Publications

    Lynching and Local Justice: Legitimacy and Accountability in Weak States
    Cohen, Dara Kay, and Danielle F. Jung. 2020. Lynching and Local Justice: Legitimacy and Accountability in Weak States. Cambridge University Press. Learn more on the publisher's site Abstract

    Dara Kay Cohen, Danielle F. Jung; September 2020 

    What are the social and political consequences of poor state governance and low state legitimacy? Under what conditions does lynching – lethal, extralegal group violence to punish offenses to the community – become an acceptable practice? We argue lynching emerges when neither the state nor its challengers have a monopoly over legitimate authority. When authority is contested or ambiguous, mass punishment for transgressions can emerge that is public, brutal, and requires broad participation. Using new cross-national data, we demonstrate lynching is a persistent problem in dozens of countries over the last four decades. Drawing on original survey and interview data from Haiti and South Africa, we show how lynching emerges and becomes accepted. Specifically, support for lynching most likely occurs in one of three conditions: when states fail to provide governance, when non-state actors provide social services, or when neighbors must rely on self-help.

    Deep Roots: How Slavery Still Shapes Southern Politics
    Acharya, Avidit, Matthew Blackwell, and Maya Sen. 2018. Deep Roots: How Slavery Still Shapes Southern Politics. Princeton University Press. Visit Publisher's Site Abstract

    Avidit Acharya, Matthew Blackwell & Maya Sen, Princeton University Press, 2018 

    Despite dramatic social transformations in the United States during the last 150 years, the South has remained staunchly conservative. Southerners are more likely to support Republican candidates, gun rights, and the death penalty, and southern whites harbor higher levels of racial resentment than whites in other parts of the country. Why haven't these sentiments evolved or changed? Deep Roots shows that the entrenched political and racial views of contemporary white southerners are a direct consequence of the region's slaveholding history, which continues to shape economic, political, and social spheres. Today, southern whites who live in areas once reliant on slavery—compared to areas that were not—are more racially hostile and less amenable to policies that could promote black progress. 

    Highlighting the connection between historical institutions and contemporary political attitudes, the authors explore the period following the Civil War when elite whites in former bastions of slavery had political and economic incentives to encourage the development of anti-black laws and practices. Deep Roots shows that these forces created a local political culture steeped in racial prejudice, and that these viewpoints have been passed down over generations, from parents to children and via communities, through a process called behavioral path dependence. While legislation such as the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act made huge strides in increasing economic opportunity and reducing educational disparities, southern slavery has had a profound, lasting, and self-reinforcing influence on regional and national politics that can still be felt today.

    A groundbreaking look at the ways institutions of the past continue to sway attitudes of the present, Deep Roots demonstrates how social beliefs persist long after the formal policies that created those beliefs have been eradicated.

    On April 19, 2015, Freddie Gray, a young African American male, died while in the custody of the Baltimore Police. In response to his death, which occurred less than a year after a similar incident in Ferguson, Missouri, protestors mobilized daily in Baltimore to vocalize their frustrations, including what they saw as law enforcement’s long-standing mistreatment of the African American community. Then, on April 27, following Gray’s funeral, riots and acts of vandalism broke out across the city. Overwhelmed by the unrest, the Baltimore police requested assistance from other police forces. Later that evening, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan declared a state of emergency and activated the Maryland National Guard. At the local level, Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake issued a nightly curfew beginning Tuesday evening.

    “Into Local Streets” focuses on the role of the National Guard in the response to the protests and violence following Gray’s death, vividly depicting the actions and decision-making processes of the Guard’s senior-most leaders. In particular, it highlights the experience of the state’s Adjutant General, Linda Singh, who soon found herself navigating a complicated web of officials and agencies from both state and local government – and their different perspectives on how to bring an end to the crisis.

    On April 19, 2015, Freddie Gray, a young African American male, died while in the custody of the Baltimore Police. In response to his death, which occurred less than a year after a similar incident in Ferguson, Missouri, protestors mobilized daily in Baltimore to vocalize their frustrations, including what they saw as law enforcement’s long-standing mistreatment of the African American community. Then, on April 27, following Gray’s funeral, riots and acts of vandalism broke out across the city. Overwhelmed by the unrest, the Baltimore police requested assistance from other police forces. Later that evening, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan declared a state of emergency and activated the Maryland National Guard. At the local level, Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake issued a nightly curfew beginning Tuesday evening.

    “Into Local Streets” focuses on the role of the National Guard in the response to the protests and violence following Gray’s death, vividly depicting the actions and decision-making processes of the Guard’s senior-most leaders. In particular, it highlights the experience of the state’s Adjutant General, Linda Singh, who soon found herself navigating a complicated web of officials and agencies from both state and local government – and their different perspectives on how to bring an end to the crisis.

    Mellon, Jonathan, Hollie Russon Gilman, Fredrik M. Sjoberg, and Tiago Peixoto. 2017. “Gender and Political Mobilization Online: Participation and Policy Success on a Global Petitioning Platform”. Publisher's Version Abstract

    Jonathan Mellon, Hollie Russon Gilman, Fredrik M. Sjoberg, and Tiago Peixoto; July 2017

    As political life moves online, it is important to know whether online political participation excludes certain groups. Using a dataset of 3.9 million signers of online petitions in 132 countries, this paper examines the descriptive success (number of successful petitions) and substantive success (topic of successful petitions) of women and men. Women’s participation is higher than expected in the ‘thin’ action of petition signing, but consistently lower in the ‘thick’ action of petition creation. This paper does not find a link between lower female thick participation and female descriptive success. In terms of substantive success, the paper finds successful petitions reflect female users’ priorities more closely than men’s, independent of the petition initiator’s gender. These results hold both platform-wide and within most countries in the dataset. This paper shows that these results occur due to the low level of petition success (1.2%) on the platform, which increases the importance of thin forms of participation.

    Arthur N. Holcombe, June 2017

    In this paper Holcombe discusses lessons from successful poverty alleviation in Tibetan areas of China during 1998–2016. In the period between 1978 and 2015, the World Bank estimates that over 700 million people have been raised out of poverty based on a poverty line of $1.50 per capita. It also estimates that about 48 percent of residual poverty in China is located in ethnic minority areas where top-down macroeconomic policies to reduce poverty have been least effective and where strategies to target poor ethnic minority households with additional financial, technical, and other support were not successful in overcom- ing cultural and other barriers to greater income and food security.

    David Dapice, October 2016 

    Achieving sustainable peace in Myanmar requires a comprehensive effort which involves real negotiations between the army, government and remaining non-signatory armed ethnic groups. This paper makes the case that the resulting Grand Bargain will have to involve some degree of limited autonomy of states and natural resource revenue sharing. It will provide a basis for compensating armed groups on both sides for lost revenue, bringing revenues to Kachin state for development, and facilitating the NLD government’s investment in development spending for the rest of Myanmar in line with its priorities. Given the sizeable estimated total value of jade sales and the fact that, in the author’s estimate, official government collections for jade now amount to only 3% of sales, the paper examines possible modalities for taxing jade at a reasonable level and sharing these revenues in ways that makes durable progress possible. Several other key challenges to national unity are briefly addressed as well. Click here to read in Burmese version
     

    Sara Newland, July 2016 

    Often assumed to be an ethnically homogenous country, the People’s Republic of China (PRC) in fact has a substantial minority population with 54 officially recognized ethnic groups that comprise close to 10 percent of the population. Integrating these diverse groups, many of which have a centuries-long history of conflict with the Han Chinese, into a unified Chinese nation-state has been a core policy challenge for the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) since 1949.1 At first, these challenges were largely political and ideological. The CCP struggled to integrate minority elites, many of whom did not share a common language or culture with the overwhelmingly Han leaders of the CCP, into the party. They also sought to create political institutions that both respected local cultural practices and combined these diverse regions under a single, unified state, a challenge that the Soviet Union also had to confront.