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  • Author: Amos Yadlin
  • Publication Date: 03-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Institute for National Security Studies (INSS)
  • Abstract: The decision to attack a nuclear reactor in enemy territory is one of the most difficult decisions that an Israeli leader may face. Prime Minister Menahem Begin drafted the unofficial doctrine that is named for him, “the Begin Doctrine,” seeking to prevent countries hostile to Israel calling for its destruction from developing a nuclear military capability.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Author: Kobi Michael, Gabi Siboni
  • Publication Date: 03-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Institute for National Security Studies (INSS)
  • Abstract: The Hamas leadership in the Gaza Strip is heavily engaged in preparations for a the “Great March of Return,” scheduled for May 14, 2018, when thousands of Gaza’s Palestinians will march toward the security fence and position themselves in tent cities along the Israeli border. The event is intended to highlight the Palestinian refugee issue and connect it to the plight of those living the Gaza Strip
  • Topic: International Relations, International Security
  • Political Geography: Gaza
  • Author: Shmuel Even
  • Publication Date: 03-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Institute for National Security Studies (INSS)
  • Abstract: According to the state budget for 2019, approved by the Knesset on March 15, 2018, the Defense Ministry budget will stand at NIS 72.9 billion gross and NIS 55.3 billion net (11.5 percent of the state budget). The Defense Ministry’s budget for 2019 represents the fourth year in the IDF’s five-year plan (the Gideon Plan for 2016-2020), during which it must start to formulate a new five-year plan
  • Topic: International Security, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Author: Yoel Guzansky, Kobi Michael
  • Publication Date: 03-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Institute for National Security Studies (INSS)
  • Abstract: Qatar’s support for Hamas and its investment in the Gaza Strip, though based more on pragmatism than on ideological identification, suit its foreign policy, which supports political Islam and aims to increase Doha’s influence in the Middle East.
  • Topic: International Relations
  • Political Geography: Israel
  • Author: Oden Eran, Elai Rettig
  • Publication Date: 03-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Institute for National Security Studies (INSS)
  • Abstract: Presumably the government of Israel played an important role in securing the $15 billion natural gas deal signed recently between the owners of Israel’s Tamar and Leviathan fields and the Egyptian Dolphinus Holding. For his part, Egypt’s President el-Sisi stated that with this deal Egypt has gained a foothold in the Eastern Mediterranean, positioned itself as a regional energy center
  • Topic: International Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Author: Meir Litvak, Emily Landau, Ephraim Kam
  • Publication Date: 03-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Institute for National Security Studies (INSS)
  • Abstract: This collection contains essays analyzing the state of Iran’s nuclear program and the deterrent relationship between the United States and Iran since the nuclear agreement was presented; Iran’s relations with specific Middle East states; and dominant political and social issues within Iran, and their influence on Iran’s foreign policy.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Iran
  • Author: Gallia Lindenstrauss
  • Publication Date: 03-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Institute for National Security Studies (INSS)
  • Abstract: Over the past decade, despite periodic hostile statements on the one hand and high level visits on the other, Turkey-Iran relations have experienced few surprising developments. As Hakki Uygur has argued, “The Turkish-Iranian relationship can be considered one of the most consistent and predictable sets of relations in the Middle East region.” During this time, Turkish-Iranian relations have fluctuated within a defined range whereby despite the intense competition, they never reach the point of deep crisis. However, even in the case of shared interests, the two states have not proved capable of achieving close strategic cooperation.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Iran, Turkey
  • Author: Raz Zimmt
  • Publication Date: 03-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Institute for National Security Studies (INSS)
  • Abstract: Some two months after the outbreak of the most significant wave of protest in Iran since the 2009 riots, the Iranian authorities are endeavoring to bring the situation back to normal, though various pockets of protest are still discernible. While the wave of protest began to wane already a week after it broke out, demonstrations on a limited scale are ongoing in various parts of the country, mainly concerning wage withholding and the collapse of pension and saving funds. There are also some local instances of defiance against the regime, including anti-establishment graffiti in the public domain, strikes, torched banks, and defaced posters with the Supreme Leader’s picture.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Iran
  • Author: Yotam Rosner, David Siman-Tov
  • Publication Date: 03-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Institute for National Security Studies (INSS)
  • Abstract: The indictment filed by the United States Justice Department on February 16, 2018 against 13 Russian citizens and three Russian companies regarding attempts to promote the candidacy of Donald Trump for the US presidency, amounting to intervention in the country’s political system, is a phenomenon enabling interference in the “consciousness” of another country
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Russia
  • Author: Shimon Stein
  • Publication Date: 03-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Institute for National Security Studies (INSS)
  • Abstract: Recent events and statements by German figures indicate a change in Germany’s attitude to Israel. What for decades was a unique bilateral relationship – grounded in the memory of the Holocaust and the commitment that Germany consequently made to Israel’s existence and security – has been increasingly shaped by considerations of realpolitik that formerly played a secondary role.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Israel, Germany
  • Author: Sarah Hellmüller , Marie-Joelle Zahar
  • Publication Date: 03-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: International Peace Institute
  • Abstract: On March 15, 2018, the Syrian armed conflict entered into its eighth year. Since 2011, attempts to facilitate a political solution to the Syrian conflict have either failed or stalled. Amidst this deadlock, one track that has not stalled is the civil society track. Against the odds, progress can be observed at this level as Syrian civil society has become better organized and more tightly interconnected, and as its voice in the process has grown stronger.
  • Topic: International Relations
  • Political Geography: Syria
  • Author: Youssef Mahmoud, David Connolly, Delphine Mechoulan
  • Publication Date: 02-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: International Peace Institute
  • Abstract: Prevention is generally viewed as a crisis management tool to address the destructive dynamics of conflict. The sustaining peace agenda challenges this traditional understanding of preventive action by shifting the starting point of analysis to what is still working in society—the positive aspects of resilience—and building on these.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Maria J. Stephan, Leanne Erdberg
  • Publication Date: 02-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: As governments and communities seek the right combination of methods to halt terrorism, one that we too often miss is nonviolent resistance. It’s not that we haven’t seen the power of protest movements that use mass marches, sit-ins, boycotts and other forceful but nonviolent tactics. To the contrary, people worldwide have been moved by watching such movements sweep aside the walls of apartheid, the tanks of dictators or the impunity of kleptocracies. But governments and civil society alike have failed to connect the dots—to promote nonviolent action that can help communities address grievances while absorbing the youth alienation upon which terrorist movements feed.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Publication Date: 02-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Afghanistan’s government is focused on building consensus—both domestically and among states in the region—to support a peace process with the Taliban insurgency, according to the Afghan national security advisor, Hanif Atmar. The main challenges, he said, include continued support from Pakistan for the Taliban and an incremental recent Russian move toward immediate cooperation with the Taliban even without a peace process. Also, Atmar said, a web of disparate extremist groups is deploying increasing numbers of foreign fighters in his country.
  • Topic: International Development
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Publication Date: 03-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: In an American political culture coarsened by belligerence, dozens within Congress still are shaping bipartisan foreign policies to maintain a strong U.S. defense of human rights worldwide. The ability of Congress to sustain bipartisanship on human rights issues is vital to long-term international stability and U.S. national security, according to the Republican and Democratic co-chairs of Congress’ prominent human rights group—the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission.
  • Topic: Human Rights
  • Political Geography: America
  • Author: Maria J. Stephan
  • Publication Date: 03-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: The United Nations has declared a priority this year to unify and strengthen its work in building peace—and U.N. bodies will meet in the next two months to advance that change. U.N. leaders have acknowledged that a vital element in peacebuilding is nonviolent, grassroots movements that can prevent violent conflict by providing ways for people to constructively address grievances, seek rights and advance justice. But as the United Nations aims to more efficiently promote peace, how prepared is it to actually work with the nonviolent grassroots movements that have proven to be peacebuilding’s most effective tool? The answer to that is unclear, but the U.N. system could take a few steps during and after its high-level meetings this spring to strengthen this neglected part of its peacebuilding strategy.
  • Topic: United Nations
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Fred Strasser
  • Publication Date: 02-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: As the U.S. seeks to advance its interests in South Asia 17 years into the Afghanistan war, a basic policy question unavoidably presents itself: How much leverage does America really have in the region?
  • Topic: International Relations
  • Political Geography: America, South Asia
  • Publication Date: 02-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Over the past decade, transnational and deadly violent extremist movements—such as ISIS, Boko Haram, the Taliban, and al-Shabab—have risen out of instability and conflicts and repeatedly inflamed and perpetuated hostilities. These movements recruit followers and destabilize regions by harnessing agendas and exploiting grievances such as social marginalization, political exclusion, state repression, and lack of access to justice and resources.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Julie Sapp, Paige Rudin, Abby Lemert, Michele Gardner
  • Publication Date: 03-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Institute for National Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: The United Nations Department of Peace Keeping Operations (UNPKO) leads and supports the efforts of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) to maintain peace and provide humanitarian aid. With over 50 camps located in the country of Lebanon, the UNPKO is striving for energy efficiency to ensure day-to-day operations are using resources effectively. In 2017, the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) conducted a study1 rooted in the UNPKO mission to maintain energy efficient camps by analyzing data from metering systems to develop technology insertion recommendations.
  • Topic: Basic Data
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Karol Wasilewski
  • Publication Date: 06-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: In May, the Turkish lira reached a record low to the U.S. dollar. Turkey’s growing economic problems stem from Turkish politicians’ preference for political goals over economic ones. For now, the authorities have begun to undertake actions to regain investors’ trust, but in the longer term, Turkey’s economy needs to undergo deep and probably unpopular structural reform. The country’s economic problems may significantly influence the parliamentary and presidential elections set for 24 June.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Turkey
  • Author: Jakub Pieńkowski, Tomasz Żornaczuk
  • Publication Date: 06-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Initiated at the end of 2017, the Varna Quadrilateral is a forum for cooperation between Bulgaria, Greece, Serbia and Romania. It is intended to improve coordination of cross-border infrastructure and energy investments between the largest countries in southeastern Europe. Meetings to date also show that collaboration can have clear political elements. However, a half year after the inauguration of the new initiative, its future is in doubt due to the great differences between its members.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Publication Date: 04-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Razumkov Centre
  • Abstract: Judging from President’s latest statements on his readiness to capture Ukraine’s stable progress towards EU and NATO membership in the Preamble to the Constitution, we are to expect yet another session of “constitutional vivisection”. Moreover, it is very likely that the parliament and the president will finalise the long-term story of bidding farewell to the constitutional guarantees of parliamentary immunity. Also, one cannot write off a possible attempt to implement the currently semi-fictional idea of transitioning to a parliamentary form of government, again – by introducing corresponding amendments to the Constitution.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Publication Date: 03-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Razumkov Centre
  • Abstract: In February of this year, Stanislav Shevchuk was elected the new Chairman of the Constitutional Court of Ukraine (CCU) at one of its sessions. Position of CCU Chairman has been vacant since 20 March 2017. This is when Yurii Baulin’s term has run out. On several occasions, elections of a new chairman were disrupted. In December 2017, they did not take place due to the lack of candidates. The responsibility of CCU Chairman, besides swearing in the newly elected president, is to organise the regular work of the Constitutional Court. We also expect the pressure on the new chairman to mount after the appointment of two new CCU judges on the president’s quota and the election of two more judges on the Verkhovna Rada’s quota.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Publication Date: 02-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Razumkov Centre
  • Abstract: On 30 January 2018, in Kyiv, Razumkov Centre together with the Institute for Economic Research and Policy Consulting and CEDOS think tank presented the annual 2017 global top think tanks rating (2017 Global Go To Think Tank Index Report). This report is issued since 2008 by the Think Tanks and Civil Societies Program of the Lauder Institute, University of Pennsylvania (USA).
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Jason D. Delisle , Preston Cooper
  • Publication Date: 07-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: Contrary to popular perception, the share of students at the 200 most selective public and private colleges who are from low-income households did not decline over the past 16 years. However, the share of students at these institutions who are from middle-income families has steadily declined.
  • Topic: International Political Economy, Poverty
  • Political Geography: America
  • Publication Date: 08-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Africa Center for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: The DRC’s ongoing political crisis is straining local peace agreements forged after the Second Congo War, threatening wider instability.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Democratic Republic of Congo
  • Publication Date: 08-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Africa Center for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: The violence in the aftermath of Zimbabwe’s elections and ongoing disputes over their credibility undercut the goal of establishing legitimacy for the post-Mugabe government.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Zimbabwe
  • Publication Date: 07-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Africa Center for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: Trafficking in persons has become a multibillion dollar business in Africa that African governments have been slow to address.
  • Topic: International Affairs, Sex Trafficking
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Publication Date: 06-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Africa Center for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: Mali faces multiple security challenges that demand both strengthened legitimacy and state capacity to address. Building on credible elections, stabilization will also require reconciliation and extending the presence of the state.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Mali
  • Author: Paul Nantulya
  • Publication Date: 07-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Africa Center for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: Sweeping changes to Burundi's constitution have consolidated power in the presidency, dismantled much of the Arusha Accords, and heightened the risk of greater violence and instability.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Burundi
  • Publication Date: 07-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Africa Center for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: Twenty-five YALI Mandela Washington Fellows participated in a one-day simulation exercise focused on Africa’s security concerns.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Publication Date: 07-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Africa Center for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: Somalia’s National Security Advisor Abdisaid Ali talks about political will, security reforms in Somalia’s Transition Plan, and the commitment to domestic and international coalition building to sustain the country’s progress.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Publication Date: 06-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Africa Center for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: A time-lapse review of violent episodes involving militant Islamist groups in African since 2010 provides insights into the evolution of these actors over the course of this decade.
  • Topic: Islam, Military Affairs
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Paul Nantulya
  • Publication Date: 06-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Africa Center for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: Multiple possible scenarios could emerge from Zimbabwe’s July 30 polls—the country’s first without Robert Mugabe’s name on the ballot. For now, the military appears intent on leveraging its interests.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Zimbabwe
  • Publication Date: 06-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Africa Center for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: Since Egypt’s appearance in the inaugural 1930 World Cup, African countries’ performance in the tournament has been a source of pride and national identity.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Vedran Dzihic
  • Publication Date: 08-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Austrian Institute for International Affairs (OIIA)
  • Abstract: The internal weaknesses of the process of democratisation in the Western Balkans ensue from reinforcing a system where (ethno)politics and (ethno)political entre-preneurs use all available strategies to deprive citizens of any political agency, thus working towards obedient democracies while keeping real political power within closed circles. The conscious deepening of differences, maintaining negative tensions and instrumentalising – predominantly ethnic – identities for political or other particular purposes are some of the crucial features of (ethno)politics in the Western Balkans.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Balkans
  • Author: Institute CATO
  • Publication Date: 08-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: Why do we pay $600 for EpiPens, a long-existing piece of technology that contains just a dollar’s worth of medicine? Why do hospitalized patients so frequently receive bills laden with inflated charges that come out of the blue from out-ofnetwork providers or that demand payment for services that weren’t delivered?
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: America
  • Author: Cato Institute
  • Publication Date: 08-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: Congressional staff members play a vital role in shaping policy—they make decisions on which issues their bosses prioritize, which arguments the representatives and senators hear, and what language makes it into legislation. Cato’s popular Capitol Hill Briefings offer these staff members timely briefings on the most pressing issues facing their offices. At these events, Cato scholars and other experts update the staff on their latest scholarship and policy recommendations, critique current or upcoming legislation, and answer staffers’ questions.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: America
  • Publication Date: 08-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: Ambulances are notoriously expensive—one ride may cost more than $1,000, and insurance companies frequently refuse to cover them. In the past, patients had few alternatives to get themselves to the hospital—but in “Does Ride-Sharing Substitute for Ambulances?” (Research Briefs in Economic Policy no. 114), Leon S. Moskatel of Scripps Mercy Hospital and David J. G. Slusky of the University of Kansas demonstrate how the age of Uber and Lyft is changing that and is reducing expensive and unnecessary ambulance trips.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: America
  • Author: Richard Nephew
  • Publication Date: 07-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Center on Global Energy Policy
  • Abstract: The president’s recent statement that OPEC should reduce their prices may merely be an attempt to assign blame for rising gasoline prices in the midst of the US driving season or an even more cynical attempt to rally his political base in opposition to globalism. Or, it may have something to do with the president’s own decision to create a crisis with Iran. While attention is duly paid to how much Americans have to pay at the pump, a more subtle and complicated story will soon play out with respect to Iran and the reapplication of US sanctions ordered by Trump on May 8, 2018. In fact, unless oil prices are contained, the primary result of the president’s action may be to ensure that Iran profits from the oil market risks that sanctions have created.
  • Topic: Energy Policy, Geopolitics, Global Political Economy
  • Political Geography: America, Iran, Global Focus
  • Author: Bart Gaens, Marcin Kaczmarski
  • Publication Date: 09-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Even though bilateral relations have warmed somewhat, Japan has failed to convince Russia to make concessions with regard to the territorial issue of the Northern Territories/South Kuril Islands, or to cut back its cooperation with China
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Japan
  • Author: Ville Sinkkonen
  • Publication Date: 08-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Foreign policy rarely plays a decisive role in congressional elections in the US. However, President Trump’s tendency to mix foreign policy into the domestic debate might increase its salience. Electoral success for the Democrats could both constrain and embolden the president’s international conduct.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: America
  • Author: Giovanni Carbone
  • Publication Date: 10-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Italian Institute for International Political Studies (ISPI)
  • Abstract: Africa is a fast-changing continent and an area of rising global relevance, where major transformation processes are currently underway, from demographic expansion to economic development, from social progress to environmental challenges, from technological innovation to continental integration, from political change to migratory pressures. How will these complex transformations shape the Africa of tomorrow? This Report sets out a vision for Africa’s future based on five key traits: an archipelago of heterogeneous growth trajectories; the revolutionary impact of technological leapfrogging; regional integration and the growing role of sub-regional processes; the clustering of instability mainly around the core of the region; and the migration movements that originate from – but also predominantly remain within – the African continent.
  • Topic: International Affairs, Global Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Daniel Míguez, Matias Dewey
  • Publication Date: 11-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies
  • Abstract: A growing body of research, based on large-scale international comparisons, has associated socioeconomic development with several intervening factors, such as levels of respect for social norms, interpersonal trust, degrees of confidence in public institutions, or incidence of corruption in governmental bodies. The paper contributes to this body of scholarship by comparing the differing socioeconomic development experienced by Chile and Argentina between 1983 and 2013. Specifically, the paper inquires whether the greater socioeconomic development experienced by Chile was actually related to greater legitimacy of the law, higher levels of trust in public institutions, lower perceived levels of corruption, and greater interpersonal trust. The results of our exploration do not completely confirm or disprove this thesis. Instead, they reveal not only the need for a nuanced approach to how these factors relate to socioeconomic progress but also for their forms of association to be considered in the context of politically, socially, and economically fluctuating conditions.
  • Topic: Development, Political and institutional effectiveness, International Development
  • Political Geography: Chile
  • Author: Fritz W Scharpf
  • Publication Date: 11-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies
  • Abstract: The performance of EMU member economies is shaped by different and structurally entrenched “growth models” whose success depends on specific macro-regimes – restrictive for export-led growth, accommodating for demand-led growth. These two types of models cannot be equally viable under a uniform macro regime, and their divergence threatens the stability of the EMU. The present attempt to enforce structural convergence in the eurozone appears economically ineffective and lacks democratic legitimacy on the national and the European level. Assuming that complete integration in a democratic federal state is presently unattainable, the paper presents the outline of a more flexible European Currency Community that would include a smaller and more coherent EMU and the member states of a revised “Exchange Rate Mechanism II” (ERM) whose currencies are flexibly linked to the euro. It would restore the external economic viability of autonomous domestic policy choices, and it would protect its members against speculative currency fluctuations.
  • Topic: International Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Sebastian Kohl
  • Publication Date: 10-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies
  • Abstract: America’s “infatuation with homeownership” has been identified as one cause of the latest financial crisis. Based on codings of 1,809 party manifestos in 19 OECD countries since 1945, this paper addresses the question of where the political ideal to democratize homeownership came from. While conservative parties have defended homeownership across countries and time, center-left parties have oscillated between a pro-homeownership and a pro-rental position. The former occurs in Anglo-Saxon, Northern and Southern European countries, while the latter prevails among German-speaking countries. Beyond partisan effects, once a country has a majority of homeowners and parties defending homeownership, larger parties are more likely to support it. The extent of center-left parties’ support for homeownership is conditionally associated with higher homeownership rates, more encouraging mortgage regimes, and a bigger housing bubble burst after 2007. The ideational origins of the financialization of housing and private Keynesianism are, after all, not only conservative and market-liberal.
  • Topic: International Political Economy, Domestic politics
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Lea Elsässer
  • Publication Date: 10-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies
  • Abstract: Empirical studies have shown that US politics is heavily tilted in favor of the better-off, as political decisions tend to reflect the preferences of the rich while largely ignoring those of the poor and the middle classes. These findings have prompted a lively debate about potential mechanisms that cause this pattern of unequal responsiveness. Existing studies suggest that specific characteristics of the political system are a major explanatory factor – in particular, private donations and campaign financing. We build on these studies but focus for the first time on an entirely different case. In this paper, we ask whether similar patterns of unequal responsiveness are discernible in Germany, which not only is a more egalitarian country, but also funds election campaigns entirely differently from the US. We analyze an original dataset of more than 800 survey questions posed between 1980 and 2013. The questions deal with specific political decisions debated at the time and cover a broad range of politically relevant topics. Our results show a notable association between political decisions and the opinions of the rich, but none or even a negative association for the poor. Representational inequality in Germany thus resembles the findings for the US case, despite its different institutional setting. Against this background, we conclude by discussing potential mechanisms of unequal responsiveness
  • Topic: International Political Economy, Hegemony
  • Political Geography: America
  • Author: Mark Lutter, Karlijn L. A Roex, Daria Tisch
  • Publication Date: 04-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies
  • Abstract: Anomie and imitation have been prominent mechanisms explaining the Werther effect, i.e., the effect of celebrity suicides on a general population’s suicide rate. This study presents a new approach to empirically disentangle both mechanisms. Imitation theory suggests that celebrities act as role models, and that the Werther effect is triggered by the status of the celebrity in question. Anomie theory, on the other hand, suggests that the Werther effect is triggered by the unexpectedness of the event. To this end, we empirically compare the effects of celebrity suicides with the effects of celebrities who died unexpectedly from causes other than suicide (accidents, illnesses, alcohol abuse). Based on language and page-link data from 3,855 Wikipedia pages of 495 celebrities who committed suicide between 1960 and 2014, we measure the status a celebrity has in a particular country and calculate the potential country-specific imitation effect of their suicide. In the same manner, we measure status effects of celebrities who died unexpectedly from accidents, illnesses, or alcohol abuse to reflect anomie-related effects. We use these measures in a time-series cross-sectional dataset for 34 OECD countries to assess their effects on a country’s overall annual suicide rate. Fixed-effects analyses reveal that country-specific status effects of celebrity suicides lead to significant increases in overall suicide rates, while anomie-related, unexpected celebrity deaths show no effects. The findings remain robust across a number of alternative specifications, such as controlling for further anomic factors at the macro level (divorce or unemployment rate, for instance). We conclude that the results support the imitation mechanism as an essential social explanation for the Werther effect.
  • Topic: International Relations, Health
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Donato Di Carlo
  • Publication Date: 04-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies
  • Abstract: German public sector wage restraint has been explained through the presence of a specific type of inter-sectoral wage coordination in the industrial relations system – i.e., export sector-led pattern bargaining. This paper has a twofold ambition. First, as a literature assessing exercise, I review the literature in industrial relations and comparative political economy (CPE) and find that (1) the origins and mechanics of inter-sectoral wage coordination through pattern bargaining have never been laid out clearly; (2) the mechanisms of the pattern bargaining thesis have never been tested empirically; and (3) the CPE literature reveals a limiting export-sector bias. Second, as a theory-testing exercise, I perform hoop tests to verify whether the pattern bargaining hypothesis can really account for wage restraint in the German public sector. I find that Germany cannot be considered a case of export sector-driven pattern bargaining. These findings challenge core tenets of a longstanding scholarship in both CPE and industrial relations. Most importantly, they open a new research agenda for the study of public sector wage-setting that should shift its focus to public sector employment relations, public finance, public administrations, and the politics of fiscal policy
  • Topic: International Political Economy, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Germany
  • Author: Daniel Kinderman, Mark Lutter
  • Publication Date: 04-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies
  • Abstract: Two strands of literature have emerged to explain the rise of a new form of private governance, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). One camp argues that CSR expansion is likely during periods of economic liberalization because CSR tends to substitute for growing institutional voids and a lack of social regulation. The other camp argues that CSR is likely to diffuse within coordinated economies because it mirrors these institutional settings. While both camps find empirical support for their arguments, no one has yet managed to combine both perspectives. In our study, we develop three hypotheses based on two (rationalist and constructivist/sociological) strands of institutional theory. Based on a new dataset comprising the corporate membership in business-led CSR organizations in over thirty countries from 1981 to 2008, we show that economic liberalization has a strong effect on CSR expansion when the legitimacy of CSR is low. However, when the practice has achieved substantial cultural acceptance, economic liberalization no longer drives CSR expansion. In this setting, CSR expansion is most likely to occur within socially regulated economic contexts.
  • Topic: International Political Economy, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Europe