Killian Clarke, "Unexpected Brokers of Mobilization: Contingency and Networks in the 2011 Egyptian Uprising"

Before 2011, Egyptian society was seen as weak and fragmented, capable only of mounting limited collective challenges to a powerful and repressive authoritarian state. The uprising of 2011 therefore came as a shock, raising profound questions about how such an ostensibly weak society could generate the kind of mobilization necessary to overwhelm the Egyptian regime’s feared security apparatus. In this article, I argue that this unexpected uprising was made possible by a sudden and ultimately contingent set of changes in the configuration of Egypt’s social structures. I show how the success of the revolution in neighboring Tunisia catalyzed a rapid shift in the perceptions and considerations of a set of strategically positioned actors, who began serving as brokers between three otherwise autonomous social sectors.

Nadya Hajj, "Institutional Formation in Transitional Settings"

How do formalized property rights develop in transitional settings where there is an absence of formal state structures? This paper hypothesizes that, in the presence of capital for investment, a non-state hegemon with long time horizons can intervene to formalize property rights. The hypothesis is tested using 191 surveys and interviews collected in Nahr al Bared (NBC) and Beddawi refugee camps in Lebanon. Results suggest that following an influx of remittances, Fatah formalized property rights through the creation of local camp committee offices that served as a third-party enforcement mechanism. Also, the results uncover an alternative political motivation for property right formalization. In transitional settings, formalized property rights serve critical state-building functions by uniting and galvanizing a community around a new political party.

Ryan E. Carlin, Gregory J. Love, and Elizabeth J. Zechmeister, "Trust Shaken: Earthquake Damage, State Capacity, and Interpersonal Trust in Comparative Perspective"

Social capital is vital to disaster recovery, so how do natural disasters affect a country’s social capital stockpile? The article addresses this question by focusing on interpersonal trust. We argue that the effects of natural disasters on interpersonal trust depend upon state capacity. States that manage to maintain law and order, deliver aid to disaster victims, and provide crucial services to those in need can minimize the negative implications of disaster experience on interpersonal trust. We assess this proposition using survey data collected following devastating earthquakes in El Salvador (2001), Haiti (2010), and Chile (2010). Results from our matching and regression analyses demonstrate that state capacity, indeed, has important consequences for levels of interpersonal trust in the wake of natural disasters.

Felipe Amin Filomeno, "Patterns of Rule-Making and Intellectual Property Regimes: Lessons from South American Soybean Agriculture"

Around 1980, states and corporations from core countries led by the U.S. government started to demand from other countries reforms that increased the scope and strength of private intellectual property rights. The resulting global upward ratchet of intellectual property protection has not developed uniformly across time and space. This study presents a theory of cross-national variation in intellectual property regimes based on a comparative-historical analysis of the making of intellectual property rules in South American soybean agriculture (Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay). It concludes that a corporatist pattern of rule-making is conducive to a weak intellectual property regime (Argentina), whereas pluralism (Brazil) and state capture and abstention (Paraguay) are more conducive to strong intellectual property regimes.

William Hurst, Mingxing Liu, Yongdong Liu, and Ran Tao, "Reassessing Collective Petitioning in Rural China: Civic Engagement, Extra-State Violence, and Regional Variation"

Based on our analysis of a survey of 120 villages across six Chinese provinces, as well as more than one hundred in-depth interviews across these same regions, we found two distinct pathways to local political stability. A “virtuous path,” based on civic participation and engagement, in which autonomous or quasi-independent organizations play important roles in collective action and promoting good governance, appears robust. However, it is also clearly bounded by region, effective only in parts of Fujian province. A more sinister path, based on a parasitic and violent co-dependency of local states and crime syndicates—what we have termed insidious symbiosis—seems more widespread across other regions. This contrast carries broad implications for the study of China, subnational governance, and politics of contention more generally.

Ezequiel González Ocantos, "Persuade Them or Oust Them: Crafting Judicial Change and Transitional Justice in Argentina"

What explains sea changes in patterns of judicial behavior, such as those associated with the newwave of transitional justice in Latin America? Unlike theories that put emphasis on the causal force of politicians’ preferences vis-à-vis truth and justice, or strategic understandings of judicial behavior, this paper argues that deep institutional transformations must occur within judiciaries: cultures of legal interpretation and judicial personnel must change. I argue that in the case of transitional justice, human rights NGOs are the ones that manufacture these transformations via informal pedagogical interventions and personnel turnover strategies. The argument is illustrated with a case study of Argentina, using a combination of qualitative and quantitative data. The research design takes advantage of internal temporal and geographical variation in judicial outcomes.