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  • Author: Robert G. Wirsing, Samir Kumar Das
  • Publication Date: 09-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for International and Regional Studies: CIRS
  • Abstract: This paper assesses five major transboundary-related problems currently troubling the Bengal region and bedeviling, in particular, the relationship between Bangladesh and India. These problems relate to settlement of the land boundary (enclaves and adverse possessions), facilitation of transboundary transit (road, rail, and waterway), curbing of transboundary illicit activity (smuggling, human trafficking, and covert support for radical Islamist groups and separatist militants), sharing of transboundary river resources, and control of transboundary migration. The paper’s focus is on the potential and capacity of the political entities sharing the Bengal region to identify, agree upon, and implement effective and sustainable solutions to these problems. It argues that such solutions, to be sustainable, would have to prioritize cross-border cooperation and mutual benefit—objectives that have thus far neither been aggressively nor consistently pursued in this region. The authors observe that the transboundary problems troubling the Bengal region vary substantially in the extent of their intractability and that some of them will persist far into the future. Nevertheless, they conclude that the present scale as well as the severity of the consequences of these problems are not permanent fixtures and will vary enormously with the political will, perseverance, and skill of those charged with determining the political destiny of this hugely important region.
  • Topic: Human Welfare, Migration, Regional Cooperation, Natural Resources, Border Control
  • Political Geography: Bangladesh, India, Bengal
  • Author: Ashley J. Tellis
  • Publication Date: 04-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Commission on Preventing Deadly Conflict
  • Abstract: The United States and India have agreed to form a working group to explore the joint development of India's next-generation aircraft carrier. While the Indian Navy has already begun design work, wide-ranging cooperation with the United States has enormous potential and offers India the opportunity to acquire the most capable warship possible. Such collaboration would increase the Indian Navy's combat power and would resonate throughout the Asian continent to India's strategic advantage. The most valuable U.S. contributions are likely to materialize in the fight, possibly in the move, and hopefully in the integrate functions.
  • Political Geography: United States, India, Asia
  • Author: Milan Vaishnav
  • Publication Date: 06-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: The Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP’s) historic victory in India’s 2014 general election prompted declarations of a watershed in the behavior of the Indian voter. Upon closer inspection, the reality is more nuanced. On some parameters, such as voting based on economic and ethnic considerations, there were indeed discernible changes. However, the empirical evidence suggests these shifts were well under way before 2014. In other areas—namely, support for regional parties, dynastic politicians, and candidates associated with criminal activity—contemporary voters demonstrated much greater continuity with the past.
  • Topic: Democratization, Demographics, Ethnic Conflict, Political Economy, Governance
  • Political Geography: South Asia, India
  • Author: Lant Pritchett, Yamini Aiyar
  • Publication Date: 08-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: There are two dominant narratives about taxation. In one, taxes are the “price we pay for a civilized society” (Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.). In this view taxes are not a necessary evil (as in the pairing of “death and taxes” as inevitable) but a positive good: more taxes buy more “civilization.” The other view is that taxes are “tribute to Leviathan”—a pure involuntary extraction from those engaged in economic production to those who control coercive power producing no reciprocal benefit. In this view taxes are a bane of the civilized. We consider the question of taxes as price versus tribute for contemporary India.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Economics, Governance, Budget
  • Political Geography: India
  • Author: Neelanjan Sircar
  • Publication Date: 09-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: This paper develops a theory on how voters form and change political preferences in democratic developing world contexts. In the developing world, where state institutions are often weak, voters tend to be more focused on the competence and capacity of parties and candidates to deliver benefits. Such information may be difficult to ascertain, so voters must glean information from how candidates conduct themselves during the electoral campaign. Voters use kinship networks to develop more accurate preferences by collectively reasoning through newly available information on candidates. In order to demonstrate these claims, this study analyzes data collected on political preferences and kinship networks in two villages just before and after the campaign period during the 2011 Assembly election in the Indian state of West Bengal. The paper finds very strong kinship network effects on changes in issue preferences and vote choice over the course of the campaign and explains the results through qualitative work and a series of network autoregressive statistical models. In sum, this paper demonstrates how voters develop independent preferences and implement political change, even in low information contexts with weak human capital.
  • Topic: Democratization, Politics, Self Determination, Elections
  • Political Geography: India
  • Author: Mark Schneider, Neelanjan Sircar
  • Publication Date: 08-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: The literature on decentralized public programs suggests that errors in the targeting of anti-poverty programs are rooted in the capture of these programs by local elites or local politicians. Consistent with the literature on moral economy in political science and experimental economics, we argue that voters in contexts of rural poverty prefer local leaders who target subsistence benefits to the poor. In a high information village context, where voters and leaders know each other, we argue that local elections lead to the selection of local leaders with pro-poor preferences over the distribution of these benefits. We show this with a novel theory of local politicians’ social preferences. We test our theory with unique data from a behavioral measure, conducted in the context of a lottery with a modest cash prize in rural India, that captures a scenario in which local leaders have full discretion and anonymity over allocation among members of their rural communities. We analyze our data using a novel estimation strategy that takes the characteristics of the pool of potential beneficiaries into account in decisions over allocation under a budget constraint. We find that local leaders have strong preferences for targeting the poor, and particularly those they believe supported them politically in the past. This article suggests that free and fair elections at the local level can powerfully encourage pro-poor targeting even in contexts of weak institutions and pervasive poverty. It also makes a fundamental contribution to research on distributive politics by challenging research in this area to demonstrate the effect of electoral strategies and other distortions on allocation relative to local leaders’ baseline distributive preferences.
  • Topic: Democratization, Economics, Politics, Political Theory, Elections
  • Political Geography: India
  • Author: Brendan Thomas- Noone, Rory Medcalf
  • Publication Date: 09-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Lowy Institute for International Policy
  • Abstract: India and China, rising powers in the Indo-Pacific, are moving from the test and design phase of sea-based nuclear weapon platforms to active deployment. In the long-term, these new ballistic missile-carrying nuclear submarines could lead to greater strategic stability in the region. But only once systems that ensure their safe and credible operation are put in place. The deployment of these weapons will also exacerbate existing regional tensions over the South China Sea and the Bay of Bengal, and drive the deployment of ballistic missile defence systems and enhanced anti-submarine warfare capabilities in the region.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, Arms Control and Proliferation, Power Politics, Military Affairs
  • Political Geography: China, India
  • Author: Renuka Sane
  • Publication Date: 04-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: This paper provides a brief description of the principles of cross-border resolution that have emerged after the 2008 global financial crisis, and the progress that has been achieved. The paper then provides an overview of developments on resolution of financial firms in India. It finds that while there is cognizance of the need for international cooperation on resolution, the focus is on first developing institutional capacity on domestic resolution that can interact with the international community in the future. The policy choices of India may be reflective of the thinking in a large number of emerging markets, which considerably lag behind the more developed markets, partly due to lower interconnectedness and partly due to limited experience in domestic resolution.
  • Topic: Development, Emerging Markets, International Trade and Finance, Political Economy, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: India
  • Author: C. Christine Fair
  • Publication Date: 06-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Gateway House: Indian Council on Global Relation
  • Abstract: Pakistan continues to receive succour from its long-time ally, the U.S., despite blundering about in its neighbourhood unabashedly- be it through righteous indignation or through generous courtesies. The external affairs ministry needs to improve its approach towards U.S. officials who are visiting India in order to better its relation with the country.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, India
  • Author: Daniel S. Markey
  • Publication Date: 01-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: After 9/11, the global fight against al-Qaeda and the related war in Afghanistan forced the United States to reassess its strategy in Pakistan. The exigencies of counterterrorism and counterinsurgency established Washington's primary goals and many of its specific policies. Now, however, the impending drawdown of U.S. troops from Afghanistan, along with significant U.S. successes in operations against al-Qaeda, require the United States to take a fresh look at its Pakistan strategy and to move beyond the "Af-Pak" era.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Defense Policy, Development, Diplomacy, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, South Asia, India