Students of comparative politics have long faced a vexing dilemma: how can social scientists draw broad, applicable principles of political order from specific historical examples? In Analytic Narratives, five senior scholars offer a new and ambitious methodological response to this important question. By employing rational-choice and game theory, the authors propose a way of extracting empirically testable, general hypotheses from particular cases. The result is both a methodological manifesto and an applied handbook that political scientists, economic historians, sociologists, and students of political economy will find essential.In their jointly written introduction, the authors frame their approach to the origins and evolution of political institutions. The individual essays that follow demonstrate the concept of the analytic narrative—a rational-choice approach to explain political outcomes—in case studies. Avner Greif traces the institutional foundations of commercial expansion in twelfth-century Genoa. Jean-Laurent Rosenthal analyzes how divergent fiscal policies affected absolutist European governments, while Margaret Levi examines the transformation of nineteenth-century conscription laws in France, the United States, and Prussia. Robert Bates explores the emergence of a regulatory organization in the international coffee market. Finally, Barry Weingast studies the institutional foundations of democracy in the antebellum United States and its breakdown in the Civil War. In the process, these studies highlight the economic role of political organizations, the rise and deterioration of political communities, and the role of coercion, especially warfare, in political life. The results are both empirically relevant and theoretically sophisticated.Analytic Narratives is an innovative and provocative work that bridges the gap between the game-theoretic and empirically driven approaches in political economy. Political historians will find the use of rational-choice models novel; theorists will discover arguments more robust and nuanced than those derived from abstract models. The book improves on earlier studies by advocating—and applying—a cross-disciplinary approach to explain strategic decision making in history.
Coffee is traded in one of the few international markets ever subject to effective political regulation. In Open-Economy Politics, Robert Bates explores the origins, the operations, and the collapse of the International Coffee Organization, an international "government of coffee" that was formed in the 1960s. In so doing, he addresses key issues in international political economy and comparative politics, and analyzes the creation of political institutions and their impact on markets. Drawing upon field work in East Africa, Colombia, and Brazil, Bates explores the domestic sources of international politics within a unique theoretical framework that blends game theoretic and more established approaches to the study of politics. The book will appeal to those interested in international political economy, comparative politics, and the political economy of development, especially in Latin America and Africa, and to readers wanting to learn more about the economic and political realities that underlie the coffee market. It is also must reading for those interested in "the new institutionalism" and modern political economy.
This article argues that the strictly pragmatic, step–by–step approach of Oslo has reached a dead end and that cajoling the parties into signing an agreement is now irrelevant. To move the peace process to a successful conclusion, the parties must now commit themselves to a principled solution whose key elements include prior commitment to a genuine two–state solutions the end point of the final status negotiations, provision of meaningful citizenship to the Palestinians of the territories and the refugees, and mutual acknowledgment of the other?s nationhood and humanity. Such a proposal, though seemingly utopian, represents the most realistic option at the present juncture.Published in Journal of Palestine Studies 28, no. 1 (1998): 36-50; and Peace and Conflict: Journal of Peace Psychology 5, no. 2 (1999): 101-115.
Since the original goals of Zionism have largely been accomplished or are less relevant today, conditions are ripe for Israel’s transition from Zionism to post–Zionism. A post–Zionist Israel – while maintaining its Jewish character and special relationship to world Jewry – would be a state primarily committed to protecting and advancing the interests of its citizens, regardless of ethnicity. In a post–Zionist Israel, the status of non–Jewish Israelis would be upgraded and the status of non–Israeli Jews downgraded. Moreover, Israel would be integrated into the region and engaged in normal, peaceful relations with its neighbors. Many forces are promoting this transition, including the peace process, changes in Israeli–Diaspora relations, and the liberalization of the society. Countervailing forces stem mostly from the ultra–nationalist and orthodox religious sectors in the society. To advance the transition, Israel will have to address four major divisions within the society: the divisions between citizens and noncitizens, Jewish and Palestinian citizens, Ashkenazi and Sephardi Jews, and religious and secular Jews.
This article presents a general approach to the development of personal identity, exploring the ways in which various group identities may be incorporated into the emerging personal identity of an individual. It is hoped that this general scheme will have some implications for the question of how Jewish identity can be built into the personal identity of Jewish children, and what role Jewish education might play in this process.The approach is based on a conceptual model developed for the analysis of social influence and extended to the analysis of personal involvement in social systems. This model is not specifically addressed to identity formation, but it has some relevance to the development of identity both at the level of the individual and at that of the group – that is, both to personal and to national or ethnic identity. The purpose of this article is to explore the implications of this model for identity formation at these two levels, with special reference to Jewish family.
The article is organized into three major sections. The first section provides an analytical review of the development of studies of international institutions. From the beginning, the pages of IO have been filled with insightful studies of institutions, in some cases asking questions consistent with the research agenda we propose in this essay. But the lack of a disciplinary foundation in the early years meant that many good insights were simply lost, not integrated into other scholars' research... The second section explicitly addresses a theme that arises from the review of scholarship on institutions; whether international politics needs to be treated as sui generis, with its own theories and approaches that are distinct from other fields of political science, or whether it fruitfully can draw on theories of domestic politics... The third section turns to the problem of research agendas. Where does scholarship on international institutions go next? Our primary argument in this section is that attention needs to focus on how, not just whether, international institutions matter for world politics...
The study of compliance with international agreements has gained momentum over the past few years. Since the conclusion of World War II, this research agenda had been marginalized by the predominance of realist approaches to the study of international relations. However, alternative perspectives have developed that suggest that international law and institutions are important influences on the conduct of international politics. This review examines four perspectives and assesses their contribution to understanding the conditions under which states comply with international agreements. Despite severe conceptual and methodological problems, this research has contributed significantly to our understanding of the relationship between international politics and international law and institutions.
Policy Reform, Volume 1, 1–45Recent growth theory fails to provide a convincing account of underdevelopment in terms of economic "fundamentals". As a result, many accounts cite "bad" government policy (including the failure to support appropriate institutions) as a casual factor behind stagnations. Yet this perspective is hard to understand from the viewpoint of welfare economics. This paper studies theories of endogenous policy which can possibly account for such bad policy. I stress three (interrelated) general intuitions about causes of bad policy which apply, irrespective of the type of political regime: 91) inability to use transfers to separate efficiency and distribution, (2) inability to commit, (3) the close connection between development and changes in the distribution of political power. I particularly stress the ability (or inability) of these theories to explain cross country differences.
North and Weingast (1989) argued that the English Glorious Revolution of 1688 redistributed political power in such a way as to enhance the enforcement of property rights. They supported their hypothesis by presenting evidence that interest rates fell and interpreted this as a fall in the risk premium demanded by lenders. I argue that one cannot test their theory in this way since it implicitly rests on the assumption that the risk of debt repudiation was exogenous. This was clearly not so. If lenders anticipated that the incentives of the Stuart monarchs to default depended on the interest rate, then instead of changing a risk premium, they ration credit. There is a fact much evidence that this was the case. In these circumstances a reduction in the desire, or the ability, of the monarch to default leads not to a fall in interest rates, but a relaxation of rationing. Thus the theory of North and Weingast is immune to the critique of Clark (1996) and is entirely consistent with the available evidence.
In recent years, the World Bank has been at the vanguard in pressing for a circumscribed role for the State in developing countries. It therefore comes as somewhat of a surprise that the 1997 World Development Report (WDR–the World Bank?s annual flagship publication), The State in a Changing World, underscores the continuing significance of the State in LDCs.The WDR is generally successful as a didactic device, both in refocusing attention on roles and capabilities that enhance state effectiveness and as a guide to policy makers on the "what": the State?s role must focus on social and economic fundamentals, but should always be tailored to capabilities. It is, however, much weaker when it comes to the "how". Its recipe for reinvigorating institutional capabilities—increased competition, decentralization and participation, and international collective action—is neither controversial nor novel. Myriad exercises at quantification to "prove" its case, especially with regard to the importance of State "credibility", are often misplaced and analytically flawed. And by avoiding contentious issues at the heart of the State, in particular those related to politics and power, and instead genuflecting to current intellectual fashions, the report says more about the World Bank than the role of the State in LDCs.
Working Paper 02–04, Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, Harvard University, 2002.Download PDF
The prospects for peace and security in the Americas improved as the cold war ended in Europe. Peace settlements were reached in the civil wars in Nicaragua (1989–90), El Salvador (1992), and Guatemala (1996). The Cuban government stopped providing military support to revolutionaries in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Chile. And Colombia's M–19 movement, El Salvador's Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front, and Guatemala's National Revolutionary Union transformed themselves from guerilla organizations into political parties. Nonetheless, as David Mares [has shown], Latin American countries have been involved in a militarized interstate dispute with a neighboring country on average nearly once a year for the past century.
Never before in the history of Latin America have so many countries had constitutional governments, elected in free and competitive elections under effective universal suffrage, that also pursue market–based economic policies. Early in the twentieth century, many Latin American governments favored open economies, but rulers were chosen either by narrow oligarchies or by military officers. By the middle of the century, many Latin American governments were democratically chosen, but pursued statist policies that sought, as far as possible, to sever the links between their nations' economies and the world market. Thus the combination of the 1990s — an era of free politics and free markets - is truly without precedent.
Despite various electoral reforms enacted in Mexico between 1988 and 1994, large numbers of Mexicans doubted the honesty of elections and the general integrity of their country's policy making process. Such doubts did not automatically lead, however, to support for the opposition parties that called for greater democratization. Rather, voter preferences were largely dependent on judgments about the opposition's viability and competence. Widespread suspicions about fraud and corruption in Mexico did affect electoral outcomes by making it less likely that potential opposition supporters turned out to vote. Data are drawn from seven national public opinion surveys conducted in Mexico in 1986, 1988, 1991, 1993 (3 polls), and 1995.
America in the 1920s and 1930s is often characterized as having been isolationist in the realm of security policy. This article offers a critique of this characterization. American diplomacy in the 1920s was subtle but ambitious and effective. American policy in the years leading up to the bombing of Pearl Harbor was in fact quite responsive to events on the European continent. Isolationists did exist, of course, but they never came close to constituting a majority. In short, American isolationism is a myth.
Formal international human rights regimes differ from most other forms of international cooperation in that their primary purpose is to hold governments accountable to their own citizens for purely domestic activities. Why would governments establish an arrangement that invades domestic sovereignty in this way? Current scholarship suggests two explanations. A realist view asserts that the most powerful democracies seek to externalize their values, coercing or enticing weaker and less democratic governments to accept human rights regimes. A ideational view argues that the most established democracies externalize their values, setting in motion a transnational process of diffusion and persuasion that socializes less democratic governments to accept such regimes. I propose a third, institutional liberal view. Drawing on theories of administration and adjudication developed to explain rational delegation in domestic politics, I maintain that governments delegate for a self–interested reason, namely to combat future domestic political uncertainty.
Moravcsik, Andrew. "Explaining the Emergence of Human Rights Regimes: Liberal Democracy and Political Uncertainty in Postwar Europe." Working Paper 98–17, Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, Harvard University, December 1998.Download PDF
Since the collapse of the bipolar world power paradign in 1991, the concept of security in the Americas has come under intense review. This paper will examine the historic tension between U.S. and Latin American/Caribbean security interests as addressed within the Inter–American System, and how these institutions have evolved as a result.
The first part of this paper critically examines existing explanations for institutional innovation on the one hand and economic reform measures on the other, and offers an alternative, synthetic explanation for understanding the relationship between them. The second section derives hypotheses for disaggregating the political economic dynamics of institutional creation and durability, and illustrates the empirical manifestation of these dynamics through various "observations" 7 of financial institutional innovation in Wenzhou. The final section frames Wenzhou’s apparent exceptionalism in comparative perspective both within and beyond China.
Tsai, Kellee S. "Curbed Markets? Financial Innovation and Policy Innovation in China's Coastal South." Working Paper 98–06, Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, Harvard University, May 1998.Download PDF