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.
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.
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.
We use high resolution satellite data on the proportion of buildings in a 250x250 meter cell to study the evolution of human settlement in Ghana over a 40 year period. We find a strong increase in built-up area over time, mostly concentrated in the vicinity of roads, and also directly on the coast. We find strong evidence of agglomeration effects both in the static sense—buildup in one cell predicts buildup in a nearby cell—and in a dynamic sense—buildup in a cell predicts buildup in that cell later on and an increase in buildup in nearby cells. These effects are strongest over a 3 to 15 Km radius, which corresponds to a natural hinterland for a population without mechanized transportation. We find no evidence that human settlements are spaced more or less equally either over the landscape or along roads. This suggests that arable land is not yet fully utilized, allowing rural settlements to be separated by areas of un-farmed land. By fitting a transition matrix to the data, we predict a sharp increase in the proportion of the country that is densely built-up by the middle and the end of the century, but no increase in the proportion of partially built-up locations.
Many studies document low rates of financial literacy and suboptimal levels of participation in financial markets. These issues are particularly acute among women. Does this reflect a self-reinforcing trap? If so, can a nudge to participate in financial markets generate knowledge, confidence, and further increase informed participation? We conduct a large field experiment that enables and incentivizes working-age men and women---a challenging group to reach with standard financial training programs---to trade stocks for four to seven weeks. We provide no additional educational content. We find that trading significantly improves financial confidence, as reflected in stock market participation, objective and subjective measures of financial knowledge, and risk tolerance. These effects are especially strong among women. Participants also become more self-reliant and consult others less when making financial decisions.
This article examines the AKP’s youth politics in the aftermath of the 2013 Gezi Protests. It focuses on a seemingly mundane cultural practice of essay writing and student essay competitions to investigate the party’s message and methods in addressing young people. In particular, it examines the politics of history and emotional politics in the party's effort to construct and administer youth publics. The article argues that the AKP’s power is embedded in and reproduced by the articulation of political differences and mobilization of emotions, which play a significant role in the party’s broader bid to reorganize society, redefine collective identity, and control dissent.
An assessment of Russia that suggests that we should look beyond traditional means of power to understand its strength and capacity to disrupt international politics.
We measure the effects of a network of heroes in legitimizing and diffusing extreme political behaviors. Exploiting newly-declassified intelligence files, novel voting data and regimental histories, we show the home municipalities of French line regiments arbitrarily rotated through Philippe Petain's command during the heroic WWI battle of Verdun, though similar before WWI, increasingly espouse Petain's authoritarian political views thereafter, raising 7% more active Nazi collaborators per capita during the Petain-led Vichy regime (1940-44). The effects are similar across joining Fascist parties, German forces, paramilitaries hunting Jews and the Resistance, and collaborating economically.
American democracy is in trouble. Since the 2016 election, a sizable literature has developed that focuses on diagnosing and assessing the state of American democracy, most of which concludes that our system of government is in decline. These authors point to the rise in party polarization, the increasingly bipartisan abandonment of the norms of the democratic process, the rise of populism, the degradation of the public sphere, and the proliferation of gerrymandered districts and voting restrictions to illustrate the breakdown.