Research Library

Accidental Activists: Victim Movements and Government Accountability in Japan and South Korea
Arrington, Celeste. 2016. Accidental Activists: Victim Movements and Government Accountability in Japan and South Korea. Ithaca: Cornell University Press. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Government wrongdoing or negligence harms people worldwide, but not all victims are equally effective at obtaining redress. In Accidental Activists, Celeste L. Arrington examines the interactive dynamics of the politics of redress to understand why not. Relatively powerless groups like redress claimants depend on support from political elites, active groups in society, the media, experts, lawyers, and the interested public to capture democratic policymakers' attention and sway their decisions. Focusing on when and how such third-party support matters, Arrington finds that elite allies may raise awareness about the victims’ cause or sponsor special legislation, but their activities also tend to deter the mobilization of fellow claimants and public sympathy. By contrast, claimants who gain elite allies only after the difficult and potentially risky process of mobilizing societal support tend to achieve more redress, which can include official inquiries, apologies, compensation, and structural reforms.

Arrington draws on her extensive fieldwork to illustrate these dynamics through comparisons of the parallel Japanese and South Korean movements of victims of harsh leprosy control policies, blood products tainted by hepatitis C, and North Korean abductions. Her book thereby highlights how citizens in Northeast Asia—a region grappling with how to address Japan’s past wrongs—are leveraging similar processes to hold their own governments accountable for more recent harms. Accidental Activists also reveals the growing power of litigation to promote policy change and greater accountability from decision makers.

Electoral Reform and National Security in Japan: From Pork to Foreign Policy
Catalinac, Amy. 2016. Electoral Reform and National Security in Japan: From Pork to Foreign Policy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Japan is the third-largest economy in the world and a key ally of the United States. Yet the determinants of Japanese security policy are not well understood. The question of why Japan never sought the independent military capabilities that would be commensurate with its economic power has puzzled scholars of international relations for decades. Applying new tools for the quantitative analysis of text to a new collection of 7,497 Japanese-language election manifestos used in elections between 1986 and 2009, this book argues that the electoral strategies politicians in the ruling party were forced to adopt under Japan's old electoral system made it extraordinarily difficult for them to focus on security issues and to change security policy. It was only when their electoral strategies shifted after electoral reform in 1994 that these same politicians became able to pay attention and change security policy.

Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City
Desmond, Matthew. 2016. Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City. Penguin Random House. Publisher's VersionAbstract

In this brilliant, heartbreaking book, Matthew Desmond takes us into the poorest neighborhoods of Milwaukee to tell the story of eight families on the edge. Arleen is a single mother trying to raise her two sons on the $20 a month she has left after paying for their rundown apartment. Scott is a gentle nurse consumed by a heroin addiction. Lamar, a man with no legs and a neighborhood full of boys to look after, tries to work his way out of debt. Vanetta participates in a botched stickup after her hours are cut. All are spending almost everything they have on rent, and all have fallen behind.

The fates of these families are in the hands of two landlords: Sherrena Tarver, a former schoolteacher turned inner-city entrepreneur, and Tobin Charney, who runs one of the worst trailer parks in Milwaukee. They loathe some of their tenants and are fond of others, but as Sherrena puts it, “Love don’t pay the bills.” She moves to evict Arleen and her boys a few days before Christmas.

Even in the most desolate areas of American cities, evictions used to be rare. But today, most poor renting families are spending more than half of their income on housing, and eviction has become ordinary, especially for single mothers. In vivid, intimate prose, Desmond provides a ground-level view of one of the most urgent issues facing America today. As we see families forced into shelters, squalid apartments, or more dangerous neighborhoods, we bear witness to the human cost of America’s vast inequality—and to people’s determination and intelligence in the face of hardship.

Based on years of embedded fieldwork and painstakingly gathered data, this masterful book transforms our understanding of extreme poverty and economic exploitation while providing fresh ideas for solving a devastating, uniquely American problem. Its unforgettable scenes of hope and loss remind us of the centrality of home, without which nothing else is possible.

How Solidarity Works for Welfare: Subnationalism and Social Development in India
Singh, Prerna. 2016. How Solidarity Works for Welfare: Subnationalism and Social Development in India. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Why are some places in the world characterized by better social service provision and welfare outcomes than others? In a world in which millions of people, particularly in developing countries, continue to lead lives plagued by illiteracy and ill-health, understanding the conditions that promote social welfare is of critical importance to political scientists and policy makers alike. Drawing on a multi-method study, from the late nineteenth century to the present, of the stark variations in educational and health outcomes within a large, federal, multiethnic developing country—India—this book develops an argument for the power of collective identity as an impetus for state prioritization of social welfare. Such an argument not only marks an important break from the dominant negative perceptions of identity politics but also presents a novel theoretical framework to understand welfare provision.

Humanitarian Invasion: Global Development in Cold War Afghanistan
Nunan, Timothy. 2016. Humanitarian Invasion: Global Development in Cold War Afghanistan. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Humanitarian Invasion is the first book of its kind: a ground-level inside account of what development and humanitarianism meant for Afghanistan, a country touched by international aid like no other. Relying on Soviet, Western, and NGO archives, interviews with Soviet advisers and NGO workers, and Afghan sources, Timothy Nunan forges a vivid account of the impact of development on a country on the front lines of the Cold War. Nunan argues that Afghanistan functioned as a laboratory for the future of the Third World nation-state. If, in the 1960s, Soviets, Americans, and Germans sought to make a territorial national economy for Afghanistan, later, under military occupation, Soviet nation-builders, French and Swedish humanitarians, and Pakistani-supported guerrillas fought a transnational civil war over Afghan statehood. Covering the entire period from the Cold War to Taliban rule, Humanitarian Invasion signals the beginning of a new stage in the writing of international history.

Reflections on Memory and Democracy
Grindle, Merilee S., and Erin E. Goodman, ed. 2016. Reflections on Memory and Democracy. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. Publisher's VersionAbstract

What is the role of history in the life of new democracies? In this volume, twelve reflections—the work of journalists, writers and poets, literary critics, political scientists, historians, philosophers, economists, and linguists—explore legacies of authoritarian political regimes noted for repression and injustice, questioning how collective experiences of violence shape memory and its relevance for contemporary social and political life in Latin America. The past matters deeply, the essayists agree, but the past itself is debatable and ambiguous. Avoiding its repetition introduces elusive and contested terrain; there are, indeed, many histories, many memories, and many ways they can be reflected in democratic contexts. In much of contemporary Latin America, this difficult past has not yet been fully confronted, and much remains to be done in reconciling memory and democracy throughout the region. As this is done, the lessons of the past must contribute not only to the construction of democratic institutions, but also to the engagement of democratic citizens in the collective work of governance and participation.

What Works: Gender Equality by Design
Bohnet, Iris. 2016. What Works: Gender Equality by Design. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Gender equality is a moral and a business imperative. But unconscious bias holds us back, and de-biasing people’s minds has proven to be difficult and expensive. Diversity training programs have had limited success, and individual effort alone often invites backlash. Behavioral design offers a new solution. By de-biasing organizations instead of individuals, we can make smart changes that have big impacts. Presenting research-based solutions, Iris Bohnet hands us the tools we need to move the needle in classrooms and boardrooms, in hiring and promotion, benefiting businesses, governments, and the lives of millions.

What Works is built on new insights into the human mind. It draws on data collected by companies, universities, and governments in Australia, India, Norway, the United Kingdom, the United States, Zambia, and other countries, often in randomized controlled trials. It points out dozens of evidence-based interventions that could be adopted right now and demonstrates how research is addressing gender bias, improving lives and performance. What Works shows what more can be done—often at shockingly low cost and surprisingly high speed.

Lamont, Michèle, Monica Bell, Nathan Fosse, and Eva Rosen. 2016. “Beyond the Culture of Poverty: Meaning-Making among Low-Income Populations around Family, Neighborhood, and Work.” The Wiley Blackwell Encyclopedia of Race, Ethnicity and Nationalism. Hoboken, New Jersey: Wiley-Blackwell.
Lamont, Michèle, Graziella Moraes Silva, Joshua Guetzkow, Jessica Welburn, Nissim Mizrachi, Hanna Herzog, and Elisa Reis. 2016. Getting Respect: Responding to Stigma and Discrimination in the United States, Brazil, and Israel. Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press.
Allison, Graham T. 2015. “The Thucydides Trap: Are the U.S. and China Headed for War?.” The Atlantic. Publisher's VersionAbstract

In 12 of 16 past cases in which a rising power has confronted a ruling power, the result has been bloodshed.

Mylonas, Harris. 2015. “The Agreekment That Could Break Europe: Euroskeptics, Eurocritics, and Life After the Bailout.” Foreign Affairs. Publisher's VersionAbstract

As the Greek negotiating team was preparing its latest reform proposal for the country’s creditors, I was walking to the Montparnasse metro station in Paris on my way to the Council for European Studies conference held at Sciences Po. At the station, a woman my age was standing behind the ticket booth. In her attempt to help me buy the most appropriate tickets for the next three days, I (apologetically) revealed to her that I am Greek and that I do not speak French. When she heard the word “Greek,” she put her hand close to her heart and repeated the word in French with compassion and solidarity. She asked me to wait for a second. In 30, she came back with her own credit card, swiped it, and handed over to me the first of the three tickets saying: “This is from me. For Greece.”

It is besides the point that I did not personally need this form of solidarity. It was also of little matter that many of my compatriots would find this story depressing. What resonated in the moment was that this exchange was exactly what the founders of the European Union envisaged: a solidary group of European citizens living in peace and prosperity.

Instead, many EU bureaucrats, ministers of finance, and heads of state saw—and some still see—the Greek crisis as a case study in moral hazards. Greece, the thinking goes, needs to fail now in order to discipline other unruly countries. Its governing party, Syriza, needs to fall in order to dampen the European public’s support for parties that are challenging the EU status quo. From this point of view, a hard line toward Greece is a necessary evil.

This logic, however, fails to understand the real problem in Greece and the psychology of the European public. Indeed, from the periphery, it is the European core, mainstream elites, officials, and institutions that all look rather euroskeptic—that is, skeptical of the very idea of unity, prosperity, democracy, solidarity, and mutual respect for which EU founders worked so hard to nurture. As of this writing, it appears that these elites have reached a deal with Greece, but the way they manage the relationship from here on out remains crucial. To avoid fueling the very euroskepticism and sovereigntist tendencies they want to quell, they have to abandon all ideas of vindictiveness and, instead, foster a spirit of cooperation among equal partners.


The forces supporting Europe’s status quo, namely the euro-establishment spearheaded by the German government, found an opportunity in the Greek financial crisis to reaffirm their commitment to austerity as the main way to guarantee Europe’s continued economic competitiveness. But there are plenty of people who oppose those forces. In fact, at the moment, the deepest divide within European societies is between those who want to leave the EU—in the Greek case this camp is represented mainly by the Communist Party, Golden Dawn, along with some of the more radical members of Greece’s coalition government—and those who want to stay in the union but reform it.

In the first camp are euroskeptics of both the right- and left-wing varieties. They range from the United Kingdom Independence Party’s Nigel Farage to Jobbik’s leader Gábor Vona in Hungary, and they have found in the Greek crisis an opportunity to intensify their rhetoric and accuse the EU for operating as a “prison of nations.” It is no accident that during Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’ address to the European Parliament last week, euroskeptic parliamentarians of all stripes held up “no” (όχι) signs—in support of Greeks’ recent “no” vote on the June 25 plan proposed to the Greek government by the creditors.

It is not only euroskeptics that sided with the “no” vote, though, but also eurocritics who don’t want to leave the union but want to reform it. In this camp are a number of parties and figures, including the Podemos party in Spain and Lega Nord in Italy. Some in this camp prefer merely an inter-governmental union. Others envision a federal Europe. Tsipras himself is a eurocritic; he is not against the European Union project as a whole, but would like to see less austerity, more democratic EU institutions, and more redistribution of wealth.  

Core Europeans might have interpreted Greece’s “no” as a vote against the euro or even Europe. But, in fact, the Greek people tried to send multiple messages with their vote. For his part, Tsipras interpreted the vote as a “yes” to a different type of Europe. It is questionable whether the referendum led to a better deal, but it gave Tsipras more power at home to get his way. He isolated domestic opposition, turned Syriza into a more cohesive party, and avoided becoming a “Left Parenthesis”—a phrase that refers to a short-lived government of the Left in Greece that some had predicted or wished for.

The vote also deepened cleavages in Greek society, particularly between the young in poor neighborhoods, who tended to vote “no,” and those over 65 and in wealthy neighborhoods, who tended to vote “yes.” Young Greeks, who rightly feel that they had no part in the system that led Greece to financial ruin, are less tolerant of the current deal and status quo European institutions. The Greek youth, who are experiencing 60 percent unemployment rates, have very little patience. They bristle at the humiliating way in which the euro-establishment treated Tsipras and the Greek people. With deep feelings of marginalization, many eurocritics have been pushed into becoming euroskeptics.

How far this process has gone is hard to quantify. In Greece, it is indicative that many Syriza parliamentarians, as well as the head of the Greek government’s minor coalition partner, Panos Kammenos, openly opposed the latest deal as the product of blackmail by the EU. Elsewhere in Europe, Britain’s upcoming “in/out” referendum to decide its own EU membership will be a critical test. For Europe to survive such trials without significant—if not irreparable—damage, the euro-establishment camp needs to demonstrate that it understands where the legitimacy of the European Union project lies: building an ever closer union of peace, prosperity, respect for human rights, and democratic governance. The deal struck on July 13 is far from a promising first step toward this goal.

Namely, the agreement, which was reached after a marathon summit, could lead to a third bailout for Greece, which would come with the transfer of 50 billion euros ($55 billion) worth of Greek assets to a new fund for the recapitalization of Greek banks, immediate pension and tax reforms, and the reversal of many of the economic measures the Greek government has passed since its election in late January. Not surprisingly, when the newest demands became publicly known, Twitter exploded with hashtags such as #ThisIsACoup.


During several decades of economic growth and expansion of the welfare state, EU polities managed to downplay the frictions among and within them. Then the financial crisis hit. The alliances that formed as a result—and the ensuing debates over austerity—cut across the traditional Left-Center-Right ideological axis. In fact, the social cleavages currently dividing EU member states and the populations within them are the product of a dual integration crisis: European and national. The European integration crisis was brought on by the challenges emerging from the recent financial crisis coupled with tensions surrounding the EU’s uneven economic and political development. Meanwhile, the demographic decline across the continent and the inability of European societies to successfully integrate immigrants brought to the fore national integration problems.

Greece was not the only country that faced a financial debt crisis. Cyprus, Ireland, Portugal, and Spain did as well. In all cases, democratically-elected governments no longer had the ability, due to their participation in the eurozone, to devalue their currency or inflate their economies by printing money. As I wrote in Perspectives on Politics, “they were faced with two suboptimal options: to default or to implement austerity measures (internal devaluation).” Meanwhile, the European institutions opted for policies that would punish the already-suffering countries as a way to prevent further contagion. “These developments have since given rise to Euroscepticism throughout the EU, leading to a growing public dissatisfaction in the crisis-stricken countries with their own governments but also with the European Commission and the European Central Bank, and reminding everyone of the democratic deficit problem that has long existed within the European Union.”

It is perhaps bad luck that all this happened while the region’s poorest were hit with other economic and social challenges. Migration from outside of Europe and from within it, coupled with the governments’ failures to successfully integrate the new arrivals, left some Europeans jobless or fearful for their jobs and uncertain about their place in the continent’s social fabric. In turn, they believed that both their national governments and the EU had let them down, and their euroskepticism took on a decidedly nationalist and populist tinge.

In Greece, most—if not all—citizens agree that the policies of the past five years have utterly failed; they also agree that the “patronage social contract” that underwrote political rule for the past four decades is bankrupt. Meanwhile, even those who supported the “no” vote in the recent referendum—those who consider Greece a “colony of debt”—are internally divided on quintessential questions such as whether one is born Greek or can become Greek. France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and others are all facing similar identity crises, which is only exacerbated by the economic situation and the pressures on the welfare state.

All this is happening while austerity—chosen as the main way to keep the euro strong and the EU competitive—has undermined popular support for the union across Europe, not just in Greece. These developments constitute the dual integration crisis: EU and national. The safest way out of this predicament is an ever closer union, a political Europe with a fiscal union and democratically elected institutions that would redistribute more wealth and would achieve competitiveness through innovation, not austerity and internal devaluation.  The hope for such a Europe is still alive. The woman I met in the Montparnasse metro station is a testament to this.

Nye, Joseph S., Jr. 2015. “The Limits of Chinese Soft Power.” Today's Zaman. Publisher's VersionAbstract

In 2007, then-President Hu Jintao told the Communist Party that the country needed to increase its soft power; President Xi Jinping repeated the same message last year. They know that, for a country like China, whose growing economic and military power risks scaring its neighbors into forming counter-balancing coalitions, a smart strategy must include efforts to appear less frightening. But their soft-power ambitions still face major obstacles.

Simmons, Beth A, and Cosette Creamer. 2015. “Do Self-Reporting Regimes Matter? Evidence from the Convention against Torture.” International Studies Association. New Orleans, Louisiana.Abstract

Human rights treaty bodies have for many years now been criticized as useless and self-reporting widely viewed as a whitewash. Yet very little research explores what, if any, influence this periodic review process has on governments’ implementation of and compliance with treaty obligations. We argue oversight committees may play an important role by providing information for international and domestic audiences. This paper examines the effects of self-reporting and oversight review, using original data on the quality and responsiveness of reports submitted to the Committee Against Torture (CmAT) and a dynamic approach to strengthen causal inference about the effects of the periodic review process on rights practices. We find that the review process in fact does reduce the incidence of torture in self-reporting states. Furthermore, we find that local media attention to the process in Latin American spikes during the review process, consistent with domestic awareness and mobilization made possible by media attention to torture practices and treaty obligations. Thus, this is the first study to present positive evidence on the effects of self-reporting on torture outcomes, contrary to the many studies that assert the process is basically useless.

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Jr., Joseph S. Nye. 2015. “Is the American Century Over?.” Political Science Quarterly, 394-400.
Norris, Pippa, and Richard W. Frank. 2015. “Integridad en las elecciones de América 2012-2014.” America Latina Hoy 70: 37-54.
Frankel, J. 2015. “China is Not Yet Number One.” Frontiers of Economics in China 10 (1): 1-6.PDF icon Download PDF
Warikoo, N., and J. de Novias. 2015. “Colorblindness and Diversity: Race Frames and Their Consequences for White Undergraduates at Elite US Universities.” Ethnic and Racial Studies 38 (6): 860-876. Publisher's Version
Frankel, J. 2015. “The Euro Crisis: Where to From Here?.” Journal of Policy Modeling 37 (3): 428-444.File Download PDF
Pande, R., M. Greenstone, J. Nilekani, A. Sudarshan, A. Suganathan, and N. Ryan. 2015. “Lower Pollution, Longer Lives" Life Expectancy Gains if India Reduced Particulate Matter Pollution.” Economic and Political Weekly.PDF icon Download PDF
King, Gary, Matthew Blackwell, and James Honaker. 2015. “A Unified Approach to Measurement Error and Missing Data: Details and Extensions.” Sociological Methods and Research. Publisher's VersionAbstract

We extend a unified and easy-to-use approach to measurement error and missing data. In our companion article, Blackwell, Honaker, and King give an intuitive overview of the new technique, along with practical suggestions and empirical applications. Here, we offer more precise technical details, more sophisticated measurement error model specifications and estimation procedures, and analyses to assess the approach’s robustness to correlated measurement errors and to errors in categorical variables. These results support using the technique to reduce bias and increase efficiency in a wide variety of empirical research.