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  • Author: Abhijit Banerjee, Lakshmi Iyer
  • Publication Date: 02-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: Social scientists have long emphasized the importance of institutions in nurturing economic growth and development. Douglass C. North defines institutions as the “rules of the game in a society” which limit the set of choices for individuals and argues that institutions, both formal ones such as laws and constitutions, as well as informal ones such as social norms, are important in determining the transaction costs of production and exchange, and thereby have an impact on economic growth. He goes on to discuss the mostly incremental nature of institutional change and highlights the difficulties in implementing radical institutional change. This line of argument therefore suggests that the impacts of institutions are likely to be felt for a very long time, and hence points to the need for detailed historical analysis over long periods in order to quantify the impact of institutions.
  • Topic: Economics, Political Theory, Social Stratification
  • Political Geography: India, Asia
  • Author: Kosuke Imai, Gary King, Clayton Nall
  • Publication Date: 01-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: A basic feature of many field experiments is that investigators are only able to randomize clusters of individuals — such as households, communities, firms, medical practices, schools, or classrooms — even when the individual is the unit of interest. To recoup some of the resulting efficiency loss, many studies pair similar clusters and randomize treatment within pairs. Other studies (including almost all published political science field experiments) avoid pairing, in part because some prominent methodological articles claim to have identified serious problems with this “matched-pair cluster-randomized” design. We prove that all such claims about problems with this design are unfounded. We then show that the estimator for matched-pair designs favored in the literature is appropriate only in situations where matching is not needed. To address this problem without modeling assumptions, we generalize Neyman's (1923) approach and propose a simple new estimator with much improved statistical properties. We also introduce methods to cope with individual-level noncompliance, which most existing approaches assume away. We show that from the perspective of, among other things, bias, efficiency, power, or robustness, and in large samples or small, pairing should be used in cluster-randomized experiments whenever feasible; failing to do so is equivalent to discarding a considerable fraction of one's data. We develop these techniques in the context of a randomized evaluation we are conducting of the Mexican Universal Health Insurance Program.
  • Topic: Health, Political Theory, Socialism/Marxism
  • Political Geography: Latin America
  • Author: Kimberly Theidon
  • Publication Date: 01-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: On November 1, 2006, Peruvian president Alan García announced he would be proposing a new law that would include the death penalty as one sanction for terrorism in the Penal Code. As he argued, “We are not going to allow Shining Path to return and paint their slogans on the walls of our universities. Once this law is approved, anyone who commits the serious crime of terrorism will find themselves facing a firing squad. A war forewarned does not kill people.”
  • Topic: Political Violence, Terrorism, War
  • Political Geography: Latin America
  • Author: Jason Beckfield
  • Publication Date: 01-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: This paper demonstrates the utility of a sociology of regional integration by addressing two central questions that have sparked much debate over the welfare state. Is there evidence of long-anticipated retrenchment? Does globalization cause that retrenchment? I redirect these debates by showing that there is evidence of retrenchment in Europe, and that regional integration – not globalization – accounts for it. Regional integration is conceptualized as the construction of supranational political economy in negotiated and bounded regions through political institutionalization and market expansion. I develop the argument that regional political integration should constrain the welfare state through policy feedbacks, the politics of blame avoidance, and the diffusion of classical-liberal policy scripts, while regional economic integration should constrain the welfare state by expanding labor markets and undermining labor unions. I assess these arguments with time-series cross-section models and data from 13 European Union (EU) and non-EU states. The results show that (1) there is evidence of retrenchment, (2) regionalization is significantly associated with retrenchment, and (3) the effect of regional integration is dampened in the strongest welfare states. I draw the general conclusion that regional integration is a new and consequential part of the social context that should receive more attention from sociologists.
  • Topic: Globalization, Regional Cooperation, Sociology
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Clark Kent Ervin
  • Publication Date: 10-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Aspen Institute
  • Abstract: Sooner or later, somewhere or other, another natural disaster will strike America, be it a hurricane, a tornado, an earthquake, or a flood. Sooner or later, somewhere or other, terrorists will attempt to strike America again. Indeed, many experts believe that the threat of another attack is rising. Al Qaeda is resurgent, having reconstituted itself along the Afghan-Pakistan border. And, recent history shows that terrorists are especially prone to strike during the transition from one administration to another or early in the term of a new government. Adding to our vulnerability, the nation is now bogged down in two wars and groaning under mounting debt, while our economy is sinking from the greatest financial crisis since the Great Depression.
  • Topic: Security, Disaster Relief, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Afghanistan, United States, New York
  • Publication Date: 10-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Carter Center
  • Abstract: The Carter Center led a small electoral observation mission for Ecuador's constitutional referendum on Sept. 28, 2008, to help promote a transparent and fair electoral process and accompany the country as it continues its political-institutional transformation. One of the major milestones in the process was the convening of the national constituent assembly (CA), which held session between November 2007 and July 2008. The CA's efforts culminated in the approval of a draft constitution, which was also approved by 63.93 percent of Ecuador voters during the Sept. 28, 2008, referendum.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Democratization, International Organization
  • Political Geography: Latin America, Ecuador
  • Author: Andrzej Szeptycki
  • Publication Date: 01-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Trade cooperation represents an important element of relations between the Russian Federation and Ukraine. The specificity and significance of this sector results from three different reasons. Firstly, both countries are each other's important, even if not the very top of the list, trade partners. Secondly, trade affairs were on numerous occasions the essence of the disputes between Russia and Ukraine, even if their background was both economic and political. Thirdly, trade relations between both states are of vital importance in the context of Russia's attempts at reunification of the post-Soviet area (CIS, CES) and the World Trade Organization membership aspirations of both Ukraine and Russia.
  • Topic: International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Russia, Ukraine
  • Author: Marcin Terlikowski
  • Publication Date: 08-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: In the last two decades, the issue of private military companies and the privatization of the sphere of international security, have been addressed by political decision-makers in many countries, military experts, as well by the media and non-governmental organizations (NGOs). It seems that the controversies and sometimes very categorical opinions which have emerged concerning these issues have several sources. Firstly, the relatively sudden appearance of a new type of non-public actor in the military sphere, which traditionally was the exclusive activity of the state, was associated with consternation caused by negative connotations with historic, still pre-Westphalian international order where significant roles were played by private armies and other mercenary forces (e.g. condottieres, corsairs). Secondly, the activities of these types of firm have caused a number of problems. For example, to this day, not all the circumstances have been explained regarding the participation by several firms in conflicts in Africa and the Balkans in the 1990s, while the media are still reporting various irregularities and incidents involving such enterprises. Thirdly, this specific business has developed with enormous dynamism, continuously generating profits and extending both the geographical scope of activities and the profile of the services provided.
  • Topic: Security, War
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Arabia
  • Publication Date: 11-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Carter Center
  • Abstract: As described in the Transitional Regime of the Constitution approved by referendum on September 28, 2008, the Constituent Assembly held its final session (the 98th) in order to appoint the members of the Legislation and Oversight Commission, as well as the members of the temporary electoral authorities that together form the Electoral Branch: the National Electoral Council (NEC) and the Litigious Electoral Tribunal (LET). For the first time in Ecuador's modern history, the organization and evaluation of its elections have been left to two autonomous agencies: the NEC will be in charge of organizing and executing electoral processes and the LET will have jurisdictional authority on electoral matters. This report provides an account of the process of selecting and naming the temporary representatives of these two agencies. The Carter Center's principal motivation in writing this report is to make a contribution to informing national and international audiences about the process of institutional transformation taking place in Ecuador. Although they are temporary, the new electoral authorities have an important and specific purpose in organizing and judging the fairness of the next general election scheduled for April of 2009.
  • Topic: Democratization, Politics, Governance
  • Political Geography: Latin America
  • Publication Date: 11-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Carter Center
  • Abstract: The growing use of dialogue processes to address emerging crises worldwide and to find consensus among stakeholders on a particular complex economic, social or political issue has been accompanied by the need and demand for better evaluation methodologies to: 1. Measure the impact of dialogue interventions (intended and unintended consequences), 2. Better understand when and how dialogues should be used and how they can be designed and conducted for maximum impact, 3. Convince external and internal actors to participate in, or support such intervention, and 4. Help build the field of dialogue by identifying good practices, systematizing lessons learned and finding common elements for comparative studies.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Conflict Prevention, International Relations, Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, International Cooperation, Political Theory
  • Political Geography: United States, United Nations