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  • Author: Matthew Pinsker, Scott Hancock
  • Publication Date: 02-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Clarke Center at Dickinson College
  • Abstract: "Among historians," one scholar suggested just a few years ago, "the underground railroad has become a dead issue." As if to confirm that judgment, the most important recent study of runaway slaves contains only two index entries for the Underground Railroad. The authors of that widely acclaimed monograph, John Hope Franklin and Loren Schweninger, are candid about the reasons for this decision. "Although historians continue to disagree about various aspects of the Underground Railroad," they write, "few deny that even today it is shrouded in myth and legend."
  • Topic: Human Rights, Human Welfare
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Hsien-Hen Lu, Younghwan Song, Mary Clare Lennon, J. Lawrence Aber
  • Publication Date: 10-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute for Social and Economic Research and Policy at Columbia University
  • Abstract: By analyzing data from the Current Population Survey March Supplements, Living at the Edge explores the following questions about children in low-income families in the United States: What are the overall changes in the low-income and poverty rates for children over the past quarter century? How has the population of children in low-income families changed over the past decade? Which children are more likely to live in low-income families? How have changes in parental employment status affected the likelihood of children living in low-income families? What are the state by state variations in child low-income and poverty rates, and how have these changed in the last decade? How does a more inclusive definition of family income and expenses affect our understanding of the poverty and near-poverty rates of children in low-income families? This report helps document significant improvements in the child lowincome rate as well as the significant decrease in the proportion of children who relied on public assistance during the 1990s. However, Living at the Edge also finds a notable increase in the share of children who lived in near-poor families (those with incomes between 100 and 200 percent of the poverty line) among children in low-income families during the 1990s. Many disadvantaged groups of children, including those with young parents, minority parents, parents with limited education, or unmarried parents, were less likely to live in poor or lowincome families in the late 1990s than such children a decade earlier. The improvement in the child low-income rates of these disadvantaged groups was closely related to an increase in parental employment during the late 1990s. However, the low-income rate worsened for children whose more educated parent had a high-school diploma but no college education. For children of many disadvantaged social groups, parental employment appears to do less to protect them from economic hardship then it did a decade earlier. The groups that suffered the most in reduced economic security given parental employment status were those in the medium risk ranks (children in families with at least one parent between ages 25 to 39, children whose more educated parent had only has a high school diploma, and in father-only families). The report also notes that the official measure of poverty ignores the burden of medical and work related expenses as well as taxes and therefore tends to underestimate the share of children in near-poor and low-income families facing economic insecurity. Finally, we discuss the policy implications for our findings.
  • Topic: Economics, Human Welfare, Poverty
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Kenneth L. Leonard
  • Publication Date: 03-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute for Social and Economic Research and Policy at Columbia University
  • Abstract: The 'active patient' is introduced in this paper. She is the same person as the rational peasant that we have known for at least three decades. She is a rational agent seeking health care in an environment characterized by market failures (particularly agency in the supply of medical quality) and imperfect institutional responses to these failures. We show evidence that patients significantly increase their welfare by choosing between various different providers and matching their illnesses to the resources that are available at these different providers. This paper suggests that continuing to view patients as passive participants in the health care market gives way to misleading policy suggestions and may in fact reduce the welfare of patients.
  • Topic: Economics, Human Welfare, Poverty
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Henning Hillmann
  • Publication Date: 01-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute for Social and Economic Research and Policy at Columbia University
  • Abstract: Studies of state formation tend to emphasize the demise of localism through centralization. This article specifies empirically the social structural conditions that strengthen localism understate formation. The historical case is the creation of Vermont during the Revolutionary War and the local factionalism it involved. Probate records are used to reconstruct credit networks that provided the relational foundation for localism and factional identities. The evidence demonstrates that network segregation between factional regions intensified over time, and was supported by strong cohesion within these regions. Local brokers who forged cohesion within factions consistently attained important political offices while mediators between opposing factions increasingly failed to obtain offices. This structural process coincided with the shift of Vermont's domestic politics into national level conflicts between Federalists and Jeffersonians. Within this escalation local and national factions crystallized around equivalent pairs of binary categorical oppositions. T h e evocation of national politics directly resonated with local lines of conflict, and reinforced factional identities and localism.
  • Topic: Government, Human Welfare, Politics, War
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Subham Chaudhuri, Patrick Heller
  • Publication Date: 01-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute for Social and Economic Research and Policy at Columbia University
  • Abstract: Under the “People's Campaign for Decentralised Planning,” initiated by the government of the Indian state of Kerala in 1996, significant planning and budgetary functions that had previously been controlled by state-level ministries, were devolved to the lowest tier of government—municipalities in urban areas, and gram panchayats (village councils) in ural areas. A key element of the campaign was the requirement that every gram panchayat organize open village assemblies—called Gram Sabhas—twice a year through which citizens could participate in formulating planning priorities, goals and projects. Using data from the first two years of the campaign, on the levels and composition of participation in the Gram Sabhas in all of Kerala's 990 gram panchayats we empirically assess the explanatory power of the dominant existing paradigms of participation—social capital, rational choice, and social-historical. The basic patterns we document, as well as our more detailed analyses of the impact that a range of spatial, socioeconomic and political factors had on the levels and social depth of participation, provide broad support for a dynamic and contingent view of participation, a perspective that recognizes the “plasticity of participation.”
  • Topic: Economics, Government, Human Welfare, Governance
  • Political Geography: Asia
  • Author: Vladimir Matic
  • Publication Date: 10-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Public International Law Policy Group
  • Abstract: Nationalism remains a potent force in Serbia, strongly affecting the politicking within the political elite regarding final status issues in Kosovo. The democratic forces are not immune from Kosovo-related nationalism and have at times adopted hardline positions to diminish their vulnerabilities in the political struggle. Since the end of the Kosovo war the West has done nothing to dispel the perception in Belgrade that Serbia's legal claim of sovereignty over Kosovo remains valid in principle and of equivalent standing as an issue “on the table” with Kosovo Albanians' insistence on independence in the prelude to negotiations. Belgrade ignores the fact that, with virtually no Albanians in Kosovo willing to work with them, they have no Albanian partners in pursuing this goal. Kosovo Serbs also display considerable mistrust of Belgrade's concern for their interests. The EU and UNMIK have attempted to create a framework for progress on the issue, but success will hinge on the willingness of the United States to exercise diplomatic leadership to resolve the deadlock.
  • Topic: Democratization, Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Kosovo, Serbia, Albania
  • Publication Date: 10-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Public International Law Policy Group
  • Abstract: The results of Serbia's December 2003 parliamentary elections accelerated concerns that the situation in the Balkans is seriously deteriorating. On 2 March 2004 the Public International Law Policy Group and The Century Foundation convened a roundtable of sixteen people deeply involved in Balkan issues from the region, Europe, and the United States to review the general situation in the Balkans and examine the approach of the United States and European Union (EU) to the region.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Politics, Sovereignty
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Serbia, Balkans
  • Author: Vladimir Matic
  • Publication Date: 10-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Public International Law Policy Group
  • Abstract: The assassinated prime minister of Serbia, Zoran Djindjic, appears to have won in death much of what he could not achieve in life. His concept of Serbia's way out of the domestic political and economic crisis through reform and membership in a democratic Europe has prevailed over one representing the past; Serbia is finally open to cooperation with the world. But the national consensus he was dreaming about does not yet exist. The prevalence and reach of networks of organized crime and corruption limit prospects for significant further structural change and more serious consolidation of the rule of law. The Serbian people have put aside for the moment their infatuation with radical nationalism rather than exorcising it from their society and intellectual culture. The success of such reform as has been implemented is far from secured. For the time being the joint efforts of the leading pro-democratization parties of Serbia and Montenegro have brought about the beginning of long-postponed changes in the army and initiated far-reaching reforms. This allows continuation of reforms in Serbian services and strengthening of the basic institutions of democracy. If continued, expanded and intensified, this course will take both Serbia and Montenegro irrespective of the final destiny of their Union closer to democracy and to the European Union and the United States.
  • Topic: Democratization, Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Serbia
  • Publication Date: 05-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Public International Law Policy Group
  • Abstract: As the situation in Iraq continues to stabilize, the people of Iraq will turn to the task of reconstituting an Iraqi state. One of the first steps in this process will be to design, agree upon, and implement a new constitutional structure. While drafting a new constitution is a difficult and contentious process for any country, the challenges are substantially magnified for Iraq given its complex mosaic of ethnic and religious identities, the history of repression under Saddam Hussein, the necessary presence of American forces, and Iraq's complex relations with its neighboring states.
  • Topic: Democratization, Development, War
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: James Lilley
  • Publication Date: 10-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Public International Law Policy Group
  • Abstract: You have clearly worked over the complicated relationship between Taiwan and China. I can only try to build on what Dr. Lin Chong--pin and Mr. Rostow have already described so lucidly. I would like to point out first that China chooses, for both tactical and emotional reasons, to place a special heavy emphasis on its relationship with Taiwan and to its point that Taiwan is part of China. Emotional, because this stirs up nationalism among a skeptical Chinese elite who have lost ideology. Tactical, because driving home the unity and sovereignty themes forces the U.S. on the defensive, i.e., the U.S. interferes in China's internal affairs, a cardinal sin in China's own lexicon. In reality, however, China has been practical. For almost fifty years Chinese propaganda has focused on Taiwan as a pure target, but objective circumstances have changed and so has China's strategy. China took over the Ta Chen Islands peacefully in 1954, its last significant territorial acquisition in the Taiwan Strait. Its later more militaristic approach against a well--defended Quemoy (Chin men) failed in 1958, and China retreated with much bluster and firing of cannons, many of them empty.
  • Topic: Politics, Sovereignty
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Taiwan, Asia