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Publications


The archive of publications from the department of International Development

2017

isec.2017.42.issue-1.cover

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.

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JournalOfStatebuilding

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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AfricanAffairs

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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WorldDevelopment

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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JRAI

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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CPES

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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PolicyStudies

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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JEAS-cover

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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DevelopmentChange

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.              

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HRLR

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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PAHO

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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ResearchPolicy

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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PoliticalAnalysis

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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Oxford_Development_Studies

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.              

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ElectorialStudies

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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2016

GlobalPolicy
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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AfterRape

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 


 

AC

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.

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CUP

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.


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JEAS-cover

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.

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edc

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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OUP

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.

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RegionalFederal

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. 

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Hybridpeace

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


 

APE

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.

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JEMS

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.

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