Research Library

2012
Jasanoff, Sheila. 2012. “Genealogies of Sts.” Social Studies of Science. Social Studies of Science. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Human societies fashion themselves through rites of memory, gilding and illuminating some pages of the past while consigning others to forgetfulness. Official memories reinforce dominant cultural narratives, asserting continuities where skeptics might see breaks or ruptures, contradictions or untruths; indeed, revolutions, scientific or otherwise, can be thought of as violent breaks with comfortable connections between past and present. To see the power of such story-telling, consider for example the myth of the durability of the US Constitution, a myth that proclaims the unchanging identity of that founding document through a secession, a civil war, and numerous democratizing amendments that totally transformed the look of the nation’s voting polity. To this day, that myth legitimates styles of constitutional analysis that challenge, under the rubric of strict constructionism, attempts to treat the Constitution as a source of living and evolving principles. Or, at the opposite pole of the Earth, take Australia’s ritualistic annual observance of Anzac Day. That remarkable celebration connects the forging of the nation’s identity to Gallipoli: to a dawn landing on faraway shores almost a century ago, in a war of others’ making, to a failed military enterprise that ended in an inglorious evacuation, following a bloody, months-long stalemate.
Hornbeck, Richard. 2012. “The Enduring Impact of the American Dust Bowl: Short- and Long-Run Adjustments to Environmental Catastrophe.” American Economic Review. American Economic Review. Publisher's VersionAbstract
The 1930s American Dust Bowl was an environmental catastrophe that greatly eroded sections of the Plains. The Dust Bowl is estimated to have immediately, substantially, and persistently reduced agricultural land values and revenues in more-eroded counties relative to less-eroded counties. During the Depression and through at least the 1950s, there was limited relative adjustment of farmland away from activities that became relatively less productive in more-eroded areas. Agricultural adjustments recovered less than 25 percent of the initial difference in agricultural costs for more-eroded counties. The economy adjusted predominantly through large relative population declines in more-eroded counties, both during the 1930s and through the 1950s.
Norris, Pippa, and Ronald Inglehart. 2012. “Muslim Integration into Western Cultures: Between Origins and Destinations.” Political Studies. Political Studies. Publisher's VersionAbstract
To what extent do migrants carry their culture with them, and to what extent do they acquire the culture of their new home? The answer not only has important political implications; it also helps us understand the extent to which basic cultural values are enduring or malleable; and whether cultural values are traits of individuals or are attributes of a given society. Part I considers theories about the impact of growing social diversity in Western nations. We classify two categories of society: ORIGINS (defined as Islamic Countries of Origin for Muslim migrants, including twenty nations with plurality Muslim populations) and DESTINATIONS (defined as Western Countries of Destination for Muslim migrants, including twenty-two OECD member states with Protestant or Roman Catholic majority populations). Using this framework, we demonstrate that on average, the basic social values of Muslim migrants fall roughly mid-way between those prevailing in their country of origin and their country of destination. We conclude that Muslim migrants do not move to Western countries with rigidly fixed attitudes; instead, they gradually absorb much of the host culture, as assimilation theories suggest.
Sechser, Todd S, and Alexander B Downes. 2012. “The Illusion Of Democratic Credibility.” International Organization. International Organization. Publisher's VersionAbstract
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.
Governing Guns, Preventing Plunder: International Cooperation against Illicit Trade
Efrat, Asif. 2012. Governing Guns, Preventing Plunder: International Cooperation Against Illicit Trade. Oxford University Press. Publisher's VersionAbstract
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.
Ichino, Nahomi, and Noah Nathan. 2012. “Do Primaries Improve Electoral Performance? Clientelism and Intra-Party Conflict in Ghana”.Abstract
We consider the effect of legislative primaries on the electoral performance of political parties in a new democracy. While existing literature suggests that primaries may either hurt a party by selecting extremist candidates or improve performance by selecting high valence candidates or improving a party’s image, these mechanisms may not apply where clientelism is prevalent. A theory of primaries built on a logic of clientelism with intra-party conflict instead suggests different effects of legislative primaries for ruling and opposition parties, as well as spillover effects for presidential elections. Using matching with an original dataset on Ghana, we find evidence of a primary bonus for the opposition party and a primary penalty for the ruling party in the legislative election, while legislative primaries improve performance in the presidential election in some constituencies for both parties.
This paper was published on November, 26, 2012, in the American Journal of Political Science: http://files.wcfia.harvard.edu/node/8225 Download PDF
Fruehwirth, Manfred, and Leopold Sögner. 2012. “Does the Sun Shine Really Shine on the Financial Markets?”.Abstract
After a series of papers has provided—partially ambiguous—results on the impact of weather variables on stock (index) returns, this article studies the impact of weather on a wide variety of financial market instruments, namely "risk-free" interest rates, the US corporate bond market, stock returns, stock index returns and the VIX volatility index. First, we construct a model that combines asset pricing and results from psychology to show how weather variables can affect asset prices in different market segments via mood. Second, in our empirical analysis we use several weather variables from the National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) and control variables motivated by economic theory. Applying various econometric techniques and using different market segments (motivated by differences in the risk level and institutional differences) allows to give a more detailed picture on the impact of weather on financial market prices. We demonstrate that on none of the market segments analyzed the weather has any significant impact.
Alt, James, David Dreyer Lassen, and Joachim Wehner. 2012. “Moral Hazard in an Economic Union: Politics, Economics, and Fiscal Gimmickry in Europe”.Abstract
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.
Kelly, Catherine. 2012. “Senegal: What Will Turnover Bring?.” Journal of Democracy 23 (3). Journal of Democracy: 121-131. Publisher's VersionAbstract
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.
23_3_kelly.pdf
Kelly, Catherine. 2012. “Did the June 23 Movement Change Senegal?”. Publisher's Version
Frankel, Jeffrey, and George Saravelos. 2012. “Can Leading Indicators Assess Country Vulnerability? Evidence from the 2008–2009 Global Financial Crisis.” Journal of International Economics. Journal of International Economics. Publisher's VersionAbstract
We investigate whether leading indicators can help explain the cross-country incidence of the 2008–2009 financial crisis. Rather than looking for indicators with specific relevance to the recent crisis, the selection of variables is driven by an extensive review of more than eighty papers from the previous literature on early warning indicators. Our motivation is to address suspicions that indicators found to be useful predictors in one round of crises are typically not useful to predict the next round. The review suggests that central bank reserves and past movements in the real exchange rate were the two leading indicators that had proven the most useful in explaining crisis incidence across different countries and episodes in the past. For the 2008–2009 crisis, we use six different variables to measure crisis incidence: drops in GDP and industrial production, currency depreciation, stock market performance, reserve losses, and participation in an IMF program. We find that the level of reserves in 2007 appears as a consistent and statistically significant leading indicator of who got hit by the 2008–2009 crisis, in line with the conclusions of the pre-2008 literature. In addition to reserves, recent real appreciation is a statistically significant predictor of devaluation and of a measure of exchange market pressure during the current crisis. We define the period of the global financial shock as running from late 2008 to early 2009, which probably explains why we find stronger results than earlier papers such as Obstfeld et al. (2009, 2010) and Rose and Spiegel (2009a,b, 2010, 2011) which use annual data.
Chandra, Amitabh, Katherine Baicker, and Jonathan S Skinner. 2012. “Saving Money or Just Saving Lives? Improving the Productivity of Us Health Care Spending.” Annual Review of Economics. Annual Review of Economics. Publisher's VersionAbstract
There is growing concern over the rising share of the US economy devoted to health care spending. Fueled in part by demographic transitions, unchecked increases in entitlement spending will necessitate some combination of substantial tax increases, elimination of other public spending, or unsustainable public debt. This massive increase in health spending might be warranted if each dollar devoted to the health care sector yielded real health benefits, but this does not seem to be the case. Although we have seen remarkable gains in life expectancy and functioning over the past several decades, there is substantial variation in the health benefits associated with different types of spending. Some treatments, such as aspirin, beta blockers, and flu shots, produce a large health benefit per dollar spent. Other more expensive treatments, such as stents for cardiovascular disease, are high value for some patients but poor value for others. Finally, a large and expanding set of treatments, such as proton-beam therapy or robotic surgery, contributes to rapid increases in spending despite questionable health benefits. Moving resources toward more productive uses requires encouraging providers to deliver and patients to consume high-value care, a daunting task in the current political landscape. But widespread inefficiency also offers hope: Given the current distribution of resources in the US health care system, there is tremendous potential to improve the productivity of health care spending and the fiscal health of the United States.
Keyssar, Alexander. 2012. “Voter Suppression Returns: Voting Rights and Partisan Practices”. Publisher's Version
Carter, Brett, and Robert H Bates. 2012. “Public Policy, Price Shocks, and Civil War in Developing Countries”.Abstract
Those who study the role of agriculture in the political economy of development focus on government policy choices on the one hand and the impact of price shocks on the other. We argue that the two should be studied together. We nd that civil unrest (Granger) causes government policies, pushing governments in poor and medium income countries to shift relative prices in favor of urban consumers. We also nd that while civil wars are related to food price shocks, when government policy choices are taken into account, the relationship disappears. We thus learn two things: Policies that placate urban consumers may in ict economic costs on governments, but they confer political benets. And when estimating the relationship between price shocks and political stability, equations that omit the policy response of governments are misspecied.
Co-author Brett L. Carter is a PhD candidate in the Department of Government at Harvard University.Download PDF
Mylonas, Harris, and Emirhan Yorulmazlar. 2012. “Regional Multilateralism: The Next Paradigm in Global Affairs”. Publisher's VersionAbstract
The Cold War and the early post-Cold War periods were relatively easy to define and comprehend. The first was roughly the struggle between two superpowers forming a bipolar system where almost every state had to choose a side. What followed was a period described by Fukuyama as “The End of History” announcing the triumph of liberal ideas. The US was a global hegemon: selecting when to intervene, expanding NATO’s reach, and dominating international institutions. Following the September 11 attacks unilateralism was exposed and thereafter multilateralism appeared—with its limitations. Today, “regional multilateralism” may be the next paradigm that can bring about peace, cooperation, and stability in global affairs.The rise and fall of US hegemony during the 1990s has been documented. The Unipolar moment, a Foreign Affairs article by Charles Krauthammer, encapsulates the main point in the title. It was a moment. Once this “moment” was over, Fareed Zakaria and others have been imagining a “post-American world.”US power and its global role remain at the core of the contemporary discussion. America still is—and probably will remain for a long time—the world’s undisputed leader in military, economic and technological power. However, the politics of austerity at home and pressing realities abroad necessitate a new US foreign policy. The US cannot go it alone.Indeed, the US has been refocusing its foreign policy and Obama has been using the term multilateralism repeatedly. Multilateralism is a prudent strategy for the U.S. and the international system at large, however it is incomplete. Multilateralism has reached its limits when it comes to Iran’s nuclear program, recognition of Palestine, the six party talks on North Korea, and Kosovo’s independence—to name just a few thorny issues.In a world of diminished US involvement and unsuccessful multilateralist endeavors, an alternative vision for global engagement is necessary. Instead we are faced with a reluctant China, an unprepared India, an European Union in the midst of a financial debacle and a host of regional powers that focus on their neighborhood rather than claiming a global role. Given these realities, regional multilateralism can serve as the way out from this dead end.Regionally, the Middle East is as explosive as ever. The Western Balkans are doubtful about their future within the European Union and may again implode. The African continent has many ongoing conflicts and even more potential ones unresolved. In Latin America at least two alternative visions for the region are competing. The Far East is actively searching ways to live with the rise of China. These and other contemporary problems can be better solved at the regional rather than the bilateral or global levels.This context highlights the importance of regional integration and multilateralism. Regional multilateralism is building on these very ideas. Bringing these two together is necessary in today’s world. The buds of regional integration are everywhere in the making but they have not yet been clearly connected with the principles of multilateralism.The EU serves as an example of regional integration and others are following its steps. The African Union has also stepped up its peacekeeping efforts and moved toward further economic integration. However, the quest for regional multilateralism should not be confined by a conventional understanding of geography. For instance, Russia may be a force for stability both in the Far East and Central Asia, China may have a stake in the affairs of Latin America and Africa, and different parts of what we call the Middle East may integrate with parts of Central Asia or Europe. The very prospect of Turkey joining the EU may be a sign of such developments.Cross-regional cooperation is key to regional multilateralism. The transatlantic dialogue model between the US and Europe can and should be exported. For instance, in the Far East the US and the EU both cooperate with ASEAN. China and Russia have extended their ties through the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. This however did not prevent Russia from establishing the Eurasian Union, in a way reclaiming its sphere of influence. The Middle East, on the other hand, is in dire need of broader—albeit imaginative—regional integration.The inability of any one power to confront global challenges will lead responsible powers into the fold of regional multilateralism. The transition will be facilitated if it builds on existing regional integration structures. This way, every state will ultimately become a stakeholder in the international system.For that to happen, regional leaders need to operate as focal points. They need to listen, persuade and inspire insiders, while coordinating with outsiders. This process is different from the traditional spheres of influence system. It is based not on Monroe Doctrine-type of arrangements and coercion but rather on reassuring security umbrellas and mutually beneficial trade blocs.Within this new paradigm, emerging regional leaders—such as China, Russia, India, Japan, Brazil, Turkey, and South Africa—will play a more significant role within their regions while at the same time will take part in cross regional and global issues.
Mylonas, Harris. 2012. “Regional Multilateralism: The Next Paradigm in Global Affairs”. Publisher's VersionAbstract
The Cold War and the early post-Cold War periods were relatively easy to define and comprehend. The first was roughly the struggle between two superpowers forming a bipolar system where almost every state had to choose a side. What followed was a period described by Fukuyama as “The End of History” announcing the triumph of liberal ideas. The US was a global hegemon: selecting when to intervene, expanding NATO’s reach, and dominating international institutions. Following the 9/11 attacks unilateralism was exposed and thereafter multilateralism appeared—with its limitations. Today, “regional multilateralism” may be the next paradigm that can bring about peace, cooperation, and stability in global affairs. The rise and fall of US hegemony during the 1990s has been documented. The Unipolar moment, a Foreign Affairs article by Charles Krauthammer, encapsulates the main point in the title. It was a moment. Once this “moment” was over, Fareed Zakaria and others have been imagining a “post-American world.” U.S. power and its global role remain at the core of the contemporary discussion. America still is—and probably will remain for a long time - the world’s undisputed leader in military, economic and technological power. However, the politics of austerity at home and pressing realities abroad necessitate a new U.S. foreign policy. The U.S. cannot go it alone. Indeed, the US has been refocusing its foreign policy and Obama has been using the term multilateralism repeatedly. Multilateralism is a prudent strategy for the U.S. and the international system at large, however it is incomplete. Multilateralism has reached its limits when it comes to Iran’s nuclear program, recognition of Palestine, the six party talks on North Korea, and Kosovo’s independence—to name just a few thorny issues. In a world of diminished US involvement and unsuccessful multilateralist endeavors, an alternative vision for global engagement is necessary. Instead we are faced with a reluctant China, an unprepared India, an European Union in the midst of a financial debacle and a host of regional powers that focus on their neighborhood rather than claiming a global role. Given these realities, regional multilateralism can serve as the way out from this dead end. Regionally, the Middle East is as explosive as ever. The Western Balkans are doubtful about their future within the European Union and may again implode. The African continent has many ongoing conflicts and even more potential ones unresolved. In Latin America at least two alternative visions for the region are competing. The Far East is actively searching ways to live with the rise of China. These and other contemporary problems can be better solved at the regional rather than the bilateral or global levels. This context highlights the importance of regional integration and multilateralism. Regional multilateralism is building on these very ideas. Bringing these two together is necessary in today’s world. The buds of regional integration are everywhere in the making but they have not yet been clearly connected with the principles of multilateralism. The EU serves as an example of regional integration and others are following its steps. The African Union has also stepped up its peacekeeping efforts and moved toward further economic integration. However, the quest for regional multilateralism should not be confined by a conventional understanding of geography. For instance, Russia may be a force for stability both in the Far East and Central Asia, China may have a stake in the affairs of Latin America and Africa, and different parts of what we call the Middle East may integrate with parts of Central Asia or Europe. The very prospect of Turkey joining the EU may be a sign of such developments. Cross-regional cooperation is key to regional multilateralism. The transatlantic dialogue model between the US and Europe can and should be exported. For instance, in the Far East the U.S. and the EU both cooperate with ASEAN. China and Russia have extended their ties through the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. This however did not prevent Russia from establishing the Eurasian Union, in a way reclaiming its sphere of influence. The Middle East, on the other hand, is in dire need of broader—albeit imaginative—regional integration. The inability of any one power to confront global challenges will lead responsible powers into the fold of regional multilateralism. The transition will be facilitated if it builds on existing regional integration structures. This way, every state will ultimately become a stakeholder in the international system. For that to happen, regional leaders need to operate as focal points. They need to listen, persuade and inspire insiders, while coordinating with outsiders. This process is different from the traditional spheres of influence system. It is based not on Monroe Doctrine-type of arrangements and coercion but rather on reassuring security umbrellas and mutually beneficial trade blocs. Within this new paradigm, emerging regional leaders—such as China, Russia, India, Japan, Brazil, Turkey, and South Africa—will play a more significant role within their regions while at the same time will take part in cross regional and global issues.
Domínguez, Jorge I. 2012. “Mexico's Campaigns and the Benchmark Elections of 2000 and 2006.” In . Oxford University Press. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Since achieving independence from Spain and establishing its first constitution in 1824, Mexico has experienced numerous political upheavals. The country's long and turbulent journey toward democratic, representative government has been marked by a tension between centralized, autocratic governments (historically depicted as a legacy of colonial institutions) and federalist structures. The years since Mexico's independence have seen a major violent social revolution, years of authoritarian rule, and, finally, in the past two decades, the introduction of a fair and democratic electoral process. Over the course of the thirty-one essays in The Oxford Handbook of Mexican Politics some of the world's leading scholars of Mexico will provide a comprehensive view of the remarkable transformation of the nation's political system to a democratic model. In turn they will assess the most influential institutions, actors, policies and issues in its current evolution toward democratic consolidation. Following an introduction by Roderic Ai Camp, sections will explore the current state of Mexico's political development; transformative political institutions; the changing roles of the military, big business, organized labor, and the national political elite; new political actors including the news media, indigenous movements, women, and drug traffickers; electoral politics; demographics and political attitudes; and policy issues.
Ichino, Nahomi. 2012. “Deterring or Displacing Electoral Irregularities? Spillover Effects of Observers in a Randomized Field Experiment in Ghana.” Journal of Politics. Journal of Politics. Publisher's VersionAbstract
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.
Ichino, Nahomi. 2012. “Deterring or Displacing Electoral Irregularities? Spillover Effects of Observers in a Randomized Field Experiment in Ghana.” The Journal of Politics. The Journal of Politics. Publisher's VersionAbstract
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.
Tingley, Dustin, and Kosuke Imai. 2012. “A Statistical Method for Empirical Testing of Competing Theories.” American Journal of Political Science. American Journal of Political Science. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Empirical testing of competing theories lies at the heart of social science research. We demonstrate that a well-known class of statistical models, called finite mixture models, provides an effective way of rival theory testing. In the proposed framework, each observation is assumed to be generated either from a statistical model implied by one of the competing theories or more generally from a weighted combination of multiple statistical models under consideration. Researchers can then estimate the probability that a specific observation is consistent with each rival theory. By modeling this probability with covariates, one can also explore the conditions under which a particular theory applies.We discuss a principled way to identify a list of observations that are statistically significantly consistent with each theory and propose measures of the overall performance of each competing theory. We illustrate the relative advantages of our method over existing methods through empirical and simulation studies.