Authoritarian governments produce internal assessments of the quality of governance that allow them to identify and address brewing problems before they threaten regime stability. This paper provides a theory of how the information necessary to produce such assessments is gathered. The empirical focus of the paper is on China, which is used to illustrate how information-gathering channels in communist autocracies differ from those used in electoral autocracies.
A paper released by CDDRL Arab Reform and Democracy Program Manager, Lina Khatib addresses the challenges and opportunities for political participation in Tunisia and Egypt post-Arab Spring. Published in the University of Pennsylvania Journal of International Law, Khatib argues that while there are challenges following the democratic transitions a new opening for political parties and civil society in the Arab world is in the making.
As demonstrated by current events in Tunisia and Egypt, oppressive regimes are rarely immune to their citizens’ desire for democratic government. Of course, desire is always tempered by reality; therefore how democratic demands are made manifest is a critical source of study for both political scientists and foreign policy makers. What issues and consequences surround the fall of a government, what type of regime replaces it, and to what extent are these efforts successful?
Qatar has become an Arab country with a high international profile and an ambitious foreign policy, particularly as a result of its role in the Arab Spring. It has cultivated a reputation as a political mediator and a key source of foreign aid. Following the Libyan uprising, Qatar demonstrated further political adaptability in leading regional action against the Gaddafi regime.
This paper points to the poor state of empirical measures of the quality of states, that is, executive branches and their bureaucracies. Much of the problem is conceptual, since there is very little agreement on what constitutes high-quality government. The paper suggests four approaches: (1) procedural measures, such as the Weberian criteria of bureaucratic modernity; (2) capacity measures, which include both resources and degree of professionalization; (3) output measures; and (4) measures of bureaucratic autonomy.