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", 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.
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.
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?
This paper provides an account of the strategies of extortion and co-optation used by drug trafficking organizations (DTOs) toward civil society in Mexico. Drawing on the civil war and mafia crime literatures, our theoretical approach focuses on levels of territorial contestation among armed actors, as well as state capture by DTOs, to explain variation in co-opting or coercing civil society. Through the use of list experiments in a nationally representative survey, the paper measures extortion and assistance by DTOs in Mexico. We find that the effect of territorial contestation among rival DTOs has two effects. The effect on extortion is non-linear: highly contested places and non-contested places, controlled by a single DTO, show significantly less extortion than moderately contested places. The effect on assistance is negative: DTOs provide assistance mostly in non-contested places. Additionally, using areas of governance by the former ruling party, the Partido Revolucionario Institucional (PRI), as a proxy for state capture by DTOs, we find that both DTO and police extortion is higher in municipalities where the state has been captured. These results suggest that territorial contestation and state capture are important in determining the choice of tactics toward civil society during drug wars.
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. This form of land reform created dependence upon the regime for survival. We find empirical support for this hypothesis using data from a panel of Mexican states from 1917-1992. Land distribution was higher during election years and where the threat of rural unrest was greater. We also show that economic growth and modernization eroded PRI support over the long term, and, further, that PRI support eroded more slowly in states receiving greater levels of land. Inefficient land redistribution therefore served the PRI’s electoral interests, generating a loyal political clientele; and it contributed to political stability. Nonetheless, this policy carried steep costs: land reform substantially depressed long-term economic growth. These findings hold across various model specifications and instrumental variables estimation.
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). The main strategy followed by the federal government involved capturing leaders and lieutenants of criminal organizations (Calderón et al. forthcoming). This seemed to provoke even more violence, by making the competition over territorial control fiercer and providing incentives for many gangs to make extortion and protection fees (derecho de piso) an additional source of revenue (Guerrero-Gutiérrez, 2010). Given the absence of legal (and peaceful) rules and enforcement mechanisms for competitors in the illegal drug market, disagreements were usually solved violently. Under the pressure of the crackdown by the federal police, the navy and the army, contracts among criminal gangs were often disrupted, leading to even more violence.1 Competition over the strategic routes towards the market in the United States was settled by literally eliminating rivals (Dell, 2012).
This chapter explores the connection between police distrust, corruption and extortion. Despite the difficulty in measuring these phenomena through conventional public opinion polls and citizen or firm level surveys, much can be learned from the variation across geographic units in reported victimization and corruption. We use a list experiment collected through the Survey on Public Safety and Governance in Mexico (SPSGM), to study the practices of extortion by both police forces and criminal organizations.4 Using a Bayesian spatial estimation method, we provide a mapping of the geographic distribution of police extortion.
Traditional community rules are formally recognized in multiple constitutions across Latin America. Scholars debate the extent to which these practices conform to broader principles of gender equality. A unique institutional feature in the impoverished state of Oaxaca, Mexico, divides municipalities into traditional and party-based governance. We exploit this feature with original survey data and find that rates of female participation in traditional communities are not different when compared to non-traditional ones. We also conduct a survey experiment to explore how perceptions about female leadership change with factual information about female mayors. We find the strongest demonstration effect on women recipient of the conditional cash transfer program Oportunidades. Our evidence suggests overall that traditional governance is not a relevant dimension to understand female disempowerment, and that entrenched discriminatory practices against women (which exist but are not inherent to traditional rule) are sensitive to community bargains and well-designed policy.