Research Library

2015
Rodrik, Dani. 2015. Economics Rules. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, Inc. Publisher's VersionAbstract

In the wake of the financial crisis and the Great Recession, economics seems anything but a science. In this sharp, masterfully argued book, Dani Rodrik, a leading critic from within, takes a close look at economics to examine when it falls short and when it works, to give a surprisingly upbeat account of the discipline.

Drawing on the history of the field and his deep experience as a practitioner, Rodrik argues that economics can be a powerful tool that improves the world—but only when economists abandon universal theories and focus on getting the context right. Economics Rules argues that the discipline's much-derided mathematical models are its true strength. Models are the tools that make economics a science.

Too often, however, economists mistake a model for the model that applies everywhere and at all times. In six chapters that trace his discipline from Adam Smith to present-day work on globalization, Rodrik shows how diverse situations call for different models. Each model tells a partial story about how the world works. These stories offer wide-ranging, and sometimes contradictory, lessons—just as children’s fables offer diverse morals.

Whether the question concerns the rise of global inequality, the consequences of free trade, or the value of deficit spending, Rodrik explains how using the right models can deliver valuable new insights about social reality and public policy. Beyond the science, economics requires the craft to apply suitable models to the context.

At once a forceful critique and defense of the discipline, Economics Rules charts a path toward a more humble but more effective science.

Antràs, Pol. 2015. Global Production: Firms, Contracts, and Trade Structure. Princeton: Princeton University Press. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Global Production is the first book to provide a fully comprehensive overview of the complicated issues facing multinational companies and their global sourcing strategies. Few international trade transactions today are based on the exchange of finished goods; rather, the majority of transactions are dominated by sales of individual components and intermediary services. Many firms organize global production around offshoring parts, components, and services to producers in distant countries, and contracts are drawn up specific to the parties and distinct legal systems involved. Pol Antràs examines the contractual frictions that arise in the international system of production and how these frictions influence the world economy.

Antràs discusses the inevitable complications that develop in contract negotiation and execution. He provides a unified framework that sheds light on the factors helping global firms determine production locations and other organizational choices. Antràs also implements a series of systematic empirical tests, based on recent data from the U.S. Customs and Census Offices, which demonstrate the relevance of contractual factors in global production decisions.

Using an integrated approach, Global Production is an excellent resource for researchers, graduate students, and advanced undergraduates interested in the inner workings of international economics and trade.

Ragab, Ahmed. 2015. The Medieval Islamic Hospital: Medicine, Religion, and Charity. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Publisher's VersionAbstract

The first monograph on the history of Islamic hospitals, this volume focuses on the under-examined Egyptian and Levantine institutions of the twelfth to fourteenth centuries. By the twelfth century, hospitals serving the sick and the poor could be found in nearly every Islamic city. Ahmed Ragab traces the varying origins and development of these institutions, locating them in their urban environments and linking them to charity networks and patrons' political projects. Following the paths of patients inside hospital wards, he investigates who they were and what kinds of experiences they had. The Medieval Islamic Hospital explores the medical networks surrounding early hospitals and sheds light on the particular brand of practice-oriented medicine they helped to develop. Providing a detailed picture of the effect of religion on medieval medicine, it will be essential reading for those interested in history of medicine, history of Islamic sciences, or history of the Mediterranean.

Ramanna, Karthik. 2015. Political Standards: Corporate Interest, Ideology, and Leadership in the Shaping of Accounting Rules for the Market Economy. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Prudent, verifiable, and timely corporate accounting is a bedrock of our modern capitalist system. In recent years, however, the rules that govern corporate accounting have been subtly changed in ways that compromise these core principles, to the detriment of the economy at large. These changes have been driven by the private agendas of certain corporate special interests, aided selectively—and sometimes unwittingly—by arguments from business academia

With Political Standards, Karthik Ramanna develops the notion of “thin political markets” to describe a key problem facing technical rule-making in corporate accounting and beyond. When standard-setting boards attempt to regulate the accounting practices of corporations, they must draw on a small pool of qualified experts—but those experts almost always have strong commercial interests in the outcome. Meanwhile, standard setting rarely enjoys much attention from the general public. This absence of accountability, Ramanna argues, allows corporate managers to game the system. In the profit-maximization framework of modern capitalism, the only practicable solution is to reframe managerial norms when participating in thin political markets. Political Standards will be an essential resource for understanding how the rules of the game are set, whom they inevitably favor, and how the process can be changed for a better capitalism.

Peterson, Sarah Dryden. 2015. “Refugee Education in Countries of First Asylum: Breaking Open the Black Box of Pre-Resettlement Experiences.” Theory and Research in Education, 1-18. Publisher's VersionAbstract

The number of refugees who have fled across international borders due to conflict and persecution is at the highest level in recorded history. The vast majority of these refugees find exile in low-income countries neighboring their countries of origin. The refugee children who are resettled to North America, Europe, and Australia arrive with previous educational experiences in these countries of first asylum. This article examines these pre-resettlement educational experiences of refugee children, which to date have constituted a ‘black box’ in their post-resettlement education. Analysis is of data from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, key informant interviews in 14 countries of first asylum, and ethnographic fieldwork and interviews in four countries. The article argues that contemporary conditions of conflict usefully inform conceptual understanding of refugee education globally, including the types of schools that refugees access in countries of first asylum and their rates of access. It further identifies three empirical themes that are common to the educational experiences of refugees in countries of first asylum: language barriers, teacher-centered pedagogy, and discrimination in school settings. The article examines the theoretical and practical relevance of these pre-resettlement educational experiences for post-resettlement education of refugee children.

Tingley, Dustin H., and Helen V. Milner. 2015. Sailing the Water’s Edge. Princeton: Princeton University Press. Publisher's VersionAbstract

When engaging with other countries, the US government has a number of different policy instruments at its disposal, including foreign aid, international trade, and the use of military force. But what determines which policies are chosen? Does the United States rely too much on the use of military power and coercion in its foreign policies? Sailing the Water’s Edge focuses on how domestic US politics—in particular the interactions between the president, Congress, interest groups, bureaucratic institutions, and the public—have influenced foreign policy choices since World War II and shows why presidents have more control over some policy instruments than others. Presidential power matters and it varies systematically across policy instruments.

Helen Milner and Dustin Tingley consider how Congress and interest groups have substantial material interests in and ideological divisions around certain issues and that these factors constrain presidents from applying specific tools. As a result, presidents select instruments that they have more control over, such as use of the military. This militarization of US foreign policy raises concerns about the nature of American engagement, substitution among policy tools, and the future of US foreign policy. Milner and Tingley explore whether American foreign policy will remain guided by a grand strategy of liberal internationalism, what affects American foreign policy successes and failures, and the role of US intelligence collection in shaping foreign policy. The authors support their arguments with rigorous theorizing, quantitative analysis, and focused case studies, such as US foreign policy in sub-Saharan Africa across two presidential administrations.

Sailing the Water’s Edge examines the importance of domestic political coalitions and institutions on the formation of American foreign policy.

Mugane, John M.. 2015. The Story of Swahili. Athens: Ohio University Press. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Swahili, or more properly Kiswahili, was once an obscure littoral dialect of an East African Bantu language. Today more than one hundred million people use Swahili, making it one of the few truly international languages—Swahili is to eastern and central Africa what English is to the world. How this came about and why, of all African languages, it happened only to Swahili is the story that John M. Mugane sets out to explore.

The remarkable adaptability of Swahili has allowed Africans—and others—to tailor the language to their needs, extending its influence far beyond its place of origin. The Story of Swahili calls for a reevaluation of the widespread but fallacious assumption that cultural superiority, military conquest, and economic dominance determine the prosperity of any given language.

The Story of Swahili is about where languages come from, where they are now, and where they are headed, using the success of Swahili as a convenient point of entry. As a language that arose from contact between peoples from diverse cultures, Swahili is an excellent conveyor of the history of communities in eastern and central Africa as well as their associations throughout the Indian Ocean world. It is also a vibrant, living language that continues to adapt to the changing demands of global trade, technology, and communication.

McGirr, Lisa. 2015. The War on Alcohol. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, Inc. Publisher's VersionAbstract

A groundbreaking history of Prohibition and a new creation story for the powerful American state.

Prohibition has long been portrayed as a “noble experiment” that failed, a newsreel story of glamorous gangsters, flappers, and speakeasies. Now at last Lisa McGirr dismantles this cherished myth to reveal a much more significant history. Prohibition was the seedbed for a pivotal expansion of the federal government, the genesis of our contemporary penal state. Her deeply researched, eye-opening account uncovers patterns of enforcement still familiar today: the war on alcohol was waged disproportionately in African American, immigrant, and poor white communities. Alongside Jim Crow and other discriminatory laws, Prohibition brought coercion into everyday life and even into private homes. Its targets coalesced into an electoral base of urban, working-class voters that propelled FDR to the White House.

This outstanding history also reveals a new genome for the activist American state, one that shows the DNA of the right as well as the left. It was Herbert Hoover who built the extensive penal apparatus used by the federal government to combat the crime spawned by Prohibition. The subsequent federal wars on crime, on drugs, and on terror all display the inheritances of the war on alcohol. McGirr shows the powerful American state to be a bipartisan creation, a legacy not only of the New Deal and the Great Society but also of Prohibition and its progeny.

The War on Alcohol is history at its best—original, authoritative, and illuminating of our past and its continuing presence today.

Lamont, Michèle, Stefan Beljean, and Phillipa Chong. 2015. “A Post-Bourdieusian Sociology of Valuation and Evaluation for the Field of Cultural Production.” Routledge International Handbook of the Sociology of Art and Culture. London: Routledge. Publisher's VersionAbstract

The Routledge Handbook of the Sociology of Arts and Culture offers a comprehensive overview of sociology of art and culture, focusing especially – though not exclusively – on the visual arts, literature, music, and digital culture. Extending, and critiquing, Bourdieu’s influential analysis of cultural capital, the distinguished international contributors explore the extent to which cultural omnivorousness has eclipsed highbrow culture, the role of age, gender and class on cultural practices, the character of aesthetic preferences, the contemporary significance of screen culture, and the restructuring of popular culture. The Handbook critiques modes of sociological determinism in which cultural engagement is seen as the simple product of the educated middle classes. The contributions explore the critique of Eurocentrism and the global and cosmopolitan dimensions of cultural life. The book focuses particularly on bringing cutting edge ‘relational’ research methodologies, both qualitative and quantitative, to bear on these debates. This handbook not only describes the field, but also proposes an agenda for its development which will command major international interest.

Lamont, Michèle, Sabrina Pendergrass, and Mark C. Pachucki. 2015. “Symbolic Boundaries.” International Encyclopedia of the Social & Behavioral Sciences, 2nd Edition, 23:850-855. Oxford: Elsevier, 23, 850-855. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Fully revised and updated, the second edition of the International Encyclopedia of the Social and Behavioral Sciences, first published in 2001, offers a source of social and behavioral sciences reference material that is broader and deeper than any other. Available in both print and online editions, it comprises over 3,900 articles, commissioned by 71 Section Editors, and includes 90,000 bibliographic references as well as comprehensive name and subject indexes.

Mylonas, Harris. 2015. “Book Review: KOSTIS KORNETIS. Children of the Dictatorship: Student Resistance, Cultural Politics, and the “Long 1960s” in Greece..” The American Historical Review. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Children of the Dictatorship: Student Resistance, Cultural Politics, and the “Long 1960s” in Greece is the first scholarly attempt to write the history of the people who arguably shaped the post-Junta period in Greece (1974 to present) that some have vilified and others glorified. It is an anatomy of the “Polytechnic Generation” of Greeks born between 1949 and 1954 who participated in left-wing resistance movements during the Junta (1967–1974) and particularly those who remained active in politics thereafter. Kostis Kornetis contributes to the still scarce literature on the Greek dictatorship, problematizing the self-image of the Polytechnic Generation. Kornetis dispels many myths. He debunks the widely held conviction in the literature that foreign cultural influences stupefied the youth and the hypothesis that these protest activities during the dictatorship were a continuation of the protest wave of the 1950s, as well as the still popular view in Greece that the Polytechnic Generation brought down the Junta.

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Mylonas, Harris, and Keith Darden. 2015. “Threats to Territorial Integrity, National Mass Schooling, and Linguistic Commonality.” Comparative Political Studies, 1-34.Abstract

Why are some countries more linguistically homogeneous than others? We posit that the international environment in which a state develops partially determines the extent of its linguistic commonality and national cohesion. Specifically, the presence of an external threat of territorial conquest or externally supported secession leads governing elites to have stronger incentives to pursue nation-building strategies to generate national cohesion, often leading to the cultivation of a common national language through mass schooling. Comparing cases with similar levels of initial linguistic heterogeneity, state capacity, and development, but in different international environments, we find that states that did not face external threats to their territorial integrity were more likely to outsource education and other tools for constructing identity to missionaries or other groups, or not to invest in assimilation at all, leading to higher ethnic heterogeneity. States developing in high threat environments were more likely to invest in nation-building strategies to homogenize their populations.

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Artifacts and Allegiances: How Museums Put the Nation and the World on Display
Levitt, Peggy. 2015. Artifacts and Allegiances: How Museums Put the Nation and the World on Display. Oakland, California: University of California Press. Publisher's VersionAbstract

What can we learn about nationalism by looking at a country’s cultural institutions? How do the history and culture of particular cities help explain how museums represent diversity? Artifacts and Allegiances takes us around the world to tell the compelling story of how museums today are making sense of immigration and globalization. Based on firsthand conversations with museum directors, curators, and policymakers; descriptions of current and future exhibitions; and inside stories about the famous paintings and iconic objects that define collections across the globe, this work provides a close-up view of how different kinds of institutions balance nationalism and cosmopolitanism. By comparing museums in Europe, the United States, Asia, and the Middle East, Peggy Levitt offers a fresh perspective on the role of the museum in shaping citizens. Taken together, these accounts tell the fascinating story of a sea change underway in the museum world at large.

Ferguson, Niall, and Andrew Roberts. 2015. “Book Review of Niall Ferguson’s Kissinger. Volume I. 1923-1968: The Ideal­ist.” New York Times. Publisher's VersionAbstract

It is very rare for an official biography to be also a revisionist biography, but this one is. Usually it’s the official life that the revisionists attempt to dissect and ­refute, but such is the historical reputation of Henry Kissinger, and the avalanche of books and treatises already written about him, that Niall Ferguson’s official biography is in part an effort to revise the revisionists. Though not without trenchant criticisms, “Kissinger. Volume I. 1923-1968: The Ideal­ist” — which takes its subject up to the age of 45, about to begin his first stint of full-time government service — constitutes the most comprehensive defense of Kissinger’s outlooks and actions since his own three-volume, 3,900-page autobiography, published between 1979 and 1999.

Kissinger: 1923-1968: The Idealist
Ferguson, Niall. 2015. Kissinger: 1923-1968: The Idealist. Penguin Press. Publisher's VersionAbstract

The definitive biography of Henry Kissinger, based on unprecedented access to his private papers

No American statesman has been as revered or as reviled as Henry Kissinger. Once hailed as “Super K”—the “indispensable man” whose advice has been sought by every president from Kennedy to Obama—he has also been hounded by conspiracy theorists, scouring his every “telcon” for evidence of Machiavellian malfeasance. Yet as Niall Ferguson shows in this magisterial two-volume biography, drawing not only on Kissinger’s hitherto closed private papers but also on documents from more than a hundred archives around the world, the idea of Kissinger as the ruthless arch-realist is based on a profound misunderstanding.

The first half of Kissinger’s life is usually skimmed over as a quintessential tale of American ascent: the Jewish refugee from Hitler’s Germany who made it to the White House. But in this first of two volumes, Ferguson shows that what Kissinger achieved before his appointment as Richard Nixon’s national security adviser was astonishing in its own right. Toiling as a teenager in a New York factory, he studied indefatigably at night. He was drafted into the U.S. infantry and saw action at the Battle of the Bulge—as well as the liberation of a concentration camp—but ended his army career interrogating Nazis. It was at Harvard that Kissinger found his vocation. Having immersed himself in the philosophy of Kant and the diplomacy of Metternich, he shot to celebrity by arguing for “limited nuclear war.” Nelson Rockefeller hired him. Kennedy called him to Camelot. Yet Kissinger’s rise was anything but irresistible. Dogged by press gaffes and disappointed by “Rocky,” Kissinger seemed stuck—until a trip to Vietnam changed everything.
 
The Idealist is the story of one of the most important strategic thinkers America has ever produced. It is also a political Bildungsroman, explaining how “Dr. Strangelove” ended up as consigliere to a politician he had always abhorred. Like Ferguson’s classic two-volume history of the House of Rothschild, Kissinger sheds dazzling new light on an entire era. The essential account of an extraordinary life, it recasts the Cold War world.

Cohen, Dara Kay. 2015. “Do States Delegate Shameful Violence to Militias? Patterns of Sexual Violence in Recent Armed Conflicts.” Journal of Conflict Resolution 59: 877-898. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Existing research maintains that governments delegate extreme, gratuitous, or excessively brutal violence to militias. However, analyzing all militias in armed conflicts from 1989 to 2009, we find that this argument does not account for the observed patterns of sexual violence, a form of violence that should be especially likely to be delegated by governments. Instead, we find that states commit sexual violence as a complement to—rather than a substitute for—violence perpetrated by militias. Rather than the logic of delegation, we argue that two characteristics of militia groups increase the probability of perpetrating sexual violence. First, we find that militias that have recruited children are associated with higher levels of sexual violence. This lends support to a socialization hypothesis, in which sexual violence may be used as a tool for building group cohesion. Second, we find that militias that were trained by states are associated with higher levels of sexual violence, which provides evidence for sexual violence as a ‘‘practice’’ of armed groups. These two complementary results suggest that militia-perpetrated sexual violence follows a different logic and is neither the result of delegation nor, perhaps, indiscipline.

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Mylonas, Harris. 2015. “Review of Onur Yıldırım's Diplomacy and Displacement: Reconsidering the Turco-Greek Exchange of Populations, 1922-1934.” Journal of Cold War Studies 17 (3): 268-270. Publisher's VersionAbstract

This book will be of interest to students of the Cold War because it examines the antecedents of the many population movements not only during the interwar period but also after World War II. The Turco-Greek population exchange was not the first exchange in the Balkans (a Greek-Bulgarian voluntary population exchange was signed in 1919, as discussed by Theodora Dragostinova in Between Two Motherlands: Nationality and Emigration among the Greeks of Bulgaria, 1900-1949, published by Cornell University Press in 2011), but because of the large scale of the Greek-Turkish exchange—resulting in more than a million refugees in Greece and half a million in Turkey—its obligatory character, and its relatively organized nature, it has become a reference point for the “transfer of large ethno-religious groups by means of which minorities were forcibly uprooted under the aegis of international law to contribute, in turn, to the reconstitution of ethnically ‘pure’ homogeneous states” (p. 10). Many of the examples that are discussed, however, are hardly comparable to the TurcoGreek population exchange and instead constitute instances of disorderly exoduses or unilateral ethnic cleansing.

Chu, Victor. 2015. “China Politics Vs Economy: Which is a Bigger Worry?.” CNBC. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Interview with Victor Chu, chairman and CEO of First Eastern Investment Group.

The New Harvest: Agricultural Innovation in Africa
Juma, Calestous. 2015. The New Harvest: Agricultural Innovation in Africa. 2nd ed. New York: Oxford University Press. Publisher's VersionAbstract

African agriculture is currently at a crossroads, at which persistent food shortages are compounded by threats from climate change. But, as this book argues, Africa faces three major opportunities that can transform its agriculture into a force for economic growth: advances in science and technology; the creation of regional markets; and the emergence of a new crop of entrepreneurial leaders dedicated to the continent's economic improvement. 

Filled with case studies from within Africa and success stories from developing nations around the world, The New Harvest outlines the policies and institutional changes necessary to promote agricultural innovation across the African continent. Incorporating research from academia, government, civil society, and private industry, the book suggests multiple ways that individual African countries can work together at the regional level to develop local knowledge and resources, harness technological innovation, encourage entrepreneurship, increase agricultural output, create markets, and improve infrastructure.

Hager, Sandy Brian. 2015. “Corporate Ownership of the Public Debt: Mapping the New Aristocracy of Finance.” Socio-Economic Review. Publisher's VersionAbstract

In various writings Karl Marx made references to an ‘aristocracy of finance’ in Western Europe and the USA that dominated ownership of the public debt. Drawing on original research, this article offers the first comprehensive analysis of public debt ownership within the US corporate sector. The research shows that over the past three decades, and especially in the context of the current crisis, a new aristocracy of finance has emerged, as holdings of the public debt have become rapidly concentrated in favour of large corporations classified within Finance, Insurance and Real Estate. Operationalizing Wolfgang Streeck's concept of the ‘debt state’, the article goes on to demonstrate how concentration in ownership of the public debt reinforces patterns of social inequality and proceeds in tandem with a shift in government policy, one that prioritizes the interests of government bondholders over the general citizenry.