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  • Author: Cullen S. Hendrix
  • Publication Date: 04-2016
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Chicago Council on Global Affairs
  • Abstract: Feeding the world and teaching the world to feed itself is not just a humanitarian endeavor. It is vital to US national security. Food price–related unrest can have an immense impact on the stability of countries vital to US interests. Fortunately, the United States is well positioned to lead the fight against food insecurity across the globe. Even with increases in agricultural productivity, Africa and Asia have become increasingly dependent on global markets to satisfy their growing domestic demand for food. For example, Africa's 20 most populous countries are all net grain importers. This import dependence has made these countries more sensitive to food price volatility than ever before.
  • Topic: International Political Economy, National Security, Food Security
  • Political Geography: America, Global Focus
  • Author: Yanfei Li, Shigeru Kimura
  • Publication Date: 12-2016
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA)
  • Abstract: The research is divided into four interdependent research clusters. Clusters 1 and 2 apply case studies on the BIMP countries (Brunei-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines) using different methods. Cluster 1, led by the Institute of Energy Economics, Japan, conducts dynamic linear programming model to simulate the development of power infrastructure, interconnection, and exchange of power in this subregion of ASEAN. It emphasises the economic rationale and feasibility of electricity market integration in the region. Cluster 2, led by the Brunei National Energy Research Institute, focuses on the regulatory, institutional, and technical barriers in BIMP, and develops a road map to solve these issues. This study thus gives some insight regarding regional specific barriers or issues for other regions based on an established understanding of the common issues in principle from previous studies. Cluster 3 is conducted jointly by the Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia and the Energy Research Institute at Nanyang Technological University. The study mainly refers to the Nordic and European cases of electricity market integration and analyses both their business models and overall market design for grid interconnection and cross-border trading of electricity. In doing so, the study eventually tries to deliver implications on the possible business model and market design for ASEAN. The Cluster 4 study, carried out by a researcher from the University of Western Australia, discusses political and institutional barriers to the formation of an integrated ASEAN electricity market and derives several practical strategies in addressing such barriers as policy implications.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Business
  • Political Geography: Southeast Asia
  • Author: Shigeru Kimura
  • Publication Date: 10-2016
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA)
  • Abstract: The share of demand for fossil-fuel based energy (i.e. coal and oil) in Malaysia will remain the largest in 2035. This significant demand is largely driven by the stable economic growth as well as the energy prices that are kept low by its energy subsidy policy across sectors. While it is widely acknowledged that subsidy encourages overconsumption and inefficient resource allocation, subsidy reforms will bring structural changes at all economic levels. Therefore, the effects of fuel subsidy removal need to be simulated to help government formulate mitigating measures to cushion the effects on most affected sectors. This research is divided into two parts: the first part estimates the price impact on industry subsectors as an offshoot of energy subsidies removal by applying 2010 Malaysian Input-Output Table; the second part measures the economic impact of removing energy subsidies using a Malaysian macroeconomic model.
  • Topic: Energy Policy, International Political Economy, Climate Finance
  • Political Geography: Malaysia
  • Author: Ken Koyama, Ichiro Kutani, Yanfei Li
  • Publication Date: 10-2016
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA)
  • Abstract: Energy demand in many East Asia Summit countries is on an upward trend, thus making the role of natural gas in energy supply increasingly important from various aspects. Yet the market for liquefied natural gas (LNG) is in transition in terms of geographical and quantitative expansion, diversification of price formations, and lower oil and gas prices. In order to balance benefits between importers and exporters and to find workable solutions for developing a sustainable LNG market in various energy situations in importing and exporting countries, the LNG market players and policymakers are encouraged to enhance their efforts to create a more flexible, transparent, and sustainable LNG market in Asia. Whereas the private sector is mainly responsible for commercial deals, the public sector is encouraged to support in improving business environment to develop a better-functioning LNG market especially in terms of flexibility, price formation, and gas supply security, and in securing necessary investments.
  • Topic: Energy Policy, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Southeast Asia
  • Author: Rajni Bakshi
  • Publication Date: 09-2016
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Gateway House: Indian Council on Global Relations
  • Abstract: Economic reforms in India have often arrayed proponents of market-led growth against human rights advocates anxious that markets give primacy to profits over people. A quarter century after the reform process was initiated in the early 1990s, this conflict has sharpened. At the same time, this narrative of polarised positions seems increasingly worn out. Business and society at large have always been intricately co-dependent. This interface is now taking many new forms across the world, with some entrepreneurs seeing profit as a means, rather than the end goal of business. This paper explores these questions. It reviews if and how trusteeship can be a lodestar for globally navigating businesses and public policies through a period of technology- driven disruptions and the uncertainties unleashed by climate change. Trusteeship is a frame of reference on which a wide variety of business models can be based. The emphasis is on transforming rather than demolishing the capitalist system. In essence, Gandhian trusteeship reposes faith in the capacity of individuals and entire classes to re-form themselves, on the premise that the capacity to seek redemption is intrinsic to human nature. There was logic rather than dreamy wishful thinking behind these claims. Gandhi believed that it is a fearful man who tyrannises others or attempts to accumulate wealth by force or by unfair means. By contrast, a voluntary adoption of trusteeship means respect for human dignity, fostering relations based on truth and shared goals. Thus, Gandhi urged labourers to approach employers from a position of strength and self-respect since labour is as vital a component of production as capital, land, and technology. In a time mired by corruption and competitive greed, trusteeship may at first glance seem like a pipe-dream. Can this closer examination perhaps give you cause to rethink?
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Reform, Employment
  • Political Geography: India
  • Author: Rajni Bakshi
  • Publication Date: 09-2016
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Gateway House: Indian Council on Global Relations
  • Abstract: Degrowth as a creative goal does not sit well in most societies today. But water is a key to fostering new imaginaries because it most starkly manifests the risk of forced and chaotic degrowth-as-collapse. By 2040 an estimated 33 countries, including USA, China and India, will face severe water scarcity. India had a rich heritage of elaborate traditional technologies and modes of social organisation that ensured adequate and reliable supply of water even in arid regions. Many of these old community-based systems of watershed management and storage withered away as water was transformed from a sacred gift to just a ‘resource’ that could be privatised and/or controlled by governments. Today while local water-shed management is supported by government policy this tends to be overwhelmed by large projects that add more directly to GDP growth. Nevertheless, over the last quarter of a century, a wide variety of civil society and academic interventions in India have attempted to revive, or document, the multi-dimensional wisdom on which pre- modern societies based their relationship to water.
  • Topic: Economics, Water, Climate Finance
  • Political Geography: India
  • Author: Rajni Bakshi
  • Publication Date: 07-2016
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Gateway House: Indian Council on Global Relations
  • Abstract: Indian business—perhaps even society at large—is currently buoyed by the expectation that we are entering a period of sustained economic growth that might finally make poverty a problem of the past. In this context, it might seem counter-intuitive to draw attention to the possibility of a decelerating global economy and projections about reversals in human well-being. However, there is mounting evidence to show that the prevailing models of economic growth cannot continue unchecked to the end of the 21st century. Apart from the truism that infinite growth is not possible on a finite planet, the accelerating impacts of climate change are set to play havoc with a reliable supply of many natural resources—including food. Unless growth is redefined, degrowth will be forced upon the global economy, as a consequence of chaotic instability in eco-systems and due to the brittleness of political, social, and economic systems
  • Topic: Global Recession, Reconstruction, Reform, Global Political Economy
  • Political Geography: India, Global Focus
  • Publication Date: 01-2016
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Japan Institute Of International Affairs (JIIA)
  • Abstract: Confronted with a challenging security environment, the Japanese government formulated a “National Security Strategy” in 2013 and then amended the National Defense Program Guidelines (NDPG) and the Medium Term Defense Program (MTDP) accordingly. To ensure a seamless response to any situation threatening the nation’s security and prosperity, the Cabinet adopted a resolution in July of last year regarding the legal foundations for security (security legislation). Against this backdrop, the Guidelines for Japan-US Defense Cooperation (“the Guidelines”) were revised and efforts made to pass the proposed security legislation.
  • Topic: International Security
  • Political Geography: Japan
  • Publication Date: 01-2016
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Japan Institute Of International Affairs (JIIA)
  • Abstract: This Research Group will assess the new security legislation and the revised Guidelines, and conduct reality checks of Japan’s new security policy and the Japan-US alliance. In carrying out studies/research on the implications of enacting security legislation and revising the US-Japan Guidelines, this Research Group will work with the two regional research groups being set up independently and simultaneously to jointly carry out the simulations that are the central focus of this project
  • Topic: International Security
  • Political Geography: Japan
  • Author: Denis Hadžović, Mirela Hodović, Benjamin Plevljak
  • Publication Date: 01-2016
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: The Centre for Security Studies
  • Abstract: Exploring the role and status of women in Bosnia and Herzegovina is difficult, especially when it comes to the representation of women in the security sector institutions. Following the adoption of the Action Plan for the Implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on "Women, Peace and Security” progress has been made regarding the inclusion of a greater number of women in substantive roles in the security sector institutions in BiH. However, the analysis carried out reveals that the majority of these institutions still do not meet the minimum standard set for minority gender representation in government institutions (40%). Traditional views and prejudices about the understanding of gender roles are believed to still negatively affect the ability of many girls and women to build professional careers in areas such as defence and the police. Awareness and understanding of the importance of gender equality principles, both of individual security institutions and the entire system in general, should help address these barriers to entry and enable the greater acceptance of women in all fields of work.
  • Topic: Gender Issues, International Security
  • Political Geography: Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • Author: Aida Kržalić
  • Publication Date: 09-2016
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: The Centre for Security Studies
  • Abstract: From the security point of view, we can identify two main purposes as to why state authorities seek to use the secret data collection. The use of secret data collection may be to improve national security, prevent risks and threats to the security of citizens, national security, society, institutions, economic and other vital interests of society and the state from the various terrorist and extremist groups. Considering that this is a preventive activity, these actions are characteristics of intelligence and security agencies. It is important to emphasize that with these kind of activities, intelligence and security agencies are reaching "for collection of data and information on the activities, plans and intentions of various domestic and foreign, state and non-state actors, their processing and analysis are a very important segment that is often neglected in our country, which is the timely dissemination of information to the different users" (Petrovic 2015: 15).
  • Topic: International Security, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • Author: Sofija Mandić
  • Publication Date: 09-2016
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: The Centre for Security Studies
  • Abstract: Citizens of the Western Balkans have a high level of trust and confidence in the education system, the health system and the police. However, even in the case of institutions they trust most – such as the police, trusted on average by 58% of the population – many believe that they cannot be relied on. Rep- resentative bodies (the Parliament), the judiciary, the prosecutors’ offices and the media are trusted the least. In comparison with the survey conducted in 2015, trust in most key institutions has increased. The respondents see the average policewoman first as polite and good looking, and only then as a professional ready to perform her job. Male members of the police force are associated primarily with their professional engagement – protection of citizens, someone who is strong and trustworthy – and to some extent with behaviour and method of communication, whereas assessments concerning their physical appearance are completely absent.
  • Topic: National Security, Public Opinion
  • Political Geography: Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • 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: Alexander Henley
  • Publication Date: 12-2016
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: Lebanese religious leaders are often treated as authentic representatives of their sects and are given broad powers over religious affairs. However, their leadership is not organic, nor are they necessarily popular, as these individuals are trained and selected by elite institutions. These figures do not incite sectarian hatred, and even aim to reduce it, but the way they are empowered and their monopoly on spiritual matters inhibit social integration among various religious communities and reinforce sectarian divisions.
  • Topic: Religion, Sectarianism, Authoritarianism
  • Political Geography: Lebanon
  • Author: Mark Lynch
  • Publication Date: 12-2016
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: Arab Islamist parties faced exceptional challenges and opportunities following the 2011 uprisings. After decades of facing authoritarian regimes, they suddenly had to navigate in radically new domestic, regional, and intra-Islamist contexts. Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood had the most spectacular rise and fall, but its experience was atypical of other Islamist parties, which adapted more successfully. These changes overhauled the structure, ideology, and strategy of these parties in ways that unsettled long-standing expectations about their ideas and behavior.
  • Topic: Political Violence, Popular Revolt
  • Political Geography: Egypt
  • Author: Mark Ferchen
  • Publication Date: 12-2016
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: China’s expanding global economic and geopolitical role has spawned a growing divide between those who portray the country’s rise as a force for prosperity and peace and those who depict it as an assertive, mercantilist threat. Such conflicting paradigms oversimplify the complex political economy of the country’s international relations. These flawed frameworks reflect a lack of boundary-breaking thinking, research, and policymaking that can account for the interaction between the economic and geopolitical aspects of China’s rise. Recognizing such shortcomings is the first step toward better understanding and constructive engagement with China.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Global Political Economy
  • Political Geography: China
  • Author: Rashad Hasanov
  • Publication Date: 09-2016
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Center for Economic and Social Development (CESD)
  • Abstract: In August, the exchange rate of national currency of Azerbaijan-“Manat” beat all historical records. That is to say, the exchange rate was 1 USD= 1.61 Manat in previous month . It should be noted that, the exchange rate hit 1 USD= 1.6 Manat in March, 2016. Since the second half of 2014, due to the fall of oil prices in the world markets there is a visible pressure on the national currency ‘Manat’. Overall, the Azerbaijani “Manat” lost 49.6% of its value in 2015 and in addition, a depreciation of more than 3% in the first 8 months of 2016, the losses could reach 52.2%. Although the occurring rapid dollarization and the observed stagnation in the business environment especially in imports in the first months of 2015 and 2016 resulted in short-term reduction in foreign exchange demand in the March-May period of this year and strengthening the exchange rate of USD/Manat at the level of 1.49, the process of depreciation proceeded again afterwards.
  • Topic: Economics, International Political Economy, Finance
  • Political Geography: Azerbaijan
  • Author: Cristina Juan Carrion, Leman Orujova
  • Publication Date: 09-2016
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Center for Economic and Social Development (CESD)
  • Abstract: The trade relations between Azerbaijan and the European Union are a substantial part of enhancing economic and political relations among both parties. Recent years have been characterized by an expansion of the trade volume between two parties; the EU turned out to be Azerbaijan’s biggest trade partner, in terms of both imports and exports. Moreover, trade in services and foreign direct investment relations were also on rise. On the other hand, Azerbaijan is one of the main energy suppliers of the European Union among European Neighborhood countries and is a key partner to guarantee energy security.
  • Topic: International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Azerbaijan
  • Author: Cristina Juan Carrion
  • Publication Date: 04-2016
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Center for Economic and Social Development (CESD)
  • Abstract: During the course of 2015 Azerbaijan suffered the impact of two devaluations of the national currency, Azerbaijani Manat (AZN), due to the decrease of the world oil prices. Given that oil and natural gas accounts for more than 90% of Azerbaijani exports, continued low world oil prices had a critical negative impact on the Azerbaijani economy. The current situation has led Azerbaijan to establish new priorities that could help restructure the financial system at this critical moment. The drastic change in the economic outlook of the country has created the need to open a wider window to the European Union (EU) in order to overcome the current economic downturn.
  • Topic: Finance, Financial Markets
  • Political Geography: Azerbaijan
  • Author: Bart Hilhorst
  • Publication Date: 12-2016
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Center for International and Regional Studies: CIRS
  • Abstract: Ongoing expansions of hydro-infrastructure in the Nile basin, combined with infrastructure completed in the past decade, are increasing the capacity to regulate the Nile as well as the benefits accrued to the Nile waters. No longer reliant on funding from the World Bank and Western donors alone, Nile water development is accelerating in a number of upstream riparian states. Hence, the river Nile upstream of the Aswan High Dam is gradually being transformed from a natural to a regulated river. Hydro-infrastructure projects represent a strong driver for issue-based cooperation among the most affected riparians, but it is noted that the basin- wide perspective is not considered in these ad hoc arrangements. This paper describes the emerging cooperative regime in the Nile basin and analyzes its effectiveness. It presents an inventory of where cooperation among Nile riparians is needed, and discusses the required level of cooperation. It looks at the benefits of cooperation that are not related to a specific geographic area. The paper then identifies four distinct sub-basins that have substantial autonomy in managing their water resources. It concludes that the emerging cooperative setup is logical and for now quite effective, and does not lock in arrangements that may prove inconsistent—at a later point in time—with the overall objective of reasonable and equitable use of the Nile waters by each riparian state. Hence, the emerging cooperative regime arguably represents a positive step in the evolution from a basin without cooperation to a basin managed to optimize the use of the Nile waters for the benefit of its people.
  • Topic: Environment, Climate Finance
  • Political Geography: Africa, Egypt
  • Author: Richard Vedder
  • Publication Date: 03-2016
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Independent Institute
  • Abstract: Like most economics professors, I have spent my academic lifetime examining the economic and public policy effects of issues involving the production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services—political economy, if you will. There is, however, a “political economy” to the very act of producing and disseminating economic knowledge and examining public policies. And that political economy and my assessment of it has changed over a career spanning more than half a century. In this brief article, I will confine my attention mostly to the research dimension and look at five issues, most relating to the political economy of the study of political economy.
  • Topic: Global Political Economy
  • Political Geography: America
  • Author: Gary Kleck, Mark Gertz
  • Publication Date: 06-2016
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Independent Institute
  • Abstract: Crime victims used to be ignored by criminologists. Then, beginning slowly in the 1940s and more rapidly in the 1970s, interest in the victim’s role in crime grew. Yet a tendency to treat the victim as either a passive target of another person’s wrongdoing or as a virtual accomplice of the criminal limited this interest. The concept of the victim precipitated homicide highlighted the possibility that victims were not always blameless and passive targets, but that they sometimes initiated or contributed to the escalation of a violent interaction through their own actions, which they often claimed were defensive.
  • Topic: Arms Control and Proliferation, Crime
  • Political Geography: America
  • Author: Marc Lynch
  • Publication Date: 12-2016
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Project on Middle East Political Science (POMEPS)
  • Abstract: Turkey has been in the news repeatedly in 2016, from the coup attempt of July to the subsequent government purges to its renewed fight against the PKK and crackdown on Kurdish populations. However surprising these developments may appear for an outside observer, they are deeply rooted in the history of the Turkish state, the evolution of the ruling Justice and Development Party (Adalet ve Kalkınma Partisi, AKP), and the complex identity politics of the region. In October, more than a dozen scholars of Turkish politics gathered at Rice University’s Baker Institute in Houston for a Project on Middle East Political Science workshop to delve into some of these underlying themes. The memos produced for that workshop have been published individually on the POMEPS website and the full collection is now available as a free download here. The authors in this collection provide rich context, new data, and sharp analysis of the nuanced challenges facing the country and the region today
  • Topic: International Relations, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Middle East
  • Author: Marc Lynch
  • Publication Date: 08-2016
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Project on Middle East Political Science (POMEPS)
  • Abstract: The Arab world never seemed more unified than during the incandescent days of the 2011 Arab uprisings. Tunisia’s revolution clearly and powerfully inspired Arabs everywhere to take to the streets. Egypt’s January 25 uprising that led to the removal of Hosni Mubarak taught Arab citizens and leaders alike that victory by protestors could succeed. The subsequent wave of protests involved remarkable synergies that could not plausibly be explained without reference to transnational diffusion. Bahrainis, Yemenis and Jordanians alike attempted to replicate the seizure and long-term encampments in Egypt’s Tahrir Square and protestors across the Arab world chanted the same slogans and waved the same signs.
  • Topic: International Security, Political stability
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Author: Marc Lynch
  • Publication Date: 07-2016
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Project on Middle East Political Science (POMEPS)
  • Abstract: The Arab uprisings triggered a fierce regional countermobilization by threatened regimes and the elites who benefited from the status quo. This resurgent autocracy did simply restore the old order, however. It created new forms of populist mobilization and established new relationships among civil and military state institution. In May 2016, the Project on Middle East Political Science and Oxford University’s Middle East Center convened a workshop to dig deeply into the new regional politics generated by the authoritarian reconstruction.
  • Topic: International Affairs, Counter-terrorism
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Author: Marc Lynch
  • Publication Date: 05-2016
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Project on Middle East Political Science (POMEPS)
  • Abstract: The barriers to women’s political participation in the Middle East have long preoccupied scholars and analysts. The Arab uprisings of early 2011 disrupted virtually every dimension of Arab politics and societies, forcing a systematic re-evaluation of many long-held political science theories and assumptions. The place of women in politics and the public sphere were no exception.
  • Topic: Gender Issues, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Author: Adriana Erthal Abdenur
  • Publication Date: 09-2016
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Brazilian Center for International Relations (CEBRI)
  • Abstract: The present study aims to develop an analysis of how the fast-changing geopolitics and geoeconomics of East Asia impacts current and potential trends in cross-regional economic cooperation, with a focus on Latin America. The paper revolves around three anchor trends: i. The Economic Transformation of East Asia; ii. Security and Cooperation in the Pacific; and iii. Mega-Agreements. For each of these areas, the study provides a succinct yet analytical overview of current debates by incorporating both Western and non-Western perspectives from academe and policy
  • Topic: International Political Economy, International Development
  • Political Geography: East Asia
  • Author: Farah Ramzy
  • 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: Political Activism
  • Political Geography: Egypt
  • 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: Maher Akhttiar
  • Publication Date: 04-2016
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Arab Reform Initiative (ARI)
  • Abstract: Until recently, people with disabilities in the Arab world have lived largely in the shadows, a silent sector lacking the opportunity to express their demands or discuss their needs. There are no medical, social, economic, legal, or political mechanisms in the region for discussing how disability is defined, or effectively explaining who disabled individuals are; this ambiguity in standards, which allows people to be divided into healthy and unhealthy categories, act as a mechanism of veiled oppression.
  • Topic: Social Movement
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Author: Nael Georges
  • Publication Date: 03-2016
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Arab Reform Initiative (ARI)
  • Abstract: This paper presents the key ideas from a new book of the same name forthcoming soon from Dar el Machreq. This book was made possible by support from the Arab Reform Initiative’s Arab Research Support Program.
  • Topic: International Relations, Citizenship
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Author: Cherine Chams El-Dine
  • Publication Date: 03-2016
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Arab Reform Initiative (ARI)
  • Abstract: Since the end of July 2015 a major popular uprising has erupted in Iraq’s provinces – aside from the territories under the control of the so-called Islamic State (IS) and the Kurdish provinces. This protest movement, deemed to be the largest secular popular movement challenging the post-2003 political order in Iraq, has largely departed from the narrow sectarian paradigm that has so far monopolised the analysis of Iraqi politics. This paper examines the uprising’s actors, its slogans, its internal dynamics/organisational structure, and the Iraqi government’s frenetic response to popular demands.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Iraq
  • Author: Isam al Khafaji
  • Publication Date: 03-2016
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Arab Reform Initiative (ARI)
  • Abstract: The Syrian revolt, which has disintegrated into a bloody attrition war, has been largely viewed as that of a majority Sunni population trying to depose a regime belonging to the minority Alawite sect. While this view may present a partially true explanation, it fails to explain why the involvement of different Sunni regions in the revolt varied to a large extent and the rising gap between the anti-Assad urbanites on the one hand and the armed militants on the other. It further fails to account for the wide diversity within the rebellion camp and the hostilities among the mushrooming opposition groups.
  • Topic: International Affairs, Popular Revolt
  • Political Geography: Syria
  • Author: Greg Distelhorst, Richard M. Locke
  • Publication Date: 12-2016
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs at 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 and Public Affairs at 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 and Public Affairs at 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 and Public Affairs at 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 and Public Affairs at 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