Research Library

Kaufman, Jason. 2004. “Rent-Seeking and Municipal Social Spending: Data from America's Early Urban-Industrial Age”.Abstract

The term "rent–seeking" refers to special interest group efforts to seek special benefits at little or no cost to themselves. Because government spending has the potential to create both costs and benefits for taxpayers, fiscal policy is commonly viewed as a primary arena of rent–seeking activity. At least five different theories of nineteenth–century American urban development fit this general rubric. Each theory predicts different winners and losers as well as different underlying strategies and distributions of interests incumbent upon municipal decision making. This study uses two–wave panel data on special interest group representation and municipal social spending to examine the validity of these different theories of rent–seeking. Though all such theories share in commonan emphasis on self–seeking, this study points to the role of competition between different sectors of the local economy as a motivating force for the formation and mobilization of spe–cial interest group organizations. This finding contrasts with those rent–seeking theories that predict widespread cooperation among communities and/or classes in pursuit of common goals. Suggestions for future research on this topic are offered as well.

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Reimers, Fernando M. 2004. “Teaching Global Values”.Abstract

That a group of young people in Iraq recently beheaded Nick Berg, a young American who was in that country working as an independent contractor rebuilding infrastructure, in front of a video camera while proclaiming ?God is Great? should give pause to all of us interested in global peace and civility. Not too long ago, the world was shocked by pictures of American guards treating Iraqi prisoners in the most degrading imaginable forms, in ways clearly counter to basic American and human norms of civility and counter to international conventions about the treatment of prisoners of war.

So that we do not dismiss the horror of these acts as ?casualties of war? we should remember that a few years ago Daniel Pearl, another young American, a journalist working in Pakistan, was beheaded in front of a video camera, as his captors also claimed ?God is Great?. It was the same claim about God?s Greatness that those who hijacked several airplanes made on September 11, 2001, as they slashed the throats of pilots and passengers, and crashed those airplanes against civilian and military targets taking the lives of the largest number of civilians not engaged in combat to die in a single act in recent American history.

These crimes against humanity are not limited to recent acts against Americans or Iraqis, they are the routine form of coercion used by those who choose to pursue their political goals at the margin of national and international legal frameworks, and they are also the forms of coercion used by States against their own citizens, and often against the citizens of other nations. The Rwandan genocide of 1994, the ethnic cleansing in Sudan, the religious wars in Yelwa Nigeria, and fifty years ago the Holocaust are too recent examples, in the scale of human history, of the capacity of humans to lose their humanity in consciously acting to physically take the lives of those whom they perceived as different.

Should we resign ourselves to accept that members of a species that has survived innumerable evolutionary challenges should come from time to time to seek to destroy each other because they came to share norms and values that made this acceptable? Human history offers abundant evidence of the capacity of our species to engage in massive efforts of destruction of human life. Our times are not the first in history in which groups sharing a set of cultural values killed other humans ?in the name of God?.

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Inglehart, Ronald, and Pippa Norris. 2004. “(Reprinted in Spanish) ‘The True Clash of Civilizations?.” Foreign Policy.
Kydd, Andrew H. 2004. “The Honest Broker: Mediation and Mistrust”.Abstract

Mediation is one of the most widespread techniques for preventing con ict and pro–moting cooperation. Unfortunately, the literature on mediation has not yet reached consensus on what makes mediation work. For instance, some have argued that mediators should be unbiased, while others argue that biased mediators are effective. This paper examines the conditions under which mediators can facilitate cooperation by building trust between the two parties. Mediators can be credible trust builders in one round interactions only if they prefer mutual non–cooperation to either side exploiting the other. A biased mediator or one who is solely interested in promoting cooperation will be ineffective. If the mediator is involved in an ongoing relationship with the par–ties, biased mediators can function as trustbuilders, provided that the degree of bias is not too great.

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Rodrik, Dani. 2004. “On the Efficacy of Reforms: Policy Tinkering, Institutional Change, and Entrepreneurship”.Abstract

We analyze the interplay of policy reform and entrepreneurship in a model where investment decisions and policy outcomes are both subject to uncertainty. The production costs of non–traditional activities are unknown and can only be discovered by entrepreneurs who make sunk investments. The policy maker has access to two strategies: "policy tinkering," which corresponds to a new draw from a pre–existing policy regime, and "institutional reform," which corresponds to a draw from a different regime and imposes an adjustment cost on incumbent firms. Tinkering and institutional reform both have their respective advantages. Institutional reforms work best in settings where entrepreneurial activity is weak, while it is likely to produce disappointing outcomes where the cost discovery process is vibrant. We present cross–country evidence that strongly supports such a conditional relationship.

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Skocpol, Theda. 2004. Diminished Democracy: From Membership to Management in American Civic Life. University of Oklahoma Press. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Pundits and social observers have voiced alarm each year as fewer Americans involve themselves in voluntary groups that meet regularly. Thousands of nonprofit groups have been launched in recent times, but most are run by professionals who lobby Congress or deliver social services to clients. What will happen to US democracy if participatory groups and social movements wither, while civic involvement becomes one more occupation rather than every citizen’s right and duty? In Diminished Democracy, Theda Skocpol shows that this decline in public involvement has not always been the case in this country—and how, by understanding the causes of this change, we might reverse it.
Norris, Pippa. 2004. Electoral Engineering: Voting Rules and Political Behavior. Cambridge University Press. Publisher's VersionAbstract

From Kosovo to Kabul, the last decade witnessed growing interest in "electoral engineering". Reformers have sought to achieve either greater government accountability through majoritarian arrangements or wider parliamentary diversity through proportional formula. Underlying the normative debates are important claims about the impact and consequences of electoral reform for political representation and voting behavior. This study compares and evaluates two broad schools of thought, each offering contrasting expectations. One popular approach claims that formal rules define the electoral incentives facing parties, politicians, and citizens. By changing the rules, rational choice institutionalism claims that we have the capacity to shape political behavior among politicians and citizens. Reformers believe that electoral engineering can solve multiple social problems, whether by mitigating ethnic conflict, strengthening voter-party bonds, generating democratic accountability, or boosting women?s representation. Alternative cultural modernization theories differ in their emphasis on the primary motors driving human behavior, their expectations about the pace of change, and also their assumptions about the ability of formal institutional rules to alter, rather than adapt to, deeply embedded and habitual social norms and patterns of human behavior.

To consider these issues, this book compares the consequences of electoral rules and cultural modernization for many dimensions of political representation and voting behavior, including patterns of party competition, the strength of social cleavages and party loyalties, levels of turnout, the gender and ethnic diversity of parliaments, and the provision of constituency service. Systematic evidence is drawn the Comparative Study of Electoral Systems based on surveys of parliamentary and presidential contests held in over thirty countries. The study covers elections held from 1996 to 2002 in newer and established democracies ranging from the United States, Australia and Switzerland to Peru, Taiwan and Ukraine. The book concludes that formal rules do matter, with the social cleavages and partisan identities of voters, and the diversity and behavior of elected representatives, shaped by the incentives generated by majoritarian, combined, and proportional electoral systems.

Froese, Paul. 2004. “Forced Secularization in Soviet Russia: Foreign Direct Investment in a World of Multiple Taxes”.Abstract

Under communism, the Russian religious landscape consisted mainly of two competitors – a severely repressed Russian Orthodox Church and a heavily promoted atheist alternative to religion called "scientific atheism". Under these circumstances, one might expect the rapid spread of religious disbelief. But the intensity of the atheist campaign originated from official mandate and not popular appeal. In turn, scientific atheism never inspired the Russian population and grew increasingly uninspired as Soviet officials created a monopoly "church" of scientific atheism in hopes of replacing persistent religious beliefs and practices. This paper is dedicated to explaining why communists could not successfully convert the masses to atheism. The findings provide evidence that systems of belief require more than simply the power of promotion and coercion to become accepted.

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Frieden, Jeffry. 2004. “One Europe, One Vote?: The Political Economy of European Union Representation in International Organizations”.Abstract

Many Europeans support common European Union (EU) representation in international institutions. But such a pooling international political influence raises complex and controversial issues. A common European foreign policy position implies compromise among EU members. The pooling international representation thus requires, as with many internal EU policies, that member states weigh the potential benefits of a common policy against the potential costs a policy not to their liking. There can be a trade–off between the advantages of scale and the disadvantages overriding heterogeneous preferences. Simple spatial models help to make this point, to clarify the circumstances in which a common European international representation is most likely, and to explain who is most likely to support or oppose a pooling of European foreign policies.

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Herrera, Yoshiko Margaret. 2004. “Symposium: Discourse and Content Analysis”. Download PDF

Juergensmeyer, Mark. 2004. “A Report from Baghdad: How the U.S. is Losing the Peace”.Abstract

Iraq's new interim government has no time to lose. Though it was welcome news when the new Prime Minister, Iyad Allawi, announced that the militias of nine major political parties would disband and join the government's security forces by January 2005, this is only one of the monumental tasks and formidable obstacles that the new government faces. As I discovered in a recent visit to Baghdad, Iraq is in dire need of reconstruction–not only from the miseries of Saddam Hussein?s long dictatorship, but also from the failed policies of the one–year occupation by America's Coalition administration, which has left demoralization, humiliation, and a weak security and economic infrastructure in its wake.

Sadly, in the perception of many Iraqis, the US has taken on the ugly aura of a Saddam–like dictatorship. This means that the former CIA backing of Prime Minister Iyad Allawi will be a problem, as will any other ties that he and members of the new government have to America. Although he cannot delete the CIA support from his resume Allawi will need to demonstrate his independence.

Pictures from this trip can be found on:

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Williamson, Jeffery G. 2004. “The Tariff Response to World Market Integration in the Periphery Before the Modern Era”.Abstract
What determines tariff policy? It can’t be conventional economics, since every mainstream economist agrees that free trade is a good thing (Smith 1776; Mill 1909; Bhagwati 2000). Yet, the politics of free trade have been surrounded by controversy ever since Alexander Hamilton tried shoving his protectionist policies down the throats of a new United States congress after 1789, and since Robert Peel ruined his political career by shoving free trade down the throats of the British Parliament in 1846. Political leaders have never been solely, or even largely, interested in maximizing national income, let alone maximizing world income. Rather, their main goal has always been “to get a larger slice [of the pie] for their supporters” (McGillivray et al. 2001: p. 2). Protection and free trade have always been for sale in the political market place (Grossman and Helpman 1994), but having said so doesn’t make the question—what determines tariff policy?—any easier to answer. After all, nations will adopt different tariff policies to the extent that there are different economic interests lobbying for those policies, to the extent that the economic environment impacting on those interests is different, and to the extent that different political institutions dictate which economic interests have the most votes.
Campbell, David E. 2004. “Acts of Faith: Churches and Political Engagement”.Abstract

Many observers suggest that white evangelical Protestant Churches serve to mobilize their members into politics, while others argue that they encourage withdrawal from political life. This paper reconciles these two claims. I hypothesize that the time members of evangelical Protestant denominations spend in service to their church comes at the expense of participation in the wider community, contrary to the way mainline Protestant and Catholic churches foster civic activity among their members. However, I further hypothesize that the tight social networks formed through this intensive church activity can at times facilitate rapid and intense political mobilization. Data from the Citizen Participation Study supports the first hypothesis, while applying King's method of ecological inferences to the two elections in Alabama supports the second.

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Desai, Mihir A. 2004. “Financial Constraints and Growth: Multinational and Local Firm Responses to Currency Crises”.Abstract

This paper studies the effects of financial constraints on firm growth by investigating if large depreciations differentially impact multinational affiliates and local firms in emerging markets. U.S. multinational affiliates increase sales, assets and investment significantly more than local firms during, and subsequent to, currency crises. The enhanced relative performance of multinationals is traced to their ability to use internal capital markets to capitalize on the competitiveness benefits of large depreciations. Investment specifications indicate that increases in leverage resulting from sharp depreciations constrain local firms from capitalizing on these investment opportunities, but do not constrain multinational affiliates. Multinational parents also infuse new capital in their affiliates after currency crises. These results indicate another role for foreign direct investment in emerging markets–multinational affiliates expand economic activity during currency crises when local firms are most constrained.

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Robinson, James A. 2004. “Institutions, Volatility, and Crises”.Abstract

In Takatoshi Ito and Andrew K. Rose eds. Growth and Productivity in East Asia, Chicago and London; The University of Chicago Press.

There is a growing consensus among economists that differences in institution, in particular the enforcement of property rights, rule of law, and constraints placed on politicians and elites, have a first–order effect on long–run economic development? Recent empirical findings support this notion. There is a strong correlation between institutions and economic financial development? especially when we look at the historically determined differences in institutions?
In this paper and a companion paper, Acemoglu et al. (2003), we argue that institutions also have a first–order effect ion short– and medium–run economic instability. We document that societies that have weak institutions for historical reasons have suffered substantially more output volatility and experienced more severe output, exchange rate, banking, and political crises over the past thirty years. The link we document between the historically determined component of institutions and economic instability calls for a quiet different view of medium–run macroeconomic volatility, and for more work to understand the relationship between institutions and volatility. This paper is therefore meant more as a progress report to encourage others to investigate these issues.

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Chan-Tiberghien, Jennifer. 2004. Gender and Human Rights Politics in Japan: Global Norms and Domestic Networks. Stanford University Press. Publisher's VersionAbstract

This book offers a most up-to-date account of the changes in women's, children's, and minority rights in Japan in the past decade. Since the late 1990s, several legal and political changes took place in Japan including the revision of the Equal Employment Opportunity Law, the legalization of the pill, the first Basic Law on Gender Equality, the Child Prostitution and Pornography Prohibition Law, the Child Abuse Prevention Law, the Anti-Stalking Law, the Law to Promote Human Rights Education, and finally the Domestic Violence Prevention Law. Predominant conceptions of the Japanese state, focusing on bureaucratic dominance, party politics, and interest groups, fail to explain these extensive changes.

This study ties the global to the local and examines how Japanese nongovernmental networks have been able to effect change through issue reframing, advocacy education, and leverage politics. This book situates the Japanese state in a larger international community and looks at the impact of global human rights norms on civil society development. Few international norm studies are precise on the actual mechanisms of diffusion on the ground. This book analyzes the impact of discourses from four world conferences in the 1990s, the 1993 World Conference on Human Rights in Vienna, 1994 International Conference on Population and Development in Cairo, 1995 Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing, and the 1996 First World Congress Against Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children in Stockholm on the redefinition of five issues of sexuality in Japan, the pill, sexual harassment, military sexual slavery, domestic violence, and child prostitution. It further provides a contrasting case of the limited advancement of minority rights for Burakumin, Ainu, Okinawans, Koreans, and migrant workers in Japan. The absence of global frames on caste discrimination, indigenous peoples' rights, reparation for colonization and slavery, as well as migrants' rights makes leverage politics difficult despite substantial grassroots mobilization.

Through examining gender, children, and minority issues, this study discusses the tensions between universalism and cultural relativism within the human rights and feminism debates in Japan. Instead of assuming traditional Japanese culture being at odds with the individualistic and legalistic orientation of international human rights standards, this book looks at how Japanese civil society as well as state actors grapple with the rise of the individual, a new saliency of the law in solving conflicts, the emergence of horizontal networks of cooperation, and the practice of postnational citizenship.

Sege, Irene. 2004. “A doctor without borders”. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Jennifer Leaning, just back from a taxing trip to Sudanese refugee sites, travels the world in the name of human rights

CAMBRIDGE—The after-lunch meeting has just begun—and snacks of broccoli rabe and ricotta pizza have been brought to tables draped in white linen—when Dr. Jennifer Leaning strides into UpStairs on the Square. She is recently returned from a harrowing two-week trip to the Chad-Sudan border, and the gulf between that desperate place and here seems even greater than the 5,700 miles separating the two. Now she discusses the plight of Sudanese refugees with 15 activists and congressional staffers convened by Physicians for Human Rights and Amnesty International. "There is a systematic attack on villages, livelihoods, and people of the non-Arab population," Leaning tells them, "not just to terrorize them but to expunge them from that part of the earth."

Leaning is an emergency room physician who turned her political conscience and love of travel into an avocation of fighting for human rights, then turned her avocation into her vocation when, in 1999, she was named director of the Program on Humanitarian Crises and Human Rights at Harvard's School of Public Health. She is a pragmatic intellectual who believes Sudan is practicing genocide in Darfur. An official finding of genocide would trigger a legal obligation for other countries to intervene, but Leaning doesn't want debate over labeling the crisis to distract from helping the more than 300,000 people now at risk of dying. She is part of a cadre of doctors affiliated with PHR who interrupt comfortable lives to use their medical expertise to investigate alleged violations of international law in far-flung places.

"I can see a line of sight between making a living here and making a difference," says Leaning, 59. "Maybe I could contribute to a public debate about human suffering."

"She's very brave, very smart, and very effective," says John Shattuck, the former assistant secretary of state for human rights now at the Kennedy Library. "Not many people," says former PHR president Robert Lawrence, "combine her clinical capacity to understand the urgent health needs of a population in a large refugee area and at the same time have a real thorough grounding in international human rights law and know the binding conventions and the universal declarations and all the other things Jennifer could probably recite in her sleep."

What Leaning and John Heffernan, a PHR staffer from Washington D.C., found on their June trip to Chad dovetails with what others have reported is going on in Sudan's Darfur region. After government aircraft bomb non-Arab villages, Janjaweed militia, often on camelback, kill and rape, destroy dwellings and livestock, and poison wells. The government has obstructed humanitarian aid to more than 1 million people displaced within Darfur, and the rainy season will add more obstacles. An estimated 30,000 have been killed, and about 200,000 have fled to Chad. The physician group's conclusion that this constitutes an unfolding genocide goes further than other human rights organizations and adds to pressure on the United Nations and individual countries to intervene.

"The issue of whether you call it genocide is a complicated one, but we're not letting it split us. There's unanimity that this is a colossal calamity, and we have to act in the next month," Leaning says.

Leaning faced a challenge in Chad she never encountered on 14 missions to Afghanistan, Kosovo, Somalia, Soviet Georgia, and the West Bank. She suffered life-threatening dehydration and gastroenteritis. "It was very chastening," Leaning says. "It made me appreciate how tough the people there are, and also how vulnerable," she adds. "When you deracinate them from their life supports, although they will live longer than I would, the environment will still kill them."

In her office at Harvard's Bagnoud Center for Health and Human Rights in Boston, Leaning talks of the difficulties of doing research in such places as eastern Chad. On the wall is a copy of a graph showing the number of Napoleon's troops marching to and from Moscow in 1812, its simple lines a stark depiction of the cost of a campaign in which hundreds of thousands of soldiers died. Leaning is tall, with intense blue eyes and the habit of folding the edge of the binding at the top of a pad of paper back and forth as she speaks. "You always have the feeling," Lawrence says, "that Jennifer has just had three cups of coffee."

Getting from N'Djamena, the capital of Chad, to the first area Leaning and Heffernan visited took four days. They had to hire translators and a driver they felt would slow down at a woman's behest. They inspected tires and brakes, but, in a fateful oversight, forgot to check for a cigarette lighter, a crucial power source. Temperatures, Leaning says, hit 120, and sandstorms felt like smothering, swirling talc.

At dusk on their third day, the SUV got stuck on a rock. Finally, a lorry approached. Leaning waved a flashlight, and men armed with Kalashnikovs alit. "This was an area known to have bandits," Leaning says. "One of them said, `You're lucky we didn't shoot. We didn't know who you were.' " With their help, the car was eventually dislodged. At the first refugee site Leaning's entourage reached, Goz Amer, the UN worker had too little food to share. "Goz Amer," says Leaning, "was much better than other parts."

Thus their trip began.

Though the temperature inside the air-conditioned SUV hit 90 degrees, they could keep windows closed and sand out. Quarters could be as spartan as a sheet sack on a hard floor. They carried prepackaged cheese and biscuits and bottled water. Leaning is a vegetarian who often travels to places where cooked meat is the safest food. "I've lived on bread and rice and PowerBars," she says. "The sanitation in rural Chad is really poor. Flies and sand and other elements go into what's being cooked that I didn't want to identify."

They interviewed refugees about their experiences in Darfur and promised to use their stories to try to effect change. "It validates their private sense of outrage," Leaning says. "It's not just a personal tragedy but a grave disruption of what the international community thinks is right."

One young man had a leg swollen from serious infection following a machete accident. Leaning tried, in vain, to convince him to come with them to get medical care, then left him money for antibiotics. She met a woman who fled Darfur with a baby at her breast and three other children. The Janjaweed shot at her, striking her in the elbow and side and taking a piece of her baby's finger. For 10 days, she walked and hid, wounded, scrounging for water and food.

"I will never forget either of those people," Leaning says. "The guy with the calf wound who was so courteous and brave but who could not organize his mind to get the medical care he needed either because of his responsibilities or fear of the unknown. Or this young woman, who was so heroic in saving herself and her four children. And these are two people of 200,000."

Near the end of the trip, Leaning got sick, probably from the carrot and beet salad she ate before they went to the desolate desert on Chad's northern border with Sudan. "We felt a fair amount of pressure to cover a lot of ground despite the rainy season and poor terrain. We didn't have that much sleep and we weren't eating that much. We were drinking, but the air conditioning can prevent you from realizing you're getting dehydrated," Leaning says. She was hardly perspiring when they arrived at the Bahai area.

"It is an appalling place," Leaning says. Eighteen thousand refugees were there, many huddled under scattered, scraggly trees. Their animals were dying of thirst. Here, feeling faint, Leaning had to lie down. By the time she started vomiting, she was already dehydrated. She needed intravenous fluids. She carried sterile equipment, because of AIDS, but the rudimentary site had only a liter of rehydrating fluid and their sugar water wouldn't replace crucial salts and electrolytes. "My pulse was 140, and it was hard to find," Leaning says. Afraid her veins would soon collapse, she quickly had the only other doctor there at the time put in an IV. She asked to be evacuated that night.

Their satellite phone was low on power, and the car had no cigarette lighter. Nobody would fly in at night in a sandstorm. Land mines and bandits made it too risky to drive four hours to a clinic in Iriba. They called Brigham and Women's Hospital to see if they could add oral rehydration salts to the IV sugar water, but the phone died. So, for six hours, Heffernan gave Leaning a tiny cupful of the salts every 30 seconds, and Leaning willed herself not to vomit or lose consciousness. At dawn they could drive to Iriba. "You have this animal sense when you know it's bad," she says. "I became entirely focused on finding a way out."

The aborted call to Boston had been enough to get word to PHR, which, for the first time in its 18-year history, activated its emergency medical services. Leaning was treated in Iriba, then airlifted to N'Djamena.

So ended Leaning's most recent mission, more than a half-century after her first. When she was in first grade in New Paltz, N.Y., she was one of six children selected to deliver the chickens the class had hatched to poor, immigrant farmers from Eastern Europe. "I don't recall the encounter with the farmers or the transmission of the chickens," Leaning says. "I just remember being part of this important charitable mission."

Thoreau may have been content to travel widely in Concord, but for Leaning, who lives in an expansive center-entrance colonial on a bucolic street in Lincoln, staying close to home has never been enough. Her mother grew up in Japan, the daughter of YMCA missionaries. Her father was a former British diplomat who had friends around the world. They split when Leaning was 6. "Current events, the news, and insights about the news were extremely relevant and salient in our household," she says.

In 1965, when Leaning was an undergraduate at Radcliffe College, she took a leave to spend a year in Tanzania. She taught in Dar Es Salaam, then set up child care in a village experimenting with rural agriculture. In 1967, she and the husband she later divorced (she just remarried) honeymooned with a trip around the world. They hitchhiked from Nairobi to Cape Town, traveled steerage on a freighter between Singapore and Ceylon, now Sri Lanka. In 1969, she visited Kabul, where her mother was teaching; in 2002, she returned to Afghanistan on a PHR mission during which she visited prisoners and uncovered a mass grave.

"Consciousness and appetite for life and yearning for a future is something everybody is born with," she says. "I was fortunate that I was born in a time and context that allowed me to thrive and prosper. I feel connected, and not intimately, personally responsible for everyone's grief and suffering, but in a complex, organized social way, I feel responsible." The afternoon that starts with the meeting at the restaurant ends with Leaning participating in a crowded public forum on Sudan at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government. In the month since she's been home, an additional 12,000 refugees are estimated to have fled to the Bahai site where she got ill.

"The chance is now," Leaning says. "It's almost slipping past us."

Jennier Leaning, a faculty associate at the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, is professor of International Health in the department of Population and International Health at Harvard's School of Public Health.
Newland, Kathleen, and Adrian Fortescue. 2004. “A hard line on visas can only harm America”. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Not since the Vietnam war has international public opinion about America sunk so low. US officials praise "American values" when abroad, but they are competing with images of prisoner abuse and torture, and even Fahrenheit 9/11, Michael Moore's wildly successful anti-Bush polemic.

The best way to counter such negative views has been to encourage others to come and see for themselves the strengths of American society. But in this particular battle for hearts and minds, the US government is currently engaged in unilateral disarmament. By making admission of foreigners so difficult and intimidating, America is depriving itself of a formidable strategic advantage.

The US State Department issued 36 per cent fewer visas in the 2003 fiscal year than in 2001—cutting total visitors by almost 1m. The fall is almost universally attributed to the more stringent security procedures introduced after September 11, 2001. No one questions the need for measures to prevent terrorists entering US territory, but many question whether new entry procedures meet even minimum standards of efficiency and cost effectiveness.

Foremost among the sceptics are US research and educational establishments. Some 560,000 student visas were issued in 2001, but only 474,000 in 2003. US universities depend heavily on foreign graduate students and scholars - especially in mathematics, the sciences and engineering. In May, more than 20 professional associations representing some 95 per cent of the US research community made an unprecedented joint declaration describing the current visa-processing logjam as a crisis. Larry Summers, Harvard's president, warned in April that if visa procedures remained so complicated and lengthy, "we risk losing some of our most talented scientists and compromising our country's position at the forefront of technological innovation".

American business has been somewhat less vocal than the universities, but the fact remains that immigrants accounted for half the growth of the US labour force in the last decade. In addition, US companies are finding it harder to move international staff in and out of the US for meetings and assignments; potential business partners are discouraged from visiting to make deals and start new ventures. US business leaders say the new obstacles have cost them billions.

Casual visitors are also important to the US economy. The travel and tourism industry, catering to US residents as well as foreign visitors, employs one of every eight people in the US civilian labour force. Visitors spend more than Dollars 80bn (Pounds 43bn) a year on travel to the US and once there generate extra sales and tax revenue in excess of Dollars 90bn.

The State Department has moved to expedite visas for students and scholars. But a much more focused, government-wide effort aimed at all kinds of visitors is needed. Special procedures for "low-risk" repeat visitors should be created. The visa process needs to be streamlined and properly staffed, its costs to applicants reduced, its technological tools upgraded and its consistency assured through clear guidelines.

Issuing visas remains the classic entry-level job for young foreign service officers—a relic of the days when it was considered a function in which one could do little harm. The US needs a professional corps of visa officers, who can accumulate knowledge and experience.

If the steps taken are inadequate, many more potential visitors undoubtedly will decide to go elsewhere—to Australia or Canada or Europe—for leisure, study or business. Universities in the English-speaking world, in particular, have a serious opportunity to fill the gap left by America's obstacle course. Rather than ratcheting up fees for foreign students, they should be courting the world's best and brightest to join their science and engineering faculties and then move on to research institutions and companies.

After the second world war America grew to world-beating prominence in part by attracting talent from all over the world to its critical nodes of scientific research, entrepreneurship and industry. Its post-September 11 failure of nerve may be a moment of high opportunity for Europe and other countries. The US is not the only country to have suffered at the hands of terrorists, but it seems to be uniquely intent on supplementing them with wounds of the self-inflicted variety.

Kathleen Newland is director of the Migration Policy Institute in Washington; Adrian Fortescue, a visiting fellow at Harvard University, was director-general for justice and home affairs of the European Commission until 2003.
Bestor, Theodore C. 2004. Tsukiji: The Fish Market at the Center of the World. University of California Press. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Located only blocks from Tokyo's glittering Ginza, Tsukiji—the world's largest marketplace for seafood—is a prominent landmark, well known but little understood by most Tokyoites: a supplier for countless fishmongers and sushi chefs, and a popular and fascinating destination for foreign tourists. Early every morning, the worlds of hi-tech and pre-tech trade noisily converge as tens of thousands of tons of seafood from every ocean of the world quickly change hands in Tsukiji's auctions and in the marketplace's hundreds of tiny stalls. In this absorbing firsthand study, Theodore C. Bestor—who has spent a dozen years doing fieldwork at fish markets and fishing ports in Japan, North America, Korea, and Europe—explains the complex social institutions that organize Tsukiji's auctions and the supply lines leading to and from them and illuminates trends of Japan's economic growth, changes in distribution and consumption, and the increasing globalization of the seafood trade. As he brings to life the sights and sounds of the marketplace, he reveals Tsukiji's rich internal culture, its place in Japanese cuisine, and the mercantile traditions that have shaped the marketplace since the early seventeenth century.

Domínguez, Jorge I. 2004. “The Scholarly Study of Mexican Politics”.Abstract

This essay reviews the state of the scholarly study of Mexican politics. It focuses on research on political change since 1990. It discusses the political origins of economic problems and policies, including the enactment of NAFTA and the 1994–95 financial panic. It assesses the decline of the PRI, the presidency, and official organized labor; the role of urban protest and the Zapatista insurgency; and the revitalization of Congress, the Supreme Court, and state governments. It synthesizes the principal analytical findings on parties, public opinion, and elections.

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