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  • Author: Daron Acemoglu, Ali Cheema, Asim Ijaz Khwaja, James A. Robinson
  • Publication Date: 07-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University
  • Abstract: Lack of trust in state institutions, often due to poor service provision, is a pervasive problem in many developing countries. It may also be one of the reasons citizens turn to non-state actors for services. This paper investigates whether information about improved public services can help build trust in state institutions and move people away from non-state actors. We focus on dispute resolution in rural Pakistan. We find that (truthful) information about reduced delays in state courts leads to citizens reporting higher likelihood of using them and to greater allocations to the state in two high-stakes lab-in-the-field games designed to measure belief in the effectiveness of state courts and willingness to contribute resources for others to access them. More interestingly, we find indirect negative effects on non-state actors in the same high-stakes settings. We show that the positive direct and negative indirect effects are both mediated by changes in beliefs about the effectiveness of these actors. Our preferred interpretation explains these behaviors as a response to improved beliefs about state actors which then motivate individuals to interact less with non-state actors and as a result downgrade their beliefs about them. We provide additional checks bolstering this interpretation and alleviating concerns about potential social experimenter effects or mechanical contrasts between the two actors. These results indicate that, despite distrust of the state in Pakistan, credible new information can change beliefs and behavior.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Non State Actors, Political and institutional effectiveness, State, Legitimacy
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, South Asia
  • Author: Dyan Mazurana, Anastasia Marshak, Teddy Atim
  • Publication Date: 03-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Feinstein International Center, Tufts University
  • Abstract: Few large-scale, structured surveys have been conducted on the prevalence of alleged war crimes or crimes against humanity committed by warring parties against civilians and how this relates to disability. Using data from a panel survey carried out in 2013, 2015, and 2018 that is representative of all of Acholi and Lango sub-regions in northern Uganda, this working paper reports the prevalence of alleged war crimes or crimes against humanity for individuals and households; their association with disability; and the resulting effects over time on people’s lives in terms of food security, wealth, access to basic services, and healthcare. The study contributes to an understanding of people who have experienced alleged war crimes or crimes against humanity that affect them physically and psychologically; the relationship between experience of these alleged crimes and their experience of disability; the effects of these crimes on their wealth, food security, and access to livelihood and social protection services; the effects of these crimes on their access to basic and therapeutic healthcare; and a better understanding of the key obstacles faced by victims of these alleged crimes when they are unable to receive basic and therapeutic healthcare.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Human Rights, War, Conflict
  • Political Geography: Uganda, Africa
  • Author: Amaia Goenaga
  • Publication Date: 09-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: IEMed/EuroMeSCo
  • Abstract: The European Institute of the Mediterranean (IEMed) and Casa Árabe, with the collaboration of ICEX (Spain Trade and Investment), organised in 2016 an international conference entitled "Post-conflict re-construction in MENA: Previous experiences and stakeholders’ inclusive involvement in the future reconstruction of Libya, Syria and Iraq". The aim was to tackle the different aspects and challenges related to reconstruction in post-conflict countries in the region. Given the dimension and complexity of the subject, the conference was structured in a double meeting, bringing together stakeholders, academics and experts. The first one took place in Barcelona on the 11 April 2016 and the second one on the 19 September 2016 in Madrid. This document gathers and assesses the main conclusions and recommendations reached in both meetings. Thus issues tackled have been grouped into five main lines of discussion, which are divided into epigraphs devoted to some key concrete issues:
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Conflict Prevention
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Author: Anke Hoeffler
  • Publication Date: 06-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: African Economic Research Consortium (AERC)
  • Abstract: Post-conflict peace is fragile, about half of all conflicts break out again during the twelve post-conflict years. In Africa this risk is even higher. Using survival analysis this paper suggests that while it is difficult to find correlates of peace stabilization, there are some policy relevant results. How a conflict ends is important. Negotiated settlements are fragile but the chances of peace surviving can be significantly improved through the deployment of UN peacekeeping operations. The data suggest that many operations start before the end of the armed conflict, thus they should be viewed as ‘peace preparation’ operations. The paper recommends the use of additional case studies, given that the small sample size prevents further quantitative examination of these important issues.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Conflict Prevention, Economics, Peacekeeping, Conflict, Peace
  • Political Geography: Africa, Global Focus
  • Author: Wolfgang Mühlberger
  • Publication Date: 10-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The September ceasefire in Syria expired after the scheduled duration of a week due to the bombardment of sensitive targets by the brokers – instead of being extended and shored up by a political track. Agreeing on the modalities without the ability or willingness to enforce them, makes ceasefires futile and undermines peace negotiations.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, War
  • Political Geography: Syria
  • Publication Date: 11-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Wilson Center
  • Abstract: Climate change is expected to contribute to the movement of people through a variety of means. There is also significant concern climate change may influence violent conflict. But our understanding of these dynamics is evolving quickly and sometimes producing surprising results. There are considerable misconceptions about why people move, how many move, and what effects they have. In a discussion paper for USAID’s Office of Conflict Management and Mitigation, the Environmental Change and Security Program presents a guide to this controversial and consequential nexus of global trends. Building off a workshop held at the Wilson Center last year, we provide a background scan of relevant literature and an in-depth analysis of the high-profile cases of Darfur and Syria to discern policy-relevant lessons from the latest research.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Climate Change, International Organization, Migration, International Security
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Jacqueline Lopour
  • Publication Date: 03-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: Humanitarian crises across the world are the worst since World War II, and the situation is only going to get worse. According to the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), almost 60 million people worldwide have been forcibly displaced from their homes — that is approximately one in every 123 people on the planet (UNHCR 2016a). The problem is growing, as the number of those displaced is over 60 percent greater than the previous decade. As a result, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has announced the first ever World Humanitarian Summit to be held May 23-24, 2016. The world’s attention is focused on the Syrian refugee crisis, which has displaced 11 million people. But in doing so, the global community has lost sight of an equally severe humanitarian and displacement crisis — the situation in Yemen. Yemen now has more people in need of aid than any other country in the world, according to the UNOCHA Global Humanitarian Overview 2016. An estimated 21.2 million people in Yemen — 82 percent of the population — requires humanitarian aid, and this number is steadily growing (UNOCHA 2016a).
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Development, Human Rights, Humanitarian Aid, Poverty, War, Refugee Issues
  • Political Geography: Yemen, Global Focus
  • Author: Emily Taylor
  • Publication Date: 01-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: The Internet enables the free flow of information on an unprecedented scale but to an increasing extent the management of individuals’ fundamental rights, such as privacy and the mediation of free expression, is being left in the hands of private actors. The popularity of a few web platforms across the globe confers on the providers both great power and heavy responsibilities. Free-to-use web platforms are founded on the sale of user data, and the standard terms give providers rights to intrude on every aspect of a user’s online life, while giving users the Hobson’s choice of either agreeing to those terms or not using the platform (the illusion of consent). Meanwhile, the same companies are steadily assuming responsibility for monitoring and censoring harmful content, either as a self-regulatory response to prevent conflicts with national regulatory environments, or to address inaction by states, which bear primary duty for upholding human rights. There is an underlying tension for those companies between self-regulation, on the one hand, and being held accountable for rights violations by states, on the other hand. The incongruity of this position might explain the secrecy surrounding the human systems that companies have developed to monitor content (the illusion of automation). Psychological experiments and opaque algorithms for defining what search results or friends’ updates users see highlight the power of today’s providers over their publics (the illusion of neutrality). Solutions could include provision of paid alternatives, more sophisticated definition and handling of different types of data — public, private, ephemeral, lasting — and the cooperation of all stakeholders in arriving at realistic and robust processes for content moderation that comply with the rule of law.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Human Rights, Human Welfare, Science and Technology, Governance
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Lucie Collinson, Andrew Winnington, Mary Vriniotis
  • Publication Date: 01-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Small Arms Survey
  • Abstract: Studying the evidence related to the burden of injury of a population is a critical component of developing strategies to prevent and reduce violence. In many countries around the world, national observatories have been established to collect data to measure and monitor armed violence in an effort to inform and strengthen evidence-based armed violence reduction initiatives. These observatories collect data on violent incidents to enhance awareness of the extent and distribution of armed violence in varying geographic and socio-economic settings. An observatory’s ability to inform effective violence prevention strategies depends in large part on the efficient collection and timely sharing of quality data (Gilgen and Tracey, 2011).
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Conflict Prevention, Armed Struggle
  • Political Geography: Liberia
  • Author: Christoph Sperfeldt, Melanie Hyde, Mychelle Balthazard
  • Publication Date: 02-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: Using outreach-friendly television broadcasting of the Khmer Rouge (KR) trials in Cambodia in conjunction with community-based dialogue meetings, the Voices for Reconciliation: Promoting Nationwide Dialogue on the Khmer Rouge Past through the Mass Media and Community-Level Survivor Networks project aimed to 1) increase community awareness and understanding of the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) trials, 2) empower conflict-affected groups to create spaces for dialogue at the community level, and 3) build the necessary capacities among those groups and civil society intermediaries to create environments favorable for longer-term reconciliatory processes beyond the ECCC. The project engaged with the Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association's Civil Party Representative Scheme, which supports a network of Civil Parties (CPs) and Civil Party Representatives (CPRs) who are party to the ECCC proceedings. To achieve the objectives, the project had a three-prong strategy: 1) the production and broadcasting of television programs and media outreach to the general population, 2) the organization of community-based dialogue meetings using outreach films to inform Cambodians in rural areas about the ECCC and its developments, and 3) capacity building to civil society groups and 46 CPRs who were directly involved with the project. This report was produced as part of an evaluation of the project in Cambodia, and involved an assessment of the project outcomes in relation to the participation of the CPs and CPRs in the project and lessons learned from the project implementation. The results are based on interviews with a non-random sample of 101 CPs and 38 out of 46 CPRs who participated in the project. To complement the survey, four focus group discussions including a total of 18 women and 14 men, were conducted in four different provinces. The interviews and the focus group discussions took place during the first two weeks of July 2015 at the end of the project. The results represent the points of view of study participants at the time of the survey and focus groups discussions only. This project was supported by USAID and implemented by the East-West Center and WSD Handa Center for Human Rights & International Justice, Stanford University.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Civil Society, Human Rights, History, Mass Media
  • Political Geography: Cambodia