Gopinath, Gita. 2013. Harvard Economist Gita Gopinath Offers a Euro Cure. Bloomberg Businessweek. Website
Froese, Paul. 2013. I am an Atheist and a Muslim?: Ideological Competition and Accommodation in Central Asia. In .Abstract
Why do religious and political ideologies sometimes produce social and political conflict and other times co-mingle peacefully? The answer must consider both the content of competing ideologies along with the socio-political interests of their believers. In this case study of ideological competition in Central Asia, I show how both philosophical and material concerns explain why many Muslims, while openly retaining their religious-ethnic identity, became active members of an atheistic Community Party. This phenomenon did not occur amongst Christians who necessarily discarded, at least publicly, their religious identities when becoming Communists. So while religious and political conflict openly occurred in Communist societies which were predominantly Christian, many Muslims were able to accommodate their religious convictions with Soviet Communism. In the end, the creation of “Muslim Atheists” depended on not only socio-economic differences between Muslim and Christian societies but also theological differences between Muslim and Christian religions.
Kremer, Michael. 2013. Odious Debt.Abstract
Some argue that sovereign debt incurred without the consent of the people and not for their benefit, such as that of apartheid South Africa, should be considered odious and not transferable to successor governments. We argue that an institution that truthfully announced whether regimes are odious could create an equilibrium in which successor governments suffer no reputational loss from failure to repay odious debt and hence creditors curtail odious lending. Equilibria with odious lending could be eliminated by amending creditor country laws to prevent seizure of assets for failure to repay odious debt and restricting foreign assistance to countries not repaying odious debt. Shutting down the borrowing capacity of illegitimate regimes can be viewed as a form of economic sanction and has two advantages over most sanctions: it helps rather than hurts the population, and it does not create incentives for evasion by third parties. However, an institution empowered to assess regimes might falsely term debt odious if it favored debtors, and if creditors anticipate this, they would not make loans to legitimate governments. An institution empowered only to declare future lending to a particular government odious would have greater incentives to judge truthfully. A similar approach could be used to reduce moral hazard associated with World Bank and IMF loans.
Cohen, Dara Kay, and Amelia Hoover Green. 2012. Dueling Incentives: Sexual Violence in Liberia and the Politics of Human Rights Advocacy. Journal of Peace Research 49, no. 3: 445-458. Journal of Peace Research WebsiteAbstract
Transnational advocacy organizations are influential actors in the international politics of human rights. While political scientists have described several methods these groups use—particularly a set of strategies termed ‘information politics’—scholars have yet to consider the effects of these tactics beyond their immediate impact on public awareness, policy agendas or the behavior of state actors. This article investigates the information politics surrounding sexual violence during Liberia’s civil war. We show that two frequently-cited ‘facts’ about rape in Liberia are inaccurate, and consider how this conventional wisdom gained acceptance. Drawing on the Liberian case and findings from sociology and economics, we develop a theoretical framework that treats inaccurate claims as an effect of ‘dueling incentives’—the conflict between advocacy organizations’ needs for short-term drama and long-term credibility. From this theoretical framework, we generate hypotheses regarding the effects of information politics on (1) short-term changes in funding for human rights advocacy organizations, (2) short-term changes in human rights outcomes, (3) the institutional health of humanitarian and human rights organizations, and (4) long-run outcomes for the ostensible beneficiaries of such organizations. We conclude by outlining a research agenda in this area, emphasizing the importance of empirical research on information politics in the human rights realm, and particularly its effects on the lives of aid recipients. DOI: 10.1177/0022343312436769
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Lamont, Michèle. 2012. Toward a Comparative Sociology of Valuation and Evaluation. Annual Review of Sociology 38, no. 21: 201-221. DOIAbstract
This review discusses North American and European research from the sociology of valuation and evaluation (SVE), a research topic that has attracted considerable attention in recent years. The goal is to bring various bodies of work into conversation with one another in order to stimulate more cumulative theory building. This is accomplished by focusing on (a) subprocesses such as categorization and legitimation, (b) the conditions that sustain heterarchies, and (c) valuation and evaluative practices. The article reviews these literatures and provides directions for a future research agenda.
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Frankel, Jeffrey, and Christopher Pissarides, eds. 2012. NBER International Seminar on Macroeconomics 2011. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Website
Putnam, Robert D. 2012. What's So Darned Special about Church Friends?. In Altruism, Morality & Social Solidarity Forum, American Sociological Association, 3:1,19-21. 2nd ed. DASH Repository Download Paper
Frankel, Jeffrey. 2012. Choosing an Exchange Rate Regime. In The Handbook of Exchange Rates, 767-784. New York: John Wiley. WebsiteAbstract
The single most important aspect of an exchange rate regime is the degree of flexibility. The matter is of course more complicated than a simple choice between fixed exchange rate and floating. One can array exchange rate regimes along a continuum, from most flexible to least, and grouped in three major categories:
  1. Floating corner
    1. Free float
    2. Managed float
  2. Intermediate regimes
    1. Target zone or band
    2. Basket peg
    3. Crawling peg
    4. Adjustable peg
  3. Institutionally fixed corner
    1. Currency board
    2. Dollarization
    3. Monetary Union
    This chapter reviews the state of research concerning how a country should choose where to locate along this continuum of exchange rate regimes. The ‘‘corners hypothesis’’ - that countries are, or should be, moving away from the intermediate regimes, in favor of either the hard peg corner or the floating corner - was proposed by Eichengreen (1994) and rapidly became the new conventional wisdom with the emerging market crises of the late 1990s. But it never had a good theoretical foundation. The feeling that an intermediate degree of exchange rate flexibility is inconsistent with perfect capital mobility is a misinterpretation of the principle of the impossible trinity. To take a clear example, Krugman (1991) shows theoretically that a target zone is entirely compatible with uncovered interest parity. The corners hypothesis began to lose popularity after the failure of Argentina’s quasi currency board in 2001. Many countries continue to follow intermediate regimes and do not seem any the worse for it. Attempts to address the optimal degree of exchange rate flexibility within a single theoretical model are seldom very convincing. Too many factors are involved. Better instead to enumerate the arguments for and against exchange rate flexibility and then attempt to weigh them up. This chapter considers five advantages of fixed exchange rates, followed by five advantages for exchange rate flexibility. We then turn to analysis of how to weigh the pros and cons to choose a regime. The answer depends on characteristics of the individual country in question.
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Frankel, Jeffrey. 2012. The Natural Resource Curse: A Survey of Diagnoses and Some Prescriptions. In Commodity Price Volatility and Inclusive Growth in Low-Income Countries. Washington D.C.: International Monetary Fund. Book WebsiteAbstract
Countries with oil, mineral or other natural resource wealth, on average, have failed to show better economic performance than those without, often because of undesirable side effects. This is the phenomenon known as the Natural Resource Curse. This paper reviews the literature, classified according to six channels of causation that have been proposed. The possible channels are: (i) long-term trends in world prices, (ii) price volatility, (iii) permanent crowding out of manufacturing, (iv) autocratic/oligarchic institutions, (v) anarchic institutions, and (vi) cyclical Dutch Disease. With the exception of the first channel--the long-term trend in commodity prices does not appear to be downward--each of the other channels is an important part of the phenomenon. Skeptics have questioned the Natural Resource Curse, pointing to examples of commodity-exporting countries that have done well and arguing that resource exports and booms are not exogenous. The relevant policy question for a country with natural resources is how to make the best of them.
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Frankel, Jeffrey. 2012. Politically Feasible Emission Target Formulas to Attain 460 ppm CO2 Concentrations. Review of Environmental Economics and Policy 6, no. 1: 86-109. DOIAbstract
A new climate change treaty must address three current gaps: the absence of emissions targets extending far into the future; the absence of participation by the United States, China, and other developing countries; and the absence of reasons to expect compliance. Moreover, to be politically acceptable, a post-Kyoto treaty must recognize certain constraints regarding country-by-country economic costs. This article presents a framework for assigning quantitative emissions allocations across countries, one budget period at a time, through a two-stage plan: (a) China and other developing countries accept targets at business-as-usual (BAU) levels in the coming budget period, and, during the same period, the United States agrees to cuts below BAU; (b) all countries are asked to make further cuts in the future in accordance with a formula that includes a Progressive Reductions Factor, a Latecomer Catch-up Factor, and a Gradual Equalization Factor. An earlier proposal (Frankel 2009) for specific parameter values in the formulas achieved the environmental goal that carbon dioxide (CO2) concentrations plateau at 500 ppm by 2100. It met our political constraints by keeping every country’s economic cost below thresholds of Y = 1 percent of income in Present Discounted Value, and X = 5 percent of income in the worst period. The framework proposed in this article attains a stricter concentration goal of 460 ppm CO2 but only by loosening the political constraints.
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Frankel, Jeffrey. 2012. Are Leading Indicators Useful for Assessing Country Vulnerability? Evidence from the 2008-09 Global Financial Crisis. Journal of International Economics 87, no. 2: 246-231. WebsiteAbstract
We investigate whether leading indicators can help explain the cross-country incidence of the 2008–09 financial crisis. Rather than looking for indicators with specific relevance to the recent crisis, the selection of variables is driven by an extensive review of more than eighty papers from the previous literature on early warning indicators. Our motivation is to address suspicions that indicators found to be useful predictors in one round of crises are typically not useful to predict the next round. The review suggests that central bank reserves and past movements in the real exchange rate were the two leading indicators that had proven the most useful in explaining crisis incidence across different countries and episodes in the past. For the 2008–09 crisis, we use six different variables to measure crisis incidence: drops in GDP and industrial production, currency depreciation, stock market performance, reserve losses, and participation in an IMF program. We find that the level of reserves in 2007 appears as a consistent and statistically significant leading indicator of who got hit by the 2008–09 crisis, in line with the conclusions of the pre-2008 literature. In addition to reserves, recent real appreciation is a statistically significant predictor of devaluation and of a measure of exchange market pressure during the current crisis. We define the period of the global financial shock as running from late 2008 to early 2009, which probably explains why we find stronger results than earlier papers such as Obstfeld et al. (2009, 2010) and Rose and Spiegel (2009a,b, 2010, 2011) which use annual data.
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Frankel, Jeffrey. 2012. Slow Passthrough Around the World: A New Import for Developing Countries?. Open Economies Review 23, no. 2: 213-251. DOIAbstract
Developing countries traditionally experience pass-through of exchange rate changes that is greater and more rapid than high-income countries experience. This is true equally of the determination of prices of imported goods, prices of local competitors’ products, and the general CPI. But developing countries in the 1990s experienced a rapid downward trend in the degree of pass-through and speed of adjustment, more so than did high-income countries. As a consequence, slow and incomplete pass-through is no longer exclusively a luxury of industrial countries. Using a new data set - prices of eight narrowly defined brand commodities, observed in 76 countries - we find empirical support for some of the factors that have been hypothesized in the literature, but not for others. Significant determinants of the pass-through coefficient include per capita incomes, bilateral distance, tariffs, country size, wages, long-term inflation, and long-term exchange rate variability. Some of these factors changed during the 1990s. Part (and only part) of the downward trend in pass-through to imported goods prices, and in turn to competitors’ prices and the CPI, can be explained by changes in the monetary environment - including a fall in long-term inflation. Real wages work to reduce pass-through to competitors’ prices and the CPI, confirming the hypothesized role of distribution and retail costs in pricing to market. Rising distribution costs, due perhaps to the Balassa-Samuelson-Baumol effect, could contribute to the decline in the pass-through coefficient in some developing countries.
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Frankel, Jeffrey. 2012. Internationalization of the RMB and Historical Precedents. Journal of Economic Integration 27, no. 3: 329-365. WebsiteAbstract
The possibility that the renminbi may soon join the ranks of international currencies has generated much excitement. This paper looks to history for help in evaluating the factors determining its prospects. The three best precedents in the twentieth century were the rise of the dollar from 1913 to 1945, the rise of the Deutsche mark from 1973 to 1990, and the rise of the yen from 1984 to 1991. The fundamental determinants of international currency status are economic size, confidence in the currency, and depth of financial markets. The new view is that, once these three factors are in place, internationalization of the currency can proceed quite rapidly. Thus some observers have recently forecast that the RMB may even challenge the dollar within a decade. But they underestimate the importance of the third criterion, the depth of financial markets. In principle, the Chinese government could decide to create that depth, which would require accepting an open capital account, diminished control over the domestic allocation of credit, and a flexible exchange rate. But although the Chinese government has been actively promoting offshore use of the currency since 2010, it has not done very much to meet these requirements. Indeed, to promote internationalization as national policy would depart from the historical precedents. In all three twentieth-century cases of internationalization, popular interest in the supposed prestige of having the country’s currency appear in the international listings was scant, and businessmen feared that the currency would strengthen and damage their export competitiveness. Probably China, likewise, is not yet fully ready to open its domestic financial markets and let the currency appreciate, so the renminbi will not be challenging the dollar for a long time. We begin, however, by asking: What is international currency status, and why does it matter?
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Campante, Felipe, and David Chor. 2012. Why was the Arab World Poised for Revolution? Schooling, Economic Opportunities, and the Arab Spring. Journal of Economic Perspectives 26, no. 2: 167-188. WebsiteAbstract
In December 2010, the self-immolation of a Tunisian fruit vendor sparked what has come to be termed the “Arab Spring.” What first appeared as an isolated act of protest against local authorities quickly gained broader significance, as it was followed by a series of demonstrations that has shaken the grip of autocratic regimes across the Arab world. A year later, three longstanding dictators - Zine El Abidine Ben Ali of Tunisia, Hosni Mubarak of Egypt, and Muammar el-Qaddafi of Libya - have been ousted, after varying degrees of violence. Syria, Yemen, and Bahrain have all witnessed extensive turmoil, raising serious questions about the ahrain have all witnessed extensive turmoil, raising serious questions about the legitimacy and survival of their rulers. Elsewhere, the political leaders of Morocco, Algeria, and Jordan have also been pressured into enacting reforms to try to assuage public demands.
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Campante, Felipe, and David Chor. 2012. Schooling, Political Participation, and the Economy. The Review of Economics and Statistics 94, no. 4: 841-859. WebsiteAbstract
We investigate how the link between individual schooling and political participation is affected by country characteristics. Using individual survey data, we find that political participation is more responsive to schooling in land-abundant countries and less responsive in human capital - abundant countries, even while controlling for country political institutions and cultural attitudes. We find related evidence that political participation is less responsive to schooling in countries with a higher skill premium, as well as within countries for individuals in skilled occupations. The evidence motivates a theoretical explanation in which patterns of political participation are influenced by the opportunity cost of engaging in political rather than production activities.
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Good, Mary-Jo DelVecchio, and Byron J Good. 2012. Significance of the 686 Program for China in Global Mental Health. Shanghai Archives of Psychiatry 24, no. 3: 175-177. Shanghai Archives of PsychiatryAbstract
Quietly, with little apparent notice from even the strongest advocates for global mental health, China is undertaking the world’s largest - and arguably most important - mental health services demonstration project, a project focused on providing comprehensive care for persons with severe mental illnesses. As Professor Ma indicates in her short report, the ‘686 Project’ was launched as part of China’s commitment to rebuild its public health infrastructure following the SARS epidemic, and has now moved beyond the initial pilot phase into a process of scaling up community mental health services throughout the country. China is currently moving toward passage of its first national mental health law, so the project has profound implications for mental health policy in the country. It will also provide useful models for the development of mental health policies in other countries with limited mental health personnel.
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Integración Física Sudamericana
Duarte, Rosario Santa Gadea. 2012. Integración Física Sudamericana. Universidad del Pacifico. WebsiteAbstract
Los temas centrales que aborda este libro son la infraestructura de transportes en una dimensión sudamericana; el desarrollo descentralizado y la relación con Brasil; y la puesta en valor de la ubicación estratégica del Perú en Sudamérica, de cara a la Cuenca del Pacífico, y su inserción internacional. La integración física se basa en un enfoque que parte del territorio para abordar los temas del desarrollo. Centrarse en este aspecto medular es la contribución más significativa que ha tenido la Iniciativa para la Integración de la Infraestructura Regional Suramericana (IIRSA). La noción clave es la de los Ejes de Integración y Desarrollo, que es analizada en profundidad en este volumen.
Sen, Amartya. 2012. Sen named Chevalier Scholar: Bestowed France’s Highest Public Decoration. Harvard Gazette. Website
Nathan, Noah, and Nahomi Ichino. 2012. Do Primaries Improve Electoral Performance? Clientelism and Intra-Party Conflict in Ghana. American Journal of Political Science. WebsiteAbstract
We consider the effect of legislative primaries on the electoral performance of political parties in a new democracy. While existing literature suggests that primaries may either hurt a party by selecting extremist candidates or improve performance by selecting high valence candidates or improving a party’s image, these mechanisms may not apply where clientelism is prevalent. A theory of primaries built on a logic of clientelism with intra-party conflict instead suggests different effects of legislative primaries for ruling and opposition parties, as well as spillover effects for presidential elections. Using matching with an original dataset on Ghana, we find evidence of a primary bonus for the opposition party and a primary penalty for the ruling party in the legislative election, while legislative primaries improve performance in the presidential election in some constituencies for both parties.
A previous version of this publication can be found in our WCFIA Working Paper collection:
Airoldi, Adele. 2012. The EU and the Arctic: Which Way Forward?.Abstract
The long-awaited joint communication by the Commission and the High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy “Developing a European Union Policy towards the Arctic Region: Progress since 2008 and next steps” was issued in July 2012, four years after the groundbreaking Commission communication on the EU and the Arctic region.The 2008 communication was a difficult effort to identify the EU’s potential role in the Arctic, building on a checkered variety of policies and actions. The declared aim was “to lead to a structured and coordinated approach to Arctic matters, as the first layer of an Arctic policy” for the EU, thus “opening new cooperation perspectives with the Arctic states, helping all of us to increase stability and to establish the right balance between the priority goal of preserving the Arctic environment and the need for sustainable use of resources.” That aim has yet to be achieved, as the language of 2012 reveals: “Taking a comprehensive approach to Arctic issues, this new Joint Communication underlines the need for a coherent, targeted EU approach towards the Arctic, building on the EU’s strengths, promoting responsible development while engaging more extensively in dialogue and cooperation with all Arctic stakeholders.”
Adele Airoldi is a Fellow of the Center who was in residence at Harvard in 1994-1995.Download PDF