Publications by Type: Miscellaneous

Siegel, Jordan I, Amir Licht, and Shalom Shwartz. 2011. “Egalitarianism and International Investment.” Journal of Financial Economics. Publisher's Version Abstract
This study identifies how country differences on a key cultural dimension—egalitarianism— influence international investment flows. A society’s cultural orientation toward egalitarianism is manifested by intolerance for abuses of market and political power and a desire for protecting less powerful actors. We show egalitarianism to be based on exogenous factors including social fractionalization, dominant religion circa 1900, and war experience from the 19th century. We find a robust influence of egalitarianism distance on cross-national flows of bond and equity issuances, syndicated loans, and mergers and acquisitions. An informal cultural institution largely determined a century or more ago, egalitarianism exercises its effect on international investment via an associated set of consistent contemporary policy choices. But even after controlling for these associated policy choices, egalitarianism continues to exercise a direct effect on cross-border investment flows, likely through its direct influence on managers’ daily business conduct.
Singhal, Monica, and Benjamin A. Olken. 2011. “Informal Taxation.” American Economic Journal. Publisher's Version Abstract

Informal payments are a frequently overlooked source of local public finance in developing countries. We use microdata from ten countries to establish stylized facts on the magnitude, form, and distributional implications of this “informal taxation.” Informal taxation is widespread, particularly in rural areas, with substantial in-kind labor payments. The wealthy pay more, but pay less in percentage terms, and informal taxes are more regressive than formal taxes. Failing to include informal taxation underestimates household tax burdens and revenue decentralization in developing countries. We discuss various explanations for and implications of these observed stylized facts.

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for Affairs, Weatherhead Center International. 2009. “Hoopes winners recognized for outstanding scholarship”. Abstract

Five Weatherhead Center Undergraduate Associates were among several Harvard College seniors who received the Thomas T. Hoopes Prize for outstanding scholarly work or research this year. The winners of the prestigious prize include:

Killian Clarke for his submission titled "Saying 'Enough': The Impact of Authoritarianism in Egypt on the Kefaya Movement"—nominated by Professor Jocelyn Viterna and Professor Emad Shahin.

Ana Ines Mendy for her submission titled "The Origins of Dominican Anti-Haitianismo: The Effects of the Haitian Revolution on Dominican National Identity (1791-1801)"—nominated by Professor Vincent Brown.

Noah Nathan for his submission titled "Institutional Change, Ethnic Identity, and Conflict in Northern Ghana"—nominated by Professor Nahomi Ichino.

John Sheffield for his submission titled "The Anatomy of the Iron Fist: Police Violence in Democratic Latin America"—nominated by Professor Steven Levitsky.

Leah Zamore for her submission titled "We Can No Longer Wait: The UN Refugee Agency and Involuntary Repatriation Refugees"—nominated by Jacqueline Bhabha.

For a full list of the award recipients, please go to the original article on Harvard University's Gazettte.

for Affairs, Weatherhead Center International. 2008. “José Manuel Barroso to Deliver the 18th Paul-Henri Spaak Lecture”. Abstract

The President of the Commission of the European Union, José Manuel Barroso, will speak at the Weatherhead Center's 18th Paul-Henri Spaak Lecture on September 24. Created in 1981 thanks to the generosity of Frank Boas, the Spaak lecture series brought eminent Europeans to Harvard to address issues of importance to both Europe and the United States. After its suspension in 1999—and thanks to a donation by the Nicolas Janssen Family Fund of Brussels—this lecture series has been re-launched to address the new challenges and prospects of transatlantic relations.

President Barroso will deliver the 2008 Paul-Henri Spaak Lecture titled "A Letter from Brussels to the Next President of the United States."

Barroso became Commission President in the midst of the ratification process of the "Constitutional Treaty," worked out to further advance European unity and to better accommodate the EU enlargement by the formerly Communist Central European countries as well as Malta and Cyprus. He dealt with a crisis when the French and Dutch rejected this Treaty in a referendum in 2005, and spearheaded the drafting of a “Reform Treaty” to meet its constituents’ demands, which was ratified by a large majority of EU members but rejected by the Irish voters in a referendum in 2008.

This lecture series was named after Paul-Henri Spaak, the Foreign Minister of Belgium who played a decisive role in working out the Treaty of the European Economic Community and EURATOM of 1958.

for Affairs, Weatherhead Center International. 2008. “Weatherhead Center Awards Doctoral Candidates with Research Grants”. Abstract

The Weatherhead Center for International Affairs has selected eleven Harvard doctoral candidates to receive pre- and mid-dissertation grants to conduct research on a project related to the core research interests of the Center. In addition and for the first time in 2008, the Center is awarding foreign language grants to doctoral students to assist them in their field research studies. The Weatherhead Center dissertation grant recipients, along with their research projects, are listed below:

Christopher Bail, Ph.D. candidate in sociology, is researching the distortion of collective memory among Muslims and non-Muslims in the United States and the UK.

Amy Catalinac, Ph.D. candidate in government, is conducting research on the electoral politics of national security to explain the contemporary rise of Japan.

Suzanna Chapman, Ph.D. candidate in government, will conduct interviews with immigration policy-makers to examine how states select their population.

Paul Cruikshank, Ph.D. candidate in the history of science, is investigating the late twentieth century historical transformation of the politics in the field of international health.

Michael James Esdaile, Ph.D. candidate in history and Middle Eastern studies, is studying Arabic for his dissertation on the anti-imperial movements termed the “Aden Emergency” that opposed British control in Yemen.

Alex Fattal, Ph.D. candidate in anthropology, is conducting an analysis of the demobilization of insurgents in Colombia to better understand the cultural politics of humanitarianism.

Meghan Healy, Ph.D. candidate in history, is conducting research on South African women’s schooling and power since 1869.

Max Hirsch, Ph.D. candidate in architecture and urban planning, is researching architectural and urban planning strategies that are designed to attract and retain highly skilled international migrants in Frankfurt and Hong Kong.

Jane Hong, Ph.D. candidate in history, is examining political deportation cases of foreign-born Asian communists living in Los Angeles as a lens to explore the relationship between U.S. foreign policy in East Asia and domestic security measures passed between 1945 and 1965.

Catherine Kelly, Ph.D. candidate in government, is studying Wolof in Senegal for her dissertation on Franco-West African relations.

Katherine Mason, Ph.D. candidate in anthropology, is conducting an ethnographic investigation of the rebuilding of China’s disease control system in the wake of the 2003 SARS epidemic.

Sreemati Mitter, Ph.D. candidate in history and Middle Eastern studies, is studying Arabic and Hebrew for her dissertation on relations between Jordan and Israel between 1950 and 1967.

Vipin Narang, Ph.D. candidate in government, is exploring the sources and consequences of regional power nuclear postures by examining the India-Pakistan crises that occurred both before and after nuclearization.

Rebecca Nelson, Ph.D. candidate in government, seeks to explain why some governments get more debt restructurings with private creditors than others.

Aleksandar Sopov, Ph.D. candidate in history and Middle Eastern studies, will study Arabic and Albanian for his dissertation on how the competing histories of the peoples in the Balkans and the Middle East influence their social and political realities.

The Weatherhead Center for International Affairs is supporting twenty-six doctoral candidates as Graduate Student Associates for 2008-2009. The Center’s Graduate Student Associates are a multidisciplinary group of advanced degree candidates from the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences’ departments of Anthropology, Government, History, Religion, Public Health and Sociology on topics related to international affairs. 

The Center provides its Graduate Student Associates with research grants, office space, and computer resources; and they participate in a variety of seminars, including their own graduate student seminars during which they present and receive feedback on their work. This year grantees, along with their research projects, are as follows: 

Marcus Alexander, Ph.D. candidate, Department of Government. Behavioral political economy; experimental social science; econometrics; dynamics of conflict and cooperation.

Christopher Bail, Ph.D. candidate, Department of Sociology. Diverse Diversities: the configuration of symbolic boundaries against immigrants in twenty-three European countries.

Suzanna Chapman, Ph.D. Candidate, Department of Government. Measuring and explaining trends in restrictive immigration policy in wealthy democracies, 1960–2006.

Alex Fattal, Ph.D. candidate, Department of Anthropology. Demilitarization, demobilization, and reintegration of insurgents in Colombia.

Garner Gollatz, Ph.D. candidate, Department of Anthropology. Healing, pilgrimage, and spirituality at the Sanctuary of Lourdes, France.

Karen Grépin, Ph.D. candidate, Department of Health Policy. Economics of health systems; health human resources; and effectiveness of health development assistance. Research area: Africa, specifically Ghana.

Zongze Hu, Ph.D. candidate, Department of Anthropology. How locals have encountered and seen the national state in a North China village.

Robert Karl, Ph.D. candidate, Department of History. State formation, politics, violence, and U.S. influence in 20th century Colombia.

Yevgeniy Kirpichevsky, Ph.D. candidate, Department of Government. Secret weapons and secret diplomacy in international relations.

Ian Klaus, Ph.D. candidate, Department of History. The role of trust in the business and military relations of the British empire.

Diana Kudayarova, Ph.D. candidate, Department of History. Labor policy and labor-market strategies of white-collar professionals in the Soviet Union.

Rebecca Nelson, Ph.D. candidate, Department of Government. Explaining variation in the terms of sovereign debt restructurings with private creditors in the post-WWII era.

Vernie Oliveiro, Ph.D. candidate, Department of History. The United States’ efforts against the bribery of foreign public officials by multinational corporations wishing to do business abroad, 1975-1997.

Sabrina Peric, Ph.D. candidate, Department of Social Anthropology. Examining intersections of violence, identity and primary resource extraction in Bosnia and Herzegovina’s ethnographic present, and in its history.

Sanjay Pinto, Ph.D. candidate, Department of Sociology and Social Policy. The Political Economy of Social Stratification: Varieties of Class Structure in Post-Industrial and Newly Industrialized Societies.

Giacomo Ponzetto, Ph.D. candidate, Department of Economics. The role of partisanship and voters’ asymmetric information in the political economy of trade policy.

Brenna Powell, Ph.D. candidate, Department of Government and Social Policy. Comparative ethno-racial politics, civil conflict and political violence; dissertation work in Northern Ireland, Brazil, and the United States.

Jonathan Renshon, Ph.D. candidate, Department of Government. How status considerations affect the calculations of states in international politics.

Meg Rithmire, Ph.D. candidate, Department of Government. Building modern cities: development, space and power in urban China.

Claire Schwartz, Ph.D. candidate, Department of Government. Implications of the shift from state governance toward "civil governance" in industrial regulation and the differential effects of developed and developing countries.

Sarah Shehabuddin, Ph.D. candidate, Department of Government. The rules of engagement: women’s rights and the determinants of secularist-Islamist relations.

Anthony Shenoda, Ph.D. candidate, Department of Anthropology and Middle East Studies. Coptic orthodox Christian encounters with the Miraculous in Egypt.

Anya Vodopyanov, Ph.D. candidate, Department of Government. Political economy of service provision in the Middle East: impact of increased basic service provision by Islamic groups on the quality and reach of government services.

Ann Marie Wilson, Ph.D. candidate, Department of History. An investigation into the origins of modern American human rights activism, focusing on the Anglo-American humanitarian movements that arose in response to crises in Armenia, Russia, and the Congo Free State between 1880 and 1920.

Lili Zhang, Ph.D. candidate, Department of Government. Reputation and War Termination: An approach based on psychology and behavioral economics.

Min Zhou, Ph.D. candidate, Department of Sociology. Grassroots organizations in the 2005 anti-Japan movement in China.

The Center also granted three dissertation completion fellowships for the current academic year:

  • Yevgeniy Kirpichevsky, Graduate Student Associate and Ph.D. Candidate, Department of Government was awarded the Sidney Knafel Dissertation Completion Fellowship
  • Giacomo Ponzetto, Graduate Student Associate and Ph.D. Candidate, Department of Economics was awarded the Hartley Rogers Dissertation Completion Fellowship
  • Nico Slate, Ph.D. Candidate, Department of History was awarded the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs Dissertation Completion Fellowship


for Affairs, Weatherhead Center International. 2008. “In Memoriam: Samuel P. Huntington”. Abstract

Samuel P. HuntingtonSamuel P. Huntington, Albert J. Weatherhead III University Professor at Harvard University, was one of the giants of political science worldwide during the past half century. He had a knack for asking the crucially important but often inconvenient question. He had the talent and skill to formulate analyses that stood the test of time.

The book that brought him to the public eye, and public controversy, The Clash of Civilizations (1996), painted on the broadest global canvas. It focused on the significance of religious and other cultural values as ways of understanding cohesion and division in the world. It was the intellectual foundation in 2003 for his opposition to the U.S. decision to go to war in Iraq. This book anticipated reasons for challenges and tragedies that unfolded in Iraq during the past five years.

Among political scientists, two other books were particularly influential. His Political Order in Changing Societies (1968) challenged the orthodoxies of the 1960s in the field of development. Huntington showed that the lack of political order and authority were among the most serious debilities the world over. The degree of order, rather than the form of the political regime, mattered most. Moreover, it was false that "all good things go together" because the relationships between political order, democracy, economic growth, and education often created complex challenges and often undercut each other. In the decades the followed, this book remained the most frequently assigned text in research university seminars to introduce graduate students to comparative politics.

Huntington's The Third Wave (1991) looked at similar questions from a different perspective, namely, that the form of the political regime—democracy or dictatorship—did matter. The metaphor in his title referred to the cascade of dictator-toppling democracy-creating episodes that peopled the world from the mid 1970s to the early 1990s, and he gave persuasive reasons for this turn of events well before the fall of the Berlin wall.

Huntington's first book, The Soldier and the State (1957), examined the question of civilian authority over the armed forces, or the lack thereof. Huntington's principal interest was to understand what he called professional "objective civilian control" over the military in the United States but, in so doing, he shed much light on the successful evolution of civilian authority over the military historically in Europe and also in communist countries.

Huntington's books revealed his mind but ordinarily he made readers work harder to figure out how he felt. He was a highly disciplined author, a stylist of English language prose, and a master craftsman of arguments and their texts. Yet, in his last book, Who Are We? (2004), he left no doubt where he stood on the question that then concerned him. He was an American patriot, and he would like to be remembered for this faith as well.

Samuel Huntington graduated from Yale College in 1946 and earned a Ph.D. in political science from Harvard in 1951. He spent the rest of his career teaching at Harvard, except for a period at Columbia University from 1958 to 1962. He served as Chairman of the Harvard Government Department (1967-69; 1970-71) and as director of the (Weatherhead) Center for International Affairs (1978-1989). He founded Harvard's Olin Institute for Strategic Studies and served as its director from 1989-1999. He was the Chairman of the Harvard Academy for International and Area Studies (1996-2004).

Mentor to generations of scholars in widely divergent fields, he was the author or co-author of a total of seventeen books, on American government, democratization, national security and strategic issues, political and economic development, cultural factors in world politics and American national identity. He wrote insightfully about war and peace, development and decay, democracy and dictatorship, cultures and structures, migration and displacement, and many other topics. His graduate students teach at the world's leading research universities and have served in governments and international organizations. Shy in demeanor, Huntington was feisty at seminars and conferences, welcoming debate, and relished the exploration, critique, and defense of complex ideas.

A life-long Democrat, he was foreign policy advisor to Vice President Hubert Humphrey in his 1968 presidential campaign and served in the Carter Administration on the National Security Council staff as Coordinator of Security Planning (1977-78). He also co-founded and edited Foreign Policy magazine. He served as president of the American Political Science Association (1986-1987) and received the Grawemeyer Award for Ideas for Improving World Order.

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for Affairs, Weatherhead Center International. 2008. “Former fellow establishes program at Weatherhead”. Abstract

The Weatherhead Center for International Affairs has established a new Program on Transatlantic Relations, thanks to a donation by Pierre Keller of Geneva. Keller was a fellow in 1979–80 at the then–Center for International Affairs, as part of a program that welcomes senior-level diplomats, politicians, military officers, and private-sector professionals to the University for a year of scholarly activity and reflection.

Keller’s donation consists of an endowment for a visiting professorship to be taken up by a scholar or public servant who has distinguished him or herself through academic research, teaching, or public service in the field of trans-Atlantic relations. Incumbents of the professorship will use their appointments to carry out research with special emphasis on issues relevant to the political future of U.S.-European affairs and to teach a course in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences or the Harvard Kennedy School (HKS). Keller has also committed operational funds for five years to establish and help sustain the program.

Another donation, by the Janssen family of Brussels, will complement Keller’s commitment by supporting both an annual Paul Henri Spaak Lecture by a prominent European and the presence of occasional speakers for the Weatherhead Center’s Seminar on Transatlantic Relations, as well as for speakers from the European Union in joint activities with the Minda de Gunzburg Center for European Studies and HKS.

“At a time when attention shifts more and more to Asia, the Middle East, and Africa, as well toward global issues,” said Beth A. Simmons, Clarence Dillon Professor of International Affairs and director of the Weatherhead Center, “the generous gifts of Pierre Keller and the Janssen family enable us to strengthen research and teaching on trans-Atlantic and European affairs in cooperation with important sister institutions at Harvard.”

The Weatherhead Center has appointed Karl Kaiser, a Ralph I. Straus Fellow at the center and an adjunct professor of public policy at HKS, as the program’s founding director. An advisory committee chaired by Buttenwieser University Professor Stanley Hoffmann is also comprised of the Weatherhead Center’s Steven Bloomfield, Richard Cooper, Karl Kaiser, and Beth Simmons; the Kennedy School’s Ashton Carter and Joseph Nye Jr.; and the Center for European Studies’ Patricia Craig, Peter Hall, and Charles Maier. It thus reflects the highly cooperative scope of this effort.

The first Pierre Keller Visiting Professor is likely to be appointed for spring 2009.

Herrera, Yoshiko Margaret, and Devesh Kapur. 2007. “Improving Data Quality: Actors, Incentives and Capabilities”. Abstract

This paper examines the construction and use of datasets in political science. We focus on three interrelated questions: How might we assess data quality? What factors shape data quality? And how can these factors be addressed to improve data quality? We first outline some problems with existing dataset quality, including issues of validity, coverage and accuracy; and we discuss some ways of identifying problems as well as some consequences of data quality problems. The core of the paper addresses the second question by analyzing the incentives and capabilities facing four key actors in a data supply–chain: respondents; states (including bureaucracies and politicians); international organizations; and finally, academic scholars. We conclude by making some suggestions for improving the use and construction of datasets. We present evidence from a variety of contexts but especially from Africa, China, India and Russia.


We construct a simple model where political elites may block technological and institutional development, because of a 'political replacement effect'. Innovations often erode elites' incumbency advantage, increasing the likelihood that they will be replaced. Fearing replacement, political elites are unwilling to initiate change, and may even block economic development. We show that elites are unlikely to block development when there is a high degree of political competition, or when they are highly entrenched. It is only when political competition is limited and also their power is threatened that elites will block development. Blocking is more likely to arise when elites have a relatively high degree of security with existing technologies and arrangements that will be eroded as a result of economics change, and when political stakes are higher. External threats, on the other hand, may reduce the incentives to block. We argue that this model provides an interpretation for why Britain, Germany and the U.S. industrialized during the nineteenth century, while the landed aristocracy in Russia and Austria–Hungary blocked development.

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This paper reassesses the importance of colonial status to investors before 1914 by means of multivariable regression analysis of the data available to contemporaries. We show that British colonies were able to borrow in London at significantly lower rates of interest than non–colonies precisely because of their colonial status, which mattered more than either the convertibility of their currencies into gold or the sustainability of their fiscal policies. Allowing for differences not only in monetary and fiscal policy but also in economic development and location, the Empire effect was, on average, a discount of around 100 basis points, rising to around 175 basis points for the underdeveloped African and Asian colonies. We conclude that colonial status significantly reduced the default risk perceived by investors.

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Political scientists typically conceive of causation purely in "mean–centric" terms: the statement "X causes Y" is taken to imply that an increase in the value of X changes the mean of the distribution of Y. This article challenges that point of view. Many independent variables of interest to students of politics have an effect by altering the variance, not the mean, of the distribution of the dependent variable. This form of causation is alien to methodology textbooks and greatly underappreciated in empirical work. Thinking about the causes of changing variance opens up a theoretical dimension that has heretofore been neglected; understanding the causes of changing variance can provide a more fine–grained empirical description of the political world. 

Baland, Jean-Marie, and James A. Robinson. 2006. “Land and Power: Theory and Evidence from Chile”. Abstract

In this paper we investigate the effect of the absence of a secret ballot on electoral outcomes and resource allocation. Once voting behavior is observable, votes can be bought and sold in a `market for votes'. We distinguish between direct vote buying, where individuals sell their own votes to political parties, and indirect vote buying, where people also sell the votes of others and we characterized the circumstances in which vote buying changes the electoral outcome. We then provide a microfoundation for indirect vote buying, which usually takes the form of employers selling the votes of their employees. This can occur when the employment relationship involves rents since employers can use the threat of withdrawal of these rents to control the political behavior of their workers. This increases the demand for labor and generates an added incentive to own land, increasing the price of land. We test the predictions of the model by examining in detail the effects of the introduction of the secret ballot in Chile in 1958. We show that this change in political institutions had implications for voting behavior and land prices which are consistent with the predictions of our model.

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Broz, Lawrence J, and Jeffry Frieden. 2006. “The Political Economy of Exchange Rates”. Abstract

The analysis of the political economy of currency policy has focused on two sets of questions. The first is global, and has to do with the character of the international monetary system. The second is national, and has to do with the policy of particular governments towards their exchange rates. These two interact. National policies, especially of large countries, have an impact on the international monetary system. By the same token, the global monetary regime influences national policy choice. For ease of analysis, however, it is useful to separate analyses of the character of the international monetary system from analyses of the policy choices of national governments.

Cooper, Richard N. 2006. “Understanding Global Imbalances”. Abstract

Two contemporary issues provide reason to focus on national saving and investment: the debate over public pensions, and pensions more generally, in all rich countries; and the large global current account imbalances, conceptually the difference between national savings and domestic investment. Are we all saving enough to provide adequate retirement income for rapidly ageing populations—especially Americans, whose household savings seems to have disappeared altogether in 2005? And are the countries with large external deficits—notably the United States—mortgaging the income of future generations inappropriately, not to mention courting financial calamity in the meantime?

This paper will not answer either question definitively, but I hope to shed some light on them, especially the second. The focus of attention will be the United States, but in an increasingly globalized economy it is increasingly anachronistic to focus on domestic factors alone, and it is simply inappropriate when the issue is the country's external deficit—equal attention must be devoted to the counterpart surpluses elsewhere in the world.


Risse, Mathias. 2005. “Fairness in Trade”. Abstract

In earlier times the concern about free trade was whether it would maximize what a country can make of its resources, knowledge and the resulting trading possibilities. Nowadays among the primary worries are whether free trade is compatible with social and moral agendas, and whether it harms the environment. One major concern is whether free trade is fair, a topic not much explored by philosophers. This study explores that subject. We will not try to assess whether there is a 'fair price.' Rather, we will be concerned with assessing what, if any, moral considerations apply to the trade policies of countries with different bodies of law whose citizens nevertheless trade with each other.

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Robinson, James A. 2005. “From Education to Democracy?”. Abstract

Existing literature looks at the cross–sectional correlation between education and democracy rather than at the within variation. Hence existing inferences may be potentially driven by omitted factors influencing both education and democracy in the long run. A causal link between education and democracy suggest that we should also see a relationship between change sin education and democracy suggests that we should also see a relationship between change sin education and changes in democracy. In other words, we should ask whether a given country (with its other characteristics held constant) is more likely to become more democratic as its population becomes more educated. We show that the answer to this question is no. Figure 1 illustrates this by plotting the change in the Freedom House democracy score between 1970 and 1995 versus the change in average years of schooling during the same time period? Countries that become more educated show no greater tendency to become more democratic.

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More than 20% of the world population lives in abject poverty, on less than $1 day, and about 50% on less than $2. One quarter is illiterate. The 2.5 billion people in low–income countries have an infant mortality rate of over 100 for every 1000 live births, compared to six in high–income countries. According to widely circulating statistics, the gap between rich and poor has increased dramatically: in 1820, the gap in average per capita incomes was 3:1, in 1960 60:1, and in 1997 74:1. The contrast between lavishly rich Americans whose urgent questions of the day are about where to go for dinner and when to meet one?s personal trainer, and cotton farmers in Mali with barely enough to survive could hardly be starker, and becomes depressing if we recall that US cotton subsidies exacerbate their plight. Such facts are especially alarming since our world is politically and economically interconnected, a continuous global society based on local territorial sovereignty whosefate is shaped not merely by states, but also by transnational and transgovernmental networks, structures aptly called the global political and economic order. Since there is such an order, the radically unequal distribution of advantage may not be an aggregative phenomenon arising from many disconnected causes. Instead, we must ask whether there is a sense in which that order itself actually harms the least–advantaged, the global poor, in a way that implies an injustice. This essay aims to contribute to that task.

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Abdelal, Rawi E., Yoshiko Margaret Herrera, Alastair Iain Johnston, and Rose McDermott. 2005. “Identity as a Variable”. Abstract

As scholarly interest in the concept of identity continues to grow, social identities are proving to be crucially important for understanding contemporary life. Despite—or perhaps because of—the sprawl of different treatments of identity in the social sciences, the concept has remained too analytically loose to be as useful a tool as the literature?s early promise had suggested. Our paper proposes to solve this longstanding problem by developing the analytical rigor and methodological imagination that will make identity a reliable variable for the social sciences. Such work is important and, indeed, long overdue.

Social identity scholarship suffers from two sets of problems: conceptual issues and coordination gaps. The conceptual problems include the question of how to compare and differentiate types of identities, as well as the question of how to exploit theoretical advances in operationalizing identity as a variable. The other weakness in identity scholarship concerns what we term “coordination” problems. These include a lack of consistency and clarity in defining and measuring identities, a lack of cross–disciplinary and cross–sub–field coordination of identity research, and missed opportunities to take advantage of expanded methodological options. The analytic framework developed in this paper addresses these problems and offers a way forward.

Our paper offers more rigor and precision by defining collective identity as a social category that varies along two dimensions—content and contestation. Content describes the meaning of a collective identity. The content of social identities may take the form of four, non–mutuallyexclusive types: constitutive norms; social purposes; relational comparisons with other social categories; and cognitive models. Contestation refers to the degree of agreement within a group over the content of the shared category. Our conceptualization thus enables collective identities to be compared according to the agreement and disagreement about their meanings by the members of the group.

The final section of the paper looks at the methodology of identity scholarship. Addressing the wide array of methodological options on identity—including discourse analysis, surveys, and content analysis, as well as promising newer methods like experiments, agent–based modeling, and cognitive mapping—we hope to provide the kind of brush–clearing that will enable the field to move forward methodologically as well.

Our paper thus offers two ways forward for social scientific work on identity—by developing a more rigorous, more precisely defined analytic framework, and by providing a methodological roadmap for further integrated progress in identity scholarship.

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