Publications

2009
Brewster, Rachel. 2009. “The limits of reputation on compliance.” International Law Reporter. International Law Reporter. Publisher's VersionAbstract
This short paper is a response to Andrew Guzman's book, How International Law Works. Guzman presents a novel synthesis of the IR approaches to IL by arguing that a state's concern with its reputation is one most important source of compliance with international law. But the book's approach to reputation is not up to the task of explaining compliance. In discussion the book's shortcomings, I ask to whom the relevant reputation belongs. Guzman relies on notions of the state's reputation, but this assignment is a problem for a causation analysis because governments (who make the compliance decisions) will not fully internalize the state's reputation. In addition, I discuss the methodological problems in Guzman's approach. The book provides for only a very loose means of assessing reputational costs, even as a conceptual matter. Without such means of assessment, any claim about the power of reputation remains non-falsifiable and therefore has less theoretical force.
Rodao, Florentino. 2009. “Japan and the Axis, 1937-8: Recognition of the Franco Regime and Manchukuo.” Journal of Contemporary History. Journal of Contemporary History. Publisher's VersionAbstract
After just one year of the Spanish Civil War, the Marco Polo Bridge Incident led to the Sino-Japanese War, both conflicts remaining for two years as daily reminders of the world conflicts of the time. This article attempts to emphasize the importance of the coincidence in time of those conflicts in delimiting each bloc, especially through a decision that was particularly divisive for the Japanese government, such as recognition of Franco’s rebel government after the outbreak of the war in China. Efforts by Japanese Foreign Minister Hirota KÄki to avoid a decision that would further Japan’s pro-Axis drift show the lines of division in the government. His maneuvers progressively failed, including the November 1937 proposal for negotiations to include the recognition of Manchukuo, accepted first by Franco’s Spain, later by Italy and finally by the Germans. The article emphasizes the role of Italy in Asia, the reasons for Spanish actions, and the aims of other key persons in this period, such as Prime Minister Konoe, the postwar leader Yoshida Shigeru, or Ishihara Kanji, the officer who masterminded the 1931 invasion of Manchuria.
Alexander, Marcus, Matthew C Harding, and Carlos Lamarche. 2009. “The Political Economy of Heterogeneous Development: Quantile Effects of Income and Education”.Abstract
Does development lead to the establishment of more democratic institutions? The key to the puzzle, we argue, is the previously unrecognized fact that based on quantitative regime scores, countries over the past 50 years have clustered into two separate, very distinct, yet equally‐common stages of political development—authoritarian states with low levels of freedom on one side and democracies with liberal institutions on the other side of a bimodal distribution of political regimes. We develop a new empirical strategy—exploiting exogenous world economic factors and introducing new panel data estimators—that allows for the first time to estimate the effects of development as well as unobserved country effects in driving democracy at these different stages of political development. We find that income and education have the least effect on democracy when authoritarian regimes are consolidated and that only country effects, possibly accounting for institutional legacies, can lead to political development. Ironically, it is in highly democratic and wealthiest of nations that income and education start to play a role; however greater wealth and better educated citizenry can both help and hurt democracy depending again on what the country’s institutional legacies are. Far from accepting the notion that much of the developing world is cursed by unchanging and poor long‐run institutions, policy‐makers should take note that with democratization we also see country‐specific factors that in turn condition the difference income and education make for democracy.
2009. “American Academy of Arts and Sciences Names Manela Visiting Scholar”. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Erez Manela, the Dunwalke Associate Professor of American History at Harvard University, is among eight individuals who have been awarded fellowships as part of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences' Visiting Scholars Program for 2009. The fellowship program supports scholars and practitioners in the early stages of their careers—both post-doctoral fellows and untenured junior faculty—who show potential of becoming leaders in the humanities, policy studies, and social sciences.

"Fellowships in the humanities and social sciences are limited," noted Academy Chief Executive Officer Leslie Berlowitz. "Our experience shows that these types of fellowships can be a significant factor in developing the careers of new scholars."

During his residency in Cambridge, Manela will be working on a project titled, "The Eradication of Smallpox: An International History." The project is a study of the World Health Organization’s Global Smallpox Eradication Program, which provides insight into the history of the Cold War, postcolonial international relations, the role of transnational organizations in globalization, and the development of modern medicine and international public health.

Manela directs undergraduate programs at the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs at Harvard and authored The Wilsonian Moment: Self-Determination and the International Origins of Anticolonial Nationalism (Oxford University Press, 2007). He received his PhD from Yale University and his undergraduate degree from Hebrew University in Jerusalem.

The Academy fellowships combine the scholars' individual research with participation in the many ongoing programs and activities at the Academy, including the opportunity to interact with Academy Fellows, who bring an unparalleled wealth of knowledge from diverse scholarly and professional backgrounds.

"The Academy’s Visiting Scholars Program gives emerging scholars the chance to engage in studies of complex social and intellectual issues in an environment that is both interdisciplinary and intergenerational," Berlowitz added.

Launched in 2002, the Visiting Scholars Program is co-chaired by Patricia Meyer Spacks, former President of the Academy, and Edgar F. Shannon Professor of English Emerita at the University of Virginia.

During the program's first six years, 53 emerging academic leaders have participated. They have gone on to secure teaching and research positions at Columbia, Harvard, Northwestern, Yale, Case Western Reserve, and Boston universities, among others, and have used their residency at the Academy to complete more than 40 books and numerous articles.

Theidon, Kimberly S. 2009. “Practicing Peace, Living with War: Going Upriver in Colombia”.Abstract

It is disconcerting to share a hotel room with someone who needs to tell you in detail how he learned to use a machete to chop the human body up into unrecognizable chunks of flesh. Vladimiro's military training showed not only in his butchering prowess, but also in his upright posture, an odd juxtaposition of perfect etiquette and lethal brutality.

A friend had brought Valdimiro by my hotel in Apartadó, knowing my colleague and I were interested in interviewing members of Colombia's paramilitary forces. Although Vladimiro arrived in civilian clothing, the phone call from the hotel receptionist made clear that he needed no uniform in order to inspire fear. "You are needed down here," she tersely informed me. When I walked down the stairs into the lobby, the three hotel employees behind the main desk all made a point of being intensely involved in their paperwork and sweeping, never looking up as I shook hands with Vladimiro and invited him and my friend Jefferson upstairs. I glanced back over my shoulder—their tasks continued to be riveting.

Reich, Michael R, and Keizo Takemi. 2009. “G8 and Strengthening of Health Systems: Follow-up to the Toyako Summit.” The Lancet. The Lancet. Publisher's VersionAbstract
The 2008 G8 summit in Toyako, Japan, produced a strong commitment for collective action to strengthen health systems in developing countries, indicating Japan’s leadership on, and the G8’s increasing engagement with, global health policy. This paper describes the context for the G8’s role in global health architecture and analyses three key components—financing, information, and the health workforce—that affect the performance of health systems. We propose recommendations for actions by G8 leaders to strengthen health systems by making the most effective use of existing resources and increasing available resources. We recommend increased attention by G8 leaders to country capacity and country ownership in policy making and implementation. The G8 should also implement a yearly review for actions in this area, so that changes in health-system performance can be monitored and better understood.
Ma'oz, Moshe. 2009. The Meeting of Civilizations: Muslim, Christian, and Jewish. Sussex Academic Press. Publisher's VersionAbstract
The horrific acts of anti-Western and anti-Jewish terrorism carried out by Muslim fanatics during the last decades have been labelled by politicians, religious leaders and scholars as a ‘Clash of Civilizations’. However, as the contributors to this book set out to explain, these acts cannot be considered an Islamic onslaught on Judeo-Christian Civilisation. While the hostile ideas, words and deeds perpetrated by individual supporters among the three monotheistic civilisations cannot be ignored, history has demonstrated a more positive, constructive, albeit complex, relationship among Muslim, Christians and Jews during medieval and modern times. For long periods of time they shared divine and human values, co-operated in cultural, economic and political fields, and influenced one another's thinking.This book examines religious and historical themes of these three civilising religions, the impact of education on their interrelationship, the problem of Jerusalem, as well as contemporary interfaith relations. Noted scholars and theologians—Jewish, Christian and Muslim—from the United States, Canada, Egypt, Indonesia, Israel, Pakistan, Palestine and Turkey contribute to this book, the theme of which was first presented at an international conference organised by the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, and the Divinity School, Harvard University.
Shepsle, Kenneth A, Torun Dewan, and Keith Dowding. 2009. Rational Choice Politics. SAGE Publications. Publisher's VersionAbstract

The formal modeling techniques of rational choice theory have become central to the discipline of political science, for example with regard to the understanding of the working of legislatures, coalition governments, executive-bureaucracy relations, or electoral systems. The collection includes the very best work in this field, as well as an editors’ introduction to each volume that describes the importance of the articles and their place in political science.

  • Volume I: Social Choice and Equilibrium
  • Volume II: Voting, Elections and Electoral Systems
  • Volume III: Legislatures and Pressure Politics
  • Volume IV: Bureaucracy, Constitutional Arrangements and the State
(Four Volume Set)
Kristjanson, Patti, Robin S Reid, Nancy Dickson, William C Clark, Dannie Romney, Ranjitha Puskur, Susan MacMillan, and Delia Grace. 2009. “Linking international agricultural research knowledge with action for sustainable development”.Abstract
We applied an innovation framework to sustainable livestock development research projects in Africa and Asia. The focus of these projects ranged from pastoral systems to poverty and ecosystems services mapping to market access by the poor to fodder and natural resource management to livestock parasite drug resistance. We found that these projects closed gaps between knowledge and action by combining different kinds of knowledge, learning, and boundary spanning approaches; by providing all partners with the same opportunities; and by building the capacity of all partners to innovate and communicate.
Kaiser, Karl. 2009. “An alternative to NATO membership”. Publisher's VersionAbstract

NATO membership for Georgia and Ukraine is not a realistic possibility, no matter what the Atlantic alliance may say about their potential in principle, as it did at the last two summit meetings. That alternative has been closed, not because some NATO members—notably France and Germany—fractiously opposed an unpopular Bush administration in its enlargement drive, but for deeper structural reasons.

First, domestic conditions speak against membership. The reckless engagement with a superior Russian military by Georgia's president, Mikheil Saakashvili, although he had been thoroughly briefed by the United States about the Russian potential, demonstrated to NATO how bad leadership in combination with a very old conflict can drag the Atlantic alliance into a war it does not want.

In Ukraine there is no majority support for membership among the general population; indeed, in the eastern part of the country there is strong opposition. If ever the leadership were to force this issue it would risk a deep split, with potentially disastrous consequences for the integrity of Ukraine.

Second, contrary to the expectations at the end of the Cold War, large-scale conventional warfare in Europe has reappeared as a threatening possibility. The worst possible scenario for NATO would be that the alliance would be unable to defend an ally under Article V because of lack of political will (even now the majority of people in some NATO countries do not support going to war over Central European members), or for military reasons—as would be the case for Georgia and Ukraine under the present circumstances. This would expose NATO as a paper tiger and cause it to loose the essence of its credibility and meaning.

Third, Russia's relations with the West have reached their lowest point since the end of the Cold War. The enlargement of NATO, the breakdown of strategic and conventional arms control, the installment of missile defenses in Central Europe, and the West's failure to consult Russia on issues it considers vital to its interests, have created a concoction of resentment and perceptions of not being treated as a major power.

Georgian and Ukrainian membership in NATO represents a red line that gives them disproportionate significance. The West has to take this into account if it wants to improve the situation in Europe and regain Russia as a partner in global affairs.

Georgia and Ukraine deserve and will get substantial aid from NATO and the European Union. But it makes little sense to address their long-term security problems separately since they are part of the necessary overhaul of the West's Russia policy that the Obama administration has promised and the European Allies eagerly await. Such an overhaul would have to include, among other things, strategic arms control, a nonproliferation policy and missile defense.

As far as Georgia and Ukraine are concerned, two items are central to the alleviation of their problems. First, a general dialogue between the West and Russia is necessary in order to review the problems of European security and develop approaches that could improve the overall situation. Presidents Dmitri Medvedev of Russia and Nicolas Sarkozy of France have supported such an idea with the quiet and explicit approval of many European governments.

Second, the military security of both countries can be addressed by reviving the Treaty on Conventional Forces in Europe. The treaty was concluded in 1990 and adapted to changed circumstances with an additional agreement in 1999. It has the advantage of providing for upper limits to conventional forces in geographic zones, for the destruction of equipment, for inspections, and rules for stationing foreign troops.

To be sure, the treaty is now blocked by linked conditionality of NATO and Russia and has been suspended by Russia, and is, of course, no panacea. Problems left to themselves for two decades must be dealt with. But reopening conventional arms control in Europe offers a chance to address the concrete security problems of Georgia and Ukraine (as well as of other European countries) and become part of a hopefully constructive redefinition of the West's relationship with Russia.

Garip, Filiz, and Sara Curran. 2009. “Increasing Migration, Diverging Communities: Changing Character of Migrant Streams in Rural Thailand”.Abstract
This paper studies how increasing migration changes the character of migrant streams in sending communities. Cumulative causation theory posits that past migration patterns determine future flows, as prior migrants provide resources, influence, or normative pressures that make individuals more likely to migrate. The theory implies uniform patterns of exponentially increasing migration flows that are decreas- ingly selective. Recent research identifies heterogeneity in the cumulative patterns and selectivity of migration in communities. We propose that this heterogeneity may be explained by the differential accessibility of previously accumulated migration experience. Multi-level, longitudinal migration data from 22 rural Thai communities allow us to measure the distribution of past experience as a proxy for its accessibility to community members. We find that migration becomes a less-selective process as migration experience accumulates, and migrants become increasingly diverse in socio-demographic characteristics. Yet, selectivity within migrant streams persists if migration experience is not uniformly distributed among, and hence not equally accessible to, all community members. The results confirm that the accumulation and distribution of prior migrants’ experiences distinctly shape future migration flows, and may lead to diverging cumulative patterns in communities over time.
Previous working paper version dated January 2003.
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Walsh, Colleen. 2009. “Looking at the world through a comparative lens”. Publisher's VersionAbstract

When Steven Levitsky talks politics, a boyish enthusiasm takes over. It’s hardly surprising. He fell in love with the topic at the age of 5.

The New York native’s passion for the workings of governments derived from an uncle, a social worker with a keen political eye who liked to discuss the Middle East with his young nephew.

“It’s a passion that I grew up with... and I certainly give my uncle the credit, or the blame,” Levitsky, professor of government at Harvard, said with a laugh.

The intensity is palpable when he discusses his 2003 work, “Transforming Labor-Based Parties in Latin America: Argentine Peronism in Comparative Perspective,” the book that developed out of his Ph.D. dissertation. The work examines Peronism—the political movement created by Juan Peron in the 1940s that incorporates social democracy and nationalism—and the radical shifts in its ideology during the past 30 years.

Traditionally the voice of the poor and of labor and trade unions in Argentina—and largely hated by the middle classes and wealthier sectors of society—the movement switched from a fairly statist populist party in the 1980s to one responsible for carrying out radical free market reforms in the 1990s, said Levitsky. Recently, it has shifted dramatically again, moving back toward the left.

“It’s a party that did a programmatic 180 and I wanted to explain how it did that. Political parties aren’t supposed to go from Reaganism to Ted Kennedy liberalism overnight, and that is basically what the Peronists did.”

To understand the shifts, Levitsky spent a year and a half in Argentina meeting and interviewing party members. He found that both the movement’s massive membership (deeply entrenched in the working class) and its loosely structured organization help explain the recent changes.

“The rules and procedures that structure party life: how to choose candidates, how to make decisions, how to choose a platform—all of that stuff is constantly up in the air,” he said.

But such turbulence, while chaotic, he noted, can be beneficial.

“It makes for quite a bit of flexibility. It allows the party, at least under certain circumstances, to adapt much more quickly than more bureaucratic parties.”

The young professor, who never took an introductory course on comparative politics (the examination of the similarities and differences of governments) as an undergraduate at Stanford because of its “deadly boring” reputation, is dedicated to teaching the subject in a compelling way.

To engage his class, Levitsky examines four topics: revolution, economic development, democracy, and ethnic conflict, all in a contemporary context. Students compare and evaluate different theories in an effort to understand the reasons behind ethnic violence in Yugoslavia and Rwanda, social revolutions in Russia and Iran, and democratic reform in South Africa. His course’s steadily rising enrollment numbers is an indication of the effectiveness of his approach.

“Comparative politics,” he said on a recent afternoon in his cluttered office, “is inherently sexy; it’s really exciting.”

It was global political turmoil occurring in Levitsky’s formative years that drew him toward Central and Latin America.

In high school and early on in college, the drama of the Nicaraguan civil war and events in El Salvador inspired him to get personally involved. His opposition to the United States’ efforts to overthrow the Sandinistas in Nicaragua and U.S. support for the military-backed government in El Salvador led him to take part in protests, join letter-writing campaigns, and participate in what he calls his greatest contribution: “guerilla theater.” Levitsky and his friends would dress in fatigues, storm the college cafeteria, kidnap a diner who was in on the plan, and hand out leaflets that stated such abductions were a regular occurrence in El Salvador.

His interest in the conflict led to a trip to the country in 1989, where he conducted research for his undergraduate thesis; it was a trip that sealed his academic fate.

“Just jumping in the middle of things and talking to people was absolutely decisive in my choice to go on and become a scholar. I had no real training in research, but the experience of being there and sticking my nose in the middle of politics was a very powerful one for me.”

Levitsky entered graduate school at the University of California, Berkeley, in 1992, about a year after the collapse of the Soviet Union. The “momentous time,” he recalled, pulled him again toward Latin America as the demise of the socialist model of the USSR forced the region’s labor-based and leftist parties to re-evaluate their approach.

“The world was really being thrown up in the air. I knew from early on that I wanted to study this question of how labor-based parties, particularly in Latin America, were responding to globalization.”

The avid Mets fan who proudly displays a baseball signed by Willie Mays on his desk, met his wife during his graduate school years. After attending one of his talks where he described Peru’s government as an “authoritarian democracy,” Liz, a Peruvian journalist studying at Berkeley for a year, challenged him a week later.

“She started ripping into my talk,” he said, “and I immediately fell in love.”

Today the couple has a daughter, Alejandra, who seems to be following in her father’s passionate political footsteps. During the primary season, when Levitsky and his wife were split about supporting Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama, their then 4-year-old adamantly weighed in one morning at breakfast.

“She jumped into the discussion,” said Levitsky, “pounded her fist on the table and said, ‘No! We’re all voting for Obama!’”

Back in class, Levitsky said he hopes to impart his own passion for politics, along with a lesson about critical thinking. Surprised by how many first-year undergraduates enter his class wanting to “know the answer,” he tries to teach them “how to think critically, how to compare and evaluate different arguments.

“The vast majority of the students that I teach are not going to be political scientists,” he said. “They are going to be citizens, and here at Harvard in many cases, fairly influential and powerful citizens, so it means a lot to me to have a small amount of influence into how these guys think, and hopefully get them a little bit more engaged in politics.”

Kaiser, Karl, and Dominique Moïsi. 2009. “Europe needs a stronger France inside Nato”. Publisher's VersionAbstract

The debate on whether to return to Nato’s permanent command structure that has recently been unleashed in France—43 years after Charles de Gaulle pulled his country out—has impassioned its political class much more than the wider public.

The opposition has seized the opportunity to attack President Nicolas Sarkozy on an issue where his governing centre-right party happens to be divided. But if one goes beyond the political calculations and ideological reflexes of this debate and considers the long-term strategic implications, what is at stake?

In the first place common sense requires that an anachronism be eliminated and that the appropriate lessons be drawn from the fundamental changes happening in today’s world, in the US as well as in Europe. By remaining a member of Nato without taking part in its integrated military structure France has first and foremost penalised itself.

Precisely because the future of Nato’s strategy is at stake and legitimate questions must be raised about the choices to be made regarding Afghanistan, France should assume its responsibilities inside Nato and thereby increase Europe’s weight in redefining western strategy. Only from inside will France be able to assert its own interests.

But the developments in the international environment make a change of France's status inside Nato seem even more advisable, indeed necessary. The world has changed profoundly; the west is no longer as dominant as it has been for two centuries, either economically or in terms of strategic importance. The economic crisis, though global in nature, is accelerating the historic shift from the west to Asia.

Moreover, Europe’s primary problem is no longer to define itself as distinct from, if not at times in opposition to, the US. That is an obsolete mindset. Today’s challenge is to form a common front by asserting our values, not against others but in co-operation with them and in recognition of an emerging multi-polarity.

Since the election of Barack Obama as president of the US these changes have been accompanied by a revolution: not only has there been a big change in the image of America in the world but the behaviour of the US vis á vis its allies has changed even more radically. Though it is too early to know whether President Obama will succeed in reinvigorating the US economy, it is not too early to support his measures and efforts to relaunch multilateralism with strong action taken by our two countries.

The French population as well as the Germans—we remember the enthusiastic crowds that cheered him in Berlin—strongly support Mr Obama. France should seize the hand extended by America. Its return as a full member of Nato would constitute a strong symbolic and political act, sealing a historic reconciliation of two allies that are willing to put their common challenges above the quarrels and prejudices of the past.

Europe itself is changing before our eyes. There is no contradiction between the desire to advance European defence and to "normalise" France’s status inside Nato; on the contrary, France’s position thereby would come closer to that of Britain and Germany. A stronger France inside the alliance would strengthen the European defence effort. The return of France to Nato is not a guarantee of a successful European defence, but it certainly is a necessary precondition.

This becomes all the more true considering the new challenges facing Europe such as the return of Russia, now seeking a more powerful role in the international system. We should not allow Russia to exploit potential differences between Europe and Nato. But at the same time we must seek to open a dialogue with Russia on the necessary reopening of arms control negotiations in Europe, hopefully building a new partnership. These negotiations require strong and harmonised positions within Nato.

The authors of this article have devoted an important part of their lives to Franco-German rapprochement, which they consider to be a key to European unification. They regard the complete return of France to Nato as a logical step towards the European goal.

They are convinced that General de Gaulle, with his pragmatic and realist vision of the world and of a Europe based on the Franco-German relationship, would be shocked to hear that his name is evoked today to oppose an adjustment that he himself would have considered natural, given the profound changes that are happening in the world.

Frieden, Jeffry. 2009. “Avoiding the worst: International economic cooperation and domestic politics”. Publisher's VersionAbstract

If the crisis turns into a new Great Depression, it will most likely be due to a breakdown of cooperation among the major economies. But sustaining international cooperation requires domestic support; ignoring the demands of poor and middle-class citizens for relief will inflame more extreme anti-globalisation views, making international cooperation much more difficult.

If the current crisis turns into a disaster on the order of the Great Depression, it will most likely be due to a breakdown of cooperation among the major economies. The history of the modern world economy—and especially of its collapse in the 1930s—makes clear that the principal powers have to work together if they are to maintain an integrated international economic order.

International cooperation needs domestic support for openness

Yet governments are only able to make the sacrifices necessary to sustain international cooperation if they can rely, in turn, on domestic political support for an open world economy. National publics unconvinced of the value of international integration will not back policies—often costly and difficult policies—to maintain it. This can lead—again, as in the 1930s—to a perverse process in which global economic failure undermines support for economic openness, which leads governments to pursue uncooperative policies, which further weakens the global economy.

On both dimensions, international and domestic, we are in trouble. So far, despite high-sounding internationalist rhetoric, governments have responded to the crisis with policies that take little account of their impact on other nations. And the crisis has dramatically reduced domestic public support for globalisation, and for national policies to sustain it.

Why reasonable governments do unreasonable things

On the international dimension, the threat is not so much of explicit protectionism but rather of nationally specific policies that impose costs on others, directly or indirectly.

These beggar-thy-neighbour policies are not normally the result of some inexplicable bloody-mindedness on the part of venal governments, or of purposeful antagonism toward rivals. They are, instead, desperate attempts to defend national economies from gathering storms. But they impose negative externalities on other countries, and in so doing can provoke hostile reactions that can drag all parties concerned into bitter conflict.

Not out of arrogant nationalism but out of domestic desperation

Domestic constituents demand action, and governments have to respond, even at the expense of international cooperation. This can easily lead down a path toward conflict. Financial intervention to restore liquidity or solvency to the banking system can come at the expense of financial partners, sucking funds out of neighbours.

The early-October Irish blanket deposit guarantee, implemented with the perfectly understandable goal of avoiding a bank panic in a small and vulnerable economy, nearly induced a run on British banks as British depositors rushed to transfer funds from British to Irish banks. The current American financial bailout is drawing capital from the rest of the world—including from emerging markets that urgently need it—not out of arrogant nationalism but out of domestic desperation. And the buy-American provisions of the current stimulus package demonstrate the ease with which well-intentioned policies can turn into uncooperative predation.

The range of policies of this type—sincere national initiatives with counter-productive international implications—is virtually endless.

Negative externalities galore

Support for troubled national firms can turn into anti-competitive subsidies to national champions. Currency depreciation, a common recommendation for difficult times, can put competitive pressure on trading partners, leading to round after round of "competitive devaluations." Debt-averse governments can limit the size of their fiscal stimulus, thereby free riding on the deficit spending of neighbours. Countries with intolerable foreign debt burdens can seek debt write-downs that further cripple creditor-country financial markets. And all of these can interact to create powerful protectionist pressures. One country’s fiscal stimulus can "leak" into a neighbour, draw in a surge of imports from the neighbour, and provoke a bitter protectionist backlash.

Even with the best of intentions, governments can act in ways that drive wedges among countries, block cooperative responses to the crisis, and ultimately make everyone worse off. And despite today’s flowery rhetoric, there is little evidence that national policymakers are willing or able to take into account the international implications of their actions.

If this pattern continues, it will be a major obstacle to a rapid recovery.

Will anyone speak for the rest of the world?

National governments rarely consider global consequences, because their constituents are domestic and national publics are very skeptical about the contemporary world economy.

Even before the crisis hit, there had been real erosion in popular support for globalisation. Economic integration has come to be associated with job losses, competitive pressures, and a worsening of income distribution in developed and developing countries alike. Nearly universally, the lower registers of the income distribution are most dubious about the benefits of international economic integration, and these doubts are particularly widespread in more unequal societies.

The crisis has heightened suspicion of a world economy that appears to be the source of much of our current predicament. There is increasing resentment that the expansion of the past ten years primarily helped the wealthy, while the poor and middle classes are being asked to sacrifice to deal with the hangover of the binge. This is coupled with similar resentment that governments appear to privilege the concerns of international banks and corporations. There is an advancing popular view that insulation will help reinforce national attempts to deal with the crisis.

National publics will increasingly resist making national sacrifices in order to honour international economic obligations. Meanwhile, concentrated interests who support globalisation—such as the international financial and corporate sectors—have been undermined by international economic weakness. Broad popular sentiment is increasingly widespread and powerful that national responses to the crisis must take priority over international obligations.

Attention must be paid: Crisis’s impact on income distribution

The impact of the crisis on income distribution cannot be ignored, for it will determine much of the politics of government responses to the crisis. Ignoring the demands of poor and middle-class citizens for relief will inflame more extreme anti-globalisation views, making international cooperation that much more difficult.

These two dimensions, the international and the domestic, are closely interrelated. The less domestic support there is for globalisation, the harder it will be for national governments to reach cooperative agreements with partners. The less international cooperation there is, the greater the likelihood of a deterioration in the global economy. As in the 1930s, beggar-thy-neighbour policies, distributional conflicts, and international economic stagnation could feed on each other in a downward dance. 

Into the maelstrom?Governments have to act consciously to counteract this dismal possibility

At the domestic level, governments need to work out an equitable and politically sustainable allocation of austerity across the population. This means ensuring that those sectors of society hit hardest by the crisis are not also the ones asked to bear the stiffest sacrifices. Societies with existing social safety nets will have to expand them and make sure they work for wider segments of the population than they were planned. Countries with weak or non-existent social programs for the victims of crises such as this will have to create them, and quickly. By the same token, basic principles of equity—and even more basic political realities—demand that those who received the main benefits of the boom have to bear their share of the costs of the bust. Governments that ignore the social and distributional implications of the crisis are likely to find themselves either driven toward extreme and counter-productive policies, or swept away.

Even sustaining existing social programs is extraordinarily difficult in such hard times. This is true of all governments, which face powerful fiscal pressures as tax revenues dry up and demands for spending soar. The difficulties are especially challenging for developing countries, many of which have lost whatever access they may have had to external sources of capital. Yet governments that do not provide effective relief to those hardest hit by the crisis face the prospect of dramatically increased social and political strife, which will only deepen the disaster.

At the international level, governments need to work just as consciously to coordinate not just words, but actions. This will not happen of its own accord. So far, the solidarity of OECD central bankers has been impressive. However, this builds upon a long-standing tradition of the solidarity of central bankers, and upon decades of institutionalised collaboration, and can only take us a very short part of the way. There is nothing analogous on other dimensions.

The free interplay of government policies will not spontaneously bring forth international cooperation

Collaboration among governments has to be intended, designed, and monitored. This almost certainly requires some international institutional framework, some set of agreed-upon rules and ways of enforcing them. The governments of the major economic centers need to consult regularly on the international dimensions of the crisis, and of its resolution. They need to hold each other to account, and they need some reasonably independent mechanism to identify policies that risk driving governments toward conflict rather than mutual assistance. Other foreign policy goals can and should be linked to supportive efforts on the economic front.

Conclusion

If governments do not pay real attention to the domestic distributional impact of the emergency, and to the international implications of their national policies, the current calamity will feed on itself. The Great Depression of the 1930s was more a failure of national policy, and of international cooperation, than it was a failure of markets. Success in confronting the current crisis will similarly depend on socially responsive and viable national policies, and on globally responsive and viable international cooperation.

Editors' note: This column is a Lead Commentary on Vox's Global Crisis Debate page; see further discussion on Vox’s Global Crisis Debate page.

References

Frieden, Jeffry A. 2006. Global Capitalism: Its Fall and Rise in the Twentieth Century. W.W. Norton.

Frieden, Jeffry. 2007. "Will Global Capitalism Fall Again?" Bruegel Essay and Lecture Series (Brussels: Bruegel, 2007).

Frieden, Jeffry. 2008. "Global Governance of Global Monetary Relations: Rationale and Feasibility." Economics. Discussion Paper number 2008-32.

Martin, Lenore G. 2009. “A Stimulus Package for Reviving the Peace Process”. Publisher's VersionAbstract

The recently enacted stimulus package for reviving the worst U.S. economic recession in decades should serve as a model for reviving the Palestinian-Israeli peace process. The peace process has been in its own recession since the failure of the Taba talks in January 2001. The steady expansion of Israeli settlements in the West Bank has deepened that recession. By all accounts, Israeli settlements block the implementation of a two-state solution to the Palestinian-Israeli dispute. The stimulus package should consist of a multi-billion dollar international fund with a first priority of reversing the growth of Israeli settlements and financing the resettlement of Israelis from the West Bank essentially within the 1967 borders. The next application of the fund will be to house Palestinians in the vacant Israeli settlements. The ultimate goal of the stimulus package will be the creation of an economically viable Palestinian state. This proposal will go a long way to ending the occupation, changing the oppressive conditions the Palestinians are enduring and moving towards peace with an Israeli State and a Palestinian State.

Consistent with the Obama Administration's declared objective of engaging in multilateral diplomacy to address troublesome international political issues, the United States should be the lead investor in the fund. Washington should then invite substantial contributions from other parties that have an interest in the peace process, including the Arab League, the European Union, and Russia.

The stimulus package should not encourage another Israeli "unilateral" move, as in Ariel Sharon's withdrawal from Gaza. The package should stimulate a negotiating process that will create new "facts on the ground" that are conducive to the resolution of the "final status" issues. Negotiations over the application of the fund will not be easy. For example, with the assistance of the fund managers the Palestinian Authority under Abu Mazen's leadership and representatives of the next Israeli government will need to work out the details of removing Israeli road blocks to enable Palestinian goods and people to move throughout the West Bank. The parties will also need to negotiate maintaining Israel's security including the movement of IDF forces in and through the West Bank while enabling the Palestinians to extend local security into the former settlements where Palestinians should be settling.

The Obama Administration has already signaled to Israelis, Palestinians and the international community that it is willing to dedicate U.S. prestige as well as resources to reviving Palestinian-Israeli peace negotiations. The American "dream team" for this effort includes former Senator George Mitchell, who brings to the negotiating table his reputation as the proponent of the Good Friday Peace Agreement that resolved the intractable ethnic/religious conflict in Northern Ireland. It also includes Secretary of State Hilary Clinton, whose husband, former President Bill Clinton proposed the "Clinton parameters" which could serve as the forerunner of a potential resolution of the intractable Palestinian-Israeli dispute. Establishing the international stimulus package as soon as possible would be a good way to put the dream team and a tangible demonstration of the U.S. commitment to ending the "recession" in the peace process.

No one doubts that there will be potentially violent opposition to the resettlement of Israelis from the West Bank. Extremist factions from Hamas and Islamic Jihad on the one side and religious nationalist settlers on the other will seek to sabotage the stimulus by violent attacks. However, as in the treatment of the "toxic assets" that have contributed to the economic recession, the promoters of the economic stimulus should not let violent extremists poison the political stimulus to reviving peace negotiations.

One can also expect vociferous opposition to the stimulus package from Benjamin Netanyahu and his Likud party. In the campaign for the recent Israeli elections they loudly declared that they want to maintain the settlements and even allow their "natural expansion"- albeit without promoting the construction of new settlements. As a pre-condition to the negotiation of peace with the Palestinians, Netanyahu proposes the rapid development of the Palestinian economy. Glossed over in this proposal are the realities of the myriads of Israeli settlements throughout the West Bank and the numerous road blocks that serve to secure them, all of which impede the flow of people and goods that cripple Palestinian economic development.

The United States can overcome such opposition by applying pressure to the next Israeli government, whether it be controlled by Likud or shared with Kadima. As a condition to the stimulus package Washington can insist that Israel should stop settlement construction and start the process of removing settlers from the West Bank. Appointing George Mitchell as special envoy to the Middle East was an indication to the Israelis of America's seriousness in insisting on this turnaround. Mitchell was the author of the 2001 Mitchell Report for then President Clinton that, among other things, stipulated that Israel should stop building settlements in the Occupied Territories.

The speed with which President Obama has acted on the Palestinian-Israeli dispute makes it clear that he recognizes its resolution is in the national interest of the United States in order to restore American influence in the region, firm up U.S. alliances in the Arab world and stabilize the Middle East. An international stimulus package to revive peace negotiations would work towards achieving this goal. Resettling the West Bank settlers would halt the dynamic towards a one state outcome that will frustrate the national dreams of both Palestinians and Israelis. It will deny the extremists on both sides their claims to all of the land, claims that condemn the rest of the population to a never ending cycle of violence. It is good for the United States, Israel, the Palestinians, and our friends throughout the region.

Martin, Lenore G. 2009. “Gaza sours Israel-Turkey relations”. Publisher's VersionAbstract


Inside Story: Gaza sours Israel-Turkey relations

Aftershocks of the war on Gaza signal a possible rift between Israel and Turkey. Last month, at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Erdogan angrily accused Israeli president Shimon Peres of "knowing very well how to kill".

He also criticised Israeli policies and actions towards the Palestinians, who he said lived in an "open-air prison."

In response, Israeli Major General Avi Mizrahi was quoted as saying Turkey was not in a position to criticise Israel when it stations troops in northern Cyprus. He also accused Turkey of repressing its Kurdish minority and massacring Armenians during World War one.

Where does the relationship between Israel and Turkey currently stand? Israel and Turkey have a strategic alliance tightened by military, diplomatic and political cooperation and often refer to themselves as the only democracies in the Middle East.

They share a number of common interests. Both counties are largely dependent on the United States for security and are against the rise of Islamic radicalism.

Turkey has provided considerable support to an isolated Israel in the Middle East. Turkey was the first majority Muslim country to recognise Israel as a state and it has built up more than $3 billion in annual trade with it.

Has their relationship reached an unprecedented low and possibly a point of no return? Are there unknown causes behind this swift souring in their relationship? And is their long friendship in danger of collapsing?

Inside Story presenter Imran Garda is joined by Umut Arik, a former Turkish ambassador and the secretary general of Turkey's Democratic Party; Ofra Bengio, a senior research fellow at the Dayan Center for Middle East and African Studies at Tel Aviv University, and Lenore Martin, a professor of political science at Emmanuel College and author of the book The Future of Turkish Foreign Policy.

Ziblatt, Daniel. 2009. “Shaping Democratic Practice and the Causes of Electoral Fraud: Theory and Evidence from Pre-1914 Germany”.Abstract
Why is there so much alleged electoral fraud in new democracies? Most scholarship focuses on the proximate cause of electoral competition. This article proposes a different answer by constructing and analyzing an original data set drawn from the German parliament’s own voluminous record of election disputes for every parliamentary election in the life of Imperial Germany (1871–1912) after its adoption of universal male suffrage in 1871. The article analyzes the election of over 5,000 parliamentary seats to identify where and why elections were disputed as a result of "election misconduct." The empirical analysis demonstrates that electoral fraud’s incidence is significantly related to a society’s level of inequality in landholding, a major source of wealth, power, and prestige in this period. After weighing the importance of two different causal mechanisms, the article concludes that socioeconomic inequality, by making elections endogenous to preexisting social power, can be a major and underappreciated barrier to the long-term process of democratization even after the “choice” of formally democratic rules.
Lamont, Michèle, and Graziella Moraes Da Silva. 2009. “Complementary Rather than Contradictory: Diversity and Excellence in Peer Review and Admissions in American Higher Education.” 21st Century Society. 21st Century Society. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Diversity is largely accepted as a positive value in American society. Nevertheless, policies to encourage diversity, e.g. affirmative action, language policies and legalising illegal immigrants, are still largely disputed, and often understood as having contradictory and largely negative consequences. The implementation of diversity is still seen as a threat to meritocracy, national cohesion, and democracy. This paper analyses how excellence and diversity are discussed in two academic decision-making processes: admission at two elite public universities and the distribution of competitive research fellowships. We argue that excellence and diversity are not alternative but additive considerations in the allocation of resources. The administrators and academics we studied factor diversity in as an additional consideration when decisions are to be made between applicants of roughly equal standing.
Jacks, David S, Kevin H O'Rourke, and Jeffery G Williamson. 2009. “Commodity Price Volatility and World Market Integration since 1700”.Abstract
Poor countries are more volatile than rich countries, and we know this volatility impedes their growth. We also know that commodity price volatility is a key source of those shocks. This paper explores commodity and manufactures price over the past three centuries to answer three questions: Has commodity price volatility increased over time? The answer is no: there is little evidence of trend since 1700. Have commodities always shown greater price volatility than manufactures? The answer is yes. Higher commodity price volatility is not the modern product of asymmetric industrial organizations - oligopolistic manufacturing versus competitive commodity markets - that only appeared with the industrial revolution. It was a fact of life deep into the 18th century. Does world market integration breed more or less commodity price volatility? The answer is less. Three centuries of history shows unambiguously that economic isolation caused by war or autarkic policy has been associated with much greater commodity price volatility, while world market integration associated with peace and pro-global policy has been associated with less commodity price volatility. Given specialization and comparative advantage, globalization has been good for growth in poor countries at least by diminishing price volatility. But comparative advantage has never been constant. Globalization increased poor country specialization in commodities when the world went open after the early 19th century; but it did not do so after the 1970s as the Third World shifted to labor-intensive manufactures. Whether price volatility or specialization dominates terms of trade and thus aggregate volatility in poor countries is thus conditional on the century.
Also NBER Working Paper No. 14748.
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Pamuk, Şevket, and Jeffery G Williamson. 2009. “Ottoman De-Industrialization 1800-1913: Assessing the Shock, Its Impact and the Response”.Abstract
India and Britain were much bigger players in the 18th century world market for textiles than was Egypt, the Levant and the core of the Ottoman Empire, but these eastern Mediterranean regions did export carpets, silks and other textiles to Europe and the East. By the middle of the 19th century, they had lost most of their export market and much of their domestic market to globalization forces and rapid productivity growth in European manufacturing. Other local industries also suffered decline, and these regions underwent de-industrialization as a consequence. How different was Ottoman experience from the rest of the poor periphery? Was de-industrialization more or less pronounced? Was the terms of trade shock bigger or smaller? How much of Ottoman de-industrialization was due to falling world trade barriers—ocean transport revolutions and European liberal trade policy, how much due to factory-based productivity advance in Europe, how much to declining Ottoman competitiveness in manufacturing, how much to Ottoman railroads penetrating the interior, and how much to Ottoman policy? The paper uses a price-dual approach to seek the answers. It documents trends in export and import prices, relative to each other and to non-tradables, as well as to the unskilled wage. The impact of globalization, European productivity advance, Ottoman wage costs and policy are assessed by using a simple neo-Ricardian three sector model, and by comparison with what was taking place in the rest of the poor periphery.