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.
In this paper published by the International Journal of Educational Development, we investigate the impact of drug-related violence in Mexico on academic achievement. We use panel of elementary and lower secondary schools and locality-level firearm homicides from 2006 to 2011. We rely on school fixed-effects models to estimate the impact on math test scores of turf war exposure and turf war persistence (e.g. months of exposure) during the academic year. According to the results, both exposure and persistence of criminal violence reduces math test scores.
Why do some government agencies start with more autonomy than others? Conventional studies of autonomy at genesis are few and far between, with most of this sparse literature focusing on why a single founder—usually a politician—unilaterally chooses to delegate power to the new agency. In this article, I suggest that the decision to bestow autonomy to a new agency is not always made by a single founder alone. Instead, politicians must sometimes rely upon other actors to create a new government agency.
The Top Two primary is one of the most interesting and closely-watched political reforms in the United States in recent years. This radically open primary system removes much of the formal role for parties in the primary election and even allows for two candidates of the same party to face each other in the fall. An important goal of this reform has been to elect more moderate candidates to public office.
Are Weberian bureaucracies a precondition for capitalist markets or is it the other way around? According to the developmental school, state bureaucracies organized along Weberian precepts is necessary for successful state-led growth. Yet some level of economic wealth also appears to be necessary for achieving such desirable institutions.
About the Book
Over the past decade, illiberal powers have become emboldened and gained influence within the global arena. Leading authoritarian countries—including China, Iran, Russia, Saudi Arabia, and Venezuela—have developed new tools and strategies to contain the spread of democracy and challenge the liberal international political order.
Does dependence on development aid from Western sources constrain the use of repression among autocrats? To answer this question, I employ a novel dataset of Africa's post-Cold War autocracies in which the unit of analysis is the country-day rather than the country-year. This day-level dataset enables me to address three potential sources of bias that obscure the relationship between Western aid dependence and repression.
This paper evaluates the causal impact of Rio de Janeiro’s Pacifying Police Units (UPPs), probably the largest–scale police reform initiative taking place in the developing world. The main goals of the UPPs were: 1) to regain control of territories previously dominated by armed criminal groups; and 2) to improve security for these communities through reduction of lethal violence. In the course of six years, more than 9,000 police officers were permanently assigned to the UPPs, servicing close to half million residents in the city slums (favelas).
This paper evaluates the causal impact of Rio de Janeiro’s Pacifying Police Units (UPPs), probably the largest–scale police reform initiative taking place in the developing world. The main goals of the UPPs were: 1) to regain control of territories previously dominated by armed criminal groups; and 2) to improve security for these communities through reduction of lethal violence.
The Republic of China on Taiwan has long reserved legislative seats for its indigenous minority, the yuanzhumin. While most of Taiwan’s political institutions were transformed as the island democratized, the dual aborigine constituencies continue to be based on an archaic, Japanese-era distinction between “mountain” and “plains” aborigines that corresponds poorly to current conditions.
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.
In an article in the American Interest, Didi Kuo argues that understanding the causes of polarization -- whether rooted in a polarized electorate, or rooted in the ideological extremism of campaign donors and candidates -- has different implications on political reforms. If polarization is an elite phenomenon, institutional and legal reforms have a much greater chance of success.
In an article in "The American Interest", Larry Diamond advocates electoral system reforms, including top-two and ranked-choice voting, as a potential antidote to partisan polarization. Such reforms could decrease the likelihood of extremist candidates, could increase the potential for third-party candidates, and could ensure fewer wasted votes.
Francis Fukuyama discusses Congress's dysfunctional budgetary politics in "The American Interest", asking why the United States is one of the only advanced democracies under constant threat of government shutdown. Given America's peculiar institutions, technical and institutional reforms to the budgeting process may be limited in their impact.
In "The American Interest", Nate Persily discusses the challenge of applying current regulatory frameworks to the world of online campaigns and digital technology. Campaign regulations were created for television, but as Citizens United shows, online campaigns will require different constitutional considerations.
Bruce Cain argues in "The American Interest" that greater transparency can undermine good governance by allowing undue influence of discrete interests and by creating inefficiencies. However, more transparency is needed in bureaucratic policy implementation through private contractors and organizations.
Stephen Stedman argues in 'The American Interest" that efforts to improve American electoral integrity through reforms such as non-partisan election administration can protect the vote and restore public faith in the electoral process. American election administration falls short of international standards for conducting elections, and can be improved in significant ways.
We discuss a method aimed at reducing the risk that spurious results are published. Researchers send their datasets to an independent third party who randomly generates training and testing samples. Researchers perform their analysis on the former and once the paper is accepted for publication the method is applied to the latter and it is those results that are published. Simulations indicate that, under empirically relevant settings, the proposed method significantly reduces type I error and delivers adequate power.
This book evaluates the global status and prospects of democracy, with an emphasis on the quality of democratic institutions and the effectiveness of governance as key conditions for stable democracy. Bringing together a wide range of the author’s work over the past three decades, it advances a framework for assessing the quality of democracy and it analyzes alternative measures of democracy.