Research Library


We investigate how the number and size of local political jurisdictions in an area is determined. Our model focuses on the tradeoff between the benefits of economies of scale and the costs of a heterogeneous population. We consider heterogeneity in income, race, ethnicity, and religion, and we test the model using American school districts, school attendance areas, municipalities, and special districts. Using both cross–sectional and panel analysis, we find evidence of a significant tradeoff between economies of scale and racial heterogeneity. We find weaker tradeoffs between economies of scale and income or ethnic heterogeneity. That is, it appears that people are willing to sacrifice the most, in terms of economies of scale, in order to avoid racial heterogeneity in their jurisdiction.

Domínguez, Jorge I. 2000. “The @#$%& Missile Crisis (Or, What was 'Cuban' about U.S. Decisions during the Cuban Missile Crisis).” The Journal of the Society for Historians of Foreign Relations / Blackwell Publishing. The Journal of the Society for Historians of Foreign Relations / Blackwell Publishing. Publisher's Version Abstract

The documents concerning the Cuban missile crisis, declassified by the Office of the Historian of the U.S. Department of State, reveal quite effectively a key theme in the conduct of U.S. foreign policy in 1962–63: Cuba's bizarre role within the context of U.S. government decision making. This role had somewhat contradictory dimensions.

Cuba seemed to be both an afterthought and an obsession for U.S. decision makers. Its exclusion from the diplomatic negotiations over the missile crisis was an instance of negligence, though it came about in part from a deliberate decision. Such Cuban exclusion reduced the likelihood that the United States could accomplish all of its goals in the missile crisis settlement. Moreover, information included in these documents only to some degree (or not at all) calls attention to Cuba's much greater substantive importance before and during the missile crisis than U.S. officials thought at the time. This documentary record, therefore, reminds us that the outcome of the missile crisis was so positive for the United States, to a significant degree, thanks to Soviet statesmanship in managing and controlling its unhappy Cuban ally.

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The paper examines the role of civil society in democratization processes, drawing on East European, mostly Polish, experiences. It begins with a brief overview of the major types of definitions of civil society. Its bulk is devoted to a detailed analysis of the origins and functions of various sectors of civil society during the three phases of democratization: (a) state"socialism's disintegration; (b) transfer of power; and (c)consolidation of democracy. For each phase and each sector of civil society the impact of international linkages and foreign (external) resources is assessed. The essay closes with a set of generalizations on the relationships between various types of civil society on the one hand and the forms of the domestic"international interaction, on the other.

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Ekiert, Grzegorz. "Civil Society From Abroad: the Role of Foreign Assistance in the Democratization of Poland." Working Paper 00–01, Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, Harvard University, February 2000.

Grossman, Gene M. 2000. “Educating Voters.” PIEP Conference. Abstract

This landmark theoretical book is about the mechanisms by which special interest groups affect policy in modern democracies. Defining a special interest group as any organization that takes action on behalf of an identifiable group of voters, Gene Grossman and Elhanan Helpman ask: How do special interest groups derive their power and influence? What determines the extent to which they are able to affect policy outcomes? What happens when groups with differing objectives compete for influence?The authors develop important theoretical tools for studying the interactions among voters, interest groups, and politicians. They assume that individuals, groups, and parties act in their own self-interest and that political outcomes can be identified with the game-theoretic concept of an equilibrium. Throughout, they progress from the simple to the more complex. When analyzing campaign giving, for example, they begin with a model of a single interest group and a single, incumbent policy maker. They proceed to add additional interest groups, a legislature with several independent politicians, and electoral competition between rival political parties. The book is organized in three parts. Part I focuses on voting and elections. Part II examines the use of information as a tool for political influence. Part III deals with campaign contributions, which interest groups may use either to influence policy makers’ positions and actions or to help preferred candidates to win election.

Reich, Michael R. 2000. “The Global Drug Gap.” Science 287: 1979-81. Abstract

Global inequities in access to pharmaceutical products exist between rich and poor countries because of market and government failures as well as huge income differences. Multiple policies are required to address this global drug gap for three categories of pharmaceutical products: essential drugs, new drugs, and yet–to–be–developed drugs. Policies should combine "push" approaches of financial subsidies to support targeted drug development, "pull" approaches of finnancial incentives such as market guarantees, and "process" approaches aimed at improved institutional capacity. Constructive solutions are needed that can both protect the incentives for research and development and reduce the inequities of access.

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Human security is a concept that dates back to the Enlightenment. Various strains of meaning, spanning a focus on individual rights and a preoccupation with territorial integrity of states, have accompanied its use in many settings. In the last 25 years, the term has increasingly been applied to political, social, and economic inputs required to create security for individuals and communities. Most recently there has been growing interest in assessing the usefulness of this concept in the design of policies to provide relief and stabilization in areas emerging from war and conflict.

In that transitional context this paper argues for a new definition of human security based on identifying those factors that protect and promote human well being through time. This argument builds on the capabilities analysis of Sen and Dreze, incorporates the vulnerability model described by Webb, and employs the psychosocial needs framework of Amoo. Noting that the provision of basic material supports is essential but not sufficient, the definition of human security advanced here insists on the additional importance, for individuals and communities, of fulfilling three basic psychosocial dimensions: a sense of home and safety; constructive family and social supports; and acceptance of the past and a positive grasp of the future. These three psychosocial dimensions (referred to in shorthand as home, community, and time) are evaluated in a number of settings, primarily in Africa. Suggestions are provided, based upon this concept, for humanitarian efforts in refugee and immediate post–conflict settings.

The paper further argues that ways of measuring human security along these three dimensions are more easily approached through the use of negative indices, or threats to human security. The negative indices proposed here are social dislocation (for home), dynamic inequality (for community relationships), and high discount rate (for positive sense of the future). It is noted that further methodological effort is needed to refine the metrics to be used in these indices. Whether this concept and its proposed indices could prove useful in identifying trends in human security (or threats to human security) in the immediate post (or pre) conflict setting will require further empirical work, through retrospective case studies and prospective observation and analysis.

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Cox, Gary W, and Mathew D McCubbins. 2000. “The Institutional Determinants of Economic Policy Outcomes”. Abstract

Why do some democracies choose economic policies that promote economic growth, while others seem incapable of prospering? Why are some polities able toprovide the public goods that are necessary for economic growth, while others turn the machinery of government toward providing private goods? Why are some countries able to make long term credible policy commitments, while others cannot?

In what follows, we present a theory that argues that the diversity of economic policies is rooted in the diversity of democratic institutions in each country. Each polity, according to the divisions and necessities of its society chooses a set of democratic institutions to resolve its basic political problems. These institutions define a sequence of principal–agent relationships (Madison, Dahl 1967), commonly numbering at least three. First, the sovereign people delegate decision–making power (usually via a written constitution) to a national legislature and executive. The primary tools that the people retain in order to ensure appropriate behavior on the part of their representatives are two: the power to replace them at election time; and the power to set the constitutional rules of the political game.

A second delegation of power occurs when the details of the internal organization of the legislature and executive are settled. This process entails the creation of ministerial positions, of committees, and of agenda control mechanisms. Here too constitutional regulations of the relationship between the legislature and the executive (is the legislature dissoluble? can cabinet ministers sit in the legislature?) come into play.

Third, the legislature and the executive delegate to various bureaus and agencies to execute the laws. In this delegation, administrative procedures and law set the terms of the delegation.


The explosion of international financial activity over the last decade has been a central fact of international economic life. Balance of payments statistics indicate that cross–border transactions in bonds and equities for the G–7 states rose from less than 10 percent of gross domestic product in 1980 to over 140 percent in 1995. International bond markets have reached staggering proportions: by the end of 1995, some US$ 2.803 trillion of international debt securities were outstanding worldwide. Capital flows to developing countries and countries in transition grew from US$ 7 billion in 1990 to over US$ 211 billion in 1995. Foreign lending in the form of international syndicated credit facilities has surged since the 1980s, to over US$ 320 billion at the end of 1995. Foreign exchange transactions – which represent the world's largest market – reached an estimated average daily turnover of nearly US$ 1.2 trillion in 1995 compared to US$ 590 billion daily turnover in 1989...
Money laundering cannot be handled effectively on a unilateral or bilateral basis. Significantly different rules across jurisdictions invite "forum shopping," the shifting of business to countries with weaker controls. When the United States passed the Bank Secrecy Act of 1970, tightening reporting requirements for cash transactions over US$ 10,000, illicit money moved to Europe... To yield significant benefits, near–global cooperation is a virtual necessity...

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Simmons, Beth A. 2000. “International Law and State Behavior: Commitment and Compliance in International Monetary Affairs.” American Political Science Review. American Political Science Review. Publisher's Version Abstract

Why do sovereign governments make international legal commitments, and what effect does international law have on state behavior? Very little empirical research tries to answer these questions in a systematic way. This article examines patterns of commitment to and compliance with international monetary law. I consider the signal governments try to send by committing themselves through international legal commitments, and I argue that reputational concerns explain patterns of compliance.

One of the most important findings is that governments commit to and comply with legal obligations if other countries in their region do so. Competitive market forces, rather than overt policy pressure from the International Monetary Fund, are the most likely "enforcement" mechanism. Legal commitment has an extremely positive effect on governments that have recently removed restrictive policies, which indicates a desire to reestablish a reputation for compliance.

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Sovereign control over money is one of the most closely guarded national prerogatives. Creating, valuating, and controlling the distribution of national legal tender is viewed as an inherent right of a nation–state in the modern period.Yet over the course of the twentieth century, international rules of good monetary conduct have become "legalized" in the sense developed in this volume. This historic shift took place after World War II in an effort to bolster the confidence that had been shattered by the interwar monetary experience. If the interwar years taught monetary policymakers anything, it was that economic prosperity required credible exchange–rate commitments, open markets, and nondiscriminatory economic arrangements. International legalization of monetary affairs was a way to inspire private actors to once again trade and invest across national borders.

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More than fifty–five years ago,in February 1948, the British historian Lewis Namier (1888 –1960) delivered a lecture commemorating the centennial of the European revolution of 1848. His lecture has been published many times since then as "1848: Seed–plot of History," in, among other places,a volume titled Vanished Supremacies.

Namier's choice of 1848 as a point of departure was well founded. There is a tired cliché that 1848 was a turning point in history when history failed to turn, but that is wrong. The year 1848 saw the first European revolutions: France was at the center, and there were also revolutions in Palermo, Naples, Vienna, Berlin, Buda, and Poznañ, to name a few. It was also the year of nationalist revolutions in Central Europe and the year of publication of The Communist Manifesto, which predicted that an international proletarian revolution would abolish capitalism, the state, nations, and nationalism.

In 1848,as Kathleen Burk writes in her study of A.J.P.Taylor, the Austrian, or Habsburg, Empire "was a German as well as a Balkan Power,the keystone of the Concert of Europe;there was the German nation, but no Germany; there were Italian states, some of which belonged to the Austrian Empire, and two Italian kingdoms, but no Italy; France was still perceived by all the others as the most powerful,or at least the most threatening, of the continental Powers; and Russia was predominantly a European,not an Asiatic, Power ...."

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This article seeks to contribute to our understanding of international law compliance by focusing on a particular area – the public international law of money. This is a critical terrain for examining compliance with international commitments, for money has traditionally been one of the key aspects of national sovereignty. The creation, valuation, and convertibility of a state's national currency has long been considered a national legal prerogative, as well as a potent symbol of national autonomy. Yet, after World War II, governments established for the first time in history a public international law of money, which required adherents to maintain par values for their currencies, maintain a unified exchange rate regime, keep their current accounts free from restrictions, and consult on a regular basis regarding these matters. The development of these rules allows us to ask and attempt to answer questions that go to the very purposes of international law itself: Why do sovereign governments commit themselves to international rules that will bind their future behavior? Once committed, what conditions are associated with compliance? Do governments that make specific behavioral commitments behave any differently than similarly situated countries who do not commit?
The argument developed here suggests that an international legal commitment is a signaling device that governments use to convince private market actors as well as other governments of a serious intent to eschew the proscribed behavior...

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Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) in Europe will have important effects on international monetary affairs. This is true on both economic and policy–making dimensions. As for the first, the euro is a major new currency whose use in international transactions will affect global monetary and financial relations in and of itself. The euro might rival the dollar as the principal international currency, which would fundamentally alter the character of other countries' exchange rate policies. Or the euro might prove a feeble currency, of little import to countries not directly tied to it. In this sense, the euro's international economic role is of interest and importance.

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Although international institutions are a ubiquitous feature of international life, little is know about their trajectories of change. This paper attempts to address this lacuna by examining processes of change in international institutions, in particular the subset of international institutions known as inter–governmental organizations. The purpose of this paper is not to develop a general theory of change in international institutions but rather to develop limited generalizations about causal mechanisms and their consequences. It first examines the rationale and purposes of international organizations – before we can ask how and why particular types of organizations change, we need to understand why they exist in the first place. It then examines the trajectories of change in international organizations by posing three, interrelated, questions. One, what factors drive (or hinder) change in international institutions and organizations and what are the principal instruments and mechanisms that leverage change? Two, what factors explain variations in the pace and direction of change? And three, what are the consequences of change both for the institutions themselves and for their members? Finally the paper outlines a research agenda to develop a broad theoretical framework for understanding causal mechanisms of change in international organizations.


Global health problems require global solutions, and public–private partnerships are increasingly called on to provide these solutions. But although such partnerships may be able to produce the desired outcome, they also bring their own problems. A first–of–its kind workshop in April, hosted by the Harvard School of Public Health and the Global Health Council, examined the organizational and ethical challenges of partnerships, and ways to address them.

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Austen-Smith, David. 2000. “Redistributing Income under Proportional Representation.” Journal of Political Economy 108 (6): 1235-1269. Abstract

Although majoritarian decision rules are the norm in legislatures, relatively few democracies use simple majority rule at the electoral stage, adopting instead some form of multiparty proportional representation. Moreover, aggregate data suggest that average income tax rates are higher, and distributions of posttax income flatter, in countries with proportional representation than in those with majority rule. While there are other differences between these countries, this paper explores how variations in the political system per se influence equilibrium redistributive tax rates and income distributions. A three–party proportional representation model is developed in which taxes are determined through legislative bargaining among successful electoral parties, and the economic decision for individuals is occupational choice. Political–economic equilibria for this model and for a two–party,winner–take–all, majoritarian system are derived and compared.

Kelman, Herbert C. 2000. “The Role of the Scholar-Practitioner in International Conflict Resolution.” International Studies Perspectives. International Studies Perspectives. Publisher's Version Abstract

Can unofficial, academically based, third–party approaches contribute to the prevention and resolution of international and intercommunal conflicts? The article focuses on one such approach, interactive problem solving, which the author has applied primarily in the Israeli–Palestinian conflict. After describing the central took of the approach, the problem–solving workshop, the article goes on to address the role of interactive problem solving and related approaches to the larger process of conflict resolution. In this context, it discusses the relationship of the microprocess of problem–solving workshops to macroprocess on international conflict resolution; the relationship between official and unofficial diplomacy; the relationship between practice and scholarship in conflict resolution; the role of the university in the process; and the possibilities for institutionalizing this model of conflict resolution.

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