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  • Author: Robert Sutter
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: The so-called “truce” in the trade war with the signing of the phase one U.S.-China trade agreement on January 15 comes amid indicators that the intense U.S. government consensus pushback against a wide range of perceived challenges posed by China may be subsiding.
  • Topic: Government, Bilateral Relations, Economy, Trade Wars
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Thom Woodroofe, Brendan Guy
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Asia Society Policy Institute
  • Abstract: The United States is the world’s second-largest greenhouse gas emitter. For that reason, the outcome of the U.S. presidential election in November will have an undeniable impact on the future of the global climate change regime. This is especially the case now that the United Nations’ COP26 Climate Change Conference has been postponed to 2021 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Indeed, as Asia and the rest of the world consider whether and how to step up their levels of ambition as part of the five-year ratchet mechanism of the Paris Agreement, the United States has the potential to be either a catalytic force for that effort going into 2021 or an even stronger spoiler of the Agreement’s ongoing effectiveness at a crucial juncture. No country will be watching more closely than China. The 2014 U.S.-China Joint Announcement on Climate Change between President Barack Obama and President Xi Jinping proved to be the watershed moment in the lead-up to the Paris Agreement, as the two countries signaled for the first time that they would act in a coordinated manner to combat climate change. Whether the United States and China can recapture that spirit of shared ambition in the future will have ripple effects on the positions of other major emitters as well — especially India, Japan, and Australia, which may not enhance their own levels of ambition without a stronger indication of further action by the United States and China. While President Donald Trump has begun the process of withdrawing the United States from the Paris Agreement and rolled back domestic and international measures to combat climate change, it is clear that if a Democrat is elected president in 2020, they would make combating climate change a defining priority of their administration. Therefore, a clearer understanding of the specific approach that would underpin the climate diplomacy of a potential new Democratic president can provide greater reassurance to the international community as countries consider their own levels of ambition in the lead-up to COP26 and beyond. This paper, therefore, assesses the international climate policies of both Vice President Joe Biden and Senator Bernie Sanders across six areas, including their proposals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions; engage with other major emitters, including China; use trade policy as a lever for climate action; increase climate finance and remove fossil fuel subsidies; take action across other sectors, and embed climate action as a core national security priority. The authors also lay out three cross-cutting considerations for a potential new Democratic administration to maximize their efforts in the global fight against climate change, including how they can best structure their administration; engage other major emitters most strategically; and use all tools in the toolkit to reduce emissions. This includes a number of specific recommendations for how the candidates’ existing policies can best be elaborated, including with regard to China; plans to host a world leader summit on climate early in a new administration; and the tabling of a new 2030 emissions reduction target. The likely constraints and choices that will confront a new U.S. administration as they determine their approach to climate action are also highlighted in the paper. This paper is the first in a series of policy products that the Asia Society Policy Institute will publish as part of a new project exploring the possibilities around U.S.-China climate cooperation.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Diplomacy, Government, Treaties and Agreements, Donald Trump, Carbon Emissions
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Ashwin Parulkar, Sunil Kumar
  • Publication Date: 12-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Policy Research, India
  • Abstract: In May 2017, the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) demolished a Delhi Urban Shelter Improvement Board (DUSIB) shelter located in an informal settlement in South Delhi’s Amir Khusro Park. DUSIB had built the shelter in response to a 2014 Delhi High Court Order. DDA demolished the same structure in cognizance of a 2015 Delhi High Court Order, issued in response to a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by a private citizen urging the state to remove illegal encroachments in the area. The demolition of the shelter led to the eviction of various groups of people in Khusro Park: families in self-constructed ‘jhuggis’; women in the DUSIB shelter managed by a local NGO; and various people in a temporary shelter not authorized by government agencies. Field visits revealed connections between these settlements. Women and children of some jhuggi families, for instance, lived in the shelter where food, nutrition, documentation, education and health services were provided by the managing NGO for shelter residents and joint and nuclear jhuggi families. In this context, the report raises and responds to two salient questions. What makes homeless shelters in Delhi vulnerable to government sanctioned demolition and eviction? What is the implication of the particular case of Amir Khusro Park on the fate of shelters in Delhi’s other numerous informal geographies? The authors examine events that preceded and unfolded during and after the demolition through ethnographic research in Khusro Park, interviews with government officials and NGO social workers, and legal analysis of both Supreme and High Court Orders and policies that assign powers to various federal, state and municipal land owning agencies. The report finds that Khusro Park residents’ Court-substantiated, though broadly defined, rights to live in shelters and urban informal settlements were violated by government agencies, such as DDA. Such government agencies are permitted to undermine general rights urban poor people have to city spaces and resettlement through the existence of specific provisions that categorize jhuggi and shelter residents on government land ‘encroachers’. The authors conclude that due process measures of DUSIB’s current resettlement policy – land surveys, provision of notice and rehousing – should be based on a thorough understanding of (a) types and nature of settlements along the informal urban housing continuum (b) infrastructure and services used by residents and (c) the nature of contracts between (i) state and federal agencies and (ii) government agencies and NGOs that authorize land use and service provision.
  • Topic: Government, Poverty, Public Policy, Resettlement, Urban, Informal Settlement, Homelessness
  • Political Geography: South Asia, India, Asia
  • Author: Manju Menon
  • Publication Date: 05-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Policy Research, India
  • Abstract: In 2000, the central government declared Northeast India as India’s hydropower hub. Over 165 large dam projects were proposed to come up in the region. These projects were held as crucial to India’s energy and environmental security as well as the economic development of the country’s marginalised northeastern borderlands.However, nearly two decades on, this proposal to regulate the region's water resources remains unimplemented. In addition, the projects have generated a lot of public opposition in Arunachal Pradesh where most of these dams are supposed to be situated, and in the downstream Brahmaputra valley of Assam. This article will look into the government's hype and failure to construct hydropower dams in the Northeast region. It points to the need for a reflexive political decision on water resource management from the BJP-led governments in Assam, Arunachal Pradesh and at the Centre.
  • Topic: Development, Energy Policy, Government, Natural Resources, Infrastructure
  • Political Geography: South Asia, India, Asia
  • Author: Ashwini K. Swain, Parth Bhatia, Navroz K. Dubash
  • Publication Date: 11-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Policy Research, India
  • Abstract: The proposed amendments to the Electricity Act 2003, released on 7th September 2018, are most critical among the set of planned reforms in the power sector. With significant changes, it seeks to provide an enabling framework for transformations in electricity market, pricing reforms, regulatory oversight, quality of supply and energy security. While we appreciate the endeavours and intent, in our comments we focus on some serious concerns the draft raises, vital gaps and issues that need serious consideration. These comments have been drafted based on an internal discussion at the Centre for Policy Research, and should not be considered an institutional position, as CPR does not take institutional positions on issues. Rather, these comments reflect the result of internal deliberations, aimed at understanding and reflecting on the draft amendments, with the aim of constructive feedback to the Ministry of Power.
  • Topic: Security, Energy Policy, Government, Social Policy, Legislation
  • Political Geography: South Asia, India, Asia
  • Author: Persis Taraporevala
  • Publication Date: 08-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Policy Research, India
  • Abstract: The newly elected federal Government of India (GoI) launched the Smart Cities Mission (SCM) in 2015 with the stated purpose of improving the governance and infrastructural deficiencies that plague Indian cities. Missing, however, in the pageantry of the new programme is a cohesive understanding of a smart city. While the government documentation repeatedly implies infinite liberty for cities to self-define their understanding of ‘smartness’, the actions demonstrate that there is a larger idea of ‘smartness’ that the federal government seeks to implement. It is at this disjunction, between the rhetoric and practice of the Mission, that this paper finds its core research question – ‘What constitutes a smart city in India?’ Through a detailed reading of the government documentation of the top 99 cities, the paper argues that the there is a profound chasm between the professed objectives of the Mission and the strategies enacted to achieve these objectives.
  • Topic: Development, Government, Infrastructure, Social Policy, Urban
  • Political Geography: South Asia, India, Asia
  • Author: Pranav Kuttaiah, Neelanjan Sircar
  • Publication Date: 05-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Policy Research, India
  • Abstract: Pranav Kuttaiah and Neelanjan Sircar discuss the complexities of the Karnataka election before vote counting the following day.
  • Topic: Government, Elections, Ethnicity, Class, Caste
  • Political Geography: South Asia, India, Asia, Karnataka
  • Author: Partha Mukhopadhyay
  • Publication Date: 03-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Policy Research, India
  • Abstract: It is now almost axiomatic that cities are the engines of growth. Historically, federal support programmes have focused on rural areas, but over the past fifteen years, the need to devise such programmes for urban local bodies has come to be recognised, with JNNURM in its various forms, being the most visible early manifestation. This trend has continued, even strengthened, in this government and among the menu of urban support programmes on offer from the Government of India, the vision of the city as the engine of growth is most clearly evident in the Smart City Mission, with its focus on area based development – like an engine within the city. Yet, even in the mainstream economics literature, while there is evidence for cities as places of higher productivity, there is less evidence for cities as drivers of growth – with learning being the primary driver and urban primacy being an important obstacle. The primary questions are whether cities are places of learning, whether there are identifiable mechanisms of such learning and the kind of city institutions – economic, social and political – that facilitate such learning. This paper will interrogate the empirical characteristics of such urban institutions in India in the context of the theoretical literature and learning mechanisms that emerge from international evidence. In particular, it will argue that the nature of the labour market, which is largely contractual, the transfer of rural fragmentation in social relations to cities and the absence of city-level political agency, all reduce the potential of the city as a location of learning economies. For cities to even have the possibility of being engines of growth, we need to ensure that drivers of these engines are in place and we have a mechanism to think about paths to follow.
  • Topic: Development, Government, Urbanization, Economic growth
  • Political Geography: South Asia, India, Asia
  • Author: Bhanu Joshi, Kanhu Charan Pradhan
  • Publication Date: 01-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Policy Research, India
  • Abstract: Financial incentives including government support grants for infrastructure creation, health and education development in many countries is contingent on where people live. In India, the allocation of critical government subsidies explicitly recognises urban population as a criterion for budgetary allocation. Yet, the fundamental question about what is an urban area and what does it entail to be recognised as an urban settlement in India remains understudied. This paper aims to understand the definitional paradigm of statutory towns in India. We create a novel dataset of all state laws in India on the constitution of urban local governments. We analyse the eligibility criteria that would qualify any area to become urban local bodies under the law in different states and find large variation among states. In our dataset, only fifteen of the twenty-seven states explicitly define and have laws on urban settlements. Within these fifteen states, we find that many small and transitional urban areas violate the eligibility criteria laid down by the state laws constituting them. We further find that states which do not provide statutory laws rely on executive fiat, i.e. it is the prerogative of the state government to declare the creation of a statutory town. What then becomes or “unbecomes” urban in these states is open to dispute. The full extent of this variation and reasons thereof can open up new avenues of scholarship.
  • Topic: Government, Infrastructure, Urbanization, Budget, Legislation
  • Political Geography: South Asia, India, Asia
  • Author: Navroz K. Dubash, Partha Mukhopadhyay, Radhika Khosla, Shibani Ghosh, Ankit Bhardwaj, Swetha Sridhar
  • Publication Date: 07-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Policy Research, India
  • Abstract: The Draft National Energy Policy released by the Niti Aayog in June 2017 was a roadmap describing the priorities of the government with regards to India's energy future and a critical reference document for all actors working in this field. This working paper reflects the result of internal deliberations, aimed at understanding and reflecting on the draft NEP, with the aim of constructive feedback to NITI Aayog.
  • Topic: Energy Policy, Environment, Government, Finance, Legislation
  • Political Geography: South Asia, India, Asia
  • Author: Krithika A. Dinesh, Kanchi Kohli
  • Publication Date: 07-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Policy Research, India
  • Abstract: Between March 15 2017 and June 15 2017, 207 projects that violated the Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) Notification applied for an environmental clearance. These applications have come as a result of a notification that the Environment Ministry had passed on March 14th 2017 which gives an opportunity to projects that have violated conditions of the EIA Notification to apply for a clearance within a period of six months, ie by September 15. This notification was passed despite much criticism of the draft notification that was issued on 10 May 2016. The CPR-Namati Environmental Justice Program has analysed these applications to see what are the kind of geographical and sectorial spread of these violations and whether there are any trends emerging out of the applications that have come in till June 15. The Environment Ministry has already started looking at the applications through a Committee that has been set up for this. This Committee is headed by Dr SR Wate and had its first meeting on 22 June 2017. The Committee in its first meeting has examined ten applications. Out of these ten applications, the committee has already recommended seven for grant for a Terms of Reference subject to conditions. This working paper would be updated with the analysis of the applications that are coming in as well as the progress of these applications.
  • Topic: Environment, Government, Natural Resources, Courts, Legislation
  • Political Geography: South Asia, India, Asia
  • Author: Kanchi Kohli, Debayan Gupta
  • Publication Date: 08-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Policy Research, India
  • Abstract: For the last two years, the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013 has been in the eye of debate and discussed for the controversial changes the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government had sought to bring about through ordinances. Even though fate of the amendments rests currently with the Joint Parliamentary Committee report, several states have already brought about changes through Rules under Section 109 of the Act. An examination of these state specific Rules reveals they are headed towards: Adopting the changes proposed in the ordinances amending the central law; Diluting the applicability of the progressive clauses like consent or SIA; Clarifying procedures for implementation at the state level. The United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government had replaced the Land Acquisition Act, 1894 with the newly enacted RFCLARR Act, 2013. Though critiqued for expanding the definition of public purpose to include the private sector, the new legislations had been welcomed by social movements, farmers groups and NGOs. This is primarily for the need for a Social Impact Assessment (SIA), the requirement for prior consent, food security provisions and clear compensation related provisions. What was also central to this discussion were the clauses which allow for unused land to be returned to original owners. The Rules framed by the States aim to make the process of land acquisition much simpler for investors. While certain States reduce the time period for the conducting of the SIA process or do away with it in its entirety, there are others who make reductions in the compensation award or modify the applicability of the retrospective clause. There are also States which directly adopt the provisions in the ordinance that aim to remove the requirement for consent from the land acquisition procedure. This working paper paper attempts to trace and analyse how the state governments have modified and built upon the central Act. It also looks briefly at litigation that has emerged especially around the applicability of the retrospective clause of the law, ie. which requires the return of unused land to original owners or reinitiating processes under the 2013 law.
  • Topic: Development, Government, Law, Food Security, Land Law, Social Policy
  • Political Geography: South Asia, India, Asia
  • Author: Bhanu Joshi, Ashish Ranjan, Neelanjan Sircar
  • Publication Date: 05-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Policy Research, India
  • Abstract: In 2011, Mamata Banerjee and party, Trinamool Congress, stormed to power in West Bengal under the simple slogan poriborton (change). In this piece, Bhanu Joshi, Ashish Ranjan, and Neelanjan explore how Mamata went about demonstrating this change to the West Bengal, as well as the architecture of Trinamool Congress’ thumping victory in the 2016 state election.
  • Topic: Government, Politics, Governance, Elections, Social Policy
  • Political Geography: South Asia, India, Asia
  • Author: Kiran Bhatty, Radhika Saraf
  • Publication Date: 05-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Policy Research, India
  • Abstract: This study attempts to understand the effectiveness of education governance, specifically the monitoring function, through the perspectives of frontline officials in India. It locates institutions within social and political structures marked by deep inequalities and analyses the manner in which these institutional arrangements influence the behaviour of frontline officials. It finds that poor state capacities in terms of inadequate resources and systemic infirmities contribute significantly to ineffective monitoring. In addition, the social distance of frontline bureaucrats from their clients reinforces their low levels of motivation, preventing them from using discretion to achieve official objectives.
  • Topic: Education, Government, Infrastructure, Governance, Social Policy
  • Political Geography: South Asia, India, Asia
  • Author: Bhanu Joshi, Ashish Ranjan, Neelanjan Sircar
  • Publication Date: 05-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Policy Research, India
  • Abstract: Muslims comprise 34 percent of Assam’s population, and this population may play a large role in the outcome of Assam’s election. In this piece, CPR researchers Bhanu Joshi, Ashish Ranjan, and Neelanjan Sircar examine the complex contours of the Muslim vote in Assam, with a particular focus on the Lower Assam region where seven of the thirteen districts have a majority of Muslims. They argue that there is no discernible Muslim “vote bank” and any understanding of the role Muslims will play in this election requires a significant amount of nuance.
  • Topic: Government, Islam, Politics, Elections
  • Political Geography: South Asia, India, Asia
  • Author: Ashish Ranjan, Bhanu Joshi, Neelanjan Sircar
  • Publication Date: 04-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Policy Research, India
  • Abstract: We were warned not to take the bus from Silchar to Guwahati. Unfortunately, the train was fully booked, so we had no other option. As soon as we left the city limits of Silchar, we began to make our way through the soggy, bumpy mess that was supposedly the route to Guwahati. We could only discern that this was intended to be a road by the fact that a few other buses, trucks and cars were similarly trying to maneuver through this muddle. A fellow traveler offered, “Roads in Sikkim and Meghalaya have improved in the last five years; here we still search for a pucca road.
  • Topic: Government, Migration, Politics, Infrastructure, Elections
  • Political Geography: South Asia, India, Asia, Assam
  • Author: Neelanjan Sircar, Gilles Verniers
  • Publication Date: 03-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Policy Research, India
  • Abstract: The 2015 Bihar election represented a stunning reversal of fortune for the National Democratic Alliance (NDA), led by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). In the 2014 national election, the NDA won 172 out of 243 assembly constituency (AC) segments. But in the 2015 Bihar election, just 18 months later, the NDA won only 58 ACs. In this piece, we investigate electoral data from the Election Commission of India (ECI) to provide a nuanced picture of the shift in Bihar. We argue that poor party coordination within the NDA, in addition to campaign dynamics, account for the magnitude of the NDA’s defeat. Prior to 2014, the JD(U) and the BJP were in alliance together under the NDA banner, but the JD(U) left the coalition over the choice of Narendra Modi as prime ministerial candidate and decided to contest the 2014 election alone. In 2014, without the JD(U), the NDA won 31 out of 40 parliamentary constituencies, with the JD(U) winning just two seats. In the 18 months between the 2014 and 2015 election, once bitter foes, Nitish Kumar and Lalu Prasad Yadav, and their respective parties, Janata Dal (United) [JD(U)] and Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), joined forces along with the Congress to form the mahagathbandhan or Grand Alliance to defeat the NDA. The NDA, comprised of the BJP, the Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) and the Rashtriya Lok Samta Party (RLSP) in 2014, stayed intact and added a new party, the Hindustani Awam Morcha (HAM), to its ranks. In the election post-mortem, many have offered explanations for the NDA’s reversal of fortune. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has argued that the NDA’s poor performance was due to the “social arithmetic” of caste and less about the its message or campaign strategy (1). Observers of the Grand Alliance have pointed to campaign manager Prashant Kishor’s effective campaign strategy and coordination across all parties in ticket distribution and voter mobilization (2). Our data analysis suggests that the outcome of these elections was less about caste arithmetic and more about the poor coalition strategy of the BJP. In particular, the ways in which the BJP treated its allies contributed to the magnitude of the NDA’s defeat. At the same time, we find that although the parties in the Grand Alliance coordinated their efforts better than the NDA, they did not attract more voters than in 2014.
  • Topic: Government, Politics, Elections
  • Political Geography: South Asia, India, Asia
  • Author: Rajiv Kumar, Geetima Das Krishna, Ankit Bhardwaj
  • Publication Date: 01-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Policy Research, India
  • Abstract: The Indradhanush framework with its seven pronged plan was unveiled by Finance Minister Mr Arun Jaitley on 14th August 2015 for revamping Public Sector Banks (PSBs) of India. In this paper, we look at the deteriorating profitability, asset quality, capital position of PSBs along with previous bank recapitalisation expenditure of the government. The seven reform initiatives in Indradhanush are compared with Nayak Committee recommendations. We summarise that Indradhanush does not propose any ground-breaking reforms for the PSBs. Re-capitalisation or infusion of capital into PSBs is its central theme. This opens up a debate on whether the capital infusion is adequate for all banks. Given various constraints for the government, we feel Indradhanush is definitely the step in the right direction. It does incorporate some of the initiatives mentioned in Nayak Committee report but does not fully embrace the essence of the bold Nayak recommendations. PSBs accounting for 70 percent of the banking system and saddled with high NPAs will be an impediment to growth unless the government acts fast to revamp this sector.
  • Topic: Government, Reform, Finance, Banks
  • Political Geography: South Asia, India, Asia
  • Author: Neelanjan Sircar, Bhanu Joshi, Ashish Ranjan
  • Publication Date: 11-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Policy Research, India
  • Abstract: The exit polls are out in Bihar, and we are none the wiser. It is seemingly a photo finish between the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) and the Janata Dal United [JD(U)]-Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD)-Congress Grand Alliance. The Bihar election is ending as it began, full of theatre and intrigue. We can only guess how it ends. We were making our way to East Champaran; we didn’t realise Narendra Modi’s rally would be in Gopalganj district that day. The rally was over, but traffic had stopped moving 2 km from the rally site; we would be stuck at the same spot for the next few hours. Nowhere else to go, we got out of the car and started chatting with rally-goers. An exuberant BJP supporter exclaimed, “We have 8-10 lakh people today!” This was clearly an overestimate, but the crowd was bigger than we had seen elsewhere. We stopped in at a roadside stand where 4-5 men were being served their thalis and asked from where they had come to attend the rally. “Dewaria,” responded one man (Dewaria is in Uttar Pradesh (UP), not Bihar). He went on, “None of us are from Bihar. People are coming from Gorakhpur, Kushinagar, Allahabad. The Party gives us enough money to eat lunch as well.” The Muslim shopkeeper who was cooking for them, the only person there who would actually be voting in Bihar, was clearly supporting the Grand Alliance, but he was happy for the extra money generated from the rally. The real reason for the traffic bottleneck then became clear. The road had narrowed to a single lane. While we headed further into Bihar, bus after bus, each with a “UP” license plate, was headed the other way. We analysts often mistakenly use rallies to gauge the hawa for a party. But, ultimately, rallies are about theatre and spectacle, while elections are won on the strength of the ground-level campaign. Privately, a section of BJP workers have been telling us that they can now see the NDA losing in this election, not something we heard in the first couple of weeks of the campaign. In our previous piece, using available data, we argued that the NDA would have to do very well in the third and fourth phases of this five-phase election if it is to win, something that even BJP leaders have now said publicly. Given that the NDA was well ahead in 2014, the NDA might still pull off this victory. It is clear, however, that the Grand Alliance has run a stronger ground campaign than the NDA, and that the campaign has had a major impact on changing voters’ minds. The NDA now seems unlikely to get near the 172 assembly constituency (AC) segments it won in 2014. In the remainder of this piece, we assess the structure of the Grand Alliance, how it shaped the campaign, as well as how the campaigns, for both NDA and the Grand Alliance, conducted themselves during this election.
  • Topic: Government, Politics, Elections
  • Political Geography: South Asia, India, Asia
  • Author: Navroz K. Dubash, Neha B. Joseph
  • Publication Date: 05-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Policy Research, India
  • Abstract: While there is growing attention to climate policy, effective coordination, design and implementation of policy require attention to institutional design for climate governance. This paper examines the case of India, organized around three periods: pre-2007; 2007–2009 and 2010-mid-2014, providing institutional charts for each. Several key themes emerge. First, the formation of climate institutions have frequently been driven by international negotiations, even while filtered through domestic context. Second, once established, institutions tend not to be stable or long-lasting. Third, while various efforts at knowledge generation have been attempted, they do not add up to a mechanism for sustained and consistent strategic thinking on climate change. Fourth, coordination across government has been uneven and episodic, reaching a high point with a specialised envoy in the Prime Minister’s Office. Fifth, the overall capacity within government, in terms of specialised skills and sheer numbers of personnel remains limited. Sixth, capacity shortfalls are exacerbated by closed structures of governance that only partially draw on external expertise. Seventh, institutional structures are not explicitly designed to enable India’s stated objective of climate policy in the context of development, which implies specific attention to co-benefits and mainstreaming.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Environment, Government, Policy Implementation, Institutions
  • Political Geography: South Asia, India, Asia
  • Author: Jishnu Das, Alaka Holla, Aakash Mohpal, Karthik Muralidharan
  • Publication Date: 02-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Policy Research, India
  • Abstract: We present among the first direct evidence on the quality of healthcare in low-income settings using a unique and original set of audit studies, where standardized patients were presented to a nearly-representative sample of rural public and private primary care providers in the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh. We report three main findings. First, private providers are mostly unqualified but spent more time with patients, and completed more items on a checklist of essential history and examination items than public providers, while being no different in their diagnostic and treatment accuracy. Second, we identify the private practices of qualified public sector doctors, and show that the same doctors exert higher effort and are more likely to provide correct treatment in their private practices. Third, we find a strong positive correlation between provider effort and prices charged in the private sector, whereas we find no correlation between effort and wages in the public sector. Our results suggest that market-based accountability in the unregulated private sector may be providing better incentives for provider effort than administrative accountability in the public sector in this setting. While the overall quality of care is low in both the public and private sectors, these differences in provider effort may partly explain the dominant market share of fee-charging private providers even in the presence of a system of free public healthcare.
  • Topic: Government, Health, Privatization, Health Care Policy, Social Policy, Rural
  • Political Geography: South Asia, India, Asia
  • Author: Sheila A. Smith
  • Publication Date: 07-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Electoral reform in the early 1990s ended single-party dominance in Japan and promised an era of new politics in which political parties would alternate control of the government. In the two decades that followed, Japan's foreign and domestic policy priorities were subjected to greater scrutiny and debate as Japan, like so many other nations around the globe, sought to reorient itself in a new post-Cold War world. The U.S.-Japan alliance that anchored Japan's postwar foreign policy was not immune to these domestic political reforms. For half a century, the conservative Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) prided itself on managing the relationship with Washington. But its ouster in 2009 by the reformist Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) led many to expect that even Japan's alliance with the United States would be subject to serious review.
  • Topic: Government, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan, Asia
  • Publication Date: 03-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Electoral rigging has hampered Pakistan's democratic development, eroded political stability and contributed to the breakdown of the rule of law. Facing domestic pressure for democracy, successive military governments rigged national, provincial and local polls to ensure regime survival. These elections yielded unrepresentative parliaments that have rubber-stamped extensive constitutional and political reforms to centralise power with the military and to empower its civilian allies. Undemocratic rule has also suppressed other civilian institutions, including the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), which is responsible for holding elections to the national and four provincial assemblies, and local governments. With the next general election in 2013 – if the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP)-led government completes its full five-year term – the ruling party and its parliamentary opposition, as well as the international community, should focus on ensuring a transparent, orderly political transition through free, fair and transparent elections.
  • Topic: Corruption, Democratization, Government
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, South Asia, Asia
  • Author: Tessa Bold, Mwangi Kimenyi, Germano Mwabu, Justin Sandefur
  • Publication Date: 12-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: Existing studies from the United States, Latin America, and Asia provide scant evidence that private schools dramatically improve academic performance relative to public schools. Using data from Kenya—a poor country with weak public institutions—we find a large effect of private schooling on test scores, equivalent to one full standard deviation. This finding is robust to endogenous sorting of more able pupils into private schools. The magnitude of the effect dwarfs the impact of any rigorously tested intervention to raise performance within public schools. Furthermore, nearly two thirds of private schools operate at lower cost than the median government school.
  • Topic: Development, Education, Government, Poverty
  • Political Geography: Kenya, United States, Asia, Latin America
  • Author: S. Y. Quraishi
  • Publication Date: 03-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for the Advanced Study of India
  • Abstract: DR. RICHARD JOHNSTON: Welcome everyone to the welcome lecture from S. Y. Quraishi to the Comparing Elections and Electoral Systems in North America and India Conference. My name is Richard Johnston. By a vote of three to one, I was chosen as the person to do the introduction so I was not present at the time the vote was taken, but I am actually very pleased to be asked to do this. Just so you know, my current affiliation is the University of BC, but I am a former Penn person. It doesn't feel very former at the moment, I'll say, which is very pleasant. Anyway, my task is not to talk about me, but to introduce S. Y. Quraishi, the Chief Commissioner for Elections for India. I can't underscore how big a deal it is for us to have Dr. Quraishi here. The position is recognized in the Constitution of India. It is an enormously important role. This is the largest election task in the world. Not only does the Elections Commission take care of the Parliamentary elections, Lok Sabha elections, but also Presidential and Vice-Presidential elections, and elections in several states. So Dr. Quraishi is responsible for organization of elections, certainly to a Canadian, on an unimaginable scale. He is the seventeenth Chief Commissioner. He has been so since the third of July last year and served on the Commission for four years before that.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Democratization, Government
  • Political Geography: Asia
  • Author: Gilles Dorronsoro
  • Publication Date: 04-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: The coalition strategy has reached an impasse. None of the efforts attempted since the summer of 2009 has halted the deterioration of the political and security situation. Although a few tactical successes might be possible, the coalition cannot defeat the Taliban or rally local commanders to its side. Moreover, the Karzai government enjoys very limited legitimacy and appears incapable of rebuilding a state that can assume responsibility for its own security in the foreseeable future. The coalition faces the risk of an endless engagement accompanied by an intolerable loss of life and treasure.
  • Topic: Government, International Cooperation, Terrorism, Treaties and Agreements, Peacekeeping
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Asia, Taliban
  • Author: Richard Fielding
  • Publication Date: 12-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Non-Traditional Security Studies (NTS)
  • Abstract: Pandemic influenza A/H1N1 (pH1N1) spread rapidly from its origins in Mexico to affect Hong Kong as its first point of entry into Asia. In this paper, the different stages of government response from prevention to mitigation to vaccination and stand down are described and discussed from the perspectives of feasibility, pragmatism, effectiveness and population responses to offer insights into future influenza pandemic preparedness.
  • Topic: Globalization, Government, Health
  • Political Geography: Israel, Asia, Mexico, Hong Kong
  • Author: Dipali Mukhopadhyay
  • Publication Date: 09-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: Despite his commitment to develop a democratic, modern state, President Hamid Karzai placed many former warlords in positions of power, particularly in the provinces. Many observers, Afghan and foreign alike, have decried the inclusion of warlords in the new governmental structures as the chief corrosive agent undermining efforts to reconstruct the state. Indeed, warlord governors have not been ideal government officials. They have employed informal power and rules, as well as their personal networks, to preserve control over their respective provinces. Informalized politics of this kind is the antithesis of a technocratic, rule-based approach to governance and entails considerable costs, from inefficiency to corruption and human rights abuses.
  • Topic: Security, Democratization, Government, Sovereignty, War, Counterinsurgency
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Asia
  • Publication Date: 02-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Far from being a bulwark against the spread of extremism and violence from Afghanistan, Tajikistan is looking increasingly like its southern neighbour – a weak state that is suffering from a failure of leadership. Energy infrastructure is near total breakdown for the second winter running, and it is likely migrant labourer remittances, the driver of the country's economy in recent years, will fall dramatically as a result of the world economic crisis. President Emomali Rakhmon may be facing his greatest challenge since the civil war of 1992-97. At the very least the government will be confronted with serious economic problems, and the desperately poor population will be condemned to yet more deprivation. At worst the government runs the risk of social unrest. There are few indications that the Rakhmon administration is up to this challenge. To address the situation, the international community – both at the level of international organisations and governments – should ensure any assistance reaches those who truly need it, place issues of governance and corruption at the centre of all contacts with the Tajik government, and initiate an energetic dialogue with President Rakhmon on democratisation.
  • Topic: Democratization, Development, Government, Islam, Terrorism, War
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Asia, Tajikistan
  • Publication Date: 08-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: The bizarre prosecution and conviction of opposition leader and Nobel Peace laureate Aung San Suu Kyi for violating her house arrest has returned attention to repression in Myanmar, as preparations were underway for the first national elections in twenty years, now scheduled for 2010. This further undermined what little credibility the exercise may have had, especially when based on a constitution that institutionalises the military's political role. The UN Secretary-General's July visit, which produced no tangible results, added to the gloom. But while the elections will not be free and fair – a number of prominent regime opponents have been arrested and sentenced to prison terms over the last year – the constitution and elections together will fundamentally change the political landscape in a way the government may not be able to control. Senior Generals Than Shwe and Maung Aye may soon step down or move to ceremonial roles, making way for a younger military generation. All stakeholders should be alert to opportunities that may arise to push the new government toward reform and reconciliation.
  • Topic: Democratization, Government, Human Rights
  • Political Geography: South Asia, Asia, Myanmar
  • Author: Katherine Morton
  • Publication Date: 11-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Lowy Institute for International Policy
  • Abstract: One of the greatest dilemmas of the early 21st century is how to satisfy the demands of densely populated states in the context of a global environmental crisis. As the world's biggest polluter and prominent emerging world power, China is at the centre of the global debate. Worsening pollution trends, increasing resource scarcity, and widespread ecological degradation have serious implications for China's ongoing modernisation drive. The spillover effects across borders also pose a challenge to its relations with the outside world. Although China's per capita CO2 emissions are low relative to the United States and Australia, they already exceed the world average. In 2007, China overtook the United States to become the world's largest aggregate emitter.
  • Topic: Environment, Government, International Trade and Finance, Reform
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, Australia
  • Author: Karen Eggleston, Mingshan Lu, Congdong Li, Jian Wang, Zhe Yang, Jing Zhang, Yu-Chu Shen
  • Publication Date: 03-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Walter H. Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center
  • Abstract: Using data from 276 general acute hospitals in the Pearl River Delta region of Guangdong Province from 2002 and 2004, we construct a preliminary metric of budget constraint softness. We find that, controlling for hospital size, ownership, and other factors, a Chinese hospital's probability of receiving government financial support is inversely associated with the hospital's previous net revenue, an association consistent with soft budget constraints.
  • Topic: Government, Health, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Cunrui Huang, Haocai Liang, Cordia Chu, Shannon Rutherford, Qingshan Geng
  • Publication Date: 09-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Walter H. Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center
  • Abstract: China continues to face great challenges in meeting the health needs of its large population. The challenges are not just lack of resources, but also how to use existing resources more efficiently, more effectively, and more equitably. Now a major unaddressed challenge facing China is how to reform an inefficient, poorly organized health care delivery system. The objective of this study is to analyze the role of private health care provision in China and discuss the implications of increasing private-sector development for improving health system performance.
  • Topic: Government, Health
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Christian von Luebke
  • Publication Date: 10-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Walter H. Shorenstein 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: Gerald LeMelle
  • Publication Date: 01-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Africa Policy Information Center
  • Abstract: Welcome to International Affairs Forum's fourth special publication. We are once again delighted to be able to offer our readers a diverse collection of views, and I hope everyone will find something of interest. I think this publication stands out not only because of the quality of contributors, who have been generous enough to give up their valuable time over such a busy period, but also the range of subjects and geographical reach—we have contributors based on four continents and from nine countries covering everything from defense policy through Brand America and U.S.-India relations. I don't wish to add anything to the enormous amount of ink spilled over the historic nature of the recent election, except to say that whatever one's views of the past eight years—and this publication contains a full range of them—living in Tokyo has demonstrated to me time and again that although this is the Asian century, the world's eyes have been, and still are, very much on the United States of America and what Barack Obama will do in office.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Government
  • Political Geography: United States, America, India, Asia, Tokyo
  • Author: Valery Tishkov
  • Publication Date: 08-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: Gorbachev's liberalization brought the opening of Russia to the outside world and with it interest in and contact with the Russian 1 diaspora. After the dis- solution of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), the problem of the diaspora evolved quickly, when it was transformed into a political and even a humanitarian challenge.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Government
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Asia
  • Author: Jun Zhang
  • Publication Date: 04-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This paper investigates the institutional reason underlying the change in the trajectory of economic growth in post-reform China, and argues that the trajectory of growth was much more normal during the period of 1978-89 than in the post-1989 era. In the former period, growth was largely induced by equality-generating institutional change in agriculture and the emergence of non-state industrial sector. In the latter period, growth was triggered by the acceleration of capital investments under authoritarian decentralized hierarchy within self-contained regions. Such a growth trajectory accelerates capital deepening, deteriorating total factor productivity and leads to rising regional imbalance. This paper further argues that the change in the trajectory of growth is the outcome of changes in political and inter-governmental fiscal institutions following the 1989 political crisis.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, Industrial Policy, Political Economy
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Anis Chowdhury
  • Publication Date: 04-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Most small island economies or 'microstates' have distinctly different characteristics from larger developing economies. They are more open and vulnerable to external and environmental shocks, resulting in high output volatility. Most of them also suffer from locational disadvantages. Although a few small island economies have succeeded in generating sustained rapid growth and reducing poverty, most have dismal growth performance, resulting in high unemployment and poverty. Although macroeconomic policies play an important role in growth and poverty reduction, there has been very little work on the issue for small island economies or microstates. Most work follows the conventional framework and finds no or very little effectiveness of macroeconomic policies in stabilization. They also concentrate on short-run macroeconomic management with a focus almost entirely on either price stability or external balance. The presumption is that price stability and external balance are prerequisite for sustained rapid growth. This paper aims to provide a critical survey of the extant literature on macroeconomic policies for small island economies in light of the available evidence on their growth performance. Given the high output volatility and its impact on poverty, this paper will argue for a balance between price and output stabilization goals of macroeconomic policy mix. Drawing on the highly successful experience of Singapore, it will also outline a framework for growth promoting, pro-poor macroeconomic policies for small island economies/microstates.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: Asia, Australia/Pacific, Caribbean, Singapore
  • Author: Peilei Fan
  • Publication Date: 03-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Both China and India, the emerging giants in Asia, have achieved significant economic development in recent years. China has enjoyed a high annual GDP growth rate of 10 per cent and India has achieved an annual GDP growth rate of 6 per cent since 1981. Decomposing China and India's GDP growth from 1981 to 2004 into the three factors' contribution reveals that technology has contributed significantly to both countries' GDP growth, especially in the 1990s. R outputs (high-tech exports, service exports, and certified patents from USPTO) and inputs (R expenditure and human resources) further indicate that both countries have been very committed to R and their output is quite efficient.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: China, India, Asia
  • Publication Date: 04-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Kyrgyzstan's judiciary is failing to act as a neutral arbiter of political disputes or as a fair channel for economic arbitration. It requires significant reform to gain the trust of the public and to assert its role as an independent branch of government. A failure to achieve reform would make it impossible to develop a pluralistic and stable political system over the long term and also undermine attempts to tackle widespread corruption and encourage development. Unless the government allows greater self-governance for lawyers and independence for judges, no amount of education or piecemeal reforms will create an effective system.
  • Topic: Corruption, Government, Reform
  • Political Geography: Asia, Kyrgyzstan
  • Publication Date: 06-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: South Korea's electoral politics has made a turn to the right that is likely to lead to closer security ties with the U.S. and some other important adjustments in foreign policy and has already strained relations with the North. The shift toward the Grand National Party (GNP), evident in President Lee Myung-bak's victory in late 2007, was completed when it won a majority in the 18th National Assembly in the 9 April 2008 elections. Those elections were dominated by domestic concerns, especially the economy; foreign policy and inter-Korean relations were near the bottom of voters' interests. The GNP's legislative agenda will include deregulation and privatisation, intended to revitalise business. Although generally supportive of Lee on foreign policy, the new assembly may cause him problems, particularly over unpopular economic liberalisation and deregulation proposals. Opposition to these, which have already produced a major political crisis, may have an impact on wider security concerns.
  • Topic: Government, International Cooperation, Politics
  • Political Geography: United States, Asia, South Korea, North Korea
  • Publication Date: 07-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: The Taliban has created a sophisticated communications apparatus that projects an increasingly confident movement. Using the full range of media, it is successfully tapping into strains of Afghan nationalism and exploiting policy failures by the Kabul government and its international backers. The result is weakening public support for nation-building, even though few actively support the Taliban. The Karzai government and its allies must make greater efforts, through word and deed, to address sources of alienation exploited in Taliban propaganda, particularly by ending arbitrary detentions and curtailing civilian casualties from aerial bombing.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Democratization, Government, Communications
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Asia, Taliban
  • Publication Date: 08-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: The government of Thai Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej is struggling for political survival and has handed the military full responsibility for tackling the violent insurgency in the Muslim-dominated Deep South, which has claimed more than 3,000 lives in the past four years. The military has restructured its operations and has made headway in reducing the number of militant attacks, but temporary military advances, though welcome, do nothing to defuse the underlying grievances of the Malay Muslim minority. For that to happen, the otherwise preoccupied government needs to find the will and energy to undertake a serious policy initiative.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Conflict Prevention, Political Violence, Government, Islam
  • Political Geography: Asia, Thailand
  • Publication Date: 09-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Street protests are threatening to bring down the government led by the People Power Party (PPP) just nine months after it won a decisive victory in general elections. Clashes between pro- and anti-government protesters have left one dead and 42 people injured. Mass action is hurting the economy, including the lucrative – and usually sacrosanct – tourism industry. The replacement of Samak Sundaravej with Somchai Wongsawat as prime minister is unlikely to defuse tensions. The immediate need is to restore the rule of law and authority of the government – not because it is perfect, but for the sake of stability and democracy. In the medium and longer term, the priorities must be to resolve political differences through democratic processes and to address the root causes of the current divisiveness, including the gap between the urban rich and the rural poor. Overthrowing the government – by street protesters or a military coup – will do nothing to resolve the political polarisation that is tearing Thailand apart.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Conflict Prevention, Government
  • Political Geography: Asia, Thailand, Southeast Asia
  • Publication Date: 10-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Pakistan's return to civilian government after eight years of military rule and the sidelining of the military's religious allies in the February 2008 elections offer an opportunity to restore the rule of law and to review and repeal discriminatory religious laws that restrict fundamental rights, fuel extremism and destabilise the country. Judicial reforms would remove the legal cover under which extremists target their rivals and exploit a culture of violence and impunity. Ensuring judicial independence would also strengthen the transition to democracy at a time when it is being undermined by worsening violence.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Conflict Prevention, Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Asia
  • Author: Howard Loewen
  • Publication Date: 12-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: Whereas the European Union (EU) favors a formal, binding, output-oriented, and to some extent supranational approach to cooperation, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is based on informal, non-binding, process-oriented intergovernmental forms of cooperation. This article addresses the question of whether these differences between European and Asian cooperation norms or cultures can account for interregional cooperation problems in the areas of democracy and human rights within the institutional context of EU-ASEAN and the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM). The author argues that a clash of cooperation cultures basically occurs in both forms of interregional collaboration between Asia and Europe, with slight differences due to the institutional context: while disagreements over the question of democracy and human rights between the EU and ASEAN have led to a temporary and then a complete standstill in cooperation, the flexible institutional mechanisms of ASEM seem, at first glance, to mitigate the disruptive effects of such dialogues. Yet informality does not remove the issues from the agenda, as the recurrent disputes over Myanmar's participation and the nonintervention norm favored by the Asian side of ASEM clearly indicate. Antagonistic cooperation cultures thus play a significant role in explaining the obstructive nature of the interregional human rights and democracy dialogue between Asia and Europe.
  • Topic: International Relations, Government, Human Rights, International Cooperation
  • Political Geography: Europe, Asia, Myanmar
  • Author: Dennis Arroyo
  • Publication Date: 06-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Walter H. Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center
  • Abstract: Major economic reforms are often politically difficult, causing pain to voters and provoking unrest. They may be opposed by politicians with short time horizons. They may collide with the established ideology and an entrenched ruling party. They may be resisted by bureaucrats and by vested interests. Obstacles to major economic reform can be daunting in democratic and autocratic polities alike.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, Political Economy
  • Political Geography: China, India, Asia, South Korea, Vietnam, Singapore, Thailand
  • Author: Karen Eggleston
  • Publication Date: 10-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Walter H. Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center
  • Abstract: The economic approach of comparative and historical institutional analysis (Aoki 2001, Greif 2006) has virtually never been used in theoretical studies of healthcare incentives. This paper seeks to help fill this gap by exploring the explanatory power of such an approach for understanding incentives in China's healthcare delivery system. It focuses on positive analysis of why China's health system incentives evolved the way they did. The first section analyzes the institution of physician dispensing (MDD) and reforms toward separation of prescribing from dispensing (SPD), in historical and comparative perspective. It shows, for example, how MDD was a self-reinforcing institution; the longer a society remains under MDD, the higher the associated costs of supplier-induced demand can be before implementing SPD becomes the efficient self-enforcing social institution. Rapid technological change and adoption of universal coverage are likely to trigger SPD reforms. The second section seeks to explain the pattern and impact of price regulation and hospital payment reforms in contemporary China, which also reflect the legacy of MDD.
  • Topic: Government, Health, Human Welfare
  • Political Geography: China, Israel, Asia
  • Author: Harald Olav Skar
  • Publication Date: 07-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Norwegian Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: A retired colleague at NUPI, who had been a prisoner of war during the Nazi occupation of Norway, once remarked: “The problem of youth movements has always been that they take on a life of their own, and are not easily controlled by the mother party.” On the other hand the mother party may use exactly this 'unruliness' to its favour when illegitimate targets are to be achieved. If the youth branch can be used to do political “dirty work”, while the mother party itself remains “clean” and lawful, then an additional strategic advantage may be gained. My colleague remembered the deeds of the Third Reich and the Nazi youth movement with apprehension, hoping that the new world would not see the likes of these.
  • Topic: Political Violence, Civil Society, Government
  • Political Geography: Norway, Asia, Nepal
  • Author: Regina Abrami, Edmund Malesky, Yu Zheng
  • Publication Date: 07-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: Over the past two decades, no two economies have averaged more rapid economic growth than China and Vietnam. But while China's income inequality has risen rapidly over that same time frame, Vietnam's has only grown moderately. Structural and socio-cultural determinants fail to account for these divergent pathways. Existing political variables are also unhelpful. China and Vietnam are coded in exactly the same way, even in the path-breaking work on authoritarian regimes. In this paper, we take a deeper look at political institutions in the two countries, demonstrating that profound differences between the polities directly impact distributional choices. In particular, we find that Vietnamese elite institutions require construction of broader coalitions of policymakers, place more constraints on executive decision making, and have more competitive selection processes. As a result, there are stronger political motivations for Vietnamese leaders to provide equalizing transfers that limit inequality growth.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: China, Israel, Asia, Vietnam, Southeast Asia
  • Author: Robert A. Dahl, Susan Palmer, Catherine Barnes, Beverly Hagerdon Thakur, Catherine Kannam
  • Publication Date: 04-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Academy of Political Science
  • Abstract: IFES is pleased to present this comprehensive assessment report anticipating the upcoming constitutional referendum and general election in the Kingdom of Thailand. IFES hopes that these findings and recommendations can inform efforts to strengthen the democratic process within Thailand and can provide guidance as the nation seeks to reassume its position as a model for democracy within Southeast Asia. The field work and interviews that provide the substance of this report were conducted between March 14 and April 5, 2007.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Democratization, Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: Asia, Thailand
  • Publication Date: 07-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Academy of Political Science
  • Abstract: Dates of Fieldwork: Nov. 17 -Dec. 20, 2006 Sample Size: 1,600 Consists of a base national sample of 1,400 and an oversample of 200 respondents in select areas of the country Data presented here reflects national distribution of population. Margin of error for national sample: ±2.75% Urban/Rural Distribution: Urban (51%), Rural (49%) Gender Breakdown: Women (53%), Men (47%).
  • Topic: Civil Society, Democratization, Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: Caucasus, Asia, Azerbaijan
  • Author: Rakesh Sharma, Kathleen Holzwart, Rola Abdul-latif
  • Publication Date: 10-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Academy of Political Science
  • Abstract: This is the 15th public opinion poll conducted in Ukraine by IFES. This report details findings from the latest IFES survey in Ukraine and references findings from earlier surveys done in Ukraine. The fieldwork was conducted from August 28 – September 11, 2007 with 1265 respondents throughout Ukraine. This sample comprised a national sample of 1,200 respondents and an over-sample of 65 respondents in Kyiv. The data has been weighted by region, age, and gender to be nationally representative for the adult (18+) population of Ukraine. The margin of error for a sample of this size is plus/minus 2.75%. The fieldwork and data processing for the survey were conducted by GfK Ukraine, based in Kyiv. Funding for the survey was provided by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
  • Topic: Democratization, Government
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Ukraine, Asia
  • Publication Date: 07-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: President Musharraf faces the most serious challenge to almost eight years of military rule. Opposition has gathered momentum following his failed attempt to remove the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Pakistan. Moderate political parties, all segments of civil society and the public at large are vociferously demanding restoration of democracy and rule of law and the military's withdrawal from politics. The choice is not whether a transition will come but whether it will be peaceful and orderly, through free and fair elections, or violent. Musharraf and the high command are tempted to retain their power at all costs. Several of their options - particularly emergency - could portend disaster. Rigged or stalled elections would destabilise Pakistan, with serious international security consequences. Especially the U.S., needs to recognise its own interests are no longer served by military rule (if they ever really were) and use its considerable leverage to persuade the generals to return to the barracks and accept a democratic transition through free and fair parliamentary, followed by presidential, elections this year.
  • Topic: Democratization, Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Asia
  • Publication Date: 06-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: President Pervez Musharraf, facing his most serious challenge in nearly eight years of authoritarian rule, is likely to try to retain power despite growing opposition. Rumours abound in Pakistan that he will declare a state of emergency, which would suspend fundamental rights and in effect mean martial law. Given an increasingly assertive opposition following his 9 March 2007 decision to remove the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry, it will be impossible for the president and his military backers to maintain the status quo. Western friends of Pakistan, most influentially the U.S., can tip the balance by delivering a clear message that emergency rule is unacceptable and Pakistan should return to democratic government by holding free, fair and democratic elections by the end of the year.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Democratization, Government
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Asia
  • Publication Date: 05-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Throughout much of the 25-year Sri Lankan conflict, attention has focused on the confrontation between the majority Sinhalese and the minority Tamils. The views of the country's Muslims, who are 8 per cent of the population and see themselves as a separate ethnic group, have largely been ignored. Understanding their role in the conflict and addressing their political aspirations are vital if there is to be a lasting peace settlement. Muslims need to be part of any renewed peace process but with both the government and LTTE intent on continuing the conflict, more immediate steps should be taken to ensure their security and political involvement. These include control of the Karuna faction, more responsive local and national government, improved human rights mechanisms and a serious political strategy that recognises minority concerns in the east.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Ethnic Conflict, Government
  • Political Geography: Asia, Sri Lanka
  • Publication Date: 05-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Nepal's Maoists have changed their strategy and tactics but not yet their goals. In 1996 they launched a “people's war” to establish a communist republic but ten years later ended it by accepting multiparty democracy; their armed struggle targeted the parliamentary system but they are now working alongside their former enemies, the mainstream parties, in an interim legislature and coalition government. Their commitment to pluralistic politics and society is far from definitive, and their future course will depend on both internal and external factors. While they have signed up to a peaceful, multiparty transition, they continue to hone alternative plans for more revolutionary change.
  • Topic: Communism, Development, Government
  • Political Geography: Asia, Nepal
  • Publication Date: 04-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Almost six decades after Pakistan's independence, the constitutional status of the Federally Administered Northern Areas (Gilgit and Baltistan), once a part of the former princely state of Jammu and Kashmir and now under Pakistani control, remains undetermined, with political autonomy a distant dream. The region's inhabitants are embittered by Islamabad's unwillingness to devolve power to its elected representatives, and a nationalist movement, which seeks independence, is gaining ground. The rise of sectarian extremism is an alarming consequence of this denial of basic political rights. Taking advantage of the weaknesses in the imposed dispensation, religious organisations espousing a narrow sectarian agenda are fanning the fires of sectarian hatred in a region where Sunnis, Shias and Ismailis have peacefully coexisted for several centuries.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Civil Society, Government
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Asia, Kashmir
  • Publication Date: 03-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: More than five years after President Pervez Musharraf declared his intention to crack down on violent sectarian and jihadi groups and to regulate the network of madrasas (religious schools) on which they depend, his government's reform program is in shambles. Banned sectarian and jihadi groups, supported by networks of mosques and madrasas, continue to operate openly in Pakistan's largest city, Karachi, and elsewhere. The international community needs to press President Musharraf to fulfil his commitments, in particular to enforce genuine controls on the madrasas and allow free and fair national elections in 2007. It should also shift the focus of its donor aid from helping the government's ineffectual efforts to reform the religious schools to improving the very weak public school sector.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Government, Religion
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Asia, Karachi
  • Author: David Goodman
  • Publication Date: 04-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: CONfines de Relaciones Internacionales y Ciencia Política
  • Abstract: China's economic growth since the late 1970s challenges economic theory so strongly that cultural explanations are often sought. A prime difficulty in such approaches is the operationalisation of the concept of Chinese culture. Culture is more readily and usefully analysed at the local rather than the national level. Local culture has been demonstrated to be important to politics and the emergence of modern Chinese nationalism. The relationship between local culture and economic development is more complex. Local culture provides ideology and often organisation that supports entrepreneurship and the development of specifically local economic activity. Through local studies in three Chinese provinces – Shanxi, Qinghai and Hainan – it is argued that local culture is not only a significant factor of production but also helps explain the trajectory and organisation of local business.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Xiaopeng Pang, Scott Rozelle
  • Publication Date: 01-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Walter H. Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center
  • Abstract: The goal of our paper is to provide an empirical basis for understanding progress (or stagnation) in the evolution of China's village committee elections. To meet this goal, we pursue three specific objectives. First, we seek to identify patterns (and trends) of voting behavior and develop ways to measure participation in the voting process. Second, we analyze who is voting and who is not (and document the process by which their votes are cast). Finally, we see to understand the correlation between propensity to vote and the quality of village elections.
  • Topic: Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Jikun Huang, Qiuqiong Huang, Jinxia Wang, Scott Rozelle
  • Publication Date: 02-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Walter H. Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center
  • Abstract: Increasing demand for China's limited water resources (across China, but mostly in northern China) from rapidly growing industry, urban populations and agriculture implies potentially dire consequences for the sustainability of water use and drastic changes in cultivation patterns (Zhang, 2001). Problems in the water sector also have significant implications for China's future trade position in key crops and may affect the income of the farming sector (Huang et al., 1999).
  • Topic: Agriculture, Development, Environment, Government
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Johan Swinnen, Scott Rozelle
  • Publication Date: 01-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Walter H. Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center
  • Abstract: The dramatic transition from Communism to market economies across Asia and Europe started in the Chinese countryside in the 1970s. Since then more than a billion of people, many of them very poor, have been affected by radical reforms in agriculture. However, there are enormous differences in the reform strategies that countries have chosen. This paper presents a set of arguments to explain why countries have chosen different reform policies.
  • Topic: Agriculture, Development, Government, Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, Europe, Asia, Soviet Union
  • Author: Tetsufumi Arita
  • Publication Date: 07-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Walter H. Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center
  • Abstract: For the past five years, the Bank of Japan (BOJ) has employed an unconventional monetary easing policy, called quantitative monetary easing. Under a zero interest rate regime, the BOJ shifted its tool for monetary easing from interest rates to quantity of money, thus providing the money market with much more money than it needs. It is difficult to find evidence that this monetary easing has contributed to the current economic recovery. What we can show is that this quantitative easing diluted the functions of interest rates in the money market, with the following consequences: quantitative easing hid the risks of the huge amount of fiscal debt and supported troubled commercial banks. Hence it helped to prevent both fiscal and financial crisis.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Japan, Asia
  • Author: John A. Glaze
  • Publication Date: 10-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College
  • Abstract: Cultivation and production of opium in Afghanistan have skyrocketed since the Taliban were toppled in 2001 such that Afghanistan now supplies 92 percent of the world's illicit opium. The expanding opium trade is threatening to destabilize the Afghan government and turn the conflict-ridden country back into a safe haven for drug traffickers and terrorists. This paper examines the nature of the opium problem in Afghanistan and analyzes the allied strategy to counter this growing crisis. In analyzing the current counternarcotics strategy, it points out pitfalls including the counterproductive aspects of opium eradication. Finally, changes to the strategy are proposed, which include increasing troop levels and eliminating national restrictions, substantially increasing financial aid, deemphasizing opium eradication, focusing on long-term alternative livelihoods, aggressively pursuing drug kingpins and corrupt government officials, and exploring the possibility of Afghanistan's entry to the licit opium market.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Government, War on Drugs
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, Asia
  • Author: Pieter Feith
  • Publication Date: 03-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Even though the first contacts between the Indonesian government and the Free Aceh Movement (GAM) had already taken place before the December 2004 tsunami struck, the disaster consolidated the political will to leave old grievances behind and join forces in the reconstruction process and the creation of a sustainable future for the people of Aceh. The determination of both parties, considerable pressure from Aceh's people, and significant support from the international community helped ensure a solution to the thirty-year armed conflict with dignity for all. The Aceh Monitoring Mission was the first European Security and Defence Policy operation in Asia and was conducted with five participating states from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). The European Union (EU) and ASEAN are now in a position to build on this experience and use AMM as a model for future cooperation in crisis management between regional actors. Parallels may be drawn to the root causes and possible solutions of other, somewhat similar conflicts in the region. The EU will stand by the people of Aceh in the ongoing peace and reconciliation and post-conflict reconstruction processes and is determined to develop a lasting and comprehensive partnership with Indonesia.
  • Topic: International Relations, Government, Peace Studies
  • Political Geography: Europe, Indonesia, Asia, Southeast Asia
  • Author: A. Tariq Karim, C. Christine Fair
  • Publication Date: 01-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Although Bangladesh is generally considered to be a secular democracy, recent years have seen a steady erosion of the important principles underlying it. Bangladesh's political system is mired in conflict as the two mainstream parties battle for control of the country and its resources. With neither party able to win a majority, both have sought alliances of convenience to secure power. Neither party has addressed pervasive corruption and systemic failure to provide good governance and law and order. The choices Bangladeshis make—or, more critically, are permitted to make—in the coming months will have great import for the country's future. Because politics in Bangladesh has become a zero-sum game with no meaningful political role for the opposition, the stakes are high for both the opposition Awami League (AL) and the ruling Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP). Increasingly, Islamist parties have emerged as political kingmakers with newfound legitimacy. In the 2001 elections the BNP came to power because of its alliance with key Islamist parties, even though the latter commanded few votes on their own. Since the late 1990s, Islamist militancy has spread throughout the country, raising questions about Bangladesh's internal security and the consequences for South Asian regional security. The serial bombings of August 2006 shocked most observers, even though the massive attack killed only two persons. The upcoming January 2007 elections are in many ways a referendum on the two parties' competing visions of Bangladesh and the role of Islam in the public and private spheres. Unfortunately, a number of irregularities in the election preparations call into question their freeness and fairness, threatening civil unrest. The attention and dedicated involvement of the international community is paramount to ensure free and fair elections in Bangladesh.
  • Topic: Security, Government, Religion
  • Political Geography: Bangladesh, South Asia, Asia
  • Author: Kenneth F. Greene
  • Publication Date: 12-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Kellogg Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: Why do dominant parties persist in power for decades and under what conditions do challengers expand enough to beat them at the polls, thus transforming these systems into fully competitive democracies with turnover? Unlike in one - party regimes, the world's sixteen dominant party systems feature meaningful electoral competition; however, dominant parties have persisted despite enough social cleavages, permissive electoral institutions, negative retrospective evaluations of the incumbent's performance, and sufficient ideological space for challengers to occupy. I craft a resource theory of single - dominance that focuses on the incumbent's ability to divert public resources for partisan use. Using formal theory, I show how asymmetric resources and costs of participation force challengers to form as non - centrist and under - competitive parties. Only when these asymmetries decline do opposition parties expand. I test the theory's predictions using survey data of party elites in Mexico. I also extend the argument to Malaysia and Italy using aggregate data.
  • Topic: Corruption, Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: Europe, Malaysia, Asia, Italy, Mexico
  • Author: Nermeen Shaikh
  • Publication Date: 05-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Asia Society
  • Abstract: Mongkol Na Songkhla is the Minister of Public Health in Thailand. He has served in the Ministry of Public Health since his appointment on October 9, 2006. Dr. Mongkol Na Songkhla spoke with Asia Society's Nermeen Shaikh during a visit to New York where he joined a press conference with President Bill Clinton and the Clinton Foundation to announce a global pooled procurement of anti-retroviral drugs.
  • Topic: HIV/AIDS, Government, Health
  • Political Geography: New York, Asia, Thailand
  • Author: George Perkovich
  • Publication Date: 05-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: The debate over the nuclear deal negotiated by the Bush Administration and the government of India is too narrow. This is ironic in as much as the best argument for the deal is that it advances big strategic goals. Some administration officials admit privately that the purported nonproliferation benefits of the deal are thinner than the paper it's not yet written on, and they hope to convince Congress that even if there are no nonproliferation gains, the grand strategic benefits still make the deal worth supporting. Strangely, nevertheless, the debate focuses on the nonproliferation aspects of the deal and leaves larger strategic questions relatively unexamined.
  • Topic: International Relations, Defense Policy, Arms Control and Proliferation, Government
  • Political Geography: India, Asia
  • Publication Date: 10-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Academy of Political Science
  • Abstract: In response to an invitation issued by the president of the Republic of the Philippines, IFES and its CEPPS partners, composed of international development and political party specialists from the International Republican Institute and the National Democratic Institute, deployed a team of representatives in early March 2004 to the Philippines to assess the political situation leading up to the May 10 Presidential and Legislative Elections. As previous IFES projects have outlined, the electoral situation in the Philippines is particularly if not unusually complex, partly due to its long and turbulent history of democracy and its associated electoral process. The team found that the 2004 election cycle was particularly flawed. COMELEC's plans and programs for the May 10 elections were disrupted by the late release of funds by Congress and the Supreme Court's decisions to stop the automation of polling, counting, and transmission of results from taking place. Transition to a computerized central voter registry was similarly abandoned only days before the election and election officers reverted to using manual voters' lists and voter records. Voter education efforts were uncoordinated and poorly implemented. The training of polling officials was done through parallel training programs developed by the Department of Education, COMELEC, and civil society. COMELEC's training was judged to be the least effective of the three and the most poorly organized.
  • Topic: Democratization, Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: Israel, Asia, Philippines
  • Author: M. Sajjad Hassan
  • Publication Date: 07-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: The northeast region of India remains fraught with severe violence, poor growth and acute frustration among its youth. Success of policies to resolve the region's crisis has proved less than encouraging. What could be the way out of the violence–poor growth trap? This paper argues that a key determinant of the instability in the region is the absence of the effective role of the state: to provide security and opportunities for social and economic wellbeing equitably to all sections of society; and to uphold the rule of law. For reconstruction to work the state must act to provide key political goods to all its citizens, and restore its legitimate authority by implementing policies and enforcing laws cleanly and transparently. Political leaders can contribute to this endeavour by organizing politics inclusively.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Development, Government
  • Political Geography: India, Asia
  • Author: Qi Zhang, Mingxing Liu, Yiu Por Chen
  • Publication Date: 06-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Using China as a test case, this paper empirically investigates how the development of financial intermediation affects rural-urban income disparity (RUID). Using 20-year province level panel data, we find that the level of financial development is positively correlated with RUID. Examining two subperiods, 1978-88 and 1989-98, we test several competing hypotheses that may affect RUID. We find that the increase of RUID may be explained by fiscal policy during the first period and financial intermediates during the second period. In addition, we show that the direction of the Kuznets effect on RUID is sensitive to changes in government development policies. The rural development policies during the first period may have enhanced the rural development and reduced RUID. However, the financial intermediary policy during the second period focused on urban development and increased both urban growth and intra-urban inequalities, thus leading to an increase in RUID. Finally, we show that RUID is insensitive to the provincial industrial structure (the share of primary industry in GDP). These results are consistent with the traditional urban-bias hypothesis and are robust to the inclusion of controls for endogeneity issues. This study adds to the economic inequality literature by clarifying the effects of government policies on the underlying dynamics on convergent and divergent effects on rural-urban inequality.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Mingxing Liu, Pengfei Zhang, Shiyuan Pan, Justin Yifu Lin
  • Publication Date: 05-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This paper explores the politically determined development objectives and the intrinsic logic of government intervention policies in east developed countries. It is argued that the distorted institutional structure in China and in many least developed countries, after the Second World War, can be largely explained by government adoption of inappropriate development strategies. Motivated by nation building, most least-developed countries, including the socialist countries, adopted a comparative advantage defying strategy to accelerate the growth of capital-intensive, advanced sectors in their countries. In the paper we also statistically measure the evolution of government development strategies and the economic institutions in China from 1950s to 1980s to show the co-existence and coevolution of government adoption of comparative advantage defying strategy and the trinity system.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Indranil Dutta
  • Publication Date: 04-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: In this paper we explore what impact, if any, government debts have on achieving the Millennium Development Goals for the Indian states. To fulfill the goals, national governments, especially in the developing world, have to undertake major investments in the social sector; but how much they will really be able to do so will depend on the conditions of their finances. For the Indian states we find that government investment in the social sector is extremely important to reduce poverty, but the government's debt burden is actually stopping several states from attaining the MDG targets. Although, in the medium term the impact of the debt on poverty is not very harmful, in the longer run it has a significant negative impact. Therefore for policy purposes reduction in debt should be given a priority.
  • Topic: Debt, Government, Poverty
  • Political Geography: India, Asia
  • Author: Steve Pifer
  • Publication Date: 04-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: What a difference a year makes. The 2004 Ukrainian presidential election entailed massive fraud, sent hundreds of thousands of protesters into the streets, and sparked a revolution. The March 26 parliamentary elections, by contrast, were strikingly calm and ordinary. The Orange Revolution's main hero, President Viktor Yushchenko, saw his party, Our Ukraine, come in a disappointing third. He nevertheless remains in the driver's seat in deciding who will make up the ruling coalition in the next Rada (parliament).
  • Topic: Civil Society, Government
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Ukraine, Eastern Europe, Asia
  • Publication Date: 11-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Taliban and other foreign militants, including al-Qaeda sympathisers, have sheltered since 2001 in Pakistan's Pashtun-majority Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), seven administrative districts bordering on south eastern Afghanistan. Using the region to regroup, reorganise and rearm, they are launching increasingly severe cross-border attacks on Afghan and international military personnel, with the support and active involvement of Pakistani militants. The Musharraf government's ambivalent approach and failure to take effective action is destabilising Afghanistan; Kabul's allies, particularly the U.S. and NATO, which is now responsible for security in the bordering areas, should apply greater pressure on it to clamp down on the pro-Taliban militants. But the international community, too, bears responsibility by failing to support democratic governance in Pakistan, including within its troubled tribal belt.
  • Topic: Government, International Cooperation
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Afghanistan, Asia, Taliban, Tribal Areas
  • Publication Date: 11-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: After four years of relative peace, Sri Lanka has again plunged into military conflict between the government and the separatist Tamil group, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). A 2002 ceasefire, negotiated with Norway's help, remains intact on paper but is flouted on the ground with increasing regularity and frequent brutality. More than 2,500 people, many of them civilians, have been killed since January. Human rights abuses and political killings are carried out with impunity by both sides. The humanitarian crisis in the north east is critical, with more than 200,000 fleeing their homes during the year. Until attitudes change on both sides, the immediate prospect is for worsening violence.
  • Topic: Government, Human Welfare, Peace Studies
  • Political Geography: Norway, Asia, Sri Lanka
  • Publication Date: 11-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Fierce battles rage in southern Afghanistan, insurgent attacks in the east creep towards the provinces surrounding Kabul and a new campaign of terrorist violence targets urban centres. The country's democratic government is not immediately threatened but action is needed now. This includes putting more international forces into the battle zones but insurgencies are never beaten by military means alone, and there are no quick fixes. Diplomatic pressure on Pakistan is needed, and the government of President Karzai must show political will to respond to internal discontent with serious efforts to attack corruption, work with the elected National Assembly and extend the rule of law by ending the culture of impunity. Afghanistan needs a renewed, long-term effort to build an effective, fair government that provides real security to its people.
  • Topic: International Relations, Government, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Afghanistan, Asia, Kabul
  • Publication Date: 10-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Bangladesh faces twin threats to its democracy and stability: the risk that its political system will founder in a deadlock over elections and the growing challenge of militant Islamism, which has brought a spate of violence. The issues are linked; Islamic militancy has flourished in a time of dysfunctional politics, popular discontent and violence. The questions of whether Bangladesh's traditional moderation and resilience will see it through or whether escalating violence and political confrontation could derail its democracy are vital ones. Serious instability in the world's third most populous Muslim country could not fail to have wider implications. The situation does not justify great anxiety about the outbreak of major conflict domestically or the nurturing of significant extremism and terrorism internationally but there are elements of fragility in the system which need close watching and engagement. The international community can help to address the graver risks but only if it takes Bangladesh seriously as a strategic partner and moves towards more mature political engagement.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Government
  • Political Geography: Bangladesh, Asia
  • Publication Date: 09-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: President Pervez Musharraf and the military are responsible for the worsening of the conflict in Balochistan. Tensions between the government and its Baloch opposition have grown because of Islamabad's heavy-handed armed response to Baloch militancy and its refusal to negotiate demands for political and economic autonomy. The killing of Baloch leader Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti in August 2006 sparked riots and will likely lead to more confrontation. The conflict could escalate if the government insists on seeking a military solution to what is a political problem and the international community, especially the U.S., fails to recognise the price that is involved for security in neighbouring Afghanistan.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Afghanistan, United States, Asia
  • Publication Date: 03-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Just past the half-year mark of the agreement to end the conflict in Aceh, several long-anticipated problems are surfacing. None by itself is grave enough to derail the 15 August 2005 accord between the Indonesian government and the Free Aceh Movement (Gerakan Aceh Merdeka, GAM); the peace process remain s very much on track. But their convergence means that more than ever, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and Vice President Jusuf Kalla will have to exert leadership, and international donors will have to constantly assess the political impact of their assistance to prevent any backsliding.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Government, Treaties and Agreements
  • Political Geography: Indonesia, Asia
  • Publication Date: 03-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: There is serious risk the long-awaited Papuan People's Council (Majelis Rakyat Papua, MRP) is about to collapse, only five months after it was established, ending hopes that it could ease tensions between Papuans and the central government. The MRP was designed as the centrepiece of the autonomy package granted the country's easternmost province in 2001. Almost as soon as it came into being, however, it was faced with two major crises – stalled talks over the legal status of West Irian Jaya, the province carved out of Papua in 2003, and violence sparked by protests over the giant Freeport mine – while Jakarta marginalised its mediation attempts. To revive genuine dialogue and salvage the institution before autonomy is perhaps fatally damaged, President Yudhoyono should meet the MRP in Papua, thus acknowledging its importance, while the MRP should move beyond non-negotiable demands and offer realistic policy options to make autonomy work.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Government, Nationalism
  • Political Geography: Asia, Papua
  • Publication Date: 03-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: The Pakistan government's ill-planned and poorly executed emergency response to the October 2005 earthquake highlighted the inadequacies of authoritarian rule. As the government now embarks on three to four years of reconstruction and rehabilitation, the absence of civilian oversight and inadequate accountability and transparency could seriously undermine the process. Should jihadi groups that have been active in relief work remain as involved in reconstruction, threats to domestic and regional security will increase.
  • Topic: Security, Environment, Government
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Asia
  • Author: Karsten Giese
  • Publication Date: 01-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: The Chinese Communist Party has chosen to base the legitimacy of its rule on its performance as leading national power. Since national identity is based on shared imaginations of and directly tied to territory – hence place, this paper analyses both heterodox models for identification on the national and potentially competing place-based collective identities on the local level. This analysis, based on communication within a number of popular communication forums and on observation of behavior in the physical reality of today's urban China, shows that communication within the virtual and behavior in the real world are not separated realities but form a new virreal spatial continuum consisting of imagined places both online and offline. I argue that ties to place are stronger and identities constructed on shared imaginations of place are more salient the more direct the experience of place is – be the place real, virtual or virreal. Hence in China challenges to one-party rule will probably accrue from competing localized collective identities rather than from heterodox nationalism.
  • Topic: Democratization, Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Heike Holbig
  • Publication Date: 03-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: As a Socialist country undergoing rapid social and economic transition, China presents a revealing case study on the role of ideology in the process of institutional change. Based on Douglass North's theory of institutional change and on David Beetham's theory of political legitimation, this paper argues that recent ideological reforms have been a crucial factor in sustaining the legitimacy of Communist party rule. Ideological change is conceived as a path-dependent process which helps to stabilize the social perception of transition and to frame the party's modernization achievements. At the same time, the dominant role of ideology makes the Chinese party-state, despite its economic success, more vulnerable to legitimacy crises compared to other authoritarian regimes.
  • Topic: Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Sinikukka Saari
  • Publication Date: 01-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The European intergovernmental organisations such as the Council of Europe, OSCE and the EU have taken up the task to promote actively human rights in Russia. The organisations differ in methods, instrument s and over-all strategies but the goal of socialising Russia to common European human rights norms is the same for all these organisations. Socialisation means a process through which norms are transmitted from one party to another and they become firmly established domestic practices.
  • Topic: Government, Human Rights, Human Welfare, International Organization
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Asia
  • Author: Randall Ireson
  • Publication Date: 02-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Walter H. Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center
  • Abstract: Between about 1990 and 1996, North Korea experienced what can only be described as a catastrophic economic collapse, which included a 70 percent reduction in food production compared to the late 1980s. The Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) initially insisted that the agriculture collapse was a consequence of natural disasters. However, it is clear that the seeds of this catastrophe had been planted decades earlier, the result of ill-advised and ultimately unsustainable national agricultural policies. Yet difficult as the situation is, it is not without options for significant improvement. This paper outlines a strategy for agricultural revitalization in North Korea, which could, in the foreseeable future, enable the DPRK to produce—domestically and in a sustainable manner—nearly all the food needed to supply a basic balanced diet for its population. Whether this strategy can be implemented, or indeed whether it is the best strategy for the DPRK in the longer term, depends on many factors outside the farm sector, including world and regional international political issues, and DPRK policy choices regarding participation in world trade and commerce.
  • Topic: International Relations, Government, Health, Human Welfare
  • Political Geography: Asia, North Korea, Korea
  • Author: Shabnam Mallick, Rajarshi Sen
  • Publication Date: 01-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies
  • Abstract: In the context of the president's rule in India in 1975 we look at the intersection of political corruption and human security through the lens of the theory of securitization-desecuritization. We study the 'deeper politics' — i.e., the frame of reference of actors — behind the distortions in the civic and political institutions of India. We argue that the securitization of development, in order to extricate the national developmental enterprise from the deadweight of corruption, led to de-politicization of the developmental enterprise, which in turn negatively impacted human security. In doing so, we arrive at some moral, social-psychological, and cognitive understanding of how not to securitize. The policy implications are towards employing securitization only as a last resort.
  • Topic: Security, Government, Human Welfare
  • Political Geography: Asia
  • Author: Myriam Désert
  • Publication Date: 05-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre d'Etudes et de Recherches Internationales
  • Abstract: What are the roots of the informal sector and what effects does it have? Is it a blessing or a curse? Changes in post-Soviet Russia contribute new food for thought to a debate that had previously been nourished primarily by considerations on the situation in developing countries. In Russia can be observed processes of formalization – and “deformalization” – of the rules governing not only the practices of economic actors, but also in the rarified distribution of public services publics. The analysis of actual informal practices feeds thinking about the relations between economic and political changes: what impact do they have in setting up a market economy and the rule of law, and in the reconfiguration of both the economic and social arena? An investigation into the way Russian academic circles and social actors view the informal sector sheds light on the various behavioral determinant: reaction to the economic context, cultural roots, social beliefs, and so on. The case of Russia illustrates how the informal sector is not only a mode of action that circumvents legal guidelines, but also a mode of sociability that rejects anonymous social relations. It helps examine ways to reinject the social aspect into economics.
  • Topic: Government, Political Economy, Privatization
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Asia
  • Author: Stephen Y.L. Cheung, Hasung Jang
  • Publication Date: 12-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: The far reaching economic effects of the 1997 Asian financial crisis underscore the importance of structural reforms in the governance of the East Asian business sector. This paper measures the progress of corporate governance reforms in nine East Asian economies towards the guidelines established by the Pacific Economic Cooperation Council (PECC), as revealed empirically through two surveys. The first survey is a stock-taking exercise to take note of on-going reforms in corporate governance rules and regulations, while the second covers perceptions of the implementation and enforcement of corporate governance rules as seen by fund managers and analysts. This study indicates a divergence between the regulatory environment and market perceptions of corporate governance practices in the countries sampled. The survey results also show that, although the nine economies do not differ significantly in the corporate governance rules and regulations they have put in place, there is a significant difference in terms of market perceptions of their corporate governance practices. More than an academic exercise, this study is meant to share the experiences of corporate governance reform among East Asian economies.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, Industrial Policy
  • Political Geography: Israel, East Asia, Asia
  • Author: Veron Mei-Ying Hung
  • Publication Date: 04-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: The George W. Bush administration in September 2002 laid out in the “National Security Strategy of the United States” its strategy toward China: “We welcome the emergence of a strong, peaceful, and prosperous China.” During a trip to Asia in March 2005, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice adopted a similar phrase to welcome “the rise of a confident, peaceful, and prosperous China.”
  • Topic: International Relations, Development, Government
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Shanghai, Asia
  • Publication Date: 10-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: In less than ten years, the Maoist insurgency has transformed Nepal. The Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) has spread armed conflict across the country and reshaped its political environment irrevocably. But their political aims are still questioned, and not enough is known about their structure and strategy. This background report seeks to fill in many of the gaps, based on close study of their writings and actions and a wide range of interviews, in order to provide policymakers in Nepal and the international community with information and insights needed to approach a peace process realistically.
  • Topic: Development, Government
  • Political Geography: Asia, Nepal
  • Publication Date: 07-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Elections for Afghanistan's National Assembly and Provincial Councils are a critical opportunity to achieve a sustainable peace in a country that is still emerging from a quarter century of conflict, created and exacerbated by ethnic, sectarian, regional and linguistic divisions. A representative and functional National Assembly could prove a crucial step in stabilising Afghanistan by allowing diversity of voices in decision-making. Provincial Councils could also help extend the authority of central government by introducing legally approved layers of devolution.
  • Topic: International Relations, Government, Peace Studies
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Asia
  • Publication Date: 06-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Nepal is in the grip of a constitutional crisis. The drafters of the 1990 Constitution hailed it as "the best constitution in the world", ending three decades of absolute monarchical rule by enshrining a multi-party system under a constitutional monarchy. But the nine- year-old Maoist insurgency has cruelly exposed the inherent weaknesses in that settlement, and the royal coup of 1 February 2005 has dealt it a near fatal blow. Constitutional change is a necessary, if not sufficient, element for producing lasting peace. The conflict's root causes can only be addressed by structural change in the state and its governance system. Constitutional issues and the political means by which they are dealt with are crucial to a peace process.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Government, Peace Studies
  • Political Geography: Asia, Nepal, Guinea
  • Author: Patrick Köllner
  • Publication Date: 09-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: Japan's ruling party is a prime example of a dominant party. While dominant parties in other democracies around the world have lost their grip on power or have even disappeared altogether, the LDP is still going strong. What explains the success of the party? How did the LDP acquire its dominant position and how did it manage to cling to it? In an attempt to answer these questions, this paper discusses the rise, the power (re-)sources and the perspectives of Japan's dominant party.
  • Topic: Democratization, Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: Japan, Asia
  • Author: Joachim Betz
  • Publication Date: 10-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: The Institutionalisation of Parties and the Consolidation of the Party System in India. Criteria, State and Causes of Persistent Defects Indian parties and the party system in India are only partly consolidated resp. institutionalised, according to the usual criteria, distilled from the experience of Western parties. This is so in spite of the long tradition of Indian parties, their large membership base, organisational complexity and independence from interest groups and in spite of their dominant position in regard to political leadership recruitment or the government agenda. Causes for the institutional deficits of parties lie in the prevalence of factional conflicts, clientelistic linkages between party leaders and member, and the parties' weak financial basis (compensated by tapping unorthodox sources of finance). These phenomena are responsible for the only very limited level of internal party democracy in India.
  • Topic: Democratization, Government
  • Political Geography: South Asia, India, Asia
  • Author: Stephan Haggard, Marcus Noland
  • Publication Date: 04-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: It is an honor to be invited to testify before this committee. We would like to begin our testimony by restating a simple yet compelling point: The absence of human, civil, and political rights in North Korea and the humanitarian disaster that afflicts its population are inextricably linked.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, Human Rights
  • Political Geography: Asia, North Korea
  • Author: Deborah Elms
  • Publication Date: 06-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies
  • Abstract: This article considers bargaining strategies used by government negotiators in the context of bilateral trade disputes. I argue that trade officials reach the most durable agreements by using an integrative, or value creating, strategy and avoiding the use of threats. By contrast, a highly distributive, value claiming strategy coupled with loud public threats is unlikely to result in a durable agreement and frequently leads to deadlocked negotiations. The irony, however, is that American officials use the latter approach more frequently in bilateral trade disputes, rather than the former. These strategies are usually chosen unconsciously in response to perceptions of losses that drive negotiators to select risky approaches to resolve disputes
  • Topic: International Relations, Government, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Asia
  • Author: François Dauceé
  • Publication Date: 06-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre d'Etudes et de Recherches Internationales
  • Abstract: Collective mobilizations in post-Soviet Russia constitute an enigma for Western political sociology due to their numerical weakness and their incapacity to strengthen democratic practices in the country. This perplexity can be explained by the unsuitability of the research tools used for their study. Academic research on social mobilization has long been based primarily on postulates concerning the modernization of social movements in a economically and politically liberal context. Western and Russian leaders involved in the transition process demonstrated a will to foster the constitution of organizations independent from the State and the creation of a civil society as an opposition force. In the early 90s, the practices of voluntary organizations in Russia became closer to Western ones. Notions such as "associative entrepreneurship", "professionalization" or "frustration" were shared by Russian movements. However, later evolutions showed the unsuitability of these concepts to understanding the full complexity of these movements. That is why this issue of "Research in question" aims to suggest new theoretical perspectives for studying associations in Russia. These are at the crossroads of various grammars, where civic and liberal principles are combined with domestic and patriotic preoccupations. This complexity, which resists a purely liberal vision of social organizations, draws convergent criticisms against their action. In order to investigate this complexity of practices as well as criticisms, the tools produced by a pragmatic and multiculturalist sociology are useful to show the diversity of social and political bonds that link militants in contemporary Russia.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Asia