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  • Author: Niklas Harring, Victor Lapuente
  • Publication Date: 09-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Quality of Government Institute. University of Gothenburg.
  • Abstract: For many economists government intervention is linked to low levels of interpersonal trust and corruption, while, on the contrary, for many political scientists, government intervention is associ- ated to high trust and low corruption. The goal of this paper is to reconcile these contrasting find ings by distinguishing the differing effects of trust over two alternative types of government intervention: regulation and taxation. Low-trust individuals demand more governmental regulation but less government taxation. We test the hypotheses by focusing on a particular policy – i.e. environmental policy – where governments use different mixes of regulatory and tax mechanisms, and for which we have data on both trust in others (interpersonal trust) and trust in public institutions (in- stitutional trust). The main finding is that those individuals with low trust (both interpersonal and institutional trust) tend to demand, ceteris paribus, more governmental regulation of the environ- ment and, but are less inclined to pay higher taxes to protect the environment. We also find that the effect of institutional trust is stronger than the effect of interpersonal trust, which puts previous studies in a perspective.
  • Topic: Corruption, Government, Regional Cooperation, Regulation, Political structure
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Andrea Ó Súilleabháin
  • Publication Date: 03-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Peace Institute
  • Abstract: The call for national and local ownership of peacebuilding and statebuilding design and practice has grown louder in recent years. The principles of leveraging local knowledge and attending to local context have gained increasing prominence and visibility in international policy. Standards of field practice for international nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and peacebuilding missions now regularly include consultation of local perspectives and engagement of local actors. But regional, national, and community-level knowledge have not found effective channels to influence and inform the international decision-making process. Translating these principles into practice—in terms of peacebuilding and statebuilding mechanisms, processes, and programs on the ground—is an enduring challenge for the United Nations and international actors.
  • Topic: Government, United Nations
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Publication Date: 02-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: We face a critical juncture in Ukraine. There is no real ceasefire; indeed, there was a significant increase in fighting along the line of contact in eastern Ukraine in mid-January, with Russian/separatist forces launching attacks on the Donetsk airport and other areas. Instead of a political settlement, Moscow currently seeks to create a frozen conflict in eastern Ukraine as a means to pressure and destabilize the Ukrainian government. Russians continue to be present in the Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts in substantial numbers and have introduced significant amounts of heavy weapons. This could be preparation for another major Russian/ separatist offensive.
  • Topic: NATO, Government
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Ukraine, Moscow
  • Author: Emily Taylor
  • Publication Date: 04-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: This paper addresses the proposed transfer of Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) oversight away from the US government. The background section explores how the technical architecture of critical Internet resources has certain governance implications, introduces the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) and its relationship with the US government through the IANA function and the Affirmation of Commitments. After discussing why the relationship has caused controversy, the paper describes the work underway within ICANN to find a successor oversight mechanism and provides a short critique of the proposals so far. The majority of the paper is taken up with more general issues relating to ICANN's accountability. It explains how the IANA transition was recognized to be dependent on ICANN's wider accountability, and the trust issues between community and leadership that this exposed. There follows an analysis of ICANN's strengths and weaknesses in relation to accountability and transparency, followed by conclusions and recommendations.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: David Omand
  • Publication Date: 03-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: This paper describes the nature of digital intelligence and provides context for the material published as a result of the actions of National Security Agency (NSA) contractor Edward Snowden. Digital intelligence is presented as enabled by the opportunities of global communications and private sector innovation and as growing in response to changing demands from government and law enforcement, in part mediated through legal, parliamentary and executive regulation. A common set of organizational and ethical norms based on human rights considerations are suggested to govern such modern intelligence activity (both domestic and external) using a three-layer model of security activity on the Internet: securing the use of the Internet for everyday economic and social life; the activity of law enforcement — both nationally and through international agreements — attempting to manage criminal threats exploiting the Internet; and the work of secret intelligence and security agencies using the Internet to gain information on their targets, including in support of law enforcement.
  • Topic: Security, Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Ming Zhang
  • Publication Date: 03-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: Due to the 2008-2009 global financial crisis, the Chinese government began to promote renminbi (RMB) internationalization in order to raise its international status, decrease reliance on the US dollar (USD) and advance domestic structural reform. RMB internationalization has achieved progress not only in cross-border trade settlement, but also in the offshore RMB markets. However, the rampant cross-border arbitrage and the relatively slow development of RMB invoicing compared to RMB settlement are becoming increasingly problematic. RMB internationalization has exerted significant influence on not only the Chinese economy but also other emerging market economies. RMB internationalization complicates domestic monetary policy, exacerbates the currency mismatch on China's international balance sheet and increases both the scale and volatility of short-term capital flows. It offers emerging economies another alternative for pricing domestic currency and investing foreign exchange reserves. Its overall impact on the international monetary system's stability will depend on how the capital account is liberalized and the consistency and transparency of Chinese monetary policy. This paper concludes with five recommendations for Chinese policy makers to promote RMB internationalization in a sustainable way that is conducive to international stability.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: United States, China
  • Author: Nora Lustig, Maynor Cabrera, Hilcías E. Morán
  • Publication Date: 03-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: Guatemala is one of the most unequal countries in Latin America and has the highest incidence of poverty. The indigenous population is more than twice as likely to be poor than the nonindigenous group. Fiscal incidence analysis based on the 2009-2010 National Survey of Family Income and Expenditures shows that taxes and transfers do almost nothing to reduce inequality and poverty overall or along ethnic and rural-urban lines. Persistently low tax revenues are the main limiting factor. Tax revenues are not only low but also regressive. Consumption taxes are regressive enough to offset the benefits of cash transfers: poverty after taxes and cash transfers is higher than market income poverty.
  • Topic: Education, Government
  • Political Geography: Latin America, Guatemala
  • Author: Michael Wahman
  • Publication Date: 04-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: The African party literature, especially research prescribing to the long‐dominant ethnic voting thesis, has asserted that African party systems exhibit low levels of party nationalization. However, systematic research on nationalization across parties and party systems is still lacking. This study argues that the prospects for building nationalized parties vary substantially between incumbent and opposition parties. Incumbent parties, with their access to state resources, have been successful in creating nationwide operations, even in countries where geographical factors have been unfavorable and ethnic fractionalization is high. The analysis utilizes a new data set of disaggregate election results for 26 African countries to calculate nationalization scores for 77 parties and study the correlates of party nationalization. The results show that factors like ethnic fractionalization, the size of the geographical area, and urbanization affect party nationalization, but only in the case of opposition parties. Incumbent parties, on the other hand, generally remain nationalized despite unfavorable structural conditions.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: Africa, Europe
  • Publication Date: 05-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: The presidential and legislative polls scheduled for 2016 are a potential watershed for the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC); th ey could be the first elections held with- out an incumbent protecting his position. The prospect of these elections is testing nerves on all sides of the Congolese political spectrum and has already caused deadly violence. There is an urgent need for President Joseph Kabila to commit to the two- term limit contained within the constitution and ready himself to leave power. Consensus is also needed on key electoral decisions, in particular regarding the calendar and the voter roll. This will require high-level donor and international engagement. Absent agreement and clarity on the election process, or should there be significant delays, international partners should review their support to the government. The fragmented governing majority is running out of options to avoid the 2016 deadline. The government's attempts to amen d both the constitution to allow Joseph Kabila to run for a third term and election laws face strong, including internal, opposition, as was evident in the January 2015 mini political crisis over proposed changes to the electoral law. This mini-crisis, which triggered deadly violence and repression against pro-democracy activists, gave a first hint of what could be in store for 2016. In this tense domestic context, engagement by international actors is met with an increasing insistence on national sovereignty that affects in particular the UN Organization Stabilization Mission in the DRC (MONUSCO). Local and provincial polls planned for 2015, despite a technically insufficient and non-consensual voter list, could undermine credible national elections in 2016. In addition to an overly ambitious and costly electoral calendar, the government is hastily pushing through an under-resourced and ill- prepared decentralisation process, including the division of eleven provinces into 26 as provided for in the 2006 constitution. It aims to finalise in six months what was not achieved during nine years. Trying to pursue decentralisation while implementing the electoral calendar could aggravate local tensions, trigger security troubles ahead of next year's polls and make the country highly unstable. For the government, buying time by capitalising on potential delays seems to be the highest attainable objective it can presently agree on. The disjointed opposition is incapable of forming a united front, but there is a broad agreement to oppose any political manoeuvring to extend President Kabila's rule beyond 2016. In addition to President Kabila's ambiguous signals about whether he will respect his two-term limit, problems experienced during the 2011 elections remain; they include a lack of confidence in the Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI) and a disputed voter list. The democratisation process launched a decade ago is reaching its moment of truth, as the excessive hopes raised by the 2006 elections have not materialised. These were the first, and so far only, reasonably free and fair democratic polls to take place since the country's independence. In their wake, reform of the nature of politics and government in DRC has been limited. However, at this stage, delaying the 2016 presidential and legislative elections would be equivalent to an unconstitutional extension of the regime. The January 2015 violence in Kinshasa was a clear demonstration of the Congolese population's aspirations for political change. If the electoral process is not allowed to move forward unhindered, international actors, with a large UN mission in place, risk supporting a regime with even less legitimacy than is currently the case. All efforts have to focus on creating conditions for credible polls in 2016. To that end, Congolese political actors and the CENI should revise the electoral calendar and delay local elections until decentralisation has been fine-tuned, and provincial polls should be organised to closely coincide or be combined with the national elections. A serious conflict prevention and dispute resolution strategy is required, in particular at the local level. Such efforts cannot be only with the electoral horizon in mind. Successful elections do not equal democracy and good governance; the transformation of the Congolese political system has a long way to go and requires a change in governance practices that will be the work of many years.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: Democratic Republic of the Congo
  • Author: Patrick J. Michaels, David E. Wojick
  • Publication Date: 04-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: The purpose of this report is to provide a framework for doing research on the problem of bias in science, especially bias induced by Federal funding of research. In recent years the issue of bias in science has come under increasing scrutiny, including within the scientific community. Much of this scrutiny is focused on the potential for bias induced by the commercial funding of research. However, relatively little attention has been given to the potential role of Federal funding in fostering bias. The research question is clear: does biased funding skew research in a preferred direction, one that supports an agency mission, policy or paradigm? Federal agencies spend many billion dollars a year on scientific research. Most of this is directly tied to the funding agency mission and existing policies. The issue is whether these financial ties lead to bias in favor of the existing policies, as well as to promoting new policies. Is the government buying science or support?
  • Topic: Government