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

Servicing the Demands of Empire: Institutionalizing Illegality in Panama's Borderlands (SWP 27)

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

This study of borderland “vice” in US-Panama relations argues that a focus on these activities, which many considered illicit, deepens our understanding of both the mechanics of empire and the development of nation-states, while complicating assorted state actions usually considered simple “corruption.” Engaging illicit activity proved an important aspect of both Panamanian nation-state formation and US imperial expansion. Panama served as an early “workshop” for US officials to experiment with extraterritorial criminal justice initiatives as a means of control in lieu of direct occupation. Local power holders worked with these powerful intrusions but often not in ways US officials hoped. Controlling the illicit infrastructure of state became an important component of institutionalized politics and power in Panama.

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International Institutions and Global Governance: The Turn to Mechanisms and Process (SWP 26)

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

The past decade has seen a sustained move by students of international institutions and organizations to viewing their subject matter as independent variables affecting state interests and policy. Conceptually, this has put a premium on identifying the mechanisms connecting institutions to states; methodologically, there has been a growing concern with measuring process. While this move has produced rich and analytically rigorous studies that demonstrate the multiple roles – good and bad – institutions play in global politics, significant challenges remain. In terms of design, scholars often neglect the problem of equifinality – where multiple causal pathways may lead to the same outcome – and instead conduct process tracing only on their preferred argument. Theoretically, the focus on process seems to reduce the power and generalizability of arguments about institutions. Finally, the potential for process tracing to help combine rationalist and constructivist insights remains largely unfulfilled.

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NGO Politics in Uganda: A Practitioner's Perspective (SWP 25)

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

Over the past decade the relationship between non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and the government of Uganda has become increasingly adversarial. In order to gauge perceptions of the causes and implications of the increasing tensions, interviews were conducted with NGO professionals and government officials in the Masaka, Gulu and Kampala districts. Based on the responses from these interviews, this paper argues that the tension between the government of Uganda and NGOs is due in part to the increased focus on lobbying and advocacy. The resulting antagonism between NGOs and the government of Uganda has deleterious effects on the ability of both actors to implement effective development programmes. This paper also finds that the capability of both of these actors is limited by their narrow social base and lack of meaningful connection with the majority of Ugandan citizens.

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Other
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Reading Economics: The Role of Mainstream Economics in International Development Studies Today (SWP 24)

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

What is the role of the economics discipline in teaching and studying international development today? This paper draws upon experiences of teaching and reading economics with students in interdisciplinary international development studies. The main conclusion is that economic literacy is a key ingredient in development studies. This paper discusses different interpretations of what economic literacy may entail and why this literacy is important. It concludes by suggesting a number of paths to achieve the necessary level of understanding.

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Perils of Pluralism: Electoral Violence and Competitive Authoritarianism in Sub-Saharan Africa (SWP 23)

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

Why do some multi-party elections lead to political violence while others do not? Despite extensive literatures on democratization and civil war, electoral violence has received much less attention. We develop a set of theoretical propositions to explain variation, and we test these against an original dataset on Africa’s grand democratic experiment after the Cold War. Contra existing research, we find most violence takes place before the election and is committed by incumbents. We also demonstrate different causal dynamics of violence before and after election day. Pre-existing social conflict and the quality of founding elections shape pre-vote violence, while the stability of democratic institutions and weaker economic growth shape post-vote violence. When incumbents seek reelection, electoral violence is more likely, and when civil wars occur simultaneously with voting, electoral violence is less likely, before and after elections. We provide region-specific and global interpretations.

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Identity, Europe and the World beyond Public Spheres (SWP 22)

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2012
Abstract: 

This is the draft summary chapter for a collection of essays, European Public Spheres: Politics is Back (forthcoming, Cambridge University Press). It critically assesses what we do and do not know about the relation of public spheres to politics and the social more generally, and points out several gaps and challenges to address. First, arguments about public spheres are ultimately claims about how language and communication shape politics. Recognizing that institutions, power and practice are important as well, scholars in other fields have supplemented the linguistic approach with other types of analysis. In work on public spheres, however, a similar move seems absent – which results in incomplete arguments, for example, on the relation of public spheres to European identity. Second, how well do arguments on European public spheres hold up cross-nationally – or even in respect to the enlarged Europe that today’s reality? Third, beyond establishing that Europeanized public spheres matter, future research needs to explore how much they matter. This will involve more ambitious research designs – establishing baselines and relative weightings, identifying scope conditions and thinking counterfactually.

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Process Tracing: From Philosophical Roots to Best Practices (SWP 21)

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2012
Abstract: 

This paper has two overarching goals – to summarize recent developments on the philosophical and practical dimensions of process tracing, and to identify features common to best practices of it on different kinds of arguments, with different kinds of available evidence, in different substantive research domains. First, we define process tracing and discuss its foundations in the philosophy of social science. Next, we address its techniques and evidentiary sources, and advance ten criteria for judging its quality in particular pieces of research. Finally, we analyze the methodological issues specific to process tracing on general categories of theories, including structural-institutional, cognitive-psychological, and sociological. 

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Public Order Principles, Philosophical Method and the International Law of Nuclear Weapons (SWP 20)

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2012
Abstract: 

The goal of philosophical method is the construction of a comprehensive policy argument (CPA) for a public policy or legal issue. In addition to the conventional use of empirical models and their logic of investigation in the study of policy and law, CPA requires that an underlying philosophical logic of concepts be deciphered in terms of the ideas within the issue, their definition, overlap and systematic interdependence. In this working paper, I will employ a logic of concepts from the philosophical system of David Hume to provide a unique and more complete logic of legal investigation for the illumination of the International Court of Justice’s Advisory Opinion on the Legality of Nuclear Weapons.

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The Judgment of PAROS: How Best to Prevent an Arms Race in Outer Space (SWP 19)

Author: 
Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2012
Abstract: 

The international community will soon need to judge as to what measures should be agreed to prevent an arms race in outer space. The world depends increasingly on services provided by space-based assets and recent anti-satellite weapon tests have raised the prospect of space becoming a weaponized conflict zone. Several diplomatic proposals have been made by Russia, China, Canada and the EU aimed at reinforcing the present regime for outer space security. The leading space power, the United States, has for several years remained on the sidelines, neither endorsing any of the existing proposals nor advancing ideas of its own. Domestic political considerations appear to be hampering the Obama Administration’s capacity to engage actively in the current outer space diplomacy. Early in 2012 however, it declared support for an International Code of Conduct on Outer Space Activities based on an earlier EU draft. Such a draft, despite its modest security content, offers a promising array of mechanisms for international cooperation on outer space security at a time when the world depends increasingly on the unimpeded operation of some one thousand satellites.

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Other
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The Political Economy of Agricultural Statistics: Evidence from India, Nigeria and Malawi (SWP 18)

Author: 
Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2012
Abstract: 

The political economy of agricultural policies – why certain interventions may be preferred by political leaders rather than others – is well recognized. This paper explores a perspective previously neglected: the political economy of the production of agricultural output data. In developing economies the data on agricultural production are weak. Because these data are assembled using competing methods and assumptions, the final series are subject to political pressure. This paper draws on debates on the evidence of a Green Revolution in India, the arguments on effect of withdrawing fertilizer subsidies during Structural Adjustment in Nigeria, and finally the paper presents new data on the effect of crop data subsidies in Malawi. The recent agricultural census (2006/2007) indicates a maize output of 2.1 million tonnes, compared to the previously widely circulated figures of 3.4 million tonnes. The paper suggests that ‘data’ are themselves a product of agricultural policies.

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