Volume 45, Number 3, April 2013

Maya Tudor, "Explaining Democracy's Origins: Lessons from South Asia"

Why, upon the 1947 Partition of British India, was India able to establish a stable democracy while structurally similar Pakistan created an unstable autocracy? The differential strengths of India and Pakistan’s independence movements directly account for their divergent democratization trajectories. These movements were initially constructed to pursue historically conditioned class interests. An examination of these movements leads to a broader theory of democratic origins, which qualifies the prevailing notion that a country’s democratization prospects can be attributed to its levels of economic development or inequality.

Clark C. Gibson and Barak D. Hoffman, "Coalitions not Conflicts: Ethnicity, Political Institutions, and Expenditure in Africa"

Scholars blame high levels of ethnic heterogeneity for many social and political ills, including poor economic growth, corruption, and policy gridlock. But it can be argued that, in seeking reelection, politicians will join multiethnic coalitions to pass policies in this endeavor. Further, government expenditure increases with coalition size, as each politician seeks policies that benefit his or her own constituents. Subnational data from Zambia, the use of which helps control for country-level factors hindering standard cross-national studies of fiscal politics, indicate that government spending increases with ethnic heterogeneity. This evidence challenges studies which ignore the incentives generated by political institutions and claim that ethnicity leads directly to undesirable outcomes.

Brandon Kendhammer, "The Sharia Controversy in Northern Nigeria and the Politics of Islamic Law in New and Uncertain Democracies"

In recent years, scholars have struggled to explain high levels of support for both state-sponsored Islamic law (sharia) and democracy in many new Muslim-majority democracies. The origins of popular support for Islamic law in uncertain democratic environments can be considered using the case of Northern Nigeria, where twelve states implemented sharia through democratic institutions during the early 2000s. Sharia implementation movements gain popular support by framing problems common to new democracies (corruption, inequality, poor governance) as moral concerns to be addressed by the state’s enforcement of ethical conduct. While sharia implementation has had a dubious effect on democratic governance in Nigeria and elsewhere, support for Islamic law is likely to endure within Muslim communities where governance remains poor.

Maren Milligan, "Fighting for the Right to Exist: Institutions, Identity, and Conflict in Jos, Nigeria"

Power sharing, or the predetermined allocation of state resources to putative groups, is an increasingly popular conflict resolution mechanism throughout the globe. However, critics argue it rests on ill-founded assumptions of group fixity, deepening divides it seeks to overcome. Proponents respond that liberal consociationalism reduces conflict by allowing for self-determined groups. In order to evaluate these claims, a model of power sharing explains the incidence of conflict in Jos, Nigeria. The findings refute the claims of liberal consociationalism regarding the conflict-mitigating potential of self-determination of groups. National conflagration of localized conflict resulting from power sharing suggests that ethno-federal power sharing does not quarantine conflict.

Anne Mariel Zimmermann, "State as Chimera: Aid, Parallel Institutions, and State Power"

Foreign donors use a variety of mechanisms to effect public goods in aid recipients. The two most common mechanisms, traditional aid and conditionality, are implemented through the domestic institutions of the recipient state. Yet a third mechanism, the “parallel institution,” bypasses domestic institutions to provide public goods within well-defined sectors or territories. Parallel institutions are distinct from other forms of aid. The autonomy and core capabilities of parallel institutions allow them to produce higher levels of public goods, but simultaneously hinder the infrastructural power of the recipient state.

Gulnaz Sharafutdinova, "Gestalt Switch in Russian Federalism? The Decline in Regional Power under Putin"

Why did Russian governors unexpectedly acquiesce to centralizing reforms undertaken by Vladimir Putin? Interviews with regional and central politicians and an analysis of speeches during 1990–2009 reveal that interests alone cannot account for the presence or absence of governors’ political action. Understanding governors’ (in)action requires uncovering the grounds for its justification and legitimation. The enabling role of the discourse, fusing the ideas of democracy and federalism, propelled autonomous behavior on the part of regional elites. The shift in the dominant discursive frame that occurred in Russia under the leadership of Putin brought to prominence the idea of strengthening state power, thus making defiant and autonomy-seeking behavior by regional elites untenable.

Volume 45, Number 2, January 2013

Barak D. Hoffman and James D. Long, "Parties, Ethnicity, and Voting in African Elections"

Standard theories about elections in Africa suggest that they are little more than ethnic headcounts. Data from an exit poll conducted on Election Day in Ghana’s 2008 election challenges this view. The two main parties, the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and the New Patriotic Party (NPP), drew support from many ethnic groups; and there was little evidence of ethnic block voting. Rather, voters’ beliefs about the parties and incumbent performance were the main determinants of vote choice. Evaluations of the attributes of the NDC and NPP shaped the outcome of Ghana’s 2008 election far more than the ethnic identity of the candidates. These results hold important implications for understanding voting, parties, and government performance in multiethnic democracies.

Leonardo Arriola, "Protesting and Policing in a Multiethnic Authoritarian State: Evidence from Ethiopia"

The antigovernment protests that erupted in one ethnic region of Ethiopia can be attributed to the group’s historical grievances or to its access to mobilizing resources. However, conventional explanations are insufficient in accounting for protest patterns in terms of their geographic distribution or varying levels of violence. The likelihood of protest onset was inversely related to local heterogeneity, intraethnic as well as interethnic. Protest violence spiraled through the interaction between ethnic homogeneity and the government’s policing strategy. Woundings were less likely to occur in localities where protesters were repressed by police forces staffed by their own co-ethnics.

Matthew M. Singer, "Economic Voting in an Era of Non-Crisis: The Changing Electoral Agenda in Latin America, 1982-2010"

Latin America’s political economy has shifted in the three decades since the return to democratization, with the inflationary crises of the 1980s fading into the past. One consequence of this change is a reduction in the electoral salience of inflation. While electoral support for the incumbent in the 1980s and 1990s was strongly tied to his or her ability to prevent increases in prices, in the 2000–2010 period there was no significant association between inflation rates and election outcomes. Instead, incumbents who presided over a growing economy in the last decade reaped electoral benefits. The importance of the economy for electoral outcomes varies over time and even across economic indicators.

Lee Demetrius Walker and Genevieve Kehoe, "Regime Transition and Attitude toward Regime: The Latin American Gender Gap in Support for Democracy"

Latin American women are less likely than Latin American men to express a preference for democracy. This gender gap in support for democracy is partly a function of the level of attachment that women as a group have for the democratic regime, and this level of attachment is determined by the mode in which democratic transition occurs. Four models examining the gendered attitude-toward-regime decision in seventeen countries over four time periods show that when women are involved as significant political actors at the time of the democratic transition, their support for democracy varies in ways similar to their male counterparts. When women have lesser roles, gender specific behaviors emerge.

Timothy Hicks, "Partisan Strategy and Path Dependence: The Post-War Emergence of Health Systems in the UK and Sweden"

Why did a highly redistributive, nationalized health care system emerge in the UK, where the Left was comparatively weak, while a more redistributively neutral, cash-centric, insurance-based system was pursued in Sweden, where the Left was strong? The explanation is two fold. First, in contrast to the Swedish Social Democrats, the weakness of the British Labour Party constrained it to pursue redistribution via health policy. Second, given the redistributive goals of the National Health Service, it became imperative for the Labour Party to construct a system that would be difficult for future Conservative governments to retrench. More generally, this formulation posits rational actors operating in the kinds of processes typically studied by historical institutionalists. The result is a tendency for a type of path dependence by design.

Patrick Emmenegger and Robert Klemmensen, "What Motivates You? The Relationship between Preferences for Redistribution and Attitudes toward Immigration"

The tension between immigration and redistribution has attracted increased attention in recent years. Many authors argue, based on economic self-interest theory, that there is a negative relationship between support for redistribution and preferred levels of immigration. Notwithstanding the role of economic self-interest, there is in fact a multitude of motivations that moderate the relationship between preferences for redistribution and attitudes toward immigration. A model of preferences for immigration shows that self-interested and strongly reciprocal individuals experience a tension between immigration and redistribution, while egalitarians do not experience this tension. Humanitarians express a general willingness to help those who are worse off, immigrants included, but this motivation does not affect their preferences for redistribution.

Volume 45, Number 1, October 2012

Evan S. Lieberman and Prerna Singh, "The Institutional Origins of Ethnic Violence"

Scholars have made substantial progress toward understanding the connections between ethnic relations and civil war, but important theoretical and empirical gaps remain. Existing explanations often ignore the constructivist origins of ethnic group formation, or are too proximate to the outcome under investigation, so that the link between ethnic political competition and ethnic violence is difficult to pick apart. An alternative approach is an explanation of ethnic violence rooted in the microfoundations of social identity theory (SIT). When states consistently employ ethnic categories across institutions, they lay the foundation for conflicts over status and power, facilitating recruitment and mobilization on the basis of emotion-laden intergroup comparisons and competition. The strength of these claims is demonstrated through a comparative-historical analysis of ethnic violence in eleven Southern African countries.

Kurt Weyland, "Diffusion Waves in European Democratization: The Impact of Organizational Development"

Surprisingly, waves of political regime contention in Europe have slowed down through history but have achieved more success in triggering advances toward democracy, as a comparison of the revolutions of 1848 and 1917—1919 shows. Major organizational developments account for these inverse trends. Before political mass organizations arose, ordinary people decided whether to emulate foreign challenges to established autocrats. Short on information, citizens relied heavily on inferential shortcuts and acted rashly, with little success. After the rise of mass organizations, common people took cues from their representative leaders, who had more information and greater processing capacity. Before emulating an external precedent and challenging their ruler, leaders waited for propitious circumstances. Therefore, twentieth century regime contention diffused more slowly yet with greater success.

Roger Karapin, "Explaining Success and Failure in Climate Policies: Developing Theory through German Case Studies"

Theories of environmental outcomes have been developed mostly through large-N cross-national studies, which have a structuralist bias and rely heavily on correlations. Structured, focused case studies can help overcome those limitations by incorporating political processes and identifying causal mechanisms. Climate policy outcomes in Germany vary greatly across policy areas such as emissions target setting, the economic transformation of eastern Germany, renewable energy, ecological tax reform, voluntary agreements with industry, emissions trading, and unregulated increases in the consumption of household heating, transportation, and electricity. Comparative analysis of nine case studies indicates that environmental outcome theories should more fully include external focusing events, advocacy coalition formation, multiple paths of influence for green parties, and the negative effects of neocorporatism and unregulated technological change and consumption.

Adam Ziegfeld, "Coalition Government and Party System Change: Explaining the Rise of Regional Political Parties in India"

Why do party systems in longstanding democracies sometimes experience sudden change? Neither sociological nor institutional explanations can account for the swift increase in support for regional political parties in India in the 1990s. Instead, the shift from single-party majority to coalition government explains the rise of regional parties. The advent of coalition government increased the incentives associated with joining and establishing regional parties, prompting many already popular politicians to leave their national parties and take their supporters with them as they formed new regional parties in the 1990s. This finding reverses the causal arrow that usually links party systems and coalition government and illustrates how noninstitutional elements of the political context can determine elite incentives and thereby shape party systems.

Mariela Szwarcberg, "Uncertainty, Political Clientelism, and Voter Turnout in Latin America: Why Parties Conduct Rallies in Argentina"

Party brokers have information about voters’ political preferences and likelihood of turning out to vote, and are able to target clientelistic inducements and monitor voter participation in exchange for voters’ electoral support. However, brokers may also use the clientelistic inducements they receive from bosses to pursue their personal enrichment, at the cost of lost votes for their party. An original dataset tracing the political careers of 137 municipal candidates in Argentina shows how bosses combine information from voter turnout at rallies and elections. By comparing a broker’s ability to mobilize voters, bosses are able to make inferences about reliable brokers who will distribute party goods to voters, and unreliable brokers who will use party goods to pad their own pockets.

Review Article: Evgeny Finkel, "Mass Killing and Local Context"

Until recently the mass murder and civil war scholarships developed alongside each other without engaging in fruitful dialogue or building on one another’s insights and findings. However, as the reviewed books demonstrate, following the “micropolitical turn” in the study of civil war, and with the genocide scholarship moving away from the state-centered approach, there is a convergence between the two literatures. The new wave of research on mass violence builds on the findings and theories of the civil conflict literature, proposes ways in which each field can contribute to its counterpart, and puts forward new questions and research agendas for further research on mass violence.

Volume 44, Number 4, July 2012

Alfred Stepan, "Rituals of Respect: Sufis and Secularists in Senegal in Comparative Perspective"

“Rituals of respect” are recurrent, public, and reciprocal political practices. In Sufi-majority Senegal, such practices first facilitated accommodation among a variety of groups in potential conflict, and later facilitated tolerance, then respect, and eventually democracy. The social construction of horizontal rituals of respect between religious groups, especially Sufis and Catholics, and reciprocal vertical rituals of respect between the secular state and virtually all religious groups, have created this “twin tolerations”- friendly environment. Three of the major dimensions of this pattern—a “co-celebratory” dimension of diverse religions, a consensual state-religion “policy cooperation” dimension, and a “principled distance” dimension of support for human rights and democracy—are also prominent in several countries which have large Muslim populations and are widely seen as having been democracies for the last ten years, namely, Indonesia, India, and Albania.

Ted Brader and Joshua A. Tucker, "Following the Party's Lead: Party Cues, Policy Opinion, and the Power of Partisanship in Three Multiparty Systems"

In the United States, considerable evidence documents the power of partisanship to shape voter preferences. But does partisanship have similar powers beyond American shores? Observational evidence leads some in this old debate to answer yes, but others to contend partisanship merely restates party vote. Experimentation can clarify what powers, if any, partisanship wields over voters in specific countries. If effects differ across countries, then scholars can turn their attention to explaining why. Survey experiments conducted in three countries where multiple parties viably compete for legislative seats—Great Britain, Hungary, and Poland—demonstrate that, when cues are available, party identifiers often follow their party’s lead when expressing policy preferences. However, the pattern of results suggests this power may strengthen with party system crystallization.

Gabriel Aguilera, "Party Discipline, Electoral Competition, and Banking Reforms in Democratic Mexico"

Has democratization in Mexico begun to tilt policies in favor of consumers and away from entrenched interest groups, as some scholars predict? Evidence from post-crisis banking reform efforts during 1995 to 2000 suggests that a sharp increase in interparty electoral competition did have salutary effects for consumers. It created incentives for the PRI government, with legislative support from the PAN, to improve capital adequacy and liberalize foreign investment that stabilized the banking system. However, high party discipline—low intraparty competition—created incentives for the PRI-PAN to collude to implement profit-padding regulations that benefitted bankers and harmed consumers. Party discipline appears to be a significant obstacle for consumer-friendly regulatory reforms in Mexico.

Matthew C. Ingram, "Crafting Courts in New Democracies: Ideology and Judicial Council Reforms in Three Mexican States"

Existing explanations of judicial reform emphasize the positive effects of electoral competition. However, multiple, competing, and even contradictory mechanisms behind this association obfuscate causation, and variation in the timing and content of reforms remains puzzling for these accounts. Leveraging a “most similar” comparative design at the subnational level across three Mexican states, and drawing on archival analysis and interviews with judges and other legal elites, principled ideological factors are found to shape judicial reform. That is, judicial reform is less a mechanical side effect of increasing electoral competition and more the product of principled, purposeful action. These findings emphasize the role of agency and ideas in building democratic institutions.

Alexander Kuo and Yotam Margalit, "Measuring Individual Identity: Experimental Evidence"

What determines the identity category to which individuals feel they most belong? What is the political significance of one’s proclaimed identity? Recent research addresses these questions using surveys that explicitly ask individuals about their identity. Yet little is known about the nature of the attachments conveyed in responses to identity questions. The findings of a set of studies and experiments investigating these reported attachments suggest that the purported identity captured in survey responses varies significantly within subjects over time; changes in people’s primary identity can be highly influenced by situational triggers; and changes in purported self-identity do not imply a corresponding change in policy preferences. These results are drawn from three studies that vary in terms of design, country sample, and research instrument.

Review Article: Martin A. Schain, "The Comparative Politics of Immigration"

Scholarship on the politics of immigration has increased impressively among political scientists and scholars of comparative politics. The books analyzed in this review all synthesize and, in their own way, build upon the literature that has evolved over the past two decades, addressing questions at the core of this literature or posing new questions. Perhaps most important, each takes a comparative approach to the politics of immigration, focusing on post-World War II immigration policies in Western Europe; variations in immigrant conflict among different immigrant groups, across localities and cross-nationally; differences in citizenship policy among countries at similar levels of development and changes in well-established policies over time; and the connections between naturalization policy and naturalization rates and the historical relationship of colonizing, noncolonizing, and settler countries with immigrant populations.

Volume 44, Number 3, April 2012

Allyson Lucinda Benton, "Bottom-Up Challenges to National Democracy: Mexico's (Legal) Subnational Authoritarian Enclaves"

How have Mexico’s community-based democratic institutions, known as Usos y Costumbres (UyC) or Uses and Customs systems, affected local and national politics? Although informal UyC practices exist throughout Mexico, the state of Oaxaca formally changed its electoral codes in 1995 to legalize UyC. Statistical analysis of national election results shows that Oaxacan municipalities that formally adopted UyC systems thereafter experienced higher first-place party margins and higher levels of abstention compared to non-UyC systems. That these systems helped local leaders engineer election outcomes while reducing participation, even in national elections, undermines arguments about their democratic benefits. UyC rules appear to help preserve local authoritarian enclaves, with negative consequences for national democracy.

Peter Thisted Dinesen, "Parental Transmission of Trust or Perceptions of Institutional Fairness? Generalized Trust of Non-Western Immigrants in a High-Trust Society"

Looking at young immigrants from low-trust, non-Western countries in the high-trust society of Denmark, two perspectives on how generalized trust is formed can be examined. The first is a cultural perspective emphasizing that trust is a stable cultural trait passed on from one generation to the next through parental socialization. The second is an experiential perspective emphasizing the role of perceptions of fairness of state institutions concerning equal treatment of immigrants and natives. Building on a new Danish survey, results show that both parental transmission of trust as well as perceptions of institutional fairness matter for the level of trust of young immigrants, but the impact of the latter is considerably stronger. Additional analyses show that these perceptions are mainly formed by concrete experiences of fairness of teachers in school.

Evgeny Finkel, "The Authoritarian Advantage of Horizontal Accountability: Ombudsmen in Poland and Russia"

In recent decades, the number of national level ombudsmen has more than quintupled. The institution now exists in about 120 states, many of which are new democracies, hybrid regimes, or states undergoing regime transition. Some ombudsmen are powerful and influential; others are weak and marginalized. This variation can be explained by three factors: (1) the type of regime under which the institution was created; (2) whether the ombudsman challenges the government; and (3) the ombudsman’s ability to build coalitions with other actors. Though counterintuitive, more powerful ombudsmen are those created before the transition to democracy. The implication of this argument is that the creation of ombudsmen should precede rather than follow the formal transition to democracy.

Amos J. Zehavi, "Veto Players, Path Dependency, and Reform of Public Aid Policy to Private Schools: Australia, New Zealand, and the United States"

Two main weaknesses of the new institutionalism literature, one associated with veto player theories and the other with path dependency theories, help account for the framework’s inadequacy in theorizing change, especially radical change. A comparison of the divergent development of public aid to private schools in three countries—Australia, New Zealand, and the United States—demonstrates the importance of two factors that potentially mitigate the status quo—preserving effect of veto points and path dependency: the multifaceted nature of veto points and the political clout of status quo challengers. Even in what initially appear to be highly constrained institutional systems, significant reform can occur, at either a rapid or slow pace.

Eitan Y. Alimi and Sivan Hirsch-Hoefler, "Structure of Political Opportunities and Threats, and Movement-Countermovement Interaction in Segmented Composite Regimes"

How do changes in the structure of political opportunities and threats shape movement- countermovement interaction in composite regimes where different groups within the population are divided along ethnonational lines? In cases where one movement is structurally disadvantaged and the other is structurally advantaged, valuable theoretical insights into movement-countermovement interaction can be generated. Employing the case of the Palestinian and Jewish settler movements during the 1987—1992 Intifada, three theoretical propositions are critically examined as they relate to how changes in the structure of political opportunities and threats influence the emergence and endurance of movement-countermovement interaction, the strategy and tactics of both movements, and the internal dynamics within each.

Review Article: David Art, "What Do We Know About Authoritarianism After Ten Years?"

The study of authoritarian regimes has become one of the hottest subfields in comparative politics over the last decade. The books covered in this review take up the critical questions of how authoritarian regimes are created and maintained. While this research program has profitably opened up the black box of authoritarian polities and taken their institutions seriously, there has been an asymmetric attention to the quasi-democratic features of these regimes—such as political parties and legislatures—at the expense of their coercive ones. Future work in this area would do well to address this imbalance, as well as to provide richer explanations of how institutions matter and better evidence of their effects.