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  • Author: Thomas Paster
  • Publication Date: 03-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies
  • Abstract: What is the impact of business interest groups on the formulation of public social policies? This paper reviews the literature in political science, history, and sociology on this question. It identifies two strands: one analyzes the political power and influence of business, the other the preferences and interests of business. Since the 1990s, researchers have shifted their attention from questions of power to questions of preferences. While this shift has produced important insights into the sources of the policy preferences of business, it came with a neglect of issues of power. This paper takes a first step towards re-integrating a power-analytical perspective into the study of the role of business in welfare state politics. It shows how a focus on variation in business power can help to explain both why business interest groups accepted social protection during some periods in the past and why they have become increasingly assertive and averse to social policies since the 1970s.
  • Topic: Human Welfare, Politics, History, Sociology, Landpower, Business
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Stefan Svallfors
  • Publication Date: 02-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies
  • Abstract: As Hacker and Pierson (2010) have observed, politics is primarily organization: “organized combat.” To understand the outcomes of politics, we have to look at how it is organized over time: by whom and with what resources? I take Sweden as an example of how politics as organized combat has changed quite dramatically in recent decades. Sweden is often cited as an opposite to the United States among the rich capitalist countries, but it has experienced many encompassing policy changes which have not received the attention they deserve. The paper specifies how Swedish organized politics has changed fundamentally, including the dismantling of corporatist arrangements, changes in the economic policy decision-making framework, increased income inequality, weakened political parties and changes in their social bases, the decline of blue-collar union strength, the growth of the policy professionals category, the increased impact of multilevel politics, and the mediatization of politics. Today’s amorphous, invisible mode of elite-driven policy-making diverges greatly from the old corporatist structures and is accompanied by dramatically increasing inequality. Even in Sweden, the impact of money on politics has become stronger. The paper discusses what this implies for current politics and policy-making in Sweden.
  • Topic: Economics, Politics, Labor Issues
  • Political Geography: Sweden, United States of America
  • Author: Peter Van Ness
  • Publication Date: 01-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Australian National University Department of International Relations
  • Abstract: In 2012, the University of Chicago Press published a special fiftieth anniversary edition of Thomas Kuhn?s influential book, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. Kuhn, who died of lung cancer in 1996, was a physicist trained at Harvard University and is best known for his work on the history and philosophy of science. His interpretation of the evolution of science and the concept of "paradigm change? have had a major impact on our understanding of intellectual life, both in the physical sciences and in the social sciences. This paper briefly reviews Kuhn?s approach, and then applies it to an analysis of the current state of International Relations theory in a critique of Realism. My argument is that Realism, as what Kuhn would call "normal science? in International Relations theory, is in crisis because of its inability to explain a growing number of anomalies, which in turn can be better explained by a different paradigm, Cooperative Security.
  • Topic: International Relations, Security, International Cooperation, Politics, Science and Technology, Political Theory, History
  • Political Geography: United States, United Nations
  • Author: Panthea Lee
  • Publication Date: 01-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Aspen Institute
  • Abstract: "Open government" is everywhere. Search the term and you'll find OpenGovernment.org, OpenTheGovernment.org, Open Government Initiative, Open Gov Hub and the Open Gov Foundation; you'll find open government initiatives for New York City, Boston, Kansas, Virginia, Tennessee and the list goes on; you'll find dedicated open government plans for the White House, State Department, USAID, Treasury, Justice Department, Commerce, Energy and just about every other major federal agency. Even the departments of Defense and Homeland Security are in on open government.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Democratization, Politics, Political Theory, Governance
  • Political Geography: New York
  • Author: Rodrigo Zarazaga
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Kellogg Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: Previous works on vote-buying have highlighted that an informational advantage allows party machines to efficiently distribute discretionary transfers to voters. However, the microfoundations that allow party machines to electorally exploit their informational advantage have not yet been elucidated. The probabilistic model in this paper provides the microfounded mechanism that explains how party machines translate their informational advantage into more efficient allocation of discretionary transfers and win elections with higher probabilities than their contenders. Furthermore, its probabilistic design allows the model to account for why party machines target their own supporters with discretionary transfers. In-depth interviews with 120 brokers from Argentina motivate the model.
  • Topic: Corruption, Democratization, Development, Politics
  • Political Geography: Argentina
  • Author: Tiffany Barnes
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Kellogg Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: Over the last two decades a large number of countries worldwide have adopted a gender quota to increase women's political representation in the legislature. While quotas are designed to achieve equality in legislative power and decision-making, it is unclear if electing more women to legislative office is sufficient to accomplish institutional incorporation. Once women are elected to office, are they being incorporated into the legislative body and gaining their own political power, or are they being marginalized? Using an original data set that tracks committee appointments in the twenty-two Argentine legislative chambers over an eighteen-year period, I evaluate the extent to which women have access to powerful committee appointments—beyond traditional women's domains committees—and how women's access to committee appointments changes over time. I hypothesize that while women may initially be sidelined, as they gain more experience in the legislature they may overcome institutional barriers and develop institutional knowledge that will better equip them to work within the system to gain access to valuable committee appointments.
  • Topic: Democratization, Development, Gender Issues, Politics
  • Political Geography: Argentina, Latin America
  • Author: Mika Aaltola
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: In an interview with Reuters on 17 October 2013, Professor Joseph Nye commented on the global impact of the government shutdown in Washington: "It's clearly very damaging for American soft power in the sense that the reputation for effective management of government and of the world's reserve currency are hurt". On the same day, President Obama echoed this interpretation: "Probably nothing has done more damage to America's credibility in the world, our standing with other countries, than the spectacle that we've seen these past several weeks".
  • Topic: Globalization, Politics, Science and Technology, Mass Media, Culture
  • Political Geography: America, Washington
  • Author: Eduardo Viola, Larissa Basso
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Norwegian Peacebuilding Resource Centre
  • Abstract: In the period 2003-13 Brazil experienced important economic and political developments: it became a much more relevant international player; its economy entered the world's top ten; and society became more politically active and expressed its complaints more aggressively. Amazonian policy and the politics of the period developed in this context, and three issues played a central role. Firstly, a cutback in deforestation led to a decrease in Brazil's carbon emissions by around one-third, which is a unique situation in the world. Secondly, despite the region's hydropower potential, projects developed slowly due to new environmental requirements and societal opposition. Thirdly, the production of biofuels was greatly encouraged by the introduction of flexible-fuel vehicles technology, but lost momentum after the discovery of offshore oil reserves; and there was a heated debate about the relationship between the expansion of sugar-cane plantations and deforestation after the decline in deforestation demonstrated that such plantations were not its main cause. Analysis indicates that there were three trends in Amazonian environmental policy and politics during the decade: continuity of former policies (2003-05), an upward trend towards sustainability (2005-10) and a downward trend (2010-13). The results of the 2014 elections are key to predicting future developments.
  • Topic: Economics, Environment, Human Rights, Politics, Governance
  • Political Geography: Brazil, South America
  • Publication Date: 05-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Madagascar is on the cusp of exiting a five-year political crisis compounded by economic disorder and international isolation. Presidential elections in late 2013 were endorsed as credible following the victory of Hery Rajaonarimampianina. The return to democracy paves the way for renewed international support. However, division entrenched by former President Marc Ravalomanana's exile has polarised the country. The coup regime of Andry Rajoelina was characterised by socio-economic malaise, rampant corruption, institutional decay and the breakdown in the rule of law. The political system, which is the primary obstacle to sustained recovery, needs much more than a cosmetic makeover; fundamental reform is necessary. The African Union, Southern African Development Community and International Support Group for Madagascar must support Rajaonarimampianina's efforts to balance political interests in a marked departure from the traditional winner-take-all approach; reform and strengthening of key democratic institutions; and reform and professionalisation of the security sector.
  • Topic: Security, Economics, Politics
  • Political Geography: Africa, South Africa, Tamil Nadu
  • Author: Yuddy Chrisnandi, Adhi Priamarizki
  • Publication Date: 07-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: S.Rajaratnam School of International Studies
  • Abstract: Following the implementation of Law No. 2/1999 on political parties by former president Bacharuddin Jusuf Habbibie, the multiparty system has been championed as the more prominent feature of the rapidly democratized Indonesian political landscape in the post-Suharto era. he implementation of such a law replaced the three-party system that had previously been dominated by the single hegemonic political vehicle of the New Order, Golkar or Golongan Karya [the Functional Groups], for almost 26 years. In the 1999 General Elections (GE), Indonesia witnessed an exuberance of new political parties. A total of forty-eight new political parties joined the 1999 election, the first free and fair democratic election since the 1955 GE. While the number of political parties may seem overwhelming, such a political turnout is not surprising given the degree of plurality of Indonesian society. In the 2004, 2009, and 2014 GE respectively, 24, 38, and 12 national political parties competed.
  • Topic: Democratization, Politics, Governance
  • Political Geography: Asia, Southeast Asia