Loss of control

Kevin Lewis

November 05, 2018

Political Loyalty and Leader Health
Bruce Bueno de Mesquita & Alastair Smith
Quarterly Journal of Political Science, October 2018, Pages 333-361


Using a new dataset on leader health, we present and test five hypotheses derived from a selectorate theory account of how chronic illness interacts with political institutions, especially winning coalition size, to help shape the probability and timing of regular and irregular leader depositions. The analysis shows that, especially in small coalition — autocratic — political systems, the expectation that an incumbent will die soon, and so not be able to deliver future private rewards to her coalition of supporters, greatly increases the likelihood that the leader will be overthrown. The study also compares selectorate expectations with an alternative view, that sickly leaders are deposed because they can no longer produce effective policy, measured in terms of economic growth. As predicted by selectorate theory, sickly leaders significantly improve growth in an effort to stay in power for their short remaining lifetime. The analysis offers a new view on an important aspect of political instability, namely leader removal.

Economic Geography, Political Inequality, and Public Goods in the Original 13 US States
Pablo Beramendi & Jeffrey Jensen
Comparative Political Studies, forthcoming


A large and fruitful literature has focused on the impact of colonial legacies on long-term development. Yet the mechanisms through which these legacies get transmitted over time remain ambiguous. This paper analyzes the choice and effects of legislative representation as one such mechanism, driven by elites interested in maximizing jointly economic prospects and political influence over time. We focus on malapportionment in the legislatures of the original thirteen British North-American colonies. Their joint independence created a unique juncture in which postcolonial elites simultaneously chose the legislative and electoral institutions under which they would operate. We show that the initial choice of apportionment in the state legislatures is largely a function of economic geography, that such a choice generated persistent differences in representation patterns within states (political inequality), and that the latter shaped public goods provision in the long run.

Food, state power, and rebellion: The case of maize
Ore Koren
International Interactions, forthcoming


Why do rebellions occur and persist in some countries but not in others? Evidence shows that natural resources affect the fighting capacity of rebel groups; yet, by focusing on lucrative resources that are rare in most rebellion-afflicted countries, such as oil and diamonds, scholars neglected one necessary input for rebellion: staple crops. Focusing on maize, the world’s most prevalent staple, this study argues that, as one of the most important resources for rebel groups, maize can have a destabilizing effect on the state’s ability to thwart rebellion. These claims are corroborated statistically on a new time-varying, high-resolution global dataset of staple crop productivity, and then qualitatively through an analysis of archival records on the Mau Mau rebellion. In identifying an overlooked, global linkage between agricultural abundance, state capacity, and intrastate violence, this study explains strong geographical and temporal variations in rebellions at both the subnational and global levels.

Rebellions, Technical Change, and the Early Development of Political Institutions in Latin America
Alvaro Aguirre
Journal of Comparative Economics, forthcoming


This paper examines the early development of institutions in Latin America that led to the consolidation of oligarchic republics in the first decades of the twentieth century. First, it documents an institutional divergence inside the region with long lasting effects on subsequent political and economic development. Second, it develops a theoretical model focusing on two factors to explain institutional development, the risk of native and slave uprisings and technical change, both of which were observed throughout the region at that time. The risk of rebellions leads to institutions that weakly restrict the powers of chief executives, in order to allow them to react forcefully to them. Technical change leads to stricter restrictions as expropriation becomes more costly, but it also intensifies labor coercion and consequently the risk of rebellions. Hence the main prediction is that the effect of technical change depends on the availability of coerced labor, their interaction being a potential explanation for the institutional divergence. Finally the paper conducts an econometric exercise to test this hypothesis. Results from panel-data regressions suggest that the dynamics of the institutional gap in Latin America can be explained to a large extent by the interaction between the risk of rebellions and technical change in transportation.

US hegemony and regime change in Latin America
Luis Schenoni & Scott Mainwaring
Democratization, forthcoming


We contribute to the extensive literature on international influences on democratization and democratic breakdowns by conceptualizing hegemonic mechanisms of regime change and assessing them empirically. Our findings are based on a multi-methods approach and highlight the varying importance of hegemonic influences in post-1945 Latin America. We argue that US support for democratization was consistent in the wave of transitions to democracy that began in Latin America in 1978 and that it was decisive in many of these transitions. While past work has attributed responsibility to the US for the waves of democratic breakdowns from 1948 to 1956 and 1964 to 1976, an examination of the 27 breakdowns from 1945 to 2010 gives reason to doubt this interpretation. Future research could use these conceptual and methodological tools to explore the role of other powers in waves of democracy and authoritarianism.

China’s ideological spectrum: A two-dimensional model of elite intellectuals’ visions
Andreas Møller Mulvad
Theory and Society, October 2018, Pages 635–661


In contemporary scholarship on Chinese ideological debates, both pro-system Chinese intellectuals and Western-based academics present China’s future as a binary choice between a “China Model” of authoritarian statism and a “Western” vision of democratic liberalism. This article deconstructs this dichotomy by proposing a new heuristic for conceptualizing ideological cleavage. Informed by interviews with twenty-eight leading Chinese intellectuals, the case is made for a two-dimensional spectrum allowing for ideological co-variation, on one axis, between two contending socioeconomic roads of national revival, capitalism and socialism, and on the other axis between paternalism and fraternalism as conflicting ideals for the political system. This model not only resonates with Chinese intellectual history, but also allows us to uncover two crucial ideological tendencies that disappear with the China Model/Western Path dichotomy: (i) the emerging hybrid of Confucian politics and free market economics, and (ii) the tabooed fraternalist-socialist legacy of the 1989 movement.

The Political and Economic Consequences of Nationalist Protest in China: The 2012 Anti-Japanese Demonstrations
Kevin Foley, Jeremy Wallace & Jessica Chen Weiss
China Quarterly, forthcoming


What are the consequences of nationalist unrest? This paper utilizes two original datasets, which cover 377 city-level anti-Japanese protests during the 2012 Senkaku/Diaoyu Island crisis and the careers of municipal leaders, to analyse the downstream effects of nationalist unrest at the subnational level. We find both political and economic consequences of China's 2012 protest demonstrations against Japan. Specifically, top Party leaders in cities that saw relatively spontaneous, early protests were less likely to be promoted to higher office, a finding that is consistent with the widely held but rarely tested expectation that social instability is punished in the Chinese Communist Party's cadre evaluation system. We also see a negative effect of nationalist protest on foreign direct investment (FDI) growth at the city level. However, the lower promotion rates associated with relatively spontaneous protests appear to arise through political rather than economic channels. By taking into account data on social unrest in addition to economic performance, these results add to existing evidence that systematic evaluation of leaders’ performance plays a major role in the Chinese political system. These findings also illuminate the dilemma that local leaders face in managing popular nationalism amid shifting national priorities.

The Provocative Effect of Law: Majority Nationalism and Minority Discrimination
Netta Barak‐Corren, Yuval Feldman & Noam Gidron
Journal of Empirical Legal Studies, forthcoming


Western societies have experienced ethnic and religious diversification in recent decades. These demographic changes have been met by efforts to defend the local dominant culture using majority nationalism laws, intended to protect the cultural heritage of the majority. We empirically examine majority nationalism laws’ expressive effects on patterns of minority discrimination using the Israeli draft Nation Law (NL) as a case study. Drawing on two experimental surveys of a representative sample of the majority population of Israel (N = 602), our results lend weak support to the hypothesis that majority nationalism laws increase bias against minorities, and modest support to the hypothesis that such laws generate unintended spillover effects across different minority groups and from the public to the private sphere. Our main finding is that majority nationalism laws provoke a backlash reaction from those who oppose them. We define this as the provocative effect of law and discuss its relation to the expressive law theory. The results suggest that the effects of majority nationalism laws may vary systematically across ideological groups and spheres of discrimination.

Agricultural yield and conflict
James Ang & Satyendra Kumar Gupta
Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, forthcoming


This research establishes that the emergence and persistence of intrastate conflict incidence since 1960 are influenced by regional agro-ecological factors captured by the extent of variation in potential crop yield. Our results based on cross-country and grid-level analysis indicate that higher potential crop yield variability within a country that is exogenous to both human intervention and regional culture increases the likelihood of intrastate conflict. Our findings are robust to the inclusion of various geographical, institutional, and potentially confounding economic development correlates.

Control of Corruption and Luxury Goods Consumption
Reza Tajaddini & Hassan Gholipour
Kyklos, November 2018, Pages 613-641


This paper investigates the effect of control of corruption on the consumption of luxury goods, after controlling other relevant determinants of luxury spending. The model is empirically tested for 32 developed and emerging economies between 2004 and 2014. Using panel fixed effects, difference generalized method of moments (GMM) and instrumental variable estimation methods, and two measures of the control of corruption (Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index and the World Bank's Control of Corruption Index), the results show that higher levels of control of corruption decrease luxury spending. This relationship is stronger in countries with higher levels of press freedom and information transparency. These findings offer some important implications. Governments and policymakers may develop and implement regulations that increase transparency in luxury gifting and limit corruption practices. Luxury brand companies should further enhance their due diligence obligations to minimise reputational risks in the long term.

Taking to the Streets: Protest as an Expression of Political Preference in Africa
Adam Harris & Erin Hern
Comparative Political Studies, forthcoming


Between 2011 and 2014, there were 5 times as many protests per annum in Africa as there had been in 2000. The majority of these protests were related to deteriorating economic conditions, poor service delivery, inadequate wages, and economic inequality. These protests, which we term “valence protests,” do not fit easily into typical narratives about contentious behavior: they are neither social movements, nor revolutionary, nor a manifestation of organized labor — instead, many of these protests are a collective expression of a valence issue of which the government is well aware. We argue for a different conceptual framework for valence protests and contend that they are a way for politically engaged citizens to express their political preferences when voting is insufficient. Using Round 5 Afrobarometer data, we find empirical support for this claim. We also find that citizens more readily communicate political preferences through protest in countries governed by dominant parties.

Concession Stands: How Mining Investments Incite Protest in Africa
Darin Christensen
International Organization, forthcoming


Foreign investment in Africa's mineral resources has increased dramatically. This paper addresses three questions raised by this trend: do commercial mining investments increase the likelihood of social or armed conflict? If so, when are these disputes most prevalent? And, finally, what mechanisms help explain these conflicts? I show, first, that mining has contrasting effects on social and armed conflict: while the probability of protests or riots increases (roughly doubling) after mining starts, there is no increase in rebel activity. Second, I show that the probability of social conflict rises with plausibly exogenous increases in world commodity prices. Finally, I compile additional geo-spatial and survey data to explore potential mechanisms, including reporting bias, environmental harm, in-migration, inequality, and governance. Finding little evidence consistent with these accounts, I develop an explanation related to incomplete information — a common cause of conflict in industrial and international relations. This mechanism rationalizes why mining induces protest, why these conflicts are exacerbated by rising prices, and why transparency dampens the relationship between prices and protest.

Pro-government militias as risk factors for conflict recurrence
Christoph Steinert, Janina Steinert & Sabine Carey
Journal of Peace Research, forthcoming


This study investigates how deployment of pro-government militias (PGMs) as counterinsurgents affects the risk of conflict recurrence. Militiamen derive material and non-material benefits from fighting in armed conflicts. Since these will likely have diminished after the conflict’s termination, militiamen develop a strong incentive to spoil post-conflict peace. Members of pro-government militias are particularly disadvantaged in post-conflict contexts compared to their role in the government’s counterinsurgency campaign. First, PGMs are usually not present in peace negotiations between rebels and governments. This reduces their commitment to peace agreements. Second, disarmament and reintegration programs tend to exclude PGMs, which lowers their expected and real benefits from peace. Third, PGMs might lose their advantage of pursuing personal interests while being protected by the government, as they become less essential during peacetimes. To empirically test whether conflicts with PGMs as counterinsurgents are more likely to break out again, we identify PGM counterinsurgent activities in conflict episodes between 1981 and 2007. We code whether the same PGM was active in a subsequent conflict between the same actors. Controlling for conflict types, which is associated with both the likelihood of deploying PGMs and the risk of conflict recurrence, we investigate our claims with propensity score matching, statistical simulation, and logistic regression models. The results support our expectation that conflicts in which pro-government militias were used as counterinsurgents are more likely to recur. Our study contributes to an improved understanding of the long-term consequences of employing PGMs as counterinsurgents and highlights the importance of considering non-state actors when crafting peace and evaluating the risk of renewed violence.

Adjusting the size of nations: Empirical determinants of separatism and the Soviet breakup
Marvin Suesse
Journal of Comparative Economics, forthcoming


Little is known about the empirical determinants of state formation and dissolution, despite a rich theoretical literature on the subject. This paper exploits large variation in separatist protests across the 183 provinces of the Soviet Union between 1987 and 1992 to measure the demand for autonomy and secession. This enables an investigation into the theoretical prediction that the incentive to separate should be influenced by the trade-off between the size of the potentially separating jurisdiction and preference heterogeneity. I find evidence consistent with the existence of this trade-off: Regions that are more different from the center along some dimension of heterogeneity see a higher incidence of separatist protests per capita. Likewise, proposals to grant autonomy to large jurisdictions attract disproportionately more popular support. These results persist after controlling for various factors influencing general protest turnout, including repression by the authorities.

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