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  • Author: Ifran Yar
  • Publication Date: 11-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on International Policy (CIP)
  • Abstract: In the wake of the incipient peace process in Afghanistan, new hopes have emerged and an aura of optimism has spread across the country. After the first successful meeting with the Taliban, US envoy Zalmay Khalilzad met recently with the insurgents to discuss the peace talks in Qatar. This comes after Russia, reasserting its influence in the region, hosted a landmark international conference aimed at spurring the peace efforts in its restive neighborhood. The meeting was attended by the Taliban and its adversaries and concluded without any formal breakthrough. Since 2010, many efforts have been made to broker a peace deal with the Taliban but to no avail. Will this peace process convince the Taliban to give up its insurgency?
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Ben Tannenbaum
  • Publication Date: 10-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on International Policy (CIP)
  • Abstract: Turkey’s military has historically played an outsized role in the country’s politics. Since assuming power in 2003, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his Justice and Development Party (AKP) have worked to limit the military’s political influence, a process that has damaged Turkish civil society. The military overthrew the previous AKP government in 1997, and Erdoğan sought to avoid a similar fate. However, after the first decade of Erdoğan’s rule, political loyalties shifted. His chief ally against the military, Fethullah Gülen, became Erdoğan’s principal rival. The drama escalated in 2016 when Gülen allegedly cultivated a cohort of military officers in an attempted coup against Erdoğan. Since thwarting the coup, Erdoğan has successfully re-escalated his quest to constrain the military’s domestic political role. Nevertheless, despite this political feuding, Erdoğan and the Turkish military do hold some common interests on foreign policy. Their overlapping goals have provided some basis for cooperation between Erdoğan and his military. Erdoğan has scored political gains from his relationship with the military, instituting policies that have harmed Turkey’s economy and threatened its democracy.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Basel Ammane
  • Publication Date: 10-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on International Policy (CIP)
  • Abstract: During the last NATO Summit in Brussels in July, the first since the onset of the Trump presidency, observers were carefully watching in anticipation of any indicators about the state of commitment by the US to the alliance. Trump’s antics, such as the insults he levelled at Germany, the impudent demands he made, and the thinly-veiled threat he issued unsurprisingly dominated media coverage. This served as a reminder that the alliance and its members need to work vigorously to safeguard US commitment given that this president’s preoccupation with prodding allies into increasing military spending, though echoed by previous administrations, is much more forceful and borders on the nakedly belligerent. To make matters worse, a skeptical view of alliances that sees them through a transactional prism and portrays them as burdens seems to be a consistent view that President Trump has held for years. This further demonstrates that the risk of a declining US commitment to the alliance is real. But a shaky commitment by a US president is hardly the only source of problems for today’s NATO.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Basel Ammane
  • Publication Date: 08-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on International Policy (CIP)
  • Abstract: The recent attacks in Eastern Ghouta in which a swath of land housing a population of 400,000 was surrounded, shelled incessantly and later invaded have refocused the world’s attention on the events in Syria.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Publication Date: 12-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Transparency International
  • Abstract: As available resources for official development assistance have come under strain in the past ten years, blended finance has been hailed as a means to finance development in low- and middle-income countries. Governments and international organisations are increasingly advocating the use of blended finance to fill the “financing gap” between current commitments and target levels of investment needed to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Little consideration has been given to potential corruption risks in blended finance mechanisms. As a result, integrity issues in blended finance projects are understudied and poorly appreciated by many development practitioners, investors and regulators. As blended finance becomes an increasingly common instrument in development assistance, a richer understanding of the cause and impact of corrupt practices in this form of development finance is essential.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Publication Date: 12-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Transparency International
  • Abstract: One of the oldest weapons in Transparency International’s anti-corruption arsenal is the Integrity Pact, designed specifically to tackle corruption in public procurement – one of the biggest areas of corruption risk for governments.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Publication Date: 10-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Transparency International
  • Abstract: Social audit is a powerful social accountability tool. It has led to the conviction of public officials for violating the right to information law in Guatemala, a 50 per cent reduction in the costs of public construction works in Peru, and cancelling an illegal education fee in Ghana. Social audit scrutinises public officials’ decisions and/or actions, looking for administrative or financial irregularities. It seeks to uncover discrepancies by comparing public documents, processes or services with how they should be. It can take many names and forms, ranging from social audits in Guatemala and anti-corruption brigades in Peru, to social auditing clubs in Ghana. This report extracts lessons from the social audits implemented by Acción Ciudadana in Guatemala, Proética in Peru and Ghana Integrity Initiative in Ghana. The report examines the social audit outcome reports and other records shared by the three Transparency International chapters, and includes an extensive review of the wider literature on social audits. Based on these experiences, the report outlines 20 key steps to implement an effective social audit.
  • Topic: International Cooperation, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Marina Nistotskaya, Michelle D'Arcy
  • Publication Date: 10-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Quality of Government Institute. University of Gothenburg.
  • Abstract: The institutional literature on development has emphasized the need to check abuse of power, but overlooked whether the state has power in the first place. Bridging the state capacity and collective action literatures, we argue that since public goods critical for development, such as public health provision, constitute collective action problems (CAPs), and solving CAPs in groups the size of countries requires state high infrastructural power that makes individual behaviour observable/legible, so that it can be monitored and compliance enforced. It is only when democracy is institutionalized within such a state that it can have a positive effect on public goods provision. We test this argument using a novel measure of accumulated infrastructural power – the age, extent and quality of cadastral records – for over 1,000 years for 155 countries. Our analysis shows that this variable has an independent positive effect on infant and child mortality, and it also conditions the effect of democracy. This research has received funding from the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme (grant agreement No 339571) and the Swedish Research Council (grant agreement D0112101). The authors thank Robert Ellisa for excellent research assistance.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Anna Khakhunova, Marina Nistotskaya
  • Publication Date: 06-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Quality of Government Institute. University of Gothenburg.
  • Abstract: New Public Management (NPM) reforms have been adopted worldwide since the mid-1970s to improve government effectiveness and efficiency. The basic premise of NPM reforms is that market orientation and management focus in the public sector will enhance effectiveness and efficiency of service delivery (Christensen and Lægreid 2010). Although NPM reforms have existed for a quarter century, we still have limited understanding of whether NPM reforms fulfill their expectations. Most importantly, very few empirical studies have been conducted that actually assess the impact of NPM reforms on performance (Alonso, Clifton, and Díaz-Fuentes 2015, Dahlström, Nistotskaya, and Tyrberg 2016, Hammerschmid and Van de Walle 2011). This study helps fill this gap by examining the effect of different NPM-type reforms on municipal performance. In particular, we assess the impact of NPM reforms on three dimensions of municipal performance – gender equity, efficiency and effectiveness – by using a data set of 810 city-level Japanese municipalities. Findings show that municipalities’ overall effort to create NPM reforms is not associated with gender equity and effectiveness in revenue expansion. However, findings suggest that municipalities with a higher commitment to various NPM- type reforms are likely to operate with lower administrative overhead costs. Results also suggest that municipalities’ efforts supporting individual reform, including outsourcing and municipal assets and debt management reform, are associated with higher efficiency in overhead costs and increased revenues from selling municipal assets. This study tests the impacts of NPM-type reforms on municipal performance in an understudied Asian developed setting.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Sofia B. Vera
  • Publication Date: 06-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Quality of Government Institute. University of Gothenburg.
  • Abstract: The literature studying citizen responses to exposed political corruption is rapidly growing. While some studies explore how information credibility and group identities can reduce the electoral impact of the exposure of corruption, this article addresses different mechanisms for weak electoral accountability for corruption: public works provision and corruption prevalence. It uses a vignette experiment embedded in a national survey in Peru to isolate the causal effect of political corruption on electoral support. The results suggest that even types of corruption with side benefits would be harshly punished when attributed to incompetent politicians. They also indicate that while voters punish corruption more leniently when a candidate is competent, they respond negatively to corruption regardless of the prevalence of corruption, which casts doubt on the idea that voters in highly corrupt environments are tolerant of corruption
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus