Is America in a period of democratic decline? I argue that there is an urgent need to consider the United States in comparative perspective, and that doing so is necessary to contextualize and understand the quality of American democracy. I describe two approaches to comparing the United States: the first shows how the United States stacks up to other countries, while the second uses the theories and tools of comparative politics to examine relationships between institutions, actors, and democratic outcomes.
In the second decade of the 21st century, the world experienced the rise of a global populist movement built around ethnic nationalism and hostility to foreigners and immigration. This movement has been led by the United States after the election of Donald J. Trump as President in 2016, and today includes leaders in Turkey, Hungary, Poland, Italy, Brazil, and a host of parties throughout Europe that challenge the liberal international order. Canada, Australia, and the United States are three former British colonies that were settled by successive waves of immigrants from abroad.
Western observers have raised concerns over the rise and now predominance of Chinese state-backed bilateral lending in international infrastructure development. These range from China's growing geopolitical influence to the increasingly unsustainable debt levels of some of the nations receiving investments as part of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). In fact the BRI today is simply the next phase of a decades-long shift in the infrastructure sector towards China and away from traditional western development lending institutions.
A new account of modern Iraqi politics that overturns the conventional wisdom about its sectarian divisions
How did Iraq become one of the most repressive dictatorships of the late twentieth century? The conventional wisdom about Iraq's modern political history is that the country was doomed by its diverse social fabric. But in State of Repression, Lisa Blaydes challenges this belief by showing that the country's breakdown was far from inevitable. At the same time, she offers a new way of understanding the behavior of other authoritarian regimes and their populations.
The cholera response in Yemen was and remains extremely complicated and challenging for a variety of political, security, cultural, and environmental reasons. The study team recognizes these challenges and commends the government, international and national organizations, and the donors for working to find solutions in such a difficult context. There are no easy fixes to these challenges, and the conclusions and recommendations are meant to be constructive and practical, taking into account the extreme limitations of working in Yemen during an active conflict.
For three and a half decades following the end of the Maoist era, China adhered to Deng Xiaoping’s policies of “reform and opening to the outside world” and “peaceful development.” After Deng retired as paramount leader, these principles continued to guide China’s international behavior in the leadership eras of Jiang Zemin and Hu Jintao.
The emergence of a global digital ecosystem has been a boon for global communication and the democratization of the means of distributing information. The internet, and the social media platforms and web applications running on it, have been used to mobilize pro-democracy protests and give members of marginalized communities a chance to share their voices with the world.
This case describes the preparations and decisions made by Actis, a leading global emerging markets private equity firm, in the lead-up to its partial divestment via an initial public offering (“IPO”) of Umeme Limited (“Umeme”), Uganda’s national electric distribution company. The case describes the challenges encountered by Actis during the seven year period from when it first took over Umeme in 2005, through the years of work to turnaround the company, until 2012 when final preparations for the IPO were underway.
Political parties in the United States and Britain used clientelism and patronage to govern throughout the nineteenth century. By the twentieth century, however, parties in both countries shifted to programmatic competition. This book argues that capitalists were critical to this shift. Businesses developed new forms of corporate management and capitalist organization, and found clientelism inimical to economic development.
A year into the Trump Administration, the health and stability of American democracy remain an open question. At a time when almost four in 10 Americans say they are not satisfied with the way democracy is working in the U.S., there is ample reason to ask how committed the American people are to our democracy.
Violence in war must have a limit. Those who are not participating in the hostilities should be protected to prevent war from sinking into barbarity. Today, this is safeguarded by international humanitarian law (IHL), of which the cornerstones are the four Geneva Conventions of 1949 and its Additional Protocols.
The Battle of Mosul was one of the largest urban sieges since World War II. From October 2016 and July 2017, Iraqi and Kurdish forces fought to retake Iraq’s second largest city, which had fallen to ISIL in 2014. They were backed by U.S.-led coalition forces. More than 940,000 civilians fled during the siege, and thousands were injured as they sought safety.
I leverage novel experimental designs and 2, 160 months of Members of Parliaments’ (MPs’) Constituency Development Fund spending to test whether fair elections promote democratic responsiveness. I nd that MPs elected in constituencies that were randomly assigned to high levels of election monitoring dur- ing Ghana’s 2012 polls spend 19 percentage points more of their CDFs, on average, compared to those who were elected from districts that had fewer monitors.
The levels of violence in Mexico have dramatically increased in the last few years due to structural changes in the drug trafficking business. The increase in the number of drug trafficking organizations (DTOs) fighting over the control of territory and trafficking routes has resulted in a substantial increase in the rates of homicides and other crimes. This study evaluates the economic costs of drug-related violence.
This paper examines why governments in underdeveloped countries systematically pursue policies that prevent long-term economic growth. Focusing on the design and implementation of Mexico's massive land redistribution program, we argue that governments do so to improve their chances of political survival. Mexico’s incumbent PRI regime gave peasants communal property under a restrictive and inefficient property rights regime.
When Mexican President Felipe Caldrón took office in December 2006 he declared a war on the nation’s drug traffic organizations (Ríos and Shirk, 2011). Violence escalated as criminal organizations became increasingly fragmented and disputed their territories (Killebrew and Bernal, 2010; Beittel, 2011).
Poverty relief programs are shaped by politics. The particular design that social programs take is, to a large extent, determined by the existing institutional constraints and politicians' imperative to win elections. The "Political Logic of Poverty Relief" places elections and institutional design at the core of poverty alleviation. The authors develop a theory with applications to Mexico about how elections shape social programs aimed at aiding the poor.
Jóvenes con Porvenir is a public-funded program run by the government of Zapopan. This pioneering policy initiative was designed and implemented in response to the major social and economic challenges affecting young people. The program offers scholarships to young men and women not enrolled in school, so they can attend vocational training courses regardless of their employment status.
The Allied occupation of Japan is remembered as the "good occupation." An American-led coalition successfully turned a militaristic enemy into a stable and democratic ally. Of course, the story was more complicated, but the occupation did forge one of the most enduring relationships in the postwar world. Recent events, from the occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan to protests over American bases in Japan to increasingly aggressive territorial disputes between Asian nations over islands in the Pacific, have brought attention back to the subject of the occupation of Japan.
"What should states in the developing world do and how should they do it? How have states in the developing world addressed the challenges of promoting development, order, and inclusion? States in the developing world are supposed to build economies, control violence, and include the population. How they do so depends on historical origins and context as well as policy decisions.
How should the quality of government be measured across disparate national contexts? This study develops a new approach using an original survey of Chinese civil servants and a comparison to the United States. We surveyed over 2,500 Chinese municipal officials on three organizational features of their bureaucracies: meritocracy, individual autonomy, and morale. They report greater meritocracy than U.S. federal employees in almost all American agencies. China's edge is smaller in autonomy and markedly smaller in morale. Differences between the U.S.