The archive of publications from The Department of International Development


British Journal of Industrial Relations

Shades of Authoritarianism and State-Labour Relations in China

Howell, Jude
British Journal of Industrial Relations (2018)

Attempts to analyse authoritarianism in China tend towards a static focus on the state that is homogeneous across time. We argue for a more nuanced approach that captures the dynamism and contours of state–civil society relations, and state–labour relations, in particular, in authoritarian states. Taking state–labour relations as a bellweather, we conceptualize ‘shades of authoritarianism’ as a framework for better understanding the complexities and evolution of state–society relations in authoritarian states. We illustrate this through the case of China, distinguishing different shades of authoritarianism in the Hu‐Wen era (2002–2012) and in the current regime of Xi Jinping.

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Perspectives on Politics

Informal institutions and the regulation of smuggling in North Africa

Gallien, Max
Perspectives on Politics (2018)

Contemporary writing on North African borderlands invokes the idea of a general, unregulated porosity through which small-scale informal traders of food or textiles move alongside drug smugglers and terrorists. This paper challenges that conception, demonstrating that the vast majority of smuggling activity is in fact highly regulated through a dense network of informal institutions that determine the costs, quantity and types of goods that can pass through certain nodes, typically segmenting licit from illicit goods. While informal, the institutions regulating this trade are largely impersonal and contain third party enforcement, hence providing a direct empirical challenge to common characterisations of informal institutions in political science. The paper argues that revisiting the characteristics associated with informal institutions, and understanding them as contingent on their political environment, can provide a new starting point for studying institutions, the politics of informality, state capacity, and the regulation of illegal economies.

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SSM - Population Health

Women’s mid-life health in Low and Middle Income Countries: a comparative analysis of the timing and speed of health deterioration in six countries

Leone, Tiziana
SSM - Population Health (2018)

Mid-life is a neglected stage of women’s lives, particularly in Low and Middle Income Countries (LMICs). Birth injuries, menopause and manual labour can contribute to health problems in the mid-life. This study analyses the relationship between women’s health deterioration and age across socio-economic groups in 6 countries (China, Ghana, Mexico, Russia, South Africa and India). Using constrained cubic splines, the author analysed data from the WHO SAGE survey to examine age and wealth patterns in the onset of deterioration in objective proxies of ageing.

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Contemporary female migration in Ghana: analyses of the 2000 and 2010 censuses

Leone, Tiziana and Coast, Ernestina
Demographic Research (2018)

Knowledge of female migration patterns is scant despite increased recognition and reporting of the feminization of migration. Recent data on female internal migration in Ghana challenge historical assumptions that underestimated female migration. This study presents the first detailed comparative analyses of female migration using microdata from Ghana’s censuses (2000-2010) and exploits these national data to understand gendered dimensions of migration in Ghana. These analyses expand the evidence base on contemporary female migration and refute the out-dated stereotype that girls and women do not participate in migration. Productive female labour losses may negatively impact development efforts and local economies in Ghana’s rural regions, requiring interventions to reduce poverty and develop greater economic opportunities for rural girls and women.

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Social Science & Medicine

Conscientious objection to abortion: Zambian healthcare practitioners' beliefs and practices

Coast, Ernestina  
Social Science and Medicine (2018)

The potential health consequences of limiting access to safe abortion make it imperative to understand how conscience-based refusal to provide legally permitted services is understood and carried out by healthcare practitioners. This in-depth study of conscientious objection to abortion provision in Zambia is based on qualitative interviews (N = 51) with practitioners working across the health system who object and do not object to providing abortion services in accordance with their cadre. Interviews were conducted in September 2015. Regardless of whether practitioners self-identified as providers or non-providers of abortion services, they presented similar religiously-informed understandings of abortion as a morally-challenging practice that is, or not, shifted from iniquity to acceptability based on the reasons for which it has been requested or the likelihood of unsafe abortion if services are not provided. Our results suggest that data on prevalence of claims to conscientious objector status may underestimate the impact of practitioners' religious, moral and ethical beliefs on abortion accessibility. In Zambia, eliminating practitioners' right to conscientious objection alone or conducting rights-based advocacy may therefore not significantly increase access to safe abortion.

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The Lessons of Bolivia

Faguet, Jean-Paul
Journal of Democracy (2018)

Across the West, political-party systems are disintegrating from the bottom up, as economic and social changes cause them to loose their moorings in the major cleavages that defined politics throughout the twentieth century. The experience of Bolivia, where an underinstitutionalized politics disintegrated earlier and faster, may offer analytical hints about the larger future. In societies where industrial workers as a self-conscious group have dwindled, a left-right axis of political competition based on the opposition between workers and capital is probably doomed. Identity politics anchored in ethnicity, religion, and place will most likely replace it. This is dangerous for democracy, as identity politics revolves around exclusive categories and zero-sum games. The rise of identity clashes is a sad turn for the West that may forever change who we are.

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Double games: Success, failure and the relocation of risk in fighting terror, drugs and migration

Keen, David  
Political Geography (2018)

This paper compares the security paradigms for combating terrorism, drugs and irregular migration and argues that while these have largely failed on their own terms, they have also proven rather successful for the actors shaping them. Through a spatial political economy analysis of systems of intervention, the paper shows how vested interests have helped perpetuate counterproductive approaches, while risks (including that of human suffering) have routinely been ‘exported’ into geographical ‘buffer zones’. In analysing the stakes in such systems, we deploy the metaphor of games. This term allows us to highlight divergences between ‘official’ goals, such as ‘winning the war,’ and unstated aims, such as perpetuating security investments, relocating risk or stoking fear for political gain. Equally important, game terminology helps us highlight the spatial and social dynamics of collaboration, conflict and rule-manipulation within the system. In exploring these dynamics, the paper puts focus empirically on the complex collaborations between Western states instigating intervention and poorer ‘partner states,’ showing how a skewed geopolitical distribution of risk may tilt security interventions in the instigators' favour while maintaining ‘skin in the game’ for less powerful actors.

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Journal of Latin America Studies cover

Integrating Science, Technology and Health Policies in Brazil: Incremental Change and Public Health Professionals as Agents of Reform

Shadlen, Ken  
Journal of Latin American Studies (2018)

Brazil has encouraged an ambitious set of policies towards the pharmaceutical industry, aiming to foster technological development while meeting health requirements. We characterise these efforts, labelled the ‘Complexo Industrial da Saúde’ (Health-Industry Complex, CIS), as an outcome of incremental policy change backed by the sustained efforts of public health professionals within the federal bureaucracy. As experts with a particular vision of the relationship between health, innovation and industry came to dominate key institutions, they increasingly shaped government responses to emerging challenges. Step by step, these professionals first made science and technology essential aspects of Brazil's health policy, and then merged the Ministry of Health's new focus on science, technology and health with industrial policy measures aimed at private firms. We contrast our depiction of these policy changes with a conventional view that relies on a partisan orientation of the executive.

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A Population History of India in the Developing World

Dyson, Tim  
Oxford University Press (2018)

A Population History of India provides an account of the size and characteristics of India's population stretching from when hunter-gatherer homo sapiens first arrived in the country - very roughly seventy thousand years ago - until the modern day. It is a period during which the population grew from just a handful of people to reach almost 1.4 billion, and a time when the fact of death had a huge influence on the nature of life. This book considers the millennia that were characterized by hunting and gathering, the Indus valley civilization, the opening-up of the Ganges river basin, and the eras of the Delhi Sultanate, the Mughal Empire, British colonial rule, and India since independence.

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Nationalism, Development and Ethnic Conflict in Sri Lanka

Nationalism, Development and Ethnic Conflict in Sri Lanka

Venugopal, Rajesh  
Cambridge University Press (2018)

This book examines the relationship between ethnic conflict and economic development in modern Sri Lanka. Drawing on a historically informed political sociology, it explores how the economic and the ethnic have encountered one another, focusing in particular on the phenomenon of Sinhala nationalism. In doing so, the book engages with some of the central issues in contemporary Sri Lanka: Why has the ethnic conflict been so protracted, and so resistant to solution? What explains the enduring political significance of Sinhala nationalism? What is the relationship between market reform and conflict? Why did the Norwegian-sponsored peace process collapse? How is the Rajapaksa phenomenon to be understood? The topical spread of the book is broad, covering the evolution of peasant agriculture, land scarcity, state welfarism, nationalist ideology, party systems, political morality, military employment, business elites, market reforms, and development aid.

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World Development, Publication

Is resilience to climate change socially inclusive? Investigating theories of change processes in Myanmar

Forsyth, Tim  
World Development (2018)

This paper contributes to analyses of resilience by studying how theories of change (ToC) processes used by development organizations might lead to social exclusions, and seeking ways to make these more inclusive. Adopting insights from participatory monitoring and evaluation, the paper first presents fieldwork from four villages in Myanmar to compare local experiences of risk and resilience with the ToCs underlying pathways to resilience based on building anticipatory, absorptive, and adaptive capacities. The paper then uses interviews with the development organizations using these pathways to identify how ToC processes might exclude local experiences and causes of risk, and to seek ways to make processes more inclusive. 

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british_journal of political science

Ethnicity, National Identity and the State: Evidence from Sub-Saharan Africa

Green, Elliott  
British Journal of Political Science (2018)

The process by which people transfer their allegiance from ethnic to national identities is highly topical yet somewhat opaque. This article argues that one of the key determinants of national identification is membership in a ‘core’ ethnic group, or Staatsvolk, and whether or not that group is in power. It uses the example of Uganda as well as Afrobarometer data to show that, when the core ethnic group is in power (as measured by the ethnic identity of the president), members of this group identify more with the nation, but when this group is out of power members identify more with their ethnic group. This finding has important implications for the study of nationalism, ethnicity and African politics.

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Urbanization and mortality decline

Green, Elliott  
Journal of Regional Science (2018)

We investigate the relationship between mortality decline and urbanization, which has hitherto been proposed by demographers but has yet to be tested rigorously in a global context. Using cross‐national panel data, we find evidence of a robust negative correlation between crude death rates and urbanization. The use of instrumental variables suggest that this relationship is causal, while historical data from the early 20th century suggest that this relationship holds in earlier periods as well. Finally, we find robust evidence that mortality decline is correlated with urbanization through the creation of new cities rather than promoting urban growth in already‐extant cities.

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Privatisation of water: Evaluating it's performance in the developing world 

Cesar, Sylvia
Annals of Public and Cooperative Economics (2018)

Private‐sector provision of water has been promoted in developing countries since 1990 in order to expand water service coverage to low‐income households. Decades later, the consequences of privatizing water utilities are still disputed. Some scholars have found that areas with privatized water services see positive development effects, while others contend that the private‐sector supply of a social good will always lead to its under‐provision. However, does more privatization of water provision in developing countries actually bring about more access to water? This paper hypothesizes that more private participation in water provision will not ensure more access to water at the national level. The relationship is tested using data on weighted percentages of private ownership of water utilities, and access to improved water sources from 1990 to 2015 across 62 countries. Multivariate OLS results indicate a positive relationship but with no statistical significance. 2SLS results, on the other hand, indicate a positive, small and statistically significant effect of water privatization on water access. Nonetheless, the causal mechanism behind these results must be further explored, given that the measured effect could be capturing the result of an increase in investment that is associated with private ownership of water utilities.

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The impact of bank de-risking on the humanitarian response to the Syrian crisis

Gordon, Stuart; Robinson, Alice and Goulding, Harry
Overseas Development Institute (2018)

The Syrian crisis is a complex environment for aid agencies wishing to move funds for humanitarian purposes into the country, or through neighbouring states supporting regional humanitarian efforts. The combination of counter-terrorist financing legislation and international sanctions have made it very difficult for humanitarian organisations to move and access funds. The largest Syrian banks are under sanctions by the United States, the European Union and other states, and the banking system in areas outside of government control has largely been destroyed.

This research finds that bank de-risking has reduced the cash available to the NGO community at any one point in time by at least 35%, and that these funds remain unavailable for between three and five months longer than has historically been the case. The study analyses the significant challenges faced by humanitarian organisations moving money into Syria, and proposes changes to make the regulatory system work more effectively from both a humanitarian and counter-terrorism perspective.

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Counter-terrorism, bank de-risking and humanitarian response: a path forward

Gordon, Stuart
Overseas Development Institute (2018)

Following the events of 11 September 2001, many countries have adopted strict Anti-Money Laundering and Combatting the Financing of Terror (AML-CFT) regulations for fund transfers. This process – ‘de-risking’ – has increased the costs of complying with regulatory requirements, and imposed significant penalties for non-compliance. 

While preventing or stemming flows of funds to designated terrorist organisations is clearly in the interests of the states that have adopted these measures, they have also had ‘far-reaching and unintended consequences’, including for the ability of humanitarian organisations to reach people in need, particularly in areas under the control of proscribed groups.

This HPG study looked at the operation and implications of bank de-risking measures for humanitarian NGOs in four contexts: the occupied Palestinian territory (OPT), Somalia, Syria and Yemen. While each has features particular to itself, the research highlighted a number of common aspects, synthesised in this policy brief, along with a set of recommendations for action.

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Wholly local? Ownership as philosophy and practice in peacebuilding interventions

Bojicic-Dzelilovic, Vesna  
Peacebuilding (2018)

This paper engages with the theme of local ownership in peacebuilding from a practice-based perspective which suggests that the way in which the external actors reach out and work with local constituencies shows conceptual and practice gaps that limit the applicability of local ownership in day-to-day peacebuilding operations. We examine how, in the case of EU peacebuilding policies, such gaps impair the potential for effective, inclusive and sustainable peacebuilding. Using a whole-of-society (WOS) lens, the paper demonstrates how current modalities of EU engagement fail to embrace the diversity of local society and its authentic forms of mobilisation and action in order to pursue peacebuilding objectives that resonate with locally relevant forms of peace. The paper further reflects on how WOS perspective can provide pointers for enhancing peacebuilding practices in this area. 

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Mind the gaps. A Whole-of-Society approach to peacebuilding and conflict prevention

Bojicic-Dzelilovic, Vesna  
Peacebuilding (2018)

External peacebuilding interventions have moved towards comprehensive strategies to tackle the complex problems of peace, security and development. This paper proposes a ‘Whole-of-Society’ (WOS) approach which seeks to enhance the effectiveness of externally led peacebuilding and conflict prevention through recourse to the social contexts within which they are implemented. The aim of WOS is to see complexity, both within local society and in the relations between external peacebuilders and local society, as an opportunity to be grasped, as much as an impediment to effective outcomes. A WOS approach adds a practice dimension to debates on ownership, local peace and hybridity, trust-in-peacebuilding and their conceptualisations of local agency and dynamics. It seeks to address the operational gaps that emerge within a societal perspective to peacebuilding, in particular by suggesting ways of achieving appropriate configurations of external and local resources, agency and initiatives.

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Humanitarianism Dictionary cover

Humanitarianism, a dictionary of concepts

Allen, Time; Macdonald, Anna; Radice, Henry
Routledge (2018)

Tim Allen, Anna Macdonald and Henry Radice have recently published Humanitarianism: A Dictionary of Concepts(London: Routledge, 2018) a collection of 24 pithy and provocative essays engaging with a selection of established and emerging topics crucial to the understanding of contemporary humanitarianism. Most of the contributions are by current and former LSE staff within and beyond ID, including Mary Kaldor (‘War’), Lilie Chouliaraki (Post-humanitarianism’), Christine Chinkin (‘Violence against women and girls’), Alex de Waal (‘Famine’), Duncan Green (Advocacy’), Stuart Gordon (‘Terrorism’) and Dorothea Hilhorst (‘Arenas’).

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financing poverty cover

Financializing Poverty: Labor and Risk in Indian Microfinance reveals

Kar, Sohini
Stanford University Press (2018)

Assistant Professor of International Development, Dr Sohini Kar's, new book Financializing Poverty: Labor and Risk in Indian Microfinance reveals how microfinance institutions (MFIs) have restructured debt relationships in new ways: on the one hand, they have opened access to new streams of credit. On the other, as the network of finance increasingly incorporates the poor, the "inclusive" dimensions of microfinance are continuously met with rigid forms of credit risk management that reproduce the very inequality the loans are meant to alleviate.

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International Studies Review

Cycles in World Politics 

Kaldor, Mary
International Studies Review (2018)

This article argues that we are living through a period when political institutions are out of step with dramatic, economic and social changes. In similar periods in the past, war has often played a key restructuring role. But contemporary wars are much less likely to achieve this. The main agents of change are social movements and new forms of communication. The article concludes that we need new forms of global governance and some critical rethinking of academic discipline.

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Impact Initiative Logo_WEB

Helping to make safe abortion a reality in Zambia

Coaste, Ernestina
The Impact Initiative (2018)

Zambia has one of the most liberal abortion laws in sub-Saharan Africa. However, in spite of this, unsafe abortion continues to contribute to high rates of maternal mortality. Stigma, poverty, conscientious objectors, and lack of knowledge all contribute to why many adolescent girls and women do not and cannot access safe abortions in Zambia. Through ground-breaking research led by the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), political, media, and charitable organisations are now making changes to raise awareness and shape their frameworks to ensure women can take up their right to access safe abortion services. 

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Indian pharmaceutical patent prosecution: The changing role of Section 3(d)

Kenneth, Shadlen
PLoS ONE (2018)

India, like many developing countries, only recently began to grant pharmaceutical product patents. Indian patent law includes a provision, Section 3(d), which tries to limit grant of “secondary” pharmaceutical patents, i.e. patents on new forms of existing molecules and drugs. Previous research suggests the provision was rarely used against secondary applications in the years immediately following its enactment, and where it was, was redundant to other aspects of the patent law, raising concerns that 3(d) was being under-utilized by the Indian Patent Office. This paper uses a novel data source, the patent office’s first examination reports, to examine changes in the use of the provision. We find a sharp increase over time in the use of Section 3(d), including on the main claims of patent applications, though it continues to be used in conjunction with other types of objections to patentability. More surprisingly, see a sharp increase in the use of the provision against primary patent applications, contrary to its intent, raising concerns about potential over-utilization.

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War Economy, Governance and Security in Syria’s Opposition-Controlled Areas

Bojicic-Dzelilovic, Vesna & Turkmani, Rim
Stability: International Journal of Security and Development (2018)

This paper explores links between the war economy and civilian security by using evidence from the three opposition-held areas in Syria. The study of Eastern Ghouta, Daraa and Atareb shows how different type of behavior by non-state armed groups engaged in criminal war economy, shaped by the broader war economy conditions, impacts on the ability of the local populations to address their security predicaments. Our findings will challenge the assumption prevalent in the scholarship on the war economy that civilian security is unequivocally undermined by insurgents’ criminal war economy dealings. We show that in some local contexts a diverse range of economic choices and actors provide the local population with more opportunities to develop coping strategies by engaging in different parts of the war economy.

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Gender, sexuality, and violence in humanitarian crises

Hilhorst, Dorothea; Porter, Holly; and Gordon, Rachel
Disasters (2018)

Gender, sexuality, and violence have attracted significant attention in the sphere of humanitarianism in recent years. While this shift builds on the earlier ‘Gender and Development’ approach and the ‘Women, Peace, and Security Agenda’, analytical depth is lacking in practice. Notably, ‘gender’ often means a singular concern for women, neglecting questions of agency and the dynamic and changing realities of gendered power relations. This introductory paper examines why this neglect occurs and proposes a more relational approach to gender. It explores how the contributions to this special issue of Disasters revisit classic gender issues pertaining to violence, livelihoods, and institutions in different settings of humanitarian emergencies, while expanding one's vision beyond them. It draws from the seven papers a number of lessons for humanitarianism, concerning the entangled nature of gender relations, the risks of the unintended effects of gender programming, and the importance of paying sustained attention to how gender relations unfold in a time of crisis.

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Development Change, Publication

Rethinking the double movement: expanding the frontiers of Polanyian analysis in the Global South

Goodwin, Geoff
Development and Change (2018)

Over the last two decades a rich and diverse body of literature has emerged which uses the ‘double movement’ to analyse social, political and economic change in the Global South. The main aims of this article are to expand the boundaries of this scholarship and improve our understanding of how to use the concept to analyse capitalist development in the region. It seeks to achieve this by explaining and extending the original formulation of the double movement, creating a dialogue between scholars who follow alternative readings of the concept, and proposing a revised formulation, which builds on the existing literature while moving in new directions. The article concludes by signposting potentially fruitful areas of Polanyian analysis in the Global South.

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World Development, Publication

The promise and peril of paralegal aid

Swenson, Geoffrey
World Development (2018)

Strengthening the rule of law and promoting access to justice in developing countries have been longstanding international policy objectives. However, the standard policy tools are routinely criticized for failing to achieve their objectives. The rare exception is paralegal aid, which is almost universally lauded by policymakers and scholars as effective in promoting the rule of law and access to justice.

This belief, however, rests on a very limited empirical foundation regarding what paralegal programs accomplish and under what theory they operate. This paper critically examines the conventional wisdom surrounding paralegal initiatives through case studies of two successful paralegal programs in Timor-Leste that are broadly representative of the initiatives commonly implemented in developing countries. These programs did improve access to justice services, bolster choice between dispute resolution forums, and increase local knowledge of progressive norms on human rights and women’s rights. Yet, as this article shows, even successful programs can expect to achieve only incremental gains in promoting the rule of law because advances largely depend on alignment with the priorities of powerful state and non-state actors, donors, program implementers, and paralegals themselves. This demonstrates that paralegal aid faces multiple challenges that mean paralegals cannot necessarily transcend or modify deep seated norms and power structures. These issues include principal agent-problems, internal limitations resulting from paralegals’ limited authority and independence, and external constraints from state and non-state justice actors. Paralegal programs also face program design, implementation, and sustainability challenges. 

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Connectivity, Clientelism and Public Provision

Shami, Mahvish

British Journal of Political Science (2018)


In many developing countries the rural poor often depend on patrons to act as brokers in order to get public provision from the government. The broker facilitates provision in return for securing peasants’ votes for politicians. Yet, low bargaining power of peasants allows patrons to appropriate public resources for themselves. I propose increasing peasants’ bargaining power by connecting them to markets outside their village. Making use of a natural experiment found in the construction of a motorway in Pakistan, I find public provision to be significantly higher in connected villages when compared to those which are isolated. Moreover, I find that the beneficial impact of connectivity is felt most strongly by the lower classes, who are most vulnerable to exploitation when isolated.

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The Logics of Public Authority: Understanding Power, Politics and Security in Afghanistan, 2002–2014

Kaldor, Mary and Theros, Marika 
Stability: International Journal of Security and Development (2018)

This paper applies the three logics of public authority – the political marketplace, moral populism and civicness – to the case of Afghanistan in 2001–2013. It shows how the logic of the political marketplace offers an apt interpretation of the Karzai regime, while the logic of moral populism is more relevant as a way of categorizing the Taliban. Based on a civil society dialogue project, the paper discusses the way that civil society actors characterize the situation and envisage a logic of civicness. The paper argues that the mutually reinforcing nature of the two dominant logics explains pervasive and rising insecurity that has been exacerbated by external interventions. The implication of the argument is that security requires a different logic of authority that could underpin legitimate and inclusive institutions.

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International Studies Review

Legal Pluralism in Theory and Practice

Swenson, Geoffrey
International Studies Review (2018)

Legal pluralism has vast policy and governance implications. In developing countries, for instance, non-state justice systems often handle most disputes and retain substantial autonomy and authority. Legal pluralism, however, remains decidedly under theorized. This article proposes a new typological framework for conceptualizing legal pluralism through four distinct archetypes – combative, competitive, cooperative, and complementary – to help clarify the range of relationships between state and non-state actors. It posits five main strategies used by domestic and international actors in attempts to influence the relationship between state and non-state justice systems: bridging, harmonization, incorporation, subsidization, and repression. As post-conflict situations are fluid and can feature a wide range of relationships between state and non-state actors, they are particularly instructive for showing how legal pluralism archetypes can be shifted over time. Case studies from Timor-Leste and Afghanistan highlight that the most promising approaches are culturally intelligible and constructively engage non-state justice networks of authority and legitimacy. While the case studies focus on post-conflict states, the theory presented can help understand and improve efforts to promote the rule of law as well as good governance and development more broadly in all legally pluralist settings.

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World Development, Publication

The political path to universal health coverage: Power, ideas and community-based health insurance in Rwanda

Chemouni, Benjamin
World Development (2018)

Rwanda is the country with the highest enrolment in health insurance in Sub-Saharan Africa. Pivotal in setting Rwanda on the path to universal health coverage (UHC) is the community-based health insurance (CBHI), which covers more than three-quarters of the population. The paper seeks to explain how Rwanda, one of the poorest countries in the world, managed to achieve such performance by understanding the political drivers behind the CBHI design and implementation. Using an analytical framework relying on political settlement and ideas, it engages in process-tracing of the critical policy choices of the CBHI development. The study finds that the commitment to expanding health insurance coverage was made possible by a dominant political settlement. CBHI is part of the broader efforts of the regime to foster its legitimacy based on rapid socio-economic development. Yet, CBHI was chosen over other potential solutions to expand access to healthcare because it was also the option the most compatible with the ruling coalition core ideology.

The study shows that pursuing UHC is an eminently political process but explanations solely based on objective “interests” of rulers cannot fully account for the emergence and shape of social protection programme. Ideology matters as well. Programme design compatible with the political economy of a country but incompatible with ideas of the ruling coalition is likely to run into political obstructions. The study also questions the relevance for poor countries to reach UHC relying on pure CBHI models based on voluntary enrolment and community management.

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Social-Science-and-Medicine-225x300 - Copy

Trajectories of women's abortion-related care: A conceptual framework

Coast, Ernestina

Social Science & Medicine (2018)


We present a new conceptual framework for studying trajectories to obtaining abortion-related care. It assembles for the first time all of the known factors influencing a trajectory and encourages readers to consider the ways these macro- and micro-level factors operate in multiple and sometimes conflicting ways. Based on presentation to and feedback from abortion experts (researchers, providers, funders, policymakers and advisors, advocates) (n = 325) between 03/06/2014 and 22/08/2015, and a systematic mapping of peer-reviewed literature (n = 424) published between 01/01/2011 and 30/10/2017, our framework synthesises the factors shaping abortion trajectories, grouped into three domains: abortion-specific experiences, individual contexts, and (inter)national and sub-national contexts. Our framework includes time-dependent processes involved in an individual trajectory, starting with timing of pregnancy awareness. This framework can be used to guide testable hypotheses about enabling and inhibiting influences on care-seeking behaviour and consideration about how abortion trajectories might be influenced by policy or practice. Research based on understanding of trajectories has the potential to improve women's experiences and outcomes of abortion-related care.

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World Development, Publication

Adaptation to climate change: A review through a development economics lens

Lopez-Uribe, Maria del Pilar
World Development (2018)

This paper looks at adaptation to climate change from the point of view of (poor) households. Since the development literature has firmly established the role of weather risk as a source of income volatility for the poor, and climate change is expected to increase this risk, we review the range of risk-coping mechanisms available to poorer households, with a focus on possible barriers to adaptation. We ask both how government interventions affect the set of options available for adaptation and risk coping, and also what these adaptive responses imply for the prospects of sustainable development. Support for adaptation can involve efforts to make existing locations, livelihoods and forms of production more resilient to climate risk (in-situ adaptation), or reductions in vulnerability through the geographical and sectoral mobility of the poor (transformational adaptation). Our review shows how successful adaptation will need to strike a balance between the two forms of adaptation, avoiding locking-in unsustainable practices in locations that are already marginal from an economic perspective, and taking account of broader socio-economic trends already taking place in many developing countries (such as population growth and urbanisation). We also highlight important considerations for policy-makers, which to date have been relatively neglected in the literature, in particular related to the dynamic interaction between adaptation and sustainable development.

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Urbanization and mortality decline

Green, Elliott
Stability: Journal of Regional Science (2018)

We investigate the relationship between mortality decline and urbanization, which has hitherto been proposed by demographers but has yet to be tested rigorously in a global context. Using cross-national panel data, we find evidence of a robust negative correlation between crude death rates and urbanization. The use of instrumental variables suggest that this relationship is causal, while historical data from the early 20th century suggest that this relationship holds in earlier periods as well. Finally, we find robust evidence that mortality decline is correlated with urbanization through the creation of new cities rather than promoting urban growth in already-extant cities.

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Ethnic and Racial Studies

Industrialization and ethnic change in the modern world

Green, Elliott
Signs: Ethnic and Racial Studies (2017)

Despite the large recent attention given to ethnicity within the social sciences, the sources of modern ethnic change have remained opaque. Drawing upon social theory from Marx and Gellner, I argue here that industrialization incentivizes ethnic homogenization by lowering the relative value of land. Using carbon emissions per capita as a proxy for industrialization, I show that cross-country changes in ethno-linguistic fractionalization between 1961 and 1985 are negatively correlated with industrialization, and that this result is robust to the use of a variety of control variables, sub-samples and alternative measures of industrialization such as cement production, urbanization and agriculture as a percentage of GDP. In particular, I find no evidence for the direct role of the state in promoting ethnic homogenization, which adds to other recent evidence on how economic incentives may trump political ones as regards identity change, at least in the short- to medium term.

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Transnational Activist Networks and Rising Powers: Transparency and Environmental Concerns in the Brazilian National Development Bank

Hochstetler, Kathryn  
International Studies Quarterly (2017)

This article studies how transnational advocacy networks can influence international development finance. Transnational activists shaped the World Bank's lending by increasing its transparency and limiting its socioenvironmental impacts. Developing countries can now look toward rising powers’ national development banks to finance their infrastructure and energy projects. The national development banks’ weak transparency and socioenvironmental standards pose a new challenge for transnational activism. Can activists leverage strategies used in World Bank reform to influence emerging power national development banks? We argue that whether a target is a supranational or national institution shapes the deployment and effectiveness of the strategies activists can use for influence. A supranational mandate and structure facilitates the deployment and effectiveness of a direct strategy focused on the transnational level, targeting the bank itself, and an indirect strategy focused on the national contexts of the bank's shareholders and borrowers. In contrast, a national mandate and structure encourages activists to deploy influence strategies solely in the context of the lending state. They furthermore make indirect strategies more effective than direct ones. We illustrate our argument by exploiting variation in the success across campaigns of a transnational network created to reform the Brazilian National Development Bank.

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Securitizing Women: Gender, Precaution, and Risk in Indian Finance

Kar Sohini
Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society (2017)

In 2013, the government of India announced the creation of the Bharatiya Mahila Bank (BMB), or the Indian Women’s Bank, offering financial services largely to women. The bank was a financialized response to the 2012 New Delhi rape case that mobilized mass protests against sexual violence and harassment in public spaces. The author argues that banking for women and women bankers stabilize the economic order under financialization rather than challenging the conservatism of patriarchal capitalism and the gendered production of public space.

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Community Security and Justice under United Nations Governance: Lessons from Chiefs’ Courts in South Sudan’s Protection of Civilians Sites

Pendle, Naomi
Stability: International Journal of Security and Development (2017)

This article examines the public authority of chiefs’ courts within the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) Protection of Civilians Sites (PoCs). The authors demonstrate that justice remains central to the provision of security in contexts of war and displacement. International peace interventions are rightly wary of ‘customary’ justice processes that prioritise communities and families at the expense of individual rights, but the unique case in this paper shows that they are sources of trust and consistency that are resilient, adaptable and can contribute to human security.

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Men's Roles in Women's Abortion Trajectories in Urban Zambia

Coast, Ernestina
International Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health (2017)

Given that maternal morbidity and mortality from unsafe abortion persist, especially in Africa, there is a pressing need to understand the abortion decision-making process. However, little is known about men's influence on and involvement in women's abortion decision making and care seeking. This paper concludes that increasing knowledge about the legality and availability of safe abortion is vital not only among sexually active women, but also among those they confide in, including men.

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Bonds and restructurings: corporate bond considerations in the design of debt restructuring frameworks in emerging market economies

Brodie, Simon
Law and Financial Markets Review (2017)

The design of corporate debt restructuring frameworks requires careful attention. However, the existing literature is extremely limited in its coverage of considerations relating specifically to the restructuring of corporate bonds. Issuance of corporate bonds by firms in emerging market economies has expanded significantly in recent years, and restructurings dealing with such bonds are likely to be much more numerous in the future. In this light, the article first outlines key features of corporate bonds, and discusses the nature of engagement with bondholders as a stakeholder group in the restructuring context. It then sets out considerations regarding the design of restructuring frameworks in emerging market economies relating to corporate bonds, explaining their importance in the design of such frameworks.

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Coalitions and Compliance

Coalitions and Compliance
The Political Economy of Pharmaceutical Patents in Latin America

Shadlen, Kenneth
Oxford University Press

This book provides a clear presentation of global changes in intellectual property, particularly regarding pharmaceutical patents, and the ensuing challenges for developing countries using detailed case studies. It also provides systematic comparative analysis of pharmaceutical patent politics in Latin America's three largest countries over two time periods.

Order your copy here



November 2017 

Outside the net: Intersectionality and inequality in the fisheries of Trincomalee, Sri Lanka

Lokuge G and Hilhorst D
Asian Journal of Women's Studies (2017)

Inequality and conflict in Sri Lanka have frequently been analyzed along ethnic lines. However, many scholars have stressed the importance of other dimensions of identity, such as gender, caste and class, in studying social tension. This study uses intersectionality theory to examine how a combination of the social categories of gender, race, ethnicity and location creates structural inequality.

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Developing a forward-looking research agenda and methodologies for self-use of medical abortion

Coast, Ernestina
Contraception (2017)

In December 2016, following the “Africa Regional Conference on Abortion: From Research to Policy,” a group of 20 global abortion researchers, representing nine different international organizations and universities, convened to discuss current and future research on medical abortion self-use ( While recognizing the meaning of “self-use” to be evolving, the authors considered women's self-use of medical abortion as provision of drugs from pharmacies, drug sellers or through online services or other outlets, without a prescription from a clinician, followed by a woman's self-management of the abortion process, including care-seeking for any complications.

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Exploring Rwandan adolescents' gendered experiences and perspectives

Coast, Ernestina
GAGE Research (2017)

This brief summarises the findings of GAGE’s formative qualitative work in Rwanda—which took place in 2016 in three contrasting communities. They were: urban (Musanze), peri-urban (Rwamagana), and rural (Nyaruguru).  Based on individual and group interviews with just over 500 people, 300 of whom were adolescents between the ages of 10 and 15, we found that despite significant recent progress, much of which is due to the governments' commitment to adolescent wellbeing, girls' capabilities continue to be truncated.

To read the full article, click here



Environmental Impact Assessment: Evidence-based policy-making in Brazil

Hochstetler, Kathryn
Contemporary Social Science (2017)

Environmental impact assessment (EIA) procedures aim prospectively to collect evidence about the environmental impacts of economic projects and to avoid or compensate for the costs incurred. This article asks whether such procedures have been effective in Latin America after many regional countries returned to some version of the developmental state after 2000. It does so by surveying the procedural effectiveness of Latin American regulations comparatively before turning to a deeper study of the Brazilian case. 

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Oxford Development Studies, Publication

Cultural norms, economic incentives and women’s labour market behaviour: empirical insights from Bangladesh

Kabeer, Naila
Oxford Development Studies (2017)

This paper sets out to explore a seeming puzzle in the context of Bangladesh. There is a considerable body of evidence from the country pointing to the positive impact of paid work on women’s position within family and community. Yet, according to official statistics, not only has women’s labour force participation risen very slowly over the years, but also a sizeable majority of women in the labour force are in unpaid family labour. We draw on an original survey of over 5000 women from eight different districts in Bangladesh to explore some of the factors that lead to women’s selection into the labour force, and into different categories of labour market activity, with a view to gaining a better understanding of the combination of cultural norms and economic considerations that explain these findings.

To read the full article, click here



Women’s health in the occupied Palestinian territories: Contextual influences on subjective and objective health measures

Leone, Tiziana
PLoS ONE (2017)

The links between two commonly used measures of health—self-rated health (SRH) and self-reported illness (SRI)–and socio-economic and contextual factors are poorly understood in Low and Middle Income Countries (LMICs) and more specifically among women in conflict areas. This study assesses the socioeconomic determinants of three self-reported measures of health among women in the occupied Palestinian territories; self-reported self-rated health (SRH) and two self-reported illness indicators (acute and chronic diseases).

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Cannibalizing the Informal Economy:  Frugal Innovation and Informal Economic Inclusion in Africa

Meagher, Kate
The European Journal of Development Research (2017)

This paper argues that, far from collaborating with informal economic systems and actors,frugal innovation tends to treat informal economies as a pool of workers and organizational resources to be tapped for the benefit of corporate actors. 

To read the full article, click here


JEAS, Publication

“In the interests of justice?” The International Criminal Court, peace talks and the failed quest for war crimes accountability in northern Uganda

Macdonald, Anna
Journal of Eastern African Studies (2017)

This article analyzes the first peace talks to take place against the backdrop of an International Criminal Court (ICC) investigation: the Juba Talks between the Lord’s Resistance Army and the Government of Uganda (2006–2008). Drawing on field research and original source material, it departs from well-worn peace versus justice debates and provides new empirical material to explore how the presence of the court shaped domestic political dynamics at Juba. It argues that at the level of broad rhetoric, the presence of the court created significant discord between negotiating parties. In findings relevant to other contexts, the article presents in-depth analyses of how domestic political dynamics around the ICC intervention produced a national transitional justice framework designed to protect both parties from war crimes accountability.

To read the full article, click here



Austerity Welfare: Social Security in the Era of Finance

Kar, Sohini
Anthropology Today (2017)

With the launch of the new financial inclusion programme in 2015, the government of India claimed that more than 90 per cent of households now have access to bank accounts. The programme sought not only to link the poor in India to financial services such as credit and savings, but also to insurance-based welfare payments. This article examines how the expansion of welfare programmes – a seeming alternative to austerity – in India has simultaneously hinged on arguments of fiscal conservatism. In other words, financial inclusion has also served to curtail government expenditure through payment systems and financial infrastructures. However, as the poor are drawn into new financial products, it raises the question of ‘who benefits’ when welfare systems are streamlined through the banking system.

To read the full article, click here


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Crisis, Again: On Demonetisation and Microfinance

Kar, Sohini
Cultural Anthropology (2017)

Every morning, poor women across India attend microfinance group meetings to repay their small loans. Piles of cash are sorted by the microfinance institution (MFI) for the loan officer who comes to register and collect the repayments. Demonetization of ₹500 and ₹1000 notes in 2016 significantly affected the cash-based microfinance sector. The inadequate supply of cash meant that borrowers—many working in the informal economy—were unable to repay their loans. Simultaneously, MFIs struggled to keep up with new loan disbursals. Demonetization, however, was not the first crisis to hit the microfinance sector; rather, it reflected the ways in which the poor have been entangled into networks and crises of formal finance...

To read the full article, click here


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Removing user fees for health services: a multi-epistemological perspective on access inequities in Senegal

Mladovsky, Philipa and Bâ, Maymouna
Social Science & Medicine (2017)

Plan Sésame (PS) is a user fee exemption policy launched in 2006 to provide free access to health services to Senegalese citizens aged 60 and over. However, analysis of a household survey evaluating PS echoes findings of other studies showing that user fee removal can be highly inequitable. 34 semi-structured interviews and 19 focus group discussions with people aged 60 and over were conducted in four regions in Senegal (Dakar, Diourbel, Matam and Tambacounda) over a period of six months during 2012. They were analysed to identify underlying causes of exclusion from/inclusion in PS. These point to three steps at which exclusion occurs: (i) not being informed about PS; (ii) not perceiving a need to use health services under PS; and (iii) inability to access health services under PS, despite having the information and perceived need. In this paper, the authors identify lay explanations for exclusion at these different steps. 

To read the full article, click here



Taking stock of Rwanda’s decentralisation: cTaking it Personally: the Effect of Ethnic Attachment on Preferences for Regionalism

Green, Elliott
Studies in Comparative International Development (2017)

This article presents three related findings on regional decentralization. We use an original dataset collected in Uganda to establish, for the first time in a developing country context, that individuals have meaningful preferences over the degree of regional decentralization they desire, ranging from centralism to secessionism. Second, multilevel models suggest that a small share of this variation is explained at the district and ethnic group levels. The preference for regional decentralization monotonically increases with an ethnic group or a district’s average ethnic attachment. However, the relationship with an ethnic group or district’s income is U-shaped: both the richest and the poorest groups desire more regionalism, reconciling interest-based and identity-based explanations for regionalism. Finally, we show that higher individual ethnic attachment increases preferences for regionalism using fixed effects and a new matching method.

To read the full article, click here



Afghanistan’s Taliban – Legitimate Jihadists or Coercive Extremists?

Weigand, Florian
Journal of Intervention and Statebuilding (2017)

The military intervention in Afghanistan in 2001 was portrayed as a fight to oust the extremist Taliban. But the Taliban have long been regaining influence, with the military victory of the Afghan government and its foreign allies now seeming less likely than ever. In light of these developments, this article investigates what the affected people – rather than the foreign interveners – think about the Taliban, and whether they perceive them as coercive or legitimate. Building on a conceptual understanding of legitimacy that has been adjusted to the dynamics of conflict-torn spaces, the article suggests that people judge the Taliban on the basis of how their day-to-day behaviour is perceived. While the Taliban are a coercive threat in urban centres and other areas where they launch attacks, they nonetheless manage to construct legitimacy in some of the places which they control or can access easily. A major source of their legitimacy in these areas is the way in which they provide services – such as conflict resolution – which some people consider to be faster and fairer than the state’s practices.

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Why U.S. Efforts to Promote the Rule of Law in Afghanistan Failed

Swenson, Geoffrey 
International Security (2017)

Promoting the rule of law in Afghanistan has been a major U.S. foreign policy objective since the collapse of the Taliban regime in late 2001. Policymakers invested heavily in building a modern democratic state bound by the rule of law as a means to consolidate a liberal post-conflict order. Eventually, justice-sector support also became a cornerstone of counterinsurgency efforts against the reconstituted Taliban. Yet a systematic analysis of the major U.S.-backed initiatives from 2004 to 2014 finds that assistance was consistently based on dubious assumptions and questionable strategic choices. These programs failed to advance the rule of law even as spending increased dramatically during President Barack Obama's administration. Aid helped enable rent seeking and a culture of impunity among Afghan state officials. Despite widespread claims to the contrary, rule-of-law initiatives did not bolster counterinsurgency efforts. The U.S. experience in Afghanistan highlights that effective rule-of-law aid cannot be merely technocratic. To have a reasonable prospect of success, rule-of-law promotion efforts must engage with the local foundations of legitimate legal order, which are often rooted in nonstate authority, and enjoy the support of credible domestic partners, including high-level state officials.

To read the full article, click here



Afghanistan’s Taliban – Legitimate Jihadists or Coercive Extremists?

Weigand, Florian
Journal of Intervention and Statebuilding (2017)

The military intervention in Afghanistan in 2001 was portrayed as a fight to oust the extremist Taliban. But the Taliban have long been regaining influence, with the military victory of the Afghan government and its foreign allies now seeming less likely than ever. In light of these developments, this article investigates what the affected people – rather than the foreign interveners – think about the Taliban, and whether they perceive them as coercive or legitimate. Building on a conceptual understanding of legitimacy that has been adjusted to the dynamics of conflict-torn spaces, the article suggests that people judge the Taliban on the basis of how their day-to-day behaviour is perceived. While the Taliban are a coercive threat in urban centres and other areas where they launch attacks, they nonetheless manage to construct legitimacy in some of the places which they control or can access easily. A major source of their legitimacy in these areas is the way in which they provide services – such as conflict resolution – which some people consider to be faster and fairer than the state’s practices.

To read the full article, click here



Studying political settlements in Africa              

Behuria, Pritish. Buur, Lars and Gray, Hazel.                
African Affairs (2017)              

The political settlements approach emerged out of a critique of new institutional economics developed by Mushtaq Khan in the 1990s. Since then, the political settlements approach has proliferated in donor programming and academic scholarship on African countries. This has led to some confusion about its core conceptual and methodological features. This Research Note starts by setting out our understanding of political settlements and provides an overview of existing political settlements literature on African countries. The overall contribution of the note is to illustrate the varied strategies used in studying political settlements and to place them in conversation with one another.              

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Blending Top-Down Federalism with Bottom-Up Engagement to Reduce Inequality in Ethiopia              

Faguet, J.P., Q. Khan and A. Ambel                 
World Development (2017)              

Donors increasingly fund interventions to counteract inequality in developing countries, where they fear it can foment instability and undermine nation-building efforts. To succeed, aid relies on the principle of upward accountability to donors. But federalism shifts the accountability of subnational officials downward to regional and local voters. What happens when aid agencies fund anti-inequality programs in federal countries? Does federalism undermine aid? Does aid undermine federalism? Or can the political and fiscal relations that define a federal system resolve the contradiction internally? The authors explore this paradox via the Promotion of Basic Services program in Ethiopia, the largest donor-financed investment program in the world. Using an original panel database comprising the universe of Ethiopian woredas (districts), the study finds that horizontal (geographic) inequality decreased substantially.               

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Relative indemnity: risk, insurance, and kinship in Indian microfinance              

Kar, Sohini                 
J R Anthropol Inst (2017)              

With the growth of commercial microfinance in India, the poor have been increasingly enfolded into circuits of global finance. In making these collateral-free loans, however, microfinance institutions (MFIs) engage in new forms of risk management. While loans are made to women with the goal of economic and social empowerment, MFIs require male kin to serve as guarantors. Drawing on fieldwork in the city of Kolkata, I argue that through the requirement of male guarantors, MFIs hedge on kinship, even as they speculate on the bottom of the pyramid as a new market of accumulation.              

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The American paradox: ideology of free markets and the hidden practice of directional thrust              

Wade, Robert                
Cambridge Journal of Economics (2017)              

This essay reviews the history of US industrial policy, with an emphasis on ‘network-building industrial policy’ over the past two decades. At the end, it draws a lesson for policy communities in other countries and interstate development organisations such as the World Bank and IMF.              

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Tracking presidents and policies: environmental politics from Lula to Dilma              

Hochstetler, Kathryn                  
Policy Studies (2017)               

Does the Brazilian presidential system shape environmental policy there? The comparative literature on environmental policy offers few reasons to think that it might. This article examines environmental policies and outcomes in three successive presidential administrations in Brazil to develop hypotheses about whether institutional factors should gain a larger place in comparative studies of environmental policies and outcomes.              

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Contesting the militarization of the places where they met: the landscapes of the western Nuer and Dinka (South Sudan)              

Pendle, Naomi                 
Journal of East African Studies (2017)               

Decades of militarized, violent conflict and elite wealth acquisition have created a common rupture in shared landscapes between communities of the western Dinka and Nuer (South Sudan). Through the remaking of these landscapes, governments and their wars have indirectly reshaped political identities and relationships. Networks of complex relationships have used this space for migration, marriage, trade and burial. Since the government wars of the 1980s, people from both Dinka and Nuer communities have participated in a myriad of cross-cutting political alliances with a lack of ethnic homogeneity. Yet, the recreation of this landscape as a militarized no-man’s land has stopped Nuer and Dinka meeting and is etching into the landscape naturalized visions of ethnic divisions.              

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Transitional Justice and Political Economies of Survival in Post-conflict Northern Uganda              

Macdonald, Anna                
Development and Change (2017)              

This article explores the interplay between transitional justice and ‘everyday’ political economies of survival in post-conflict Acholiland, northern Uganda. Based on extensive fieldwork in Acholiland in the period 2012–14, using a range of qualitative research methods, the author examines the means through which people negotiate social and moral order in the context of post-conflict life and analyses the tensions between these forms of ‘everyday’ activity and current transitional justice policy and programming in the region.              

To read the full article, click here 



Legal Pluralism and Women's Rights After Conflict: The Role of CEDAW              

Swenson, Geoffrey. and Campbell, Meghan                  Columbia Human Rights Law Reveiw (2016)              

Protecting and promoting women’s rights is an immense challenge after conflict, especially when non-state justice systems handle most disputes. However, legal pluralism’s implications for gender equality remain under-theorized. This Article examines the potential of the Convention for Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination (CEDAW) and analyses how the CEDAW Committee to can more effectively promote gender equality in legally pluralistic, post-conflict states.              

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Promoting and regulating generic medicines: Brazil in comparative perspective              

Shadlen, Kenneth C. and Fonseca, Elize Massard da   PAHO (2017)              

Promoting the use of generic drugs can constitute a core instrument for countries’ national pharmaceutical policies, one that reduces drug expenditure while expanding health care access. Despite the potential importance of such policy measures and the differences among national practices, scholars embarking on comparative analysis lack a roadmap for determining which dimensions of generic drug policy to assess and compare. This report fills that gap by considering national rules and regulations across four dimensions deemed crucial to any evaluation.              

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Secondary pharmaceutical patenting: A global perspective                      

Shadlen, Kenneth C. and Sampata, Bhaven N.                 Research Policy (2017)              

Pharmaceutical firms’ use of secondary patents to extend periods of exclusivity generates concerns among policymakers worldwide. In response, some developing countries have introduced measures to curb the grant of these patents. While these measures have received considerable attention, there is limited evidence on their effectiveness. We follow a large sample of international patent applications in the US, Japan, the European Patent Office, and corresponding filings in three developing countries with restrictions on secondary patents, India, Brazil, and Argentina.              

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Explicit Bayesian analysis for process tracing: guidelines, opportunities, and caveats            

Fairfield, Tasha and Charman, Andrew                 
Political Analysis (2017)              

Bayesian probability holds the potential to serve as an important bridge between qualitative and quantitative methodology. Yet whereas Bayesian statistical techniques have been successfully elaborated for quantitative research, applying Bayesian probability to qualitative research remains an open frontier. This paper advances the burgeoning literature on Bayesian process tracing by drawing on expositions of Bayesian “probability as extended logic” from the physical sciences, where probabilities represent rational degrees of belief in propositions given the inevitably limited information we possess.              

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The politics of natural disasters in protracted conflict: the 2014 flood in Kashmir              

Venugopal, Rajesh and Yasir, Sameer                
Oxford Development Studies (2017)              

This paper explores the politics of the 2014 floods in the contentious and conflict-prone Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir. The September 2014 floods were the most serious natural disaster in the state in the past 60 years, and affected some two million people in the Kashmir valley. Drawing on qualitative interview evidence from 50 flood victims in south, central and north Kashmir, the paper examines the extent to which the disaster transformed existing political narratives. In doing so, it examines the role of the state and central governments, the army, local volunteers, and the media. The paper engages with the politics of disaster literature, exploring how disasters can serve as a lens rather than as a catalyst, and stressing the relevance of understanding the social construction of disaster narratives.              

To read the full article, click here  



Rural bias in African electoral systems: Legacies of unequal representation in African democracies              

Boone, Catherine and Wahman, Michael                
Electoral Studies (2017)              

Although electoral malapportionment is a recurrent theme in monitoring reports on African elections, few researchers have tackled this issue. Here we theorize the meaning and broader implications of malapportionment in eight African countries with Single Member District (SMD) electoral systems. Using a new dataset on registered voters and constituency level election results, we study malapportionment's magnitude, persistence over time, and electoral consequences. The analysis reveals that patterns of apportionment institutionalized in the pre-1990 era established a long-lasting bias in favor of rural voters. This "rural bias" has been strikingly stable in the post-1990 era, even where the ancien regime has been voted out of power. These findings underscore the importance of the urban-rural distinction in explaining electoral outcomes in Africa    

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Industrial policy in response to the middle-income trap and the Third Wave of the digital revolution              

Wade, Robert                 
Global Policy (2016)              

The ‘middle-income trap’ (MIT) is ‘real enough’ for policy makers in developing countries to take it as a serious threat to prospects for achieving ‘high’ average income. In light of this, the Third Wave, and other conditions in the world economy, this essay discusses some of the big issues in the design of industrial policy, on the theme of how to do it well rather than how to do it less.              

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After Rape: Violence, Justic and Social Harmony in Uganda              

Porter, Holly                
Cambridge University Press (2016)              

Following the ICC intervention in 2005, northern Uganda has been at the heart of international justice debates. The emergent controversy, however, missed crucial aspects of Acholi realities: that the primary moral imperative in the wake of wrongdoing was not punishment but, instead, the restoration of social harmony. Drawing upon abundant fieldwork and in-depth interviews with almost 200 women, Holly Porter examines issues surrounding wrongdoing and justice, and sexual violence and rape, among the Acholi people in northern Uganda.              

To read the full article, click here 



The Quest to Bring Land under Social and Political Control: Land Reform Struggles of the Past and Present in Ecuador

Goodwin, Geoff 
Journal of Agrarian Change (2016)

Land reform was one of the most important policies introduced in Latin America in the twentieth century and remains high on the political agenda due to sustained pressure from rural social movements. Improving our understanding of the issue therefore remains a pressing concern. This paper responds to this need by proposing a new theoretical framework to explore land reform and providing a fresh analysis of historical and contemporary land struggles in Ecuador. Drawing on the pioneering work of Karl Polanyi, the paper characterizes these struggles as the attempt to increase the social and political control of land in the face of mounting commodification. The movement started in the 1960s and remains evident in Ecuador today. Exploring land reform in Ecuador from this theoretical perspective provides new insight into land struggles in the country and contributes to debates over land reforms of the past and present elsewhere in the Global South.

To read the full article, click here 



The Trial of Thomas Kwoyelo: Opportunites or spectre? Reflections from the ground on the first LRA prosecution

Macdonald, Anna and Porter, Holly
Africa (2016)

The trial of Thomas Kwoyelo – the first war crimes prosecution of a former Lord's Resistance Army fighter, and the only domestic war crimes prosecution in Uganda at the time of writing – has been packed with drama, intrigue and politics. The article considers what Kwoyelo's trial means for those most affected by the crimes he allegedly committed, and, more broadly, what it means for the ‘transitional justice’ project in Uganda. The article is concerned primarily with how the trial has been interpreted ‘on the ground’ in Acholiland: by local leadership; by those with a personal relationship to Kwoyelo; by direct victims of his alleged crimes; and by those who were not. Responses to the trial have been shaped by people's specific wartime experiences and if or how his prosecution relates to their current circumstances – as well as by the profound value of social harmony and distrust of higher authorities to dispense justice. We conclude with a discussion of the relevance of our findings for the practice of ‘transitional justice’ across the African continent.

To read the full article, click here 



Countering threats, stabilising politics and selling hope: examining the Agaciro  concept as a response to a critical juncture in Rwanda

Behuria, Pritish
Journal of Eastern African Studies (2016)

The political settlements literature has assigned a privileged role to rents as instruments used by ruling elites to maintain political stability. Since then, there has been some attempt to highlight how ideas may play a similarly important role in contributing to political stability. This article explores how ruling elites in Rwanda responded to a ‘critical juncture’ in 2012 when donors withdrew foreign aid after they alleged that the Rwandan Patriotic Front government was supporting rebel groups in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

To read the full article, click here 



Precolonial Political Centralization and Contemporary Development in Uganda

Green, Elliott and Sanghamitra, Bandyopadhyay                    
Economic Development and Cultural Change Vol 64.3 (April 2016)

The role of precolonial history on contemporary development has become an important field of study within development economics. In this article the authors examine the role of precolonial political centralization on contemporary development outcomes with detailed subnational data from Uganda.

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Structuralism, The Oxford Handbook of Politics of Development

Green, Elliott                                        
Structuralism, forthcoming in the Oxford Handbook of Politics of Development, edited by Carol Lancaster and Nicolas van de Walle (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016)

This article examines the structural origins of developmental politics by focusing on the argument that “bad politicians” are the reason for the problem with politics in developing countries, or that great leaders are responsible for development.

To read the full article, click here 



Decentralization and Development in Contemporary Uganda

Green, Elliott                                        
Regional & Federal Studies Vol 25.5 (Nov 2015)

There has long been an emphasis on the importance of decentralization in providing better quality public services in the developing world. In order to assess the effectiveness of decentralization I examine here the case study of Uganda, which has seen major decentralization of power over the last quarter-century. 

To read the full article, click here



New Report - "From Hybrid Peace to Human Security: Rethinking EU Strategy towards Conflict"

The latest report by the Civil Society and Human Security Research Unit proposes that the European Union adopts a second generation human security approach to conflicts, as an alternative to Geo-Politics or the War on Terror.

Read the full report here



Centralising rents and dispersing power while pursuing development? Exploring the strategic uses of military firms in Rwanda

Behuria, Pritish                                    
Review of African Political Economy (Feb 2016)

The Rwandan Patriotic Front has achieved significant economic progress while also maintaining political stability. However, frictions among ruling elites have threatened progress. This paper explores the use of military firms in Rwanda. Such firms are used to invest in strategic industries, but the use of such firms reflects the vulnerability faced by ruling elites. Military firms serve two related purposes. First, ruling elites use such firms to centralise rents and invest in strategic sectors. Second, the proliferation of such enterprises and the separation of party- and military-owned firms contribute to dispersing power within a centralised hierarchy.

To read the full article, click here 



Europe's failed ‘fight’ against irregular migration: ethnographic notes on a counterproductive industry

Andersson, Ruben                              
Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies (Feb 2016)

Despite Europe's mass investments in advanced border controls, people keep arriving along the continent's shores under desperate circumstances. European attempts to ‘secure’ or ‘protect’ the borders have quite clearly failed, as politicians themselves increasingly recognise – yet more of the same response is again rolled out in response to the escalating ‘refugee crisis’. Amid the deadlock, this article argues that we need to grasp the mechanics and logics of the European ‘border security model’ in order to open up for a change of course.

To read the full article, click here 


LSE Int Development LSE_ID

Need some dissertation inspiration? Have a look at our prizewinning dissertations from last year's cohort... ……

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Tonight we welcome guest speaker Barbara Harriss-White for our #Cuttingedge19 series. Today's talk is on Globalisat……


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Roxane Ray, MSc Programme Manager +44(0)20 7955 2626

Dipa Patel, Web, Communications and Events +44(0)20 7955 6565


General Enquires

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Department of International Development, Connaught House, London School of Economics, Houghton Street, London, WC2A 2AE