Comparative Democracy Series

The Ash Center’s Comparative Democracy Seminar Series, run by Tarek Masoud, the Sultan of Oman Associate Professor of International Relations and Candelaria Garay, Associate Professor of Public Policy, brings innovative scholars in the field of comparative democracy to the Kennedy School to present their research.  Seminars have focused on topics as diverse as compulsory voting, the influence of Christian churches on public policy, the crisis of representation in Latin America, and the oil curse in the Middle East.

 

Past Events:

Do Ethnic Quotas Foster Ethnic Solidarity? Evidence from India

Date: Thursday, April 21, 2016, 4:10pm to 5:30pm

Location: Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation, 124 Mount Auburn Street, Suite 200-North, Cambridge, MA

About the Event:

Robson Professor of Political Science at the University of California, Berkeley Thad Dunning will present on his recent work "Do Ethnic Quotas Foster Ethnic Solidarity? Evidence from India" (co-authored with Jennifer Bussell).  This event is part of the Comparative Democracy Seminar Series.

About the Speaker: 

Thad Dunning is Robson Professor of Political Science at the University of California, Berkeley and directs the Center on the Politics of Development. He teaches graduate and undergraduate courses on comparative politics, political economy, and methodology. His substantive research in Latin America, Africa, and India has focused on ethnic voting, the consequences of political representation for minority groups, the role of intermediaries in distributing benefits in clientelist systems, and the consequences of natural resource wealth for democracy.  His methodological writings focus on causal inference, statistical analysis, natural experiments, and the integration of quantitative and qualitative methods. Dunning is the author of several award-winning books, including Crude Democracy: Natural Resource Wealth and Political Regimes (2008, Cambridge University Press), which received the Best Book Award from the APSA 's Comparative Democratization Section); Natural Experiments in the Social Sciences: A Design-Based Approach (2012, Cambridge University Press), which won the Best Book Award of the ASPA's Experimental Research Section; and Brokers, Voters, and Clientelism: The Puzzle of Distributive Politics (2013, Cambridge University Press, co-authored with Susan Stokes, Marcelo Nazareno, and Valeria Brusco), which was awarded the Luebbert Prize from the APSA's Comparative Politics section and the Best Book Award from the APSA 's Comparative Democratization Section. His articles have also appeared in the American Political Science ReviewComparative Political StudiesInternational OrganizationJournal of Conflict ResolutionPolitical AnalysisStudies in Comparative International Development, and other journals. Dunning received a Ph.D. degree in political science and an M.A. degree in economics from the University of California, Berkeley (2006). Before returning to Berkeley, he was Professor of Political Science at Yale University.

 

Building Support for Taxation in Developing Countries: Experimental Evidence from Mexico 

Date: Thursday, April 7, 2016, 4:10pm to 5:30 pm

Location: Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation, 124 Mount Auburn Street, Suite 200-North, Cambridge, MA

Please join us for the next presentation of the Ash Center's Comparative Democracy Seminar Series. Gustavo Flores-Macías is an Assistant Professor of Government and Director of the Latin American Studies Program at Cornell University.  His talk is entitled: "Building Support for Taxation in Developing Countries: Experimental Evidence from Mexico."

About the Event:
In spite of the importance of taxation for political and economic development, we know relatively little about the conditions under which citizens might not exact a political cost on leaders for adopting a particular tax. Drawing on insights from the literature on institutional design, Flores-Macías's research examines how certain features of taxes—such as allowing for civil society oversight, sunset provisions that make the duration finite, and earmark mechanisms that direct tax revenue for a specific purpose—affect political support behind them. He also evaluates the role of three important aspects of the fiscal exchange, namely trust in government, perceptions of the public good, and level of income. Based on an original survey experiment focusing on the provision of public safety in Mexico, Flores-Macías finds that these design features increase support for taxation, especially among those with low trust in government, perceptions of high quality of the public good, and low income. These findings have important implications for Mexico but also a number of other countries that have both low levels of extraction and increased public spending imperatives.

About the Speaker:

Gustavo Flores-Macías is Assistant Professor of Government and Director of the Latin American Studies Program at Cornell University. His research on the politics of economic reform, taxation, and state capacity has appeared in such journals as the American Political Science Review, Comparative Politics, Journal of Conflict Resolution, Journal of Democracy, Journal of Politics, Peace Review, Political Science Quarterly, Studies in Comparative International Development, and as chapters in edited volumes. He is the author of After Neoliberalism? The Left and Economic Reforms in Latin America (Oxford University Press 2012), which won the Latin American Studies Association's Tomassini Award. Before academia, he served as Director of Public Affairs in Mexico's Consumer Protection Agency. 

Listen to a recording of the event:

FileBuilding Support for Taxation in Developing Countries: Experimental Evidence from Mexico | AshCast by Harvard University

The Path to Denmark: How do Societies Develop Control of Corruption?

Date: Thursday, March 3, 2016, 4:10pm to  5:30pm

Location: Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation, 124 Mount Auburn Street, Suite 200-North, Cambridge, MA

About the Event:
The Ash Center cordially invites you to a discussion with Alina Mungiu-Pippidi, Professor of Democracy Studies at the Hertie School of Governance in Berlin, Germany as part of its Comparative Democracy Seminar Series. The author of  The Quest for Good Governance(Cambridge University Press 2015)  and leader of the EU funded 10 million euro framework research project ANTICORRP, Alina Mungiu-Pippidi takes up the challenge from where renowned authors Daron Acemoglu and James Robinson had left it in “Why Nations Fail”. If the difference in economic performance is accounted for by governance, what explains why so few countries engage on the path of open and inclusive government versus one limiting access and spoiling its subjects? She argues that corruption has historically started by being the norm before becoming the exception, and that in over eighty electoral democracies of the present world the spoiling of public resources by ruling elites is still the rule of the game and a major collective action problem. Understanding the historical development of corruption control if the main target of her book.


About the Speaker: 

Alina Mungiu-Pippidi is Professor of Democracy Studies at the Hertie School of Governance in Berlin, Germany.  She has taught Democratisation and Policy Analysis at the Hertie School since 2007. She studied political science at Harvard University after completing a PhD in Social Psychology in 1995 at the University of Iasi in Romania. She chairs the European Research Centre for Anti-Corruption and State Building Research and is Chair of Policy Pillar of the EU FP7 five-year research project ANTICORRP. Since 2015, Prof. Mungiu-Pippidi also heads the DIGIWHIST research team at Hertie School. She constantly serves as an adviser on issues of governance measurement and anticorruption to the European Commission, UNDP, Freedom House, NORAD and World Bank, among others. She was a Visiting Scholar at Harvard, Stanford, the European University Institute and St. Antony's College of Oxford University, among others. In 1996 she founded the think tank Romanian Academic Society, which has since played an important role in promoting good governance in Romania, and inspired and advised many civil society anti-corruption coalitions in other countries. Her research interests are in the area of Europeanization, state building, institutional transformation, and development of modern governance.

Listen to a recording of the event:

FileThe Path to Denmark: How Do Societies Develop Control of Corruption? | AshCast by Harvard University

Why No Coups in India? Explaining India’s Post-Independence Success in Managing its Military (Thursday, November 5, 2015, 4:10 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.)

About the Event:
At Independence, India and Pakistan, like many other colonial states, inherited militaries that were conservative, ethnically unrepresentative, and seemed to pose a threat to democracy. Steven Wilkinson, Chair of the Department of Political Science at Yale, explores the ways in which India has been able to successfully handle these tensions, while Pakistan has not. Speaker: Steve Wilkinson, Nilekani Professor of India & South Asian Studies; Chair, Department of Political Science, Yale University. Moderator: Tarek Masoud, Sultan of Oman Associate Professor of Public Policy, Harvard Kennedy School. This event is part of the Comparative Democracy Seminar Series. 

About the Speaker:
Steven I. Wilkinson is Nilekani Professor of India and South Asian Studies and Professor of Political Science and International Affairs at Yale University, where he also chairs the Political Science department. He has worked on the causes of ethnic violence, and his book,Votes and Violence: electoral competition and ethnic riots in India (Cambridge, 2004), examines the political roots of communal conflict in South Asia. He is also interested in corruption in politics, and co-edited the book Patrons, Clients or Politics: Patterns of Political Accountability and Competition (Cambridge, 2007) with Herbert Kitschelt. His most recent book is Army and Nation, which came out in January 2015 from Harvard University Press (Permanent Black in South Asia), and examines India’s success in managing the imbalanced colonial army it inherited in 1947.

He is currently working with Saumitra Jha (Stanford GSB) on a book on War and Political Change, the first part of which, on the role of veterans in the partition of India, was published in December 2012 in the American Political Science Review. The next part of this project looks at the role of returned veterans from the American war of Independence in the French Revolution. 

Resource Wealth as Rent Leverage: Rethinking the Oil-Stability Nexus (Thursday, November 19, 2015, 4:10pm to 5:30pm)

About the Event:
The Ash Center cordially invites you to the next session of its Comparative Democracy Seminar Series. We will be joined by Benjamin Smith, Associate Professor of Political Science and Research Foundation Professor at the University of Florida.  Dr. Smith will present his research on the "resource curse" and present a new indicator for oil dependence—a concept he terms rent leverage.  It captures the share of individuals’ buying power that directly depends on fuel income (and that nearly everywhere is controlled by political leaders) and suggests that rent leverage and fuel income strongly stabilize rulers of all types against regime change.  This discussion will be moderated by Tarek Masoud, Sultan of Oman Associate Professor of International Relations, Harvard Kennedy School.

About the Speaker:
Benjamin Smith is Research Foundation Professor and Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Florida. From 2002-2004 he was an Academy Scholar at the Harvard Academy for International and Area Studies. His first book,Hard Times in the Lands of Plenty, was published in 2007 by Cornell University Press. Smith's research focuses on ethnic conflicts and on the politics of resource wealth and has been published, among other venues, in World PoliticsThe American Journal of Political SciencePerspectives on PoliticsWorld Development, and Conflict Management and Peace Science. It has been funded by the National Science Foundation, the Social Science Research Council, the Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation, and the Ford Foundation.

Compulsory Voting and Income Inequality (Thursday, April 30, 2015, 4:10pm to 5:30pm)

About the Event:
What difference does it make if more, or fewer, people vote? What difference would it make if the state made people vote? These questions are central both to normative debates about the rights and duties of citizens in a democracy and to contemporary policy debates in a variety of countries over what actions states should take to encourage electoral participation. In this seminar, Professor John Carey will address the phenomenon of compulsory voting and the legal requirements that compel citizens to vote in elections. Specifically, he will focus on a rare case of abolishing compulsory voting in Venezuela where not forcing people to vote yielded a more unequal distribution of income.

About the Speaker:
John M. Carey is the John Wentworth Professor in the Social Sciences and the chair of the Government Department at Dartmouth College. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the author or co-author of over 75 academic articles and 5 books, including Legislative Voting & Accountability(Cambridge UP 2009) and Presidents & Assemblies: Constitutional Design and Electoral Dynamics (Cambridge UP 1992). His research focuses on the design of constitutions and electoral systems, and on legislative politics. He has consulted on electoral system reform in Nepal, Afghanistan, Jordan, Tunisia, Yemen, South Sudan, Israel, Mexico, and the Philippines. Research, datasets, and citations to published work are available on his website at:http://sites.dartmouth.edu/jcarey/.

Audio Recording of the Event:


Paths Out of Dixie: The Democratization of Authoritarian Enclaves in America’s Deep South, 1944-1972 (Thursday, April 9, 2015; 4:10-5:30)

About the Event
Professor Mickey will discuss his recent book on the recent completion of America’s belated democratization, how different southern states experienced their transition to democracy differently, and the legacies and lessons of these experiences for contemporary southern, and American, politics and economics.

About the Speaker
Robert Mickey is Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Michigan. He is the author of Paths Out of Dixie: The Democratization of Authoritarian Enclaves in America’s Deep South, 1944-1972 (Princeton University Press). He is currently at work on a book about the politics of America’s public sector unions since 1980. In the first half of the 1990s, he worked in Prague for the EastWest Institute, a non-profit organization providing policy assistance to post-communist regimes in Eastern Europe, the Balkans, and the former Soviet Union. He received his Ph.D. from Harvard’s Government Department.

Audio Recording of the Event:


Market Reform, Party System (De-)Alignment, and the Crisis of Representation in Latin America (Thursday, February 12; 4:10-5:30)

About the Event
This presentation will explore how economic crises and the “critical juncture” of market liberalization in the 1980s and 1990s transformed party systems and political representation in Latin America. Some patterns of market reform aligned party systems programmatically and stabilized electoral competition, whereas other patterns of reform de-aligned and destabilized party systems, leaving them highly vulnerable to extra-systemic forms of social and electoral protest in the post-reform period. The crisis of political representation in the region, as well the character of political shifts to the left since the late 1990s, have thus been heavily conditioned by divergent national experiences during the critical juncture of market reform.

About the Speaker
Kenneth M. Roberts is Professor of Government and Senior Associate Dean for the Social Sciences in the College of Arts and Sciences at Cornell University. His teaching and research interests are focused on Latin American political economy and the politics of inequality, particularly the intersection between political parties, populism, and labor and social movements in the Andean region and the Southern Cone. He obtained his Ph.D. from Stanford University, then taught at the University of New Mexico before joining the faculty at Cornell. His most recent work, Changing Course in Latin America: Party Systems in the Neoliberal Era(Cambridge University Press, 2014), studies the transformation of party systems and political representation during the critical juncture of market liberalization in the 1980s and 1990s. He is also the author of Deepening Democracy? The Modern Left and Social Movements in Chile and Peru (Stanford University Press, 1998), and the co-editor of The Resurgence of the Latin American Left (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2011) and The Diffusion of Social Movements (Cambridge University Press, 2010).

Nations Under God: How Churches Influence Public Policy (Thursday, February 5; 4:10-5:30)

About the Event
How do churches shape public policy, and why does their influence vary across countries, even similarly religious ones? Existing accounts have focused on political parties and voters. In contrast, I argue that churches are at their most powerful when they obtain direct access to the state and policymaking institutions, writing legislation, vetting officials, and even running sectors of the state. But such access is available only to churches with high moral authority, those perceived by the public as representing the common good and national interest. Where churches in Christian democracies have gained such moral authority by dint of defending the nation against a foreign regime, state, or colonial power, they are in a position to gain institutional access – without popular backlash against overt and partisan church politicking.

About the Speaker
Anna Grzymala-Busse is the Ronald and Eileen Weiser Professor of European and Eurasian Studies in the Political Science Department at the University of Michigan. She is the author of three books and several articles on political parties, corruption, post-communist political development, and religion and politics.