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  • Author: Pamela Abbott, Andrea Teti
  • Publication Date: 12-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Arab Transformations Project, University of Aberdeen
  • Abstract: In order to understand why the Uprisings happened in the Arab World in 2010-11 and specifically to understand their origins in Egypt, it is necessary to combine a long term political economy trend analysis with an analysis of short term dynamics (della Porta 2015). This enables us to locate the Uprisings in a socio-economic, cultural and political context in Egypt and analyse the interaction between structure and agency (Beinin 2009; della Porta 2014). In doing so we take account of the three temporalities of capitalism: long term changes; mid-term moves between growth and crisis; and the short term dynamics of the immediate juncture. Specifically, the Uprisings can be located in a crisis of neo-liberalism, the growth of the precariat (Standing 2011), a breakdown of the social contract between the state and citizens, and a perception of growing inequalities and a decline in satisfaction with life (Therborn 2013; Subrabmanyam 2014; Verme et al 2014; World Bank 2015). While in the West the growth of the precariat – is a relatively recent phenomenon, in Egypt a large proportion of workers have always been employed in the informal sector, what happened in the 2000s was that an increasing number of the educated sons of the middle classes were forced into this type of employment. This occurred in the face of sluggish real economic growth, at least partly due to the demographic transition with a decline in decent jobs, (full-time, permanent formal sector) for the increasing number of educated young people coming onto the labour market (Hakimian 2013).
  • Topic: International Relations, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Author: Carl Henrik Knutsen, John Gerring, Svend-Erik Skaaning
  • Publication Date: 11-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Varieties of Democracy Institute (V-Dem)
  • Abstract: Theoretical work on the institutional sources of economic growth regards decentralization and democracy in a positive light. Despite this, empirical work shows that neither fiscal decentralization nor national democracy is a robust predictor of per capita GDP growth. We argue that these theories have failed to bear fruit because they ignore the linchpin of decentralization and democracy, namely local democracy. Democracy at a local level enhances economic growth by enabling decentralized policy selection and incentivizing local politicians to select policies that benefit economic development, including the provision of local public goods. We test for the relationship using a novel measure of local democracy with global coverage and time series extending from 1900 to the present. We find robust evidence that local democracy nurtures growth. This relationship holds up when accounting for country- and year-fixed effects, when controlling for democracy at the national level, and when we treat our measure of local democracy as an endogenous regressor. Additional tests reveal that the relationship is clearer in contexts where our argument suggests that it should operate more strongly, namely (national- level) democracies and in periods and regions where local-level institutions have a more pronounced role in policy-making.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: XIAO Yingying, YUAN Zhengqing
  • Publication Date: 07-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute for World Economics and Politics
  • Abstract: The internet history in Africa is short, but this new technology is spreading fast on the continent. Along with this, cybercrime in Africa is becoming increasingly rampant, while the relevant legal institutions and law enforcement capacity are lagging behind, with public and private cyber security awareness being relatively weak. In recent years, African countries start accelerating the design of institutional framework concerning cyber security governance. Besides e-transaction and cybercrime, personal data protection is also part of Africa’s cyber security governance, which is the result of the “impartment“ from Western developed countries and the active advocacy from NGOs. Whether at the national level, sub-regional organization level, the African Union level or NGO level, those Western developed countries and western-dominated international organizations have played a role in the institutional design of African cyber security governance, some of which referred to or even copied the original designs of the Western countries. This may lead to the African continent being “recolonized” in cyberspace, with no autonomous decision-making power in global cyber security governance. Besides, from design to implementation, African countries still have a long way to go, and whether the institutions based on the western experience are suitable for the culture and ideas of the African countries, remains to be tested with practice.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Africa, China
  • Author: J. Samuel Valenzuela, Timothy R. Scully, Nicolás Somma
  • Publication Date: 12-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Kellogg Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: Recent literature on the Chilean party system has noted that its characteristics changed under the impact of Pinochet's long dictatorship. The right allegedly became a tool for maintaining his regime's “legacies,” and this generated a binary pattern of electoral competition between “pro-authoritarian” and “prodemocratic” forces after the return to democracy. The literature has also stressed that levels of identification with the nation's parties have plummeted, thereby questioning the extent to which the Chilean party system is an institutionalized one. And yet all analysts acknowledge, without being able to explain, that the distribution of voter options for the main parties from one election to the next has continued to be largely stable
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Chile
  • Author: Alexander Mattelaer
  • Publication Date: 06-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute for National Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: In July 2016 NATO leaders will meet in Warsaw to formally review whether earlier decisions on strengthening the Alliance’s collective defenses are sufficient. Greater efforts will be needed, but consensus may not be easy to achieve. Below the surface, the cohesion of NATO is under severe strain from multiple crises including Russian revanchism, mass migration, and terrorism. Summit preparations are also taking place under the shadow of potential strategic shocks. Internal disagreements fueled by rising populism could lead to a British exit from the European Union, a disorderly breakdown of the Schengen system, or worse. In this context it would be a mistake to underestimate the risk of NATO fragmentation. To strengthen cohesion, U.S. leaders should consider broadening the debate beyond the immediate concerns over Europe’s troubled neighborhood, fostering intra-European peer pressure on providing adequate military capabilities, and stimulating European nations to develop complementary force postures. These initiatives could revitalize the transatlantic bond, but would require patient engagement before and after the summit.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Michael Brian Jenkins, John Lauder
  • Publication Date: 08-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Nonproliferation Policy Education Center
  • Abstract: NPEC Working Paper 1602, “The Nuclear Terrorism Threat: How Real Is It?” presents two opposed views on the threat of nuclear terrorism. Brian M. Jenkins, a Rand analyst and a leading expert on nuclear terrorism, argues that the threat is overblown. John Lauder, former director of the Central Intelligence Agency’s Nonproliferation Center, argues the opposing case that the threat is growing and we need to be hedging against it now.
  • Topic: Terrorism, International Affairs, Nuclear Power
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Henry D. Sokolski
  • Publication Date: 08-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Nonproliferation Policy Education Center
  • Abstract: NPEC Working Paper 1601, “How Dark Might East Asia’s Nuclear Future Be?” contains detailed projections of what the future holds for a more nuclear-armed China, Japan, North Korea and South Korea. None are predictions. The volume’s purpose is to encourage deeper debate about the security implications of nuclear proliferation in East Asia.
  • Topic: International Affairs, Nuclear Power
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Shane Smith
  • Publication Date: 01-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Nonproliferation Policy Education Center
  • Abstract: On February 12, 2013, North Korea’s state media announced that it had conducted a third nuclear test “of a smaller and light A-bomb unlike the previous ones, yet with great explosive power…demonstrating the good performance of the DPRK's nuclear deterrence that has become diversified.”[1] Since then, there has been renewed debate and speculation over the nature and direction of North Korea’s nuclear program. Can it develop weapons using both plutonium and uranium? How far away is it from having a deliverable warhead and how capable are its delivery systems? How many and what kind of weapons is it looking to build? These are not easy questions to answer. North Korea remains one of the most notoriously secret nations, and details about its nuclear program are undoubtedly some of its most valued secrets. Yet, the answers to these questions have far reaching implications for U.S. and regional security.
  • Topic: International Affairs, Nuclear Power
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Eric Mietz
  • Publication Date: 01-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Belgrade Centre for Security Policy
  • Abstract: In many ways, female recruits, both from the Western Balkans and other regions, are attracted to the Islamic State for the exact same reasons as men, highlights BCSP guest researcher Eric Mietz
  • Topic: International Relations, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Balkans
  • Author: Mira Kaneva
  • Publication Date: 01-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute for Security and International Studies (ISIS)
  • Abstract: The associative definition of borders implies the separation or the connection between two contrasting units (even in terms of their coloring on the geographic map). Thus the inherent intermediate position of borders has always marked the bordering practices between and within political communities. In international relations studies, though, despite the centrality of borders in policy-making, border studies are reduced to a marginal position. Ironically, border studies are driven to the periphery of academic research due to the prevailing misconception of them as epiphenomena at the expense of core phenomena such as state, sovereignty, and territory
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Peyton Cooke, Casey Johnson, Reza Fazli
  • Publication Date: 09-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Youth recruitment into extremist groups in Afghanistan continues to be a major source of group building. In field studies and interviews conducted in three provinces to elicit views on extremist groups, both violent and nonviolent, and factors thought to induce youth to join such groups, violent extremist groups emerged as unpopular and mistrusted, being perceived as un-Islamic and controlled by foreign powers. Nonetheless, the activities and ideologies of such groups have not been effectively countered by the government of Afghanistan, civil society, or the international community. Programs to counter extreme violence should emphasize the Islamic basis of Afghan civil law, accommodate local differences, and be conducted in partnership with moderate voices and youth, with international organizations remaining in the background
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Civil Society, Terrorism, International Affairs, Youth Culture
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan
  • Author: Col. Douglas Mastriano
  • Publication Date: 03-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College
  • Abstract: The strategic calculus changed in Europe with the 2014 Russian seizure of Crimea and its ongoing war against Ukraine. Compounding the dilemma of an aggressive Russia, is the application of ambiguity to create a clock of uncertainty that prevents a decisive response to counter its destabilizing activities. However, this application of ambiguity is easily defeated, if nations are willing to take concerted efforts now to preempt and deter further Russian aggression. Project 1704 provides an honest assessment of the tenuous strategic environment that now envelopes Eastern Europe and offers specific recommendations on how to continue the 70 years of unparalleled peace that most of Europe has enjoyed.
  • Topic: Politics, International Security, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Russia, Ukraine, Eastern Europe, Crimea
  • Author: Sarah Hearn
  • Publication Date: 02-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Ambassadors Review
  • Abstract: This short paper provides an overview of the evidence on why institution-building is central to successful peacebuilding, and aims to stimulate fresh thinking on ideas for improving international institution-building efforts. The international community is moving at a slow pace to improve its performance in this area, despite a range of international commitments to building national institutions and ownership in conflict-affected countries. I argue that the UN could pursue more innovation, especially in the areas of south-south and triangular cooperation, setting norms for institution-building, and sustaining long-term attention to institution-building, as well as championing the development of a wider range of aid instruments and partnerships. Finally, I point to major data and evidence gaps, and suggest generating more north-south knowledge partnerships on the subject as a matter of priority – especially around building national ownership and supporting inclusive institution-building processes.
  • Topic: Development, Regional Cooperation, United Nations, International Affairs, Peacekeeping
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Mykhailo Minakov
  • Publication Date: 05-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Arnold A. Saltzman Institute of War and Peace Studies
  • Abstract: Have the Euromaidan protests broken the rout of authoritarian rule in Ukraine? Is Ukraine’s political system tending towards free, democratic and open? It is probably too early to give a definite answer to these questions. In my opinion, there are two competing agendas in Ukraine, one of which supports the development of democracy, and the other which threatens it. The vast majority of Ukrainians supports one of these agendas and formulates demands correspondingly. Ukraine’s democratic prospects are in the process of unfolding.
  • Topic: Political Violence, Democratization, International Affairs, Authoritarianism
  • Political Geography: Ukraine
  • Author: Eugene Rumer
  • Publication Date: 05-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Arnold A. Saltzman Institute of War and Peace Studies
  • Abstract: Eugene Rumer’s paper focuses on American foreign policy choices, notably the complexity of pursuing objectives, some of which cannot easily be reconciled: helping to consolidate democracy and promote economic reform in Ukraine, contributing to Ukraine’s stability, reassuring nervous NATO allies, and avoiding a confrontation with Russia. Given these goals, Rumer asks, what would constitute a sensible strategy, and how should it be pursued?
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, International Security, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: America, Ukraine
  • Author: Mario Esteban
  • Publication Date: 10-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Elcano Royal Institute
  • Abstract: Relations between China and Latin America are complex, strengthening, notably asymmetrical and fundamentally economic. Ties have intensified rapidly in recent years, to the extent of shaping the evolution of countries in the region and their processes of regional integration. Spain cannot afford to remain indifferent to this phenomenon, given its close links to this part of the world. The strengthening of ties between China and Latin America has a double-edged impact on Spanish interests. On the one hand, the headway that China is making in the region translates into a loss of Spanish influence and attraction in one of the traditional spheres for Spain’s foreign policy. On the other hand, the greater presence of China can contribute to the development of the region and is generating opportunities for cooperation and synergies with Spanish players, both public and private, on multiple stages.
  • Topic: International Affairs, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: China, Latin America, Spain
  • Publication Date: 12-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Elcano Royal Institute
  • Abstract: The Elcano Royal Institute, which is about to celebrate its 15th anniversary, has been working on three tasks over the course of its short but active history that are appropiate to a laboratory of ideas. In the world of think tanks, where the English language predominates, the three words that denote these tasks all begin with the letter “A”: analysis, assessment and advice. Our institute does indeed concern itself with carrying out international and strategic studies with the greatest degree of rigour possible and, as a result, throughout this time we have been providing both our society and the foreign reader interested in a Spanish perspective with serious and sophisticated knowledge on these matters. But our efforts extend beyond the provision of solid and detached analyses, because there is also a significant critical and, above all, prescriptive component, which is what sets us apart from an exclusively academic research centre. Setting out from a position that is independent but also committed to the collective interests of the country, our reports and documents venture to assess prospective opportunities and threats, indicate our shortcomings, identify good comparative practice, and note potential innovations that might enable Spain (whether its public sector, its civil society or its population in general) to insert itself into globalization and the process of European integration.
  • Topic: Globalization, International Affairs, Elections, Democracy
  • Political Geography: Spain
  • Author: C. Christine Fair
  • Publication Date: 06-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Gateway House: Indian Council on Global Relation
  • Abstract: Pakistan continues to receive succour from its long-time ally, the U.S., despite blundering about in its neighbourhood unabashedly- be it through righteous indignation or through generous courtesies. The external affairs ministry needs to improve its approach towards U.S. officials who are visiting India in order to better its relation with the country.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, India
  • Publication Date: 09-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: IEMed/EuroMeSCo
  • Abstract: This document, "The Challenges of the Mediterranean Urban Agenda: the importance of an innovative urban planning, social inclusiveness and private-public parterships development", is the result of the high-level working group on the challenges of the urban agenda in the Mediterranean, which was held on the 15th and 16th December 2014 at Foment del Treball Nacional (Barcelona). On this occasion, more than 30 international experts discussed proposals that could contribute to the improvement of the urban development policies and social inclusion in the cities of the Mediterranean region. During the working group, it was mentioned that more than 80% of global wealth is generated in the cities. It was agreed that in order to finance infrastructure and services it is important that the private sector commits to cooperate with the public administration. The importance of optimising the public transport network from an energy efficiency point of view because cities consume two thirds of the world energy was also noted. Finally, it was highlighted that the creation of urban spaces for interaction and support for young entrepreneurs and platforms that allow knowledge sharing are critical to promote social integration and jobs.>
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Aaron Cosbey
  • Publication Date: 12-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment
  • Abstract: While there has been a strong tendency in resource rich countries to push for more stringent local content regulations, the mining sector is looking to move towards increased automation. In this study titled “Mining a Mirage: Reassessing the Shared-Value Paradigm in Light of the Technological Advances in the Mining Sector,” CCSI, IISD and Engineers Without Borders researched the technological innovations that are being developed, assessing when these technologies could be rolled out, and quantifying the potential impacts automation may have on local employment and procurement and on the shared value paradigm. The objective was to better understand how governments could adapt local content, industrial and fiscal policies in order to better prepare for and embrace technological advances in the mining sector.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus