We identify the major public debt overhang episodes in the advanced economies since the early 1800s, characterized by public debt to GDP levels exceeding 90 percent for at least five years. Consistent with Reinhart and Rogoff (2010) and most of the more recent research, we find that public debt overhang episodes are associated with lower growth than during other periods. The duration of the average debt overhang episode is perhaps its most striking feature. Among the 26 episodes we identify, 20 lasted more than a decade. The long duration belies the view that the correlation is caused mainly by debt buildups during business cycle recessions. The long duration also implies that the cumulative shortfall in output from debt overhang is potentially massive. These growth-reducing effects of high public debt are apparently not transmitted exclusively through high real interest rates, as in eleven of the episodes, interest rates are not materially higher.
This book examines the writings of an early sixth-century Christian
mystical theologian who wrote under the name of a convert of the apostle
Paul, Dionysius the Areopagite. This 'Pseudo'-Dionysius is famous for
articulating a mystical theology in two parts: a sacramental and
liturgical mysticism embedded in the context of celestial and
ecclesiastical hierarchies, and an austere, contemplative regimen in
which one progressively negates the divine names in hopes of soliciting
union with the 'unknown God' or 'God beyond being.'Charles M.
Stang argues that the pseudonym and the influence of Paul together
constitute the best interpretive lens for understanding the Corpus
Dionysiacum [CD]. Stang demonstrates how Paul animates the entire
corpus, and shows that the influence of Paul illuminates such central
themes of the CD as hierarchy, theurgy, deification, Christology,
affirmation (kataphasis) and negation (apophasis), dissimilar
similarities, and unknowing. Most importantly, Paul serves as a fulcrum
for the expression of a new theological anthropology, an 'apophatic
anthropology.' Dionysius figures Paul as the premier apostolic witness
to this apophatic anthropology, as the ecstatic lover of the divine who
confesses to the rupture of his self and the indwelling of the divine in
Gal 2:20: 'it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.' Building
on this notion of apophatic anthropology, the book forwards an
explanation for why this sixth-century author chose to write under an
apostolic pseudonym. Stang argues that the very practice of
pseudonymous writing itself serves as an ecstatic devotional exercise
whereby the writer becomes split in two and thereby open to the
indwelling of the divine. Pseudonymity is on this interpretation
integral and internal to the aims of the wider mystical enterprise. Thus
this book aims to question the distinction between 'theory' and
'practice' by demonstrating that negative theology-often figured as a
speculative and rarefied theory regarding the transcendence of God-is in
fact best understood as a kind of asceticism, a devotional practice
aiming for the total transformation of the Christian subject.
One of the most rigorous methodologies in the corporate governance literature uses firms' reactions to industry shocks to characterize the quality of governance. This methodology can produce the wrong answer unless one considers the ways firms compete. Because macro-level shocks reverberate differently at the firm level depending on whether a firm has a cost structure that requires significant adjustment, the quality of governance can only be elucidated accurately analyzing a firm's business strategy and their corporate governance. These differences can help one determine whether the fruits of a positive macro-level shock have been expropriated by insiders. Using the example of Indian firms, we show that an influential finding is reversed when these differences are considered. We further argue that the conventional wisdom about tunneling and business groups will need to be reformulated in light of the data, methodology, and findings presented here.
Dionysius the Areopagite, the early sixth-century Christian writer, bridged Christianity and neo-Platonist philosophy. Bringing together a team of international scholars, this volume surveys how Dionysius’s thought and work has been interpreted, in both East and West, up to the present day.
One of the first volumes in English to survey the reception history of Dionysian thought, both East and West
Provides a clear account of both modern and post-modern debates about Dionysius’s standing as philosopher and Christian theologian
Examines the contrasts between Dionysius’s own pre-modern concerns and those of the post-modern philosophical tradition
Highlights the great variety of historic readings of Dionysius, and also considers new theories and interpretations
Analyzes the main points of hermeneutical contrast between East and West
One of the most dramatic changes in the fiscal federalism landscape during the postwar period has been the rapid growth in state budgets, which almost tripled as a share of GDP and doubled as a share of government spending between 1952 and 2006. We argue that the greater role of states cannot be easily explained by changes in Tiebout forces of fiscal competition, such as mobility and voting patterns, and are not accounted for by demographic or income trends. Rather, we demonstrate that much of the growth in state budgets has been driven by changes in intergovernmental interactions. Restricted federal grants to states have increased, and federal policy and legal constraints have also mandated or heavily incentivized state own-source spending, particularly in the areas of education, health and public welfare. These outside pressures moderate the forces of fiscal competition and must be taken into account when assessing the implications of observed revenue and spending patterns.
In recent years, the number of field experiments using public officials as subjects has increased. Some of these experiments are relatively cheap and easy to replicate, and yet, the ethical guidelines for dealing with this particular class of subjects are in some ways both nascent and underdeveloped. If this line of research is to continue in a responsible manner, it is worth considering whether there are particular ethical questions raised by using elite, public servants as subjects and if so, how we might deal with those ethical questions. I am not a moral philosopher, and I do not have hard and fast answers to the issues I raise below. I am sympathetic to these types of experiments, having conducted one myself, but I am also sensitive to issues raised by their critics. I hope the following will encourage further debate.
There are at least two reasons public officials differ from citizens as experimental subjects. First, when we use public officials as subjects, the behavior we are trying to observe and affect is usually part of their routine, public duties. This may mean that the societal benefits of the knowledge gleaned from these experiments are particularly great. But it also introduces questions about whose resources are being used while subjects take time to participate, as well as questions about debriefing and appropriate compensation. Second, public officials are a limited pool, and they often control public purse strings, including funding for universities and research. This difference introduces questions about researchers’ ethical responsibilities to other researchers when conducting experiments with public officials. Let me consider each of these differences in turn.
We build on the emerging literature of influence-based models to study how multinational firms can navigate host governments. Our ‘core-periphery’ framework posits that the actions that an MNC takes with actors in what we call the ‘periphery’—comprised of state, quasi-state, and civil society actors—can lead to positive or negative influence with interconnected state actors in a ‘core.’ There are two mechanisms by which this can happen: engaging the periphery may either change the information set of the core or help align incentives of multiple core actors. Engaging the periphery might be particularly relevant in settings where the institutional framework is still emerging. We build a case study of a multinational firm in the biotechnology sector to illustrate how the core-periphery framework works in multiple emerging markets across institutional differences. The analysis is based on 32 interviews conducted with the CEO and other executives of Genzyme at the corporate headquarters in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and in subsidiaries in Brazil, China, Costa Rica, France, India, and the United States.
.” American Sociological Review 77 (3): 380-408. Abstract
Increasing levels of democratic freedoms should, in theory, improve women’s access to political positions. Yet studies demonstrate that democracy does little to improve women’s legislative representation. To resolve this paradox, we investigate how variations in the democratization process—including pre-transition legacies, historical experiences with elections, the global context of transition, and post-transition democratic freedoms and quotas—affect women’s representation in developing nations. We find that democratization’s effect is curvilinear. Women in non-democratic regimes often have high levels of legislative representation but little real political power. When democratization occurs, women’s representation initially drops, but with increasing democratic freedoms and additional elections, it increases again. The historical context of transition further moderates these effects. Prior to 1995, women’s representation increased most rapidly in countries transitioning from civil strife—but only when accompanied by gender quotas. After 1995 and the Beijing Conference on Women, the effectiveness of quotas becomes more universal, with the exception of post- communist countries. In these nations, quotas continue to do little to improve women’s representation. Our results, based on pooled time series analysis from 1975 to 2009, demonstrate that it is not democracy—as measured by a nation’s level of democratic freedoms at a particular moment in time—but rather the democratization process that matters for women’s legislative representation.
.” Journal of International Law and Politics 44: 729-750. Abstract
NYU Law's symposium "From Rights to Reality: Mobilizing for Human Rights and Its Intersection with International Law" has been a valuable opportunity to reflect on the role that international law has played in the furtherance of human rights around the world over the past six decades. It has also been a stimulating forum to assess the state of our knowledge, experience, and research relating to the development of human rights law and its application in various settings around the world. The scholars and practitioners participating in this symposium have each made remarkable contributions to the development, interpretation, and application of human rights law internationally, and I am very grateful that they have taken the time to engage the arguments and evidence in Mobilizing for Human Rights. The editors of the Journal of International Law and Politics are to be congratulated on a stimulating symposium and a valuable volume.
In this concluding article, I will describe what Mobilizing for Human Rights set out to do, what I think it did well, and what it did not, in the end, accomplish. There is much to mention on both scores. While the book was one of the first comprehensive efforts to theorize and test empirically the effects of international legal agreements on a broad range of rights indicators, the research necessarily fails to speak to some issues, raises additional questions, and opens up new avenues for empirical research. I will also engage the observations of my colleagues in the symposium, whose supportive as well as skeptical views I very much appreciate. I hope to make clearer how the research potentially connects with strategies for rights improvements. I conclude on a very humble note: the experience represented by the symposium participants far outstrips the scholarly findings of the book, but I am hopeful that discussion of the kind we have had leads both to better scholarship and broadly informed practice.
This book project introduces a theory of planetary urbanization via a critique of dominant ideologies of the contemporary ‘urban age’ and associated discourses on global urbanism. We argue for a new epistemology of urban studies based on the distinction between concentrated and extended urbanization, which is applied to periodize the capitalist mode of territorialization and to illuminate early twenty-first century sociospatial landscapes.
Transnational advocacy organizations are influential actors in the international politics of human rights. While political scientists have described several methods these groups use—particularly a set of strategies termed ‘information politics’—scholars have yet to consider the effects of these tactics beyond their immediate impact on public awareness, policy agendas or the behavior of state actors. This article investigates the information politics surrounding sexual violence during Liberia’s civil war. We show that two frequently-cited ‘facts’ about rape in Liberia are inaccurate, and consider how this conventional wisdom gained acceptance. Drawing on the Liberian case and findings from sociology and economics, we develop a theoretical framework that treats inaccurate claims as an effect of ‘dueling incentives’—the conflict between advocacy organizations’ needs for short-term drama and long-term credibility. From this theoretical framework, we generate hypotheses regarding the effects of information politics on (1) short-term changes in funding for human rights advocacy organizations, (2) short-term changes in human rights outcomes, (3) the institutional health of humanitarian and human rights organizations, and (4) long-run outcomes for the ostensible beneficiaries of such organizations. We conclude by outlining a research agenda in this area, emphasizing the importance of empirical research on information politics in the human rights realm, and particularly its effects on the lives of aid recipients.
This review discusses North American and European research from the sociology of valuation and evaluation (SVE), a research topic that has attracted considerable attention in recent years. The goal is to bring various bodies of work into conversation with one another in order to stimulate more cumulative theory building. This is accomplished by focusing on (a) subprocesses such as categorization and legitimation, (b) the conditions that sustain heterarchies, and (c) valuation and evaluative practices. The article reviews these literatures and provides directions for a future research agenda.
The single most important aspect of an exchange rate regime is the degree
of ﬂexibility. The matter is of course more complicated than a simple choice
between ﬁxed exchange rate and ﬂoating. One can array exchange rate regimes
along a continuum, from most ﬂexible to least, and grouped in three major
Target zone or band
Institutionally ﬁxed corner
This chapter reviews the state of research concerning how a country should
choose where to locate along this continuum of exchange rate regimes.
The ‘‘corners hypothesis’’ - that countries are, or should be, moving away
from the intermediate regimes, in favor of either the hard peg corner or the
ﬂoating corner - was proposed by Eichengreen (1994) and rapidly became the
new conventional wisdom with the emerging market crises of the late 1990s.
But it never had a good theoretical foundation. The feeling that an intermediate
degree of exchange rate ﬂexibility is inconsistent with perfect capital mobility
is a misinterpretation of the principle of the impossible trinity. To take a clear
example, Krugman (1991) shows theoretically that a target zone is entirely
compatible with uncovered interest parity. The corners hypothesis began to lose
popularity after the failure of Argentina’s quasi currency board in 2001. Many
countries continue to follow intermediate regimes and do not seem any the worse
Attempts to address the optimal degree of exchange rate ﬂexibility within
a single theoretical model are seldom very convincing. Too many factors are
involved. Better instead to enumerate the arguments for and against exchange
rate ﬂexibility and then attempt to weigh them up. This chapter considers ﬁve advantages of ﬁxed exchange rates, followed by ﬁve advantages for exchange rate ﬂexibility. We then turn to analysis of how to weigh the pros and cons to choose a regime. The answer depends on characteristics of the individual country in question.
Countries with oil, mineral or other natural resource wealth, on average, have failed to show better economic performance than those without, often because of undesirable side effects. This is the phenomenon known as the Natural Resource Curse. This paper reviews the literature, classified according to six channels of causation that have been proposed. The possible channels are: (i) long-term trends in world prices, (ii) price volatility, (iii) permanent crowding out of manufacturing, (iv) autocratic/oligarchic institutions, (v) anarchic institutions, and (vi) cyclical Dutch Disease. With the exception of the first channel--the long-term trend in commodity prices does not appear to be downward--each of the other channels is an important part of the phenomenon. Skeptics have questioned the Natural Resource Curse, pointing to examples of commodity-exporting countries that have done well and arguing that resource exports and booms are not exogenous. The relevant policy question for a country with natural resources is how to make the best of them.
A new climate change treaty must address three current gaps: the absence of emissions targets extending far into the future; the absence of participation by the United States, China, and other developing countries; and the absence of reasons to expect compliance. Moreover, to be politically acceptable, a post-Kyoto treaty must recognize certain constraints regarding country-by-country economic costs. This article presents a framework for assigning quantitative emissions allocations across countries, one budget period at a time, through a two-stage plan: (a) China and other developing countries accept targets at business-as-usual (BAU) levels in the coming budget period, and, during the same period, the United States agrees to cuts below BAU; (b) all countries are asked to make further cuts in the future in accordance with a formula that includes a Progressive Reductions Factor, a Latecomer Catch-up Factor, and a Gradual Equalization Factor. An earlier proposal (Frankel 2009) for specific parameter values in the formulas achieved the environmental goal that carbon dioxide (CO2) concentrations plateau at 500 ppm by 2100. It met our political constraints by keeping every country’s economic cost below thresholds of Y = 1 percent of income in Present Discounted Value, and X = 5 percent of income in the worst period. The framework proposed in this article attains a stricter concentration goal of 460 ppm CO2 but only by loosening the political constraints.
We investigate whether leading indicators can help explain the cross-country incidence of the 2008–09 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 2008–09 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 2008–09 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.
Developing countries traditionally experience pass-through of exchange rate changes that is greater and more rapid than high-income countries experience. This is true equally of the determination of prices of imported goods, prices of local competitors’ products, and the general CPI. But developing countries in the 1990s experienced a rapid downward trend in the degree of pass-through and speed of adjustment, more so than did high-income countries. As a consequence, slow and incomplete pass-through is no longer exclusively a luxury of industrial countries. Using a new data set - prices of eight narrowly defined brand commodities, observed in 76 countries - we find empirical support for some of the factors that have been hypothesized in the literature, but not for others. Significant determinants of the pass-through coefficient include per capita incomes, bilateral distance, tariffs, country size, wages, long-term inflation, and long-term exchange rate variability. Some of these factors changed during the 1990s. Part (and only part) of the downward trend in pass-through to imported goods prices, and in turn to competitors’ prices and the CPI, can be explained by changes in the monetary environment - including a fall in long-term inflation. Real wages work to reduce pass-through to competitors’ prices and the CPI, confirming the hypothesized role of distribution and retail costs in pricing to market. Rising distribution costs, due perhaps to the Balassa-Samuelson-Baumol effect, could contribute to the decline in the pass-through coefficient in some developing countries.