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  • Author: Rayan Majed
  • Publication Date: 12-2018
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Arab Reform Initiative (ARI)
  • Abstract: This paper is an attempt to monitor the situation of the Syrian diaspora in Lebanon from 2011 until today, without claiming full coverage of all aspects of the subject. It focuses on four diaspora categories as well as the reflection of the Lebanese-Syrian historical relationship and the internal political situation in Lebanon on the Syrian diaspora there. The paper relies on reports from international and human rights organizations and articles on Syrian asylum in Lebanon, and on interviews with Syrian residents living in Lebanon from a variety of backgrounds.
  • Topic: Civil War, Regional Cooperation, Diaspora, Immigration
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Lebanon, Syria, Beirut, Damascus
  • Author: Basma Alloush
  • Publication Date: 12-2018
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Arab Reform Initiative (ARI)
  • Abstract: The Syrian American diaspora has been actively engaged in the Syrian uprising through the provision of humanitarian assistance and the entry into political advocacy work. Yet, the Syrian diaspora in the U.S. does not represent a homogenous population group nor a unified political position. On the contrary, assessing the dynamics of the diaspora since 2011 reveals important transformations within diasporic groupings, with the 2011 uprising acting as a catalyst for the emergence of new fractures. Through a mixture of desk research and interviews with key members of the Syrian American diaspora, this paper investigates the evolution of the community and discusses the potential role of the diaspora in a post-conflict Syria. By assessing current and evolving trends within the diaspora from 2011, it is possible to shape future reconstruction plans to effectively include the Syrian American diaspora.
  • Topic: Civil War, Diaspora, Immigration
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Syria, North America, Damascus
  • Author: Antranik Dakessian
  • Publication Date: 12-2018
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Arab Reform Initiative (ARI)
  • Abstract: The Armenian diaspora is considered typical in that it has both the characteristics of a classical dispersion and a modern diaspora; however, due to current economic hardships in the Republic of Armenia (RA), it is facing a new set of complications and is reshaping itself into a post-modern plural unit. Using a historical overview, this paper offers an empirical analysis of the diverse Armenian diaspora and investigates its post-genocide transformation. The paper explores the formal and informal institutions in host countries intended to preserve the Armenian identity and the networks used to maintain links with Soviet Armenia. In addition, the paper assesses the shift in the very nature of the diaspora resulting from the post-Soviet independence of Armenia. Focusing on the question of identity and integration, the paper explores various factors, such as language, intermarriage, political participation, the ambivalence between the adopted country and the ancestral fatherland, as well as the conflict between an unattractive weak state and a challenging everyday life. The paper demonstrates how this duality is manifested, and the various responses of Armenians when confronted with civil war in host communities or when the host country is at war with a neighbouring country, looking in particular at the role of elites in both host countries and the homeland. The paper will concentrate on two distinct time periods: the Soviet era (1920 to 199) and globalization era (1991 to 2015).
  • Topic: Genocide, Diaspora, Immigration, Assimilation
  • Political Geography: Asia, Armenia
  • Author: Mira Kaneva
  • Publication Date: 11-2018
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Institute for Security and International Studies (ISIS)
  • Abstract: Christopher Nolan’s film Inception creates a mesmerizing maze where each action of the protagonists has a ripple effect down through the whole fabric of the story. Making one’s way through the maze, though only in one’s own imagination, leaves the viewer disoriented. The film is all about process, about fighting one’s way through enveloping sheets of reality and dream, reality within dreams, dreams without reality. There is no time or place synchronization; architecture has a way of disregarding gravity where buildings tilt, streets coil and characters are adrift in what is more an emotional than a rational ‘ball of thread’ of experience. In a similar fashion, a complex network of events envelops the Western Balkans since the neologism’s ambiguous inception in the early 1990-s. For nearly three decades the region has been misperceived as stuck-in-the mud, criticized for being entangled in a desynchronized microcosm, involved in a set of flashbacks to archetypal conflicts on identity grounds and doomed to stagnated Europeanization. Both material facts such as cost-benefit calculations and ideational categories such as perceptions, beliefs, values, narratives are at play here. Almost like a Wiki-article, this paper attempts a disambiguation of several key assumptions about the Western Balkans so that it advances the argument that the Western Balkans region is inevitably on its way out of the shoals not least due to the European and Atlantic perspective for its future as offered by the European Union and NATO. It tackles three highly contentious statements: first, it refutes the proposition that the Western Balkans are entrapped in a specific ethnic security dilemma that offers no exit; second, it contends that at the moment the region is caught in a vicious circle of hard security threats (territorial conflicts) and soft security threats (radicalization, populism, corruption and organized crime); third, it holds a moderate optimistic view that the region is likely to be involved in a process of socialization within a vaster security community. The course of reasoning follows the case study of Serbia’s political and social development in the last decade; the theoretical framework is influenced by the security dilemma debate in International Relations literature.
  • Topic: Security, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Balkans, Global Focus
  • Author: Merab Kakulia, Nodar Kapanadze
  • Publication Date: 07-2018
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Georgian Foundation for Strategic International Studies -GFSIS
  • Abstract: The middle class is a key factor of stability for any country. Aristotle pointed out that the bigger the middle class – or social group between rich and poor – the more stable the society is.1 The veracity of this statement is especially clear in modern society, where the middle class acts as an engine of economic growth and social progress. In the first place, this implies that the middle class strives to accumulate human capital and savings. Secondly, it generates creative people, who speed up innovations and stir up economic activity. Thirdly, the consumer capacities of the middle class promote diversification and extension of markets, which in its turn give possibilities for using the economies of scale2. And lastly, the middle class can play a decisive role in the improvement of governance – compared with the poor, it has the capacity to demand better public services, more accountability of civil servants and support economic gross-oriented policies.3
  • Topic: International Political Economy, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Georgia
  • Author: Kakha Gogolashvili
  • Publication Date: 11-2018
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Georgian Foundation for Strategic International Studies -GFSIS
  • Abstract: Raising interest in the Black Sea
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Daniel Gover, Michael Kenny
  • Publication Date: 01-2018
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Mile End Institute, Queen Mary University of London
  • Abstract: Recent political developments have focused attention on the ‘English Question’. In response to the 2014 Scottish referendum result, the UK government initiated a procedural reform in the House of Commons known as ‘English Votes for English Laws’ (EVEL), which was formally adopted in October 2015. This report results from an in-depth academic research project into EVEL. It evaluates how the procedures fared during their first year in operation, and weighs arguments for and against such a reform. Based on this analysis, it makes a series of constructive proposals to improve the current system.
  • Topic: Politics, Law, Elections, Democracy, Identities, Voting
  • Political Geography: Britain, United Kingdom
  • Author: Tim Bale, Paul Webb
  • Publication Date: 01-2018
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Mile End Institute, Queen Mary University of London
  • Abstract: Labour’s membership also comes nearer to gender parity than the other three parties’. Getting on for two-thirds of Lib Dems, and not far off three-quarters of Tory members are men. And, while it’s true to say that all four parties are disproportionately middle-class, it’s even more true of Tory and Lib Dem members, nearly nine out of ten of whom can be classified as ABC1.
  • Topic: Politics, Elections, Domestic politics, Identities, Voting
  • Political Geography: Britain, United Kingdom
  • Author: Esso-Hanam Atake
  • Publication Date: 01-2018
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: African Economic Research Consortium (AERC)
  • Abstract: Most health facilities in Togo are poorly equipped. Consequently, the rate of post-natal consultation remains low and varies between 9.5% and 39.4%. Barely half of all deliveries (47.1%) take place in health facilities. In this study, we analysed technical efficiency scores of 139 Togolese public hospitals over the period 2008–2010, and then identified the determinants of this efficiency. Double bootstrap data envelopment analysis was used to draw consistent inferences. We first estimated bootstrapped efficiency scores. Then, bootstrapped truncated regression was used to identify the determinants of public hospitals efficiency. The results indicate that, on average, small-sized hospitals (periphery care units) investigated, had the highest efficiency scores. The University Teaching Hospitals and regional hospitals which have significant material, human and financial resources were associated with lower efficiency. The most significant and robust factors of technical efficiency are per capita income, competition, hospital’s balance, types of contract, and medical density. We found that income constraint and accessibility to health facilities are obstacles to efficiency. According to our results, we can infer that non-competitive public provision of health services is likely to be inefficient. Another important practical implication is that Togo must vigorously promote reform of the management system in public hospitals which regards corporate quality governance as the core. We hypothesize that if subsidies are allocated according to performance, they can positively affect efficiency. Policy makers should consider tying grant revenues to performance indicators.
  • Topic: Education, Health, Health Care Policy, Public Policy
  • Political Geography: Africa, Togo
  • Author: Odongo Kodongo, Kalu Ojah
  • Publication Date: 01-2018
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: African Economic Research Consortium (AERC)
  • Abstract: In this paper, we sought to establish whether Africa’s volatile currencies drive equity risk premium. We use the stochastic discount factor (SDF) framework to estimate various conditional specifications of the International Capital Asset Pricing Model through generalized method of moments technique. Our results show strong evidence of conditional, time-varying currency risk premium in equity returns. Currency risk is also perceived by international investors as important in informing the equities pricing kernel. We also find evidence that international investors are worried about Africa’s small size equity markets and build anticipated low trading into their pricing calculus.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Global Political Economy, Economic Growth, Capital Flows, Currency, Profit
  • Political Geography: Africa