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  • Author: Andrew Weiss
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: A blend of new threats and opportunities is causing Moscow to take greater risks and embrace more flamboyant policies in Europe. The Kremlin’s relationships with Italy and Austria shine a spotlight on how Europe’s domestic troubles have opened many doors for Moscow.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Politics, Populism, Far Right
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Italy, Austria
  • Author: Hamza Meddeb
  • Publication Date: 09-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: In 2016, Islamist political party Ennahda decided to abandon preaching and focus on politics, precipitating an identity crisis within the party. It faced new challenges, including rethinking the role of Islam, addressing its own neutralization as a driver of socioeconomic change, and managing its core supporters while appealing to a broader electorate. Ennahda’s shift to politics has forced it to rethink its ideological framework and rebuild its legitimacy based on arguments other than religion.
  • Topic: Islam, Politics, Religion, Legitimacy, Political Parties
  • Political Geography: North Africa, Tunisia
  • Author: Richard Youngs, Stephen Boucher, Israel Butler, Maarten De Groot, Elisa Lironi, Sophia Russack, Corina Stratulat, Anthony Zacharzewski
  • Publication Date: 11-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: n recent years some European states have suffered dramatic regression, while others have experienced more subtle forms of democratic erosion. Several EU governments have constricted civic liberties. There has been lively debate about how much European citizens are losing faith in core democratic values. In general, the demand for democratic participation is outstripping its supply at both the national and EU levels. In recent years some European states have suffered dramatic regression, while others have experienced more subtle forms of democratic erosion. Several EU governments have constricted civic liberties. There has been lively debate about how much European citizens are losing faith in core democratic values. In general, the demand for democratic participation is outstripping its supply at both the national and EU levels.
  • Topic: Politics, Governance, Reform, Democracy
  • Political Geography: Europe, European Union
  • Author: Heather Grabbe, Stefan Lehne
  • Publication Date: 12-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: Europe’s “‘man on the moon’ moment” was how European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen spoke on December 11, 2019, of the European Green Deal, a comprehensive program for a fair transition to a low-carbon economy.1 Rarely has the EU undertaken such an ambitious project requiring such a massive mobilization of resources and fundamental changes to most of its policies. The political momentum behind the transition is strong because the vast majority of Europeans, especially young ones, feel a sense of urgency to take action to prevent catastrophe. But political obstacles will rise again as the EU starts to implement practical measures. The union already has a long track record of climate change policy, both as a leader of international climate diplomacy and through the creation of laws and innovative policies such as the Emissions Trading Scheme. However, its efforts have suffered from significant deficits. Clashing interests of member states, some of which still heavily depend on coal, and industrial lobbies raising concerns about international competitiveness and jobs have constrained the EU’s ambitions. Insufficient mechanisms for monitoring and compliance have handicapped the implementation of these policies. The ongoing fragmentation of Europe’s political scene poses additional hurdles. Divisions between Eastern and Western Europe and Northern and Southern Europe hinder efficient decisionmaking. Populist parties already are mobilizing resistance to the necessary policies. Under these circumstances, the EU’s traditional method of depoliticizing difficult issues and submitting them to long technocratic discussions is unlikely to deliver results. To sustain democratic consent, there is no alternative to building public support for a fair climate transition and to deepening democratic engagement.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Environment, Politics, Democracy
  • Political Geography: Europe, European Union
  • Author: Sinan Ülgen
  • Publication Date: 12-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The evolving external threat environment is impacting the internal political dynamics of NATO nations and is accentuating a series of already existing trends – differences in threat perceptions, burden-sharing difficulties, challenges to respond to sub-threshold threats and the rise of populism – which altogether affect the cohesiveness and potentially the effectiveness of NATO as a political and military alliance. NATO’s operational future over the next decades will be shaped by the ingenuity of the transatlantic leadership in developing new arrangements of institutional cooperation between the Alliance and the burgeoning forms of the “coalition of the willing”. The Alliance should nonetheless remain the main transatlantic political forum, given Brexit as well as the rising need for a common political response to the many challenges ranging from migration to failed states. NATO has been relatively successful in adapting to the changing security environment. Its military capabilities remain unparalleled and unrivalled. The more interesting question is however the political one. Namely how the politics of sustaining this Alliance are being shaped by the underlying dynamics that are transforming the global political, economic and military context. The paper is divided in three chapters.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, NATO, Politics, Institutions, Transatlantic Relations
  • Political Geography: Europe, United States of America, European Union
  • Author: Funda Tekin, Vittoria Meissner, Nils Fabian Müller
  • Publication Date: 12-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Heterogeneity among countries in the European Union has continuously grown through enlargement processes or the outbreak of specific crises. After reaching important outcomes such as the European Monetary Union or the Schengen Agreement, in the face of the “big bang” enlargement of 2004 both national and European Union representatives subsequently committed to the motto “united in diversity”, confident that the European project would progress and deepen. Nevertheless, the crises in the euro area posed a number of new internal and external challenges to the overall European integration process as well as the EU’s political unity in terms of member states sharing the same rights and obligations, making permanent forms of differentiated integration more likely. Against this background, the paper presents a new collected dataset to outline how the EU narrative of political unity changes during times of increasing political differentiation and consequent differentiated integration. As such, it conducts a narrative analysis in two selected cases, the period between 2000 and 2004 preceding the big bang enlargement as well as the years of the crises in the euro area between 2010 and 2014. Although the existing narrative of political unity in the EU has changed in response to the crises under the more sceptical phrase “divided in unity”, our analysis shows that differentiation is not a threat to political unity.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Politics, Regional Integration, Institutions, Integration
  • Political Geography: Europe, France, Poland, Germany, Italy, European Union
  • Author: Haim Koren
  • Publication Date: 03-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Mitvim: The Israeli Institute for Regional Foreign Policies
  • Abstract: This article describes the relationship and cooperation between Israel and Egypt, and discusses the impact of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict on them. It focuses on the current political and security cooperation between the two countries regarding the Gaza Strip, the fight against terror, the Palestinian issue, the relations with the US administration, and the regional rivalry between Arab Sunni states and Iran. The article emphasizes that when it comes to civil and economic ties between Israel and Egypt, the potential for cooperation has yet to be fulfilled. Nevertheless, there are a few signs for economic cooperation in the areas of natural gas and industry (with the enlargement of the QIZ system), and to some positive change in the public attitude of the Egyptian government towards relations with Israel. The challenges to bolstering Israel-Egypt relations include bureaucratic, economic and politicalsecurity (e.g. the nuclear issue) components. Above all, however, stands the Israeli- Palestinian conflict and the perception of the Egyptian public that normalization with Israel cannot be reached prior to a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
  • Topic: Security, Diplomacy, Politics, Regional Cooperation, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Egypt
  • Publication Date: 03-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Mitvim: The Israeli Institute for Regional Foreign Policies
  • Abstract: In Israel, former diplomats do not tend to play a significant public role. However, they have the potential to make a real contribution to improving the public and political Israeli discourse on foreign policy. Israel’s former diplomats have dozens of years of experience, diplomatic skills, knowledge of various countries and organizations, intricate networks of social ties around the world, analytic capacity and deep understanding of the international arena and of Israel’s place among nations. This valuable experience often goes down the drain. A Mitvim Institute task-team recommended to increase their role in Israel’s public sphere, in order to empower Israel’s diplomacy and Foreign Service. On February 3, 2019, the Mitvim Institute hosted a policy workshop to discuss how this can be done. It was carried out in cooperation with the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung and with participation of senior former diplomats (including Foreign Ministry directors-general and deputy directors-general). Discussants presented examples from other countries, outlined the situation in Israel, described the challenges to optimizing the potential impact of Foreign Ministry retirees, and identified recommendations to promote change.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel
  • Author: Nimrod Goren, Merav Kahana-Dagan
  • Publication Date: 04-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Mitvim: The Israeli Institute for Regional Foreign Policies
  • Abstract: Benjamin Netanyahu won Israel’s election and declared he would form a new rightwing government. This will affect diverse aspects of Israel’s foreign policy. This document includes commentaries by Mitvim Institute experts regarding the election results and their possible foreign policy implications: Dr. Ehud Eiran argues that while Netanyahu presented himself ahead of the election as a super-diplomat, he also proved he is part of the global populist wave; Dr. Nimrod Goren claims that Israel’s right-wing government will have more leeway to implement its policies given weak domestic and foreign opposition; Dr. Roee Kibrik foresees increased tensions between Israel and leading global democratic forces; Dr. Lior Lehrs explains why the new government will face the threat of flare-ups at several Israeli-Palestinian flashpoints; Dr. Moran Zaga points out why Netanyahu constitutes an obstacle to promoting ties with Gulf States, as does the lack of a broad Israel strategy on relations with the Arab world; Former Ambassador Michael Harari claims that renewed peace process with the Palestinians is needed to take advantage of global and regional opportunities; Kamal Ali-Hassan assesses that Israel’s Arab population is losing trust in the state establishment and will seek to promote regional ties on its own; Dr. Eyal Ronen urges the new government to deepen its partnership with the EU rather than to continue its efforts to weaken and divide it; Yael Patir argues that Israel’s crisis with the US Democratic Party could deepen, especially as the 2020 presidential election draws near.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Politics, Elections
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel
  • Author: Maya Sion-Tzidkiyahu, Emanuele Giaufret, Omer Gendler, Noga Arbell, Ariel Shafransky, Eran Etzion, Nimrod Goren
  • Publication Date: 06-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Mitvim: The Israeli Institute for Regional Foreign Policies
  • Abstract: A policy roundtable on the 2019 European Parliament elections results and their possible significance for Europe and Israel took place on 30 May 2019 at Tel Aviv University. It was organized by the Israeli Association for the Study of European Integration (IASEI), Mitvim - The Israeli Institute for Regional Foreign Policies, the EU Studies Program at Tel Aviv University, and the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung. The event featured EU Ambassador to Israel H.E. Emanuele Giaufret, Ariel Shafransky and Noga Arbell from the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA), Maya Sion of IASEI, Dr. Nimrod Goren of the Mitvim Institute, former diplomat Eran Etzion, and Omer Gendler of the Open University.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Politics, Elections
  • Political Geography: Europe, Middle East, Israel
  • Publication Date: 06-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Mitvim: The Israeli Institute for Regional Foreign Policies
  • Abstract: Ties with the EU are a strategic asset for the State of Israel. Europe is Israel’s largest trading partner, a source of political and defense support (despite disagreements), an anchor of shared norms and values, a partner in cultural creation, and a central collaborator in research and development. The importance of these ties obliges Israel to invest attention and resources in preserving and even deepening and expanding them. Done right, Israel could leverage the tremendous potential of its ties with Europe for the improved wellbeing of its citizens and for its international standing. However, in recent years, the Israeli government has been leading a negative campaign against the EU. It has been criticizing the EU for being anti-Israel, while making efforts to increase divisions between EU Member States in order to limit the EU’s capacity to play a role in the Israeli-Palestinian issue. Toward the formation of a new Israeli government in late 2019, this article presents ten guiding principles for an improved Israeli foreign policy toward the EU, based on the work of a Mitvim Institute task team.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Politics, International Affairs, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Arab Countries, European Union
  • Author: Yuval Steinitz, Ofer Shelah, Merav Michaeli, Yisrael Beiteinu, Nitzan Horowitz, Ofer Cassif
  • Publication Date: 09-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Mitvim: The Israeli Institute for Regional Foreign Policies
  • Abstract: On 9 September 2019, the Mitvim Institute convened a pre-elections event on Israel’s foreign policy. The event focused on paths to advance peace with the Palestinians; to deepen Israel’s regional belonging in the Middle East, Europe and the Mediterranean; and to empower Israel’s diplomacy Foreign Service. Senior politicians from six political parties spoke at the event: Minister Yuval Steinitz (Likud), Member of Knesset (MK) Ofer Shelah (Blue and White), MK Merav Michaeli (Labor-Gesher), MK Eli Avidar (Yisrael Beiteinu), Nitzan Horowitz (Chair of the Democratic Union) and MK Ofer Cassif (Joint List). Each of them was interviewed by Arad Nir, foreign news editor of Channel 12 News. Dr. Nimrod Goren and Merav Kahana-Dagan of Mitvim delivered opening remarks in which they presented recent trends in Israel’s foreign policy and findings of a special pre-elections Mitvim poll. This document sums up the key points made at the event.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Government, Politics, Elections
  • Political Geography: Iran, Middle East, Israel, Palestine
  • Author: Sana Knaneh
  • Publication Date: 09-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Mitvim: The Israeli Institute for Regional Foreign Policies
  • Abstract: Palestinian Arab citizens of Israel, who feel their political representatives cannot achieve significant change for them on domestic issues, find it hard to believe that their voice could be meaningful in Israel’s foreign relations. Indeed, their involvement in Israeli foreign relations, both in the governmental and non-governmental arena, is limited. However, one area in which their involvement and influence have significant untapped potential lies in forging ties with Diaspora Jewry. For instance, in London, there is a clear disconnect between the representative bodies of the Jewish community, such as the Board of Deputies of British Jews and the Jewish Leadership Council, and those representing the Palestinian community, such as The Association of the Palestinian Community in the UK and the Palestinian Forum in Britain which reflect the main currents of Palestinian thinking. While the disconnect is evident on the formal-organizational level, it does not preclude unofficial ties between Palestinians and Jews in London. Nonetheless, links between the two communities are limited, as is the space for joint discussions and exchanges of views, thoughts and narratives.
  • Topic: Politics, Sovereignty, Diaspora, Minorities, Political Activism
  • Political Geography: Britain, Middle East, Israel, Palestine
  • Author: Souha Drissi
  • Publication Date: 09-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Arab Reform Initiative (ARI)
  • Abstract: With the death of President Beji Caid Essebsi on 25 July, Tunisia’s presidential elections were moved up and will be held on 15 September 2019. By the end of the eight-day process of accepting nominations – from 2 to 9 August – the Independent High Authority for Elections (IHAE) had received 971 requests for nomination which include 75 independents and 11 female candidates. On 31 August, the IHAE released the final list of candidates for the presidential race, accepting 26 nominees, including two women, and rejecting 71 applications for failing to meet candidacy requirements. The IHAE is considered one of the achievements of the 2011 Revolution. It is a nine-member permanent body based in Tunis which enjoys administrative and financial independence. Its mission is to “ensure democratic, pluralistic, fair and transparent elections and referendums”2 and supervise and oversee all related processes. The election campaigns started on 2 September and will continue until 13 September, with 17 September as the deadline for the announcement of the preliminary election results and 21 October for the announcement of the final results. In case of no absolute majority vote, a second round will be held after two weeks.3
  • Topic: Politics, Elections, Democracy, State Building
  • Political Geography: Africa, North Africa, Tunisia, Tunis
  • Author: Souha Drissi
  • Publication Date: 09-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Arab Reform Initiative (ARI)
  • Abstract: With the death of President Beji Caid Essebsi on 25 July, Tunisia’s presidential elections were moved up and will be held on 15 September 2019. By the end of the eight-day process of accepting nominations – from 2 to 9 August – the Independent High Authority for Elections (IHAE) had received 971 requests for nomination which include 75 independents and 11 female candidates. On 31 August, the IHAE released the final list of candidates for the presidential race, accepting 26 nominees, including two women, and rejecting 71 applications for failing to meet candidacy requirements. The IHAE is considered one of the achievements of the 2011 Revolution. It is a nine-member permanent body based in Tunis which enjoys administrative and financial independence. Its mission is to “ensure democratic, pluralistic, fair and transparent elections and referendums”2 and supervise and oversee all related processes. The election campaigns started on 2 September and will continue until 13 September, with 17 September as the deadline for the announcement of the preliminary election results and 21 October for the announcement of the final results. In case of no absolute majority vote, a second round will be held after two weeks.3
  • Topic: Politics, Elections, Democracy, State Building
  • Political Geography: Africa, North Africa, Tunisia, Tunis
  • Author: Marumo Omotoye
  • Publication Date: 03-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Botswana Institute for Development Policy Analysis
  • Abstract: Several studies have argued that corruption has a greater impact on women than men and that increasing women’s representation in key decision-making positions has a positive effect in reducing corruption. However, limited scholarly and policy attention has been devoted to understanding the link between gender and corruption in Botswana. This paper explores the gendered differences of perceived and actual participation in bureaucratic corruption in Botswana. By examining Afrobarometer data and undertaking a documentary analysis, the study finds that while levels of perceived corruption by men and women in public institutions were high, participation in bureaucratic corruption (bribery) was considerably lower. Contrary to the notion that corruption has a greater impact on women than men, this study finds that higher levels of participation across all public service categories were reported by unemployed men, in particular, having to give a gift or a favour to avoid problems with the police. Notwithstanding the scant availability of data, the documentary analysis revealed that non-monetary forms of corruption such as sextortion (sexual extortion) have been experienced by female students and undocumented female migrants in Botswana. Nevertheless, this form of corruption has received little policy attention, despite its potential to undermine gender equality efforts. Additionally, the study finds little correlation between higher levels of women’s representation in key decision-making positions (i.e., parliament and cabinet) and lower levels of corruption in Botswana. There is a need for both the gender and anti-corruption policy framework to be synthesised in order to specifically reflect on and respond to the perceived gendered dimensions of corruption. The establishment of an independent police authority or commission might not only increase levels of public trust and confidence in the police service, but also strengthen levels of transparency and accountability.
  • Topic: Corruption, Gender Issues, Migration, Politics, Women, Men
  • Political Geography: Africa, Botswana
  • Author: Richard Youngs, Gareth Fowler, Arthur Larok, Pawel Marczewski, Vijayan Mj, Ghia Nodia, Natalia Shapoavlova, Janjira Sombatpoonsiri, Marisa Von Bülow, Özge Zihnioğlu
  • Publication Date: 10-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: As the domain of civil society burgeoned in the 1990s and early 2000s—a crucial component of the global spread of democracy in the developing and postcommunist worlds—many transnational and domestic actors involved in building and supporting this expanding civil society assumed that the sector was naturally animated by organizations mobilizing for progressive causes. Some organizations focused on the needs of underrepresented groups, such as women’s empowerment, inclusion of minorities, and LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) rights; others addressed broader societal issues such as economic justice, social welfare, and antipoverty concerns. In many countries, the term “civil society” came to be associated with a relatively bounded set of organizations associated with a common agenda, one separate from or even actively opposed by conservative political forces. However, in the past ten years, this assumption and outlook are proving increasingly incorrect. In many countries in the developing and postcommunist worlds, as well as in long-established Western democracies, conservative forms of civic activism have been multiplying and gaining traction. In some cases, new conservative civic movements and groups are closely associated with illiberal political actors and appear to be an integral part of the well-chronicled global pushback against Western liberal democratic norms. In other cases, the political alliances and implications of conservative civil society are less clear. In almost all cases—other than perhaps that of the United States, where the rise of conservative activism has been the subject of considerable study—this rising world of conservative civil society has been little studied and often overlooked. This report seeks to correct this oversight and to probe more deeply into the rise of conservative civil society around the world. It does so under the rubric of Carnegie’s Civic Research Network project, an initiative that aims to explore new types of civic activism and examine the extent to which these activists and associations are redrawing the contours of global civil society. The emerging role and prominence of conservative activism is one such change to civil society that merits comparative examination. Taken as a whole, the report asks what conservative civic activism portends for global civil society. Its aim is not primarily to pass judgment on whether conservative civil society is a good or bad thing—although the contributing authors obviously have criticisms to make. Rather, it seeks mainly to understand more fully what this trend entails. Much has been written and said about anticapitalist, human rights, and global justice civil society campaigns and protests. Similar analytical depth is required in the study of conservative civil society. The report redresses the lack of analytical attention paid to the current rise of conservative civil society by offering examples of such movements and the issues that drive them. The authors examine the common traits that conservative groups share and the issues that divide them. They look at the kind of members that these groups attract and the tactics and tools they employ. And they ask how effective the emerging conservative civil society has been in reshaping the political agenda.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Politics, Political Activism, Conservatism
  • Political Geography: Uganda, Africa, Europe, South Asia, Turkey, Ukraine, Caucasus, Middle East, India, Poland, Brazil, South America, Georgia, North America, Thailand, Southeast Asia, United States of America
  • Author: Jeffrey Conroy-Krutz, Erica Frantz
  • Publication Date: 12-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute of International Education
  • Abstract: Despite the global spread of democracy following the end of the Cold War, dictatorships still rule about one-third of the world’s countries. The persistence of authoritarian governments poses a challenge for the international community on a variety of fronts: dictatorships are more likely to repress their citizens, instigate wars, and perpetrate mass killing, among others. This challenge is even more pressing given the gradual decline in the number of democracies worldwide over the last decade. Practitioners confront critical questions about which strategies are likely to pave the way for democratization versus which are likely to stifle it. Through a research grant funded by USAID’s Center of Excellence on Democracy, Human Rights, and Governance (the DRG Center), under the Institute of International Education’s (IIE’s) Democracy Fellows and Grants Program, a research team from Michigan State University worked with the DRG Center to organize and evaluate the body of current academic scholarship that can contribute to understanding how and why countries move on paths from authoritarianism to democracy. The publication was informed and vetted in two peer review workshops by a group of democratization scholars from American University, Brown University, Columbia University, George Washington University, Harvard University, Pennsylvania State University, Rutgers University, and the University of Chicago. The publication begins by providing an overview of the concept of democratization and the difficulties of identifying and defining it. The theories related to democratization are offered in a simple theory matrix, allowing practitioners to quickly and easily: Survey the body of academic work dedicated to democratization through a succinct presentation of 34 theories organized within seven thematic theory families; Interpret the cause-and-effect relationships that academic research identifies through the presentation of brief hypotheses; Understand how scholars evaluate the strength and reliability of each hypothesis through a brief summary of the research team’s assessment of causal arguments and evidence; and Explore how each theory can support the assessment and design of development programs, through basic questions that offer guidance for how to determine the relevance of that theory’s specific cause-and-effect pathway to a particular context. Organizing the theories into seven thematic families enables a close comparison of related theories on democratization and clear distinctions to be drawn among them. The researchers note, however, where ideas overlap across these theory families.
  • Topic: Democratization, Political Economy, Politics, Culture, Authoritarianism, Democracy, Political Science, Institutions, USAID
  • Political Geography: North America, Global Focus, United States of America
  • Author: Allen Hicken, Walter Mebane
  • Publication Date: 07-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute of International Education
  • Abstract: There is an acute need for methods of detecting and investigating fraud in elections, because the consequences of electoral fraud are grave for democratic stability and quality. When the electoral process is compromised by fraud, intimidation, or even violence, elections can become corrosive and destabilizing—sapping support for democratic institutions; inflaming suspicion; and stimulating demand for extra-constitutional means of pursuing political agendas, including violence. Accurate information about irregularities can help separate false accusations from evidence of electoral malfeasance. Accurate information about the scope of irregularities can also provide a better gauge of election quality. Finally, accurate information about the geographic location of malfeasance—the locations where irregularities occurred and how they cluster—can allow election monitors and pro-democracy organizations to focus attention and resources more efficiently and to substantiate their assessments of electoral quality. Election forensics is an emerging field in which scholars use a diverse set of statistical tools—including techniques similar to those developed to detect financial fraud—to analyze numerical electoral data and detect where patterns deviate from those that should occur naturally, following demonstrated mathematical principles. Numbers that humans have manipulated present patterns that are unlikely to occur if produced by a natural process—such as free and fair elections or normal commercial transactions. These deviations suggest either that the numbers were intentionally altered or that other factors—such as a range of normal strategic voting practices—influenced the electoral results. The greater the number of statistical tests that identify patterns that deviate from what is expected to naturally occur, the more likely that the deviation results from fraud rather than legal strategic voting. Through a Research and Innovation Grant funded by USAID’s Center of Excellence on Democracy, Human Rights, and Governance under the Democracy Fellows and Grants Program, a research team from the University of Michigan, led by Professors Walter Mebane and Allen Hicken, built an innovative online tool, the Election Forensics Toolkit, that allows researchers and practitioners to conduct complex statistical analysis on detailed, localized data produced through the electoral process. The Election Forensics Toolkit presents results in a variety of ways—including detailed country maps showing “hot spots” of potential fraud—that allow practitioners not only to see where electoral fraud may have occurred but also the probability that the disturbances in the election data that the statistical analyses detect are attributable to fraud, rather than to other cultural or political influences, such as gerrymandering or geographic distribution of voting constituencies, among others. The team also produced two publications under the DFG grant: a Guide to Election Forensics and a more detailed Elections Forensics Toolkit DRG Center Working Paper. The Guide provides a more general introduction to election forensics as a field, and the DRG Center Working Paper focuses on presenting in detail the results of applying election forensics to specific elections in Afghanistan, Albania, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Kenya, Libya, South Africa, and Uganda
  • Topic: Corruption, Politics, Elections, Democracy, Election watch, USAID
  • Political Geography: Uganda, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Kenya, Libya, South Africa, Cambodia, Albania, Global Focus
  • Author: Jaimie Bleck, Philippe LeMay-Boucher
  • Publication Date: 04-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute of International Education
  • Abstract: People gather in structured, if informal, community groups for many reasons—social, such as a book club or softball league; economic, such as a team hosting a fundraiser for a member’s medical expenses; or political, such as neighbors meeting to address flooding caused by poor infrastructure. But how does participating in such groups affect people’s well-being or decisions to work for other community improvements? Level of political knowledge? Level of trust toward group members, people in the broader community, or institutions such as the government? Or willingness to tolerate differences that are often at the root of conflict, such as ethnicity and religion? Through an Innovation and Research Grant funded by USAID’s Center of Excellence on Democracy, Human Rights, and Governance under the Democracy Fellows and Grants Program, Professors Jaimie Bleck from the University of Notre Dame and Philippe LeMay-Boucher from Heriot-Watt University, in collaboration with Jacopo Bonan from Catholic University of the Sacred Heart and Bassirou Sarr from the Paris School of Economics, worked to answer these questions by studying community groups called grins that meet in neighborhoods across Mali’s cities. The research, which included both survey data and data generated through the public goods and trust experimental games, was implemented in two sites in Mali: the capital Bamako and the twin cities of Mopti and Sevare, on the border between the formerly occupied north and the south. Key findings include: Grins’ primary purpose is social, but the groups also help members meet economic needs and provide a venue for political discussion and community service, such as neighborhood cleanup. The majority of grins are male-only, and the majority of grin members are male, comparatively better educated, and unmarried; however, members of male-only grins trusted one another less than members of mixed-gender or female-only grins. Members are better able to produce public goods than non-members, but only when working with members of their own grin. Members are considered more trustworthy than non-members, except for grins with internally displaced persons as members. Grinmembers had more trust in social institutions and diverse ethnic groups, though no more trust of the government; members of ethnically homogenous grins trusted diverse ethnic groups less.
  • Topic: Politics, Ethnicity, Conflict, Institutions, Indigenous
  • Political Geography: Africa, Mali