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  • Author: Valeriya Mechkova, Anna Lührmann, Staffan I. Lindberg
  • Publication Date: 11-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Varieties of Democracy Institute (V-Dem)
  • Abstract: Accountability is one of the cornerstones of good governance. Establishing accountable governments is a top priority on the international development agenda. Yet, scholars and democracy practitioners know little about how accountability mechanisms develop and thus can be supported by international and national actors. The present study tackles the questions of how, and in what sequence accountability sub-types develop. We consider not only vertical (elections and political parties) and horizontal accountability (legislature, judiciary and other oversight bodies), but also diagonal accountability (civil society and media) in both their de-jure and the de-facto dimensions. By utilizing novel sequencing methods, we study their sequential relationships in 173 countries from 1900 to the present with data from the new V-Dem dataset. Considering the long-term dimensions of institution building, this study indicates that most aspects of de-facto vertical accountability precede other forms of accountability. Effective institutions of horizontal accountability – such as vigorous parliaments and independent high courts – evolve rather late in the sequence and build on progress in many other areas.
  • Topic: International Affairs, Governance
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Alex He
  • Publication Date: 03-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: This paper explores China’s perspectives and practices in its quest for overseas energy supply security and its participation in international energy cooperation since becoming a net oil import country in 1993. It compares the traditional approach, in which China mainly focuses on bilateral means to pursue its overseas energy supply security, and the new concept of energy security, in which greater involvement in global energy governance, in particular in the Group of Twenty (G20), is highlighted to promote China’s energy security. The paper argues that China still retains a bilateral and regional cooperation approach, while making progress in developing closer cooperation with existing major global energy governing institutions. The One Belt, One Road strategy proposed in 2013 is regarded as a strengthened version of the bilateral and regional cooperation approach. Chinese academic circles constitute the main forces advocating China’s more positive participation in global energy governance. The G20 provides significant institutional arrangements to coordinate big powers to govern the international energy markets and to address climate change. This paper suggests that, given China’s growing prominence at the G20, it could be the proper platform for the country to play a more active role in global energy governance.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Energy Policy, Environment, Oil, Regional Cooperation, Bilateral Relations, Governance, G20
  • Political Geography: China
  • Author: Emily Taylor
  • Publication Date: 01-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: The Internet enables the free flow of information on an unprecedented scale but to an increasing extent the management of individuals’ fundamental rights, such as privacy and the mediation of free expression, is being left in the hands of private actors. The popularity of a few web platforms across the globe confers on the providers both great power and heavy responsibilities. Free-to-use web platforms are founded on the sale of user data, and the standard terms give providers rights to intrude on every aspect of a user’s online life, while giving users the Hobson’s choice of either agreeing to those terms or not using the platform (the illusion of consent). Meanwhile, the same companies are steadily assuming responsibility for monitoring and censoring harmful content, either as a self-regulatory response to prevent conflicts with national regulatory environments, or to address inaction by states, which bear primary duty for upholding human rights. There is an underlying tension for those companies between self-regulation, on the one hand, and being held accountable for rights violations by states, on the other hand. The incongruity of this position might explain the secrecy surrounding the human systems that companies have developed to monitor content (the illusion of automation). Psychological experiments and opaque algorithms for defining what search results or friends’ updates users see highlight the power of today’s providers over their publics (the illusion of neutrality). Solutions could include provision of paid alternatives, more sophisticated definition and handling of different types of data — public, private, ephemeral, lasting — and the cooperation of all stakeholders in arriving at realistic and robust processes for content moderation that comply with the rule of law.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Human Rights, Human Welfare, Science and Technology, Governance
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Richard E. Hoagland
  • Publication Date: 01-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: Central Asia is strategically important to the West because of its neighbors, but not immediately, because it is not a “hot spot” on the world stage. Western governments are ambivalent about the region because of its poor record on human rights and governance. It presents the classic choice: ideology or realpolitik. But Western policy in Central Asia does not have to be one or the other — it can be both. Western nations can engage strongly to support humanist values in Central Asia through quiet and appropriate behind-the-scenes work with government officials who understand and have similar concerns — and they most certainly do exist and can produce results. Western governments need to engage in Central Asia precisely to ensure that it does not become a hot spot and instead becomes, over time, ever more firmly embedded in the community of responsible nations. Strategic engagement by the West is essential, and it will pay off.
  • Topic: Human Rights, Human Welfare, Politics, Governance
  • Political Geography: Central Asia
  • Author: Eric G. Berman, Kerry Maze
  • Publication Date: 06-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Small Arms Survey
  • Abstract: The UN Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects (PoA) provides an increasingly critical framework for governments and civil society. Armed groups continue to illegally access and use illegal weapons to mount mass attacks on civilians and terrorize cities and communities, commit human rights violations and banditry, and incite and prolong armed conflicts. Some 60 million people are displaced due to war and insecurity (UNHCR, 2016). Armed attacks and kidnappings directed at humanitarian workers are at record highs. Armed groups are increasingly disregarding international humanitarian law and, as a result, are blocking much needed assistance to populations at risk.1 The vast majority of deaths from armed violence do not occur in conflict settings, however. Of the more than 500,000 lives that are lost annually to armed violence, in some countries small arms––many of them illicit––are used in more than three out of four homicides (Geneva Declaration Secretariat, 2015).
  • Topic: Arms Control and Proliferation, International Security, Governance, Weapons , UNDP
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Aleksandra Maatsch
  • Publication Date: 01-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies
  • Abstract: This paper investigates how the intergovernmental reform process of European economic governance affected national parliaments’ oversight of this policy area. Which parliaments became disempowered and which managed to secure their formal powers – and why? The dependent variable of the study is operationalized as the presence or absence of “emergency legislation” allowing governments to accelerate the legislative process and minimize the risk of a default by constraining national parliaments’ powers. The paper examines how national parliaments in all eurozone states were involved in approving the following measures: the EFSF (establishment and increase of budgetary capacity), the ESM, and the Fiscal Compact. The findings demonstrate that whereas northern European parliaments’ powers were secured (or in some cases even fostered), southern European parliaments were disempowered due to the following factors: (i) domestic constitutional set-up permitting emergency legislation, (ii) national supreme or constitutional courts’ consent to extensive application of emergency legislation, and (iii) international economic and political pressure on governments to prevent default of the legislative process. Due to significant power asymmetries, national parliaments remained de jure but not de facto equal in the exercise of their control powers at the EU level. As a consequence, both the disempowerment of particular parliaments and the asymmetry of powers among them has had a negative effect on the legitimacy of European economic governance.
  • Topic: Politics, Governance, Law, Reform
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: S. Fitzgerald Haney
  • Publication Date: 04-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Ambassadors Review
  • Abstract: The United States’ strong partnership with Costa Rica has deep roots: our countries established diplomatic relations in 1851, when Costa Rican Minister Felipe Molina presented his credentials in Washington, and a Treaty of Friendship, Commerce, and Navigation was finalized the following year. This early cooperation provided a strong foundation for a bilateral relationship that has only gained depth and breadth, and which continues to grow, evolve, and reveal new sources of strength. Today, the United States is Costa Rica’s largest trading partner and greatest source of foreign investment. Costa Rica’s stability, natural beauty, and proximity to the United States make it a favorite destination for US citizens—tourists, investors, and residents alike—further deepening the connections between our countries. Our shared values, long history of close cultural and commercial ties, and growing cooperation on regional initiatives make Costa Rica a valued strategic partner as the United States promotes prosperity, good governance, and security—the three pillars of the US Strategy for Engagement in Central America (the Strategy)—throughout the region.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Bilateral Relations, Foreign Direct Investment, Governance
  • Political Geography: Costa Rica, United States of America
  • Author: Hamdullah Mohib
  • Publication Date: 04-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Ambassadors Review
  • Abstract: The Afghanistan of today would surprise most outsiders, even those who closely follow developments in the country. We are often wrongly branded as a failing state with a struggling government whose young people are fleeing en masse for Europe and whose military has lost control of the security situation. While anecdotal evidence can always be found to lend isolated support to such claims, this sweeping characterization offers a distorted picture of reality.
  • Topic: Security, Fragile/Failed State, Governance, Military Affairs
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Europe
  • Author: Theodor H. Winkler, Benjamin S. Buckland
  • Publication Date: 01-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Geneva Centre for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces
  • Abstract: When faced with both traditional and non-traditional security challenges, states, acting alone, are poorly-equipped. Ad hoc security governance networks have increasingly been the response. Such networks involve cooperation between governments, the private sector, non-governmental and international organisations and enable actors to take advantage of geographical, technological, and knowledge resources they would be unable to muster alone. However, there are many as yet unanswered questions about the oversight and accountability of new governance networks, as well as about ways in which, on the positive side, they can better contribute to improved security. This paper looks at both the challenges and some potential solutions to the democratic governance challenges posed by public private cooperation in the security domain.
  • Topic: Intelligence, Science and Technology, International Security, Communications, Governance
  • Political Geography: Geneva
  • Author: Theodor H. Winkler, Fred Schreier, Benjamin S. Buckland
  • Publication Date: 01-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Geneva Centre for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces
  • Abstract: Cyber security encompasses borderless challenges, while responses remain overwhelmingly national in scope and even these are insufficient. There are enormous gaps in both our understanding of the issue, as well as in the technical and governance capabilities required to confront it. Furthermore, democratic governance concerns – particularly regarding control, oversight and transparency – have been almost entirely absent from the debate. These concerns are exacerbated by the enormous role played by private actors (both alone and in cooperation with governments) in online security of all types. Given the pace at which states and private companies are reinforcing online security and preparing for cyber war, addressing democratic governance concerns has never been more pressing. They are the primary subject of this paper.
  • Topic: Security, Intelligence, Science and Technology, Governance
  • Political Geography: Geneva
  • Author: Diane De Gramont
  • Publication Date: 01-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: In fifteen years, Lagos has gone from being a symbol of urban disorder to a widely cited example of effective African governance. The Lagos State government has succeeded in multiplying its tax revenues and using these resources to restore basic infrastructure and expand public services and law enforcement. Extensive field research indicates that reform commitment in Lagos was driven by electoral pressures as well as elite ambitions to construct an orderly and prosperous megacity.
  • Topic: Governance, Reform
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Marc Valeri
  • Publication Date: 01-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: The sultan of Oman traveled to Germany to receive medical care in July 2014. His prolonged stay since then has revived concerns across Omani society about the future of the country without the “father of the nation.” A taped, four-minute television address in early November by Sultan Qaboos bin Said Al Said—who looked emaciated and expressed regret that he was unable to return home for National Day celebrations later in the month—failed to silence rumors of cancer that have been circulating in the Gulf since he left the country. The anxiety about the health of the seventy-four-year-old ruler, who has no designated heir, came as the supposed “sleepy sultanate,” long thought to be a model of stability, was affected by the winds of protest blowing across the region. In 2011 and 2012, the sultanate of Oman experienced its widest popular protests since the 1970s and the end of the Dhofar war, in which the southern region rose up against Qaboos's father, who then ruled the country.
  • Topic: Islam, Oil, Governance, Popular Revolt
  • Political Geography: Arabia, Germany
  • Author: Karen del Biondo
  • Publication Date: 02-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Kolleg-Forschergruppe "The Transformative Power of Europe"
  • Abstract: The Joint Africa-EU Strategy (JAES), which was adopted in 2007, aimed to break with the traditional do¬nor-recipient relationship between the EU and Africa and to develop a true partnership. The concept of partnership has been central in EU-Africa relations ever since the Lomé Agreement (1975), but many have argued that it has been eroded by conditionalities and the end of special trade preferences. Ideally, a partnership is characterized by shared values, equality and trust, but are these principles reflected in the JAES? This study investigates this question by focusing on the thematic partnerships on peace and security and democratic governance and human rights. The paper argues that, despite the power asymmetries between the EU and Africa, the JAES has been characterized by equality in decision-making and by African ownership in capacity-building. However, while the JAES may objectively be based on shared values, the EU and the AU have often differed on how to apply those values in concrete situations, more particularly on the question which type of intervention is acceptable (conditionality, military intervention, etc.). Moreover, the analysis identifies a general feeling of mistrust amongst both parties in the partnership.
  • Topic: Security, Human Rights, Governance
  • Political Geography: Africa, Europe
  • Author: Kheder Khaddour
  • Publication Date: 07-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: Since the early days of the Syrian uprising in 2011, President Bashar al-Assad’s regime has made it a priority to keep state agencies running, allowing Assad to claim that the regime is the irreplaceable provider of essential services. Breaking the regime’s monopoly on these public services and enabling the moderate opposition to become an alternative source of them would weaken the regime and prevent the radical jihadist Islamic State from emerging to fill power vacuums across the country.
  • Topic: Civil War, Democratization, Islam, Governance, Sectarian violence, Authoritarianism
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: Milan Vaishnav
  • Publication Date: 06-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: The Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP’s) historic victory in India’s 2014 general election prompted declarations of a watershed in the behavior of the Indian voter. Upon closer inspection, the reality is more nuanced. On some parameters, such as voting based on economic and ethnic considerations, there were indeed discernible changes. However, the empirical evidence suggests these shifts were well under way before 2014. In other areas—namely, support for regional parties, dynastic politicians, and candidates associated with criminal activity—contemporary voters demonstrated much greater continuity with the past.
  • Topic: Democratization, Demographics, Ethnic Conflict, Political Economy, Governance
  • Political Geography: South Asia, India
  • Author: Yezid Sayigh
  • Publication Date: 06-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: Already-weak states in Libya and Yemen crumbled as struggles for control over their security sectors became central to transitional politics after the popular uprisings of 2011. Instead of being reformed and upgraded to enhance the fragile legitimacy of interim governments, the security sectors collapsed by 2014. Libya and Yemen are now caught in a vicious circle: rebuilding effective central states and cohesive national identities requires a new consensus on the purpose and governance of security sectors, but reaching this agreement depends on resolving the deep political divisions and social fractures that led to civil war in both countries.
  • Topic: Security, Fragile/Failed State, Governance, Sectarian violence, Popular Revolt
  • Political Geography: Middle East, North Africa
  • Author: Juan Andrés Moraes
  • Publication Date: 03-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Kellogg Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: Polarization has been always identified as a problem for Latin American democracies. Yet its determinants remain largely undertheorized and without systematic evidence. This paper tackles this shortcoming with a new explanation where polarization is conceptualized as a mobilizational tool used by parties to deliver unequivocal signals to voters about their location in the policy space. The explanation holds that Parties’ strategies depend on the electoral context in which they compete, making volatility a crucial indicator of their behavior. Low-volatility contexts inhibit parties from seeking polarization due to potential electoral punishments by voters and the internal costs of programmatic change within the party organization. High volatility, however, increases the risk of electoral survival, decreasing the costs of seeking polarization. Here, volatility makes polarization more likely. Using time-series cross-sectional regression analysis for eighteen Latin American countries for 1995–2010, this paper provides robust statistical results to support the causal link between electoral volatility and polarization.
  • Topic: Democratization, Demographics, Political Economy, Governance
  • Political Geography: Latin America
  • Author: Aarya Nijat, Jennifer Murtazashvili
  • Publication Date: 09-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: In the days after September 11, the international community’s desire to “rescue” Afghan women from their social, political, and economic fate was key to mobilizing global support to topple the Taliban regime. Since then, the Afghan government and the international community have invested vast resources seeking to improve the status of women in the country, primarily through programs to support women leaders in politics, business, and civil society. Drawn on interviews and focus group discussions with more than two hundred people, this report seeks to understand factors that contribute to the emergence of women leaders by identifying and assessing the past decade and a half’s efforts to promote women’s leadership.
  • Topic: Gender Issues, Politics, Governance, Social Movement
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan
  • Author: Lant Pritchett, Yamini Aiyar
  • Publication Date: 08-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: There are two dominant narratives about taxation. In one, taxes are the “price we pay for a civilized society” (Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.). In this view taxes are not a necessary evil (as in the pairing of “death and taxes” as inevitable) but a positive good: more taxes buy more “civilization.” The other view is that taxes are “tribute to Leviathan”—a pure involuntary extraction from those engaged in economic production to those who control coercive power producing no reciprocal benefit. In this view taxes are a bane of the civilized. We consider the question of taxes as price versus tribute for contemporary India.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Economics, Governance, Budget
  • Political Geography: India
  • Author: Andrei Kolesnikov
  • Publication Date: 09-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: Following the annexation of Crimea in March 2014, the Russian public has embraced an increasingly conservative and nationalistic ideology. Any repudiation of this ideology, let alone the transformation of the country as a whole, will only happen if demand for change from the bottom coincides with a desire for modernization from the top. The new social contract demands that the Russian people surrender their freedom in return for Crimea and a sense of national pride. It seizes on changes that have already occurred in the minds of many Russians. The new ideology is based on a deliberate recycling of archaic forms of mass consciousness, a phenomenon that can be termed the sanctification of unfreedom. Confined to a besieged fortress, surrounded by external enemies, and faced with a domestic fifth column, the people of Russia have begun to experience Stockholm syndrome and have thrown their support behind the commander of the fortress, President Vladimir Putin. They have adopted his logic and even defended his interests, believing that they are members of his team. Freedom of expression has been significantly curtailed through a system of bans and strict forms of punishment, including criminal prosecution, which have both didactic and deterrent components. Pressure on democratic media outlets has also increased drastically. Ideology in Russia is a mass product that is easy to absorb; it is legitimized by constant references to the past, glorious traditions, and occasionally fictional historical events.
  • Topic: Human Rights, Nationalism, Political Economy, Governance, Authoritarianism
  • Political Geography: Russia