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  • Author: Nicholas Kerr, Anna Lührmann
  • Publication Date: 09-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Varieties of Democracy Institute (V-Dem)
  • Abstract: As multiparty elections have become a global norm, scholars and policy experts regard public trust in elections as vital for regime legitimacy. However, very few cross-national studies have examined the consequences of electoral manipulation, including the manipulation of election administration and the media, on citizens’ trust in elections. This paper addresses this gap by exploring how autonomy of election management bodies (EMBs) and media freedom individually and conjointly shape citizens’ trust in elections. Citizens are more likely to express confidence in elections when EMBs display de-facto autonomy, and less likely to do so when media entities disseminate information independent of government control. Additionally, we suggest that EMB autonomy may not have a positive effect on public trust in elections if media freedom is low. Empirical findings based on recent survey data on public trust in 47 elections and expert data on de-facto EMB autonomy and media freedom support our hypotheses.
  • Topic: Public Opinion, Media, Post Truth Politics
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Tove Ahlbom, Marina Povitkina
  • Publication Date: 09-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Varieties of Democracy Institute (V-Dem)
  • Abstract: Natural disasters cause suffering for millions of people around the globe every year and as climate change unfolds the likelihood of natural catastrophes is increasing. While weather shocks, such as earthquakes, tornadoes, and floods are beyond our control, a governments’ capacity to protect populations largely determines the degree of human suffering in disasters. Democracies, with freedom of speech, broad public participation and representation, are believed to protect their populations better than non-democratic regimes. However, democratic institutions are insufficient for securing protection from disasters in contexts of corruption, poor planning and public administration incompetence. We argue that the effect of democracy on the extent of human suffering in disasters is contingent on the ability of governments to implement their tasks or the quality of implementing institutions. We test this interaction hypothesis using time series cross-sectional data from the Varieties of Democracy project, the Quality of Government dataset and data from the Center for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters. The results show that more democracy is associated with fewer people being affected by natural disasters only in settings where institutional quality is high. When institutional quality is low, more people seem to suffer in democracies than in authoritarian states.
  • Topic: Disaster Relief, Authoritarianism, Democracy
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Suthan Krishnarajan, Jørgen Møller, Lasse Lykke Rørbæk, Svend-Erik Skaaning
  • Publication Date: 08-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Varieties of Democracy Institute (V-Dem)
  • Abstract: An influential body of scholarship has associated both democracy and democratization with civil war. Important findings include the so-called inverted U-shaped relationship between democracy-levels and civil war onset and that propensity for democratic openings to spark internal violence. However, most of these findings have been challenged, particularly by scholars pointing to problems with the aggregate nature of the analyses and the data sources used. Against this background, we enlist new, fine-grained data from the Varieties of Democracy (V-Dem) Project. We discuss how the new data can be used to disaggregate regime variables in order to better understand the causal dynamics that link the regime form and regime change to civil war onset, if any. Guided by these considerations, we use the new data to reassess the ‘inverted U-curve’. Our analysis shows that this relationship is driven by ‘liberal’ aspects of democracy such as freedom of assembly and freedom of speech rather than by the ‘electoral core’ of democracy. The relationship between clean elections and civil war onset is approximately linearly decreasing, and at the indicator level of the clean elections attribute we find several different patterns.
  • Topic: Civil War, Democratization, Democracy
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Patrik Lindenfors, Joshua Krusell, Staffan I. Lindberg
  • Publication Date: 08-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Varieties of Democracy Institute (V-Dem)
  • Abstract: This paper presents a new method inspired by evolutionary biology for analyzing longer sequences of requisites for the emergence of particular outcome variables across numerous combinations of ordinal variables in social science analysis. The approach involves repeated pairwise investigations of states in a set of variables and identifying what states in the variables that occur before states in all other variables. We illustrate the proposed method by analyzing a set of variables from version 6 of the V-Dem dataset (Coppedge et al. 2015a, b). With a large set of indicators measured over many years, the method makes it possible to explore long, complex sequences across many variables in quantitative datasets. This affords an opportunity, for example, to disentangle the sequential requisites of failing and successful sequences in democratization. For policy purposes this is instrumental: Which components of democracy are most exogenous and least endogenous and therefore the ideal targets for democracy promotion at different stages?
  • Topic: Democracy
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Sören Scholvin
  • Publication Date: 04-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Geopolitical research is frequently portrayed as a dead end. To some scholars it appears that in the 21st century geography is largely scenery, all but irrelevant to the most important issues of grand strategy. This working paper aims to revitalise geopolitics, reflecting both on the critique of the subject and the strengths that have characterised it for more than a century. It is argued that geographical conditions constitute a set of opportunities and constraints, a structure that is independent of agency. General patterns and long-term processes can be aptly explained by this structure but geopolitics is not a theory of state behaviour or foreign policy. Understanding specific phenomena that occur in international relations therefore requires taking into consideration non-geographical factors. Such a combination of geographical and non-geographical factors provides sound explanations, as several examples demonstrate: China’s projection of power into the Indian Ocean, South Africa’s approach to the political crisis in Zimbabwe in 2008, Iran’s maritime strategy and the poor integration of Colombia and South America. Given that geopolitics is about analysing international relations (or politics) for its geographical content, all those committed to geopolitics should concentrate on the three guiding questions: Do geographical conditions influence the observed outcome? If yes, do geographical conditions influence the observed outcome significantly? If yes, how, meaning in combination with which other factors do geographical conditions influence the observed outcome?
  • Topic: International Relations, Political Theory, Geopolitics, Political structure
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Publication Date: 11-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars
  • Abstract: Climate change is expected to contribute to the movement of people through a variety of means. There is also significant concern climate change may influence violent conflict. But our understanding of these dynamics is evolving quickly and sometimes producing surprising results. There are considerable misconceptions about why people move, how many move, and what effects they have. In a discussion paper for USAID’s Office of Conflict Management and Mitigation, the Environmental Change and Security Program presents a guide to this controversial and consequential nexus of global trends. Building off a workshop held at the Wilson Center last year, we provide a background scan of relevant literature and an in-depth analysis of the high-profile cases of Darfur and Syria to discern policy-relevant lessons from the latest research.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Climate Change, International Organization, Migration, International Security
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Henry D. Sokolski
  • Publication Date: 09-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Nonproliferation Policy Education Center
  • Abstract: Many of the materials, facilities, and technologies used to produce nuclear energy can be used to create nuclear weapons material. In nearly all stages in the production of peaceful nuclear energy, it is difficult to differentiate between peaceful activities and those useful to produce explosive materials for nuclear weap- ons. The purpose of this primer is to inform the reader about the basic steps of the nuclear fuel cycle and nuclear energy production, and to draw attention to those aspects of the fuel cycle that present the greatest nuclear weapons proliferation risks.
  • Topic: Nuclear Weapons, Nuclear Power
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Henry D. Sokolski
  • Publication Date: 09-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Nonproliferation Policy Education Center
  • Abstract: The Nonproliferation Policy Education Center (NPEC), a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, is a nonpartisan, educational organization founded in 1994 to promote a better understanding of strategic weapons proliferation issues. NPEC educates policymakers, journalists, and university professors about proliferation threats and possible new policies and measures to meet them.
  • Topic: Nuclear Weapons, Nuclear Power
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Michael Brian Jenkins, John Lauder
  • Publication Date: 09-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Nonproliferation Policy Education Center
  • Abstract: After the Cold War and nearly 70 years of waging war against communism, the United States and its key allies have adopted the war against terror as their new organizing principal. The king of terrorist threats, however, is nuclear terrorism. As Vice President Dick Cheney once argued, “if there is a one percent chance” of a terrorist developing a nuclear weapon, “we have to treat it as a certainty in terms of our response.”1
  • Topic: Nuclear Weapons, Terrorism, International Security
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Henry D. Sokolski, Victor Gilinsky
  • Publication Date: 09-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Nonproliferation Policy Education Center
  • Abstract: In this chapter, we try to step back from the day-to- day struggles in Washington, DC, over nuclear non- proliferation policy to ask what measures we would need to have in place to be reasonably confident that expanding nuclear power globally will not increase the number of nuclear weapons-armed states. We recognize that, since the start of the Atoms for Peace Program in the mid-1950s, the United States has sup- ported worldwide use of nuclear power. It also has op- posed the spread of nuclear weapons and supported measures to control the nuclear weapons proliferation risks inherent in spreading nuclear technology for civilian purposes. The principal administrative ele- ments of this nonproliferation effort are the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) and the associated in- spection activities of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), as well as various national and inter- national export controls.
  • Topic: Nuclear Weapons, Nuclear Power
  • Political Geography: Global Focus