Ruling party

Kevin Lewis

May 02, 2016

The Long-Run Effects of the Scramble for Africa

Stelios Michalopoulos & Elias Papaioannou

American Economic Review, forthcoming

We explore the consequences of ethnic partitioning, a neglected aspect of the Scramble for Africa, and uncover the following. First, apart from the land mass and water bodies, split and nonsplit groups are similar across several dimensions. Second, the incidence, severity and duration of political violence are all higher for partitioned homelands which also experience frequent military interventions from neighboring countries. Third, split groups are often entangled in a vicious circle of government-led discrimination and ethnic wars. Fourth, respondents from survey data identifying with split ethnicities are economically disadvantaged. The evidence highlights the detrimental repercussions of the colonial border design.


With a little help from my friends: Global electioneering and World Bank lending

Erasmus Kersting & Christopher Kilby

Journal of Development Economics, July 2016, Pages 153–165

This paper investigates how World Bank lending responds to upcoming elections in borrowing countries. We find that investment project loans disburse faster when countries are aligned with the United States in the UN. Moreover, disbursement accelerates in the run-up to competitive executive elections if the government is geopolitically aligned with the U.S. but decelerates if the government is not. These disbursement patterns are consistent with global electioneering that serves U.S. foreign policy interests but jeopardizes the development effectiveness of multilateral lending.


The Diverse Effects of Diversity on Democracy

John Gerring, Michael Hoffman & Dominic Zarecki

British Journal of Political Science, forthcoming

Diverse identities coexisting within the same society are often viewed as problematic for economic and political development. This article argues that different types of social diversity have differential effects on regime type. Specifically, ethno-linguistic diversity increases prospects for democracy while religious diversity decreases prospects for democracy. The article presents a variety of reasons why diversity might have divergent causal effects on regime type. Cross-national regressions in a variety of econometric formats – including instrumental variables – provide corroborating evidence for the argument.


In the Shadow of the International Criminal Court: Does the ICC Deter Human Rights Violations?

Benjamin Appel

Journal of Conflict Resolution, forthcoming

The International Criminal Court (ICC) is responsible for prosecuting crimes against humanity, war crimes, and genocide. Despite the potential for the ICC to deter human rights abuses, scholars and policy makers are divided on the effectiveness of it. This debate, however, is plagued by some important theoretical and empirical limitations. I address the problems in the literature and evaluate whether the ICC can prevent human rights abuses. I argue that the ICC can deter governments from committing human rights violations by imposing a variety of costs on them throughout their investigations that decrease their expected payoffs for engaging in human rights abuses. Across a variety of statistical estimators that account for standard threats to inference and several anecdotes, I find strong support for my theoretical expectations; leaders from states that have ratified the Rome Statute commit lower levels of human rights abuses than nonratifier leaders.


Pollution and Regime Support: Quasi-Experimental Evidence from Beijing

Meir Alkon & Erik Haixiao Wang

Princeton University Working Paper, April 2016

Using an eight-week long original survey conducted day-by-day in Beijing in 2015, we leverage daily variation in air quality to estimate the causal effects of pollution on support for the Chinese regime. Our results show that pollution undermines the regime's performance legitimacy: it decreases satisfaction with both central and local governments, increases demand for oversight of government, and negatively affects perceptions of economic performance. Additionally, we time our survey to partially coincide with a period during which the government intentionally reduced air pollution, allowing us to exploit a unique instance of authoritarian environmental engineering. We show that government efforts to reduce pollution do successfully improve citizens' evaluations of the regime. To our knowledge, this paper provides the first causal estimates of the challenges to popular support posed by environmental issues in a developing country, and also illustrates the specific ways that public opinion under authoritarian governance is affected by pollution.


Does Oil Hinder Democratic Development? A Time-Series Analysis

Kelsey O'Connor, Luisa Blanco & Jeffrey Nugent

University of Southern California Working Paper, March 2016

The resource curse is a topic studied intensively in both economics and political science. Much of the focus is now on whether oil affects democratic institutions. We further the debate through the use of additional measures of democracy and multiple time-series estimation strategies. We find no robust long-run effect of oil rents per capita on Polity, Civil Liberties, or Political Rights. Many comparable studies were restricted to Polity. We also use different country and period samples to respond to the findings that the effects of oil abundance may differ in Latin America, the Middle East, in mature oil producers, or that the effects become significantly negative post-1980. In each case we do not find a significant relationship. Long-run effects are well placed to address this question because they are estimated separately from short-run fluctuations (important given the slow pace of institutional change), and are consistent even in the presence of reverse causality.


The Effects of Authoritarian Iconography: An Experimental Test

Sarah Sunn Bush et al.

Comparative Political Studies, forthcoming

Do public images of state leaders affect individuals’ political attitudes and behaviors? If so, why do they have that effect and among whom? Authoritarian iconography could increase compliance with and support for the state via three causal mechanisms: legitimacy, self-interest, and coercion. This article uses a laboratory experiment in the United Arab Emirates to evaluate the effect of public images of state leaders on individuals’ compliance with and support for an authoritarian regime. Using a pre-registered research design, it finds no meaningful evidence that authoritarian iconography increases political compliance or support for the Emirati regime. Although these null results may be due to a number of factors, the findings have important implications for the future research agenda on how and why authoritarian leaders use political culture to maintain power.


Child soldiers as time bombs? Adolescents’ participation in rebel groups and the recurrence of armed conflict

Roos Haer & Tobias Böhmelt

European Journal of International Relations, June 2016, Pages 408-436

The existent work on child soldiering began only recently to systematically study its consequences, both theoretically and empirically. The following article seeks to contribute to this by examining the impact of rebels’ child soldier recruitment practices during war on the risk of armed conflict recurrence in post-conflict societies. We argue that child soldiering in a previous dispute may increase both the willingness and opportunity to resume fighting in the post-conflict period, while disarmament, demobilization and reintegration programmes could decrease these aspects of conflict recurrence. Empirically, we analyse time-series cross-section data on post-conflict country-years between 1989 and 2005. The findings highlight that the risk of conflict recurrence does, indeed, increase with child soldiers who fought in an earlier dispute, but — counter-intuitively — is unlikely to be affected by the presence of disarmament, demobilization and reintegration programmes in post-conflict societies. This research has important implications for the study of armed conflicts, child soldiering and research on post-conflict stability.


Left Behind but Doing Good? Civic Engagement in Two Post-Socialist Countries

Milena Nikolova, Monica Roman & Klaus Zimmermann

Journal of Comparative Economics, forthcoming

The fall of socialism in Central and Eastern Europe restored ordinary citizens’ rights and freedoms and ended their political and social isolation. While the freedom of movement was quickly embraced, civil society revival lagged due to the eroded civic norms, declining social capital, and worsening economic conditions. In this paper, we examine the link between the out-migration of relatives and friends and the pro-social behavior of the left behinds in two post-socialist countries — Bulgaria and Romania — the EU's poorest, and among the least happy and most corrupt member states. We show that having close contacts abroad is consistently positively associated with civic engagement and that the cultural transmission of norms from abroad could be driving the results. Specifically, the strength of the civic engagement culture of the family or friend's destination matters for the pro-social behavior of respondents in the home countries. Our results imply that the emigration of family and friends may have positive but previously undocumented consequences for the individuals and communities left behind in Bulgaria and Romania. Given civil society's role for development in post-socialist Europe and the socio-economic and institutional challenges that Bulgaria and Romania face compared with the rest of the EU, understanding the channels fostering civil society and well-being are important for national and EU policymakers.


Repression and Activism among the Arab Spring’s First Movers: Evidence from Morocco’s February 20th Movement

Adria Lawrence

British Journal of Political Science, forthcoming

Why are some people willing to initiate protest against authoritarian regimes? How does repression affect their willingness to act? Drawing on data from the Arab Spring protests in Morocco, this article argues first that activism is passed down from one generation to the next: first movers often came from families that had been punished for opposing the regime in the past. Secondly, repression during the Arab Spring was also counterproductive: those connected to first movers via Facebook supported renewed pro-democracy protests when informed of the regime’s use of repression in 2011. A regime that jails and beats political dissidents creates incentives for its citizens to oppose it; these abuses can come back to haunt the regime long after repression occurs.


Preventing and Responding to Dissent: The Observational Challenges of Explaining Strategic Repression

Emily Hencken Ritter & Courtenay Conrad

American Political Science Review, February 2016, Pages 85-99

Although scholarly consensus suggests that dissent causes repression, the behaviors are endogenous: governments and dissidents act in expectation of each other’s behavior. Empirical studies have not accounted well for this endogeneity. We argue that preventive aspects of repression meaningfully affect the relationship between observed dissent and repression. When governments use preventive repression, the best response to dissent that does occur is unclear; observed dissent does not meaningfully predict responsive repression. By contrast, governments that do not engage in ex ante repression will be more likely to do it ex post. We follow U.S. voting scholarship and propose a new instrument to model the endogeneity: rainfall. We couple rainfall data in African provinces and U.S. states with data on dissent and repression and find that dissent fails to have a significant effect on responsive repression in states that engage in preventive repression.


From a perpetrator’s perspective: International election observers and post-electoral violence

Hannah Smidt

Journal of Peace Research, March 2016, Pages 226-241

Do international election observers deter or spur violence after election day? This article argues that only when conceptually and empirically distinguishing between violence by governments and opposition groups, can we assess the impact of international election observation. Disaggregating post-electoral violence uncovers that observers can deter governments from using force, but they have the opposite effect on opposition groups. When expecting criticism from observers, opposition leaders can easily deny their responsibility for violence by individual party militants, while weaponry and official insignia betray police and military involvement in violence and force the government to bear command responsibility. Governments also anticipate higher international costs for engaging in post-electoral violence than opposition groups, which are not usually targets of international punishment. On the other hand, international election observers unintentionally incite opposition groups to organize violence, as opposition groups seek to benefit from international attention and support that come with the presence of observers. Observers’ exposure of fraud reverses this differential effect: because governments expect international costs for election rigging anyway, observers cannot deter repression after highly fraudulent elections. But their alertness to electoral malpractice alleviates opposition groups’ incentives for post-electoral violence. Using data on 230 state-wide elections in Africa from 1990 to 2009, the analysis supports the observable implications of this argument. The findings of this article imply that international election observation missions make the post-electoral environment more peaceful when it comes to government repression after non-fraudulent elections. But observers ought to develop greater local expertise to identify opposition grievances before these groups resort to violence and be attentive to the possibility of increased repression after exposing cheating.


The Homegrown Threat: State Strength, Grievance, and Domestic Terrorism

Sambuddha Ghatak & Brandon Prins

International Interactions, forthcoming

Scholars maintain that, similar to insurgency, terrorist violence is precipitated by both relative deprivation and state weakness. Yet aggrieved minority groups within a country should turn to terrorism when they are weak relative to the state rather than strong. Empirical evidence shows minority group discrimination and fragile political institutions to independently increase domestic terror attacks. But it remains unclear whether grievances drive domestic terrorism in both strong and weak states. Using data from 172 countries between 1998 and 2007, we find that for strong states the presence of minority discrimination leads to increased domestic terrorism, while for weak states the presence of minority discrimination actually leads to less domestic terrorism. Consequently, increasing state capacity may not be a panacea for antistate violence, as nonstate actors may simply change their strategy from insurgency or guerrilla warfare to terrorism. Efforts to reduce terrorist violence must focus on reducing grievance by eliminating discriminatory policies at the same time that measures to improve state capacity are enacted.


Incentivized Obedience: How a Gentler Israeli Military Prevents Organized Resistance

Erica Weiss

American Anthropologist, March 2016, Pages 91–103

In this article, I offer an ethnographic examination of neoliberal techniques of control through absence by the Israeli military, the state institution most associated with discipline, indoctrination, and direct coercion. I highlight the ways that the apparent withdrawal of the state from practices of indoctrination and the punishment of conscientious objectors are accompanied by a shift in recruitment and training that emphasizes self-advancement and social mobility above national and ideological commitments. While in the past the Israeli state and military focused exclusively on shaping self-sacrificing citizens, today it invests a great deal of its effort in structuring the calculated choices of self-interested individuals toward favorable outcomes. I explore the uneven but strategic deployment of incentivized governance and consider some of the effects of these techniques for the meaning of engaged citizenship and the politics of state violence in a militarized society. Further, I demonstrate that the lightening of disciplinary sanctions in favor of individual freedom is an effective form of weakening dissent and that it confounds efforts to constitute organized resistance to militarism, leaving activists floundering to find effective ways to express their political concerns.


Long-Term Exposure to Political Violence: The Particular Injury of Persistent Humiliation

Brian Barber et al.

Social Science & Medicine, May 2016, Pages 154–166

This study assessed the association between exposure to political violence over a 25-year period and adult functioning among a population that has experienced protracted and severe political conflict. Instead of aggregating exposure to political violence across time and type of exposure, as is commonly done, the event history calendar pioneered in this study assessed exposure to five forms of political violence annually from 1987 to 2011 in a representative sample of 1,788 adults, aged 37 on average, in the occupied Palestinian territories (West Bank, East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip). This method allowed for the identification of trajectories of exposure to political violence from childhood to adulthood using latent profile analysis. We then correlated the trajectories of exposure to measures of economic, political, community, family, psychological, and health functioning. As expected, being shot at, having one’s home raided, being hit or kicked, being verbally abused, and witnessing someone close being humiliated were all elevated during periods of heightened political conflict (the first intifada (1987-1993) and, less so, the second intifada (2000-2005)). In addition, 12% of women and men reported high and persistent levels of exposure to humiliation (being verbally abused and/or witnessing someone close being humiliated) across the entire 25-year period. These individuals lived predominantly in neighborhoods with a high Israeli military presence. Compared to those who experienced periodic exposure to political violence, persistently humiliated men and women reported significantly lower health, economic, political, and psychological functioning, as well as higher social cohesion and political expression. Relevant literatures are reviewed when concluding that persistent humiliation is a neglected form of political violence that is best represented as a direct (versus structural), acute (versus chronic), macro (versus micro), and high-grade (versus low-grade) stressor whose particular injury is due to the violation of individual and collective identity, rights, justice and dignity.


Hands Off My Regime! Governments’ Restrictions on Foreign Aid to Non-Governmental Organizations in Poor and Middle-Income Countries

Kendra Dupuy, James Ron & Aseem Prakash

World Development, forthcoming

Many resource-strapped developing country governments seek international aid, but when that assistance is channeled through domestic civil society, it can threaten their political control. As a result, in the last two decades, 39 of the world’s 153 low- and middle-income countries have adopted laws restricting the inflow of foreign aid to domestically operating nongovernmental organizations (NGOs). Governments recognize that such laws harm their international reputations for supporting democracy and may invite donor punishment in terms of aid reductions. Yet, they perceive foreign aid to NGOs as supporting political opponents and threatening their grip on power. In the aftermath of competitive electoral victories, governments often take new legal steps to limit these groups’ funding. We test this argument on an original dataset of laws detailing the regulation of foreign aid inflows to domestically operating NGOs in 153 low- and middle-income countries for the period 1993–2012. Using an event history approach, we find that foreign aid flows are associated with an increased risk of restrictive law adoption; a log unit increase in foreign aid raises the probability of adoption by 6.7%. This risk is exacerbated after the holding of competitive elections: the interaction of foreign aid and competitive elections increases the probability of adoption by 11%.


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