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  • Author: Jamila Venturini, Luiza Louzada, Marilia Maciel, Nicolo Zingales, Konstantinos Stylianou, Luca Belli
  • Publication Date: 12-2016
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: American Assembly at Columbia University
  • Abstract: Nicolo Zingales and colleagues’ new report, Terms of Service and Human Rights: an Analysis of Online Platform Contracts, analyzes the Terms of Service of 50 online platforms and assesses how they deal with the human rights to freedom of expression, privacy, and due process.
  • Topic: Intellectual Property/Copyright, Information Age
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Ismail Fayad
  • Publication Date: 06-2016
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Arab Reform Initiative (ARI)
  • Abstract: Research focusing on non-formal political and social stakeholders/activists has been generally side-lined as a subject of political, sociological, and economic studies in the Arab world. This has been the case since the emergence of these sub-fields in the post-independence period of the 1960s, as Arab universities and research centres were founding their academic fields, until today. The exception that confirmed the rule was the Marxist approaches that succeeded in fostering a small but steady number of research groups interested mainly in workers’ and labor movements, and in particular unions, or in rural sociology as a reflection of the expression of class struggle within Arab societies.
  • Topic: International Organization, Political Activism
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Greg Distelhorst, Richard M. Locke
  • Publication Date: 12-2016
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Watson Institute for International Studies, Brown University
  • Abstract: What is the relationship between trade and social institutions in the developing world? The research literature is conflicted: importing firms may demand that trading partners observe higher labor and environmental standards, or they may penalize higher standards that raise costs. This study uses new data on retailers and manufacturers to analyze how firm-level trade responds to information about social standards. Contrary to the "race to the bottom" hypothesis, it finds that retail importers reward exporters for complying with social standards. In difference-in-differences estimates from over two thousand manufacturing establishments in 36 countries, achieving compliance is associated with a 4% [1%, 7%] average increase in annual purchasing. The effect is driven largely by the apparel industry — a longterm target of anti-sweatshop social movements — suggesting that activist campaigns can shape patterns of global trade.
  • Topic: International Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Ebony Bertorelli, Patrick Heller, Siddharth Swaminathan, Ashutosh Varshney
  • Publication Date: 12-2016
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Watson Institute for International Studies, Brown University
  • Abstract: Drawing on data from a large household survey in Bangalore, this paper explores the quality of urban citizenship. Addressing theories that have tied the depth of democracy to the quality and effectiveness of citizenship, we develop an index of citizenship that includes various measures and then explore the extent to which citizenship determines the quality of services and infrastructure that households enjoy. Our findings show that citizenship and access to services in Bangalore are highly differentiated, that much of what drives these differences has to do with class, but we also find clear evidence that the urban poor are somewhat better in terms of the services they receive that they would be without citizenship. Citizenship, in other words, abates the effects of class.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Atul Pokharel
  • Publication Date: 08-2016
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Watson Institute for International Studies, Brown University
  • Abstract: Implementing municipal-scale policies is challenging in megacities. Despite this, between 1986 and 2006, Delhi converted its entire public transportation network of nearly 100,000 vehicles to use Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) instead of diesel and petrol. The use of CNG is widely assumed to have been ordered by the Supreme Court of India. But this overlooks how autorickshaws, privately owned and making up three-fourths of these vehicles, came to use CNG even though the court did not order it. Using two new sources of data, I show that the conversion of autos was jointly led by the largest private manufacturer together with the city government. The court facilitated coordination between several other actors, allowed them to experiment, and monitored progress over two decades leading up to the auto conversion. After capping the total number of autos, it ultimately refrained from passing judgment on two consequential aspects of greening them: vehicle ownership and fuel type. As a result, auto owners were buffeted by decades of incremental policy experimentation. Eventually, these experiments reconfigured auto ownership as some sold their operating permits to become renters, while state institutions remained indifferent to this shadow conversion underfoot.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Patrick Heller
  • Publication Date: 07-2016
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Watson Institute for International Studies, Brown University
  • Abstract: This paper explores the interaction of politics and business through the lens of the city. The power of business to influence politics in India would lead to a prediction that Indian cities are, in the classic sense of the term, growth machines. Yet we argue in this paper that fundamental problems of governance in India’s megacities have precluded the possibility of business coalitions exerting cohesive influence over investments policies in cities. The result has been the predominance of what we call cabals, that are expert at extracting rents from the city, but in the end fail to promote development in the sense of an institutionalized process of economic and social improvement in the city. Where there has been high growth, it has not been accompanied by the expansion of the cities’ infrastructure and overall coordination capacities. In the end, what is good for business and politicians had neither been good for capitalism in terms of dynamic accumulation nor for inclusion of middle and poorer social groups.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Atul Pokharel
  • Publication Date: 07-2016
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Watson Institute for International Studies, Brown University
  • Abstract: What is the relationship between flexible governance and fairness? I examine this question in a new longitudinal dataset of irrigation canals in Nepal that were celebrated as paradigmatic cases of successful local governance. The prevalent explanation is that users have avoided knotty collective action problems by committing to rules and mutually monitoring compliance. These rules are understood to have been iteratively crafted over decades so as to render cooperative behavior reasonable. Embedded in a local context that is assumed to be common knowledge for users but ultimately impenetrable to outsiders, it is critical that locals discursively devise the rules and uniformly enforce them. Revisiting these cases three decades later, I first illustrate a distinction between two aspects of flexible governance: flexible rules and flexible enforcement. The former refers to changing rules over time, the latter to variations in enforcement. I document the predicted flexibility of the rules in these cases. I then show that a significant number of successes are associated with flexible enforcement. Whether flexible enforcement helps or hinders sustained collective action appears to depend on how fair users perceive the rules to be. Thus, discretionary enforcement may be related to the possibilities and limits of local governance in achieving fair outcomes, and not just for merely solving collective action problems.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Greg Distelhorst, Jens Hainmueller, Richard M. Locke
  • Publication Date: 08-2015
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Watson Institute for International Studies, Brown University
  • Abstract: This study tests the hypothesis that lean manufacturing improves the social performance of manufacturers in emerging markets. We analyze an intervention by Nike Inc. to promote the adoption of lean manufacturing in its apparel supply chain across eleven developing countries. Using difference-in-differences estimates from a panel of over three hundred factories, we find that lean adoption was associated with a 15 percentage point reduction in noncompliance with labor standards that primarily reflect factory wage and work hour practices. However, we find a null effect on factory health and safety standards. This pattern is consistent with a causal mechanism that links lean to improved social performance through changes in labor relations, rather than improved management systems. These findings offer evidence that capabilitybuilding interventions may reduce social harm in global supply chains.
  • Topic: International Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: et al Miguel Centeno
  • Publication Date: 08-2015
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Watson Institute for International Studies, Brown University
  • Abstract: Starting from the assumption that the aim of development is to increase human flourishing, this paper develops an analytical perspective on how effective states are built. Modern theories of development see the state as the key agent for delivering the most critical forms of productive investment – investment in capability expanding collective goods. Accomplishing this requires bureaucratic capacity, as earlier analyses of state effectiveness have argued, but state-society relations are equally crucial. We focus on the “Sen-Ostrom” model – deliberative mechanisms to specify goals plus engagement of communities as “co-producers” of services – as the key elements of effective state society relations. Our effort to identify institutions and strategies that might lead to the efficacious engagement of the broadest possible cross-section of the populace led us to a re-engagement with left social democracy. But, resuscitating traditional models of left social democracy is not sufficient; different contexts require new conceptualizations. Patrick Heller’s “state-civil society model” and Cheol-sung Lee’s “embedded cohesiveness/political network model” gave us tools for revising, deepening and extending the basic party-union dynamics of the traditional left social democratic model. Putting the Huber-Stephens analysis of left social democracy together with the Heller and Lee models offers a promising platform for future debate on the general political logic of state-society relations
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Dina Smeltz
  • Publication Date: 09-2014
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Chicago Council on Global Affairs
  • Abstract: The 69‎th session of UN General Assembly is being held against the backdrop of international crises that include the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, ISIS military gains in Iraq and Syria, and continuing negotiations with Iran. According to the recently released 2014 Chicago Council Survey of American opinion on foreign policy, majorities are confident in the UN’s ability to carry out humanitarian efforts and peacekeeping. They are more skeptical, however, of the UN’s effectiveness when it comes to preventing the spread of nuclear weapons, resolving international conflicts, and sanctioning countries that violate international law.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus