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  • Author: Scott Lincicome, Huan Zhu
  • Publication Date: 06-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and rising U.S.-China tensions, American policymakers have again embraced “industrial policy.” Both President Biden and his predecessor, as well as legislators from both parties, have advocated a range of federal support for American manufacturers to fix perceived weaknesses in the U.S. economy and to counter China’s growing economic clout. These and other industrial policy advocates, however, routinely leave unanswered important questions about U.S. industrial policy’s efficacy and necessity: What is “Industrial Policy”? Advocates of “industrial policy” often fail to define the term, thus permitting them to ignore past failures and embrace false successes while preventing a legitimate assessment of industrial policies’ costs and benefits. Yet U.S. industrial policy’s history of debate and implementation establishes several requisite elements – elements that reveal most “industrial policy successes” not to be “industrial policy” at all. What are the common obstacles to effective U.S. industrial policy? Several obstacles have prevented U.S. industrial policies from generating better outcomes than the market. This includes legislators’ and bureaucrats’ inability to “pick winners” and efficiently allocate public resources (Hayek’s “Knowledge Problem”); factors inherent in the U.S. political system (Public Choice Theory); lack of discipline regarding scope, duration, and budgetary costs; interaction with other government policies that distort the market at issue; and substantial unseen costs. What “problem” will industrial policy solve? The most common problems purportedly solved by industrial policy proposals are less serious than advocates claim or unfixable via industrial policy. This includes allegations of widespread U.S. “deindustrialization” and a broader decline in American innovation; the disappearance of “good jobs”; the erosion of middle‐​class living standards; and the destruction of American communities. Do other countries’ industrial policies demand U.S. industrial policy? The experiences of other countries generally cannot justify U.S. industrial policy because countries have different economic and political systems. Regardless, industrial policy successes abroad – for example, in Japan, Korea and Taiwan – are exaggerated. Also, China’s economic growth and industrial policies do not justify similar U.S. policies, considering the market‐​based reasons for China’s rise, the Chinese policies’ immense costs, and the systemic challenges that could derail China’s future growth and geopolitical influence. These answers argue strongly against a new U.S. embrace of industrial policy. The United States undoubtedly faces economic and geopolitical challenges, including ones related to China, but the solution lies not in copying China’s top‐​down economic planning. Reality, in fact, argues much the opposite.
  • Topic: Government, Industrial Policy, Manufacturing, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Risto Rönkkö, Stuart Rutherford, Kunal Sen
  • Publication Date: 03-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: In this paper, we examine the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the livelihoods of the poor. We use an unusually rich data set from a ‘financial diaries’ study known as the Hrishipara Daily Diaries Project. The data set tracks the economic and financial transactions of 60 individuals and their families in a semi-rural setting in Bangladesh on a real-time basis from October 2019 to September 2020. We document individual diarists’ behavioural responses to COVID-19, which reveal the varied experiences of the poor during the pandemic. We find that the pandemic and associated government lockdowns had significant negative effects on the livelihoods of the poor in our study, with financial inflows and outflows, incomes, and household expenditures below pre-pandemic levels during the pandemic period. To cope with the pandemic, households drew down on their cash reserves at home, as well as cutting down on non-food expenditures to protect their spending on food.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, Finance, Pandemic, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Bangladesh, South Asia
  • Author: Marcus Noland, Eva (Yiwen) Zhang
  • Publication Date: 03-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: By Election Day 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic had killed 234,244 Americans and caused the sharpest macroeconomic downturn in US history. Hypothetical calculations using county-level electoral data show that in a “no pandemic” scenario or a scenario in which the severity of the pandemic was mitigated by 30 percent, Donald Trump would have lost the popular vote but won the electoral vote. In the 20 percent mitigation scenario, the electoral vote would have been tied, giving Trump a presumptive victory in the House of Representatives. For the second time in a row (and the third time since 2000), the candidate who lost the popular vote would have been elected president of the United States.
  • Topic: Government, Politics, Elections, Donald Trump, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: North America, United States of America
  • Author: Julia Anderson, Francesco Papadia, Nicolas Véron
  • Publication Date: 04-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: n 2020, European governments mitigated the economic impact of COVID-19 lockdowns and other pandemic-fighting programs through a host of initiatives, including efforts to support credit, such as guarantees for bank loans, particularly to small and medium-sized enterprises. This paper presents detailed information about these national credit support programs in the largest national economies of the European Union (France, Germany, Italy, and Spain) and the United Kingdom. The information was collected through thorough examination of published material and extended exchanges with national authorities and financial sector participants. The analysis focuses on (1) how countries positioned themselves on the many tradeoffs that emerged in designing and implementing the programs; and (2) what explains differences in usage across countries and its leveling off everywhere in the second half of 2020.
  • Topic: Government, European Union, Finance, Fiscal Policy, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: United Kingdom, Europe
  • Author: Anna Gelpern, Sebastian Horn, Scott Morris, Brad Parks, Christoph Trebesch
  • Publication Date: 05-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: China is the world’s largest official creditor, but basic facts are lacking about the terms and conditions of its lending. Very few contracts between Chinese lenders and their government borrowers have ever been published or studied. This paper is the first systematic analysis of the legal terms of China’s foreign lending. The authors collect and analyze 100 contracts between Chinese state-owned entities and government borrowers in 24 developing countries in Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, Latin America, and Oceania, and compare them with those of other bilateral, multilateral, and commercial creditors. Three main insights emerge. First, the Chinese contracts contain unusual confidentiality clauses that bar borrowers from revealing the terms or even the existence of the debt. Second, Chinese lenders seek advantage over other creditors, using collateral arrangements such as lender-controlled revenue accounts and promises to keep the debt out of collective restructuring (“no Paris Club” clauses). Third, cancellation, acceleration, and stabilization clauses in Chinese contracts potentially allow the lenders to influence debtors’ domestic and foreign policies. Even if these terms were unenforceable in court, the mix of confidentiality, seniority, and policy influence could limit the sovereign debtor’s crisis management options and complicate debt renegotiation. Overall, the contracts use creative design to manage credit risks and overcome enforcement hurdles, presenting China as a muscular and commercially savvy lender to the developing world.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Debt, Government, Banking
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: John C. K. Daly
  • Publication Date: 02-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Jamestown Foundation
  • Abstract: Amidst growing political dissatisfaction, the Russian government is grappling with the apparent vulnerabilities of the country’s internet. On February 1, Dmitry Medvedev, the deputy chairperson of the Security Council of the Russian Federation, acknowledged during an extensive interview with Russian media what foreign analysts have long suspected: disconnecting Russia from the internet is possible (TASS, February 1). And as if to provide a rationale for such potential action, the previous week, the Federal Security Service’s (FSB) National Coordination Center for Computer Incidents (NKTsKI) reported a threat of possible cyberattacks by the United States and its allies against Russia’s critical infrastructure (Interfax, January 22).
  • Topic: Government, Internet, Repression
  • Political Geography: Russia, Eurasia
  • Author: Petar Jolakoski, Branimir Jovanovic, Joana Madjoska, Viktor Stojkoski, Dragan Tevdovski
  • Publication Date: 02-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Vienna Institute for International Economic Studies (WIIW)
  • Abstract: If firm profits rise to a level far above than what would have been earned in a competitive economy, this might give the firms market power, which might in turn influence the activity of the government. In this paper, we perform a detailed empirical study on the potential effects of firm profits and markups on government size and effectiveness. Using data on 30 European countries for a period of 17 years and an instrumental variables approach, we find that there exists a robust relationship between firm gains and the activity of the state, in the sense that higher firm profits reduce government size and effectiveness. Even in a group of developed countries, such as the European countries, firm power may affect state activity.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Government, International Political Economy, Profit
  • Political Geography: Europe, Global Focus
  • Author: Abigail Bellows, Nada Zohdy
  • Publication Date: 11-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: The pandemic is spurring elite and grassroots civic actors to cooperate more, but the gulf between them remains wide. Civic actors must seize the opportunity for reform on open government issues. From Africa to Latin America to Europe, the coronavirus pandemic has generated a surge in public demand for government transparency and accountability. To seize this window for reform, elite and grassroots civic actors concerned with open governance must overcome the cleavage that has long existed between them. Thus far, the pandemic has catalyzed some new civic collaborations, but not at the scale or depth needed to seize that window. In general, civil society groups report feeling more isolated during the pandemic. In some places, the urgency of tackling open government issues during the pandemic has helped overcome that isolation by deepening partnerships among existing networks. But in other places, those partnerships have yet to take shape, and new alliances are less likely to form without the benefit of face-to-face interactions. Even the partnerships that have crystallized or deepened do not appear to be changing the fundamental roles of elite and grassroots civic actors. It is possible that this shift may happen over time. Or it may be that the pandemic alone is not enough to dislodge structural barriers to deeper cooperation. The pandemic has dramatically changed the operations of elite and grassroots actors alike. The impact of those changes on collaboration between the two depends on preexisting levels of technological capacity. In places with limited connectivity, the pandemic has exacerbated the digital divide, adversely affecting grassroots actors. Meanwhile, in places with good connectivity, technology is enabling broader (though shallower) participation, laying the groundwork for more elite-grassroots collaboration. Although many civil society groups are struggling financially during the pandemic, those effects are mitigated to some degree by continuing donor interest in the open government sector. This is encouraging, as coalition building requires dedicated, flexible resources. Finally, it is a more dangerous time to be working on open government issues in general, and grassroots actors bear disproportionate risks in doing so. This underscores the need for more vertical alliances to mitigate civic space threats.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Government, Health, Pandemic, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Armenak Tokmajyan
  • Publication Date: 07-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: In southern Syria, the regime, opposition, foreign powers, and local groups navigate a contentious zone of conflict. Any shift in this delicate balance could mean yet another escalation. Syria’s conflict has transformed the country’s southern border region into a zone of regional contention. The status quo there, largely forged and maintained by Russia since 2018, aims to prevent expanded control by the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and Iranian and pro-Iranian military forces, which could trigger a regional confrontation. The south will remain a volatile area, probably for years, and its fate will be affected by regional politics, not the government’s will.
  • Topic: Government, Conflict, Syrian War
  • Political Geography: Iran, Middle East, Syria
  • Author: Hijab Shah, Melissa Dalton
  • Publication Date: 09-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: Following the August Beirut port explosion, the Lebanese Armed Forces must rebuild trust with the civilian population. The LAF can serve as a critical pillar in Lebanese government efforts to strengthen national security and identity in the midst of the crisis, in light of security sector assistance from the United States and other Western partners. The Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF), and Lebanon more broadly, is one of the largest recipients of foreign assistance in the Middle East. The United States and allied governments have sought to build the capabilities and professionalism of the LAF since the 2006 Israel-Hezbollah war, focusing primarily on counterterrorism and border security. The LAF stood in stark contrast to other Lebanese security services in their restraint vis-à-vis the civilian population during the 2019 protests. However, recent reported violent incidents against civilians, ambiguity of the role of police forces, and concerns about both recovery efforts following the August 2020 port explosion in Beirut and extended powers under the state of emergency established by the Lebanese parliament have raised international concerns about the role of Lebanon’s security services, including the LAF. The LAF has a critical role to play in stabilizing Lebanon through a multi-faceted crisis, but will need to take concrete steps to bolster its professionalism. Lebanon’s modern politics have long been defined by confessionalism, a reality that persists even as the country is engulfed in crisis. International assistance to the LAF over the last fourteen years had intended to support the LAF as a legitimate national institution transcending confessions and supporting a broader sense of Lebanese security and identity. In the midst of the ongoing crisis in Lebanon, political turmoil at the helm of the country, and the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, there is an important opportunity for the international community to support a new path for governance in the country—as shaped and envisioned by its populace. This opportunity hinges upon leveraging existing channels of support to the LAF and building in conditionality mechanisms that hold the LAF accountable for its actions, while continuing to promote a clear articulation of priorities for the LAF and a plan to improve military effectiveness through policy and doctrine; training and equipment, education, and exercises; operations; and institutional capacity building.
  • Topic: Security, Government, Politics, International Security, Military Affairs, Identity
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Lebanon
  • Author: Zeinab Abul-Magd, İsmet Akça, Shana Marshall
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: Egyptian and Turkish military businesses have used their institutional privileges to dominate their respective economies, but they have key differences. Turkey’s military businesses are centrally managed while Egypt’s use multiple complex conglomerates. In recent years, Turkish and Egyptian military institutions have followed divergent paths in their respective states. After many decades of full or partial control over the government, the Turkish military today is largely marginalized in politics. By contrast, after periods of exclusion from power, the Egyptian military is now in full control of the state. Despite these differences, both military institutions are powerful economic actors within their states. They have developed extensive civilian economic enterprises over the decades, dominating important sectors by capitalizing on their political influence, legal and regulatory privileges unique to their enterprises, and opportunities provided by market liberalization.
  • Topic: Government, Economy, Business , Liberalization
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Middle East, Egypt
  • Author: Ricardo Hausmann, Ulrich Schetter
  • Publication Date: 07-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University
  • Abstract: In this paper, we develop a heterogeneous agent general equilibrium framework to analyze optimal joint policies of a lockdown and transfer payments in times of a pandemic. In our model, the effectiveness of a lockdown in mitigating the pandemic depends on endogenous compliance. A more stringent lockdown deepens the recession which implies that poorer parts of society find it harder to subsist. This reduces their compliance with the lockdown, and may cause deprivation of the very poor, giving rise to an excruciating trade-off between saving lives from the pandemic and from deprivation. Lump-sum transfers help mitigate this trade-off. We identify and discuss key trade-offs involved and provide comparative statics for optimal policy. We show that, ceteris paribus, the optimal lockdown is stricter for more severe pandemics and in richer countries. We then consider a government borrowing constraint and show that limited fiscal space lowers the optimal lockdown and welfare, and increases the aggregate death burden during the pandemic. We finally discuss distributional consequences and the political economy of fighting a pandemic.
  • Topic: Development, Government, Political Economy, Inequality, Economic Growth, Fiscal Policy, Pandemic, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Tamirace Fakhoury
  • Publication Date: 12-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Prior to 2011, Lebanon was no traditional gatekeeper in managing migrant and refugee flows to the EU. Following mass refugee influx from Syria, the small Middle Eastern state acquired key importance in the EU’s architecture of externalisation, alternatively framed as the set of norms and practices that the EU crafts to govern migration from a distance. Lebanon currently hosts more than 1.5 million Syrian refugees and since 2012 the EU has been the key funding power seeking to help the refugee-hosting state cope with the spillover effects that mass displacement brought about on the country. The EU’s recently published New Pact on Migration and Asylum reiterates support to refugees and refugee-hosting countries – including those in Syria’s neighbourhood – as one of the central elements of cooperation with third countries on migration and displacement. After nearly a decade of cooperation between the EU and Lebanon in this area, and ahead of the EU’s new budgetary and policy-planning cycle (2021–27), now is a key moment to critically assess EU-Lebanon cooperation on displacement from Syria.
  • Topic: Government, Foreign Aid, European Union, Refugees, Economy, Syrian War
  • Political Geography: Europe, Middle East, Lebanon, Syria
  • Author: Chad P. Bown
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: While the public was transfixed by the Trump administration’s policies alleging that imports were a threat to America’s national security during 2017–20, there was a concomitant and more quiet US policy shift on the export side. Addressing the national security threat presented by exports posed different economic and institutional challenges from those associated with import policy, including the acknowledgment that export controls for legitimate national security reasons can be the first-best policy to confront the problem at its source. Yet, export controls could also be misused as a beggar-thy-neighbor policy to redistribute economic well-being across countries, even from one ally to another. This paper describes how US export control policy evolved over 2017–20, as well as the international institutions—first the Coordinating Committee for Multilateral Export Controls (COCOM), then the Wassenaar Arrangement—historically tasked with multilateralizing US export restrictions used to protect national security. With the potential for US export control policy to brush up more frequently against WTO rules designed to limit the use of export restrictions, the paper also highlights new challenges for the WTO’s system of resolving trade disputes. Overall, a US failure to strike the right balance for its export control policy would result in it being ineffective at addressing national security risks, costly for the economy, and problematic for trade and diplomatic relations.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, National Security, Exports, Trade
  • Political Geography: North America, United States of America
  • Author: Sean Hagan
  • Publication Date: 07-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: Over the past 40 years, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has played a central role in the sovereign debt restructuring process. If the COVID-19 pandemic leads to a significant wave of sovereign debt distress, this role will be closely scrutinized. The paper analyzes how IMF policies have evolved to shape the incentives of sovereigns and their creditors at each stage of the sovereign debt restructuring process. It also identifies a number of issues that the IMF will likely have to address as a result of the pandemic, including (1) assessment of debt sustainability in a macroeconomic environment of considerable uncertainty, (2) treatment of official bilateral creditors, and (3) potential benefits—and challenges—of introducing additional incentives to maximize creditor participation in any debt restructuring.
  • Topic: Debt, Emerging Markets, Government, International Monetary Fund, Financial Crisis, Macroeconomics, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Erica Bosio, Simeon Djankov, Edward Glaeser, Andrei Shleifer
  • Publication Date: 08-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: This paper examines a new dataset of laws and practices governing public procurement, as well as procurement outcomes, in 187 countries. The authors measure regulation as restrictions on the discretion of the procuring agents. They find that laws and practices are highly correlated with each other across countries, and better practices are correlated with better outcomes, but laws themselves are not correlated with outcomes. To shed light on this puzzle, they present a model of procurement in which both regulation and public sector capacity determine the efficiency of procurement. In the model, regulation is effective in countries with low public sector capacity and detrimental in countries with high public sector capacity because it inhibits the socially optimal exercise of discretion. The paper finds evidence broadly consistent with this prediction: Regulation of procurement improves outcomes but only in countries with low public sector capacity.
  • Topic: Government, Law, Regulation, Procurement
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Robert Sutter
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: The so-called “truce” in the trade war with the signing of the phase one U.S.-China trade agreement on January 15 comes amid indicators that the intense U.S. government consensus pushback against a wide range of perceived challenges posed by China may be subsiding.
  • Topic: Government, Bilateral Relations, Economy, Trade Wars
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Dylan O'Driscoll, Amal Bourhrous, Meray Maddah, Shivan Fazil
  • Publication Date: 10-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Stockholm International Peace Research Institute
  • Abstract: Nearly a decade after the Arab Spring, the substantial political change that many across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) have hoped for has yet to be seen. In fact, as the 2019 wave of protests shows, street protests continue to endure in the region, often over the same recurring issues. This paper takes a regional approach to understanding the state of the social contract in MENA countries. It describes, country-by-country, the impact of protest movements, or their absence, on relations between society and the state, and the likely effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on those relations. It then examines the roles and impact of external actors, and the attitudes that they have adopted towards protests. Based on this analysis, the authors recommend that the European Union (EU) adopts a new approach to regional security and stability that takes the needs of the populations as the starting point. This would involve a broader EU agreement on priorities in MENA that emphasize aspects that answer those needs.
  • Topic: Government, Arab Spring, Protests, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Middle East, North Africa
  • Author: Paul A. Goble
  • Publication Date: 12-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Jamestown Foundation
  • Abstract: Turkmenistan, far and away the most closed country in the former Soviet space, seldom receives much attention except as the butt of dismissive jokes or, more recently, when its leaders tried to deny that COVID-19 is present in their country even as they took measures intended to hinder its spread (see EDM, July 21). But multiple reports over the last few days suggest Turkmenistan is fast descending into an economic crisis that makes its continued socio-political stability ever less likely. Moreover, this Central Asian country now has an opposition based abroad that is increasingly capable of providing leadership to local Turkmenistanis infuriated by the domestic situation they find themselves in as a result of the authorities’ oppressive policies.
  • Topic: Government, Crisis Management, Domestic Policy
  • Political Geography: Central Asia, Turkmenistan
  • Author: Harold Furchtgott-Roth, Kirk R. Arner
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Hudson Institute
  • Abstract: American businesses and consumers have an unequal relationship. Consumers generally are and should be sovereign because a consumer—not a seller, nor a third party, nor even the government—usually decides what to purchase. Consumers must like a business to buy its product or service. If a business has poor service, sales will suffer. And if a business is tainted by scandal, customers will flee. As courtiers of purchasing power, businesses go on bended knee to pay homage to the consumer. Typically, a business need not like a consumer to sell products or services. In most lines of business, a seller must sell to anyone willing to pay. And although there are types of businesses where a seller can legally refuse a sale, most rational sellers seek as many customers as possible.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, Sovereignty, Regulation
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Ambika Khanna
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Gateway House: Indian Council on Global Relations
  • Abstract: India must consider new strategies that can be put in place to manage Pakistan's ongoing military aggression and security threat. One policy tool that has been used effectively by many countries but remains unexplored by India is the imposition of sanctions. This paper analyses the feasibility of imposing sanctions on Pakistan and the strategies India should consider to execute this effectively. It makes recommendations on how to establish a legal framework, amend existing laws, include Indian stakeholders with business interests in Pakistan, get government departments to collaborate on implementation, and considers diplomatic measures India can undertake.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Government, Bilateral Relations, Sanctions
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, South Asia, India
  • Author: Hugh Stephens
  • Publication Date: 12-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Canadian Global Affairs Institute (CGAI)
  • Abstract: In the past, Canada has had to deal with the matter of Taiwan very delicately. China considers Taiwan to be an integral part of the nation: a rogue province that must eventually be reunified with the mainland. Since Canada relies much more on trade with China than with Taiwan, the stakes have favoured policies that avoid engaging with Taiwan in ways that would unnecessarily irritate China. As a result, there has been little appetite here for negotiating a bilateral trade deal with Taiwan. That attitude is finally changing. One main reason is because China is already angry with Canada, and vice versa. Relations between the two countries are at an all-time low, and domestic support for accommodating China is minimal. As a result, Canada is freer than before to consider negotiating a trade agreement with Taiwan. At the same time, Taiwan is interested in joining the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), to which Canada is already a party. By supporting Taiwan’s accession to the CPTPP, Canada can achieve a free-trade agreement with Taiwan without having to negotiate one bilaterally. The ability to do so under the aegis of a multilateral agreement should serve to mitigate any remaining concerns that China might further retaliate against Canada directly. However, striking back at China is not a reason for Canada to support Taiwan’s accession to the CPTPP. We should do so because it is in the interest of Canada and the other members of the CPTPP to add to the strength of the organization by welcoming an economy that is an important global trader and a key player in global supply chains. In addition, Taiwan is a country that is clearly willing and able to accept CPTPP disciplines. Canada should move quickly and enthusiastically to support Taiwan’s accession. The benefits of having Taiwan join Canada in a free-trade agreement are obvious. The opportunity to make it a reality is finally here. The Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), which entered into force on Dec.30, 2018 for six of the 11 signatories that had completed ratification at that time (Australia, Canada, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand and Singapore),1 is a beacon of hope in a dark, protectionist landscape. Along with the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement, which was signed on Nov. 15, 2020, the CPTPP advances the trade and investment liberalization agenda at a time when protectionist measures by some major trading countries are threatening to undo decades of progress. The commitments and new disciplines of the CPTPP are particularly important because of malaise infecting the World Trade Organization, where the work of the Appellate Body has now ground to a halt because of actions by the United States, and to offset the negative impact of the U.S.-China trade war now underway.
  • Topic: Government, International Trade and Finance, Partnerships, Trade
  • Political Geography: China, Canada, Taiwan, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Florence Banda-Muleya, Mbewe Kalikeka, Zambwe Shingwele, Philip Ngongo, Shebo Nalishebo
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Zambia Institute for Policy Analysis and Research (ZIPAR)
  • Abstract: Zambia’s current legal framework for public debt management is inadequate. The high level of external debt standing at US$11.2 billion and domestic debt at K80.2 billion due to fast pace of debt contraction; the resulting heightened risk of debt distress; and the weak implementation of the 2017-2019 Medium Term Debt Strategy (MTDS), raise questions on the adequacy of the laws that govern public debt management. Now more than ever, with Zambia quickly headed to its first bullet repayment on its Eurobond debt, the country needs to enhance its legal framework on Public Debt Management (PDM).
  • Topic: Debt, Government, Economy, Public Debt
  • Political Geography: Africa, Zambia
  • Author: Reinound Leenders
  • Publication Date: 09-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Arab Reform Initiative (ARI)
  • Abstract: The institutional set-up of the Port of Beirut is emblematic of Lebanon’s post-war corruption and sectarian clientelism. Any investigation into the 4 August explosion needs to take into account the port’s dismal institutional record and how the current political class ensured its governance remained opaque and messy. This paper provides critical insights into the port’s set-up over the last 30 years highlighting the failing political system, a greedy political class, and entrenched mismanagement and corruption. It demonstrates how the bickering of key actors over the port’s control and the port’s institutional failures set the stage for the blast, pointing to an urgent need to build an accountable port authority as part of any reform effort.
  • Topic: Government, Governance, Accountability, Institutions
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Lebanon
  • Author: Thom Woodroofe, Brendan Guy
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Asia Society Policy Institute
  • Abstract: The United States is the world’s second-largest greenhouse gas emitter. For that reason, the outcome of the U.S. presidential election in November will have an undeniable impact on the future of the global climate change regime. This is especially the case now that the United Nations’ COP26 Climate Change Conference has been postponed to 2021 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Indeed, as Asia and the rest of the world consider whether and how to step up their levels of ambition as part of the five-year ratchet mechanism of the Paris Agreement, the United States has the potential to be either a catalytic force for that effort going into 2021 or an even stronger spoiler of the Agreement’s ongoing effectiveness at a crucial juncture. No country will be watching more closely than China. The 2014 U.S.-China Joint Announcement on Climate Change between President Barack Obama and President Xi Jinping proved to be the watershed moment in the lead-up to the Paris Agreement, as the two countries signaled for the first time that they would act in a coordinated manner to combat climate change. Whether the United States and China can recapture that spirit of shared ambition in the future will have ripple effects on the positions of other major emitters as well — especially India, Japan, and Australia, which may not enhance their own levels of ambition without a stronger indication of further action by the United States and China. While President Donald Trump has begun the process of withdrawing the United States from the Paris Agreement and rolled back domestic and international measures to combat climate change, it is clear that if a Democrat is elected president in 2020, they would make combating climate change a defining priority of their administration. Therefore, a clearer understanding of the specific approach that would underpin the climate diplomacy of a potential new Democratic president can provide greater reassurance to the international community as countries consider their own levels of ambition in the lead-up to COP26 and beyond. This paper, therefore, assesses the international climate policies of both Vice President Joe Biden and Senator Bernie Sanders across six areas, including their proposals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions; engage with other major emitters, including China; use trade policy as a lever for climate action; increase climate finance and remove fossil fuel subsidies; take action across other sectors, and embed climate action as a core national security priority. The authors also lay out three cross-cutting considerations for a potential new Democratic administration to maximize their efforts in the global fight against climate change, including how they can best structure their administration; engage other major emitters most strategically; and use all tools in the toolkit to reduce emissions. This includes a number of specific recommendations for how the candidates’ existing policies can best be elaborated, including with regard to China; plans to host a world leader summit on climate early in a new administration; and the tabling of a new 2030 emissions reduction target. The likely constraints and choices that will confront a new U.S. administration as they determine their approach to climate action are also highlighted in the paper. This paper is the first in a series of policy products that the Asia Society Policy Institute will publish as part of a new project exploring the possibilities around U.S.-China climate cooperation.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Diplomacy, Government, Treaties and Agreements, Donald Trump, Carbon Emissions
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Jonas Mbabazi, Fred Kasalirwe, Phoebe Atukunda, Walter Akena
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Advocates Coalition for Development and Environment (ACODE)
  • Abstract: This policy brief presents proposals that will cushion local governments from the impact of COVID-19. Undeniably, responding to Covid-19 challenges at any level is associated with heavy demands on human, financial and logistical resources. Globally, Covid-19 emergence response is multi-sectorial to enable a holistic solution to the concomitant challenges. District councils, a creation of the Local Government Act are mandated to oversee health services. Other than frontline health workers, each district has a community-based services department with officers’ in-charge of probation and social welfare, social rehabilitation, children and youth affairs, gender, disability and elderly, culture, labour and many others. Since the mandate of personnel in this department is to operate in communities, these should be enlisted to respond and manage the community-component of Covid-19.
  • Topic: Government, Local, Public Health, Pandemic, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Uganda, Africa
  • Author: Onesmus Mugyenyi, Dickens Kagarura
  • Publication Date: 11-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Advocates Coalition for Development and Environment (ACODE)
  • Abstract: Law making process by local governments is a challenging task in Uganda largely due limited skills at the local government level. the publication of these guidelines, therefore, is intended to simplify the process of law making by providing step by step procedure of making ordinances by district councils and byelaws by lower local governments. These guidelines are based on the Local Government Act, and the Handbook on Making Ordinances and Byelaws in Uganda (Second Edition-2010) by the Uganda Law Reform Commission.
  • Topic: Government, Governance, Law, Local
  • Political Geography: Uganda, Africa
  • Author: Helios Herrera, Maximilian Konradt, Guillermo Ordoñez, Christoph Trebesch
  • Publication Date: 09-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW)
  • Abstract: The Covid-19 pandemic is a major test for governments around the world. We study the political consequences of (mis-)managing the Covid crisis by constructing a highfrequency dataset of government approval for 35 countries. In the first weeks after the outbreak, approval rates for incumbents increase strongly, consistent with a global “rally around the flag” effect. Approval, however, drops again in countries where Covid cases continue to grow. This is especially true for governments that do not implement stringent policies to control the number of infections. Overall, the evidence suggests that loose pandemic policies are politically costly. Governments that placed more weight on health rather than short-term economic outcomes obtained higher approval.
  • Topic: Government, Health, International Political Economy, Health Care Policy, Pandemic, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Ingrid Ott, Susanne Soretz
  • Publication Date: 08-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW)
  • Abstract: This paper analyzes within a spatial endogenous growth setting the impact of public policy coordination on agglomeration. Governments in each of the two symmetric regions provide a local public input that becomes globally effective due to integration. Micro-foundation of governmental behavior is based on three different coordination schemes: autarky, full or partial coordination. Scale effects act as agglomeration force and in addition to private capital agglomeration increase the concentration of the public input. Integration promotes dispersion forces with respect to the distribution of physical capital which are based on decreasing private returns. However, within the governments’ decision on the concentration of the public input, increasing integration reinforces agglomeration because it promotes the interregional productive use of the public input. Taking feedback effects between the private and the public sector into account leads to mutual reinforcement, hence agglomeration forces almost always dominate and the spreading equilibrium becomes unstable. If convergence is a separate (additional) political objective, it needs sustained additional political effort.
  • Topic: Government, International Political Economy, Economic Growth, Public Policy, Private Sector, Capital
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Martin Gaynor, Nirav Mehta, Seth Richards-Shubik
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Human Capital and Productivity (CHCP), Western University
  • Abstract: We study physician agency and optimal payment policy in the context of an expensive medication used in dialysis care. Using Medicare claims data we estimate a structural model of treatment decisions, in which physicians differ in their altruism and marginal costs, and this heterogeneity is unobservable to the government. In a novel application of nonlinear pricing methods, we theoretically characterize the optimal unrestricted contract in this screening environment with multidimensional heterogeneity. We combine these results with the estimated model to construct the optimal contract and simulate counterfactual outcomes. The optimal contract is a flexible fee-for-service contract, which pays for reported treatments but uses variable marginal payments instead of constant reimbursement rates, resulting in substantial health improvements and reductions in costs. Our structural approach also yields important qualitative findings, such as rejecting the optimality of any linear contract, and may be employed more broadly to analyze a variety of applications.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, Health, Health Care Policy, Human Capital, Productivity, Medicare
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Milan Vaishnav
  • Publication Date: 09-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: With the BJP’s return to power following May 2019 general election, India appears to have ushered in a new dominant party system—one premised on a unique set of political principles, showing a clear break with what came before. In the wake of the 2019 general election results, which come on the back of significant political changes at the level of India’s states, there is empirical support for more unequivocal judgments. Indeed, the available evidence points in one direction: 2014 was not an aberration; it was instead a harbinger of a new era.10 India does appear to have ushered in a new, fourth party system—one that is premised on a unique set of political principles and that shows a clear break with what came before. In the 2019 general election, the BJP did the unthinkable: the party clinched a second consecutive majority in the Lok Sabha, a feat that was last accomplished by the Congress Party in 1980 and 1984.
  • Topic: Government, Elections, Political Parties
  • Political Geography: South Asia, India
  • Author: Ariel Levite
  • Publication Date: 10-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: In an increasingly digitized world, information and communication technologies (ICTs), and especially operational technologies (OTs), have assumed critical importance for governments, industry, and the general public worldwide. Yet trust in the integrity of these products and services is declining because of mounting concerns over inadvertent vulnerabilities in the supply chain and intentional backdoor interventions by state and corporate actors. Compounding the problem, these legitimate security concerns are sometimes exaggerated for political and commercial reasons—a counterproductive dynamic that fuels rivalries, fragments the marketplace, increases anxiety, stifles innovation, and drives up costs. Inarguably, some governments have been intervening in the ICT/OT supply chain or at least laying the groundwork for such interventions. They believe the pursuit to be justifiable and legal, citing objectives related to intelligence, law enforcement, and military operations. Whether valid or not, the concern is that certain corporations are actively or passively weakening the security of the supply chain and final products either at the behest of governments or for questionable purposes. Another concern is that both state and corporate interventions could leverage or mask what are purely lax security standards or flaws in products and services. And this further reduces trust in ICT/OT.
  • Topic: Security, Government, Science and Technology, Private Sector
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Saskia Brechenmacher, Thomas Carothers
  • Publication Date: 10-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: Since the mid-2000s, civic space has come under attack in many countries around the world. To counter this trend, transnational actors that support civil society have responded in many ways—from exerting diplomatic pressure and building international norms to providing emergency funds for activists. Despite these efforts, governments continue to impose legal and extralegal restrictions amid a worsening larger political environment for civil society. Closing civic space now appears to be just one part of a much broader pattern of democratic recession and authoritarian resurgence. The international response seems stuck: some useful efforts have been undertaken, but they appear too limited, loosely focused, and reactive.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Government, Political Activism, International Community
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Ricardo Hausmann, Patricio Goldstein, Ana Grisanti, Tim O'Brien, Jorge Tapia, Miguel Ajgel Santos
  • Publication Date: 12-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University
  • Abstract: Jordan faces a number of pressing economic challenges: low growth, high unemployment, rising debt levels, and continued vulnerability to regional shocks. After a decade of fast economic growth, the economy decelerated with the Global Financial Crisis of 2008-09. From then onwards, various external shocks have thrown its economy out of balance and prolonged the slowdown for over a decade now. Conflicts in neighboring countries have led to reduced demand from key export markets and cut off important trade routes. Foreign direct investment, which averaged 12.7% of gross domestic product (GDP) between 2003-2009, fell to 5.1% of GDP over the 2010-2017. Regional conflicts have interrupted the supply of gas from Egypt – forcing Jordan to import oil at a time of record prices, had a negative impact on tourism, and also provoked a massive influx of migrants and refugees. Failure to cope with 50.4% population growth between led to nine consecutive years (2008-2017) of negative growth rates in GDP per capita, resulting in a cumulative loss of 14.0% over the past decade (2009-2018). Debt to GDP ratios, which were at 55% by the end of 2009, have skyrocketed to 94%. Over the previous five years Jordan has undertaken a significant process of fiscal consolidation. The resulting reduction in fiscal impulse is among the largest registered in the aftermath of the Financial Crises, third only to Greece and Jamaica, and above Portugal and Spain. Higher taxes, lower subsidies, and sharp reductions in public investment have in turn furthered the recession. Within a context of lower aggregate demand, more consolidation is needed to bring debt-to-GDP ratios back to normal. The only way to break that vicious cycle and restart inclusive growth is by leveraging on foreign markets, developing new exports and attracting investments aimed at increasing competitiveness and strengthening the external sector. The theory of economic complexity provides a solid base to identify opportunities with high potential for export diversification. It allows to identify the existing set of knowhow, skills and capacities as signaled by the products and services that Jordan is able to make, and to define existing and latent areas of comparative advantage that can be developed by redeploying them. Service sectors have been growing in importance within the Jordanian economy and will surely play an important role in export diversification. In order to account for that, we have developed an adjusted framework that allows to identify the most attractive export sectors including services. Based on that adjusted framework, this report identifies export themes with a high potential to drive growth in Jordan while supporting increasing wage levels and delivering positive spillovers to the non-tradable economy. The general goal is to provide a roadmap with key elements of a strategy for Jordan to return to a high economic growth path that is consistent with its emerging comparative advantages.
  • Topic: Government, International Trade and Finance, Finance, Economy
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Jordan
  • Author: Abhijit Banerjee, Amy Finkelstein, Rema Hanna, Benjamin A. Olken, Arianna Ornaghi, Sudarno Sumarto
  • Publication Date: 10-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University
  • Abstract: To assess ways to achieve widespread health insurance coverage with financial solvency in developing countries, we designed a randomized experiment involving almost 6,000 households in Indonesia who are subject to a nationally mandated government health insurance program. We assessed several interventions that simple theory and prior evidence suggest could increase coverage and reduce adverse selection: substantial temporary price subsidies (which had to be activated within a limited time window and lasted for only a year), assisted registration, and information. Both temporary subsidies and assisted registration increased initial enrollment. Temporary subsidies attracted lower-cost enrollees, in part by eliminating the practice observed in the no subsidy group of strategically timing coverage for a few months during health emergencies. As a result, while subsidies were in effect, they increased coverage more than eightfold, at no higher unit cost; even after the subsidies ended, coverage remained twice as high, again at no higher unit cost. However, the most intensive (and effective) intervention – assisted registration and a full one-year subsidy – resulted in only a 30 percent initial enrollment rate, underscoring the challenges to achieving widespread coverage.
  • Topic: Government, Health, Health Care Policy, Economy
  • Political Geography: Indonesia, Southeast Asia
  • Author: Michael Woolcock
  • Publication Date: 06-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University
  • Abstract: Many development agencies and governments now seek to engage directly with local communities, whether as a means to the realization of more familiar goals (infrastructure, healthcare, education) or as an end in itself (promoting greater inclusion, participation, well-being). These same agencies and governments, however, are also under increasing pressure to formally demonstrate that their actions ‘work’ and achieve their goals within relatively short timeframes – expectations which are, for the most part, necessary and desirable. But adequately assessing ‘community-driven’ approaches to development requires the deployment of theory and methods that accommodate their distinctive characteristics: building bridges is a qualitatively different task to building the rule of law and empowering minorities. Moreover, the ‘lessons’ inferred from average treatment effects derived from even the most rigorous assessments of community-driven interventions are likely to translate poorly to different contexts and scales of operation. Some guidance for anticipating and managing these conundrums are provided.
  • Topic: Development, Government, Infrastructure, International Development
  • Political Geography: Global Focus, United States of America
  • Author: Owen Barder, Hannah Timmis, Arthur Baker
  • Publication Date: 03-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: here has been a resurgence in calls to reconsider the cross-party consensus in the UK on foreign aid and development. The main political parties are all committed to spending 0.7 percent of gross national income on aid, to using the internationally agreed definition of aid, and to maintaining a separate government department to administer the majority of this aid, led by a Cabinet Minister. In their recent report, Global Britain: A Twenty-first Century Vision, Bob Seely MP and James Rogers lay challenge to these long-established pillars of UK development policy. In this note, we consider some of the questions they raise and suggest alternative answers.
  • Topic: Development, Government, Foreign Aid, Bureaucracy
  • Political Geography: Britain, Europe
  • Publication Date: 03-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: Transparency by design: Transparency should be the norm for all government contracts, particularly regarding information on what is being exchanged and for what price. Contracting systems should be designed to support proactive publication of contracts as open data. Public contracting should be designed for transparency and efficiency. Full contract publication should be the norm. Information needed to judge value for money should be disclosed. Exceptions in the public interest: Redactions on the basis of commercial sensitivity should only be justified where the public interest in withholding information is greater than the public interest in having that information published. The assessment should take into account both any commercial harm to the contractor and the broader benefits of transparency to markets and public trust. Where exceptions to publication are considered: Information should only be redacted for reasons of commercial sensitivity when the public interest in withholding information is greater than the public interest in disclosure. The public interest test should take into account the wider economic benefits of the sharing of commercial information, as well as the case for accountability and the public’s right to know. All redactions should be clearly marked with the reason for redaction. A clear and robust process: Governments should issue detailed guidance on commercial sensitivity principles and exemptions, put in place systems to support publication, ensure that redaction is time-limited, and use other oversight mechanisms to compensate for information withheld from publication. Governments should issue clear guidance to public entities, agencies, and firms on contract publication and when information may be exempted from publication for commercial sensitivity reasons. Where redaction is potentially allowed, there should be a clear process for determining what is redacted, why, for how long, and with what appeals process. There should be a system for ensuring that contracts and contract information are in fact disclosed in practice. Where exemption to disclosure of information is granted for commercial sensitivity reasons, this should be grounds for increased scrutiny through other oversight mechanisms.
  • Topic: Government, Transparency, Public Service, Contracts
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Kevin Lai, Tao Wang, David Xu
  • Publication Date: 12-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: Capital controls—or measures that governments take to restrict the amount of money that flows into and out of countries—pose significant challenges for firms that rely heavily on foreign financing to conduct business. This paper empirically evaluates effects of capital controls on trade across industries with varying levels of dependence on foreign capital. Mobilizing data on 99 countries from 1995 to 2014 across 27 industries, the authors find that industries more reliant on foreign capital tend to export much less in response to tightening of capital controls by exporting countries. Exports decline uniformly across all industries in response to tightening of capital controls by importing countries. The negative effects of capital controls on trade are less pronounced in countries with more advanced financial systems.
  • Topic: Government, International Trade and Finance, Capital Flows, Capital Controls
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Maurice Obstfeld
  • Publication Date: 10-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: This paper is a partial exploration of mechanisms through which global factors influence the tradeoffs that US monetary policy faces. It considers three main channels. The first is the determination of domestic inflation in a context where international prices and global competition play a role, alongside domestic slack and inflation expectations. The second channel is the determination of asset returns (including the natural real safe rate of interest) and financial conditions, given integration with global financial markets. The third channel, which is particular to the United States, is the potential spillback onto the US economy from the disproportionate impact of US monetary policy on the outside world. In themselves, global factors need not undermine a central bank’s ability to control the price level over the long term—after all, it is the monopoly issuer of the numeraire in which domestic prices are measured. Over shorter horizons, however, global factors do change the tradeoff between price-level control and other goals such as low unemployment and financial stability, thereby affecting the policy cost of attaining a given price path.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, International Trade and Finance, Monetary Policy
  • Political Geography: North America, United States of America
  • Author: Edwin M. Truman
  • Publication Date: 07-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: This paper evaluates international efforts to diagnose the global financial crisis and decide on appropriate responses, the treatments that were agreed and adopted, and the successes and failures as the crisis unfolded. International coordination of economic policies eventually contributed importantly to containing the crisis, but the authorities failed to agree on a diagnosis and the consequent need for joint action until the case was obvious. The policy actions that were adopted were powerful and effective, but they may have undermined prospects for coordinated responses to future crises.
  • Topic: Government, International Cooperation, Financial Crisis, Economy
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Başak Yavçan
  • Publication Date: 02-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Geneva Centre for Security Policy
  • Abstract: Discussion paper for the workshop on: “The Politics and Modalities of Reconstruction in Syria”, Geneva, Switzerland, 7-8 February 2019. Turkey hosts the majority of the Syrian refugees, with 3, 636 617 registered Syrians. From 2015, Turkish authorities moved from a policy of temporary protection, to one of integration, while also promoting voluntary return. According to statistics from Directorate General of Migration Management of Turkey (DGMM), in 2018, 254, 000 Syrians voluntarily returned to Syria. This was thought to be the effect of new government policies promoting return, such as permits for holiday visits and family reunion. However, 194, 000 of these re-entered Turkey, casting doubt on the actual impact of these policies as well as the security and economic conditions inside Syria, which would accommodate return.
  • Topic: Government, Migration, Refugees, Syrian War
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Middle East, Syria
  • Author: Fabrice Balanche
  • Publication Date: 02-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Geneva Centre for Security Policy
  • Abstract: Discussion paper for the workshop on: “The Politics and Modalities of Reconstruction in Syria”, Geneva, Switzerland, 7-8 February 2019. The war in Syria has not ended, yet uncoordinated bottom-up reconstruction efforts have already taken place in many areas where the bombing and violence have stopped. The government is prioritising restoring electricity, as it is inexpensive, but water, education, and health are harder to restore cheaply and quickly. The resumption of public services, and investment in regime areas depends on loyalty, reminiscent of pre-war sectarian politics. The extent of politicisation of the reconstruction efforts led by the Syrian government is reduced because of limited funds, and government disconnection from local levels. Bottom-up efforts to reconstruction are limited to individuals rebuilding their houses using remittances, or low-level housing projects. Lack of large funding for infrastructure, industry and health will slow growth, reinforce fragmentation of industry and reproduce the root causes of the conflict.
  • Topic: Government, Infrastructure, Reconstruction, Conflict, Syrian War, Services
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Syria
  • Author: Jesse Coleman, Kaitlin Y. Cordes, Lise Johnson
  • Publication Date: 06-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment
  • Abstract: In its current form, the international investment treaty regime may stymie the business and human rights agenda in various ways. The regime may incentivize governments to favour the protection of investors over the protection of human rights. Investment treaty standards enforced through investor-state arbitration risk adversely affecting access to justice for project-affected rights holders. More broadly, the regime contributes to a system of global economic governance that elevates and rewards investors’ actions and expectations, irrespective of whether they have adhered to their responsibilities to respect human rights. Without comprehensive reform, investment treaties and investor-state arbitration will continue to interfere with realization of human rights and broader public interest objectives. This Chapter provides an overview of the interaction between human rights law and the investment treaty regime. It highlights the challenges that arise from tension between international human rights and investment norms, including the impact of the investment regime on the ability of host states to regulate and on access to justice for investment-affected rights holders. The chapter also explores whether and how human rights issues have been addressed by the investment regime to date, highlighting recent developments in treaty drafting practice and responses to human rights argumentation by investment tribunals. It notes the shortcomings of current approaches, and concludes by briefly setting out options for reform.
  • Topic: Government, Human Rights, Treaties and Agreements, Reform, Investment
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Nimrod Goren, Nitzan Horowitz, Ronen Hoffman, Yohanan Plesner, Zehava Galon, Nadav Tamir, Ofer Shelah, Maya Sion-Tzidkiyahu, Zouheir Bahloul, Elie Podeh, Einat Levi, Merav Michaeli
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Mitvim: The Israeli Institute for Regional Foreign Policies
  • Abstract: The Mitvim Institute’s second annual conference took place in Tel Aviv on December 30, 2018. The conference explored alternative directions for Israeli foreign policy towards the April 2019 general elections. In recent years, Mitvim has formulated a series of guiding principles for a new Israeli foreign policy paradigm – a pro-peace, multi-regional, internationalist, modern and inclusive foreign policy. The conference sought to translate these principles into concrete policy directions, which will enable Israel to improve its foreign policy, increase its regional belonging in the Middle East and Europe, and make progress towards peace with the Palestinians. The conference featured Members of Knesset (MKs) Ofer Shelah and Merav Michaeli, Dr. Nimrod Goren, Dr. Ronen Hoffman, Zehava Galon, Nadav Tamir, Yohanan Plesner, Dr. Maya Sion-Tzidkiyahu, Zouheir Bahloul, Prof. Elie Podeh, and Einat Levi. It was moderated by Nitzan Horowitz and Merav Kahana-Dagan of Mitvim. The conference was held in cooperation with Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung, and can be watched (in Hebrew) on Mitvim’s YouTube channel.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Government, National Security, Diaspora, Democracy, Resilience
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine, European Union
  • Publication Date: 03-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Mitvim: The Israeli Institute for Regional Foreign Policies
  • Abstract: In Israel, former diplomats do not tend to play a significant public role. However, they have the potential to make a real contribution to improving the public and political Israeli discourse on foreign policy. Israel’s former diplomats have dozens of years of experience, diplomatic skills, knowledge of various countries and organizations, intricate networks of social ties around the world, analytic capacity and deep understanding of the international arena and of Israel’s place among nations. This valuable experience often goes down the drain. A Mitvim Institute task-team recommended to increase their role in Israel’s public sphere, in order to empower Israel’s diplomacy and Foreign Service. On February 3, 2019, the Mitvim Institute hosted a policy workshop to discuss how this can be done. It was carried out in cooperation with the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung and with participation of senior former diplomats (including Foreign Ministry directors-general and deputy directors-general). Discussants presented examples from other countries, outlined the situation in Israel, described the challenges to optimizing the potential impact of Foreign Ministry retirees, and identified recommendations to promote change.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel
  • Publication Date: 09-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Mitvim: The Israeli Institute for Regional Foreign Policies
  • Abstract: Towards the Israeli general elections of September 2019, the Mitvim Institute conducted a public opinion poll that examined who Israelis would like to see as their foreign minister, how they perceive the status of Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and how they assess the outgoing government’s performance on key foreign policy issues. The poll was carried out in August 2019 by the Rafi Smith Institute and in cooperation with the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung, among a representative sample of Israel’s adult population (700 men and women, Jews and Arabs) and with a margin of error of 3.5%.
  • Topic: Government, International Affairs, Public Opinion, Elections
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine
  • Author: Yuval Steinitz, Ofer Shelah, Merav Michaeli, Yisrael Beiteinu, Nitzan Horowitz, Ofer Cassif
  • Publication Date: 09-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Mitvim: The Israeli Institute for Regional Foreign Policies
  • Abstract: On 9 September 2019, the Mitvim Institute convened a pre-elections event on Israel’s foreign policy. The event focused on paths to advance peace with the Palestinians; to deepen Israel’s regional belonging in the Middle East, Europe and the Mediterranean; and to empower Israel’s diplomacy Foreign Service. Senior politicians from six political parties spoke at the event: Minister Yuval Steinitz (Likud), Member of Knesset (MK) Ofer Shelah (Blue and White), MK Merav Michaeli (Labor-Gesher), MK Eli Avidar (Yisrael Beiteinu), Nitzan Horowitz (Chair of the Democratic Union) and MK Ofer Cassif (Joint List). Each of them was interviewed by Arad Nir, foreign news editor of Channel 12 News. Dr. Nimrod Goren and Merav Kahana-Dagan of Mitvim delivered opening remarks in which they presented recent trends in Israel’s foreign policy and findings of a special pre-elections Mitvim poll. This document sums up the key points made at the event.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Government, Politics, Elections
  • Political Geography: Iran, Middle East, Israel, Palestine
  • Author: Madina Hashimli
  • Publication Date: 08-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Economic and Social Development (CESD)
  • Abstract: This research paper is a comprehensive study of the Azerbaijani government’s strategies for the tourism sector. It will gauge the government’s policy in affecting tourist patterns and explore whether the existing capacity of tourist infrastructure is aligned with the government’s goals. It will be suggested that several issues, such as targeted visa regimes, high prices in air transportation, and lack of adequate accommodations, detract from the sustainable development of the tourism sector in Azerbaijan and, as such, must be addressed by the government in order to make full use of the potential of this sector.
  • Topic: Government, Tourism, Economy
  • Political Geography: Eurasia, Caucasus, Azerbaijan
  • Author: Salim Brake
  • Publication Date: 11-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies
  • Abstract: Dr. Salim Brake, in the current issue of Bayan, analyzes the considerations and voting patterns of the Druze in the Knesset elections. The Druze generally vote on utilitarian considerations, such as voting for parties expected to be included in the coalition and to influence government policy. Few of them vote for ideological motives. Social networks voiced fierce criticism following two legislative acts that have hurt Druze over the past year: Kaminitz Law and Nation State Law. Despite this, the Druze artificially separated their stance on these laws and voted for parties that supported those laws. The Blue-White party spoke against the Nation State Law in its current form, and as a result, drew significant support from the Druze community. However, Blue-White is only committed to amending the law and including a clause referencing equality within it, and not eliminating it as Druze hoped. The increase in support for the "Israel Beitenu" party is due to the fact that the Druze representatives in the Likud are not seen as representing the real interests of the Druze community. In addition, the Druze candidate in the "Israel Beitenu" party expressed opposition to the Nation State Law.
  • Topic: Government, Politics, Minorities, Elections, Ethnicity, Druze
  • Political Geography: Israel, Palestine
  • Author: Nadim El-Kak
  • Publication Date: 07-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Arab Reform Initiative (ARI)
  • Abstract: The latest Lebanese parliamentary elections took place a little over a year ago. In May 2018, eleven groups, comprised of 66 candidates (including 19 women) from independent and secular segments of civil society, formed a coalition called Kulluna Watani (we are all our nation) to challenge the hegemony of traditional political parties. Considering the increasing inefficiency and unaccountability of state institutions, and widespread public frustration with the performance of public institutions, one may have expected Lebanese voters to want to vote in a few fresh faces. Nonetheless, they overwhelmingly chose to re-elect the same parties and leaders. This paper examines why activists and progressive opposition groups who try to challenge entrenched sectarian politics have been failing. It analyses the institutional and repressive mechanisms, exercised by political elites, that determine patterns in voting behaviour and thwart the emergence of alternative forces. It also looks at shortcomings of political efforts by opposition groups and outlines recommendations for the future. The findings rely on fourteen original interviews with political activists conducted in December 2018 as well as a review of scholarship on sectarian politics.1
  • Topic: Government, Political Activism, Elections, Political and institutional effectiveness
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Lebanon, Beirut
  • Author: Ashwin Parulkar, Sunil Kumar
  • Publication Date: 12-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Policy Research, India
  • Abstract: In May 2017, the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) demolished a Delhi Urban Shelter Improvement Board (DUSIB) shelter located in an informal settlement in South Delhi’s Amir Khusro Park. DUSIB had built the shelter in response to a 2014 Delhi High Court Order. DDA demolished the same structure in cognizance of a 2015 Delhi High Court Order, issued in response to a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by a private citizen urging the state to remove illegal encroachments in the area. The demolition of the shelter led to the eviction of various groups of people in Khusro Park: families in self-constructed ‘jhuggis’; women in the DUSIB shelter managed by a local NGO; and various people in a temporary shelter not authorized by government agencies. Field visits revealed connections between these settlements. Women and children of some jhuggi families, for instance, lived in the shelter where food, nutrition, documentation, education and health services were provided by the managing NGO for shelter residents and joint and nuclear jhuggi families. In this context, the report raises and responds to two salient questions. What makes homeless shelters in Delhi vulnerable to government sanctioned demolition and eviction? What is the implication of the particular case of Amir Khusro Park on the fate of shelters in Delhi’s other numerous informal geographies? The authors examine events that preceded and unfolded during and after the demolition through ethnographic research in Khusro Park, interviews with government officials and NGO social workers, and legal analysis of both Supreme and High Court Orders and policies that assign powers to various federal, state and municipal land owning agencies. The report finds that Khusro Park residents’ Court-substantiated, though broadly defined, rights to live in shelters and urban informal settlements were violated by government agencies, such as DDA. Such government agencies are permitted to undermine general rights urban poor people have to city spaces and resettlement through the existence of specific provisions that categorize jhuggi and shelter residents on government land ‘encroachers’. The authors conclude that due process measures of DUSIB’s current resettlement policy – land surveys, provision of notice and rehousing – should be based on a thorough understanding of (a) types and nature of settlements along the informal urban housing continuum (b) infrastructure and services used by residents and (c) the nature of contracts between (i) state and federal agencies and (ii) government agencies and NGOs that authorize land use and service provision.
  • Topic: Government, Poverty, Public Policy, Resettlement, Urban, Informal Settlement, Homelessness
  • Political Geography: South Asia, India, Asia
  • Author: Manju Menon
  • Publication Date: 05-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Policy Research, India
  • Abstract: In 2000, the central government declared Northeast India as India’s hydropower hub. Over 165 large dam projects were proposed to come up in the region. These projects were held as crucial to India’s energy and environmental security as well as the economic development of the country’s marginalised northeastern borderlands.However, nearly two decades on, this proposal to regulate the region's water resources remains unimplemented. In addition, the projects have generated a lot of public opposition in Arunachal Pradesh where most of these dams are supposed to be situated, and in the downstream Brahmaputra valley of Assam. This article will look into the government's hype and failure to construct hydropower dams in the Northeast region. It points to the need for a reflexive political decision on water resource management from the BJP-led governments in Assam, Arunachal Pradesh and at the Centre.
  • Topic: Development, Energy Policy, Government, Natural Resources, Infrastructure
  • Political Geography: South Asia, India, Asia
  • Author: Vladimir Chlouba
  • Publication Date: 07-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Afrobarometer
  • Abstract: Do African traditional leaders weaken state legitimacy at the local level? Past scholarship raises the possibility that unelected chiefs might undermine trust in national-level institutions. Relying on an original map of areas governed by chiefs and survey data from Namibia, this study examines whether respondents governed by traditional leaders are less likely to trust state institutions. I find that compared to individuals not living under traditional authority, chiefdom residents are more likely to trust government institutions. To partially alleviate the concern that chiefdom residence is endogenous to trust in national-level institutions, I use a genetic matching strategy to compare relatively similar individuals. I further find that the association between chiefdom residence and trust in state institutions is considerably weaker and less statistically significant for individuals who do not share ethnicity with their chief. This evidence suggests that traditional leaders’ ability to complement state institutions at the local level is compromised by ethnic diversity.
  • Topic: Government, Governance, Leadership, Fragile States, Emerging States, Legitimacy, Institutions
  • Political Geography: Africa, Namibia
  • Author: Girish Bahal, Anand Shrivastava
  • Publication Date: 12-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Sustainable Employment, Azim Premji University
  • Abstract: Controlling for monetary policy, government transfers are potentially inflationary. This, however, may not be true when the economy is demandconstrained. Using a panel data of 17 Indian states over 30 years, we show that government transfers via welfare programs do not lead to inflation. For identification, we use a narrative shock series of transfer spending that is based on the introduction of new welfare programs. We then look at a specific program, NREGA, which has been shown to increase rural wages, and show that its implementation did not increase inflation.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, Labor Issues, Monetary Policy, Employment, Inflation, Demand
  • Political Geography: India
  • Author: Nicola McEwen, Aileen McHarg, Fiona Munro, Paul Cairney, Karen Turner, Antonios Katris
  • Publication Date: 10-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: UK in a Changing Europe, King's College London
  • Abstract: This briefing paper considers the extent to which renewables in Scotland are shaped by the policy responsibilities and decisions of multiple governments: the Scottish government, the UK government and the EU. The paper explores the significance of EU membership in shaping Scottish renewables and considers the likely effects of the UK’s exit from the EU. Despite limited constitutional power, promoting renewables has been a key priority for successive Scottish governments, central to both its environmental and economic policies. While the main policy drivers rest with the UK government, stakeholders in Scotland place importance on the EU regulatory framework, EU funding and finance, multinational cooperation and long-term strategic thinking in supporting the development of renewables in Scotland. The briefing identifies varying levels of concern among key stakeholders with regard to the impact that Brexit may have on renewables in Scotland. Many expect policy continuity, irrespective of the UK-EU relationship. Others are fearful of the uncertainty surrounding access to the EU internal market, access to project funding, access to labour and expertise, and added costs and delays in supply chains in an industry heavily reliant on kit from the EU. The biggest impact of Brexit to date has been the dominance of the issue on the political agenda, leaving little space for policy development in other areas, including energy. In addition to the regulatory, financial and trade challenges it may generate, Brexit has also reignited the debate on Scotland’s constitutional future, creating further uncertainties for the future of renewables.
  • Topic: Government, European Union, Constitution, Brexit, Renewable Energy
  • Political Geography: United Kingdom, Europe, Scotland
  • Author: Anthony Edo, Jacques Melitz
  • Publication Date: 10-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre d'Etudes Prospectives et d'Informations Internationales (CEPII)
  • Abstract: We perform the first econometric test to date of the influences of inflows of precious metals and population growth on the “Great Inflation” in Europe following the discovery of the New World. The English evidence strongly supports the near-equivalent importance of both influences. For 1500-1700, silver is the only relevant precious metal in the estimates. The study controls for urbanization, government spending, mortality crises and climatic changes. The series for inflows of the precious metals into Europe from America and European mining are newly constructed based on the secondary sources.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, International Political Economy, Urbanization, Inflation
  • Political Geography: Europe, England
  • Author: Matt Andrews
  • Publication Date: 12-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University
  • Abstract: Observers claim that public policies fail ‘often’. This paper asks, ‘how often’? It is an important question, because public policies absorb resources to address major social issues. We should know if policies are proving bad social investments; routinely failing to solve focal problems at high costs. Unfortunately, it is not easy to assess this. Many public policy organizations—governments in particular—do not provide accessible views onto overall success or failure. The World Bank does, however, provide such view—and it supports policy interventions one finds in governments across the world. The paper thus examines World Bank failure rates. It finds that there are different answers to the ‘how often’ question, depending on responses to a second question, ‘what is failure anyway?’ In studying both questions, the paper identifies a bias in the World Bank—and probably all organizations adopting rational ‘plan and control’ policy processes—to measuring ‘project and product success’ rather than a broader view of success as ‘problems are solved with development impact’. This means that policy organizations like the Bank judge success based on whether planned products are delivered through an efficient process; not whether policies solve the problems that warranted intervention in the first place, or whether the policies promoted development outcomes. Is this how citizens would want their public policy organizations to conceptualize success?
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Government, World Bank, International Development
  • Political Geography: Global Focus, United States of America
  • Author: Matt Andrews, Tim McNaught, Salimah Samji
  • Publication Date: 05-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University
  • Abstract: Governments across the world regularly pursue reforms that achieve less than was originally expected or is needed to make the state function better. The limits to reform success are often obvious in even the early days of reform, where gaps and weaknesses manifest. Many governments have no mechanisms built into their reform processes to see these gaps and weaknesses, however, and persist with predefined reform plans instead of adapting designs to close the gaps and address weaknesses. One antidote to this challenge is to create reflection points where reformers scrutinize their progress to identify weaknesses, reflect on these weaknesses, and adapt their next steps to address the weaknesses. In the spirit of John Kingdon’s work on ‘policy windows’, we call these reflection points ‘adaptation windows’—moments where reformers acknowledge problems in their reforms, adapt reforms to address such, and mobilize support for this adaptation. This paper discusses an effort to open an adaptation window for reformers to ‘see’ and then respond to public financial management (PFM) reform gaps and weaknesses in Mozambique. The paper details why and how this work was pursued, and also reflects on results of the government’s reflection at the adaptation window.
  • Topic: Government, Reform, International Development, State
  • Political Geography: Africa, Mozambique
  • Author: Yasir Kuoti
  • Publication Date: 01-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Middle East Research Institute (MERI)
  • Abstract: Years after toppling the regime of Saddam Hussein in April 2003, corruption remains one of the top concerns of Iraqi citizens. It has, thus, become a tradition for Iraqi governments to champion a resolve for ridding the country of this endemic. The government of Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi is no exception. In his press briefing on 23 November 2017, al-Abadi announced his intention to launch a crosscutting anti-corruption campaign, promising an ultimate “triumph over corruption as Iraq did with Daesh.” While laudable, such efforts will prove substantially difficult and would require a national program that upsets how major aspects of Iraqi politics have been practiced since 2003.
  • Topic: Corruption, Government, Domestic politics
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East, Baghdad
  • Author: Robert Vineberg
  • Publication Date: 04-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Canadian Global Affairs Institute (CGAI)
  • Abstract: When citizens lose faith in their government’s refugee policies, there arises the potential for an anti-immigration backlash, as several European countries have recently discovered. Canada has yet to see that happen, but it has for too long been muddling along with a refugee-processing system that is seriously flawed. Refugees go unprocessed for years, and in the meantime end up living, working and laying down roots. Often that only increases the chances they will end up staying even if they might have otherwise been rejected. It may even lead to increases in questionable refugee claims, as people realize they can work and make money in Canada for years before their case is even heard. The Canadian government has committed to increasing refugee numbers. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees has designated Canada as the primary destination for hard-to-settle refugees. The diversity of source countries is increasing, resulting in more refugees who are illiterate in both English and French. More refugees will struggle to adapt to life in Canada. Taken together, it is possible that without fixing the problems in the system, public dissatisfaction could rise as Canadians lose faith that their refugee system is under control, and that could undermine their faith in the entire immigration system. The biggest flaw in the refugee system traces back to the government’s overreaction to the Singh decision. The Supreme Court ordered that all rejected refugees had a right to an in-person appeal, but the federal government went much further and gave every refugee an in-person hearing. That system has left Canada with a backlog, as of last year, of 34,000 cases. In most every other country, initial refugee screenings are conducted by public servants working for the immigration agency, which here would be Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, as opposed to the staff of the Immigration and Refugee Board. Canada could do a much better job at clearing its backlog and better processing refugee claims, particularly in weeding out the bogus claims, by reassigning responsibility for interviewing refugees to the officials at IRCC. The agency also has the advantage of having offices in almost every major city in Canada, while the IRB only hears cases in Vancouver, Montreal and Toronto, with the 2,500 refugee claimants residing in places outside B.C., Quebec and Ontario having to travel long distances for a hearing or having to settle for an inferior two-way video hearing. Also, this would avoid the conflict of interest at the IRB, which is in charge of reviewing appeals of its own decisions. The IRB is better suited to handle appeals of decisions made by IRCC agents who are at arm’s-length from the IRB. In addition, Canada should also ensure it maintains a balance in accepting not strictly refugees who are most at risk, but also an equal number of refugees who will more easily establish themselves in Canada and adapt within one year of landing in Canada. Having a system that not only ensures more efficient, effective processing of refugees, with proper control over who settles here, will not only help Canadians maintain confidence in their refugee and immigration system. It will also ensure that Canada has a system that can respond, when necessary, to global crises when they erupt, and better help those refugees who need protection.
  • Topic: Government, United Nations, Immigration, Refugees
  • Political Geography: Canada, North America
  • Author: Ashwini K. Swain, Parth Bhatia, Navroz K. Dubash
  • Publication Date: 11-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Policy Research, India
  • Abstract: The proposed amendments to the Electricity Act 2003, released on 7th September 2018, are most critical among the set of planned reforms in the power sector. With significant changes, it seeks to provide an enabling framework for transformations in electricity market, pricing reforms, regulatory oversight, quality of supply and energy security. While we appreciate the endeavours and intent, in our comments we focus on some serious concerns the draft raises, vital gaps and issues that need serious consideration. These comments have been drafted based on an internal discussion at the Centre for Policy Research, and should not be considered an institutional position, as CPR does not take institutional positions on issues. Rather, these comments reflect the result of internal deliberations, aimed at understanding and reflecting on the draft amendments, with the aim of constructive feedback to the Ministry of Power.
  • Topic: Security, Energy Policy, Government, Social Policy, Legislation
  • Political Geography: South Asia, India, Asia
  • Author: Persis Taraporevala
  • Publication Date: 08-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Policy Research, India
  • Abstract: The newly elected federal Government of India (GoI) launched the Smart Cities Mission (SCM) in 2015 with the stated purpose of improving the governance and infrastructural deficiencies that plague Indian cities. Missing, however, in the pageantry of the new programme is a cohesive understanding of a smart city. While the government documentation repeatedly implies infinite liberty for cities to self-define their understanding of ‘smartness’, the actions demonstrate that there is a larger idea of ‘smartness’ that the federal government seeks to implement. It is at this disjunction, between the rhetoric and practice of the Mission, that this paper finds its core research question – ‘What constitutes a smart city in India?’ Through a detailed reading of the government documentation of the top 99 cities, the paper argues that the there is a profound chasm between the professed objectives of the Mission and the strategies enacted to achieve these objectives.
  • Topic: Development, Government, Infrastructure, Social Policy, Urban
  • Political Geography: South Asia, India, Asia
  • Author: Pranav Kuttaiah, Neelanjan Sircar
  • Publication Date: 05-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Policy Research, India
  • Abstract: Pranav Kuttaiah and Neelanjan Sircar discuss the complexities of the Karnataka election before vote counting the following day.
  • Topic: Government, Elections, Ethnicity, Class, Caste
  • Political Geography: South Asia, India, Asia, Karnataka
  • Author: Partha Mukhopadhyay
  • Publication Date: 03-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Policy Research, India
  • Abstract: It is now almost axiomatic that cities are the engines of growth. Historically, federal support programmes have focused on rural areas, but over the past fifteen years, the need to devise such programmes for urban local bodies has come to be recognised, with JNNURM in its various forms, being the most visible early manifestation. This trend has continued, even strengthened, in this government and among the menu of urban support programmes on offer from the Government of India, the vision of the city as the engine of growth is most clearly evident in the Smart City Mission, with its focus on area based development – like an engine within the city. Yet, even in the mainstream economics literature, while there is evidence for cities as places of higher productivity, there is less evidence for cities as drivers of growth – with learning being the primary driver and urban primacy being an important obstacle. The primary questions are whether cities are places of learning, whether there are identifiable mechanisms of such learning and the kind of city institutions – economic, social and political – that facilitate such learning. This paper will interrogate the empirical characteristics of such urban institutions in India in the context of the theoretical literature and learning mechanisms that emerge from international evidence. In particular, it will argue that the nature of the labour market, which is largely contractual, the transfer of rural fragmentation in social relations to cities and the absence of city-level political agency, all reduce the potential of the city as a location of learning economies. For cities to even have the possibility of being engines of growth, we need to ensure that drivers of these engines are in place and we have a mechanism to think about paths to follow.
  • Topic: Development, Government, Urbanization, Economic Growth
  • Political Geography: South Asia, India, Asia
  • Author: Bhanu Joshi, Kanhu Charan Pradhan
  • Publication Date: 01-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Policy Research, India
  • Abstract: Financial incentives including government support grants for infrastructure creation, health and education development in many countries is contingent on where people live. In India, the allocation of critical government subsidies explicitly recognises urban population as a criterion for budgetary allocation. Yet, the fundamental question about what is an urban area and what does it entail to be recognised as an urban settlement in India remains understudied. This paper aims to understand the definitional paradigm of statutory towns in India. We create a novel dataset of all state laws in India on the constitution of urban local governments. We analyse the eligibility criteria that would qualify any area to become urban local bodies under the law in different states and find large variation among states. In our dataset, only fifteen of the twenty-seven states explicitly define and have laws on urban settlements. Within these fifteen states, we find that many small and transitional urban areas violate the eligibility criteria laid down by the state laws constituting them. We further find that states which do not provide statutory laws rely on executive fiat, i.e. it is the prerogative of the state government to declare the creation of a statutory town. What then becomes or “unbecomes” urban in these states is open to dispute. The full extent of this variation and reasons thereof can open up new avenues of scholarship.
  • Topic: Government, Infrastructure, Urbanization, Budget, Legislation
  • Political Geography: South Asia, India, Asia
  • Author: Vinod K Aggarwal, Andrew Reddie
  • Publication Date: 09-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Berkeley APEC Study Center
  • Abstract: This paper evaluates the role of firms, governments, and other key stakeholders in the rise of industrial policy in the United States toward the cybersecurity sector. Our goals are as follows: 1) to examine the motivation for government promotion of the cybersecurity industry in the United States; 2) to inventory existing measures employed by the U.S. government; 3) to understand the driving forces of cybersecurity industrial policy in the United States; and 4) to examine the likely conflicts that will arise from the competitive pursuit of these industrial policies and to consider how they might possibly be resolved through international cooperation. To this end, we use a “market failure”-based analytical framework to serve as the structure for this project, drawing on a variety of approaches to understand industrial policy in the United States as well as the variety of intervention strategies and instruments used by the U.S. government.
  • Topic: Government, Science and Technology, Cybersecurity, Industry
  • Political Geography: North America, United States of America
  • Author: Benjamin Bartlett
  • Publication Date: 09-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Berkeley APEC Study Center
  • Abstract: This paper explores Japan’s industrial policy toward cyber security. I begin by describing the perceived market failures with regard to cyber security, and the Japanese government’s rationales for intervention. Next, I briefly describe the institutions involved in Japan’s cyber security policy-making. I follow by discussing three models of Japanese intervention: government as provider, government as facilitator, and government as promoter. Then, I examine the factors that have led to this particular constellation of measures. Finally, I look at the effectiveness of these measures as well as make some concluding remarks about likely future trends.
  • Topic: Government, Science and Technology, Cybersecurity, Public Policy
  • Political Geography: Japan, Asia
  • Author: Madeline Carr, Leonie Tanczer
  • Publication Date: 09-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Berkeley APEC Study Center
  • Abstract: The UK has the largest internet economy in the G20 and has the stated ambition of making the UK the ‘safest place in the world to live and work online’. Cyber security has been elevated to a ‘tier one’ threat and is regarded by the government as both a challenge and as an opportunity for exporting UK expertise. Since the publication of the UK’s National Cyber Security Strategy (NCSS) in November 2011, the government has implemented many proactive as well as reactive measures to enhance both its cyber security capabilities as well as its market power. This article provides an analysis of the shift away from a reliance on market forces that dominated Western approaches to cyber security over the early years of this century. Specifically, it highlights three ‘market failures’ that have prompted UK policy responses: ongoing data breaches, the skills gap and inadequate private investment in cyber security. An analysis of these drivers as well as the responses demonstrates that the UK’s cyber security strategy has evolved from an initial heavy reliance on market forces and the public-private partnership to mitigate against threats into what is now a confident, rounded approach to balancing threats and opportunities.
  • Topic: Government, Science and Technology, Cybersecurity
  • Political Geography: United Kingdom, Europe
  • Author: Sarah J. Lockwood, Matthias Krönke
  • Publication Date: 05-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Afrobarometer
  • Abstract: This paper asks whether a country’s choice of electoral system affects the methods citizens use to try to hold their government accountable. A large body of literature suggests that electoral system type has an impact on voting behaviour, but little work has been done on its effects on other strategies for democratic accountability, such as contacting an elected representative and protesting. Using data from 36 African countries, we find that the type of electoral system has a significant relationship with these forms of participation. Citizens in proportional representation (PR) systems are significantly more likely to protest than those in majoritarian ones, while those in majoritarian systems are more likely to contact their elected representatives. We argue that this is because the connection between citizens and representatives in majoritarian systems is clearer, closer, and more responsive, making contact an effective strategy and providing an efficient "safety valve" when citizens want to hold their government to account. The lack of a similar connection in most PR systems, in contrast, leads citizens to turn to protest with greater regularity.
  • Topic: Government, Elections, Democracy, Accountability
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Elena Naughton, Kelen Meregali
  • Publication Date: 07-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The International Center for Transitional Justice (ICTJ)
  • Abstract: Recently, Nepal implemented some significant long-awaited changes to its structure of government that present new opportunities for addressing the justice needs of conflict victims. On September 20, 2015, a new Constitution came into effect, replacing the interim Constitution promulgated in 2007, soon after the conflict ended. That constitution introduced a new federal structure of government that, among other things, vests local governments with 22 powers and areas of responsibility over which they have broad authority. Many of these powers can be exercised to establish policies and programs at the local level for fulfilling victims’ rights to truth, justice, reparation, and acknowledgment for the human rights abuses victims suffered during the war. Although local initiatives are not a complete substitute for a coherent national policy, these powers offer great potential for implementing measures to address promptly and directly a full spectrum of victims’ reparative needs, from the symbolic to the material. They encompass food, housing, employment and job creation, medical care, education, legal services, help obtaining official documentation, memorialization initiatives and other forms of public recognition, awareness-raising activities, and measures aimed at preventing the recurrence of human rights abuses. Many of these measures would fulfill fundamental rights guaranteed under the Constitution to all Nepal’s citizens, and additional rights secured there for vulnerable populations (such as the elderly, disabled, single women, those marginalized or indigent, and children). If designed to be reparative in nature, they could also fulfill victims’ rights to an effective remedy, including the right to “adequate, effective and prompt reparation,” as articulated by the UN General Assembly in its Basic Principles and Guidelines on the Right to Remedy and Reparation for Victims of Gross Violations of Human Rights Law and Serious Violations of International Humanitarian Law (UN Basic Guidelines). This report aims to help local governments, victims’ groups, and other stakeholders to understand the scope and potential inherent in these powers and to identify what local governments and others can do to design and implement initiatives that support victims of conflict and that fulfill this potential. To this end, this report looks closely at the provisions of the 2015 Constitution and the Local Government Operationalization Act 2074 BS (2017 AD). It also considers the essential role local governments can play in crafting and coordinating responses alongside national-level institutions that are advancing transitional justice processes, such as the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), the Commission on Investigation of Enforced Disappearance of Persons (CIEDP), and the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC). Additional consideration is given to the provisions of the Enforced Disappearances Enquiry, Truth and Reconciliation Commission Act (the TRC Act), 2071 (2014), and the requirements established therein for local government cooperation and engagement with ongoing transitional justice mechanisms. With offices within or near victim communities, local governments in Nepal are well situated to tailor initiatives to address victims’ particular needs. Coming as they do from out of the communities they serve, most local officials, including many who are victims themselves, are familiar with realities on the ground and nuances in the economy and in community practices that may affect whether a policy will benefit or might unintentionally harm victims, or could even exacerbate tensions within families or between neighbors. Many local officials speak and read the local languages and dialects victims speak and read. Also, many are privy to crucial differences among survivors’ experiences of war, as well as their current life situations. With access to information about existing services and knowledge of what is required to get things done locally, local governments offer real potential advantages for understanding and effectively responding to victims’ needs and for building the kinds of relationships needed to help bridge divides not only between and among victim populations, but also between victims and nonvictim communities in Nepal. With five-year terms in office (and eligibility for an additional term), local officials at each of the different levels of local government (e.g., municipal, village, and ward) should be able to plan and undertake not only short-term or targeted projects that respond to victims’ urgent needs but also long-term, subsistence-based projects that can provide victims with the benefits they need to create a more stable life for years to come. Many of these initiatives can begin while national policymakers in Kathmandu continue working on a comprehensive approach to transitional justice. National and local dimensions of transitional justice are not mutually exclusive; there is no reason local efforts cannot be designed in a way that meet victims’ needs for redress, in particular for the most vulnerable populations, while still meeting other government obligations, including those at the central and provincial levels. In fact, local governments working effectively now might relieve some of the pressures on the central government, by meeting victims most acute needs and collecting data and testing policies that could be implemented later at the national level. To do so, all levels of government across the federal structure will need to coordinate, communicate, and abide by the essential elements of good governance, including preventing corruption. Victim initiatives must be designed in such a way as to “do no harm” and to ensure that victims are treated fairly and with respect and dignity. As Nepal has learned from its experience implementing the Interim Relief Program (IRP)—which was hampered by significant shortfalls in design and implementation (including insufficient funding, a lack of coordination among key stakeholders, the exclusion of some categories of victims and the unequal treatment of others, and the politicization of application processes and eligibility determinations)—it is essential to consult with victims, to be sensitive to their needs and vulnerabilities, to acknowledge the violations they experienced, and to monitor and evaluate implementation to prevent discrimination. In all decisions and procedures, the safety, well-being, and dignity of victims must be considered and given priority. The victims will be paying attention. As one victim forcefully made the point, “We raise our voices. We do not give up. And we will not sit by in silence…I say to the government—listen to our voices, consider our demands. The challenges local governments will inevitably face are innumerable. At each stage of the process, local governments will confront significant hurdles as they exercise their powers to design, plan, and eventually implement programs benefiting their constituents, including Nepal’s many conflict victims. This report highlights some of these major challenges based on feedback obtained during consultations conducted in preparation of this report in some of the districts where conflict victims live. Immediate steps should be taken to monitor, address, and mitigate the following challenges
  • Topic: Government, Governance, Transitional Justice, Local
  • Political Geography: Asia, Nepal
  • Author: Amanda Michaud, David Wiczer
  • Publication Date: 12-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Human Capital and Productivity (CHCP), Western University
  • Abstract: We evaluate the contribution of changing macroeconomic conditions and demographics to the increase in Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) over recent decades. Within our quantitative framework, multiple sectors differentially expose workers to health and economic risks, both of which affect individuals’ decisions to apply for SSDI. Over the transition, falling wages at the bottom of the distribution increased awards by 27% in the 1980s and 90s and aging demographics rose in importance thereafter. The model also implies two-thirds of the decline in working-age male employment from 1985 to 2013, three-fourths of which eventually goes on SSDI.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, Health, Disability, Human Capital, Social Security, Insurance , Productivity, Health Insurance
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Andrés Cañizález
  • Publication Date: 05-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: National Endowment for Democracy
  • Abstract: When Venezuelan opposition leader Jesús Torrealba held a much anticipated rally in September 2016, only one television channel, Globovisión, was willing to broadcast it. By then, the 24-hour news channel stood alone as the one major broadcaster daring enough to air critical coverage of the government. he speech was particularly newsworthy because Torrealba that day was planning to call for nation-wide protests in favor of a referendum on President Nicolás Maduro. The Venezuelan constitution allows for what is essentially a recall by plebiscite if citizens can marshal enough signatures in favor of one, but the country’s electoral commission, Torrealba alleged, was stonewalling the process in spite of the opposition’s success at collecting the signatures. He had hoped his speech could provoke demonstrations of irrefutable public support for the referendum. After only a few minutes at the podium, however, the transmission of his speech was interrupted without warning.1 President Maduro had ordered a blanket broadcast across all radio and television stations–what is known in Spanish as a cadena nacional. These presidential broadcasts resemble a US Oval Office address in style, but in Venezuela the law obliges both state‑owned and private media to carry the transmissions, which have lasted as long as eight hours. When Maduro invoked this law to interrupt Torrealba’s speech, Venezuelans had no choice but to listen to Maduro or simply switch off their TVs and radios. This is not an isolated event. The abuse of presidential broadcast laws, which was first witnessed in Venezuela under Maduro’s predecessor, Hugo Chávez, has become a source of concern in several countries in the region, including in Argentina and Ecuador.2 This report looks at how obligatory presidential broadcasts have risen with a wave of populist authoritarian governments in Latin America, and how the abuse of such transmissions, coupled with other efforts to suppress independent press, has been a significant detriment to democratic deliberation. By looking at legal restrictions on this practice in the region, the report also provides some insight into how the abuse of obligatory presidential transmissions could be curtailed.
  • Topic: Government, Media, Propaganda, The Press
  • Political Geography: Argentina, South America, Latin America, Venezuela, Ecuador
  • Author: Bledar Feta
  • Publication Date: 12-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Hellenic Foundation for European and Foreign Policy (ELIAMEP)
  • Abstract: In Working Paper 88/2017 of ELIAMEP’s South East Europe Programme, Research Associate Bledar Feta deals with the political situation in Kosovo. More specifically, the paper attempts to provide the main aspects of the political and institutional crisis that hit Kosovo after Parliamentary elections of June 8th, 2014. The aim of the paper, besides giving an overview of the most important developments since then, is to provide an analysis on the attempts of Kosovar political class to establish a stable government putting under the microscope their political behaviour. In addition, the paper deals with the last parliamentary elections, as well as the new government’s priorities, the challenges ahead and the key policy issues which remain a major talking point in the political and public debate, polarizing opposition, the coalition government and the public opinion in general.
  • Topic: Government, Politics, Elections
  • Political Geography: Europe, Kosovo
  • Author: Alan Stephenson
  • Publication Date: 05-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Canadian Global Affairs Institute (CGAI)
  • Abstract: It is time for the Canadian government to conduct a holistic review of Canada’s national security complex. The Defence Policy Review is floundering as a consequence of an uncooperative world, Canada’s domestic security institutions require legislative empowerment, and the election of Donald Trump has placed increased pressure on Canadian security and defence. Securing the U.S.’s northern border is a no-fail mission for Canada as peace and prosperity depend upon it. However, this must be done within Canadian security norms and values. Only a ground-up examination of the Canadian national security system will elicit a comprehensive understanding of the current deficiencies that will allow focused alignment of government objectives, policies and public funds. Crisis management requires a strategic plan with clear objectives from which to conduct concurrent and coordinated activities. The Trudeau government has the team in place; now, it needs a new National Security Policy statement to assist in “lead turning” an unconventional U.S. administration steadfast in its stance over national security.
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy, Government, National Security, Donald Trump
  • Political Geography: Canada, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Nancy Gallagher, Charles Harry
  • Publication Date: 04-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for International and Security Studies at Maryland (CISSM)
  • Abstract: Faced with a rapidly growing volume and range of cyber attacks, policymakers and organizational leaders have had difficulty setting priorities, allocating resources, and responding effectively without a standard way to categorize cyber events and estimate their consequences. Presidential Policy Directive 41 laid out the Obama administration’s principles for executive branch responses to significant cyber incidents in the public or private sector. But it neither drew important distinctions between different types of cyber incidents, nor gave a standard way to determine where a particular incident falls on its 0-5 point severity scale. This policy brief demonstrates how an analytical framework developed at the Center for International and Security Studies at the University of Maryland (CISSM) can help address these problems. It first differentiates between low-level incidents and more significant cyber events that result in either exploitation of information and/or disruption of operations. It categorizes five types of disruptive events and analyzes 2,030 cyber events in a dataset developed from media sources, showing that cyber exploitation remains more common than disruption, and that most disruptive activity fits into two categories: message manipulation and external denial of service attacks. Finally, the brief offers a standard method to assess the severity of different categories of disruptive attacks against different kinds of organizations based on the scope, magnitude, and duration of the event. This Cyber Disruption Index (CDI) is then applied to survey data on Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks in the private sector to assess severity within a common category of disruptive events. Of 3,900 cases reported, only 5 events (less than 1% of the DDoS cases) had a combined scope, magnitude, and duration severe enough to be a priority for prevention and potentially warrant government involvement.
  • Topic: Government, Cybersecurity, Media
  • Political Geography: United States, Washington, D.C.
  • Author: Shebo Nalishebo, Florence Banda-Muleya
  • Publication Date: 11-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Zambia Institute for Policy Analysis and Research (ZIPAR)
  • Abstract: The writing is on the wall - Zambia is at a high risk of debt distress: The country risks defaulting on repaying the principal amounts of the three Eurobonds due during 2022-2027. A default could lead to exclusion from the international capital markets, a dented reputation which would culminate into a decline in Foreign Direct Investments and reduced credit to the private sector and credit rating downgrades. This would ultimately result in an economic contraction which would affect future payments and further compounding the default. Government has to pay back US$750 million in 2022, US$1 billion in 2024 and US$1.25 billion over 2025-2027. Between 2018 and 2022, Government will spend about US$237.4 million per annum in interest payments towards the three Eurobonds – this annual amount is about the same as the entire social protection budget in 2017. Policy measures have been put in place to manage the debt, but they seem inadequate: The measures include a debt management strategy that will guide borrowing decisions in the medium term. The Government has also signalled its intensions to set up a sinking fund and/or refinance the debt – essentially replacing the old loans with a new loan offering different, perhaps more favourable, terms. To set up the sinking fund, Government intends to set aside K100 million in 2018, K800 million in 2019 and K3.97 billion in 2020. But setting up the fund requires an excess of K6 billion per annum between 2018 and 2022. No clear indication has been given with regard to when refinancing will be considered. So the plans put in place may not be adequate to pay back the Eurobonds. Government should not wait until it is too late: In order to meet the principal and interest payments on the three Eurobonds, Government needs to start the strategies for paying back the Eurobonds sooner rather than later. Government has already lost time as a pay-back plan should have been instituted for the Eurobonds as soon as they were issued. But without any budget surpluses, and with foreign financing having somewhat dried up, Zambia has to look to more domestic resource mobilisation to raise the funds needed to pay back the Eurobonds.
  • Topic: Government, Economy, Public Debt, Eurobonds
  • Political Geography: Africa, Zambia
  • Author: Barbara Gruber
  • Publication Date: 03-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Austrian Institute for International Affairs (OIIP)
  • Abstract: Resilience is a new component of the security empire. But its conceptual relations to security and defence are still unclear. This paper argues that resilience is the replacement of former civil defence measures in the US. Hence, it traces the origins of resilience during the past 60 years of US policy history. National preparedness thereby serves as the key issue along which the conceptual changes are traced. The paper is guided by the research question what is the difference resilience makes and, therefore, establishes changes and continuities along the way. In the first part, the reasons for the introduction of civil, or passive, defence as complementary to active defence are given. During this period, approximately 1950-1980, civil defence was based on retaliation and deterrence logics. During the 1970s, a major change took place when emergency management became part of security considerations and mitigation was introduced. Emergency management was nevertheless subsumed under a civil defence agenda. It was subsumed due to a ‘dual-use’ logic, stating that emergency preparation is fundamentally a local issue and independent of its source. Two characteristics of today’s resilience policies are found in this regard: first, the ‘dual-use’ approach as precedent for todays’ ‘all-hazard’ policies and second the perception that all emergencies are local phenomena. The end of the Cold War led to a decisive change in the concept of security itself and rendered former civil defence conceptions obsolete. Thus, emergency management became independent, while civil defence considerations were poured into a new conception of ‘homeland defence’ directed at the new emerging threat of terrorism. After 9/11, homeland defence became ‘Homeland Security’, and incorporated the emergency management sector. The Department of Homeland Security was modelled after the Department of Defence and acted under the tight security conceptions ‘prevent, protect, and respond’. These conceptions proved too tight for an agency responsible for ‘all-hazards’ as shown by Hurricane Katrina. After Hurricane Katrina, a new disaster circle was inaugurated which brought mitigation back and moreover introduced resilience as guiding organisational principle.
  • Topic: Security, Cold War, Government, History, Resilience
  • Political Geography: North America, United States of America
  • Author: Navroz K. Dubash, Partha Mukhopadhyay, Radhika Khosla, Shibani Ghosh, Ankit Bhardwaj, Swetha Sridhar
  • Publication Date: 07-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Policy Research, India
  • Abstract: The Draft National Energy Policy released by the Niti Aayog in June 2017 was a roadmap describing the priorities of the government with regards to India's energy future and a critical reference document for all actors working in this field. This working paper reflects the result of internal deliberations, aimed at understanding and reflecting on the draft NEP, with the aim of constructive feedback to NITI Aayog.
  • Topic: Energy Policy, Environment, Government, Finance, Legislation
  • Political Geography: South Asia, India, Asia
  • Author: Krithika A. Dinesh, Kanchi Kohli
  • Publication Date: 07-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Policy Research, India
  • Abstract: Between March 15 2017 and June 15 2017, 207 projects that violated the Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) Notification applied for an environmental clearance. These applications have come as a result of a notification that the Environment Ministry had passed on March 14th 2017 which gives an opportunity to projects that have violated conditions of the EIA Notification to apply for a clearance within a period of six months, ie by September 15. This notification was passed despite much criticism of the draft notification that was issued on 10 May 2016. The CPR-Namati Environmental Justice Program has analysed these applications to see what are the kind of geographical and sectorial spread of these violations and whether there are any trends emerging out of the applications that have come in till June 15. The Environment Ministry has already started looking at the applications through a Committee that has been set up for this. This Committee is headed by Dr SR Wate and had its first meeting on 22 June 2017. The Committee in its first meeting has examined ten applications. Out of these ten applications, the committee has already recommended seven for grant for a Terms of Reference subject to conditions. This working paper would be updated with the analysis of the applications that are coming in as well as the progress of these applications.
  • Topic: Environment, Government, Natural Resources, Courts, Legislation
  • Political Geography: South Asia, India, Asia
  • Author: Matt Andrews, Lant Pritchett, Michael Woolcock
  • Publication Date: 01-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University
  • Abstract: Many development challenges are complex, involving a lot of different agents and with unknown dimensions. Solutions to these challenges are often unknown, and contextually dependent. At the same time, there are political imperatives at play in many contexts which create pressure to 'find the solution now…and then scale it up.' Such pressure raises a question: how does a policy entrepreneur or reformer find a new solution and scale it up when dealing with complexity? This is the subject we address in the current paper, which is the fifth in a series on 'how to' do problem driven iterative adaptation (PDIA) (Andrews et al. 2015, 2016a, 2016b, 2016c). The paper focuses on building broad agency solutions in the process of identifying problems and finding and fitting contextually appropriate solutions. The broad agency is, in our opinion, a most effective mechanism to ensure scaling and dynamic sustainability in the change process. As with other working papers on this topic, the contents here do not offer all answers to those asking questions about how to do development effectively. It closes by reflecting on the importance of 'you' (the reader, and ostensibly part of a policy change or reform team somewhere) using this and the other ideas as heuristics to rethink and reorient how you work—but with your own signature on each idea.
  • Topic: Development, Government, International Development, Scaling
  • Political Geography: Malaysia, Burkina Faso
  • Author: Matt Andrews, Lant Pritchett, Michael Woolcock
  • Publication Date: 01-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University
  • Abstract: Development and state building processes are about change. Change is, however, elusive in many contexts. In prior work, we have offered problem driven iterative adaptation (PDIA) as an approach to tackle wicked hard change challenges. This is our fourth practical working paper on ‘how’ to do PDIA. The working paper addresses questions about authority, given that authority is needed to make change happen—especially in hierarchical government settings. This authority is often difficult to attain, however. It is seldom located in one office of person, and is often harder to lock-in with complex challenges, given that they commonly involve significant risk and uncertainty and require engagement by many agents responding to different kinds of authority. Every effort must be taken to address such challenges, and efforts should include an explicit strategy to establish an appropriate authorizing environment. This working paper suggests ideas to adopt in this strategy, with practical exercises and examples to help the reader apply such ideas in her or his own work.
  • Topic: Development, Government, International Development, State
  • Political Geography: Global Focus, United States of America
  • 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: Andrew Rasiulis
  • Publication Date: 03-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Canadian Global Affairs Institute (CGAI)
  • Abstract: In 2014, a war started in Ukraine that has led to a current death toll of approximately 8000 people. This war was the result of a climax of ongoing challenges in Eastern Europe in its transition from the post-Soviet era. While the region as a whole undertook divergent paths, with some states joining NATO and the EU, Ukraine has struggled for 25 years to find its bearing. Caught between its historical connections to both West and East, and a failure to solve the problem of an oligarchic based economy with a chronic national debt, Ukraine today is the focus of the search for stability in Eastern Europe. Canada and its NATO Allies are fully engaged in assisting Ukraine with its challenges of reform. The Minsk 2 process, established in early 2015, has stabilized the fighting, but a diplomatic resolution remains elusive. Faced with the prospect of either further war, frozen conflict or diplomatic resolution, Canada's new Liberal Government has the option to raise its diplomatic game and bring Canada's experience of ethnic and regional diversity to the negotiating table. Such a contribution to stability would well serve Canada's national interests.
  • Topic: NATO, Diplomacy, Government, European Union, Political stability
  • Political Geography: Ukraine, Canada, Eastern Europe
  • Author: Kanchi Kohli, Debayan Gupta
  • Publication Date: 08-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Policy Research, India
  • Abstract: For the last two years, the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013 has been in the eye of debate and discussed for the controversial changes the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government had sought to bring about through ordinances. Even though fate of the amendments rests currently with the Joint Parliamentary Committee report, several states have already brought about changes through Rules under Section 109 of the Act. An examination of these state specific Rules reveals they are headed towards: Adopting the changes proposed in the ordinances amending the central law; Diluting the applicability of the progressive clauses like consent or SIA; Clarifying procedures for implementation at the state level. The United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government had replaced the Land Acquisition Act, 1894 with the newly enacted RFCLARR Act, 2013. Though critiqued for expanding the definition of public purpose to include the private sector, the new legislations had been welcomed by social movements, farmers groups and NGOs. This is primarily for the need for a Social Impact Assessment (SIA), the requirement for prior consent, food security provisions and clear compensation related provisions. What was also central to this discussion were the clauses which allow for unused land to be returned to original owners. The Rules framed by the States aim to make the process of land acquisition much simpler for investors. While certain States reduce the time period for the conducting of the SIA process or do away with it in its entirety, there are others who make reductions in the compensation award or modify the applicability of the retrospective clause. There are also States which directly adopt the provisions in the ordinance that aim to remove the requirement for consent from the land acquisition procedure. This working paper paper attempts to trace and analyse how the state governments have modified and built upon the central Act. It also looks briefly at litigation that has emerged especially around the applicability of the retrospective clause of the law, ie. which requires the return of unused land to original owners or reinitiating processes under the 2013 law.
  • Topic: Development, Government, Law, Food Security, Land Law, Social Policy
  • Political Geography: South Asia, India, Asia
  • Author: Bhanu Joshi, Ashish Ranjan, Neelanjan Sircar
  • Publication Date: 05-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Policy Research, India
  • Abstract: In 2011, Mamata Banerjee and party, Trinamool Congress, stormed to power in West Bengal under the simple slogan poriborton (change). In this piece, Bhanu Joshi, Ashish Ranjan, and Neelanjan explore how Mamata went about demonstrating this change to the West Bengal, as well as the architecture of Trinamool Congress’ thumping victory in the 2016 state election.
  • Topic: Government, Politics, Governance, Elections, Social Policy
  • Political Geography: South Asia, India, Asia
  • Author: Kiran Bhatty, Radhika Saraf
  • Publication Date: 05-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Policy Research, India
  • Abstract: This study attempts to understand the effectiveness of education governance, specifically the monitoring function, through the perspectives of frontline officials in India. It locates institutions within social and political structures marked by deep inequalities and analyses the manner in which these institutional arrangements influence the behaviour of frontline officials. It finds that poor state capacities in terms of inadequate resources and systemic infirmities contribute significantly to ineffective monitoring. In addition, the social distance of frontline bureaucrats from their clients reinforces their low levels of motivation, preventing them from using discretion to achieve official objectives.
  • Topic: Education, Government, Infrastructure, Governance, Social Policy
  • Political Geography: South Asia, India, Asia
  • Author: Bhanu Joshi, Ashish Ranjan, Neelanjan Sircar
  • Publication Date: 05-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Policy Research, India
  • Abstract: Muslims comprise 34 percent of Assam’s population, and this population may play a large role in the outcome of Assam’s election. In this piece, CPR researchers Bhanu Joshi, Ashish Ranjan, and Neelanjan Sircar examine the complex contours of the Muslim vote in Assam, with a particular focus on the Lower Assam region where seven of the thirteen districts have a majority of Muslims. They argue that there is no discernible Muslim “vote bank” and any understanding of the role Muslims will play in this election requires a significant amount of nuance.
  • Topic: Government, Islam, Politics, Elections
  • Political Geography: South Asia, India, Asia
  • Author: Ashish Ranjan, Bhanu Joshi, Neelanjan Sircar
  • Publication Date: 04-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Policy Research, India
  • Abstract: We were warned not to take the bus from Silchar to Guwahati. Unfortunately, the train was fully booked, so we had no other option. As soon as we left the city limits of Silchar, we began to make our way through the soggy, bumpy mess that was supposedly the route to Guwahati. We could only discern that this was intended to be a road by the fact that a few other buses, trucks and cars were similarly trying to maneuver through this muddle. A fellow traveler offered, “Roads in Sikkim and Meghalaya have improved in the last five years; here we still search for a pucca road.
  • Topic: Government, Migration, Politics, Infrastructure, Elections
  • Political Geography: South Asia, India, Asia, Assam
  • Author: Neelanjan Sircar, Gilles Verniers
  • Publication Date: 03-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Policy Research, India
  • Abstract: The 2015 Bihar election represented a stunning reversal of fortune for the National Democratic Alliance (NDA), led by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). In the 2014 national election, the NDA won 172 out of 243 assembly constituency (AC) segments. But in the 2015 Bihar election, just 18 months later, the NDA won only 58 ACs. In this piece, we investigate electoral data from the Election Commission of India (ECI) to provide a nuanced picture of the shift in Bihar. We argue that poor party coordination within the NDA, in addition to campaign dynamics, account for the magnitude of the NDA’s defeat. Prior to 2014, the JD(U) and the BJP were in alliance together under the NDA banner, but the JD(U) left the coalition over the choice of Narendra Modi as prime ministerial candidate and decided to contest the 2014 election alone. In 2014, without the JD(U), the NDA won 31 out of 40 parliamentary constituencies, with the JD(U) winning just two seats. In the 18 months between the 2014 and 2015 election, once bitter foes, Nitish Kumar and Lalu Prasad Yadav, and their respective parties, Janata Dal (United) [JD(U)] and Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), joined forces along with the Congress to form the mahagathbandhan or Grand Alliance to defeat the NDA. The NDA, comprised of the BJP, the Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) and the Rashtriya Lok Samta Party (RLSP) in 2014, stayed intact and added a new party, the Hindustani Awam Morcha (HAM), to its ranks. In the election post-mortem, many have offered explanations for the NDA’s reversal of fortune. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has argued that the NDA’s poor performance was due to the “social arithmetic” of caste and less about the its message or campaign strategy (1). Observers of the Grand Alliance have pointed to campaign manager Prashant Kishor’s effective campaign strategy and coordination across all parties in ticket distribution and voter mobilization (2). Our data analysis suggests that the outcome of these elections was less about caste arithmetic and more about the poor coalition strategy of the BJP. In particular, the ways in which the BJP treated its allies contributed to the magnitude of the NDA’s defeat. At the same time, we find that although the parties in the Grand Alliance coordinated their efforts better than the NDA, they did not attract more voters than in 2014.
  • Topic: Government, Politics, Elections
  • Political Geography: South Asia, India, Asia
  • Author: Rajiv Kumar, Geetima Das Krishna, Ankit Bhardwaj
  • Publication Date: 01-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Policy Research, India
  • Abstract: The Indradhanush framework with its seven pronged plan was unveiled by Finance Minister Mr Arun Jaitley on 14th August 2015 for revamping Public Sector Banks (PSBs) of India. In this paper, we look at the deteriorating profitability, asset quality, capital position of PSBs along with previous bank recapitalisation expenditure of the government. The seven reform initiatives in Indradhanush are compared with Nayak Committee recommendations. We summarise that Indradhanush does not propose any ground-breaking reforms for the PSBs. Re-capitalisation or infusion of capital into PSBs is its central theme. This opens up a debate on whether the capital infusion is adequate for all banks. Given various constraints for the government, we feel Indradhanush is definitely the step in the right direction. It does incorporate some of the initiatives mentioned in Nayak Committee report but does not fully embrace the essence of the bold Nayak recommendations. PSBs accounting for 70 percent of the banking system and saddled with high NPAs will be an impediment to growth unless the government acts fast to revamp this sector.
  • Topic: Government, Reform, Finance, Banks
  • Political Geography: South Asia, India, Asia
  • 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
  • Author: George Selgin
  • Publication Date: 03-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: Not long ago a colleague of mine, who works regularly with legislators, attended a conference at which the lunch speaker, a famous economist, began by telling everyone why governments regulate financial institutions. The reasons the economist gave consisted of various (supposed) financial-market failures. Said the colleague to me later: “I just wanted to stand up and shout, 'That's got nothing to do with it!'” I relate this because some readers may otherwise fail to appreciate the importance of a work whose chief revelation is that financial legislation — and consequently the general structure of financial systems — are shaped by politics. My colleague didn't need to be told, but others, including many economists, evidently do. In Fragile by Design: The Political Origins of Banking Crises Scarce Credit, Charles Calomiris and Stephen Haber tell them. Banking arrangements, they argue, are “not a passive response to some efficiency criterion but rather the product of political deals that determine which laws are passed” (pp. 13 and 38). What's more, the laws such deals give rise to are, more often than not, detrimental to bank safety and soundness. In few words, banking instability has its roots, not in any fragility inherent to commercial banking, but in deals struck between governments and various interest groups. Fragile by Design is at once an alternative interpretation of the history of banking and a contribution to the debate on the causes of the recent crisis. Though other reviewers have tended to focus their attention on the latter contribution, many of Fragile by Design's most important insights, as well as many of its more serious flaws, are independent of its take on the subprime crisis. It is to those insights and flaws that I wish to draw attention
  • Topic: Government
  • Author: Frederic M. Wehrey, Ariel I. Ahram
  • Publication Date: 05-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: Since the eruption of the Arab Spring in 2011, centralized military power has broken down in North Africa, the Levant, and Yemen, and several weak Arab states have turned to local militias to help defend regimes. While these pro-government militias can play important security roles, they have limited military capacity and reliability. Transitioning militia fighters into national guard forces with formal ties to the national command structure can overcome some of these limitations, but the shift must be accompanied by a wider commitment to security sector reform and political power sharing.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: Yemen, Arabia, North Africa
  • Author: Shana Marshall
  • Publication Date: 04-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: The Egyptian military has gained unprecedented power since overseeing the ouster of two Egyptian presidents, Hosni Mubarak in 2011 and Mohamed Morsi in 2013. With its major political rivals sidelined, more than $20 billion in Gulf aid, and widespread domestic support for General-Turned-President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, the Egyptian Armed Forces (EAF) has restarted its defunct industrial operations, secured control over massive infrastructure projects, and inserted generals at virtually all levels of government. But political overreach and internal rivalries may prove obstacles to long-term EAF control.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: Egypt
  • 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: 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
  • Author: Lant Pritchett, Yamini Aiyar
  • Publication Date: 06-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University
  • Abstract: We combine newly created data on per student government expenditure on children in government elementary schools across India, data on per student expenditure by households on students attending private elementary schools, and the ASER measure of learning achievement of students in rural areas. The combination of these three sources allows us to compare both the "accounting cost" difference of public and private schools and also the "economic cost"—what it would take public schools, at their existing efficacy in producing learning, to achieve the learning results of the private sector. We estimate that the "accounting cost" per student in a government school in the median state in 2011/12 was Rs. 14,615 while the median child in private school cost Rs. 5,961. Hence in the typical Indian state, educating a student in government school costs more than twice as much than in private school, a gap of Rs. 7,906. Just these accounting cost gaps aggregated state by state suggests an annual excess of public over private cost of children enrolled in government schools of Rs. 50,000 crores (one crore=10 million) or 0.6 percent of GDP. But even that staggering estimate does not account for the observed learning differentials between public and private. We produce a measure of inefficiency that combines both the excess accounting cost and a money metric estimate of the cost of the inefficacy of lower learning achievement. This measure is the cost at which government schools would be predicted to reach the learning levels of the private sector. Combining the calculations of accounting cost differentials plus the cost of reaching the higher levels of learning observed in the private sector state by state (as both accounting cost differences and learning differences vary widely across states) implies that the excess cost of achieving the existing private learning levels at public sector costs is Rs. 232,000 crores (2.78% of GDP, or nearly US$50 billion). It might seem counterintuitive that the total loss to inefficiency is larger than the actual budget, but that is because the actual budget produces such low levels of learning at such high cost that when the loss from both higher expenditures and lower outputs are measured it exceeds expenditures.
  • Topic: Economics, Education, Government, Children, Youth
  • Political Geography: South Asia, India
  • Author: Abhijit Banerjee, Rema Hanna, Jordan C. Kyle, Benjamin A. Olken, Sudarno Sumarto
  • Publication Date: 02-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University
  • Abstract: Can governments improve aid programs by providing information to beneficiaries? In our model, information can change how much aid citizens receive as they bargain with local officials who implement national programs. In a large-scale field experiment, we test whether mailing cards with program information to beneficiaries increases their subsidy from a subsidized rice program. Beneficiaries received 26 percent more subsidy in card villages. Ineligible households received no less, so this represents lower leakage. The evidence suggests that this effect is driven by citizen bargaining with local officials. Experimentally adding the official price to the cards increased the subsidy by 21 percent compared to cards without price information. Additional public information increased higher-order knowledge about eligibility, leading to a 16 percent increase in subsidy compared to just distributing cards. In short, increased transparency empowered citizens to reduce leakages and improve program functioning.
  • Topic: Government, Humanitarian Aid, Food, Political and institutional effectiveness, Social Policy
  • Political Geography: Indonesia, Southeast Asia
  • Author: Owen Barder
  • Publication Date: 05-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: Governments, donors, and public sector agencies are seeking productive ways to 'crowd in' private sector involvement and capital to tackle international development challenges. The financial instruments that are used to create incentives for private sector involvement are typically those that lower an investment's risk (such as credit guarantees) or those that lower the costs of various inputs (such as concessional loans, which subsidise borrowing).
  • Topic: Development, Government