Foreign Actors

Kevin Lewis

January 30, 2010

Trade networks and the Kantian peace

Han Dorussen & Hugh Ward
Journal of Peace Research, January 2010, Pages 29-42

Classical-liberal arguments about the pacifying effects of international trade are revisited, and it is argued that they consistently refer to the ability of trade to provide ‘connections' between people and to create a perceived ‘global community'. Dependency and openness are commonly used to test for any pacifying effects of trade in the current literature, but these measures fail to capture some of the classical liberals' key insights. Several network measures are introduced in order to give natural expression to and to develop the classical-liberal view that trade linkages reduce interstate conflict. These measures applied to trade flows are incorporated in the Russett & Oneal triangulating-peace model. The main results are that trade networks are indeed pacifying in that both direct and indirect trade linkages matter, and as the global trade network has become more dense over time, the importance of indirect links by way of specific third countries has declined, and the general embeddedness of state dyads in the trade network has become more relevant. These findings suggest that the period since World War II has seen progressive realization of the classical-liberal ideal of a security community of trading states.


The Shape of Things to Come? On the Dynamics of Suicide Attacks and Targeted Killings

David Jaeger & Daniele Paserman
Quarterly Journal of Political Science, December 2009, Pages 315-342

In this paper we examine the dynamics of suicide attacks and targeted killings in the Second Intifada. We find evidence that the targeted killings of Palestinian leaders by Israel reduce realized Palestinian violence. We find, however, that intended Palestinian violence is increasing at low levels of targeted killings, but decreasing at higher levels. We find that suicide bombings that kill at least one Israeli lead to a subsequent increase in the incidence and levels of Palestinian fatalities. Our results do not support the notion that suicide attacks and targeted killings follow the "tit-for-tat" pattern that is commonly postulated in the literature.


Isolation and Development

Quamrul Ashraf, Oded Galor & Ömer Özak
Brown University Working Paper, September 2009

This paper exploits cross-country variation in the degree of geographical isolation, prior to the advent of sea-faring and airborne transportation technologies, to examine its impact on the course of economic development across the globe. The empirical investigation establishes that prehistoric geographical isolation has generated a persistent beneficial effect on the process of development and contributed to the contemporary variation in the standard of living across countries.


Powerplay: Origins of the U.S. Alliance System in Asia

Victor Cha
International Security, Winter 2010, Pages 158-196

In East Asia the United States cultivated a "hub and spokes" system of discrete, exclusive alliances with the Republic of Korea, the Republic of China, and Japan, a system that was distinct from the multilateral security alliances it preferred in Europe. Bilateralism emerged in East Asia as the dominant security structure because of the "powerplay" rationale behind U.S. postwar planning in the region. "Powerplay" refers to the construction of an asymmetric alliance designed to exert maximum control over the smaller ally's actions. The United States created a series of bilateral alliances in East Asia to contain the Soviet threat, but a congruent rationale was to constrain "rogue allies"-that is, rabidly anticommunist dictators who might start wars for reasons of domestic legitimacy and entrap the United States in an unwanted larger war. Underscoring the U.S. desire to avoid such an outcome was a belief in the domino theory, which held that the fall of one small country in Asia could trigger a chain of countries falling to communism. The administrations of Harry Truman and Dwight Eisenhower calculated that they could best restrain East Asia's pro-West dictators through tight bilateral alliances rather than through a regionwide multilateral mechanism. East Asia's security bilateralism today is therefore a historical artifact of this choice.


Not Very Material but Hardly Immaterial: China's Bombed Embassy and Sino-American Relations

Gregory Moore
Foreign Policy Analysis, January 2010, Pages 23-41

In 1999 Sino-American relations experienced intense strain as a result of NATO's Kosovo intervention, and in particular by the bombing of the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade by an American B-2 bomber. Why did the bombing of China's embassy in Belgrade in the spring of 1999 touch such a raw nerve among the Chinese people and leadership? With the coming of the tenth anniversary of these events, what still needs to be explained is how Chinese and Americans could draw such divergent conclusions about that which they've never disagreed on-the incontestable fact of the embassy's demolition-and how the fact that what Americans called "a mistake" could almost completely derail Sino-American relations, which President Clinton in his very successful visit to China a year before had called a "strategic partnership." Based on a series of semistructured interviews the author did in Beijing and Washington with 28 Chinese and 30 American experts, this research draws a number of important conclusions in this regard. First, intensifying and even defining the conflict were a number of important perceptual gaps. Second, given the dispute over the intentionality of the embassy bombing, the conflict boiled down not to clashing interests, per se, but rather to issues of trust and beliefs about motives and intentions. Third, poor handling of the embassy bombing by both governments deepened the conflict and the alienation both sides felt. Fourth, underlying the lack of trust and the perceptual gaps between the two sides was "Fundamental Attribution Error."


Bases, Bullets and Ballots: The Effect of U.S. Military Aid on Political Conflict in Colombia

Oeindrila Dube & Suresh Naidu
NYU Working Paper, January 2010

Does foreign military assistance strengthen or further weaken fragile states facing internal conflict? We address this question by estimating how U.S. military aid affects violence and electoral participation in Colombia. We exploit the allocation of U.S. military aid to Colombian military bases, and compare how aid affects municipalities with and without bases. Using detailed political violence data, we find that U.S. military aid leads to differential increases in attacks by paramilitaries (who collude with the military), but has no effect on guerilla attacks. Aid increases also result in more paramilitary (but not guerrilla) homicides during election years. Moreover, when military aid rises, voter turnout falls more in base municipalities, especially those that are politically contested. Our results are robust to an instrument based on worldwide increases in U.S. military aid (excluding Latin America). The findings suggest that foreign military assistance may strengthen armed non-state actors, undermining domestic political institutions.


Oil and Democracy in Russia

Daniel Treisman
NBER Working Paper, January 2010

Russia is often considered a perfect example of the so-called "resource curse" - the argument that natural resource wealth tends to undermine democracy. Given high oil prices, some observers see the country as virtually condemned to authoritarian government for the foreseeable future. Reexamining various data, I show that such fears are exaggerated. Evidence from around the world suggests that for countries like Russia with an established oil industry, even large increases in the scale of mineral incomes have only a minor effect on the political regime. In addition, Russia - a country with an industrialized economy, a highly educated, urbanized population, and an oil sector that remains majority private-owned - is unlikely to be susceptible to most of the hypothesized pernicious effects of resource dependence.


More Oil, Less Democracy: Evidence from Worldwide Crude Oil Discoveries

Kevin Tsui
Economic Journal, forthcoming

This article exploits variations in the timing and size of oil discoveries to identify the impact of oil wealth on democracy. I find that discovering 100 billion barrels of oil (approximately the initial endowment of Iraq) pushes a country's democracy level almost 20 percentage points below trend after three decades. The estimated effect is larger for oilfields with higher-quality oil and lower exploration and extraction costs. However, the estimates become less precise when oil abundance is measured by oil discovery per capita, suggesting politicians may care about the level instead of the per capita value of oil wealth.


How Fragile is Africa's Recent Growth?

Jorge Saba Arbache & John Page
Journal of African Economies, January 2010, Pages 1-24

Has Africa finally reached the path to sustained growth? We find that much of the improvement in economic performance in Africa after 1995 is attributable to a substantial reduction in the frequency and severity of growth declines in all economies and an increase in growth accelerations in mineral-rich economies. We find, however, that growth accelerations have not been generally accompanied by improvements in variables often correlated with long run growth, such as investment. We also fail to find evidence that substantial policy and governance improvements were associated with the post-1995 accelerations. We conclude that Africa's growth recovery remains fragile.


Sources of Corruption in Authoritarian Regimes

Eric Chang & Miriam Golden
Social Science Quarterly, March 2010, Pages 1-20

Objectives: We seek to investigate the determinants of corruption in authoritarian polities. We hypothesize that corruption in nondemocratic settings will be greater where the ruling group is personalistic rather than a political party or a military clique and that it will be greater where rulers expect to remain in power longer. We construct a new operationalization of the selectorate theory advanced by Bueno de Mesquita et al.

Methods: We use cross-sectional statistical analysis (OLS) to examine a sample of 40-odd authoritarian regimes as of 2000.

Results: Our results indicate that personalistic and personalistic-hybrid regimes are more prone to corruption than single-party and military regimes and also that rulers who expect to remain in power for longer are less corrupt. Corroborating previous studies, we document that the availability of natural resources and higher levels of institutionalized autocracy are associated with greater corruption and that wealthier countries experience less corruption. Our results are consistent with previous studies, including that of Bueno de Mesquita et al., but because of our reconstruction of selectorate theory in terms of real-world regime types, they are more easily interpretable.

Conclusions: Our study sheds light on why African countries are so notoriously corrupt. The personalistic authoritarian regimes that have arisen there in the postcolonial period appear especially prone to corruption, whereas military and single-party dictatorships are less corrupt.


A Global Model for Forecasting Political Instability

Jack Goldstone, Robert Bates, David Epstein, Ted Robert Gurr, Michael Lustik, Monty Marshall, Jay Ulfelder & Mark Woodward
American Journal of Political Science, January 2010, Pages 190-208

Examining onsets of political instability in countries worldwide from 1955 to 2003, we develop a model that distinguishes countries that experienced instability from those that remained stable with a two-year lead time and over 80% accuracy. Intriguingly, the model uses few variables and a simple specification. The model is accurate in forecasting the onsets of both violent civil wars and nonviolent democratic reversals, suggesting common factors in both types of change. Whereas regime type is typically measured using linear or binary indicators of democracy/autocracy derived from the 21-point Polity scale, the model uses a nonlinear five-category measure of regime type based on the Polity components. This new measure of regime type emerges as the most powerful predictor of instability onsets, leading us to conclude that political institutions, properly specified, and not economic conditions, demography, or geography, are the most important predictors of the onset of political instability.


Strategic Militarization, Deterrence and Wars

Matthew Jackson & Massimo Morelli
Quarterly Journal of Political Science, December 2009, Pages 279-313

We study countries choosing armament levels and then whether or not to go to war. We show that if the costs of war are not overly high or low, then all equilibria must involve dove, hawk, and deterrent strategies and the probability of war is positive (but less than one) in any given period. Wars are between countries with differing armament levels and the frequency of wars is tempered by the presence of armament levels that are expressly chosen for their deterrent properties. As the probability of winning a war becomes more reactive to increased armament, the frequency of wars decreases. As it becomes increasingly possible to negotiate a credible settlement, the probability of peace increases, but the variance of armament levels increases and war becomes increasingly likely when negotiations break down.


Emergent Extremism in an Multi-Agent Model of Religious Clubs

Michael Makowsky
Economic Inquiry, forthcoming

This paper extends the club model of religion to better account for observed patterns of extremism. We adapt existing models to a multi-agent framework and analyze the distribution of agents and clubs. We find that extremism is more successful when religious groups are able to produce close substitutes for standard goods and that increased access to publicly provided goods can reduce the extremist population share. Quantile regression modeling of data from a multi-nation survey and institutional indices corresponds to the model's key results. Our findings offer a potential theoretical mechanism behind research linking terrorist origination to civil liberties.

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