Publications

2008
Williamson, Jeffery G. 2008. Globalization and the Great Divergence: Terms of Trade Booms and Volatility in the Poor Periphery 1782-1913.Abstract
W. Arthur Lewis argued that a new international economic order emerged between 1870 and 1913, and that global terms of trade forces produced rising primary product specialization and de-industrialization in the poor periphery. More recently, modern economists argue that volatility reduces growth in the poor periphery. This paper assess these de-industrialization and volatility forces between 1782 and 1913 during the Great Divergence. First, it argues that the new economic order had been firmly established by 1870, and that the transition took place in the century before, not after. Second, based on econometric evidence from 1870-1939, we know that while a terms of trade improvement raised long run growth in the rich core, it did not do so in the poor periphery. Given that the secular terms of trade boom in the poor periphery was much bigger over the century before 1870 than after, it seems plausible to infer that it might help explain the great 19th century divergence between core and periphery. Third, the boom and its de-industrialization impact was only part of the story; growth-reducing terms of trade volatility was the other. Between 1820 and 1870, terms of trade volatility was much greater in the poor periphery than the core. It was still very big after 1870, certainly far bigger than in the core. Based on econometric evidence from 1870-2000, we know that terms of trade volatility lowers long run growth in the poor periphery, and that the negative impact is big. Given that terms of trade volatility in the poor periphery was even bigger during the century before 1870, it seems plausible to infer that it also helps explain the great 19th century divergence between core and periphery.
Also published as NBER Working Paper 13841.Download PDF
Rodrik, Dani, and Arvind Subramanian. 2008. Why Did Financial Globalization Disappoint?.Abstract
As Fischer had prophesied, there has been an explosion in empirical studies on the consequences of financial globalization. But far from clinching the case for capitalaccount liberalization, these studies paint quite a mixed and paradoxical picture.3 Kose, Prasad, Rogoff, and Wei (2006, hereafter KPRW), who provide perhaps the most detailed and careful review of the literature, conclude that the cross-country evidence on the growth benefits of capital-account openness is inconclusive and lacks robustness. They argue that one should look for the gains not in enhanced access to finance for domestic investment, but in indirect benefits that are hard to detect with macroeconomic data and techniques (an argument which we will evaluate below). In another paper, Kose, Prasad and Terrones (2003) find that consumption volatility actually rose (relative to output volatility) in emerging market economies during the current era of financial globalization—a finding that flatly contradicts theoretical expectations. Perhaps most paradoxical of all are the findings of Prasad, Rajan, and Subramanian (2007, hereafter PRS) and Gourinchas and Jeanne (2007), which throw cold water on the presumed complementarity between foreign capital and economic growth: it appears that countries that grow more rapidly are those that rely less and not more on foreign capital; and in turn foreign capital tends to go to countries that experience not high, but low productivity growth.
Allison, Graham T., Jr. 2008. Sitting Down at the Nuclear Table with Iran. Publisher's VersionAbstract
IN A SPEECH this week, Iran's supreme leader found himself in rare agreement with President Bush. Echoing Bush's judgment that nuclear terrorism is "the single most serious threat to American national security," Ayatollah Ali Khamenei warned that, "sooner or later, international terrorists will get their hands on nuclear weapons and bring the security of the world…to an end."Bush has insisted that "for the sake of peace, the world must not allow Iran to have a nuclear weapon." Unfortunately, however, as a result of the failure of the Bush administration's strategy toward Iran, today Tehran stands seven years further down its path to nuclear weapons than it did on Jan. 20, 2001. Specifically, when Bush entered office, Iran had no operational uranium enrichment facilities. Today, as last month's International Atomic Energy Agency report documents, Iran is operating 3,492 centrifuges in a cascade that has produced 500 pounds of low-enriched uranium. This is one-third of what is required for Iran's first nuclear bomb.The Bush administration's strategy to prevent Iran's mastering technology for enriching uranium and producing nuclear weapons has been characterized as a "diplomatic slow squeeze." The administration has hoped that UN Security Council resolutions isolating Iran, enforced by sanctions, would persuade Tehran to suspend enrichment activity. Ironically, the IAEA chose Memorial Day to inform its member governments that for the third time, Iran has stiffed the demands of the Security Council resolution.In baseball, it's three strikes and you're out. After the undeniable failure of the third Security Council resolution imposing sanctions to slow Iran's nuclear program, Bush's Iran strategists should recognize that they have struck out.Hoping to divert attention from this record, the Bush administration has further confused the issue with exaggerated rhetorical attacks on those who advocate an alternative strategy of direct diplomacy including negotiations. Speaking to the Israeli Knesset on the 60th anniversary of Israel's creation, Bush accused proponents of negotiations with unfriendly regimes of "appeasement." More diplomatically, but equally pointedly, in addressing the American Israel Public Affairs Committee this week, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice called for another dose of the same medicine the administration has been prescribing, and sought to shift the blame to Iran, asserting that "The real question is: Why won't Tehran talk to us?"Facts are only obliquely relevant to political debate. But for the record, the charge of appeasement leveled against British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain focused not on his willingness to talk, but on his unwillingness to act. In the run-up to World War II, negotiation was not the issue. The question was whether Britain and France would act when Adolf Hitler violated Germany's Versailles Treaty commitments.Winston Churchill criticized the governments for capitulating when Hitler remilitarized the Rhineland, arguing that if they had responded, "There is no doubt that Hitler would have been compelled by his own General Staff to withdraw.…They had only to act to win." Instead, a confident Hitler went on to absorb Austria, and after Munich, Czechoslovakia.If Bush recognized the fact that his diplomatic squeeze has failed, and asked what he could do in his final eight months to advance US interests in relations with Iran, he would not have to look beyond his own Cabinet.In a 2004 report titled "Iran: Now is the Time for a New Approach," Defense Secretary Robert Gates urged that "the United States deal with the current regime rather than wait for it to fall." When asked about this recommendation during recent testimony on the Hill, Gates noted that he had been "in a happier place" then.But it is clear that Gates remains convinced that direct negotiations are imperative for solving the nuclear standoff. As he told the Academy of American Diplomacy last month, "We need to figure out a way to develop some leverage…and then sit down and talk with them."Negotiations are never certain to yield results. The alternative, a world of nuclear anarchy, is of great concern to both nations. Having seen the results of seven years of nonengagement, Bush could do his successor—whether Democrat or Republican—a great favor by proposing to negotiate with Iran now.Graham Allison is a Weatherhead Center Faculty Associate; Douglas Dillon Professor of Government and Director, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University.
Petersohn, Ulrich. 2008. Outsourcing the Big Stick: The Consequences of Using Private Military Companies.Abstract
The outsourcing of military functions is always accompanied by a loss of control over the use of force. Whereas the variances in handling consequences by weak versus strong states have already been addressed in other studies, we know little about the causes of differences among strong states. I will argue that strong states are very well aware of the risk of losing control by outsourcing. In order to mitigate the risk, they develop outsourcing strategies. The strategies of the two states considered here—the United States and Germany—are similar. Despite the resemblance, the U.S. Army faces much greater losses of control than does the German Bundeswehr. This is the result of differences in the compliance with their respective strategies. Whereas the Bundeswehr almost always sticks to its strategy, the U.S. Army instead violates it in numerous cases. This difference can be explained by the different scopes of the two forces’ demand-capability gap, a factor that directly affects compliance-behavior with the strategy. The larger the gap, the less compliance is shown and the greater the loss of control. Since the U.S. Army experiences a larger gap than the Bundeswehr, the former suffers a greater loss of control.
Toft, Monica Duffy. 2008. Why Islam Lies at the Heart of Iraq's Civil War. Publisher's VersionAbstract
It matters what we call things. It took too long for the Bush administration to admit that its intended liberation of Iraq had become an occupation, that US forces faced a home-grown insurgency there, and that a transition to Iraqi democracy might not result in a nation that supports US interests. Finally, not until 2007 did the Pentagon acknowledge that Iraqi sectarian violence had crossed a threshold to become a civil war. But policymakers still haven't come to terms with the implications of that fact. If they did, they'd see that a wisely executed withdrawal of US-led forces could well be the surest path to peace. That's because withdrawal is likely to transform the fighting in Iraq into a defensive struggle for power in a nation-state, as opposed to an offensive battle rooted in religion. The evidence overwhelmingly suggests that the war in Iraq is a religious civil war and that—even putting aside Al Qaeda in Iraq—Islam is at the heart of it for three reasons. First, Iraq's Sunnis and Shiites themselves see the war in these terms. They identify first and foremost as Shiites and Sunnis. Second, they use religious identity both to target opponents and define threats. Finally, they have appealed beyond the borders of Iraq for aid—fighters, arms, cash—in religious terms. Islam is not based in a specific territory; it is a transnational faith that unites its community, or umma, in the minds of men. Further, Islam does not have one leader who can dictate what is right or who is wrong. The absence of an ultimate authority figure means that Shiites—who, unlike Sunnis, believe that religious scholars are needed to help interpret the will of God—often latch on to charismatic imams. This helps explain why the cleric Moqtada al-Sadr has recently committed himself to further religious study in Iran. It also helps to explain why Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki will fail to gain acceptance as a leader among the vast majority of Iraq's Shiite population. Not only does Mr. Maliki not have support in the street—his government's failure to deliver even basic security and life's needs is apparent to most Iraqis—but he has no religious credentials of his own to fall back on. By contrast, Mr. Sadr's ability to deliver security and services through his Mahdi Army, and his authority as cleric and the son of the martyred Grand Ayatollah Mohammed al-Sadr, has assured him a devoted following. Sectarian conflict in Iraq was previously limited to fighting between Sunnis and Shiites. But today, the conflict has grown to include Shiites against fellow Shiites. Despite signs that security has improved, the religious civil wars in Iraq may have only just begun. My research on civil wars from 1940 to 2000 highlights three important facts about such wars, all of which apply to Iraq. First, nearly half of all ongoing civil wars (46 percent) involve religion in some form. Second, Islam has been involved in more than 80 percent of all religious civil wars. Third, religious civil wars are less likely to end in negotiated settlement. Instead, combatants tend to duke it out until one side achieves victory. In Iraq, a negotiated settlement is going to be very difficult for two reasons. First, the Shiites will want to remain in almost complete control due to two entirely legitimate concerns: (1) fears of Sunni repression as experienced in the past, and (2) a sense of majority-rule justice. Second, the Shiites themselves are divided on how Iraq should be ruled, so it's difficult to know whom to bargain with on the Shiite side, and therefore who can credibly commit to abide by the terms of any settlement. What then can the United States and its allies do to bring about a negotiated settlement? Ironically, the best way to support a negotiated settlement would be to leave Iraq. The withdrawal of US forces would allow Iraq's predominantly Arab Shiites and Sunnis to find common interest in opposing their two more classical historical adversaries: Kurds and Persians. The longer the US and Britain stay, the more they facilitate a shift away from the identity that long unified Iraq to the religious identity that is tearing it apart and facilitating its manipulation by Iran. There are three obvious downsides to this approach. First, the end of violence in Iraq following a US withdrawal would lead to the emergence of a nonsecular, nondemocratic government in Iraq. It would be more friendly toward Iran (though not Iran's puppet, as currently feared), but less friendly toward Israel, although a democratic Iraq would be no improvement in this regard. Second, since US withdrawal has been conditioned on a de-escalation of violence in Iraq, the Bush and Brown governments would be left the unenviable task of explaining to their countries that "withdrawal is the best way to create the conditions for, withdrawal." Third, withdrawal before violence has fully ceased will look like failure to most Americans and Britons. The idea of victory versus failure is really a false dichotomy, however. The real choice for US and British policymakers is between the more costly failure that will obtain from current policy and the less costly failure that might obtain from a well-thought-out and well-executed withdrawal.
Viterna, Jocelyn, Kathleen M Fallon, and Jason Beckfield. 2008. How Development Matters: A Research Note on the Relationship between Development, Democracy and Women's Political Representation.Abstract
Most studies find that the substantial cross-national variation in women's legislative representation is not explained by cross-national differences in socioeconomic development. By contrast, this note demonstrates that economic development does matter. Rather than looking for across-the-board general effects, we follow Matland (1998), and analyze developed and developing nations separately. We find that accepted explanations fit rich nations better than poor nations, and obscure the effects of democracy on women's representation in the developing world. We call for new theoretical models that better explain women's political representation within developing nations, and we suggest that democracy should be central to future models.
Marks, Stephen, and Kathleen A. Modrowski. 2008. Human Rights Cities: Civic Engagement for Societal Development. UN HABITAT and PDHRE. Publisher's VersionAbstract
This publication reviews one strategy that addresses both a broader and a narrower dimension of urban poverty. The Human Rights Cities Program is not directed toward securing legal title as a means of protecting the urban poor from market eviction and gentrification or to catalyze investment in low-income housing. It is rather a broader strategy of empowering inhabitants of communities to find collectively the ways and means of ensuring respect for their human rights, including the right to adequate housing, component elements of which are security of tenure, access to basic urban services, transport and mobility, financial services and credit, women’s empowerment, urban citizenship, income and livelihoods. It is thus a broader strategy than securing legal tenure.
Iversen, Torben, and Frances Rosenbluth. 2008. Work and Power: The Connection Between Female Labor Force Participation and Female Political Representation.Abstract
Low levels of female labor force participation contribute to female underrepresentation in democratic polities, both by reinforcing traditional voter attitudes toward women (a demand-side feature) and by constraining the supply of women with professional experience and resources who are capable of mounting credible electoral campaigns. Female labor force participation, however, is only part of the story. Comparative analysis suggests that electoral systems have a strong, systematic effect on the extent to which women’s workforce participation boosts female political representation. In candidatecentered political systems, where seniority is an important factor in legislative effectiveness, career interruptions for the sake of childcare and other family work hurts female aspiring politicians more seriously than in proportional representation (PR) systems, where political parties control the policy platform and constituency service is a minor consideration in the careers of candidates. In countries with mixed electoral systems, women do better in seats elected by PR than by single-member plurality. Within countries, women are more likely to get elected to offices characterized by shorter tenure and higher average levels of turnover.
Clark, William C, Kira JM Matus, Paul T Anastas, and Kai Itameri-Kinter. 2008. Overcoming the Challenges to the Implementation of Green Chemistry.Abstract
The Harvard-Yale-ACS GCI Green Chemistry Project is investigating the overall question of the circumstances under which firms can enact innovations that have both economic and environmental benefits, through a focused examination of the implementation of green chemistry. The research project has taken up three fundamental, interrelated questions: What factors act as barriers to the implementation of green chemistry? What actions can be taken by the government, academia, NGO’s and industry that will help alleviate these factors? What are the policy implications of these barriers and potential actions, for all of the involved stakeholders?
Also published as CID Working Paper No. 155, December 2007.Download PDF
Frieden, Jeffry, and David Leblang. 2008. The Political Economy of Exchange Rate Regimes In Transition Economies.Abstract
We show that political economy factors play an important role in shaping the exchange rate policies of transition economies. We argue, among other things, that tradables producers prefer a floating rate to allow active exchange rate policy to affect their competitiveness, while internationally exposed sectors prefer a fixed rate to provide currency stability. We carry out a quantitative analysis of the de facto exchange rate behavior of 21 countries over the period 1992-2004. We find support for our arguments, along with some counter-intuitive results, for example associating democracy with a pegged currency and trade concentration with a floating currency. Our empirical results serve as the basis for predictions regarding the adoption of the euro in the EU accession countries and other countries in Central and Eastern Europe.
Beckfield, Jason. 2008. Remapping Inequality in Europe: The Net Effect of Regional Integration on Total Income Inequality in the European Union.Abstract
Research on the determinants of inequality has implicated globalization in the increased income inequality observed in many advanced capitalist countries since the 1970s. Meanwhile, a different form of international embeddedness—regional integration—has largely escaped attention. Regional integration, conceptualized as the construction of international economy and polity within negotiated regions, should matter for inequality. This paper offers theoretical arguments that distinguish globalization from regional integration, connects regional integration to inequality through multiple theoretical mechanisms, develops hypotheses on the relationship between regional integration and inequality, and reports fresh empirical evidence on the net effect of regional integration on inequality in Western Europe. Three classes of models are used in the analysis: (1) time-series models where region-year is the unit of analysis, (2) panel models where country-year is the unit of analysis, and (3) analysis of variance to identify how the between- and within-country components of income inequality have changed over time. The evidence suggests that regional integration remaps inequality in Europe. Regionalization is associated with both a decrease in between-country inequality, and an increase in within-country inequality. The analysis of variance shows that the net effect is negative, and that within-country inequality now comprises a larger proportion of total income inequality.
This paper is prepared for the conference on "Inequality Beyond Globalization: Economic Changes and the Dynamics of Inequality," sponsored by the World Society Foundation and the Research Committee on Economy and Society of the International Sociological Association (RC-02), and convened in Neuchatel, Switzerland, June 2008. Please direct comments to Jason Beckfield.Download PDF
Miller, Manjari. 2008. India's Global Ambition and the Nuclear Deal. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Unlike China, India doesn't have a clear vision for its role in the world.For three decades, India has craved a nuclear energy deal that would bring prestige and advanced technology. Yet when the coalition government declared this week that it would move ahead with one, it triggered a crisis and a no-confidence motion in Parliament, which it had to scramble to survive.Watching this drama unfold, the international community may be forgiven for feeling a little baffled. After all, the landmark Indo-US nuclear deal is immensely advantageous for India. It allows India to buy nuclear technology from the US in exchange for abiding by International Atomic Energy Agency safeguards. It would give India's growing economy much-needed energy without endangering its strategic capabilities or influencing its sovereignty in foreign policy.To understand the political anguish and hand-wringing in India over a nuclear deal with the US, one needs to understand a very simple fact. Unlike China, its rival rising power, India lacks a grand strategy or concept of its role in the world. India thinks it should be a great power but has no clear vision of its path. In contrast, China thinks it is a great power and expends a great deal of time and energy outlining its "peaceful rise" to itself and the world.China's rise on the world stage is constantly discussed by Chinese academics, journalists, policy experts, political leaders, and the elite. This discourse emphasizes that despite China's growing power and the need for resources and markets, it will not pursue militarization and hegemony as Germany and Japan did before and during World War II.Rather, it intends to rise peacefully and harmoniously. Simultaneously, this idea draws on the concept of tianxia ("all under heaven") which, simply put, promotes order over chaos and has been key to understanding governance in China for the past 2,000 years. With defined ideas of the world and their role in the world, China acts like a confident great power and pursues its international goals with single-minded zeal.The last time India had a defined concept of its international role, Jawaharlal Nehru was the prime minister. Nehru made some notable foreign policy mistakes, particularly his disastrous Forward Policy that resulted in the 1962 war and bitter defeat at the hands of China.But there is no doubt the man was a visionary. Designed by Nehru, the Non-aligned Movement (NAM) was a domestic and international triumph for India. It was poor, struggling to develop economically and militarily, but there was a sense of purpose and national pride that it had, at least, cornered the moral market in international relations and assumed the leadership of the developing nations.Post Nehru and post cold war, India failed to adapt or abandon NAM, even when it had little significance. Nor, unlike China after Mao, did any Indian leader articulate an alternate ideology of the world and India's role in it.It is, therefore, not surprising that such bitter ideological divisions now exist in India. What is the way forward for India as a would-be great power? Does signing a nuclear deal with the US make its old antagonist its new BFF? Does it mean that even paying lip service to the long-obsolete idea of NAM is no longer possible? Or does great power mean, as the communists suggest, proudly rejecting the nuclear deal and thereby showing the international community who's boss?Even as the nuclear deal steams ahead, unless India articulates a vision for itself and gains the confidence of a great power, such splits will continue to plague its international relationships and negotiations.Manjari Chatterjee Miller is a post-doctoral fellow at the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton University and an affiliate of the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs at Harvard University. She is working on a book about Indian and Chinese foreign policy.
Ziblatt, Daniel. 2008. Does Landholding Inequality Block Democratization? A Test of the 'Bread and Democracy' Thesis and the Case of Prussia?.Abstract
Does landholding inequality block democratization? This classic question in the study of political regimes concerned Alexis de Tocqueville, Max Weber, and Alexander Gerschenkron. It is also a question that has recently attracted the attention of leading “new structural” political economists interested in the sources of regime change. Echoing Gerschenkron’s evocatively titled Bread and Democracy in Germany, these scholars have returned to the question of how preindustrial patterns of inequality—namely, landholding inequality—might exert an enduring and underappreciated effect on the chances for democratic transitions.3 The new literature utilizes the most advanced tools of political economy to examine historical and contemporary cases of democratization, generating competing accounts of how the preexisting distribution and mobility of economic resources affect regime change.
Estévez-Abe, Margarita. 2008. Welfare and Capitalism in Postwar Japan. Cambridge University Press. Publisher's VersionAbstract
This book explains how postwar Japan managed to achieve a highly egalitarian form of capitalism despite meager social spending. Estévez-Abe develops an institutional, rational-choice model to solve this puzzle. She shows how Japan’s electoral system generated incentives that led political actors to protect, if only for their own self-interested reasons, various groups that lost out in market competition. She explains how Japan’s postwar welfare state relied upon various alternatives to orthodox social spending programs. The initial postwar success of Japan’s political economy has given way to periods of crisis and reform. This book follows this story up to the present day. Estévez-Abe shows how the current electoral system renders obsolete the old form of social protection. She argues that institutionally Japan now resembles Britain and predicts that Japan’s welfare system will also come to resemble Britain’s. Japan thus faces a more market-oriented society and less equality.
Clark, William C, Michael Devereux, and Henry Lee. 2008. Biofuels and Sustainable Development.Abstract
The goals and concerns surrounding the debate over government policies related to the greater use and production of biofuels were addressed in an executive session convened by the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University and the Venice International University on May 19-20, 2008. The session attracted more than 25 of the world's leading experts from the fields of policy, science, and business to San servolo Island for an intensive two day session (see Appendix A for a list of the participants). The discussions were off-the-record, with each participant present in his or her own capacity, rather than representing an organization. The session was one in a series on Grand Challenges of the Sustainability Transition organized by the Sustainability Science Program at Harvard University with the generous support of the Italian Ministry for Environment, Land, and Sea. This particular session was held as part of the Ministry's ongoing work with the Global Bioenergy Program established at the G8 Gleneagles Summit in 2005. This summary report of the session is our synthesis of the main points and arguments that emerged from the discussions. It does not represent a consensus document, since no effort was made at the Session to arrive at a a single consensus view. Rather, we report here on what we heard to be the major themes discussed at the session. Any errors or misrepresentations remain solely our responsibility.
Also CID Working Paper No. 174 and BCSIA Working Paper, July 2008.Download PDF
Kremer, Michael, and Mary Kay Gugerty. 2008. Outside Funding and the Dynamics of Participation in Community Associations, American Journal of Political Science. Publisher's VersionAbstract
The poor and disadvantaged are widely seen as having weak organizations and low rates of participation in community associations, impeding their political representation and economic advancement. Many policy initiatives aim to build civic participation among the disadvantaged by funding local community associations. Taking advantage of random assignment in a program supporting women’s community associations in Kenya, we find little evidence that outside funding expanded organizational strength, but substantial evidence that funding changed group membership and leadership, weakening the role of the disadvantaged. The program led younger, more educated, and better-off women to enter the groups.New entrants, men, and more educated women assumed leadership positions. The departure of older women, the most socially marginalized demographic group, increased substantially. The results are generalized through a formal model showing how democratic decision making by existing members of community associations can generate long-run outcomes in which the poor and disadvantaged either do not belong to any associations or belong to weak organizations.
Abrami, Regina, Edmund Malesky, and Yu Zheng. 2008. Accountability and Inequality in Single-Party Regimes: A Comparative Analysis of Vietnam and China.Abstract
Over the past two decades, no two economies have averaged more rapid economic growth than China and Vietnam. But while China's income inequality has risen rapidly over that same time frame, Vietnam's has only grown moderately. Structural and socio-cultural determinants fail to account for these divergent pathways. Existing political variables are also unhelpful. China and Vietnam are coded in exactly the same way, even in the path-breaking work on authoritarian regimes. In this paper, we take a deeper look at political institutions in the two countries, demonstrating that profound differences between the polities directly impact distributional choices. In particular, we find that Vietnamese elite institutions require construction of broader coalitions of policymakers, place more constraints on executive decision making, and have more competitive selection processes. As a result, there are stronger political motivations for Vietnamese leaders to provide equalizing transfers that limit inequality growth.
Also Harvard Business School Working Paper No. 08-099.Download PDF
Bowman, Warigia. 2008. Moving forward in Kenya. Publisher's VersionAbstract
The recent presidential election in Kenya has declined into a bloodbath with the deaths of more than 300 people, jeopardizing the nation and the stability and democracy in East Africa as a whole. Both the government and the opposition must authorize and support an independently directed recount of votes and begin a process of national reconciliation.The election, the most competitive in the country's history, began peacefully on Dec. 27. The Commonwealth Observer Group commended the Election Commission of Kenya for its professionalism. Early returns on Dec. 29 gave opposition leader Raila Odinga a lead of nearly a million votes. Vote counting was stopped by the election commission that day with 189 of 210 constituencies reporting. On Dec. 30, the election commission announced that in a mysterious overnight switch incumbent Mwai Kibaki had won by 231,728 votes.European Union observers have condemned the delay in releasing the final presidential result. In addition they have noted that there were irregularities in ballot numbers, and that the presidential election results are not credible. Further, at least four election commissioners have since come forth and asked for a full investigation into vote tampering. There is credible evidence that the elections were rigged.The current electoral violence in Kenya has historical roots. Kibaki was elected on a multiparty, multiethnic democratic ticket in 2002 promising to “sweep away” corruption and one-party rule. He presided over a renewal of the once moribund economy: Kenya grew 6.1 percent in 2006. Under Kibaki, the press became freer, and civil society flourished. Bill Clinton praised Kibaki for introducing free primary education throughout the country.Yet, Kibaki reneged early in his administration on a memorandum of understanding with the Liberal Democratic Party regarding governmental power sharing. Although the Kenyan economy grew at a rapid pace, so did economic inequality, resulting in a concentration of wealth in a small oligarchical elite, while most Kenyans earn less than $1 a day.Senior members of Kibaki's government resigned under a cloud of corruption and his anticorruption czar went into exile in fear for his life. In a sharp turnaround from his 2002 entry as a democratic reformer, Kibaki has behaved like an autocrat in the days after the election, muzzling live broadcasts by the private media, banning opposition protests, and allowing the police to fire live ammunition upon unarmed civilians.For the sake of the nation and the region, Kenya must move forward to a peaceful democratic transition. Kibaki should immediately unmuzzle the press, and allow the opposition to assemble peacefully in public. Church leaders, civil society, and international observers must urge the police to stop firing on innocent civilians. As urged by Nobel Peace Prize laureate Wangari Maathai, an independent recount of contested ballots is required. The African Union, the United Nations, and the Commonwealth Group should rapidly assist in convening an independent body of Kenyans from all backgrounds to conduct the recount.African figures with unassailable democratic credentials, such as Desmond Tutu of South Africa and John Kufuor of Ghana should work with all Kenyan political parties to form an interim unity government that can rule in a transition period. Crucially, Odinga, Kalonzo Musyoka, and other Kenyan leaders must help lower temperatures by tempering inflammatory rhetoric, participating in good faith in negotiations, and urging those who claim to be supporters of Odinga's Orange Democratic Movement to halt politically motivated violence. Finally, credible new elections for the position of president must be scheduled in the next six months.The violence we are seeing in Kenya is not ethnic or tribal; it is political and has deep roots in social and economic inequities that have deepened continuously since independence. For hundreds of years, 42 ethnic and linguistic groups have lived peacefully together in Kenya, with high rates of intermarriage, trade, and in-migration. This violence obscures deep social inequities in economic distribution that cross ethnic lines among all groups.For 40 years, Kenya has been as a haven for refugees and a broker for peace settlements, avoiding the type of wrenching violence that has torn neighbors Sudan, Rwanda, and Somalia apart while earning a reputation as the most democratic nation in the region. Without immediate efforts toward national reconciliation, and a recount of disputed ballots, Kenya risks descent into autocracy and civil war.Warigia Bowman is graduate student associate at the Weatherhead Center and a doctoral candidate at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University.
Walt, Stephen M, and John Mearsheimer. 2008. Israel's False Friends. Publisher's VersionAbstract
U.S. presidential candidates aren't doing the Jewish state any favors by offering unconditional support.Once again, as the presidential campaign season gets underway, the leading candidates are going to enormous lengths to demonstrate their devotion to the state of Israel and their steadfast commitment to its "special relationship" with the United States.Each of the main contenders emphatically favors giving Israel extraordinary material and diplomatic support—continuing the more than $3 billion in foreign aid each year to a country whose per capita income is now 29th in the world. They also believe that this aid should be given unconditionally. None of them criticizes Israel's conduct, even when its actions threaten U.S. interests, are at odds with American values or even when they are harmful to Israel itself. In short, the candidates believe that the U.S. should support Israel no matter what it does. Such pandering is hardly surprising, because contenders for high office routinely court special interest groups, and Israel's staunchest supporters—the Israel lobby, as we have termed it—expect it. Politicians do not want to offend Jewish Americans or "Christian Zionists," two groups that are deeply engaged in the political process. Candidates fear, with some justification, that even well-intentioned criticism of Israel's policies may lead these groups to turn against them and back their opponents instead.If this happened, trouble would arise on many fronts. Israel's friends in the media would take aim at the candidate, and campaign contributions from pro-Israel individuals and political action committees would go elsewhere. Moreover, most Jewish voters live in states with many electoral votes, which increases their weight in close elections (remember Florida in 2000?), and a candidate seen as insufficiently committed to Israel would lose some of their support. And no Republican would want to alienate the pro-Israel subset of the Christian evangelical movement, which is a significant part of the GOP base.Indeed, even suggesting that the U.S. adopt a more impartial stance toward the Israeli-Palestinian conflict can get a candidate into serious trouble. When Howard Dean proposed during the 2004 campaign that the United States take a more "evenhanded" role in the peace process, he was severely criticized by prominent Democrats, and a rival for the nomination, Sen. Joe Lieberman, accused him of "selling Israel down the river" and said Dean's comments were "irresponsible."Word quickly spread in the American Jewish community that Dean was hostile to Israel, even though his campaign co-chair was a former president of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee and Dean had been strongly pro-Israel throughout his career. The candidates in the 2008 election surely want to avoid Dean's fate, so they are all trying to prove that they are Israel's best friend.These candidates, however, are no friends of Israel. They are facilitating its pursuit of self-destructive policies that no true friend would favor.The key issue here is the future of Gaza and the West Bank, which Israel conquered in 1967 and still controls. Israel faces a stark choice regarding these territories, which are home to roughly 3.8 million Palestinians. It can opt for a two-state solution, turning over almost all of the West Bank and Gaza to the Palestinians and allowing them to create a viable state on those lands in return for a comprehensive peace agreement designed to allow Israel to live securely within its pre-1967 borders (with some minor modifications). Or it can retain control of the territories it occupies or surrounds, building more settlements and bypass roads and confining the Palestinians to a handful of impoverished enclaves in Gaza and the West Bank. Israel would control the borders around those enclaves and the air above them, thus severely restricting the Palestinians' freedom of movement.But if Israel chooses this second option, it will lead to an apartheid state. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said as much when he recently proclaimed that if "the two-state solution collapses," Israel will "face a South African-style struggle." He went so far as to argue that "as soon as that happens, the state of Israel is finished." Similarly, Israel's deputy prime minister, Haim Ramon, said earlier this month that "the occupation is a threat to the existence of the state of Israel." Other Israelis, as well as Jimmy Carter and Anglican Archbishop Desmond Tutu, have warned that continuing the occupation will turn Israel into an apartheid state. Nevertheless, Israel continues to expand its settlements on the West Bank while the plight of the Palestinians worsens.Given this grim situation, one would expect the presidential candidates, who claim to care deeply about Israel, to be sounding the alarm and energetically championing a two-state solution. One would expect them to have encouraged President Bush to put significant pressure on both the Israelis and the Palestinians at the recent Annapolis conference and to keep the pressure on when he visits the region this week. As Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice recently observed, settling this conflict is also in America's interest, not to mention the Palestinians'.One would certainly expect Hillary Clinton to be leading the charge here. After all, she wisely and bravely called for establishing a Palestinian state "that is on the same footing as other states" in 1998, when it was still politically incorrect to use the words "Palestinian state" openly. Moreover, her husband not only championed a two-state solution as president but he laid out the famous "Clinton parameters" in December 2000, which outline the only realistic deal for ending the conflict.But what is Clinton saying now that she is a candidate? She said hardly anything about pushing the peace process forward at Annapolis, and remained silent when Rice criticized Israel's subsequent announcement that it planned to build more than 300 new housing units in East Jerusalem. More important, both she and GOP aspirant Rudy Giuliani recently proclaimed that Jerusalem must remain undivided, a position that is at odds with the Clinton parameters and virtually guarantees that there will be no Palestinian state.Sen. Clinton's behavior is hardly unusual among the candidates for president. Barack Obama, who expressed some sympathy for the Palestinians before he set his sights on the White House, now has little to say about their plight, and he too said little about what should have been done at Annapolis to facilitate peace. The other major contenders are ardent in their declarations of support for Israel, and none of them apparently sees a two-state solution as so urgent that they should press both sides to reach an agreement. As Zbigniew Brzezinski, a former U.S. national security advisor and now a senior advisor to Obama, noted, "The presidential candidates don't see any payoff in addressing the Israel-Palestinian issue." But they do see a significant political payoff in backing Israel to the hilt, even when it is pursuing a policy —colonizing the West Bank—that is morally and strategically bankrupt. In short, the presidential candidates are no friends of Israel. They are like most U.S. politicians, who reflexively mouth pro-Israel platitudes while continuing to endorse and subsidize policies that are in fact harmful to the Jewish state. A genuine friend would tell Israel that it was acting foolishly, and would do whatever he or she could to get Israel to change its misguided behavior. And that will require challenging the special interest groups whose hard-line views have been obstacles to peace for many years.As former Israeli Foreign Minister Shlomo Ben-Ami argued in 2006, the American presidents who have made the greatest contribution to peace—Carter and George H.W. Bush—succeeded because they were "ready to confront Israel head-on and overlook the sensibilities of her friends in America." If the Democratic and Republican contenders were true friends of Israel, they would be warning it about the danger of becoming an apartheid state, just as Carter did.Moreover, they would be calling for an end to the occupation and the creation of a viable Palestinian state. And they would be calling for the United States to act as an honest broker between Israel and the Palestinians so that Washington could pressure both sides to accept a solution based on the Clinton parameters. Implementing a final-status agreement will be difficult and take a number of years, but it is imperative that the two sides formally agree on the solution and then implement it in ways that protect each side.But Israel's false friends cannot say any of these things, or even discuss the issue honestly. Why? Because they fear that speaking the truth would incur the wrath of the hard-liners who dominate the main organizations in the Israel lobby. So Israel will end up controlling Gaza and the West Bank for the foreseeable future, turning itself into an apartheid state in the process. And all of this will be done with the backing of its so-called friends, including the current presidential candidates. With friends like them, who needs enemies?
Mullainathan, Sendhil, Jeffrey R Brown, Jeffrey R Kling, and Marian V Wrobel. 2008. Why Don't People Insure Late Life Consumption? A Framing Explanation of the Under-Annuitization Puzzle, in .Abstract
According to standard economic models, a risk-averse consumer who faces uncertainty about length-of-life should place a high value on life annuities that provide guaranteed income for life. Yet numerous studies show that few consumers voluntarily annuitize their retirement savings. As public and private pension systems around the world continue the ongoing shift from traditional defined benefit plans, which typically pay benefits for life, to defined contribution structures which rarely require annuitization, retirees find themselves increasingly exposed to longevity risk—the risk of being unable to sustain their consumption should they live longer than average.
Presented at the American Economic Association, January 5, 2008.Download PDF