Fall 2017 Duke Political Science Publications

Alexander, Kathryn J. 2017. “Religiosity and Bellicosity: The Impact of Religious Commitment on Patterns of Interstate Conflict,” Journal of Global Security Studies 2(4): 271-287.

Are states with religiously committed citizens more likely to initiate conflict than states with less committed populations? This article builds upon findings within the literature on American politics that link individuals’ levels of religious commitment to their attitudes about foreign policy, and it tests whether the implications of these findings have cross-national applicability and explanatory power for interstate conflict. Using a novel, robust measure of the proportion of a state's population that is religiously committed, as well as monadic and dyadic statistical models, the analysis finds widespread connections between religious commitment and bellicose state behaviors. The results show that states with more religiously committed populations demonstrate higher propensities for initiating conflict with other states.

 Bai, Jie, Seema Jayachandran, Edmund J. Malesky, and Ben Olken. 2017. “Firm Growth and Corruption: Empirical Evidence from Vietnam,” The Economic Journal. Forthcoming. 

This article tests whether firm growth reduces corruption, using data from over 10,000 Vietnamese firms. We employ instrumental variables based on growth in a firm's industry in other provinces within Vietnam and in China. We find that firm growth reduces bribes as a share of revenues. We propose a mechanism for this effect whereby government officials’ decisions about bribes are modulated by inter-jurisdictional competition. This mechanism also implies that growth reduces bribery more for more mobile firms; consistent with this prediction, we find a larger effect for firms with transferable rights to their land or operations in multiple provinces.

Baumgartner, Frank. R, Davidson, Marty, Kaneesha R. Johnson, Arvind Krishnamurthy, and Colin P. Wilson. 2018. Deadly Justice. Oxford University Press. 

In 1976, the US Supreme Court ruled in Gregg v. Georgia that the death penalty was constitutional if it complied with certain specific provisions designed to ensure that it was reserved for the 'worst of the worst.' The same court had rejected the death penalty just four years before in the Furman decision because it found that the penalty had been applied in a capricious and arbitrary manner. The 1976 decision ushered in the 'modern' period of the US death penalty, setting the country on a course to execute over 1,400 inmates in the ensuing years, with over 8,000 individuals currently sentenced to die. Now, forty years after the decision, the eminent political scientist Frank Baumgartner along with a team of younger scholars (Marty Davidson, Kaneesha Johnson, Arvind Krishnamurthy, and Colin Wilson) have collaborated to assess the empirical record and provide a definitive account of how the death penalty has been implemented.  In particular, they assess the extent to which the modern death penalty has met the aspirations of Gregg or continues to suffer from the flaws that caused its rejection in Furman. To answer this question, they provide the most comprehensive statistical account yet of the workings of the capital punishment system.

 Bermeo, Sarah. 2017. “Aid Allocation and Targeted Development in an Increasingly Connected World,” International Organization 71 (4)” 735-766.

Aid donors pursue a strategy of targeted development with regard to recipient states. The determinants of aid allocation have shifted significantly. Industrialized states are increasingly unable to insulate themselves from spillovers caused by underdevelopment abroad. Donors attempt to use aid to decrease these spillovers, targeting developing countries where the effects on the donor are anticipated to be large. Once a recipient is chosen, concern for recipient government capacity guides the composition of aid. Empirical analysis of aid allocation from 1973 to 2012 demonstrates that, while explanations based on security and economic ties to the donor explain allocation well in the Cold War, the post-2001 period is best understood by incorporating a role for targeted development. This framework helps synthesize various findings in the aid allocation literature and has important implications for studying aid effectiveness.

Bermeo, Sarah. 2018. Targeted Development: Industrialized Strategy in a Globalizing World, Oxford University Press.

In a globalizing world, the world's wealthiest nations have found it increasingly difficult to insulate themselves from the residual impacts associated with underdevelopment abroad. Many of the ills associated with, and exacerbated by, underdevelopment cannot be confined within national borders. In Targeted Development, Sarah Blodgett Bermeo shows how wealthy states have responded to this problem by transforming the very nature of development policy. Instead of funding development projects that enhance human well-being in the most general sense, they now pursue a "targeted" strategy: advocating development abroad when and where it serves their own interests. In an era in which the ideology of "globalism" is in decline, targeted development represents a fundamental shift toward a realpolitik approach to foreign aid. Devising development plans that ultimately protect and benefit industrialized donor states now drives the agenda, while crafting effective solutions for deep-seated problems in the neediest nations is increasingly an afterthought. 

Jensen, Nathan. M and Edmund J. Malesky.  2017.  “Nonstate Actors and Compliance with International Agreements: An Empirical Analysis of the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention,” International Organization. Forthcoming. 

International relations scholarship has made great progress on the study of compliance with international agreements. While persuasive, most of this work has focused on states’ de jure compliance decisions, largely excluding the de facto behavior of nonstate actors whose actions the agreement hopes to constrain. Of particular interest has been whether the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention (ABC) might reduce the propensity of multinational corporations (MNCs) to bribe officials in host countries through its mechanisms of extraterritoriality and extensive peer review. Unfortunately, research is hampered by reporting bias. Since the convention raises the probability of investors’ punishment for bribery in their home countries, it reduces both the incentives for bribery and willingness to admit to the activity. This generates uncertainty over which of these incentives drives any correlation between signing the convention and reductions in reported bribery.

Mele, Christian. S. and David A. Siegel. 2017. "Identity, Repression, and the Threat of Ethnic Conflict in a Strong State," Journal of Theoretical Politics 29 (4): 578-598. 

Faced with repression from a strong state, one might expect minority ethnic groups to attempt to assimilate into the dominant group to make themselves seem less threatening. However, this conceptualization of threat elides its tactical components. Oppressed minority groups, even under strong states, may engage in anti-state operations in order to reduce the repression they face, and these operations may succeed with greater likelihood the more they assimilate. Anticipating this, strategic states may be more likely to preemptively raise repression in the face of assimilation in order to reduce this threat. Our model formalizes this logic, illustrating that it can be optimal for the minority group to differentiate even when doing so is strictly detrimental to mobilization. Differentiation is more likely to obtain when increased repression is more costly to the group and when the group’s anti-state operations are more capable of compelling the state to substantially reduce repression.

 Wang, Austin Horng-En. 2017. "Patience moderates the social cleavage in Demand for Redistribution,"  Social Science Research. Forthcoming.

Previous studies on class voting have yielded mixed results linking income and demand for redistribution. Why do some poor people oppose redistribution, while some rich people support it? This article argues that an individual's level of patience, an important personal characteristic that influences how people calculate immediate and distinct outcomes, may moderate the effect of class on redistributive preference. In a one-shot game, redistribution between the rich and the poor is zero sum. When people extend their time horizons, however, the poor see the possibility of upward mobility, while the rich emphasize future losses, such as unemployment and economic instability.

Wang, Austin Horng-En. 2017. "Patience as the Rational Foundation of Sociotropic Voting,"  Electoral Studies Forthcoming.

Economic voting is one of the most important mechanisms on explaining voting behavior and on establishing the democratic accountability. However, people tend to use perceived national economic condition on evaluating the incumbent, which is known as sociotropic voting, instead of their pocketbook. Previous studies suggest both altruism and self-interested future expectation may help explain this seemingly irrational behavior, but empirical works have not yet found convincing evidence to prove or disprove the self-interested motivation. This article suggests that patience makes people discount less on the potential future influence of the current national economic change; if self-interest drives sociotropic voting, patient voters would be more sociotropic.