Simons Working Paper Series in Security and Development

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The Simons Papers in Security and Development are edited and published at the School for International Studies (SIS), Simon Fraser University. These working papers serve to disseminate research-in-progress by the School’s faculty and associated and visiting scholars. Our aim is to encourage the exchange of ideas and academic debate. All papers published in the series have undergone internal review by SIS faculty.

The series is supported by the Simons Foundation.


Series editor: Jeffrey T. Checkel
Managing editor: Martha Snodgrass

Are Development Statistics Manipulable? (SWP 37)

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2014
Abstract: 

Coordinating foreign aid distribution to the poorest countries requires classifying them into developmental cohorts. In principle these designations are objective and immune from manipulation by aid-seeking countries. The objectivity and reliability of these data are important for aid distribution as well as for the use of these data in social scientific applications. We ask whether there are indications that these data are being influenced by aid-seeking manipulation. To do so we examine the distribution of GNIs per capita around the eligibility threshold for World Bank’s International Development Association (IDA). We examine the data as whole and separately for countries that are plausibly more motivated to aid-seek by virtue of their aid-dependence or more capable of doing so by virtue of being perceived as trustworthy. We show that the distribution of GNIs per capita from aid-dependent countries displays indications of aid-seeking data manipulation. This finding is robust to a variety of model specifications, but somewhat sensitive to the exclusion of individual countries from the sample. As such, these findings are more suggestive than definitive, but they do lend credence to the idea of data generation as a strategic process and suggest the need for more research in this area.

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Other
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Regional Identities and Communities (SWP 36)

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2014
Abstract: 

In exploring the relationship between regional identities/communities and regional institutions, political scientists (IR theorists in particular) typically focus on how established institutions affect feelings of community and identity. In contrast, area specialists and historians often ‘reverse the causal arrow,’ asking how pre-existing senses of community facilitate the emergence of regional organizations in the first place. I argue that this relationship is both over- and under-studied. For the EU we have a rich, interdisciplinary set of findings about identity and how it is shaped. Outside of Europe, we know less. Partly this is a reflection of weaker institutions with shorter histories, but it also reveals a tendency to let suggestive stories of identity’s role substitute for systematic analysis. Regardless of the region, future work on the institutions/identity nexus needs to take more seriously both domestic context and process.

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Other
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An Incomplete Transition? Explaining the Ongoing Prevalence of Violence against Women in Post-Apartheid South Africa (SWP 35)

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2014
Abstract: 

The international community considers South Africa a regional bastion of democratic, economic and social rebirth. Yet rates of violence against women in South Africa remain endemically high. This paper examines the diffusion of norms of nonviolence and gender equality from the international community into South African law and society and the subsequent feedback of those norms, to measure South Africa’s compliance with international human rights standards. Institutions and social processes are modeled at three levels: macro (international), meso (national) and micro (community/individual). The model highlights six ways in which norms are weakened or blocked: accessibility, apparent compliance, institutional weakness, divergent priorities, silencing and norm violation fatigue. Each of these is examined in turn.

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Other
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Youth and 'Refo-lution'? Protest Politics in India and the Global Context (SWP 34)

Author: 
Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2014
Abstract: 

This paper aims to set recent research on youth, social change and politics in India into the context of the patterns and possibilities of what we may call the ‘protest politics’ of the present. While similarities across such events as the Arab Spring, the “Occupy” movement in North America or recent protests in Spain, Greece, Turkey and Brazil should not be overemphasized, the idea that values of democracy, social justice and dignity provide a common foundation is persuasive. In India, the campaign against corruption launched in 2011 by Anna Hazare that gave rise to the Aam Aadmi (common man's) party marks a dissatisfaction with “politics as usual” that is unlikely to go away. Much will depend, however, on whether the movement can build and sustain a broad-based coalition.

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Other
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Judges Discover Politics: Justice, Realpolitik, and Judges' Activism in Contemporary Turkey (SWP 33)

Author: 
Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2014
Abstract: 

The case of Turkey presents unique opportunities to expand the theoretical horizons of research on the “legal complex”. This paper explores factors behind the growth of off-the-bench activism by judges and prosecutors between 1980 and 2010 and identifies three stages: the collusion between the military and high courts from the 1980 coup until 2005; the increasing politicization and polarization of the legal complex in 2005–2010; and the restructuring of the judiciary in the wake of the 2010 constitutional referendum. Attention is paid to how individual professionals and judicial organizations shape political and judicial processes, but also to the effects of the government’s quest to eliminate political rivals and rearrange the balance of power within the governing coalition.

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Other
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Recruitment, Retention, and Religion in Rebel Groups (SWP 32)

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2014
Abstract: 

Recruitment and retention are fundamental requirements for any organization. For a rebel group engaged in armed conflict with the state, recruitment and retention of personnel can constitute the difference between life and death for the leadership of the organization and the organization itself. Using a principal–agent analysis of participation and incentive compatibility constraints, we develop a formal model of recruitment and retention in a rebel group with and without contestation. The model better accounts for positive utility from fighting, and therefore helps understand recruitment and retention in a wider set of rebel groups – from loot-seeking organizations motivated by private benefits, to those motivated by communal benefits or ideological or religious principles. We explore the differences between groups of varying degrees of extremist and non-extremist doctrine, focusing on the mobilization to such groups. We demonstrate systematic difference in the capacity of rebel groups and trace this to their recruitment potential.

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Other
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Broderes in Arms: Gangs and the Socialization of Violence in Post-conflict Nicaragua (SWP 31)

Author: 
Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2013
Abstract: 

This paper explores various ways in which gang members in post-conflict Nicaragua have internalized and put into practice a range of violent behaviour patterns over the past two decades. It shows how different types of gang violence can be related to distinct forms of socialization, tracing how these particular articulations have changed over time, often for very contingent reasons. As such, the paper highlights the need to conceive the socialization of violence within gangs as a dynamic and contextualized process, and suggests drawing on the notion of “repertoire” as a means of meaningfully representing this.

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Other
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Learning Restraint: The Role of Political Education in Armed Group Behavior Toward Civilians (SWP 30)

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2013
Abstract: 

Recent scholarship on violence against civilians during armed conflict has emphasized the role of armed group institutions in promoting and, occasionally, controlling atrocities. Given the many causal mechanisms identified (training, ideology, contestation, unit leadership), it remains unclear which of them does the explanatory work in which settings. This paper argues that extrinsic motivations (rewards and punishments) are insufficient to maintain behavioral control, and control is most effective when commanders work to align combatants’ preferences with their own. The argument is tested on micro-level evidence drawn from civil war in El Salvador.

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Other
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State of Injustice: The Indian State and Poverty (SWP 29)

Author: 
Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2013
Abstract: 

Speaking in the Constituent Assembly in January 1947 Jawaharlal Nehru offered a vision of independent India as a state that would deliver social justice. That it has not done so is shown up very clearly in Akhil Gupta’s calculation that the Indian state has been responsible for two million avoidable deaths each year. The paper first reviews the history of the actions of the Indian state in regard to poverty and provides a statement of the poverty problem. It proceeds to a discussion of Gupta’s answer to the question of how and why it is that Indian state has ‘killed’ (as he puts it) so many people, finding his explanation insightful but wanting nonetheless, notably because of the way in which it depoliticizes poverty. Finally the paper asks whether the ‘new welfare architecture’ established through the recent, remarkable series of legislative innovations in regard to social rights, means that the state is now delivering on the promise of social justice. The conclusion is that the legislation makes rather for the management of poverty in the context of the absolute priority that is still being placed on economic growth as an end in itself.

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Other
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Socialization and Organized Political Violence: Theoretical Tools and Challenges (SWP 28)

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2013
Abstract: 

Socialization – or the process of inducting new members into the norms and rules of a given community – has a long history in the social sciences.  Early work by sociologists and anthropologists was followed by a political socialization research program in political science. After a lull in the 1990s, interest has revived among political scientists. Work by both IR scholars and comparativists treats socialization as a key dynamic fostering order and disorder at the international, national and sub-national levels. A review of contemporary socialization research shows that earlier theoretical and methodological weaknesses are being addressed, and that the utility of the concept has been established. However, within political science, there is still a clear need for cross fertilization. Collaboration among  IR theorists and comparativists will produce better arguments about socialization – including in studies of civil conflict.

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