ISQ Publishes Replication Symposium

Scott Wolford’s article, “Oil Discoveries, Shifting Power, and Civil Conflict,” is the subject of a recent ISQ replication symposium:

Oil Discoveries, Shifting Power, and Civil Conflict: A formal and quantitative replication

“Oil Discoveries, Shifting Power, and Civil Conflict”

From the LBJ’s Strauss Center:

Expanding on Initial Work, Scholars Make Contribution Says Wolford

In a upcoming post for International Studies Quarterly, Strauss Center Distinguished Scholar and UT Professor Scott Wolford and co-author Curtis Bell respond to recent replication of their theoretical and empirical work. In the post, Wolford responds to what he calls “rigorous” and “thoughtful” follow up work on the link between oil resources and civil conflict. In pointing to these contributions, Wolford concludes that replication can lead to “new, creative, and unanticipated insights.”

In their 2014 article, “Oil Discoveries, Shifting Power, and Civil Conflict”, Wolford and Bell explored the impact of oil discoveries on the strategic environment. In particular, they examine the relationship between oil discoveries and bargaining between governments and rebel groups and the impact of resource wealth on civil conflict. They concluded that the discovery of oil has the potential to change the expectations of either group, which can reduce willingness to bargain and increase the likelihood of civil conflict.

Wolford explains that attempts by authors Ritter and Florea to replicate this initial work have yielded substantial and significant contributions. In particular, Wolford says the authors explore the possibility that regimes might pursue preemptive repression following oil discoveries, warranting further examination of regimes’ coercive capacity. They also consider the impact of prospective oil wealth on government motivation to engage in conflict or negotiate a peace deal, pointing out that the desire to actually realize resource wealth might make regimes more likely to bargain to achieve stability.

McDonald: Great Powers and the Causes of Peace

Pat McDonald’s article has been accepted for publication in International Organization.

Title: Great Powers, Hierarchy, and Endogenous Regimes: Rethinking the Domestic Causes of Peace

Abstract: This paper blends recent research on hierarchy and democratization to examine the theoretical and empirical costs of treating regime type exogenously in the literature most identified with studying its impact on international politics. It argues that the apparent peace among democratic states that emerges in the aftermath of World War I is not caused by domestic institutional attributes normally associated with democracy. Instead, this peace is an artifact of historically specific great power settlements. These settlements shape subsequent aggregate patterns of military conflict by altering the organizational configuration of the system in three critical ways—by creating new states, by altering hierarchical orders, and by influencing regime type in states. These claims are defended with a series of tests that show first how the statistical relationship between democracy and peace has exhibited substantial variation across great power orders; second, that this statistical relationship breaks down with theoretically motivated research design changes; and third, that great powers foster peace and similar regime types within their hierarchical orders. In short, the relationship between democracy and peace is spurious. The international political order is still built and managed by great powers.

The Shield of Nationality: New book explains enduring role of the nation in the international economy

In the last decades, theories of globalization have suggested diminishing effects of nationality in the international marketplace. National borders are portrayed as increasingly meaningless, as governments are beholden to the demands of international capital. This is thought to be especially true in emerging market countries, which cannot take measures that would risk capital flight or deter foreign direct investment. It comes as somewhat of a surprise then that these governments have shown themselves willing to break contracts with foreign firms. After all, why would investment flow into a country where property rights cannot be taken for granted?

In her new book, The Shield of Nationality: When Governments Break Contracts with Foreign Firms, Rachel Wellhausen demonstrates the enduring strength and significance of nationality in matters of international political economy. Wellhausen finds that a nationally diverse investor community allows governments to in effect respect some property rights while compromising others.

Shield of Nationality

Firms of the same nationality can benefit from “shields” against government mistreatment. Faced with an unfriendly host, co-national firms are likely to band together and lobby diplomats to act on their behalf and divert their investments if a co-national’s contract is breached. Nationality thereby constrains the choices governments have when looking to break contracts.

But, Wellhausen’s research shows that if a contract with a firm of one nationality is broken, firms from other countries are unlikely to blink. So if a country is hosting diverse sources of capital, the cost of losing one source may be relatively low. In this sense, the more internationalized the government’s economy is, the easier it is for that government to break some contracts — greater international diversity in the economy increases governments’ ability to prioritize domestic political or economic goals at the expense of foreign capital.

Bat Sparrow: New Biography on Brent Scowcroft

Bat Sparrow’s latest book is a biography, The Strategist: Brent Scowcroft and the Call of National Security. The first comprehensive examination of Scowcroft’s career, the book is getting wide coverage. Below are video and links to press coverage.

Here is video of the Strauss Center’s book launch event:

Here is video of the Wilson Center’s interview:

Here is a link to a podcast interview.

Here is a page with links to other press coverage, including a New York Times book review.

The Politics of Information: new book by Bryan Jones and Frank Baumgartner

Bryan Jones and longtime collaborator Frank Baumgartner (UNC) have published a new book, The Politics of Information: Problem Definition and the Course of Public Policy in America.

At theThe Politics of Information most basic level, the book grapples with the overabundance of information — how information floods into government, and the difficulty and politics of dealing with it. Embracing the reality of complexity, Jones and Baumgartner coin the phrase the “paradox of search,” alluding to the fact that the more comprehensively government collects and processes information when investigating a problem, the more problems it finds, the more the complexity of the issue multiplies, and the greater the potential (and likelihood) for creating solutions, programs, and institutions to deal with it.

More information = more problems to solve (Photo: Information Overload, by Gveret Tered)

More information = more problems to solve (Photo: Information Overload, by Gveret Tered)

In this way, the growth of government follows from the search for information and attempts to understand problems. But, as different institutions emerge to address problems, coordination becomes difficult. Both organizationally and politically, limiting the flow of information becomes a strategy to impose leadership and control, to gain organizational clarification, and stem the growth of government. The danger is in the consequent risk of leaving real problems unaddressed.

Four New Books – Jones, Liu, Sparrow, Wellhausen

Government faculty have recently published four books:

Bryan Jones (with Frank Baumgartner): The Politics of Information: Problem Definition and the Course of Public Policy in America (Chicago)

The Politics of Information

Amy Liu: Standardizing Diversity: The Political Economy of Language Regimes (Penn)

Standardizing Diversity

Bat Sparrow: The Strategist: Brent Scowcroft and the Call of National Security (Public Affairs)

The Strategist: Brent Scowcroft

Rachel Wellhausen: The Shield of Nationality: When Governments Break Contracts with Foreign Firms (Cambridge)

The Shield of Nationality

Chapman – Forthcoming in BJPS – IMF and Capital Markets

Terry Chapman (with Songying Fang, Xin Li, Randall W. Stone) has a paper that will be published in the British Journal of Political Science.

Title: Mixed Signals: IMF Lending and Capital Markets

Abstract: The effect of new IMF lending announcements on capital markets depends on the lender’s political motivations. There are conditions under which lending reduces the risk of a deepening crisis and reduces the risk premium demanded by market actors. On the other hand, the political interests that make lenders willing to lend weaken the credibility of commitments to reform, and the act of accepting an agreement reveals unfavorable information about the state of the borrower’s economy. The net “catalytic” effect on the price of private borrowing depends on whether these effects dominate the beneficial effects of the liquidity the loan provides. Decomposing the contradictory effects of crisis lending provides an explanation for the discrepant empirical findings in the literature about market reactions. We test the implications of our theory by examining how sovereign bond yields are affected by IMF program announcements, loan size, the scope of conditions attached to loans, and measures of the geopolitical interests of the United States, a key IMF principal.

Findley AJPS Article

Michael Findley, with Daniel Nielson and Jason Sharman, has a new article in the American Journal of Political Science.

Title: Causes of Noncompliance with International Law: A Field Experiment on Anonymous Incorporation

Abstract: Using two field experiments, we probe the efficacy of international rules mandating that incorporation services establish their customers’ true identities. The standards were designed to prevent anonymous “shell” corporations central to money laundering, corruption, and other crimes. Posing as consultants seeking confidential incorporation, we randomly assigned six experimental conditions in emails varying information about monetary reward, international and domestic law, and customer risk to 1,793 incorporation services in 177 countries and 1,722 U.S. firms. Firms in tax havens obey the rules significantly more often than in OECD countries, whereas services in poor nations sometimes prove more compliant than those in rich countries. Only the risk of terrorism and specter of the Internal Revenue Service decrease offers for anonymous incorporation, but they also lower compliance. Offers to “pay a premium” reduce compliance. The risk of corruption decreases response rates but, alarmingly, also decreases compliance rates. Raising international law has no significant effect.

Dana Stauffer: Democracy and the Decline of Devotion

Dana Stauffer’s article, “Tocqueville on the Modern Moral Situation: Democracy and the Decline of Devotion,” has been published in the current issue of the American Political Science Review.


Abstract: Most scholarship on the moral dimensions of Tocqueville’s analysis of democracy focuses on the doctrine of enlightened self-interest. Surprisingly little has been written about his account of the underlying moral shift that makes this doctrine necessary. Drawing principally on Volume II of DEMOCRACY IN AMERICA, but also on Tocqueville’s letters and notes, I unearth his fascinating and compelling account of why modern democratic man loses his admiration for devotion and embraces self-interest. That account begins from individualism, but also includes democratic man’s intellectual and aesthetic tastes, his low estimation of his moral capacities, and weakening religious belief. After examining what Tocqueville saw as the causes of the new moral outlook, I consider what he saw as its most profound implications. Departing from recent trends in Tocqueville scholarship, I argue that is in Tocqueville’s account of the modern democratic condition as such that he has the most to offer us today.

Hunter and Sugiyama: Transforming Subjects into Citizens

Wendy Hunter and Natasha Borges Sugiyama have a new article in the current issue of Perspectives on Politics.

Title: “Transforming Subjects into Citizens: Insights from Brazil’s Bolsa Familia”

Lula Bolsa Speech

Lula speaks to Bolsa Familia recipients. Photo by Agencia Brasil.

Abstract: Welfare programs distribute benefits to citizens. Perhaps even more importantly, by conveying powerful messages about how the state views poor people, welfare programs shape people’s views about themselves as subjects or citizens. Theoretical debates on how public policies can enhance democratic citizenship inspire our study of Brazil’s Bolsa Família (Family Grant). Has this conditional cash transfer program, which forms a major point of contact between the state and millions of poor Brazilians, elevated feelings of social inclusion and agency? A prominent perspective in the welfare-state literature would not expect a positive outcome given the strict means testing and behavioral requirements entailed. Yet our focus group research with Bolsa Família recipients suggests that the program does foster a sense of belonging and efficacy. Policy design and government discourse matter. This innovative welfare program yields rich insights on alternative paths to citizenship development for middle- and low-income countries in the third wave of democracy.

(Change in) the (future) Economy

New article by Christopher Wlezien (and Stuart Soroka and Dominik Stecula), forthcoming in the American Journal of Political Science:

“It’s (Change in) the (Future) Economy, Stupid: Economic Indicators, the Media, and Public Opinion”


Economic perceptions affect policy preferences and government support. It thus matters that these perceptions are driven by factors other than the economy, including media coverage. We nevertheless know little about how media reflect economic trends, and whether they influence (or are influenced by) public economic perceptions. This article explores the economy, media, and public opinion, focusing in particular on whether media coverage and the public react to changes in or levels of economic activity, and the past, present, or future economy. Analyses rely on content-analytic data drawn from 30,000 news stories over 30 years in the United States. Results indicate that coverage reflects change in the future economy, and that this both influences and is influenced by public evaluations. These patterns make more understandable the somewhat surprising finding of positive coverage and public assessments in the midst of the Great Recession. They also may help explain previous findings in political behavior.

Strategic Retrenchment, Power Shifts, and Preventive War

“The Domestic Politics of Strategic Retrenchment, Power Shifts, and Preventive War,” by Terry Chapman, Pat McDonald, and Scott Moser, has been published as an early view article, and is forthcoming in International Studies Quarterly:

Abstract: We present a formal model of international bargaining between two states in which one government must negotiate with a domestic opposition faction to secure tax revenue for military spending. The model examines how robust the international order is to domestic political crises that activate a stark trade-off to a governing coalition. Namely, offering fiscal relief to stave off domestic revolution can simultaneously undermine the larger international political order by facilitating military spending that can, under some circumstances, result in sizable shifts in the relative distribution of military power between states. We find that two key domestic conditions influence the likelihood of preventive war: the distribution of income within the state’s economy and the relative economic stake that opposition groups possess in international settlements.

Xiaobo Lü: New Publications

Lü, Xiaobo, and Pierre F. Landry. 2014. “Show Me the Money: Interjurisdiction Political Competition and Fiscal Extraction in China.” American Political Science Review 108 (03):706-22.

Lü, Xiaobo. 2014. “Does Changing Economic Well-Being Shape Resentment About Inequality in China?” Studies In Comparative International Development 49 (3):300-20.

Tulis and Mellow on the Anti-Federal Appropriation

Jeffrey Tulis and Nicole Mellow recently published “The Anti-Federal Appropriation” in American Political Thought.

Abstract: The Anti-Federalists lost the battle to defeat the Constitution but won back through interpretation what they lost in constitutional construction. To counter Anti-Federalists’ accurate depictions of the proposed constitution as one that would radically alter the existing regime, The Federalist adopted a rhetorical structure that facilitated an opposing political tradition layered over the constitutive logic of the Constitution. Our analysis of the developmental logic embedded in founding political thought, the rhetoric used to defend that political logic, and the subsequent appropriation of Federalist rhetoric by the losers of this debate illustrates the mutual dependence of American political development and political thought.

Terri Givens Book Chapter

Terri Givens published “Nationalism versus Multiculturalism: European Identity and the Impact of the Radical Right on Antidiscrimination Policy in Europe,” in Europe’s Contending Identities: Supranationalism, Ethnoregionalism, Religion, and New Nationalism (Cambridge, 2014, Andrew Gould and Anthony Messina, eds.).

Ben Gregg’s Latest Book Published

Ben Gregg’s The Human Rights State has been published by the University of Pennsylvania Press.

Last year, Gregg was the keynote speaker at the Student World Assembly in Norwalk, Connecticut, where he discussed “Advancing Human Rights by Bringing Them Down to Earth.”

He has recently received a three-year Humanities Research Award from the College of Liberal Arts for work on his next book, Second Nature: The Political, Moral, and Legal Consequences of the Human Species Taking Control of its Genome.

Policy Bubbles: Forthcoming Publication from Policy Agendas Crew

“Policy Bubbles,” by Bryan Jones, Trey Thomas, and Michelle Wolfe, has been accepted for publication in Policy Studies Journal.

Abstract: We develop the concept of a policy bubble to capture the notion of long-term overinvestment in a policy. In sketching the relation of policy bubbles to economic bubbles, we describe how these two concepts have similar origins but different trajectories because they are filtered by different institutions. We examine in some detail three likely instances of ongoing policy bubbles: crime policy, school reform (charter schools and private education vouchers), and the contracting and privatization of public services. We show how these cases differ from the housing bubble of 1997-2007, how they differ from each other, and the extent to which they can be considered policy bubbles. Lastly, we suggest this concept can help unify the policy process literature with the practice of policy evaluation, and outline testable hypotheses for future research.

CP Article by Hunter and Borges Sugiyama

Wendy Hunter and Natasha Borges Sugiyama have published an article in the October issue of Comparative Politics, “Whither Clientelism? Good Governance and Brazil’s Bolsa Familia Program.”

Abstract: A clear development goal is to provide the poor with the benefits essential to human dignity without rendering them vulnerable to patronage politics. This is difficult to accomplish, especially in large federal countries where public policy requires cooperation between national and local authorities. Brazil’s Bolsa Família (Family Grant) confronts such a challenge. Have federal authorities managed to administer this complex and large-scale anti-poverty program while avoiding local “politics as usual?” The findings, based on survey data and focus group evidence from Northeast Brazil, a regional bastion of clientelism, suggest that municipal politicians do not use the Bolsa Familia for vote buying. The success of the Bolsa Familia in remaining insulated from clientelistic networks yields lessons that go well beyond Brazil.

Scott Wolford: Forthcoming AJPS Article

Scott Wolford’s article, “Showing Restraint, Signaling Resolve: Coalitions, Cooperation, and Crisis Bargaining,” is forthcoming in the American Journal of Political Science.

Abstract: How do coalition partners affect the dynamics of crisis bargaining? I analyze a model in which a potential coalition leader faces a trade-off between signaling resolve to a target and retaining a partner’s support by limiting the costs of war. The strength of the target conditions the partner’s effect. When the target is strong, the need to ensure military cooperation reduces the probability of war by discouraging bluffing, though resolute types can signal resolve by foregoing coalitional support. When the target is weaker, a resolute coalition leader moderates threats to preserve military cooperation, foregoing the chance to signal resolve and increasing the chances of war, even as the partner successfully moderates the leader’s bargaining posture. Thus, coalitions may face higher probabilities of war against weaker targets than stronger ones, coalitions are more likely against weak than strong targets, and partners can increase or decrease the probability of war.

Terry Chapman: Three Recent Publications (one with Scott Wolford)

(with Eric Reinhardt) “Global Credit Markets, Political Violence, and Politically Sustainable Risk Premia,” International Interactions, 39:316–342, 2013.

Abstract: How do international financial conditions affect civil unrest? Existing studise examine the domestic economic roots of political violence but say little about the role of external financial conditions. We explore the interactions between international lending, government policy, and domestic unrest. In particular, we note that because of sovereign risk and defensive lending dynamics, credit ratings and interest rate premia are endogenous to expectations about civil violence. We test these claims using instrumental variables techniques and daily data on sovereign bond yield spreads, credit ratings, and episodes of civil violence in 59 developing countries from 1990 through 2004. After correcting for endogeneity, we find that exogenous increases in the price of foreign capital are robustly associated with increased odds of civil conflict. Primary commodity dependence, low economic growth, and poverty can also increase the odds of civil conflict by reducing access to foreign capital.

(with Stephen Chaudoin) “Ratification Patterns and the International Criminal Court,” International Studies Quarterly (2013) 57, 400–409.

Abstract: What types of countries have ratified the Rome Statute establishing the International Criminal Court? Because the court relies on state cooperation, it is a good example of a regime facing a ‘‘participation problem.’’ In order to be effective, the regime requires active members, but states that fear regime effectiveness will therefore find it potentially costly to join. We analyze the extent to which this problem plagues the ICC. We find that countries for whom compliance is likely to be easiest—democracies with little internal violence—are the most likely countries to join the ICC. On the other hand,
countries with the most to fear from ICC prosecution, nondemocracies with weak legal systems and a history of domestic political violence, tend to avoid ratification. We contrast our findings with those of a recent article by Simmons and Danner (2010), arguing that ratification patterns show evidence of credible commitments. Our analysis across a breadth of evidence, both descriptive and multivariate, suggests caution toward arguments about the impact of the ICC on global practices and provides support for the notion that states strategically select themselves into supranational judicial agreements.

(with Johannes Urpelainen and Scott Wolford) “International bargaining, endogenous domestic constraints, and democratic accountability,” Journal of Theoretical Politics, 25(2) 260–283.

Abstract: How do domestic constraints affect international negotiations? Most existing research takes these constraints as given, owing to the presence of certain types of domestic institutions. We analyze a two-sided international bargaining model with endogenous domestic constraints. Our model includes a principal–agent tension between domestic audiences and leaders, and it shows how constraints may arise endogenously and be tailored to the strategic situation at hand by domestic audiences. We show that domestic actors can often use accountability mechanisms to garner bargaining leverage and control special interests, even when leaders hold private information about their distributive preferences. We also show that the relative strength of accountability across countries is important for understanding the emergence of endogenous constraints. We discuss the implications of these theoretical findings for the influence of domestic constraints in several prominent examples of international negotiations.

Ken Greene: Recent Publications

Mexico’s 2012 Elections: Violence, Clientelism, and Democratic Hopes. Baltimore MD: The Johns Hopkins University Press, forthcoming [with Jorge Domínguez, Chappell Lawson, and Alejandro Moreno, eds.]  (Based on the Mexico 2012 Panel Study for which Greene is PI.)

“Why Vote-Buying Works in Mexico” to appear as a chapter in a volume published by the Colegio de México and Mexico’s Federal Elections Tribunal (TEPJF), forthcoming.

“The Political Costs of Privatization: Why Dominant Parties Meet their Doom” Chapter 1 in Nicola de Jager and Pierre du Toit (eds.) Friend or Foe? Dominant Parties in Southern Africa: Insights from the Developing World. United Nations University Press and University of Cape Town Press, 2012.

Ben Gregg: Recent Publications and Presentations

“Teaching Human Rights in the College Classroom as a Cognitive Style,” in J. Shefner, H. Dahms, R. Jones, and A. Jalata, eds., Social Justice and the University, Basingstoke, United Kingdom: Palgrave (forthcoming 2014)

“Might the Noble Savage have Joined the Earliest Cults of Rousseau?” in  Jesko Reiling and Daniel Tröhler, eds., Entre hétérogénéité et imagination. Pratiques de la réception de Jean-Jacques Rousseau. Genève: Éditions Slatkine (in the series Travaux sur la Suisse des Lumières (2013): 347-366

August 13: Paper presentation on “International Relations in a Community of Human Rights States,” 2013 Annual Meeting of the American Sociological Association, New York City

June 13-14: Paper presentation on “Developing Human Rights Commitment in Post Communist Societies through Education,” 2013 Russian Political Science Association, St. Petersburg, Russia



Weyland Podcast On Latin America’s Authoritarian Drift

Listen to Kurt Weyland, on the Journal of Deomcracy’s podcast, discuss his article on Latin America’s populist left and the drift toward authoritarianism:

Read the article:

PS Article by David Leal

David Leal has published an artilce in PS: Political Science & Politics.

“Chapters, Volumes, Editors! Oh My! Reassessing the Role of Edited Volumes in the Social Sciences.”

Abstract: Many scholars discount the value of edited volumes and book chapters to the social science enterprise. Nevertheless, these unique formats advance scholarship, help faculty and graduate students achieve their goals, and enhance teaching and learning. This article therefore assesses the criticisms of volumes and chapters, reconsiders the contributions of these publications, and makes recommendations for improving their accessibility and status.

New Publications from Ben Gregg

Ben Gregg has a couple of new publications:

“Might the Noble Savage have Joined the Earliest Cults of Rousseau?” in  Jesko Reiling and Daniel Tröhler, eds., Entre hétérogénéité et imagination. Pratiques de la réception de Jean-Jacques Rousseau. Genève: Éditions Slatkine (in the series Travaux sur la Suisse des Lumières (2013): 347-366

“Teaching Human Rights in the College Classroom as a Cognitive Style,” in J. Shefner, H. Dahms, R. Jones, and A. Jalata, eds., Social Justice and the University, Basingstoke, United Kingdom: Palgrave (2013)