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  • Author: Sunil Khilnani
  • Publication Date: 10-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for the Advanced Study of India
  • Abstract: The idea of democracy, brought into being on an Athenian hillside some 2,500 years ago, has travelled far, and today attaches itself to a growing number of political projects. In everyday political talk, as well as in the specialised fields of the political and social sciences, terms like “spreading democracy,” “promoting democracy,” and, of course – “imposing democracy” – have become ubiquitous. Underlying such talk is a belief in democratic universalism; the idea that, as Larry Diamond, erstwhile advisor to Paul Bremer in Iraq, has put it: “Every country in the world can be democratic.” Yet, even as the ambition is asserted to spread democracy across the globe, our conceptions of what democracy is have narrowed: to a “checklist” model, a prescriptive blueprint, based almost entirely on Western experience.
  • Topic: Democratization, Governance
  • Political Geography: India, Asia
  • Author: Gopal Guru
  • Publication Date: 10-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for the Advanced Study of India
  • Abstract: The above title, I claim, represents multiple meanings that are attached to Food as substance and the Jaika or “taste” as an idea emanating from the substance. Hence, it is necessary to lay bare different possible meanings that are associated with food. These meanings are both contiguous to and separate from each other. Let us see how they assimilate and dissociate from each other. Food and cooked food are different from each other in a major way. Food has a universal value to the extent that it, as a substance, becomes an essential need for the very survival of all the organic bodies: plants, animals and human beings. Thus, food, at one level, suggests an ontological equality cutting across several organic bodies. Of course, food acquires a specific importance when looked from the point of view of human beings. Unlike plants, human beings require a particular kind of food for their very survival. They require, in most cases, food grains as a primary condition. Thus the denial of food would jeopardize the very survival of human beings. Hence, food falls into the realm of human rights. Furthermore, the denial of food constitutes a violation of human rights. Some of the laudable efforts led by Jean Dreze – who with the help of some NGOs has prepared the bill concerning the right to food – are directed towards making the right to food a safety network against the violation of human rights.
  • Topic: Human Rights, Culture
  • Political Geography: India, Asia
  • Publication Date: 12-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Asia-Pacific Research Center
  • Abstract: The principal-agent problem in health care asserts that providers, being imperfect agents for patients, will act to maximize their profits at the expense of the patients' interests. This problem applies especially where professional regulations are lacking and incentives exist to directly link providers' actions to their profits, such as a fee-for-service payment system. The current analysis tests for the existence of the principal-agent problem in the private health market in Vietnam by examining the prescribing patterns of the private providers. We show that (1) private providers were able to induce demand by prescribing more drugs than public providers for a similar illness and patient profile; (2) private providers were significantly more likely to prescribe injection drugs to gain trust among the patients; and (3) patients' education as a source of information and empowerment has enabled them to mitigate the demand inducement by the providers. Our hypotheses were supported with evidence from Vietnam National Health Survey 2001 and 2002, the first and, so far, only comprehensive health survey in the country.
  • Topic: Health, Human Welfare
  • Political Geography: Asia, Australia/Pacific, Southeast Asia
  • Author: Christian von Luebke
  • Publication Date: 10-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Asia-Pacific Research Center
  • Abstract: The relationship between economic concentration and governance remains controversial. While some studies find that high economic concentration strengthens collective action and reform cooperation, others stress dangers of rent-seeking and state capture. In this paper I argue that effects are neither strictly positive nor negative: they are best described as an inverted-u-shaped relationship, where better governance performance emerges with moderate economic concentration. Decentralization reforms in Indonesia and the Philippines Q unprecedented in scope and scale Q provide a unique opportunity to test this hypothesis. Subnational case studies and cross-sections, from both countries, indicate that moderately concentrated polities are accompanied by better service and lower corruption. The presence of Scontested oligarchiesT Q small circles of multi-sectoral interest groupsQ creates a situation where economic elites are strong enough to influence policymakers and, at the same time, diverse enough to keep each other in check. The results of this paper suggest that contested oligarchies compensate for weakly-developed societal and juridical forces and can become a stepping stone to good governance.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, Markets
  • Political Geography: Indonesia, Israel, Asia, Philippines
  • Author: Marlène Laruelle
  • Publication Date: 09-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: Russia is a power unlike others in Central Asia, given its role as the region's former coloniser, which started in the 19th century and even in the 18th for some of the northern parts of Kazakhstan. This legacy has its positive and negative aspects: it has been positive insofar as it has involved a long period of Russo–Central Asian cohabitation that has given rise to a common feeling of belonging to the same 'civilisation'; it has been negative insofar as it has accrued all the political resentment and cultural misinterpretations of the coloniser–colonised relationship. Russian–Central Asian relations are therefore complex, with each of the actors having a highly emotional perception of its relation to the other.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Post Colonialism
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Central Asia, Kazakhstan, Asia
  • Author: Geny Piotti
  • Publication Date: 11-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies
  • Abstract: This paper attempts to explain why internationalization processes to China are growing despite the significant difficulties that foreign direct investments into China encounter. The answer to this question can be found in the processes of decision-making on internationalization at the company level and how these affect management practices in Chinese subsidiaries. The argument I put forward in this paper is that for the small and medium-sized enterprises the study focuses on, the decisions concerning investment in China are mainly the product of structural and legitimation pressure. Structural pressure can encourage cognitive mechanisms and behavioral consequences similar to those occurring when individuals (and organizations) cope with threat. Legitimation pressure can foster wishful thinking, which pushes actors to believe that desired options are good despite evidence to the contrary. These pressures have an impact on how well companies are prepared when they internationalize and can particularly affect some crucial management practices, leading to inefficiencies and problems in subsidiaries.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: China, Europe, Asia, Germany
  • Author: Wolfgang Danspeckgruber
  • Publication Date: 12-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Liechtenstein Institute on Self Determination, Princeton University
  • Abstract: Afghans and Afghanistan have faced many challenges, suffering, and destruction in the past. However time and again, they have risen after and have rebuilt. Since the 2001 Bonn Conference and the subsequent extensive international engagement in Afghanistan–both military and civilian–much has changed and much has been achieved. But today, many are not satisfied.
  • Topic: Security, Development, Human Rights, International Cooperation, Treaties and Agreements, Governance
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Central Asia, Asia
  • Publication Date: 08-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Carter Center
  • Abstract: The April 9, 2009, legislative elections in Indonesia marked the beginning of the third set of national elections since a return to democratic rule following the end of the New Order of former President Soeharto and the first based on an open-list system. This was the world's largest centrally administered, single-day election, with more than 171 million names on the voter register and approximately 519,000 polling stations. Thirty-eight political parties contested nearly 19,000 seats in national, provincial, and district assemblies, while an additional six local parties competed for seats in Aceh province.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Democratization
  • Political Geography: South Asia, Indonesia, Asia
  • Author: Tommy Koh (Chairman)
  • Publication Date: 04-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Asia Society
  • Abstract: The global demand for freshwater is soaring as supply is becoming more uncertain. Today, one out of six people—more than a billion—do not have adequate access to safe water. The United Nations projects that by 2025, half of the countries worldwide will face water stress or outright shortages. By 2050, as many as three out of four people around the globe could be affected by water scarcity.
  • Topic: Security, Water, Food, Famine
  • Political Geography: Israel, Asia, Australia/Pacific
  • Author: Robert Jellinek
  • Publication Date: 03-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: This paper has its origins in the observation that government responses to the global financial crisis are as much political phenomena as they are economic. The current global financial crisis, among its many consequences, has on a very high level shaken up the world political order. And while the crisis is international in origin—its roots lie in the breadth and the degree of the dispersal of risk associated with mortgagebacked securities, as well as the growing imbalance in international capital flows—its resolution is necessarily being carried out first and foremost on a domestic level. This is not least of all because, in the decade since the Asian financial crises, states have begun to play a dramatically increased role in international finance in relation to both multilateral financial institutions such as the IMF and traditional private actors. In an age where global economic ties are integral to domestic economies and where states themselves are becoming some of the biggest players in international capital markets, a state's global financial standing will more than ever determine its political clout on the world stage. With states acting as market makers, lenders of last resort, and regulators of last resort, the key to understanding the future of individual states in the global economic order can be found only by analyzing states' domestic and foreign policy decisions within the context of the specific constraints facing those states at home and abroad.
  • Topic: Economics, Emerging Markets, Human Rights, International Trade and Finance, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Russia, Asia