Ramazan Kilinç, "International Pressure, Domestic Politics, and the Dynamics of Religious Freedom: Evidence from Turkey"

Why do state policies toward religious minorities—shaped by long-term historical institutions—change? Although explanations based on secularization, religion, ideology, rational choice, and international context have advanced our knowledge of the origins of freedoms for religious minorities, they have not sufficiently addressed the interaction between international pressure and domestic actors. In an effort to develop a synthetic theory of religious freedoms, this article argues that the implementation of international norms on religious freedoms depends on the availability of relatively stronger domestic actors who support the reforms due to either their material interests or normative commitments. This argument is demonstrated by an in-depth study of liberal reforms for Christian minorities in Turkey in the 2000s.

Mogens K. Justesen, "Better Safe than Sorry: How Property Rights and Veto Players Jointly Affect Economic Growth"

A growing literature argues that division of powers matter for economic growth by increasing the security of property rights. However, less effort has been devoted to examining the political and institutional conditions under which property rights have economic effects. This paper emphasizes that the economic effects of property rights depend on the division of powers between veto players, meaning that the interaction of veto players and property rights matters for economic growth. This argument is tested empirically on a panel of developing countries. The results show that the economic effects of property rights increase significantly as power sharing between veto players increases. This suggests that property rights matter mainly in the context of institutions dividing political powers between veto players.

Inge Amundsen, "Drowning in Oil: Angola's Institutions and the 'Resource Curse'"

Institutional factors are increasingly highlighted to explain the “resource curse” or, why some countries with rich natural resources have little long-term economic and political development. This paper makes the analytical distinction between institutions of extraction (institutions enabling and protecting rents extraction) and institutions of redistribution (institutions of power and revenue sharing). The paper uses Angola to illustrate that the former are protected and buttressed to enable rents-appropriation, whereas the latter are side-lined and impaired to prevent power and wealth redistribution. The strengths of the former and the weaknesses of the latter have led to monopolization, elite predation, and usurpation. Angola also strengthens the hypothesis that countries are cursed only when the oil boom appears before accountable and democratic state institutions are established and consolidated.

Ameya Balsekar, "Seeking Offense: Censorship as Strategy in Indian Party Politics"

India is often said to be going through an “age of intolerance” manifest in extensive demands for censorship in the wake of cultural offense. This study uses an analysis of a case of sub-national variation in the demand for and supply of censorship to suggest that, rather than merely being a manifestation of intolerance or extremism, “seeking offense” may also be used as a political strategy in ethnic politics. Moreover, this strategy may achieve a special potency in contexts in which the “offended” group can make a credible claim of being neglected by incumbents. The findings suggest that censorship in India may be a medium through which demands for equal treatment and substantive inclusion play out politically.

Nina S. Barzachka, "When Winning Seats is Not Everything: Tactical Seat-Loss during Democratization"

When do incumbent parties that expect to win elections under majoritarian electoral rules adopt more proportional electoral systems and forgo seat-maximization? Electoral system reforms from two different political contexts, late 19th-century Belgium and post-communist Bulgaria disrupt predictions that PR is adopted by parties facing electoral defeat or high uncertainty. I argue that dominant party status and the extra-institutional tactics of the opposition can cause incumbents to eschew seat-maximization. When a powerful ruling party is more concerned about the stability of the regime than about victory in the upcoming election, it can accept a tactical loss of legislative seats in exchange for gains in the arena of regime transition.

Antonis A. Ellinas and Iasonas Lamprianou, "Political Trust in extremis"

Political trust can have a major impact on democratic politics by affecting political participation, institutional effectiveness, and policy choices. Given the significance of political trust for the functioning of democracy, it is important to know how the way citizens relate with political actors and institutions changes in times of extraordinary shock. Using Greece as a case, this article shows that during times of major distress, the way schools and hospitals are run—the “social” performance of government—has an important effect on political trust. This effect is stronger during extraordinary circumstances than under normal conditions. The evidence suggests that international creditors must pay more systematic attention to the administrative effectiveness of social welfare institutions rather than focusing solely on economic performance.