Research Library

Governing Guns, Preventing Plunder: International Cooperation against Illicit Trade

From human trafficking to the smuggling of small arms to the looting of antiquities, illicit trade poses significant threats to international order. So why is it so difficult to establish international cooperation against illicit trade? Governing Guns, Preventing Plunder offers a novel, thought-provoking answer to this crucial question.

Conventional wisdom holds that criminal groups are the biggest obstacle to efforts to suppress illicit trade. Contrarily, Asif Efrat explains how legitimate actors, such as museums that acquire looted antiquities, seek to hinder these regulatory efforts. Yet such attempts to evade regulation fuel international political conflicts between governments demanding action against illicit trade and others that are reluctant to cooperate. The book offers a framework for understanding the domestic origins of these conflicts and how the distribution of power shapes their outcome. Through this framework, Efrat explains why the interests of governments vary across countries, trades, and time. In a fascinating empirical analysis, he solves a variety of puzzles: Why is the international regulation of small arms much weaker than international drug control? What led the United States and Britain to oppose the efforts against the plunder of antiquities, and why did they ultimately join these efforts? How did American pressure motivate Israel to tackle sex trafficking? Efrat's findings will change the way we think about illicit trade, offering valuable insights to scholars, activists, and policymakers.

Intimate Enemies: Violence and Reconciliation in Peru
Theidon, Kimberly S. 2012. Intimate Enemies: Violence and Reconciliation in Peru. University of Pennsylvania Press. Publisher's Version Abstract

In the aftermath of a civil war, former enemies are left living side by side—and often the enemy is a son-in-law, a godfather, an old schoolmate, or the community that lies just across the valley. Though the internal conflict in Peru at the end of the twentieth century was incited and organized by insurgent Senderistas, the violence and destruction were carried out not only by Peruvian armed forces but also by civilians. In the wake of war, any given Peruvian community may consist of ex-Senderistas, current sympathizers, widows, orphans, army veterans—a volatile social landscape. These survivors, though fully aware of the potential danger posed by their neighbors, must nonetheless endeavor to live and labor alongside their intimate enemies.

Drawing on years of research with communities in the highlands of Ayacucho, Kimberly Theidon explores how Peruvians are rebuilding both individual lives and collective existence following twenty years of armed conflict. Intimate Enemies recounts the stories and dialogues of Peruvian peasants and Theidon's own experiences to encompass the broad and varied range of conciliatory practices: customary law before and after the war, the practice of arrepentimiento (publicly confessing one's actions and requesting pardon from one's peers), a differentiation between forgiveness and reconciliation, and the importance of storytelling to make sense of the past and re-create moral order. The micropolitics of reconciliation in these communities present an example of postwar coexistence that deeply complicates the way we understand transitional justice, moral sensibilities, and social life in the aftermath of war. Any effort to understand post-conflict reconstruction must be attuned both to devastation as well as to human tenacity for life.

Owen, Roger E. 2012. “Power, Personified.” Harvard Gazette. Publisher's Version
Power, Politics and Performance: A Partnership Approach for the Development
The perception of politics as an obstacle to the advancement of the Caribbean must be removed. In Power, Politics and Performance, Winston Dookeran argues that for meaningful change, politics must be visionary and pursued with principled purpose. He argues for partnership through regionalism and explores the issues facing small developing states and their sovereignty. Dookeran identifies the imperatives of financial stability and the structures required for building a knowledge-based economy. Power, Politics and Performance focuses on key issues of leadership and the political processes suggesting that ultimately, leadership is about finding solutions, and such solutions require radical transformation of political parties and political institutions. The book examines and analyses specific problems and distortions in small states and the challenge of building effective leadership while providing a blueprint for the way forward. Power, Politics and Performance is a welcomed addition to the Caribbean Integration arena and sets the stage for a paradigm shift in the governance of small states.
Tingley, Dustin, Rose McDermott, and Dominic Johnson. 2012. “Dead Certain: Confidence and Conservatism Predict Aggression in Simulated International Crisis Decision-Making.” Human Nature. Human Nature. Publisher's Version Abstract
Evolutionary psychologists have suggested that confidence and conservatism promoted aggression in our ancestral past, and that this may have been an adaptive strategy given the prevailing costs and benefits of conflict. However, in modern environments, where the costs and benefits of conflict can be very different owing to the involvement of mass armies, sophisticated technology, and remote leadership, evolved tendencies toward high levels of confidence and conservatism may continue to be a contributory cause of aggression despite leading to greater costs and fewer benefits. The purpose of this paper is to test whether confidence and conservatism are indeed associated with greater levels of aggression—in an explicitly political domain. We present the results of an experiment examining people’s levels of aggression in response to hypothetical international crises (a hostage crisis, a counter-insurgency campaign, and a coup). Levels of aggression (which range from concession to negotiation to military attack) were significantly predicted by subjects’ (1) confidence that their chosen policy would succeed, (2) score on a liberal-conservative scale, (3) political party affiliation, and (4) preference for the use of military force in real-world US policy toward Iraq and Iran. We discuss the possible adaptive and maladaptive implications of confidence.
Bouras, Stelios, and Harris Mylonas. 2012. “As Athens's Woes Grow, Neo-Nazis Gain Clout”. Publisher's Version
Ziblatt, Daniel. 2012. “Political Science, in His Marrow.” Harvard Gazette. Publisher's Version
DelRosario, John S, and Donna Hicks. 2012. “Granting People Their Dignity”. Publisher's Version
What Money Can't Buy: The Moral Limits of Markets
Sandel, Michael. 2012. What Money Can't Buy: The Moral Limits of Markets. Farrar, Straus and Giroux. Publisher's Version Abstract
Should we pay children to read books or to get good grades? Should we allow corporations to pay for the right to pollute the atmosphere? Is it ethical to pay people to test risky new drugs or to donate their organs? What about hiring mercenaries to fight our wars? Auctioning admission to elite universities? Selling citizenship to immigrants willing to pay?

In What Money Can’t Buy, Michael J. Sandel takes on one of the biggest ethical questions of our time: Is there something wrong with a world in which everything is for sale? If so, how can we prevent market values from reaching into spheres of life where they don’t belong? What are the moral limits of markets?

In recent decades, market values have crowded out nonmarket norms in almost every aspect of life—medicine, education, government, law, art, sports, even family life and personal relations. Without quite realizing it, Sandel argues, we have drifted from having a market economy to being a market society. Is this where we want to be?

In his New York Times bestseller Justice, Sandel showed himself to be a master at illuminating, with clarity and verve, the hard moral questions we confront in our everyday lives. Now, in What Money Can’t Buy, he provokes an essential discussion that we, in our market-driven age, need to have: What is the proper role of markets in a democratic society—and how can we protect the moral and civic goods that markets don’t honor and that money can’t buy?

Friedman, Thomas L, James A Robinson, and Daron Acemoglu. 2012. “Why Nations Fail”. Publisher's Version
Owen, Roger E. 2012. “Five Myths About Syria”. Publisher's Version
Siegel, Jordan I, and Prithwiraj Choudhury. 2012. “A Reexamination of Tunneling and Business Groups: New Data and New Methods.” The Review of Financial Studies. The Review of Financial Studies. Publisher's Version Abstract
One of the most rigorous methodologies in the corporate governance literature uses firms' reactions to industry shocks to characterize the quality of governance. This methodology can produce the wrong answer unless one considers the ways firms compete. Because macro-level shocks reverberate differently at the firm level depending on whether a firm has a cost structure that requires significant adjustment, the quality of governance can only be elucidated accurately analyzing a firm's business strategy and their corporate governance. These differences can help one determine whether the fruits of a positive macro-level shock have been expropriated by insiders. Using the example of Indian firms, we show that an influential finding is reversed when these differences are considered. We further argue that the conventional wisdom about tunneling and business groups will need to be reformulated in light of the data, methodology, and findings presented here.
The Rise and Fall of Arab Presidents for Life
Owen, Roger E. 2012. The Rise and Fall of Arab Presidents for Life. Harvard University Press. Publisher's Version Abstract

The monarchical presidential regimes that prevailed in the Arab world for so long looked as though they would last indefinitely—until events in Tunisia and Egypt made clear their time was up. The Rise and Fall of Arab Presidents for Life exposes for the first time the origins and dynamics of a governmental system that largely defined the Arab Middle East in the twentieth century.

Presidents who rule for life have been a feature of the Arab world since independence. In the 1980s their regimes increasingly resembled monarchies as presidents took up residence in palaces and made every effort to ensure their sons would succeed them. Roger Owen explores the main features of the prototypical Arab monarchical regime: its household; its inner circle of corrupt cronies; and its attempts to create a popular legitimacy based on economic success, a manipulated constitution, managed elections, and information suppression.

Why has the Arab world suffered such a concentration of permanent presidential government? Though post-Soviet Central Asia has also known monarchical presidencies, Owen argues that a significant reason is the “Arab demonstration effect,” whereby close ties across the Arab world have enabled ruling families to share management strategies and assistance. But this effect also explains why these presidencies all came under the same pressure to reform or go. Owen discusses the huge popular opposition the presidential systems engendered during the Arab Spring, and the political change that ensued, while also delineating the challenges the Arab revolutions face across the Middle East and North Africa.