Do democracies make more effective coercive threats? An inﬂuential
literature in international relations argues that democratic institutions allow leaders
to credibly signal their resolve in crises, thereby making their threats more likely to
work than threats by nondemocracies. This article revisits the quantitative evidence
for this proposition, which we call the “democratic credibility hypothesis,” and ﬁnds
that it is surprisingly weak. Close examination of the data sets most commonly used
to test this hypothesis reveals that they contain few successful democratic threats, or
indeed threats of any kind. Moreover, these data sets’ outcome variables do not properly measure the effectiveness of threats, and therefore yield misleading results. The
article then reassesses the democratic credibility hypothesis using the Militarized Compellent Threats data set, a new data set designed speciﬁcally to test hypotheses about
the effectiveness of coercive threats. The analysis indicates that threats from democracies are no more successful than threats from other states.
This article studies the effect of domestic observers deployed to reduce irregularities in voter registration in a new democracy, and in particular, the response of political parties’ agents to these observers. Because political parties operate over large areas and party agents may relocate away from observed registration centers, observers may displace rather than deter irregularities. We design and implement a large-scale two-level randomized field experiment in Ghana in 2008 taking into account these spillovers and find evidence for substantial irregularities: the registration increase is smaller in constituencies with observers; within these constituencies with observers, the increase is about one-sixth smaller on average in electoral areas with observers than in those without; but some of the deterred registrations appear to be displaced to nearby electoral areas. The finding of positive spillovers has implications for the measurement of electoral irregularities or analysis of data collected by observers.
This essay outlines the evolution of my personal thinking about phenomenology and subjectivity. In
previous work, I drew heavily on cultural phenomenology for studying illness, subjective experience, and medical
knowledge across cultures. Here I describe why I have become increasingly dissatisfied with this framework
for understanding subjectivity and the subject and suggest alternatives I consider important for psychological
anthropology. I focus in particular on questions of how to investigate that which is largely unspeakable and
unspoken in everyday speech but at times erupts into awareness as complex specters haunting the present. I
provide a case from my ongoing research in Java of a young man who suffered an acute psychosis, drawing
implications for a theory of subjectivity and methods for psychological anthropology. I point briefly to the relation
of madness and memories of political violence as sites for investigating subjectivity, suggesting the importance
of a “hauntology” for psychological anthropology. Finally, I address questions about whether a method that
addresses hidden aspects of psychological experience requires a stance in which ethnographers “know better
than” those with whom they are interacting.
From human trafficking to the smuggling of small arms to the looting of antiquities, illicit trade poses significant threats to international order. So why is it so difficult to establish international cooperation against illicit trade? Governing Guns, Preventing Plunder offers a novel, thought-provoking answer to this crucial question. Conventional wisdom holds that criminal groups are the biggest obstacle to efforts to suppress illicit trade. Contrarily, Asif Efrat explains how legitimate actors, such as museums that acquire looted antiquities, seek to hinder these regulatory efforts. Yet such attempts to evade regulation fuel international political conflicts between governments demanding action against illicit trade and others that are reluctant to cooperate. The book offers a framework for understanding the domestic origins of these conflicts and how the distribution of power shapes their outcome. Through this framework, Efrat explains why the interests of governments vary across countries, trades, and time. In a fascinating empirical analysis, he solves a variety of puzzles: Why is the international regulation of small arms much weaker than international drug control? What led the United States and Britain to oppose the efforts against the plunder of antiquities, and why did they ultimately join these efforts? How did American pressure motivate Israel to tackle sex trafficking? Efrat's findings will change the way we think about illicit trade, offering valuable insights to scholars, activists, and policymakers.
This article studies the effect of domestic observers deployed to reduce irregularities in voter registration in a new
democracy, and in particular, the response of political parties’ agents to these observers. Because political parties
operate over large areas and party agents may relocate away from observed registration centers, observers may
displace rather than deter irregularities. We design and implement a large-scale two-level randomized field
experiment in Ghana in 2008 taking into account these spillovers and find evidence for substantial irregularities:
the registration increase is smaller in constituencies with observers; within these constituencies with observers, the
increase is about one-sixth smaller on average in electoral areas with observers than in those without; but some of
the deterred registrations appear to be displaced to nearby electoral areas. The finding of positive spillovers has
implications for the measurement of electoral irregularities or analysis of data collected by observers.
A glance at a newspaper or the wait staff in a restaurant, at high-technology hubs such as Silicon Valley, on the streets of cities like Berlin or Barcelona, or at the students in our classes makes it clear how many immigrants now live in North America and Western Europe, and how important they are to our cultural, economic, and social lives. A glance at the landscape of governance, however, does not give a clear or consistent image of immigrants’ presence. In 2007, only twelve Representatives in the 435-member United States Congress were immigrants, as were only two each of the 50 governors and 100 senators. Immigrants cast only 6.3 percent of the vote in the American presidential election of 2008, despite being almost 13 percent of the total adult population (Garbaye and Mollenkopf forthcoming 2012). As of 2009, 11 deputies in the 622-seat German Bundestag were foreign-born (Alonso and Claro da Fonseca 2009). As of 2007, no French citizen of Mahgrébin origin had sat in the 555-member National Assembly.
In the aftermath of a civil war, former enemies are left living side by side—and often the enemy is a son-in-law, a godfather, an old schoolmate, or the community that lies just across the valley. Though the internal conflict in Peru at the end of the twentieth century was incited and organized by insurgent Senderistas, the violence and destruction were carried out not only by Peruvian armed forces but also by civilians. In the wake of war, any given Peruvian community may consist of ex-Senderistas, current sympathizers, widows, orphans, army veterans—a volatile social landscape. These survivors, though fully aware of the potential danger posed by their neighbors, must nonetheless endeavor to live and labor alongside their intimate enemies.Drawing on years of research with communities in the highlands of Ayacucho, Kimberly Theidon explores how Peruvians are rebuilding both individual lives and collective existence following twenty years of armed conflict. Intimate Enemies recounts the stories and dialogues of Peruvian peasants and Theidon's own experiences to encompass the broad and varied range of conciliatory practices: customary law before and after the war, the practice of arrepentimiento (publicly confessing one's actions and requesting pardon from one's peers), a differentiation between forgiveness and reconciliation, and the importance of storytelling to make sense of the past and re-create moral order. The micropolitics of reconciliation in these communities present an example of postwar coexistence that deeply complicates the way we understand transitional justice, moral sensibilities, and social life in the aftermath of war. Any effort to understand post-conflict reconstruction must be attuned both to devastation as well as to human tenacity for life.
This paper examines empirically how transparency of the budget process affects fiscal
rules and incentives for fiscal gimmickry or creative accounting in the European Union. Using
stock-flow adjustment data for EU countries from 1990–2007, we show that pressure from a
deficit limit rule as in the Stability and Growth Pact creates incentives for fiscal gimmicks, as
does political pressure from the electoral cycle and economic pressure from negative shocks in
the business cycle. However, we show that where institutional transparency is higher, these
incentives are damped and largely disappear. We infer that fiscal rules do not work well when
institutional transparency is low.
On 25 March 2012, Macky Sall of the Alliance for the Republic (APR)
won the second round of Senegal’s presidential election with 65.8 percent
of the vote, handily defeating incumbent president Abdoulaye Wade
of the Senegalese Democratic Party (PDS), who had won the most votes
in the first round. In contrast to a tumultuous campaign season, election
day itself was relatively peaceful. Wade graciously accepted defeat,
phoning Sall to congratulate him several hours after the polls closed.
French president Nicolas Sarkozy called this gesture “proof of [Wade’s]
attachment to democracy.” This appraisal is too generous, however.
The peaceful turnover followed months of protests and violent repression,
as well as a rumored intervention by military officials to force
Wade to accept defeat after the second-round voting. Debates about
the constitutionality of Wade’s candidacy, as well as an earlier change
that he had proposed in the election law, helped to generate this turmoil,
which included at least ten deaths, dozens of arrests, and many injuries.
The perception of politics as an obstacle to the advancement of the Caribbean must be removed. In Power, Politics and Performance, Winston Dookeran argues that for meaningful change, politics must be visionary and pursued with principled purpose. He argues for partnership through regionalism and explores the issues facing small developing states and their sovereignty. Dookeran identifies the imperatives of financial stability and the structures required for building a knowledge-based economy. Power, Politics and Performance focuses on key issues of leadership and the political processes suggesting that ultimately, leadership is about finding solutions, and such solutions require radical transformation of political parties and political institutions. The book examines and analyses specific problems and distortions in small states and the challenge of building effective leadership while providing a blueprint for the way forward. Power, Politics and Performance is a welcomed addition to the Caribbean Integration arena and sets the stage for a paradigm shift in the governance of small states.
Evolutionary psychologists have suggested that confidence and conservatism promoted aggression in our ancestral past, and that this may have been an adaptive strategy given the prevailing costs and benefits of conflict. However, in modern environments, where the costs and benefits of conflict can be very different owing to the involvement of mass armies, sophisticated technology, and remote leadership, evolved tendencies toward high levels of confidence and conservatism may continue to be a contributory cause of aggression despite leading to greater costs and fewer benefits. The purpose of this paper is to test whether confidence and conservatism are indeed associated with greater levels of aggression—in an explicitly political domain. We present the results of an experiment examining people’s levels of aggression in response to hypothetical international crises (a hostage crisis, a counter-insurgency campaign, and a coup). Levels of aggression (which range from concession to negotiation to military attack) were significantly predicted by subjects’ (1) confidence that their chosen policy would succeed, (2) score on a liberal-conservative scale, (3) political party affiliation, and (4) preference for the use of military force in real-world US policy toward Iraq and Iran. We discuss the possible adaptive and maladaptive implications of confidence.