” “We will ensure those commitments are honored in full,” he said. The closeness of the contest before the vote, which saw one poll this month put the “yes” camp ahead, unnerved financial markets and triggered a last-ditch attempt by Better Together to persuade voters that “no” would herald some of the changes Scots say they want. The prime minister and opposition Labour Party leader Ed Miliband canceled parliamentary business and headed north a week before the vote to campaign in cities and towns across Scotland. They pledged more powers to the Scottish Parliament over taxation and welfare spending in an attempt to arrest momentum in the polls for Salmond after he outshone Better Together campaign leader Alistair Darling in a televised debate. ‘Positive Change’ Darling, a former Labour chancellor of the exchequer, used his victory speech to hail the vote for “positive change rather than needless separation.” Cameron called Darling this morning to congratulate him on his successful campaign. “They need to get their skates on and deliver,” Matt Qvortrup, senior researcher at Cranfield University and author of “Referendums and Ethnic Conflict,” said of the main U.K. parties -- Cameron’s Conservatives, his Liberal Democrat coalition partners and Labour. “They should have done this earlier.” As the results unfolded, early bellwethers suggested a let-off for Cameron and Miliband. In the end, only four local authorities -- Dundee, West Dunbartonshire, North Lanarkshire and Glasgow, Scotland’s biggest city -- voted “yes.” ‘Blew It’ Emily Gallagher, an 18-year-old student and “yes” supporter, said she was “devastated” by the result. “We had a great opportunity and we blew it,” she said over the din of pro-independence chants in central Glasgow. “We’ve had so many Tory governments we’ve never voted for and that’s just going to go on.” That the referendum took place at all reflected the gulf between politics in Scotland, where Salmond’s SNP has run the devolved administration since 2007, and the rest of the U.K., where Cameron’s Conservatives have the support of just one Tory lawmaker from Scotland. The situation was exacerbated by the weakening of Labour, traditionally a dominant force in Scotland. The party lost to Cameron in the 2010 election to the U.K. Parliament at Westminster before being trounced by the SNP in Scotland a year later. That win for the nationalists paved the way for the vote on establishing Europe’s newest sovereign state. Edinburgh Agreement Cameron and Salmond signed the Edinburgh Agreement that set out the terms of the referendum in October 2012 with both promising to uphold the result. The campaigns became increasingly heated and culminated this week in both sides appealing to the emotional side of voters. In the event, it appeared that more of the undecided respondents in opinion polls opted for the status quo. “This was an event that cannot be captured or understood just by looking at the percentages,” said Harris Mylonas, assistant professor of political science at George Washington University and author of “The Politics of Nation-Building.”
Ferguson, Niall. 2014.

Scots Must Vote Nae

, New York Times. Publisher's VersionAbstract
To most Americans, Scotland means golf, whisky and—if they go there—steady drizzle. Even to the millions of Americans whose surnames testify to their Scottish or Scotch-Irish ancestry, the idea that Scotland might be about to become an independent country is baffling.
<p>Africa's Development in Historical Perspective</p>
Bates, Robert H, Nathan Nunn, James A Robinson, and Emmanuel Akyeampong, eds. 2014.

Africa's Development in Historical Perspective

. Cambridge University Press. Publisher's VersionAbstract
This edited volume addresses the root causes of Africa's persistent poverty through an investigation of its longue durée history. It interrogates the African past through disease and demography, institutions and governance, African economies and the impact of the export slave trade, colonialism, Africa in the world economy, and culture's influence on accumulation and investment. Several of the chapters take a comparative perspective, placing Africa's developments aside other global patterns. The readership for this book spans from the informed lay reader with an interest in Africa, academics and undergraduate and graduate students, policy makers, and those in the development world.
<p>African Religions: A Very Short Introduction</p>
Olupona, Jacob K. 2014.

African Religions: A Very Short Introduction

. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Publisher's VersionAbstract
What are African religions? African Religions: A Very Short Introduction answers this question by examining primarily indigenous religious traditions on the African continent, as well as exploring Christianity and Islam. It focuses on the diversity of ethnic groups, languages, cultures, and worldviews, emphasizing the continent's regional diversity. Olupona examines a wide range of African religious traditions on their own terms and in their social, cultural, and political contexts. For example, the book moves beyond ethnographic descriptions and interpretations of core beliefs and practices to look at how African religion has engaged issues of socioeconomic development and power relations. Olupona examines the myths and sacred stories about the origins of the universe that define ethnic groups and national identities throughout Africa. He also discusses spiritual agents in the African cosmos such as God, spirits, and ancestors. In addition to myths and deities, Olupona focuses on the people central to African religions, including medicine men and women, rainmakers, witches, magicians, and divine kings, and how they serve as authority figures and intermediaries between the social world and the cosmic realm. African Religions: A Very Short Introduction discusses a wide variety of religious practices, including music and dance, calendrical rituals and festivals, celebrations for the gods' birthdays, and rituals accompanying stages of life such as birth, puberty, marriage, elderhood, and death. In addition to exploring indigenous religions, Olupona examines the ways Islam and Christianity as outside traditions encountered indigenous African religion. He shows how these incoming faith traditions altered the face and the future of indigenous African religions as well as how indigenous religions shaped two world religions in Africa and the diaspora. Olupona draws on archaeological and historical sources, as well as ethnographic materials based on fieldwork. He shows that African religions are not static traditions, but have responded to changes within their local communities and to fluxes caused by outside influences, and spread with diaspora and migration.
Nye, Joseph S., Jr. 2014.

All in the Family: the Dulleses, the Bundys and the End of the Establishment

, Foreign Affairs. Publisher's Version
Khanna, Tarun, and Prithwiraj Choudhury. 2014.

Charting Dynamic Trajectories: Multinational Enterprises in India

, Business History Review.Abstract
In this article, we provide a synthesizing framework that we call the “ dynamic trajectories ” framework to study the evolution of multinational enterprises (MNEs) in host countries over time. We argue that a change in the policy environment in a host country presents an MNE with two sets of interrelated decisions. First, the MNE has to decide whether to enter, exit, or stay in the host country at the onset of each policy epoch; second, conditional on the fi rst choice, it has to decide on its local responsiveness strategy at the onset of each policy epoch. India, which experienced two policy shocks — shutting down to MNEs in 1970 and then opening up again in 1991 — offers an interesting laboratory to explore the “ dynamic trajec- tories ” perspective. We collect and analyze a unique dataset of all entry and exit events for Fortune 50 and FTSE 50 fi rms (as of 1991) in India in the period from 1858 to 2013 and, addition- ally, we document detailed case studies of four MNEs (that arguably represent outliers in our sample)
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Viterna, Jocelyn, Chares Demetriou, and Stefan Malthaner. 2014.

Radical or Righteous? Using Gender to Shape Public Perceptions of Political Violence

, in Dynamics of Political Violence: A Process-Oriented Perspective on Radicalization and the Escalation of Political Conflict, Lorenzo Bosi, 189-216. Surrey, UK: Ashgate Publishing. Download Chapter
Simmons, Beth A. 2014.

Bargaining over BITs, Arbitrating Awards: The Regime for Protection and Promotion of International Investment

, World Politics 66, no. 1: 12-46.Abstract
The regime for international investment is extraordinary in public international law and controversial in many regions of the world. This article explores two aspects of this set of rules: its decentralization and the unusual powers it gives to private actors to invoke dispute settlement. Decentralization has contributed to a competitive environment for ratification of bilateral investment treaties (BITs) and has elevated the importance of dyadic bargaining power in the formation of the regime. Governments of developing countries are more likely to enter into BITs and tie their hands more tightly when they are in a weak bargaining position, which in turn is associated with economic downtowns of the domestic economy. Once committed, investors have sued governments with surprising regularity, arguably contributing disproportionately to legal awards that favor the private corporate actors who have the power to convene the dispute settlement system. One of the conclusions is that it is important not only to consider whether BITs attract capital - which hs been the focus of nearly all the empirical research on BIT effects - but also to investigate the governance consequences of the international investment regime generally.
<p>Professing Selves: Transsexuality and Same-Sex Desire in Contemporary Iran</p>
Najmabadi, Afsaneh. 2014.

Professing Selves: Transsexuality and Same-Sex Desire in Contemporary Iran

. Durham: Duke University Press. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Since the mid-1980s, the Islamic Republic of Iran has permitted, and partially subsidized, sex reassignment surgery. In Professing Selves, Afsaneh Najmabadi explores the meaning of transsexuality in contemporary Iran. Combining historical and ethnographic research, she describes how, in the postrevolutionary era, the domains of law, psychology and psychiatry, Islamic jurisprudence, and biomedicine became invested in distinguishing between the acceptable "true" transsexual and other categories of identification, notably the "true" homosexual, an unacceptable category of existence in Iran. Najmabadi argues that this collaboration among medical authorities, specialized clerics, and state officials—which made transsexuality a legally tolerated, if not exactly celebrated, category of being—grew out of Iran's particular experience of Islamicized modernity. Paradoxically, state regulation has produced new spaces for non-normative living in Iran, since determining who is genuinely "trans" depends largely on the stories that people choose to tell, on the selves that they profess.
Cohen, Dara Kay, and Ragnhild Nordås. 2014.

Sexual Violence in Armed Conflict: Introducing the SVAC Dataset, 1989-2009

, Journal of Peace Research 51, no. 3: 418-428. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Which armed groups have perpetrated sexual violence in recent conflicts? This article presents patterns from the new Sexual Violence in Armed Conflict (SVAC) dataset. The dataset, coded from the three most widely used sources in the quantitative human rights literature, covers 129 active conflicts, and the 625 armed actors involved in these conflicts, during the period 1989–2009. The unit of observation is the conflict-actor-year, allowing for detailed analysis of the patterns of perpetration of sexual violence for each conflict actor. The dataset captures six dimensions of sexual violence: prevalence, perpetrators, victims, forms, location, and timing. In addition to active conflict-years, the dataset also includes reports of sexual violence committed by conflict actors in the five years post-conflict. We use the data to trace variation in reported conflict-related sexual violence over time, space, and actor type, and outline the dataset's potential utility for scholars. Among the insights offered are that the prevalence of sexual violence varies dramatically by perpetrator group, suggesting that sexual violations are common – but not ubiquitous. In addition, we find that state militaries are more likely to be reported as perpetrators of sexual violence than either rebel groups or militias. Finally, reports of sexual violence continue into the post-conflict period, sometimes at very high levels. The data may be helpful both to scholars and policymakers for better understanding the patterns of sexual violence, its causes, and its consequences.
Steiner, Gerald. 2014.

Problem Discovery as a Collaborative, Creative, and Method-Guided Search for the “Real Problems” as Raw Diamonds of Innovation

This paper poses that the creative search for frequently hidden “real” problems is critical if innovation aims at comprehensive system improvements and changes in thinking paradigms, rather than simple, incremental changes. These hidden real problems can perhaps best be symbolized by raw diamonds, which one strives to find in order to then grind them into sparkling diamonds, i.e. innovation. Currently, problem solving-related research focuses on the analysis and solution of predefined problems, with little emphasis on problem reframing and systemic discovery; moreover, inter- and transdisciplinary collaborations for problem finding and the application of convoluted methods receive little attention. To illustrate the search process for raw diamonds, i.e. the real problem, by way of example, a comprehensive “toolbox of convoluted methods” is applied as part of a comprehensive problem discovery process. The Planetary Model of Collaborative Creativity (PMCC) serves as the conceptual basis for this method-based search for the real problems. It shows that this toolbox requires 1) Collaborative effort; 2) Comprehensive competences (personal, professional domain, systemic, creativity, and sociocultural competences); and 3) A circular creative problem solving process, which is embedded within a sequential working process.
Bates, Robert H, and Steven Block. 2014.

The Political Origins of the Africa’s Economic Revival

Writing in the 1990’s, William Easterly and Ross Levine famously labeled Africa a “growth tragedy”.1 Less than twenty years later, Alwyn Young noted Africa’s “growth miracle”2, while Steven Radelet less effusively pointed to an Africa that was “emerging” and noted its rising rate of economic growth, improving levels of education and health care, and increasing levels of investment in basic infrastructure: roads, ports, and transport3. In this paper, we address Africa’s economic revival. In doing so, we also stress the political changes that have taken place on the continent. Once notorious for its tyrants – Jean-­‐Bedel Bokassa, Idi Amin, and Mobutu Sese Seko, to name but three – in the 1990s, Africa joined the last wave of democratization; self-­‐appointed heads of state were replaced by rulers chosen in competitive elections. In this paper, we assert that the two sets of changes – the one economic and the other political – go together, and that, indeed, changes in Africa’s political institutions lent significant impetus to its economic revival.
Bates, Robert H, and Steven Block. 2014.

Political Institutions and Productivity Growth in Africa’s “Renaissance”

People speak of an “African renaissance.” We report and explore data that suggest that the continent’s return to positive growth can near entirely be explained by changes in total factor productivity growth. We find as well that changes in Africa’s political institutions played a major role in this transition and that the channel linking institutional change to changes in economic performance runs in significant part through changes in policy choices. We conclude with reasons to be cautious in assessments of the depth and durability of the changes in Africa’s economies.