Kate Baldwin, "When Politicians Cede Control of Resources: Land, Chiefs, and Coalition Building in Africa"

Why would politicians give up power over the allocation of resources to community leaders? This article examines why many African governments have ceded power over the allocation of land to unelected traditional leaders. In contrast to the existing literature, which suggests that traditional leaders’ power is a historical holdover that has not been eliminated due to weak state capacity, I argue that African political leaders often choose to cede power to traditional leaders as a means of mobilizing electoral support from non-coethnics. I find support for this argument using a new subnational dataset that includes approximately 180 regions in eighteen African countries. The cross-sectional analysis is complemented by case studies of the dynamics of the devolution of power to traditional chiefs.

Ryan Kennedy, "Fading Colours? A Synthetic Comparative Case Study of the Impact of 'Colour Revolutions'"

The “colour revolutions” sparked a wave of optimistic commentaries about democratization in semi-authoritarian states. Today, however, there is considerable debate over whether these “revolutions” produced real reform. We utilize a synthetic control method of comparative case studies to evaluate improvements following the “colour revolutions.” The results show divergent patterns. Serbia experienced the most thorough changes in effective democracy. Ukraine increased democratic freedoms, but failed to control corruption. Georgia marginally improved the control of corruption, but little else. Kyrgyzstan appears to have become worse overall. The synthetic comparisons suggest that these divergent outcomes are largely due to influences present well in advance of political upheaval. These findings illuminate the sources of cyclical political change in semi-authoritarian countries and the effect of domestic structural factors on democracy promotion.

Bonnie N. Field, "Minority Parliamentary Government and Multilevel Politics: Spain's System of Mutual Back Scratching"

This article analyzes how multilevel territorial politics impact the performance of minority parliamentary governments. It tests whether the governing status of a regional party at the regional level—whether it is governing, and, if so, in which type of cabinet—affects its level of support for a statewide party governing in minority at the national level. Using the Spanish case, it concludes that governing dynamics at the regional level affect regional parties’ behavior in the national parliament. Furthermore, a regional party’s support for the national government is, in part, dependent upon its own need for support to govern in its region. Both findings suggest that particular regional governing dynamics can assure or complicate a minority government’s ability to attain the parliamentary support necessary to govern.

Thamy Pogrebinschi and David Samuels, "The Impact of Participatory Democracy: Evidence from Brazil's National Public Policy Conferences"

Political theorists and empirical scholars have long assumed that democracy and participation are necessarily in tension. Partly for this reason, research on participatory democracy has focused on “mini-publics”—relatively small-scale and/or local practices. Through an exploration of Brazil’s National Public Policy Conferences, we provide the first evidence that participatory governance practices can directly shape important national public policy outcomes at the national level. Our findings call into question the longstanding critique that participatory practices are impractical on a large scale and thus unimportant to the overall functioning and quality of democracy. We find that participatory practices can deepen democratic regimes by opening the doors for greater and more direct civil society input into the substantive content of national governance.

Sarah Zukerman Daly, "The Dark Side of Power-Sharing: Middle Managers and Civil War Recurrence"

This article seeks to explain sub-national, spatial, and temporal variation in the return to violence following civil war termination in Colombia. In 1958, La Violencia ended in negotiated settlement, but peace was short-lived with violence recurring within several years. However, violence resumed in only 45% of the municipalities affected by prior conflict, while 55% consolidated peace. This article argues that power-sharing’s success at solving elite commitment problems undermined the accords between the commanders and mid-tier officers. As a result, betrayed and resentful officers faced incentives to rearm. Where these middle managers had built their units on local social infrastructures, they proved able to remobilize. Where the factions were non-local to their regions of operation, the organizations disintegrated, and peace was preserved.

David Ost, Review Essay, "Does Neoliberalism Marginalize Labor or Reincorporate It—And Is There a Difference?"

The books reviewed in this article focus on unions struggling to survive and on states seeking to install and stabilize a post-Fordist regime based on individual over collective incorporation of labor. Established unions deploy organizational, institutional, or cultural resources for protection but continue to lose ground. But this neoliberal regulatory regime, theorized by Deyo as an “augmented Washington Consensus,” is not just an attack, but also an effort to reincorporate labor without the collective rights of the past. Pushback against unions is accompanied by efforts to tie workers individually to the state. Yet, the use of political liberalism to promote economic liberalism can cause fights against the latter to take the form of political illiberalism. The books thus demonstrate that efforts to marginalize labor are highly consequential for both states and democracy.