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  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • Author: Dennis Arroyo
  • Publication Date: 06-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: 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
  • 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: 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