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.
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.
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.
In 2006 the Mexican government launched an aggressive campaign to weaken drug-trafficking organizations (DTOs). The security policies differed significantly from those of previous administrations in the use of a leadership strategy (the targeting for arrest of the highest levels or core leadership of criminal networks). While these strategies can play an important role in disrupting the targeted criminal organization, they can also have unintended consequences, increasing inter-cartel and intra-cartel fighting and fragmenting criminal organizations.
In 2006 the Mexican government launched an aggressive campaign to weaken drug-trafficking organizations (DTOs). The security policies differed significantly from those of previous administrations in the use of a leadership strategy (the targeting for arrest of the highest levels or core leadership of criminal networks).
We estimate the impacts of being connected to politicians on occupational choice. We use an administrative dataset collected in 2008-2010 on 20 million individuals and rely on naming conventions to assess family links to candidates in elections held in 2007 and 2010. We first apply a regression discontinuity design to close elections in 2007. We then use individuals connected to successful candidates in 2010 as control group to net out the possible cost associated with being related to a losing candidate.
Voter education campaigns often aim to increase voter participation and political accountability. Randomized interventions were implemented nationwide during the 2009 Mozambican elections using leaflets, text messaging, and a free newspaper. We study the peer effects triggered by the campaign within households and villages. We investigate whether treatment effects are transmitted through social networks and geographical proximity at the village level. For individuals personally targeted by the campaign, we estimate the reinforcement effect of proximity to other targeted individuals. For untargeted individuals, we estimate how the campaign diffuses as a function of proximity to targeted individuals. We find evidence for both effects, similar across treatments and proximity measures. The treatments raise the level of information and interest in the election through networks, in line with the average treatment effect. However, we find a negative network effect of the treatments on voter participation, even though the average effect of the treatments themselves is positive: the effect of treatment on more central individuals is lower and sometimes negative. We interpret this result as a free riding effect, due to the fact that voter participation is costly.
According to many commentators, political polarization is at an all-time high in American politics. This volume, edited by Nathaniel Persily, asks leading scholars to weigh in on the nature of polarization, the consequences of polarization, and solutions to polarized discourse and policymaking. While most scholars agree that American politiics is polarized, they disagree on its causes. Is it the changing media landscape? Are voters themselves polarized, or is it decision-makers and political donors who drive ideological extremism?