Democratic Governance

  • 2011 Sep 14

    Affluence and Influence: Economic Inequality and Political Power in the United States

    4:10pm to 5:30pm

    Location: 

    124 Mt. Auburn Street, Suite 200-North, Cambridge, MA

    Martin Gilens

    Martin Gilens, Princeton University

    About the Seminar
    By allowing voters to choose among candidates with competing policy orientations and by providing incentives for incumbents to shape policy in the direction the public desires, elections are thought to provide the foundation that links government policy to the preferences of the governed. In this seminar, Gilens examines the extent to which the preference/policy link is biased toward the preferences of high-income Americans. Using an original data set of almost two thousand survey questions on proposed policy changes between 1981 and 2002, he finds a moderately strong relationship between what the public wants and what the government does, albeit with a strong bias toward the status quo. But he also finds that when Americans with different income levels differ in their policy preferences, actual policy outcomes strongly reflect the preferences of the most affluent but bear virtually no relationship to the preferences of poor or middle-income Americans. The vast discrepancy he finds in government responsiveness to citizens with different incomes stands in stark contrast to the ideal of political equality that Americans hold dear. Although perfect political equality is an unrealistic goal, representational biases of this magnitude call into question the very democratic character of our society.... Read more about Affluence and Influence: Economic Inequality and Political Power in the United States

  • 2011 Apr 27

    Waves of Democracy Compared: Europe in 1989 and the Arab World in 2011

    4:10pm to 5:30pm

    Location: 

    124 Mt. Auburn Street, Suite 200-North, Cambridge, MA

    Jacques RupnikJacques Rupnik, Sciences Po (Institut d’Etudes Politiques de Paris)
    Co-sponsored by the Harvard History and Policy Seminar, HKS

    About the Seminar
    Is it 1989 all over again? There are obvious parallels in the breathtaking speed with which dictatorships can collapse in a chain reaction of non-violent popular mobilizations as well as in the unpredictability of the outcome of the Arab revolutions of 2011. Neither had been predicted or anticipated by analysts and social scientists which is both an invitation to modesty and a call to address some of the rapidly emerging issues of democratic transition. And this is where differences as well as lessons learned matter. Middle Europe is not the Middle East: there are historical, cultural, and sociological differences as well as different legacies of dissent and opposition to the Old Regime which matter for the shaping of new political elites and their commitment to democratic values. No less importantly, in both cases the withdrawal of superpower backing (“It’s 1989, but the West is Soviet Russia”) helped regime change but also opened a period of regional instability with very different geopolitical implications. Beyond comparisons there are lessons learned from different experiences of democratic transitions in Eastern Europe (the constitutional moment, nationalist secessions, and the need for an external European anchor for democratization) which can be of relevance to the forthcoming transitions on the Southern shore of the Mediterranean.... Read more about Waves of Democracy Compared: Europe in 1989 and the Arab World in 2011

  • 2011 Apr 20

    Democracy and the Thousand Little Horrors that are Tolerated in its Maintenance

    4:10pm to 5:30pm

    Location: 

    124 Mt. Auburn Street, Suite 200-North, Cambridge, MA

    Christian DavenportChristian Davenport, University of Notre Dame

    About the Seminar
    Most researchers have identified that political democracies are generally less repressive in their treatment of those under their rule relative to autocracies. This finding is robust across time, space, measurement, and methodological technique. What this work has missed, however, is how various forms of discrimination are perpetuated within democracies but in a different manner-they take place on a local level and are prevented from creating a “master” cleavage. When activities begin to aggregate these are framed in the only legitimate way that democracies can repress with the support of the citizenry: for example, in defense of the polity from politically threatening behavior. What this work also misses is the externalization (or exporting) of coercion from democracies to other locales in an effort to avoid domestic scrutiny. This seminar will lay out this argument and provide evidence from the United States, India, and Northern Ireland.... Read more about Democracy and the Thousand Little Horrors that are Tolerated in its Maintenance

  • 2011 Apr 18

    Seoul 9-to-5: Creative Governance

    4:15pm to 5:45pm

    Location: 

    Tsai Auditorium (S010), CGIS South Building, 1730 Cambridge St., Cambridge, MA

    Se-Hoon OhSe-Hoon Oh, Mayor of Seoul Metropolitan Government, Republic of Korea

    *Reception to follow at the Harvard Faculty Club, 20 Quincy St., Cambridge*

    About Se-Hoon Oh
    Since 2006, Se-Hoon Oh has been serving as the Mayor of Seoul. Se-Hoon Oh started his professional career in the Bar of Korea in the year 1984. In the year 1991, he started practicing privately in the Seoul Bar Association. From September 1997 to February 2000, he remained professor in College of Law of Sookmyung Women’s University. Se-Hoon Oh was also a visiting scholar to the Law School of the Yale University. He also served as Free Legal Advisor to the Taehwa Christian Community Center from March 1999 to February 2000. The present mayor of Seoul was also employed as a lawyer with Chang and Lee and Jiseong, a law firm and judicial aggregate.

  • 2011 Apr 13

    Participatory Budgeting: Democratic Deliberation and Decision Making at the Local Level

    4:10pm to 5:30pm

    Location: 

    124 Mt. Auburn Street, Suite 200-North, Cambridge, MA

    Joe MooreJoe Moore, City of Chicago

    About the Seminar
    Around the United States, city leaders are increasingly asking their residents for suggestions about budget spending. In Chicago’s 49th Ward, a city council member is going one step further. Through a novel experiment in democracy known as participatory budgeting (PB), Alderman Joe Moore is not just asking their opinions – he is giving his constituents the power to make real decisions about how to spend their tax dollars.

    PB is an innovative model of democratic deliberation and decision-making in which ordinary citizens decide how to allocate part of a municipal budget.... Read more about Participatory Budgeting: Democratic Deliberation and Decision Making at the Local Level

  • 2011 Apr 06

    How the Military Shapes ’Democratic’ Institutions in Dictatorships

    4:10pm to 5:30pm

    Location: 

    124 Mount Auburn, Suite 200-North, Cambridge, MA

    Barbara GeddesBarbara Geddes, University of California Los Angeles

    About the Seminar
    In this seminar, Professor Barbara Geddes will investigate the survival strategies of dictators whose tenure in office depends on armed supporters. The main threat that faces such leaders is ouster by military coup. Geddes will argue that dictators’ strategy choices for responding to that threat depend on characteristics of the military force from which these rivals are likely to come. Where the military is unified and disciplined, commanders can make credible promises to support a dictator who shares power with the rest of the officer corps and also credible threats to oust those who do not. In such circumstances, dictators’ best strategy is to agree to authoritarian institutions that induce power sharing and consultation among military rivals. Where the military is factionalized, however, promises of support are not credible because commanding officers cannot assure the discipline of other officers. Dictators who lack the option of stable power sharing with the rest of the military often try to build a balancing political force through the creation of a mass-based party and holding elections. Results of the data analysis are consistent with the argument that dictators from factionalized armed forces are more likely to organize support parties. Her argument also implies that if the strategies described are effective, dictators who form parties while they rule should be less likely to be ousted by coup than those who do not. Results from the data analysis show that party creation tends to reduce the likelihood of coups and coup attempts. The implication of this argument is that institutions that mimic those in democracies may be responses to challenges from within the armed group supporting the regime rather than from societal opposition groups.... Read more about How the Military Shapes ’Democratic’ Institutions in Dictatorships

  • 2011 Apr 05

    Deliberative Democracy and Climate Governance

    4:10pm to 5:30pm

    Location: 

    124 Mt. Auburn Street, Suite 200-North, Cambridge, MA

    John DryzekJohn Dryzek, Australian National University
    Co-sponsored by the Program on Science, Technology and Society, HKS

    About the Seminar
    In environmental political theory and associated fields such as ecological economics, it is now widely accepted that deliberative governance ought to be able to promote both effective environmental performance and democratic legitimacy. But do these claims stand up in light of the reality of climate governance, currently so problematic at every level from the local to the global? Making reference to studies ranging from locally constituted citizen forums to global negotiations and networks, John Dryzek will claim that the theoretical arguments for deliberative democracy can be sustained when it comes to climate governance. The idea of a deliberative system proves crucial. Implications will be drawn for the content of rhetoric that can reach skeptics when climate science cannot.... Read more about Deliberative Democracy and Climate Governance

  • 2011 Mar 30

    Reconciling Diversity and Democracy

    4:10pm to 5:30pm

    Location: 

    Pop Center, 9 Bow Street, Cambridge, MA

    Irene BloemraadThe Process and Policies of Immigrant Political Incorporation
    Irene Bloemraad, University of California, Berkeley

    About the Seminar
    Attacking multiculturalism has become a political cliché, from German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s proclamation in October 2010 that a multicultural approach had “utterly failed” in Germany, to David Cameron’s speech in February 2011 implying that such policies might foster terrorism. The alternative, for many politicians of the right and left, is stronger integration policies and greater normative emphasis on common citizenship, an argument also advanced by academics. This juxtaposition – between multiculturalism on one hand and common citizenship on the other – implies that there is a zero-sum trade-off between the two. Can democracy and immigrant-driven diversity be reconciled? And if so, in what ways – through policies of assimilation, multiculturalism. or something else?

    This talk takes as its starting point critiques of multicultural policy and ideology, and the arguments of the political theorists who defend a multicultural approach. Using evidence on immigrants’ naturalization, their success in gaining office and indicators of trust and civic participation from various Western democracies, Dr. Bloemraad will show that immigrants tend to be more politically integrated in countries identified as more multicultural. She will draw on a comparison of the United States and Canada to discuss some of the reasons why this might be the case.... Read more about Reconciling Diversity and Democracy

  • 2011 Mar 29

    Playing Between Elephants: Film Screening and Discussion

    4:00pm to 6:30pm

    Location: 

    Land Lecture Hall, Belfer Building, 4th Floor

    Playing Between Elephants filmAbout the Event
    "Playing Between Elephants subtly, yet compellingly shows the fears as well as the lives involved in the reconstruction of post-tsunami Aceh" ~ The Jakarta Post

    A post-screening discussion will feature:

        • Nelden Djakababa, Amsterdam University
        • Jonatan Lassa, Ash Center
        • Doreen Lee, Northeastern University

    Directed by Aryo Danusiri (Ph.D. Candidate, Harvard University), this critically-acclaimed film won the Jakarta Independent Film Festival’s 2007 Human Rights Award and the Brussels Independent Film Festival’s 2008 Best Documentary Award.... Read more about Playing Between Elephants: Film Screening and Discussion

  • 2011 Mar 23

    Democracy without Accountability: Promiscuous Power Sharing and Presidential Domineering in Indonesia

    4:10pm to 5:30pm

    Location: 

    124 Mount Auburn, Suite 200-North, Cambridge, MA

    Daniel SlaterDan Slater, University of Chicago

    About the Seminar
    The fall of Indonesia’s New Order regime in 1998 set the stage for competitive elections, but not necessarily for competitive elites. Political elites primarily responded to democratic transition by promiscuously sharing power, not vigorously competing for it. By carving up the cabinet among all significant parties, they constructed what amounted to a party cartel. This threatened to stifle party opposition and effectively immunize party elites from accountability to Indonesian voters. The introduction of direct presidential elections in 2004 disrupted this initial party cartel, but did not necessarily destroy it. Cross-party networks and norms against excluding fellow elites who wish to share executive power appear to remain entrenched. Despite having held three admirably free and fair national elections, Indonesia continues to confront an “accountability trap” between party collusion and the dysfunctional pattern of democratic politics most structurally prone to displace it: presidential domineering.... Read more about Democracy without Accountability: Promiscuous Power Sharing and Presidential Domineering in Indonesia

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