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Journal Articles

Democracy's Arc: From Resurgent to Imperiled

Larry Diamond
Journal of Democracy , 2022

In his final essay as co-editor of the Journal of Democracy, Larry Diamond calls this moment the darkest for freedom in a half-century. Whether democracy regains its footing will depend on how democratic leaders and citizens respond to emboldened authoritarians and divisions within their own societies.

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Journal Articles

How Voters Respond to Presidential Assaults on Checks and Balances: Evidence from a Survey Experiment in Turkey

Aytuğ Şaşmaz , Alper H. Yagci, Daniel Ziblatt
Comparative Political Studies , 2022

Why do voters support executive aggrandizement?

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Journal Articles

Towards a unified approach to research on democratic backsliding

Haemin Jee, Hans Lueders, Rachel Myrick
Democratization , 2021

A growing literature examines democratic backsliding, but there is little consensus on when, where, and why it occurs.

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Journal Articles

Community policing does not build citizen trust in police or reduce crime in the Global South

Graeme Blair, Jeremy M. Weinstein, Fotini Christia
Science , 2021

Is it possible to reduce crime without exacerbating adversarial relationships between police and citizens? Community policing is a celebrated reform with that aim, which is now adopted on six continents. However, the evidence base is limited, studying reform components in isolation in a limited set of countries, and remaining largely silent on citizen-police trust. We designed six field experiments with Global South police agencies to study locally designed models of community policing using coordinated measures of crime and the attitudes and behaviors of citizens and police. In a preregistered meta-analysis, we found that these interventions led to mixed implementation, largely failed to improve citizen-police relations, and did not reduce crime. Societies may need to implement structural changes first for incremental police reforms such as community policing to succeed.

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Journal Articles

When no bad deed goes punished: Relational contracting in Ghana and the UK

Elwyn Davies, Marcel Fafchamps
Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization , 2021
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Working Papers

Markets under Siege: How Differences in Political Beliefs can move Financial Markets

Saumitra Jha, Peter Koudijs
2021

Can differences in beliefs about politics, particularly the benefits of war and peace, move markets? During the Siege of Paris by the Prussian army (1870-71) and its aftermath, we document that the price of the French 3% sovereign bond (rente) differed persistently between the Bourse in Paris and elsewhere, despite being one of the most widely held and actively traded financial assets in continental Europe. Further, these differences were large, reaching the equivalent of almost 1% of French GDP in overall value. We show these differences manifested themselves during the period of limited arbitrage induced by the Siege and persisted until the terms of peace were revealed. As long as French military resistance continued, the rente price was higher in Paris than the outside markets, but when the parties ceased fire and started negotiating peace terms this pattern was reversed. Further, while the price responded more to war events in Paris, the price responded more to peace events elsewhere. These specific patterns are difficult to reconcile with other potential mechanisms, including differential information sets, need for liquidity, or relative market thickness. Instead, we argue, these results are consistent with prices reflecting the updating of different prevailing political beliefs that existed in Paris and elsewhere about the benefits of war and peace.

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Journal Articles

Transitional Justice As Communication: Why Truth Commissions and International Criminal Tribunals Need to Persuade and Inform Citizens and Leaders, and How They Can

Jamie O'Connell
South Carolina Law Review , 2021

This Article reframes transitional justice as communication. It argues that the impact of truth and reconciliation commissions (TRCs) and international criminal tribunals (ICTs) on countries where human rights violations occurred depends largely on these institutions changing what those countries’ citizens and elites know and believe. More precisely: most of the ways TRCs and ICTs could advance their goals—such as reconciliation and deterrence—require informing these domestic audiences about the institutions’ activities, methods, and findings, and persuading them to accept the institutions’ conclusions. Communication-specific activities, such as public outreach and media relations, are essential. Yet shaping elite and popular knowledge and opinion are not mere add-ons to what some see as TRCs’ and ICTs’ “core” work: investigating human rights violations, holding hearings, writing reports, and indicting and trying perpetrators. Rather, the imperative of influencing local people must shape how these institutions conduct those activities and sometimes even what conclusions they reach. Unfortunately, TRC commissioners, ICT judges and prosecutors, and their staff, along with transitional justice scholars, have underestimated the importance of influencing domestic audiences for advancing TRCs’ and ICTs’ goals. As a result, the institutions have devoted too little attention and resources to communication.

The Article also provides a typology of the activities and occasions through which TRCs and ICTs can influence domestic audiences. It offers examples of effective and ineffective practice from five international criminal tribunals, such as the International Criminal Court and Special Court for Sierra Leone, and over a dozen truth commissions, such as South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Where evidence permits, it assesses individual institutions’ performance. Finally, the Article analyzes the most important challenges that TRCs and ICTs encounter in communicating with domestic audiences.

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Journal Articles

Is Deliberation an Antidote to Extreme Partisan Polarization? Reflections on “America in One Room”

James Fishkin, Alice Siu, Larry Diamond, Norman Bradburn
American Political Science Review , 2021

This paper stands at the intersection of two literatures—on partisan polarization and on democratic deliberation—that have not had much connection with one another. If readers find some of the results surprising, the authors have had the same reaction. In this paper we describe these results and our approach to explaining them.

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Journal Articles

The Gender Dimensions of Foreign Influence Operations

Samantha Bradshaw, Amélie Henle
International Journal of Communication , 2021
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Journal Articles

How Authoritarians Win When They Lose

Sultan Tepe, Ayça Alemdaroğlu
Journal of Democracy , 2021
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Journal Articles

Russia’s Road to Autocracy

Michael A. McFaul
Journal of Democracy , 2021
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Working Papers

Experimental Evidence on Semi-structured Bargaining with Private Information

Margherita Comola, Marcel Fafchamps
National Bureau of Economic Research , 2021
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Journal Articles

Expect the Unexpected When Learning the Scholar’s Craft

Kathryn Stoner
H-Diplo , 2021

Part of an essay series on Learning the Scholar’s Craft: Reflections of Historians and International Relations Scholars

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Working Papers

Altruism and the Topology of Transfer Networks

Marcel Fafchamps, Simon Heß
Centre for Economic Policy Research , 2021
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Commentary

Democracy and Autocracy, Volume 19(2), September 2021

Jean Lachapelle, Hesham Sallam, Amr Hamzawy, Toby Matthiesen, Ayça Alemdaroğlu, Gönül Tol, Lisa Blaydes, Benjamin Schuetze, Dana El Kurd
Democracy and Autocracy Organized Section of the American Political Science Association (APSA) , 2021

September 2021 issue of the Democracy and Autocracy newsletter, dedicated to the theme "The International Aftermath of the Arab Spring."

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Books

System Error: Where Big Tech Went Wrong and How We Can Reboot

Rob Reich, Mehran Sahami, Jeremy M. Weinstein
2021

A forward-thinking manifesto from three Stanford professors—experts who have worked at ground zero of the tech revolution for decades—which reveals how big tech’s obsession with optimization and efficiency has sacrificed fundamental human values and outlines steps we can take to change course, renew our democracy, and save ourselves.

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Working Papers

Pandemic Spikes and Broken Spears: Indigenous Resilience after the Conquest of Mexico

Alberto Díaz-Cayeros, Juan Espinosa-Balbuena, Saumitra Jha
Stanford GSB , 2021

It is well-established that the Conquest of the Americas by Europeans led to catastrophic declines in indigenous populations. However, less is known about the conditions under which indigenous communities were able to overcome the onslaught of disease and violence that they faced. Drawing upon a rich set of sources, including Aztec tribute rolls and early Conquest censuses (chiefly the Suma de Visita} (1548)), we develop a new disaggregated dataset on pre-Conquest economic, epidemiological and political conditions both in 11,888 potential settlement locations in the historic core of Mexico and in 1,093 actual Conquest-era city-settlements. Of these 1,093 settlements, we show that 36% had disappeared entirely by 1790. Yet, despite being subject to Conquest-era violence, subsequent coercion and multiple pandemics that led average populations in those settlements to fall from 2,377 to 128 by 1646, 13% would still end the colonial era larger than they started. We show that both indigenous settlement survival durations and population levels through the colonial period are robustly predicted, not just by Spanish settler choices or by their diseases, but also by the extent to which indigenous communities could themselves leverage non-replicable and non-expropriable resources and skills from the pre-Hispanic period that would prove complementary to global trade. Thus indigenous opportunities and agency played important roles in shaping their own resilience.

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Conference Memos

POMEPS Studies 43: Digital Activism and Authoritarian Adaptation in the Middle East

Larry Diamond, Eileen Donahoe, Shelby Grossman, Renée DiResta, Josh A. Goldstein
2021

The Project on Middle East Political Science partnered with Stanford University’s Center for Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law and its Global Digital Policy Incubator for an innovative two week online seminar to explore the issues surrounding digital activism and authoritarianism. This workshop was built upon more than a decade of our collaboration on issues related to the internet and politics in the Middle East, beginning in 2011 with a series of workshops in the “Blogs and Bullets” project supported by the United States Institute for Peace and the PeaceTech Lab. This new collaboration brought together more than a dozen scholars and practitioners with deep experience in digital policy and activism, some focused on the Middle East and others offering a global and comparative perspective. POMEPS STUDIES 43 collects essays from that workshop, shaped by two weeks of public and private discussion.

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Journal Articles

The Future of Platform Power: Solving for a Moving Target

Francis Fukuyama
Journal of Democracy , 2021

This essay is a part of an exchange based on Francis Fukuyama’s “Making the Internet Safe for Democracy” from the April 2021 issue of the Journal of Democracy.

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