In Sven Steinmo and Bo Rothstein eds. Institutionalism and Welfare Reforms (Palgrave 2002)
During the 1990s, Japan simultaneously expanded and cut benefits in different programs. In doing so, the Japanese case casts doubts upon facile assumption that the welfare state goes through separate phases of expansion and retrenchment. What seems to be happening in Japan is an overall reshuffling of costs and benefits within the welfare state.
Welfare reforms are difficult, because, as Esping–Andersen (1996) and Pierson (1994) have pointed out, welfare states produce groups with stakes in the status quo. Some institutions, however, make it easier to reform the welfare state (cf. Bonoli 2000: Bonoli and Palier 2000; Pierson ed. 2001). Visser and Hemerijick (1997), for instance, show how the Dutch transformed their welfare state by drawing upon a corporatist social partnership. I look at the noncorporatist country, Japan, to examine why some reforms were possible and some not.
This paper provides a political economy explanation for temporary exchange–rate–based stabilization programs by focusing on the distributional effects of real exchange–rate appreciation. I propose an economy in which agents are endowed with either tradable or nontradable goods. Under a cash–in–advance assumption, a temporary reduction in the devaluation rate induces a consumption boom accompanied by real appreciation, which hurts the owners of tradable goods. The owners of nontradables have to weigh two opposing effects: an increase in the present value of nontradable goods wealth and a negative intertemporal substitution effect. For reasonable parameter values, owners of nontradables are better off.
Globalization is the process by which the experience of everyday life, marked by the diffusion of commodities and ideas, is becoming standardized around the world. Extreme views of this process stress the destruction of local cultures and the homogenization of life styles, caused by the spread of American and Japanese popular culture. This article reviews arguments for and against the cultural imperialism hypothesis, and concludes that globalization is in the eyes of the beholder. An anthropological approach to these issues hinges upon the distinction between form and content (or outward appearance versus internal meaning). Does the appearance of a McDonald's restaurant necessarily imply that local consumers are being Americanized? Many commentators, notably journalists and politicians, confuse form with content and do not look closely at the ways ordinary people incorporate global influences into their everyday lives. This article examines several cultural systems that are said to foster globalization: fast food, film, television, style, pop music, and the internet.
In recent theories of comparative development the role of institutional differences has been crucial. Yet what explains comparative institutional evolution? We investigate this issue by studying the coffee exporting economies of Latin America. While homogeneous in many ways, they experienced radically different paths of economic (and political) development which is conventional traced to the differential organization of the coffee industry. We show that the different forms that the coffee economy took in the 19th century was critically determined by the legal environment determining access to land, and that different laws resulted from differences in the nature of political competition. Our analysis suggests that explanations of institutional differences which stress economic fundamentals can only be part of the story. At least in the economies we study, while geography, factor endowments and technology are clearly important, their implications for the institutional structure and thus development are conditional on the form that political competition takes in society. Endowments are not fate.
CEPR Discussion Papers 3206, Centre for Economic Policy Research, February 2002.
Why should governments delegate decision–making authority over territorial issues to an international institution? This study argues that governments are motivated to reach territorial solutions to reduce the opportunity costs associated with a festering dispute. The evidence suggests that domestic political incapacity to negotiate concessions is associated with a commitment to arbitrate. Compliance is a function of the net costs and benefits involved in accepting the arbitral decision. These costs include the loss of valuable territory, but noncompliance also exacts costs with respect to governments? reputation, both domestically and internationally. This research speaks to a broader debate about the role of international legal institutions in foreign policy making and international outcomes. It shows that governments have good reasons, under certain political and economic conditions, to use international legal processes as a substitute for domestic political decision making.
Journal of Conflict Resolution 46, no. 6 (2002): 829-856.
The Chinese government's nationwide campaign to exterminate the Falun Gong meditation group has inaugurated a new era in Communist Party rule. The 1990s were shrouded by the shadow of Tiananmen, but today it is the campaign against "evil cults," or as most Westerners view it, religious repression, that casts the shadow. But the regime's war on cults extends far beyond the Falun Gong. Dozens of unofficial religious and spiritual groups have sprouted across the country in recent decades, creating followings of up to several million adherents. China's central government has labeled at least 15 such groups "evil cults," yet most continue to operate and even to expand.
Recent econometric estimates suggest that currency unions have far greater effects on trade patterns than previously believed. Since currency unions are good for trade, and trade is good for growth, that is one major argument in favor of EMU. If there were evidence that the boost to trade within EMU was likely to come in part at the expense of trade with outsiders, that would imply something stronger, for a neighbor such as the United Kingdom: that life outside EMU would get progressively less attractive in the future. But there is no such evidence, either for currency unions in general (according to Frankel–Rose) or for the first three years of EMU in particular (according to Micco, Stein, and Ordoñez). Furthermore, there are the usual countervailing arguments for retaining monetary independence, particularly the famous asymmetric shocks. One possible argument for waiting is that UK trade with euroland is still increasing, probably due to lagged effects of joining the EU and the Single Market initiative. Estimates suggest that the growing trade links in turn lead to growing cyclical correlation. The implication is that the UK may better qualify for the optimum currency area criteria in the future than in the past. On the other hand, if, as a result of waiting to enter, London loses to Frankfurt its position as the leading financial center in the European time zone, that loss may not be readily recoverable in the future.
Public–health regularly encounters serious ethical dilemmas, such as rationing scarce resources, influencing individuals to change their behaviour, and limiting freedom to diminish disease transmission. Yet unlike medical ethics, there is no agreed–upon framework for analysing these difficulties. We offer such a framework. It distinguishes three philosophical views, often invoked in public–health discourse: positions based on outcomes (utilitarianism), positions focused on rights and opportunities (liberalism), and views that emphasise character and virtue (communitarianism). We explore critical variations within each approach, and identify practical problems that arise in addressing the ethical dimensions of health policy. We conclude by examining challenges posed by the feminist argument of ethics–of–care and by postmodern views about the nature of ethics. Health professionals need enhanced skills in applied philosophy to improve the coherence, transparency, and quality of public deliberations over ethical issues inherent in health policy.
The government of the People's Republic of China has become increasingly concerned with its serious environmental problems over the past decade. One study suggests that as of the mid 1990's, urban air and water pollution alone cost the Chinese economy US $32.3 billion annually in premature deaths, morbidity, restricted activity, chronic bronchitis and other heath effects, which is equal to more than 9 percent of Gross National Product. That study estimates that 110,000 premature deaths occur each year, primarily in rural areas, as a result of indoor air pollution. General assessments of China's environmental problems run a range from the alarmist to the cautionary, but all agree that the problems are very serious.
In response, the Chinese government has taken a number of important and innovative policy steps to improve the situation. China was the first country to pass a national Agenda 21 policy. The PRC first established a leadership group on the environment under the State Council in 1974, and has repeatedly strengthened its institutional commitment to the environment since then. In 1998 this culminated in the creation of the ministerial–level State Environmental Protection Administration (SEPA) out of the former National Environmental Protection Agency (NEPA). The concern for environmental protection is now shown in five–year plans and through the overhaul and strengthening of environmental laws. Recent years have also seen the initiation of high profile environmental campaigns, such as that restricting the use of leaded gasoline in large cities and that promoting reforestation in the aftermath of the Yangzi River floods of 1998.
Yet the Chinese state has also been plagued with problems in implementing and enforcing its environmental policies, especially in rural areas. Serious local environmental abuse regularly occurs, especially where there are overpowering economic incentives to exploit the environment for immediate gain — it is not uncommon, for example, to see people causing serious erosion by opening steep slopes (beyond the 25–degree legal maximum) to agriculture in poor areas, or losing windbreaks by illegally harvesting roadside trees for firewood. Large, state–owned enterprises, often utilizing antiquated equipment, collective enterprises, which often create income for local governments (including street committees in urban areas) and township–village enterprises, which may lack adequate funds for clean production, are also all often polluting.
This article reports the initial results of a collaborative project on the successes and failures of environmental policy implementation in Anqing, a small city and its rural hinterland on the Yangzi River in southern Anhui province. Our goal has been to learn when and how local citizens become environmentally responsible, and to draw appropriate lessons for policy. This includes two broad topics: First, we show how citizens receive basic environmental knowledge through schools, the media, local meetings, or personal experience (such as health problems). Specifically, the sections that follow examine the hypotheses that environmental awareness comes from the experience of environmental problems, from environmental education, or from increased wealth. Second, we consider whether people are able to act on that knowledge through their economic choices or their political and legal options. We discuss in particular the roles of recent legal reforms and local elections.
Countries that have pursued distortionary macroeconomic policies, including high inflation, large budget deficits and misaligned exchange rates, appear to have suffered more macroeconomic volatility and also grown more slowly during the postwar period. Does this reflect the casual effect of these macroeconomic policies on economic outcomes? One reason to suspect that the answer may be no is that countries pursuing poor macroeconomic policies also have weak "institution," including political institutions that do not constrain politicians and political elites, ineffective enforcement of property rights for investors, widespread corruption, and a high degree of political instability.
This paper documents that countries that inherited more "extractive" institutions from their colonial past were more likely to experience high volatility and economic crises during the postwar period. More specifically, societies where European colonists faced high mortality rates more than 100 years ago are much more volatile and prone to crises. Based on our previous work, we interpret this relationship as due to the casual effect of institutions on economic outcomes: Europeans did not settle and were more likely to set up extractive institutions in areas where they faced high mortality. Once we control for the effect of institutions, macroeconomic policies appear to have only a minor impact on volatility and crises. This suggests that distortionary macroeconomic policies are more likely to be symptoms of underlying institutional problems rather than the main causes of economic volatility, and also that the effects of institutional differences on volatility do not appear to be primarily mediated by any of the standard macroeconomic variables. Instead, it appears that weak institutions cause volatility through a number of microeconomic, as well as microeconomic, channels.
For some years, my colleagues and I have been actively engaged in the development and application of an approach to the resolution of international conflicts for which we use the term ‘interactive problem–solving’. The fullest – indeed, the paradigmatic – application of the approach is represented by problem–solving workshops (Kelman, 1972, 1979, 1992, 1996b; Kelman and Cohen, 1986), although it involves a variety of other activities as well. In fact, I have increasingly come to see interactive problem–solving as an approach to the macro–processes of international conflict resolution, in which problem–solving workshops and similar micro–level activities are integrally related to official diplomacy (Kelman, 1996a).
The approach derives most directly from the work of John Burton (1969, 1979, 1984). While my work follows the general principles laid out by Burton, it has evolved in its own directions, in keeping with my own disciplinary background, my particular style, and the cases on which I have focused my attention. My work has concentrated since 1974 on the Arab–Israeli conflict, and particularly on the Israeli–Palestinian component of that conflict. I have also done some work, however, on the Cyprus conflict and have maintained an active interest in several other intense, protracted identity conflicts at the international or intercommunal level, such as the conflicts in Bosnia, Sri Lanka, and Northern Ireland.
This article evaluates the emergence and growth of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt from the 1930's through the 1950's. It begins by outlining and empirically examining possible explanations for the organization's growth based on (1) theories of political Islam and (2) the concept of political opportunity structure in social movement theory. An extension of these approaches is suggested based on data from organizational documents and declassified U.S. State Department files from this period. The successful mobilization of the Muslim Brotherhood was possible because of the way its Islamic message was tied to its organizational structure, activities, and strategies and the everyday lives of Egyptians. The analysis suggests that ideas are integrated into social movements in more ways than the concept of framing allows for. It also broadens our understanding of how organizations can arise in highly repressive environments.
¿Es posible imaginar relaciones "formales, correctas y pacíficas" entre Estados Unidos y Cuba?... Junto a los esfuerzos por promover cambios políticos en Cuba, se han dado en las diferentes administraciones de Estados Unidos algunas manifestaciones de flexibilización ante la posibilidad de crisis mayores.
The role of religion in conflict has, of late, been attracting increasing attention in academic, media and policy–making circles. Academic literature on the topic can well be called a growth inductry. As is the case with academic literature on other aspects of conflict, the study of religion and conflict is dividing itself in two: the causes of conflict and how to resolve conflict. Despite some rare exceptions such as Appleby (2000), seldom do those who address one of these branches of the field also address the other. (For a discussion on why the social sciences have ignored these issues see Fox, 2001d). This is cleary not an ideal situation for the pursuit of knowledge on so important a topic.
This paper seeks to build a bridge between those who study why conflicts occur and those who study how to solve them. It focuses on lessons learned from empirical studies on religion and conflict.
Religion and Conflict Resolution, Proceedings of an International Conference Held at Bar-Ilan University, May 27-28, 2002
Road traffic injuries are a major cause of death and disability globally, with a disproportionate number occurring in developing countries. Road traffic injuries are currently ranked ninth globally among the leading causes of disability adjusted life years lost, and the ranking is projected to rise to third by 2020. In 1998, developing countries accounted for more than 85% of all deaths due to road traffic crashes globally and for 96% of all children killed. Moreover, about 90% of the disability adjusted life years lost worldwide due to road traffic injuries occur in developing countries. The problem is increasing at a fast rate in developing countries due to rapid motorisation and other factors. However, public policy responses to this epidemic have been muted at national and international levels. Policy makers need to recognise this growing problem as a public health crisis and design appropriate policy responses.
The paper provides a political economy theory of the Kuznets curve. When development leads to increasing inequality, this can induce political instability and force democratization on political elites. Democratization leads to institutional changes which encourage redistribution and reduce inequality. Nevertheless, development does not necessarily induce a Kuznets curve, and it is shown that development may be associated with two types of nondemocratic paths: an "autocratic disaster," with high inequality and low output, and an "East Asian Miracle," with low inequality and high output. These arise either because inequality does not increase with development, or because the degree of political mobilization is low.
Three main questions were raised at the IUHPE conference in June 2002 on "new dimensions in promoting health," with a particular focus on the process of policy change:
? How should people with an interest in promoting health across sectors approach the policy change process?
? What skills are needed to engage in the policy change process?
? How do we build collaborations across the policy arenas?
In short,the answer to all three of these questions is "politics." First, the policy change process needs to be approached through politics. Second,engagement in policy change requires political skills. And third, collaboration across policy arenas requires management of the political process.
A decade ago, in his election campaign for President of the United States, Bill Clinton made famous the slogan, "It?s the economy, stupid!" He plastered those words on the wall of his campaign headquarters in Little Rock, Arkansas, to remind him and his supporters that winning the election required a focus on economic promises.
But the policy change process is driven itself by politics. Indeed, more attention by Bill and Hillary Clinton to the politics of health care — from "it?s the economy, stupid," to "it ?s the politics, stupid!" — might have improved their chances of passing health reform in the United States in 1994.
The failure of the Clinton reform plan highlights the importance of the political process for promoting policy change, and the risks of underestimating political challenges. This article first reviews three political themes about the policy reform process, and then presents a systematic approach to the development of political strategies for reform, using examples of health policy.
[Third Annual IMF Research Conference, Washington, DC, November 7?8, 2002.]
What do we mean by institutions? The generality of the word cries out for a definition. I am not going to attempt it. A narrow interpretation would consist of only specific legal bodies or procedural mechanisms. Examples include regulatory agencies (e.g., Securities and Exchange Commissions), standards–setting bodies (e.g., for accounting), and what are sometimes called "commitment devices" (currency boards, guarantees of central bank independence, balanced budget amendments, the Stability and Growth Pact, etc.). A broad definition would include everything about a society that is more detailed than the basic theoretical model in a graduate economics textbook: from the existence of efficiency wages and a six–month gold futures market, to culture. The notion of institutional quality that has become common in the growth literature lies at an intermediate level of generality, and pertains to Property rights and Rule of Law. I am happy to accept that usage. But, before I turn to it, I want to flag the wide variety of issues that could be termed institutional, and to observe that they may not necessarily all be correlated. For example, democracy is on many people?s list. But the commitment devices I named (currency boards, independent CBs, Stability Pact), are distinctive for being institutions that prevent macroeconomic policy from being determined in "too democratic" a manner.
The modern state is being reshaped by multiple forces acting simultaneously. From above, the state is actively constrained by agreements promoted by international agencies and by the power of multinational corporations. From within, the state is being reshaped by increasing trends toward marketization and by problems of corruption. From below, the state's role is being diminished by the expansion of decentralization and by the rising influence of non–governmental organizations. This article explores these three sets of processes — from above, from within, and from below — and suggests some implications for public health. Public health professionals require an understanding of the changing nature of the state, because of the consequences for thinking about the metaphors, solutions, and strategies for public health.