Comparative Politics

Name: Ifeoluwa Adedeji
Section: Comparative Politics
Professional Email: ifeoluwa1909@gmail.com
Professional Status: Graduate Student
Institution: Ohio University
Scheduling Preference: No Preference
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Paper Title: Borrowed Institutions and the Challenge of Adaptation in Nigeria's Democratic Experiment
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This work addresses a theoretical gap on the ‘borrowed-indigenous contradiction’ argument being circulated around by, chiefly, writers and speakers from the African continent. It underscores the need to move beyond the superficial to discover the necessary innovations needed to effectively transform public institutions in Nigeria, principally for this study, the institution of presidentialism. The argument is put forward for an analysis of the Nigerian political landscape over a long period of time in order to discover processes that have shaped institutional architecture by political leaders. This work also describes the way the ‘structure-agency’ relationship has played out in Nigeria’s history and the impacts legal-constitutional arrangements have had on it. In essence, it upholds the primacy of ideas and innovations and makes a case for a focus-shift by Nigerian political scholars and practitioners to the institutional arena of Nigerian politics as a way of re-directing the course of state development.


Name: Sayeed Ahmed
Section: Comparative Politics
Professional Email: sia112002@yahoo.com
Professional Status: Adjunct Professor
Institution: American Public University System
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Paper Title: Can Islamists be Secularized? Religion and Politics in Urban Bangladesh
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Islamist political parties play significant roles in various societies and states where a majority of the Muslim population resides. In Bangladesh, which has the world’s third-largest Muslim population, Islamist parties operate as counter-hegemonic projects, whose main objectives are to challenge the existing secular or quasi-secular political system in order to establish theocratic state. Therefore, the question arises whether it is possible for the Islamists to work within the secular, democratic framework of the state. The literature on secularization, secularism, and Islam relies on a grand narrative of the reasons to address the question and provides us with polarized answers regarding the Islamists’ ability to accommodate the principle of secularism. Most of the literature suggests that due to the innate nature of the religion of Islam itself, which rejects secularism and the process of secularization, the Islamist parties are unable to accommodate secular, liberal-democratic values. In contrast, some scholars argue that secularism per se poses no inherent threat to Islam and hence, it is possible for the Islamists to work within the rubric of secular, democratic polity. However, almost all of the works have been done on the abstract, theoretical level and do not take into consideration the interplay of social and political factors in Muslim societies. Therefore, it is important to examine these opposite theoretical claims in the context of the socio-political realities of the state where the Islamist parties play important roles in the political system. Research has been conducted regarding the genesis or the role of Islamists in the political system of Bangladesh, but none of this work addresses whether Islamist parties can in fact acclimate to secularism. Therefore, the purpose of this research is to determine both sides of the theoretical claims—the ability or the inability of the Islamist parties to accommodate secular values—at the grassroots level of socio-political realities in the quasi-secular state of Bangladesh.


Name: Annalyn Bachmann
Section: Comparative Politics
Professional Email: bachmanna1994@gmail.com
Professional Status: Graduate Student
Institution: Brandeis University Heller School
Scheduling Preference: No Preference
Proposal Type: Paper
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Paper Title: The Socioeconomic Divide: The Differences Between Development in Southeast Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa
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Extreme poverty plagues developing and developed states throughout the world. Yet, we do not completely understand why it adversely affects some states’ development more than others. This study seeks to answer why some states develop more effectively than others through an analysis of the degree of development of states in Southeast Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa, which are compared by looking at factors such as political stability, governance, regime type, and amount of foreign direct investment. Case study descriptions of Central African Republic, Malaysia, Mauritius, and Cambodia supplement the analysis. The findings suggest that political stability and governance primarily affect the development of a nation, but economic stability has less of an impact.


Name: Talin Bagdassarian
Section: Comparative Politics
Professional Email: tb1699@nyu.edu
Professional Status: Graduate Student
Institution: New York University
Scheduling Preference: Saturday Afternoon
Proposal Type: Paper
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Paper Title: The Impact of State Policies on Economic Migrants in Germany, Russia, and Saudi Arabia
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My paper examines state policies towards economic migrants in Germany, Russia, and Saudi Arabia. While Germany seeks skilled economic migrants to combat its demographic challenges, Russia requires a civic and history exam for economic migrants, and Saudi Arabia has implemented policies to restrict economic migrants. What explains the differences among these three cases where economic migrants make up such a sizeable portion of the labor force? Can the differences be explained by regime type, the country’s labor needs, or other social factors? I answer this question by looking at the history of economic migrants within each country, how the policies towards them have shifted, and, most importantly, why the policies have changed. An analysis of these regime types provides the opportunity to see how and why regime types matter when observing how economic migrants are treated in a given country. It also provides a basis to then go beyond regime type and to study other factors that may impact the policymaking process.


Name: Tyler Bahnman
Section: Comparative Politics
Professional Email: hawke6666@gmail.com
Professional Status: Graduate Student
Institution: University of Texas at Dallas
Scheduling Preference: No Preference
Proposal Type: Paper
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Paper Title: Results May Vary: Differing Outcomes of the Arab Spring
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In the December of 2010, a small protest took place in Tunisia. Across 2011, this small act set off a massive wave of protests, rebellions, and the toppling of several regimes once thought incredibly stable. The Arab Spring took the world by surprise, and has continued to defy all expectations. Even today, some of its results are still up in the air. The fact that nobody thought in a million years that this would happen speaks for itself of the massive gaps in our understanding of both the region and the fundamental processes behind regime change. Seeing as how we still don’t fully grasp the effects of this event, I seek to investigate new ways of attempting to predict the fall of a regime. Others have attempted to explain away regime change through arguments such as institutional strength or economic need, but instead my paper seeks to explain the likelihood of a regime falling based on the populace’s familiarity and experience with democracy and the idea of human rights. The crux of the issue lies with individual rationality. A government can only hold power so long as the general populace accepts its authority. The government can punish individuals who act out of line, which presents a collective action problem to individuals dissatisfied with a regime. In order to want to remove an autocratic regime, however, one must understand and be comfortable with an alternative. Therefore, being conscious of outside options and seeing what other, more free countries have in place should make it easier for dissent to hit the critical mass of people necessary to “solve” the collective action problem and trigger a change in regime. In this paper, I will examine variables pertaining to experience or knowledge of democracy and Western ideas. Specifically, Polity IV scores will be used to measure familiarity; autocracies who have been democracies in the past should theoretically be more likely to attempt a regime change than countries who have never been a democracy. In addition, other factors such as measures of education will be used as a proxy for more exposure to ideas; the average years of education per adult and also measures of human capital are of particular interest. Much has been made of the use of social media in the Arab Spring rebellions, and so access to non-state media and private communications will also need to be taken into account. All of this will be used as part of a regression based model to help determine whether any of these variables are relevant in predicting a change in government. While this paper is primarily focused on the Arab world, many of its potential results could possibly be extrapolated and expanded upon in order to help explain regime change in other parts of the world as well as furthering our understanding of why regime change happens and how to predict it.


Name: Laura Blume
Section: Comparative Politics
Professional Email: blumel@bu.edu
Professional Status: Graduate Student
Institution: Boston University
Scheduling Preference: Thursday Afternoon
Proposal Type: Paper
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Paper Title: Exporting Crime: The Impact of US Criminal Deportations to Central America and the Caribbean
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Criminal violence is one of the greatest problems in Latin American and Caribbean today. This paper argues that the U.S. policy of criminal deportations is exacerbating the situation and contributing to rising homicide rates in the region. Using both a fixed effects regression model and a matched sample design, this paper offers robust statistical evidence of a relationship between increases in criminal deportations from the U.S. and increases in homicide rates in both Central America and the Caribbean.


Name: Cynthia Botteron
Section: Comparative Politics
Professional Email: cabotteron@gmail.com
Professional Status: Full Professor
Institution: Shippensburg University
Scheduling Preference: Friday Afternoon
Proposal Type: Paper
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Paper Title: State Religion and Requirements for Public Office
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Co-author info: Michael E. Greenberg Shippensburg University megreg@ship.edu
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There is an agreement among scholars that a close relationship between religion and the state influences both political processes and state structures, although the nature and extent of the influence and direction remains an open question. Rather than looking at the religious composition of a country's population for cues, we look at constitutions. What we found is that countries fall into one of three categories: states that affirm the establishment of a national religion, states that forbid establishment, and countries that are silent on the issue. Using a dataset comprised of all 186 constitutions of the world to analyze the impact of religion on requirements for public office we posed three hypotheses. First, because constitutions are somewhat a reflection of a country's political culture we expect requirements for office to also reflect that political culture; second, there should be a variance in requirement use across the three constitution categories; and lastly, the greater the difference between political cultures the greater the difference between the types of requirements used. What was discovered largely affirmed all three hypotheses with some interesting nuances. First, countries with state-established religions tend to require adherence to religious standards by elected officials but then have few other requirements. Second, countries that forbid establishment use requirements that serve to frustrate the consolidation of political power, tentatively suggesting a concern about authoritarian tendencies. Lastly, the greatest difference in requirements is primarily found for the Head of State rather than the legislative branch. Certainly these findings warrant further research.


Name: Kirk Buckman
Section: Comparative Politics
Professional Email: kbuckman@stonehill.edu
Professional Status: Assistant Professor
Institution: Stonehill College
Scheduling Preference: Friday Afternoon
Proposal Type: Paper
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Paper Title: A Narco-Hallucination or a viable peace agreement between the Colombian Government & FARC? An exploration of factors contributing to the breakthrough in this half-century old conflict
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Co-author info: Yaritza Sanchez, Stonehill College, ysanchez@students.stonehill.edu
Co-presenter info: Yaritza Sanchez, Stonehill College, ysanchez@students.stonehill.edu
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This essay considers the historical development of factors that have contributed to President Santos’s ability to negotiate effectively with the FARC, a Marxist guerilla movement that has been waging war against the Colombian government for more than 50 years. In particular, the essay explores the development of economic and political changes in Colombia at both international and national levels and the reduction of corruption and violence. First elected in 2010, President Santos, of the center-right Social Party of National Unity, has been more effective than any predecessor in reaching a peaceful settlement with the FARC. President Santos continued with his predecessor’s neoliberal macroeconomic policies, under which the Colombian economy has been performing very well in terms of GDP growth. Simultaneously, there has been a reduction in levels of violence, the presence and influence of drug cartels, and political corruption. This paper explores these developments – economic growth, reduction in violence, the departure of drug cartels, and lowering levels of corruption – and asks whether they are contributing to each other or are spurious in their relationship. Ultimately, this inquiry may lead to a deeper understanding of Colombia’s democratic consolidation.


Name: Nicolaos Catsis
Section: Comparative Politics
Professional Email: ncatsis@gmail.com
Professional Status: Assistant Professor
Institution: Wilson College
Scheduling Preference: No Preference
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Paper Title: Arming Development: The Evolution of Japanese Aid Development in the Pacific
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Japan’s cautious shift toward “normalization,” which had begun a decade earlier with the deployment of JSDF forces in non-combat roles in Iraq, took a more dramatic turn with the lifting of the self-imposed ban on arms exports in 2014. As a result, Japanese defense contractors have entered the global arms market, seeking to compete with the world’s leading (and established) arms exporters. Initial results from these early forays into the arms trade have often been characterized as mixed, particularly from an economic perspective. However, I argue that the export of Japanese arms is not merely an economic venture but, rather, represents the opening of a new dimension of Japan’s much-discussed “developmental,” or aid, diplomacy. Japan’s traditional Pacific rival, China, initially utilized its massive economic clout when first beginning to assert itself as a world player in the 1990’s and 2000’s. As its growth has slowed in recent years, China has begun to utilize more overt displays of strength in the international arena, as demonstrated by its behavior in the South Pacific. Japan, by contrast, has long utilized developmental aid as a means of both repairing post-bellum relationships and of encircling China diplomatically and strategically. The addition of defense products adds fangs to this strategy, making it more attractive to potential Japanese allies. This paper seeks to examine this latest evolution of Japanese diplomatic policy, which reflects both a conflicted domestic political culture as well as a changing Pacific strategic environment.


Name: Fred Cocozzelli
Section: Comparative Politics
Professional Email: cocozzef@stjohns.edu
Professional Status: Associate Professor
Institution: St. John's University
Scheduling Preference: Saturday Morning
Proposal Type: Paper
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Paper Title: Social Policy Reform and the Conflict in Ukraine
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Much of the analysis of the civil conflict in Ukraine has focused external geopolitical relations (Mearsheimer 2014), the characteristics of the Yanukovych regime (Motyl 2016), internal cultural cleavages, or some combination of these factors (Kurzio 2015). The predominant externally oriented analysis has focused on the role of Russia as an intervening force acting in response to Kiev's potential to strengthen ties to Europe. One consequence of the predominance of this analysis has been to discount causes of the conflict that are internal to Ukraine itself. Internally oriented analysis has often focused on either the “sultanistic” characteristics of the Yanukovych regime (Motyl 2016), or cultural or historic divisions that are reflected in regional preferences for either an idealized Europe, or an equally idealized Russia. While accepting the pivotal role played by Russia, this paper seeks to turn the focus of the analysis to political, social, and economic dynamic within Ukraine. In particular, the paper seeks to investigate the relationship between social policy, inequality, and national cohesion, with a particular focus on the impact of social policy reforms both prior to the conflict. The focal points of the analysis will be on the political dispute revolving around the social policy legislation passed immediately before the 2010 presidential election. Given that the pension program is the most significant social welfare program in Ukraine, the social policy dimension of the 2010 dispute, and the impact of the subsequent reforms are surprisingly under-analyzed.


Name: Joseph Coelho
Section:
Professional Email: jcoelho2@framingham.edu
Professional Status: Assistant Professor
Institution: Framingham State University
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Paper Title: Elite State Capture and the Public Procurement Sector: The Cases of Bosnia and Kosovo
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Illiberal political elites and ethno-nationalist parties continue to rule in the Western Balkans by consolidating their grip over economic and political power. The resilience of such political forces can be attributed, in part, to state capture, defined here as the seizure of state institutions and functions by political party leadership in which public power is exercised primarily for private gain against the public good. The appropriation of state institutions as a means of political survival has been particularly evident in the cases of Bosnia and Kosovo, where political parties govern through clientelism and patronage networks accompanied by large-scale, high-level corruption. This paper draws on the theoretical insights of Mungiu-Pippidi and Grzymala-Busse to help explain the nature of state capture in both countries.Through various mechanisms of state capture, including the capture of the public procurement sector, the paper demonstrates how certain political parties in both countries have maintained their positions of power and privilege. The findings contest the more optimistic expectations of the institutionalist literature on state-building and democratic consolidation.


Name: John D'Attoma
Section: Comparative Politics
Professional Email: john.dattoma@eui.eu
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Institution: European University Institute
Scheduling Preference: No Preference
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Paper Title: More Bang For Your Buck: An Experimental Comparative Analysis of Tax Compliance
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Co-author info: Sven Steinmo
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In many ways taxation is the linchpin between democratic accountability and responsibility. No one really enjoys paying taxes, but we do it to ensure our public institutions, infrastructure, and programs are funded well enough to function properly. Paying taxes is also used as a means to keep our politicians accountable; they are spending our money, and therefore, they should spend it wisely. However, there is large variation in both the quality and quantity of public services countries provide and how well public institutions are perceived. To a large extent these are correlated. If I perceive my institutions as providing good quality services, then I will be more likely to pay my taxes and vice versa. On the other hand, If individuals pay their taxes, governments are better able to provide quality public services. This situation is what I call a low-trust/low-efficiency or high-trust/high-efficiency feedback loop which can either foster tax compliance or tax non-compliance. Using comparative historical analysis, I examine how this low-trust/low-efficiency environment can form using the case of Italy. I further test how Italians, Swedes, Brits, and Americans behave given the exact same institutional environment and tax system. In end the end, I unearth that that quality of public institutions and an efficient/effective tax administration is more important to tax collection, than individual and personal characteristics.


Name: Yasser El-Shimy
Section: Comparative Politics
Professional Email: yelshimy@hotmail.com
Professional Status: Graduate Student
Institution: Boston University
Scheduling Preference: Saturday Afternoon
Proposal Type: Paper
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Paper Title: Unveiling the Gun: Why Praetorian Armies Decide to Rule, The Case of Egypt (2011-2013)
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While democracy is the least likely outcome of any political transitions, this paper argues that this is even more likely in praetorian (as opposed to merely authoritarian) states. At a broad conceptual level, this research expands on the civil-military literature, and aims to explore the role praetorian militaries play during political transitions and processes of democratic consolidation. In particular, it seeks to explain the conditions under which a guardian or a moderator praetorian army would opt to become a ruling praetorian army, and, therefore, preclude the possibility of democratic consolidation. Indeed, this work aims to identify the factors responsible for the undoing of Egypt’s electoral advances, and whether or not that outcome was inevitable. The general assertion here is that the imbalance of power within the state, caused by the army’s oversized political role, and within society, caused by the Brotherhood’s relative organizational prowess, meant a confrontation between the two was virtually unavoidable. Fearing the prospect of subjective civilian control imposed by a potentially hegemonic party, a praetorian military is bound to check that party’s rise by waging a coup d’état in order to maintain the army’s institutional autonomy, economic privileges and right to rule. The rest of the political class aids this process by playing the role of the disloyal opposition paving the way for the officers to remove civilian officials, and carry out a restorative coup. While praetorian armies prefer to delegate the burden of governing to pliable civilians, the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces’ (SCAF) failure to orchestrate a political transition into a tutelary democracy drove the army to reluctantly shift its posture into ruling praetorianism. Contrary to their wishes and interests, the political transition engendered an intolerable situation for the army: the emergence, in the Muslim Brotherhood, of a potentially hegemonic party that repeatedly attempted (and failed) to subject the military to civilian control. Praetorian armies do not tolerate the emergence of a new political order that promises civilian control, especially the subjective type.


Name: Ugurcan Evci
Section: Comparative Politics
Professional Email: ugurcanevci1@gmail.com
Professional Status: Graduate Student
Institution: New York University
Scheduling Preference: No Preference
Proposal Type: Paper
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Paper Title: Turkish - Kurdish Ethnic Conflict in Turkey: An Everlasting Question
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The Kurds are the largest nation of the world without a state. The Kurdish population is spread across Turkey, Iraq, Iran and Syria, and the Kurds have been subject to conflict with these nation states. This paper examines the foundations of the conflict between the Kurds and the Turkish Republic. The conflict dates back to 1850s and it still prevails. The research shows that there have been three important turning points in the history of the conflict. The first one is the 1850s, when the Ottoman Empire started to centralize and build a Turko-Islamic identity. The second turning point is the formation of the Turkish Republic, which resulted in ethnic homogenization and further centralization. The last turning point is the radicalization of the Turkish politics in 1960s and 1970s which led to the 1980 coup d’état. The paper reveals that all three turning points were experiences of similar actions of both sides, where state was taking measures against the Kurds and the Kurdish identity, and the Kurds were reacting. The paper follows a modernist approach to ethnicity, and it argues that there were no real ethnic lines before the nationalist influences, and the conflict arose after the establishment of modern ethnic identities.


Name: Mneesha Gellman
Section: Comparative Politics
Professional Email: mneesha_gellman@emerson.edu
Professional Status: Assistant Professor
Institution: Emerson College
Scheduling Preference: Thursday Morning
Proposal Type: Paper
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Paper Title: Visible yet Invisible: Indigenous Citizens and the Politics of History in El Salvador and Guatemala
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Co-author info: Michelle Bellino, University of Michigan, bellino@umich.edu
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El Salvador and Guatemala both underwent civil wars that severely impacted both countries’ most marginalized citizens, including indigenous peoples. Today, spaces for the teaching and learning of the violent past remain challenged in each country, with implications for indigenous and non- indigenous people alike. This article examines the impact of democratization in El Salvador and Guatemala on the educational sphere, documenting narrative trends in what is said and what is silenced on the topic of the civil wars in formal and informal education. We argue that different democratization and transitional justice processes have created opportunities and challenges for teaching and learning about indigenous peoples’ roles and experiences in the civil wars in each country. Methodologically, the article draws on ethnographic, interview, and text-based data as well as democratization, transitional justice, and education literatures to document how teaching and learning the violent past is a highly politicized act with long-term implications for democratic quality in each country.


Name: Miguel Glatzer
Section: Comparative Politics
Professional Email: miguel_glatzer@hotmail.com
Professional Status: Associate Professor
Institution: LaSalle University
Scheduling Preference: No Preference
Proposal Type: Paper
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Paper Title: Seasonal Guest Worker Regimes: Why Reforms in the EU but not in the US?
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Seasonal work is a key characteristic of agriculture and tourism. To address labor demand in these areas, the US and many European countries have instituted seasonal permits for foreign workers, but serious problems of abuse have plagued these programs. Wage theft, compensation below the minimum wage, unsafe working conditions, and forced, uncompensated or undercompensated overtime are common. This paper examines the H2A and H2B programs in the US, compares them to seasonal labor permits in Europe and examines the politics of reform on both sides of the Atlantic. It explains why reforms have been successful in Europe but not in the US. In particular it looks at why the European Parliament has pushed for an upgrading of labor standards while similar attempts have been blocked in Congress.


Name: Michael Greenberg
Section: Comparative Politics
Professional Email: megree@ship.edu
Professional Status: Associate Professor
Institution: Shippensburg University
Scheduling Preference: No Preference
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Paper Title: Agent and Structure: A Developing Theory of Leadership in Representative Government
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Co-author info: Cynthia A. Botteron, Shippensburg University cabott@ship.edu
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This paper addresses the question “Do the writers of constitutions adjust the requirements for elected officials across the branches of government to suit the tasks/responsibilities of the office much as a business would do for prospective employees?” Using data from the "Comparative Representation Project: Requirements for National Office" data set, we examine the range of constitutional requirements countries apply to those running for office. Additionally, we examine the frequency of use of constitutional requirements for office between countries. Finally, we compare the similarities in both type and frequency of requirements across legislative and executive branches within countries. Specifically, we find support for what is emerging as a modified theory of leadership democracy whereby states actively construct an office-specific biography that places far greater formal burdens on office seekers than previously realized by scholars of democracy.


Name: Jane Hagan
Section: Modern Political Theory
Professional Email: jehagan01@gmail.com
Professional Status: Graduate Student
Institution: Rutgers University
Scheduling Preference: Friday Morning
Proposal Type: Paper
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Paper Title: Ideology and the Militant: “Constructivism,” “Honor” Politics, and the Mis-Categorization of the Islamic Extremist Militant Actor
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As acts of terror rage on around the globe, a desperate yet determined world seeks to find out the ethos and motivation behind the worst of these acts. Islamic extremist militant groups in various places around the world have gained notoriety over the past few decades as they have claimed responsibility for, or been accused of, perpetrating acts of international terror. Islamic extremist groups such as ISIS and Al-Qaeda have increasingly broadened their scope of operations, membership and volume of activity to cover unprecedented swaths of international territory. As they channel and feed off more and deeper transnational networks, the shadowy nature of these extremist militant groups makes their profiling and apprehension an almost impossible feat. Government leaders and their allies are determined. However, chronic mis-categorization of the nature and reasoning of some of global terrorism’s deadliest actors could cause crucial setbacks from which is may be difficult to recover.


Name: S. Mohsin Hashim
Section:
Professional Email: mhashim@muhlenberg.edu
Professional Status: Full Professor
Institution: Muhlenberg College
Scheduling Preference: Saturday Afternoon
Proposal Type: Paper
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Paper Title: Elite Competition as a Source of Illiberal Democracy: The Case of Bangladesh
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Bangladesh’s nation and state-building project since its independence from Pakistan in 1971 continues to be plagued by a fundamental lack of consensus over regime choice issues. In spite of making remarkable progress on economic and human development fronts, state capacity remains troubled by weak institutional efficacy. This paper seeks to explain the ruling elites’ incapacity to foster a stable institutional equilibrium through an analysis of ideological struggles over national identity questions. This paper will offer an analytical framework that explains how elite contestation revolves around irreconcilable struggles to craft hegemonic nationalist values in support of ruling objectives. In Bangladesh, the two major parties – the ruling Awami League (AL) and its nemesis the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) – have constructed fundamentally differing national identity narratives. The AL has conceptualized an ethno-linguistic and secular nationalism that it calls “Bengali nationalism.” The BNP mobilizes around an alternate “Bangladeshi nationalism” that emphasizes the role of Islam in crafting and distinguishing Bangladeshi Bengalis from the Hindu Bengalis that form the majority in West Bengal, India. This paper traces the partisan contestation around Bangladesh’s nationalist project to explain polarization and democratic erosion in Bangladesh through elite inability to compromise on institutional arrangements and the two parties’ inability to serve as “loyal” opposition when not in power. The paper will analyze institutional engineering at critical junctures in Bangladesh’s political evolution across military and civilian regimes to assess the scope and limits of democratic viability in this strategically important Muslim-majority state.


Name: Miaad Hassan
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Professional Email: miaad08@gmail.com
Professional Status: Graduate Student
Institution: University of Florida
Scheduling Preference: No Preference
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Paper Title: Minority Rule in Iraq, Syria, and Bahrain: A Comparative Analysis
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Ethnic minority governance inevitably raises questions of legitimacy. Is it possible to have a minority-based government that represents all citizens? Even in secular democracies, where courts protect citizen rights, the issue is problematic, but in countries that divide along ethnicity, religion, and / or tribal loyalty, the history of all-inclusive governance is not encouraging. Almost by definition, minority rule in nondemocratic countries tends to autocracy. The strategies of dominant minority regimes to control majoritarian populations may not differ from those used by majoritarian governments, yet the results are often quite different. This paper asks why ethnic violence is prevalent and prolonged in countries where ethnic minorities rule, and how does it affect state identity? By comparing minority rule in Iraq, Syria, and Bahrain, it analyzes how minority rule continues to frustrate majoritarian rule. Even though Sunni-Shia conflicts have existed in the Middle East since the death of Mohammed, they have been exploited by modern regimes to remain in power. This paper argues that ethnic conflict does not end with majoritarian rule. In fact, if a majoritarian party assumes power after a dominant minority government, it is likely to consolidate its own interests rather than pursue authentic representative government. Indeed, national identity is less likely to be salient when the governing group is drawn from the majority, and ethnic identity is more likely to be salient when a majority overcomes minority rule. By analyzing and comparing the rule in Iraq, Syria and Bahrain, the paper offers a regional analysis of ethnic politics and examines how the trans-nationalist movement known as pan-Arabism gave rise to minority rule in Iraq, Syria, and Bahrain.


Name: David Hayes
Section: Comparative Politics
Professional Email: dhayes@troy.edu
Professional Status: Assistant Professor
Institution: Troy University
Scheduling Preference: No Preference
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Paper Title: Institutional Change in Venezuela: Vicious Cycle or Counter-Revolution?
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The recent drop in oil prices has plunged Venezuela into a severe economic crisis, fueled electoral gains by the opposition, and sparked a recall movement against President Maduro. At this point, it would seem that the survival of the Chavista regime and its Bolivarian revolution are in question. This paper will examine the evolution of political and economic institutions under the Chavista regime to provide an answer to this question. Acemoglu and Robinson’s theory of extractive versus inclusive institutions and Bueno de Mesquita, Smith, Siverson and Morrow’s Selectorate theory will be used to analyze the changes in Venezuelan economic and political institutions to identify the parameters of an answer to the question of whether the current regime will survive. From Acemoglu and Robinson’s theoretical perspective, Venezuela is at a critical juncture at which institutions are likely to change dramatically, either becoming more inclusive (especially in the case of economic institutions) or more extractive (particularly in the case of political institutions). While from this perspective history is viewed as contingent in nature, a lot depends on whether a vicious cycle of extractive economic and political institutions exists that will keep the country on a trajectory of ever more extractive institutions. From the perspective of Selectorate Theory, the key question is the size of the coalition Maduro needs to stay in power and whether it is small enough that he can provide private benefits to them from the diminished flow of revenue under his control. The paper will examine these question in detail.


Name: Erblin Hoxha
Section: International Relations
Professional Email: hoxha.erblin@gmail.com
Professional Status: Graduate Student
Institution: University of Texas at Dallas
Scheduling Preference: No Preference
Proposal Type: Paper
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Paper Title: What is the impact of diaspora on natural resource rich countries?!
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Panel Description: While oil impact on democratization has been widely debated among scholars, other natural resources have not been the focus of this literature. Natural resources bring “easy revenue” for the state but why some natural resources impact the state differently than others?! What makes some natural resources a threat to democratization while some others not so much?! Or do natural resources pose a threat or have any impact on democratization whatsoever? I examine the case of Chilean strong democracy and compare it with Venezuelan weak democracy bearing in mind that Chile is among the top copper exporter and Venezuela is among the top oil exporter. This is the starting point of a much bigger picture: what are other major influences on democratization besides the already discussed theories.
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Many scholars have been looking at natural resources as the focal point when trying to examine the impact that resource revenue had on democratization. There has been little to no sufficient research done about the people who left the country for different reasons and have been living in democratic countries for years. Developing a natural resource industry opens a window of foreign investment. Many of the investment actually comes from diaspora of that country. What is the impact of the people who return to their home country not only to invest but also work to make their country a better place. Living in a more democratic country implies embracing democratic values and upon return to their home country, those values need to be met by the governments or at least diaspora people who returned will be most likely to push for more democratic reforms. My paper addresses the issue of the impact that diaspora have on the state building and democratization with special focus on natural resource rich countries. I try to examine the direct impact of diaspora on resource rich countries believing that natural resource industry is a major push for them to come back and invest in their home country. In my paper, I take Venezuela and Chile as a starting point and continue with 6 other countries who are resource rich: Mexico, Colombia, Peru, Botswana, Nigeria and Congo. I will be having a case selection comparison between these countries on 3 different aspects. The level of democracy and strength of institutions, which I will use the Polity IV score to measure my comparing countries, the level of diaspora in comparison to the total population number and the diversification of the economy of the comparing countries by using the United Nations International Migration and the World Bank Development indicators, respectively. The case selection comparison will contain data that show these indicators before the exploration of natural resources and will have a 5-year lag measure due to the foreseen impacts of natural resource revenues on policies and government. The level of diaspora has an important role in the democratization of their country of origin. Countries who have a higher level of diaspora in democratic countries tend to foster democratic consolidation than countries whose diaspora level is lower or have less diaspora in more democratic countries. Natural resource industry is a major investment opportunity for diaspora and they see investing in their own country of origin as a chance to go back and help their country. The returnees will bring along the democratic values of a country they are going back from resulting in a spillover effect in the rest of the society. By investing in their country of origin, they tend to be more demanding of their government requiring stronger and more democratic institutions, therefore fostering democratic consolidation. A lot of natural resource rich countries do not keep data of migration and therefore it is hard to find online data especially for smaller and less developed countries. In conclusion, my paper will open a new area of focus research where human capital will be the center of development and will significantly help other countries, especially smaller countries, to draft policies that will enable better official communication between the countries and their diasporas. Opening new channels of cooperation with already proven examples of diasporas impact on other countries will highly influence governments and also people who live outside their country of origin and who want to return, to invest and to put more effort in helping their home countries.


Name: George Kaloudis
Section: Comparative Politics
Professional Email: gkaloudis@rivier.edu
Professional Status: Full Professor
Institution: Rivier University
Scheduling Preference: Saturday Morning
Proposal Type: Paper
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Paper Title: National Divisions During Times of War: The Greek case during World War I
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The Greek political landscape at the advent of World War I was characterized by personality clashes, constitutional controversies, and conflicting foreign policy objectives. Its chief protagonists were King Constantine and Prime Minister Eleftherios Venizelos as well as the Great European Powers. The relationship between these two men and Great Power interference in Greek affairs led to the Ethnikos Dikhasmos or National Schism during World War I; a schism that persists to today, albeit in different form, with detrimental effects for the Greek people and the Greek state.


Name: Andrea Kent
Section: Comparative Politics
Professional Email: andrea.kent@hotmail.com
Professional Status: Assistant Professor
Institution: WVU - Institute of Technology
Scheduling Preference: Friday Afternoon
Proposal Type: Paper
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Paper Title: Risky Business: Democratic Quality and the Winner-Loser Effect
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Democracy inherently creates winners and losers. This winning-losing experience affects a person’s political attitudes and actions. Differences in response levels of those whose candidate won the election versus those who lost illustrate the winner-loser effect. Furthermore, the winner-loser experience varies by a country’s contextual characteristics. Using cross-sectional data from 18 presidential democracies in North, Central and South America, I find that (1) responses to one’s position as a winner or loser vary greatly across the countries and (2) the country contexts of rights protections and democratic history mediate the relationship between winning and losing and political attitudes and behaviors. The Latin American Public Opinion Project (LAPOP) provides the cross-sectional individual-level survey data for this study from the year 2008. Ultimately, study of the winner-loser effect indicates the health of the political system in its ability to ameliorate the tensions between those in government and those that are out.


Name: Craig Lang
Section: Comparative Politics
Professional Email: konahi05@yahoo.com
Professional Status: Graduate Student
Institution: Florida International University
Scheduling Preference: Thursday Afternoon
Proposal Type: Paper
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Paper Title: The Impact of Transitional Justice on the Development of the Rule of Law
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Statements by practitioners and scholars alike that transitional justice, particularly trials, aid in the development of the rule of law in post-conflict states remains largely untested. The use of transitional justice, which encompasses a range of mechanisms designed to hold human rights violators accountable, as well as provide victims reparations, continues to grow as exemplified by its use in several countries that were part of the Arab Spring, recent International Criminal Court indictments in Kenya and the 2014 release of a truth commission report in Brazil. The proposed presentation will discuss the impact of a variety of transitional justice mechanisms (trials, truth-telling, amnesties and reparations) on the development of the rule of law in the post-conflict states of Bosnia & Herzegovina, Kosovo and Colombia. Based upon assumptions in the rule of law literature, made by scholars such as Francis Fukuyama and Jane Stromseth, the rule of law should only be enhanced in post-conflict states if there is sufficient domestic design, control and support for transitional justice. To test these assumptions, this study utilizes a mixed method comparative approach, including multivariate regression analysis to measure if a relationship exists, and which, if any, mechanism(s) contributes to the development of the rule of law. The quantitative analysis is complemented by in-country fieldwork that identifies how, if any, changes occurred, as well as explains how and why certain mechanisms were chosen and implemented. This research not only begins to fill a gap within the transitional justice literature, but it also sheds light on how the rule of law does or does not develop in post-conflict states.


Name: Andre Lecours
Section: Comparative Politics
Professional Email: a.lecours@videotron.ca
Professional Status: Full Professor
Institution: University of Ottawa
Scheduling Preference: No Preference
Proposal Type: Paper
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Paper Title: The Political Consequences of Self-Determination Referendums in Liberal-Democracies: Québec, Scotland, Catalonia and Puerto Rico.
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Self-determination referendums in established liberal democracies are typically momentous events that represent a defining moment of nationalist mobilization. The dramatic character of such referendums is derived in part from a political discourse presenting them as historical moments featuring an element of finality. Perhaps because this finality seems to involve the status quo, scholarly attention has been focused on the dynamics of the referendum campaigns. The larger issue of the impact of these referendums on politics has been virtually ignored. This paper takes up this neglected but important question. Indeed, self-determination referendums may represent critical junctures in the development of nationalist movements and multinational states even if their results seem to perpetuate a constitutional and institutional status quo. The paper examines three specific questions in relation to the aftermath of self-determination referendums. First, what was the impact of the referendum on the political party who organized it? Second, what was the consequence of the result for the politics of the constitutional option that was offered as an alternative to the status quo? Third, how did states adjust their nationalist management strategies? The cases of Québec, Scotland, Catalonia, and Puerto Rico are used as empirical material to delve into these questions.


Name: Claire Seungeun Lee
Section: Comparative Politics
Professional Email: claireunlee@gmail.com
Professional Status: Adjunct Professor
Institution: UMass Boston
Scheduling Preference: Thursday Morning
Proposal Type: Paper
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Paper Title: The Emergence of International Migrants and Social Governance in Urban China: Governmentality with Chinese Characteristics
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Emigrating and immigrating migrants are a patent fact of the dynamics of population movement within the Asia region in today’s global age. In the case of China, the dual movement of people is a manifestation of the monumental changes occurring as part of the country’s rapid development, including the massive population shift from rural to urban areas. But, given the vast number of Chinese internal migrants, there is a less room and intention for the Chinese government to embrace, invite or receive foreigners, simply because it is easy to find a cheap labor from its national and local markets. Drawing from the author’s fieldwork, the Census Data, source countries’ overseas population statistics, scholarly, and media reports, this paper explores the emergence of international migrants in China and understands as a social governance (shehui guanli). In particular, this paper first investigates how the Chinese central and local states govern the rise of international migrants in recent years. Second, this study also looks at how the three groups of international migrants are managed by the policies. By doing so, this paper suggests a “governmentality with Chinese characteristics” as a new conceptual tool of dealing with China’s state-society relation. The concept is relocated with the context of constructing a society, which is one of the important part of nation building, from a “harmonious society” building, “social management,” to “social governance.”


Name: Chao Liu
Section: Comparative Politics
Professional Email: cl3138@nyu.edu
Professional Status: Graduate Student
Institution: New York University
Scheduling Preference: Saturday Morning
Proposal Type: Paper
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Paper Title: Electoral Authoritarianism and Economic Inequality
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How do autocratic institutions affect economic inequality? Despite the extensive literature comparing democracies and autocracies, it is not clear about how the level of economic inequality differs among autocratic types. Extending the analysis of existing works, this paper argues that multiparty autocratic elections lead to decreased economic inequality by making direct policy concessions related with pro-poor growth and investing more in human capital due to electoral competition. Conducting a series of statistical test with a panel data including approximately 150 countries from 1965-2007, I find that electoral authoritarian regimes, which combine factors of autocracy and democracy, exert a larger negative effect on economic inequality compared with closed autocracies; further, democracies perform better than both of them. The findings have important implications for the study of political institutions and policy effects and the political economy of international development.


Name: Stanislav Markus
Section: Comparative Politics
Professional Email: stanislav@post.harvard.edu
Professional Status: Assistant Professor
Institution: University of Chicago
Scheduling Preference: Friday Afternoon
Proposal Type: Paper
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Paper Title: The Flexible Few: Oligarchs and Wealth Defense in Developing Democracies
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Based on an original large-N dataset of individual Ukrainian oligarchs and qualitative evidence, this article tests competing perspectives on the political power of big capital. We find, surprisingly, that neither the assumption of direct power by the oligarchs, nor the mobility of oligarchic assets, help tycoons protect their fortunes against shocks. Instead, the indirect strategies of party support and media ownership significantly enhance business wealth. Empirically, we construct the definitive profile of postcommunist oligarchs by examining the political and economic activities of 177 oligarchs from 2006 to 2012. Theoretically, we contribute to the literatures on instrumental and structural power of capital, and on the interactions between extreme wealth, rule of law, and democracy. In doing so, we contrast the logic of flexibility, according to which oligarchs benefit from political adaptability and deniability, with the logic of commitment compensation, according to which oligarchs benefit from direct power when the rule of law is weak.


Name: Sara Norrevik
Section: Comparative Politics
Professional Email: sara.norrevik@gmail.com
Professional Status: Graduate Student
Institution: University at Buffalo, SUNY
Scheduling Preference: No Preference
Proposal Type: Paper
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Paper Title: TTIP and interest group attitudes: comparing the EU and the US
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A highly salient issue in national politics in the United States this year, 2016, has been free trade. Still, debates about the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), a free trade agreement that is being negotiated between the U.S. and the European Union, have been fairly quiet. This paper analyzes interest group attitudes and advocacy in the U.S. and the E.U. toward TTIP, and traces differences in attitudes and salience to political contexts in the two continents. Classical models of free trade (Heckscher-Ohlin, Ricardo-Viner) that focus on individual income have increasingly been challenged by theories emphasizing sociotropic factors and domestic concerns. The findings of this paper support the latter, suggesting that theories about free trade policy could be further refined and empirically investigated. This paper provides a theoretical basis for empirically analyzing interest group attitudes and voting patterns (yet to come) on TTIP in the legislative chambers of the U.S. and the E.U.