This article examines the consequences of the opium concession system in the Dutch East Indies—a nineteenth-century institution through which the Dutch would auction the monopolistic right to sell opium in a given locality. The winners of these auctions were invariably ethnic Chinese. The poverty of Java's indigenous population combined with opium's addictive properties meant that many individuals fell into destitution. The author argues that this institution put in motion a self-reinforcing arrangement that enriched one group and embittered the other with consequences that persist to the present day. Consistent with this theory, the author finds that individuals living today in villages where the opium concession system once operated report higher levels of out-group intolerance compared to individuals in nearby unexposed counterfactual villages. These findings improve the understanding of the historical conditions that structure antagonisms between competing groups.

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This article examines the consequences of the opium concession system in the Dutch East Indies—a nineteenth-century institution through which the Dutch would auction the monopolistic right to sell opium in a given locality.

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World Politics
Nicholas Kuipers
pp. 1–38
Graduate School of Business 655 Knight Way Stanford, CA 94305
(650) 721 1298
Associate Professor of Political Economy, GSB
Associate Professor, by courtesy, of Economics and of Political Science

Along with being a Senior Fellow at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies, Saumitra Jha is an associate professor of political economy at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, and convenes the Stanford Conflict and Polarization Lab. 

Jha’s research has been published in leading journals in economics and political science, including Econometrica, the Quarterly Journal of Economics, the American Political Science Review and the Journal of Development Economics, and he serves on a number of editorial boards. His research on ethnic tolerance has been recognized with the Michael Wallerstein Award for best published article in Political Economy from the American Political Science Association in 2014 and his co-authored research on heroes with the Oliver Williamson Award for best paper by the Society for Institutional and Organizational Economics in 2020. Jha was honored to receive the Teacher of the Year Award, voted by the students of the Stanford MSx Program in 2020.

Saum holds a BA from Williams College, master’s degrees in economics and mathematics from the University of Cambridge, and a PhD in economics from Stanford University. Prior to rejoining Stanford as a faculty member, he was an Academy Scholar at Harvard University. He has been a fellow of the Niehaus Center for Globalization and Governance and the Center for the Study of Democratic Politics at Princeton University, and at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford. Jha has consulted on economic and political risk issues for the United Nations/WTO, the World Bank, government agencies, and for private firms.


Senior Fellow at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies
Dan C. Chung Faculty Scholar at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies
Senior Fellow at the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research
CDDRL Research Affiliate
Affiliated faculty at The Europe Center

The Program on American Democracy in Comparative Perspective is holding a conference on Democracy and its Discontents on October 8-10 in Budapest, Hungary. The conference, co-hosted with Central European University, will bring together scholars of American and European politics to examine topics such as democratic backsliding, inequality, and money in politics. Saskia Sassen of Columbia University will deliver the keynote address. 

Democracy and its Discontents Agenda
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Karen Del Biondo

Postdoctoral Scholar at CDDRL, 2012-2013

Postdoctoral Fellow, KFG Transformative Power of Europe, Free University of Berlin, 2013-2014


Internationally, there has been an increasing call for ‘partnership’ in development cooperation. This refers to development cooperation based on negotiation with the recipient government on an equal basis. While both the E.U. and the U.S. have formally committed to this principle, the E.U. is known to be a frontrunner in partnership-based development, while the U.S. was found to be rather slow in implementing this agenda. This paper investigates the degree to which E.U. and U.S. development policies reflect partnership, particularly regarding general features, aid characteristics, conditionality and aid selectivity and aid motives. It finds that, while E.U. development cooperation has traditionally been stronger focused on partnership than it is the case for the U.S., in recent years the gap is narrowing. On the one hand, E.U. development policies have increasingly resembled those of the U.S., as E.U. development assistance is becoming more focused on security and there are increasing conditions on budget support. While U.S. development policies are still strongly driven by security motives, the U.S. has recently madeefforts to increase country ownership.


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Karen Del Biondo
Sadaf H. Minapara
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Prince Moulay Hicham Ben Abdallah, a consulting professor at the Center on Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law is leaving Stanford at the end of this academic year to pursue research in Islamic studies in the United Kingdom.

Ben Abdallah joined CDDRL – a center at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies – as a visiting scholar in 2007, and then became a consulting professor. In 2010, Ben Abdallah worked with CDDRL Director Larry Diamond to launch one of the center’s principal research programs, the Program on Arab Reform and Democracy (ARD). Examining political and democratic reform in the Arab world, ARD is a multidisciplinary program that brings together policy-makers, academics and civil society members to advance policy-relevant research.

“We are very proud to have been able to engage Prince Moulay Hicham and provide him an intellectual home during this past formative period for the Program on Arab Reform and Democracy, and for his own scholarship and reflection. He has had a profound and enduring impact in helping to launch and shape a significant program of research on Arab politics and society at Stanford, and through that in stimulating the broader growth of Arab studies at Stanford,” said Diamond. “In giving so generously of his time, knowledge, and resources to our students, he has also supported and inspired many of them to make what I expect will be a lifelong commitment to study of and engagement with the Arab World. We wish him every success in this next phase of his intellectual journey.”

Written during his residence at CDDRL, Ben Abdallah's memoir entitled Journal d’un Prince Banni or the Diary of a Banished Prince debuted this spring. The autobiography shares his life story as a member of Morocco's royal family. The first cousin of Morocco's King Mohammed VI, Diary of a Banished Prince traces Ben Abdallah's evolution as a political activist against the historical backdrop of Morocco's authoritarian politics.

“At CDDRL, I found an intellectual community that was tightly knit, yet diverse enough to foster the cross-fertilization of ideas," said Ben Abdallah "Its cutting-edge research and classical scholarly debates provided an environment that broadened my expertise and offered opportunities to engage in real introspection.. All these elements were crucial in allowing me to write my book as well as explore new frontiers of research.”

Ben Abdallah has served on the FSI advisory board since November 2009, and has stepped down from that role this year.

Ben Abdallah will continue to stay engaged at Stanford through his role on the board of advisors for the American Middle Eastern Network for Dialogue at Stanford, a student group on campus. He will also stay involved with the ARD program as a principal advisor and supporter of the initiative.

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Clifton B. Parker

The electoral eruption of anti-European Union populism is a reflection of structural flaws in that body but does not represent a fatal political blow, according to Stanford scholars.

In the May 25 elections for the European Parliament, anti-immigration parties won 140 of the 751 seats, well short of control, but enough to rattle supporters of the EU, which has 28 member nations. In Britain, Denmark, France and Greece, the political fringe vote totals stunned the political establishments.

Stanford political scientist Francis Fukuyama said the rise of extremism and anti-elitism is not surprising in the wake of the 2008 economic downturn and subsequent high levels of unemployment throughout Europe. In one sense, the EU elites have themselves to blame, he said.

"The elites who designed the EU and the eurozone failed in a major way," he said. "There was a structural flaw in the design of the euro (monetary union absent fiscal union, and the method of disciplining countries once in the zone)," said Fukuyama, the Olivier Nomellini Senior Fellow at Stanford's Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies and the Center on Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law, and Research Afflilate at The Europe Center.

Some have argued that the European Union should adopt a form of fiscal union because without one, decisions about taxes and spending remain at the national level.

As Fukuyama points out, this becomes a problem, as in the case of a debt-ridden Greece, which he believes should not have qualified for EU membership in the first place. In fact, he said, it would have been better for Greece itself to leave the euro at the outset of the 2008 crisis.

Still, Fukuyama said the big picture behind the recent election is clear – it was a confluence of issues and timing.

"It is a bit like an off-year election in the U.S., where activists are more likely to vote than ordinary citizens," he said.

Fukuyama believes the EU will survive this electoral crisis. "I think the EU will be resilient. It has weathered other rejections in the past. The costs of really exiting the EU are too high in the end, and the elites will adjust, having been given this message," he said.

Meanwhile, the populist parties in the different countries are not unified or intent on building coalitions with each other.

"Other than being anti-EU, most of them have little in common," Fukuyama said. "They differ with regard to specific positions on immigration, economic policy, and they respond to different social bases."

Ongoing anger

Dan Edelstein, a professor of French, said the largest factor for success by extremist candidates was "ongoing anger toward the austerity policy imposed by the EU," primarily by Germany.

Edelstein estimates that a large majority of French voters are still generally supportive of the EU. For the time being, the anti-EU faction does not have a majority, though they now have much more representation in the European Parliament.

Edelstein noted existing strains among the anti-EU parties – for example, the UK Independence Party in Britain has stated that it would not form an alliance with the National Front party in France.

Immigration remains a thorny issue for some Europeans, Edelstein said.

"'Immigration' in most European political debates, tends to be a synonym for 'Islam.' While there are some countries, such as Britain, that are primarily worried about the economic costs of immigration, in most continental European countries, the fears are cultural," he said.

As Edelstein put it, Muslims are perceived as a "demographic threat" to white or Christian Europe. However, he is optimistic in the long run.

"It seems a little early to be writing the obituary of the EU. Should economic conditions improve over the next few years, as they are predicted to, we will likely see this high-water mark of populist anger recede," said Edelstein.

Cécile Alduy, an associate professor of French, writes in the May 28 issue of The Nation about how the ultra-right-wing National Front came in first place in France's election.

"This outcome was also the logical conclusion of a string of political betrayals, scandals and mismanagement that were only compounded by the persistent economic and social morass that has plunged France into perpetual gloom," she wrote.

Historian J.P. Daughton said that like elsewhere in the world, immigration often becomes a contentious issue in Europe in times of economic difficulties.  

"High unemployment and painful austerity measures in many parts of Europe have led extremist parties to blame immigrants for taking jobs and sapping already limited social programs," he said.

Anti-immigration rhetoric plays particularly well in EU elections, Daughton said. "Extremist parties portray European integration as a threat not only to national sovereignty, but also to national identity.

Edelstein, Alduy and Daughton are all Faculty Affiliates of The Europe Center.

Wake-up call

Russell A. Berman, a professor of German studies and comparative literature, said many Europeans perceive the EU as "somehow impenetrable, far from the civic politics of the nation states."

As a result, people resent regulations issued by an "intangible bureaucracy," and have come to believe that the European Parliament has not grappled with major issues such as mustering a coherent foreign policy voice, he said.

"The EU can be great on details but pretty weak on the big picture," said Berman, who is the Walter A. Haas Professor in the Humanities, Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution, and Faculty Affiliate of The Europe Center. "It is this discrepancy that feeds the dissatisfaction."

Yet he points out that the extremist vote surged in only 14 nations of the EU – in the other 14, there was "negligible extremism," as he describes it.

"We're a long way from talking about a fatal blow, but the vote is indeed a wake-up call to the centrists that they have to make a better case for Europe," Berman said.


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*Open only to Stanford students.* 

Speaker Bio: 

Zahera Harb is one of the six 2013-2014 FSI-Humanities Center International Visitors and will be in residence at Stanford in May 2014. She is Senior Lecturer in International Journalism at City University London. She received her M.A. and Ph.D. in journalism studies from Cardiff University (United Kingdom). As an expert on Arab media, she has published widely on journalism ethics, conflict and war reporting, political communication and representation of Muslims and Islam in western media. Her recent publications include Narrating Conflict in the Middle East: Discourse, Image and Communications Practices in Lebanon and Palestine (2013) and Channels of Resistance: Liberation Propaganda, Hezbollah and the Media (2011). Dr. Harb also has 11 years of experience as a journalist in Lebanon working for Lebanese and international media organizations.


This event is co-sponsored by the Sohaib and Sara Abbasi Program in Islamic Studies, CDDRL Program on Arab Reform and Democracy, the Mediterranean Studies Forum, Stanford Humanities Center, Arab Studies Table, Stanford Language Center. 

Building 30, Room 102

Zahera Harb Senior Lecturer in International Journalism Speaker City University London
Adam Gorlick
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Former President George W. Bush met with Stanford students for an hourlong conversation that touched on many of the defining moments and policies of his presidency.

In a relaxed and sometimes self-deprecating exchange on May 5, Bush talked about the limits of congressional power and his relationships and personal diplomacy with other world leaders. His tone was more serious when discussing what he described as universal desires for freedom, his military strategies following 9/11, and his commitment to addressing Africa’s HIV/AIDS pandemic.

Mariano-Florentino Cuéllar, director of the university’s Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies, moderated the session. Stanford President John Hennessy and Condoleezza Rice – Bush’s secretary of state and national security adviser who has returned to teaching political science and business at Stanford – joined the conversation.

"FSI has a terrific track record of convening leaders at Stanford, from the head of the International Monetary Fund to prime ministers and presidents,” Cuéllar said. “On this occasion, we wanted our students to have an opportunity for a candid conversation with one of the key policymakers of the early 21st century, and we think such experiences will further prepare them for leadership in a complex world."

About 30 students were invited to the session at Encina Hall, but they didn’t know they were meeting Bush until the 43rd president walked into the room.

“I suspect he misses this sort of engagement,” said Gregory Schweizer, a second-year law school student who was part of the discussion that also covered immigration reform, national education policies and the Edward Snowden affair.

“The media always portrays him as being disengaged from current affairs,” Schweizer said. “But I’m impressed with how interested and engaged he still is.”

Along with representatives from Stanford Law School, other students were invited from the Ford Dorsey Program in International Policy Studies. Honors students from FSI’s Center for International Security and Cooperation and Center on Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law also joined the conversation.

Bush’s visit was arranged with the help of  Brad Freeman, a former university trustee and Ronald Spogli, who is currently on Stanford's board of trustees. Freeman and Spogli are longtime friends of the former president and philanthropists who donated a naming gift to FSI in 2005. Bush appointed Spogli as ambassador to Italy in 2005 and as ambassador to San Marino a year later. 

Stanford has a tradition of hosting current and former heads of state, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel and former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev – both of whom visited in 2010.

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On March 14-15, the Program on American Democracy in Comparative Perspective at the Center for Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law, held a workshop on electoral system alternatives in the United States. The workshop brought together a number of scholars of American electoral institutions, practitioners working to implement electoral reforms, and experts on electoral systems reforms in advanced democracies. The workshop examined how different electoral systems options have worked in other countries, and what the implications of similar reforms might be in the United States.

Among other things, the workshop asked:

  • How might plurality elections in single-member districts in the United States skew democratic outcomes? Is there a relationship between the electoral system and the problems we see today, such as ideological and political polarization?
  • What lessons might be drawn from reforms in other countries? Examples include the single-transferable vote (STV) in Ireland, the alternative vote (AV) in Australia, and mixed-member systems in Italy, Japan, and New Zealand;
  • How might we go about reforming American electoral systems -- through local, state, or federal means, and through engagement with which types of political and civil service actors?
  • How has ranked-choice voting (RCV) worked in local experiments in the United States, including in Minneapolis, MN; San Francisco, CA; Oakland, CA; and Cambridge, MA?
  • How might electoral systems reforms interact with other proposed political reforms in the United States, including the National Popular Vote for the Electoral College, top-four primaries, and the adoption of redistricting commissions? 



Nick Stephanopoulos: Our Electoral Exceptionalism


Electoral System Reform in the U.S.
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Oksenberg Conference Room

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