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  • Author: Matthew Blackwell, Adam Glynn
  • Publication Date: 05-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Varieties of Democracy Institute (V-Dem)
  • Abstract: Repeated measurements of the same countries, people, or groups over time are vital to many fields of political science. These measurements, sometimes called time-series cross-sectional (TSCS) data, allow researchers to estimate a broad set of causal quantities, including contemporaneous and lagged treatment effects. Unfortunately, popular methods for TSCS data can only produce valid inferences for lagged effects under very strong assumptions. In this paper, we use potential outcomes to define causal quantities of interest in this settings and clarify how standard models like the autoregressive distributed lag model can produce biased estimates of these quantities due to post-treatment conditioning. We then describe two estimation strategies that avoid these post-treatment biases—inverse probability weighting and structural nested mean models—and show via simulations that they can outperform standard approaches in small sample settings. We illustrate these methods in a study of how welfare spending affects terrorism.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Daniel Robinson, Marcus Tannenberg
  • Publication Date: 04-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Varieties of Democracy Institute (V-Dem)
  • Abstract: The study of popular support for authoritarian regimes, and the comparative study of political attitudes, has long relied on the assumption that survey respondents provide truthful answers on surveys. However, when measuring regime support in closed political systems there is a distinct risk that individuals are less than forthright due to fear that their opinions may be made known to the public or the authorities. In order to test this assumption, we conducted a novel web-based survey in China in which we included four list experiments of commonly used items in the comparative literature on regime support. We find systematic bias for all four measures as a result of selfcensorship; substantially more individuals state that they support the regime with direct questioning than do when presented with our anonymous, indirect list experiments. The level of self-censorship, which ranges from 16 to 22 percentage points, is considerably higher than previously thought. Selfcensorship is further most prevalent among the wealthy, urban, female and younger respondents. These findings indicate that prior studies that have found high levels of support for the Chinese regime using these particular measures likely overestimate the true level of support. Further, crossnational studies which compare popular support across regime type may be systematically biased if responses are not subject to the same level of falsification across regime types.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Carl Henrik Knutsen
  • Publication Date: 04-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Varieties of Democracy Institute (V-Dem)
  • Abstract: The Historical Varieties of Democracy Dataset (Historical V-Dem) is a new dataset containing about 260 indicators, both factual and evaluative, describing various aspects of political regimes and state institutions. The dataset covers 91 polities globally – including most large, sovereign states, as well as some semi-sovereign entities and large colonies – from 1789 to 1920 for many cases. The majority of the indicators are also included in the Varieties of Democracy dataset, which covers the period from 1900 to the present – and together these two datasets cover the bulk of “modern history”. Historical V-Dem also includes several new indicators, covering features that are pertinent for 19thcentury polities. We describe the data, the process of coding, and the different strategies employed in Historical V-Dem to cope with issues of reliability and validity and ensure inter-temporal- and cross-country comparability. To illustrate the potential uses of the dataset we provide a descriptive account of patterns of democratization in the “long 19th century.” Finally, we perform an empirical investigation of how inter-state war relates to subsequent democratization.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Håvard Hegre, Michael Bernhard, Jan Teorell
  • Publication Date: 03-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Varieties of Democracy Institute (V-Dem)
  • Abstract: The democratic peace is one of the most robust findings in international relations. Yet it suffers from two important limitations. First, even those who fully embrace the democratic peace have difficulty precisely identifying which facet of democracy drives the result. Second, the vast majority of studies have relied on a single measure of democracy – the Polity index. This paper reassesses interstate conflict on several new measures of democracy and their disaggregated components from the Varieties of Democracy project in a global sample of 173 countries from 1900–2010 (www.v-dem.net). We theorize three distinct mechanisms of constraint that may explain why some countries do not engage in military conflict with each other: formal vertical (e.g. elections), informal vertical (e.g. civil society activism), and horizontal accountability (e.g. interbranch constraint on the executive). We find that the formal vertical channels of accountability provided by elections are not as crucial as horizontal constraint and the informal vertical accountability provided by a strong civil society.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Armand M Leroi et al
  • Publication Date: 03-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Varieties of Democracy Institute (V-Dem)
  • Abstract: Sometimes the normal course of events is disrupted by a particularly swift and profound change. Historians have often referred to such changes as "revolutions" and, though they have identied many of them, they have rarely supported their claims with statistical evidence. Here we present a method to identify revolutions based on a measure of the multivariate rate of change called Foote Novelty. We dene revolutions as those periods of time when the value of this measure, F, can, by a non-parametric test, be shown to be signicantly greater than the background rate. Our method also identies conservative periods when the rate of change is unusually low. Importantly, our method permits searching for revolutions over any time scale that the data permit. We apply it to several quantitative data sets that capture long-term political, social and cultural changes and, in some of them, identify revolutions, both well known and not. Our method is a general one that can be applied to any phenomenon captured by multivariate time series data of sufficient quality.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Tytti Erasto, Sibylle Bauer, Shannon N. Kile, Peter Topychkanov
  • Publication Date: 04-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Stockholm International Peace Research Institute
  • Abstract: Recognizing that the current international context is hardly conducive to arms control and disarmament, SIPRI working paper ‘Setting the stage for progress towards nuclear disarmament’ identifies 10 practical steps to revitalize the 1968 Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) as the principal normative and legal foundation of the global nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation regime. At the same time, it recognizes the NPT’s inherent compatibility with other disarmament initiatives, most notably the 2017 Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. In addition to restoring a sense of common purpose and addressing ‘old’ nuclear weapon-related risks, the paper highlights ‘new’ risks arising from developments in conventional capabilities and emerging technologies. The overarching objective is to set the stage for future concrete steps and initiatives to reduce the role of nuclear weapons and to eventually eliminate them.
  • Topic: Peace Studies, Nuclear Power
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Diana Ngo, Sebastian Bauhoff
  • Publication Date: 11-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: Rwanda’s performance-based incentives were effective for some indicators, but unconditional financing also induced improvements. The incentive effects persisted in the mediumrun and as the program was scaled-up. Additionally, the analysis demonstrates how observational research methods and secondary data can generate new insights on existing evaluations
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Ifran Yar
  • Publication Date: 11-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on International Policy (CIP)
  • Abstract: In the wake of the incipient peace process in Afghanistan, new hopes have emerged and an aura of optimism has spread across the country. After the first successful meeting with the Taliban, US envoy Zalmay Khalilzad met recently with the insurgents to discuss the peace talks in Qatar. This comes after Russia, reasserting its influence in the region, hosted a landmark international conference aimed at spurring the peace efforts in its restive neighborhood. The meeting was attended by the Taliban and its adversaries and concluded without any formal breakthrough. Since 2010, many efforts have been made to broker a peace deal with the Taliban but to no avail. Will this peace process convince the Taliban to give up its insurgency?
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Ben Tannenbaum
  • Publication Date: 10-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on International Policy (CIP)
  • Abstract: Turkey’s military has historically played an outsized role in the country’s politics. Since assuming power in 2003, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his Justice and Development Party (AKP) have worked to limit the military’s political influence, a process that has damaged Turkish civil society. The military overthrew the previous AKP government in 1997, and Erdoğan sought to avoid a similar fate. However, after the first decade of Erdoğan’s rule, political loyalties shifted. His chief ally against the military, Fethullah Gülen, became Erdoğan’s principal rival. The drama escalated in 2016 when Gülen allegedly cultivated a cohort of military officers in an attempted coup against Erdoğan. Since thwarting the coup, Erdoğan has successfully re-escalated his quest to constrain the military’s domestic political role. Nevertheless, despite this political feuding, Erdoğan and the Turkish military do hold some common interests on foreign policy. Their overlapping goals have provided some basis for cooperation between Erdoğan and his military. Erdoğan has scored political gains from his relationship with the military, instituting policies that have harmed Turkey’s economy and threatened its democracy.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Basel Ammane
  • Publication Date: 10-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on International Policy (CIP)
  • Abstract: During the last NATO Summit in Brussels in July, the first since the onset of the Trump presidency, observers were carefully watching in anticipation of any indicators about the state of commitment by the US to the alliance. Trump’s antics, such as the insults he levelled at Germany, the impudent demands he made, and the thinly-veiled threat he issued unsurprisingly dominated media coverage. This served as a reminder that the alliance and its members need to work vigorously to safeguard US commitment given that this president’s preoccupation with prodding allies into increasing military spending, though echoed by previous administrations, is much more forceful and borders on the nakedly belligerent. To make matters worse, a skeptical view of alliances that sees them through a transactional prism and portrays them as burdens seems to be a consistent view that President Trump has held for years. This further demonstrates that the risk of a declining US commitment to the alliance is real. But a shaky commitment by a US president is hardly the only source of problems for today’s NATO.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus