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Democracy Research News

Democracy Research News is the electronic newsletter
 of the Network of Democracy Research Institutes (NDRI),
a membership association of institutions that conduct and
publish research on democracy and democratic development.
 It is one of several functional networks associated with the 
World Movement for Democracy. To submit comments or to
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please write to Melissa Aten-Becnel

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July 2013

Inside this Issue:
  1. News and Announcements

  2. New Publications and Recent Events by NDRI Members

1. News and Announcements

The NDRI Launches New Report on Democracy Think Tank Innovation and Impact:
To identify ways that leading democracy think tanks successfully impact policy decisions in their own countries, the Forum invited nine members of the Network of Democracy Research Institutes (NDRI) to contribute essays analyzing their own efforts to achieve influence and reform policy in young democracies or in semi-democratic countries. “Democracy Think Tanks in Action: Translating Research into Policy in Young and Emerging Democracies” combines these nine case studies and is prefaced by an overview essay written by Christopher Walker. The report can be downloaded in its entirety or by individual chapter. This project was made possible through generous support from the Korea Foundation and the dedicated efforts of the NDRI think tanks who participated in this project. 

International Forum for Democratic Studies Launches New Website:
The National Endowment for Democracy’s International Forum for Democratic Studies recently launched new and revamped website content. Drawing on its network of distinguished democracy scholars, experts, and activists, the Forum’s new online content will seek to showcase the most innovative research being done on democracy around the world. Features include Forum news updates, including items from the Journal of Democracy and Fellowship Programs; an interview feature with leading thinkers on democracy; analytical contributions from the Network of Democracy Research Institutes; selected content from experts and scholars on the Forum Research Council; the Forums’ Worth Reading feature, a periodic, curated list of articles on democracy; and upcoming and past Forum events. 

The Forum invites reader to follow it on Twitter @ThinkDemocracy and connect through its Facebook Group

Varieties of Democracy (V-Dem) Democracy Indicators Available:

Varieties of Democracy (V-Dem) is an international collaborative effort to produce new indicators of democracy for all countries from 1900 to the present. The project distinguishes between seven high-level Principles of Democracy: electoral, liberal, participatory, majoritarian, consensual, deliberative, and egalitarian. Collected by thousands of country experts, V-Dem data breaks down each of the seven principles of democracy into dozens of components and sub-components until it arrives at more than 300 specific indicators. The latter are coded by thousands of country experts, with five coders per country/indicator, which allows for inter-coder reliability tests. When complete, V-Dem will provide a detailed and multidimensional description of polities over the past century, suitable for crossnational and historical comparisons as well as analysis of the causes and effects of democratization. Data collection is in progress. Data for 24 countries is already available in interactive graphs on V-Dem’s homepage: In the fall, data for another 40 countries will be released with the hope to publish a comprehensive dataset by the end of 2014. V-Dem has two institutional homes: the department of political science at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, and the Kellogg Institute for International Studies at the University of Notre Dame. Principal Investigators Michael Coppedge (Notre Dame University), John Gerring (Boston University), Staffan I. Lindberg (Gothenburg University), and Jan Teorell (University of Lund) collaborate with 15 project managers, nearly 30 regional managers, 200 country coordinators, and a vast network of what will be 4,000 country experts located throughout the world. For questions about V-Dem and its data, please contact Project Coordinator Josefine Pernes at

Call for Papers: Workshop on “Citizens, Parties, and Electoral Contexts”:
Making Electoral Democracy Work, the Electoral Integrity Project, and IPSA’s Research Section on Elections, Citizens, and Parties are organizing a one-day, pre-IPSA workshop on Friday, July 18, 2014, in Montreal, Canada to examine the theme “Citizens, Parties, and Electoral Contexts.” The workshop welcomes paper proposals using multiple methods and approaches that seek to tackle several related questions: what impact do electoral rules and electoral integrity have on citizens' participation, especially voting turnout and campaign activism; what impact do electoral rules and electoral integrity have on political representation, especially the accountability of elected officials to citizens; what impact do electoral rules and electoral integrity have on party choice and voting behavior; and what impact do electoral rules and electoral integrity have on the behavior of political parties? Paper proposals should include the name(s) and institutional affiliations of authors, the title, and a short (100 words) synopsis and can be submitted online at with questions. Proposal deadline: September 1, 2013

Call for Applications: Democracy Fellowships in Washington, D.C.:
The Reagan-Fascell Democracy Fellows Program at the National Endowment for Democracy in Washington, D.C. invites applications for fellowships in 2014-2015. This federally-funded program enables democracy activists, practitioners, scholars, and journalists from around the world to deepen their understanding of democracy and enhance their ability to promote democratic change. Dedicated to international exchange, this five-month, residential program offers a collegial environment for fellows to reflect on their experiences and consider best practices; conduct independent research and writing; engage with colleagues and counterparts in the United States; and build ties with a global network of democracy advocates. The program is intended primarily to support practitioners and scholars from developing and aspiring democracies; distinguished scholars from established democracies are also eligible to apply. Projects may focus on the political, social, economic, legal, and cultural aspects of democratic development and may include a range of methodologies and approaches. Fellows devote full time to their projects and receive a monthly fellowship payment, health insurance, travel assistance at the beginning and end of the fellowship, and research support. More information about the program is available at To apply online, visit deadline is October 1, 2014

Call for Applications: World Forum for Democracy in Strasbourg, France:
The World Forum for Democracy, which will be held from November 27 to 29, 2013, in Strasbourg, France, invites applications for conference participants. The theme of the Forum is “Re-Wiring Democracy: Connecting Institutions and Citizens in the Digital Age.” It is organized by the Council of Europe and will critically examine the promise of Internet-enabled political participation to remedy the worrying trends of disengagement and lack of trust in modern democracies. The Forum will consist of a series of labs where initiatives and prototypes for gov 2.0, big data, primary voting, e-enabled deliberation, etc. will be reviewed for their real impact and potential pitfalls and threats. The Forum will seek to connect democracy innovators/transformers with representatives of formal institutions and draw lessons for necessary reforms or standards to ensure the solidity but also the evolution of democracy in the digital age. Throughout the Forum, there will be two series of ten two-hour labs, each followed by a 90 minute “fair” allowing participants to exchange informally with representatives of initiatives. In order to ensure an interesting and informed debate, discussants with backgrounds in politics, academia, activism, media, and law will examine the initiative in a short, five-minute speech before the floor is opened for a discussion among all participants. More information about the Forum is available at

Call for Researchers: Project on “Enhancing Think Tank/University Relationships in Latin America:
Grupo FARO, an NDRI member in Ecuador and the Centro de Políticas Comparadas de Educación - CPCE of the Universidad Diego Portales in Chile is leading a new research project on “Enhancing Think Tank /University Relationships in Latin America.” This study is funded by the Think Tank Initiative of the International Development Research Center (IDRC) and seeks to increase the understanding of the relationships between think tanks and universities in Latin America. The study includes ten country studies in Latin America, a regional study, and a regional conference that will be held in Quito in March 2014. If you would like to be part of this research project that will analyze the links between think tanks and universities in Latin America, please check the terms of reference for the country studies at (in Spanish).

2. New Publications and Recent Events by NDRI Members


Afrobarometer released four new Briefing Papers. In a March 2013 Briefing Paper entitled, “Zimbabweans' (Mostly) Tolerant Views on Citizenship,” Eldred V. Masunungure and Heather Koga focus on the unresolved issue of citizenship in Zimbabwe, where immigrant populations have been targeted by the regime for political persecution and media attacks due to their perceived support for the opposition. Seeking to better understand the issues confronting these immigrants, Afrobarometer conducted a survey revealing that average Zimbabweans are tolerant of immigrants and support citizenship rights for those born in the country or those who have at least one Zimbabwean parent. 

In another March 2013 Briefing Paper, by Eldred V. Masunungure and Heather Kogo, “Zimbabweans' Views on Empowerment: Jobs vs. Business Takeovers,” the authors examine the differing policies Zimbabweans believe are best to empower historically disadvantaged groups in the country. While there is a “remarkable policy consensus” on the need to empower such groups, two contrasting policy options to achieve this goal—compulsory takeover of foreign businesses and the initiation of job creation programs—have become a partisan issue, with ZANU-PF supporting the former and MDC parties supporting the latter. 

The Popular Quest for Devolution in Zimbabwe,” a March 2013 Briefing Paper written by Eldred V. Masunungure and Stephen Ndoma, analyses devolution of power in Zimbabwe. Noting that Zimbabwean President Mugabe’s strong condemnation of devolution of power contrasts with that of his MDC rivals, Afrobarometer surveys found that Zimbabweans favor a devolved power structure by a three-to-one margin. All ethnic groups favored devolution policies by a majority, including minority groups scattered throughout the provinces. 

Finally, a February 2013 Briefing Paper by Massa Coulibaly and Michael Bratton, entitled “Crisis in Mali: Ambivalent Popular Attitudes on the Way Forward,” analyses the opinions of Malians following the recent political crisis in their country and reveals that 62 percent of Malians believe democracy is preferable to other forms of government—a decline of ten percent since 2008. Despite this decline and a general sense of discontentment about the functioning of Malian democracy before the recent coup, 82 percent of Malians prefer elections to other methods of selecting leaders. 

In June 2013, the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD, Nigeria) released a 173-page report, entitled “The State Independent Electoral Commissions in Nigeria: A Study of Bauchi, Edo, Imo, Kaduna, Lagos and Plateau States,” edited by Massoud Omar. After cataloguing the challenges confronting state independent electoral commissions in six states, contributors to the study offer several recommendations for their improvement, including standardization of laws, merit-based appointment of chairpersons, professionalization of staff, and improved technical equipment and training.

Asia and the Pacific

The Centre for Democratic Institutions (CDI, Australia) released a new campaign handbook entitled “Guide for Women Candidates in the 2013 LLG elections in Papua New Guinea.” The handbook is being distributed by Papua New Guinea’s Office for the Development of Women (ODW) as “part of a strategy to help women candidates prepare well for the election and increase their chances of success,” and includes advice and checklists to facilitate campaign-planning and understanding of election rules and procedures. 

CDI director Dr. Stephen Sherlock published a new research paper entitled “Made by Committee and Consensus: Parties and Policy in the Indonesian Parliament” in a December 2012 special issue of South East Asia Research that focused on Indonesia’s party system. Sherlock critiques the conventional wisdom on party discipline in Indonesia, arguing that hostility toward parliament often leads observers to believe party leaders exercise stricter controls over MPs than is generally the case. As a result, Sherlock argues Indonesian elites prefer to make decisions through closed-door committee sessions, keeping public votes and civil-society input to a minimum. 

The Pakistan Institute of Legislative Development and Transparency (PILDAT) released three publications on elections in Pakistan. In the first, “Assessment of the Quality of General Election 2013,” published in May, PILDAT scrutinizes the 2013 election results for irregularities. PILDAT found that the quality of the election was considerably higher during the run up to election day than the quality of poll staff during the election itself. While this marks an improvement over the past, PILDAT has offered ten recommendations to correct the current election day and post-election day inadequacies in Pakistan. 

In April 2013, PILDAT published “A Comparative Analysis of Election Manifestoes of Major Political Parties,” in which they track the delivery of platform promises by Pakistan’s political parties. PILDAT recognizes that improvements have been made, but recommends parties develop internal think tanks to track their implementation of platforms. 

PILDAT also published “The First 10 General Elections of Pakistan: A Story of Pakistan's Transition from Democracy above Rule of Law to Democracy under Rule of Law: 1970-2013” in May 2013. Summarizing Pakistan’s progress through its first nine elections, authors Hasan-Askari Rizvi and Ijaz Shafi Gilani discuss the changes to Pakistan’s state and society over the past forty years and their implications for the 2013 general elections, Pakistan’s tenth. They view the tenth election as a critical one which will mark the end of Pakistan’s “left-right” alignment of votes and a sea change in Pakistani politics. 

Asian Barometer held a conference on “China’s Rise: Assessing Views from East Asia and the United States” on March 29, 2013, in Washington, DC. The conference presented four working papers. The first, by John Aldrich, Kang Liu, and Jie Lu, was entitled “How Do Americans View the Rising China?” and examines survey data to determine that Americans are better informed about China than generally assumed and hold a mix of positive and negative attitudes toward that country. The second, “How East Asians View a Rising China,” by Yun-han Chu, Liu Kang, and Min-hua Huang, analyzes the perspectives of China’s Asian neighbors, finding that countries near China fear the security ramifications of its rise while countries farther from China welcome the economic opportunities its wealth might produce in the region. In “Who is Afraid of the Rise of China?—Economic, Geopolitical, and Ideological Factors,” Min-Hua Huang and Yun-han Chu find that those who favor liberalism and economic openness are more aware of China’s rise, but that politically liberal individuals are less likely to hold a favorable view of China than economic liberals. In the final paper, “Follow the Leader? Soft Power of China and the US Compared,” Min-Hua Huang and Bridget Welsh use Asian Barometer Survey data to analyze the competition for soft-power in Asia between the United States and China, finding that “the United States remains the overwhelming model of choice for the majority of East Asian countries.” Audio of the conference is available here.


The Access to Information Program (AIP, Bulgaria) released its thirteenth annual Access to Information in Bulgaria report on March 28, 2013. The report contains policy recommendations for increasing government transparency and public access to government records, an audit of government agency transparency, and analysis of litigation involving access to public information. Among the report’s recommendations are the designation of an agency to monitor the Access to Public Information Act’s implementation and the acceptance of electronic access to information requests. 

On February 27, 2013, AIP also released the results of its 2013 Audit on Institutional Websites in Bulgaria. The audit, which AIP has published since 2006, evaluates “how the executive bodies fulfill their obligations for proactive publication of information online under the Access to Public Information Act and other legal regulations and to assess their readiness to respond to electronic requests.” The results can be sorted by institution, indicator, or response statistics. 

Ivan Krastev, director of the Centre for Liberal Strategies (CLS, Bulgaria) published “Bulgaria, Protest for the Future” on openDemocracy on June 25, 2013. Krastev discusses the recent mass protests in Bulgaria, which has joined Turkey and Brazil as the third democracy to experience large scale protests in the past month. According to Krastev, the protests, which began after the appointment of corporate ‘front-man’ Delyan Peevski to the post of National Security Chief, mark the “first time in years” that “the civil society of Bulgaria is voicing strong demands for genuine reform of the ailing state institutions and for effective democracy.” 

The Center for Policy Studies (CPS, Hungary) released two new Working Papers. The first, published in April 2013, was written by Vera Messing and is entitled “Active Labor Market Policies with an Impact Potential on Roma Employment in Five Countries of the EU.” Messing examines varying approaches to Roma-inclusive labor market policies, concluding that “there is no single ‘best’ way to reach out to Roma.” 

In the second Working Paper, “Gender Dimension of the Labor Markets over the Past Two Decades,” by Piotr Lewandowski, Iga Magda, Jan Baran, Olena Fedyuk, and Attila Bartha, published in March 2013, the authors note that the past two decades have seen strong advances for women in the European labor market. Examining this trend, the authors conclude that “the major policies driving increasing intensity of female employment were concentrated in two areas: retirement policies and those regarding flexible employment arrangements.” 

CPS also released a Policy Brief by Jon Fox and Zsuzsanna Vidra, entitled “Applying Tolerance Indicators: Roma School Segregation.” Published in 2013, the Brief examines the problem of school segregation affecting Roma children. Noting that segregation has roots in both residential patterns and academic policies, the authors lament the failure of most reintegration attempts, blaming “insufficient political clout.” 

In March 2013, the Institute for Development and Social Initiatives (IDIS) 'Viitorul' (Moldova) released “Transnistrian Conflict and Republic of Moldova European Integration: The Case of the Liberalized Visa Regime.” IDIS writes that since Moldova’s failure to meet the deadline for visa liberalization with the European Union, comments by EU officials have linked future EU agreements to progress in the Transnistrian conflict. IDIS calls this “unacceptable for the Republic of Moldova,” emphasizing that progress in EU talks cannot move forward “without the citizens on the left bank.” IDIS hopes that such comments will not be enshrined in official documents. 

The Center for Democracy and Human Rights (CEDEM, Montenegro) released a report on “Effects, Challenges and Possibilities for Using EU Funds for Improvement of Status and Social Integration of the Roma and Egyptian Populations in Montenegro” in June 2013. Noting that Montenegro’s Roma and Egyptian populations disproportionately live in extreme poverty, CEDEM offers several policy recommendations for the use of EU funds to improve these populations economic status, including a more inclusive planning process, better resources for those proposing projects, and increased local government participation. 

CEDEM also released “Monitoring Regional Cooperation in South East Europe” in June 2013. Including seven country specific essays and one comparative essay on regional cooperation in the Balkans, the report offers recommendations to deepen integration and goodwill among these states. The recommended policy changes include more human, technical, and financial capital investment in cooperative initiatives, increased EU support for cooperation initiatives, and a merit-based approach for the hiring and appointment of initiative staff. 

In May 2013, CEDEM released “Situation Report in the Area of Judicial Reform and Human Rights (Chapter 23) in Montenegro in the Period 10 October 2012 to 10 April 2013.” The report is a product of a coalition of NGOs dedicated to improving Montenegro’s human rights framework and practices. It “is intended to provide independent information and observations prior to the publication of the European Commission’s Montenegro Progress Report 2013” and offers assessment and recommendations in four areas: justice reform, combating corruption, protecting human rights, and civil society development. 

The Institute of Public Affairs (ISP, Poland) published a new report on “Politics and Everyday Life. A German View of Poland and Russia” in June 2013. Analyzing how ordinary Germans view Poland, the report found that Poland’s image is generally very good; nearly one-in-four Germans have visited Poland since 1989, with East Germans being more likely to visit—and respect—Poland. Some negative associations remain, however; 14.5 percent of Germans associate Poles with crime, and half of Germans believe the Polish state is corrupt and inefficient—although Germans increasingly acknowledge Poland’s economic achievements. In nearly all areas, German-Polish relations were rated more highly than German-Russian relations. 

On April 26, 2013, ISP announced the conclusion of the final stage of its training program for Russian analysts. The program, funded by the National Endowment for Democracy, is intended to improve the ability of Russian opinion-makers to produce high-quality research and policy recommendations. Five Policy Briefs emerged from the program: “Managing Russian – Polish Raaprochement Through Intergovernmental Cooperation” by Andrey Devyatkov; “Development of the Volunteer Movements in Russia: Adaptation of the Polish Experience” by Ekaterina Gorelikova; “Development of Civic Competence and Democratic Beliefs of Future Teachers (Education Students): Analysis of Requirement Defined by the State Education Standard of Russian Standard of Russian Federation” by Oxana Kozhevnikova; “NGO’s as Actors in the International Development Assistance. Effort of New Donors Countries: A Case Study of Russia and Poland” by Anastasia Maximova; and “Government and NGO’s: New Forms of Cooperation in Poland and Russia” by Sergei Ponomarev. 

The Romanian Academic Society (SAR) released its “Annual Report Analysis and Forecast - Romania 2013,” which predicts continuing economic instability in Romania during 2013, with growth continuing to be lower than anticipated. The report summarizes key issues affecting Romania’s economy, including the pros-and-cons of another IMF agreement, the need for good governance, regional economic disparities, Romania’s privatization process, and the need for reform of Romania’s public healthcare system. 

The Center for Liberal–Democratic Studies (CLDS, Serbia) published “The Serbian Experience in Transition,” by Boris Begovic, in May 2013. The article draws on the economic dimension of Serbia’s transition to democracy, concluding that a key “window of opportunity” exists during which political energy is high enough to motivate reforms such as price liberalization, macroeconomic stabilization, trade liberalization, and privatization of state industries. 

In 2013, the Institute for Public Affairs (IVO, Slovakia) released its fourth summary of IVO Barometer’s main findings, entitled “Slovakia 2012: Trends in Quality of Democracy.” Edited by Martin Bútora, Miroslav Kollár, and Grigorij Meseznikov, this report contains seven essays analyzing Slovak development in the areas of rule of law, recent legislation, human rights implementation, media independence, civil society, and public opinion. 

Also in 2013, IVO published “Democratization and Civil Society Development in Taiwan” by Grigorij Meseznikov. A product of the author’s research at National Taiwan University in Taipei, the working paper examines Taiwan’s transition to democracy, analyzing the role of civil society in comparison to Slovakia’s transition, and concluding that despite their social and geopolitical differences, the successful transitions of these countries both required a vibrant and dedicated civil society. 

The Democratisation and Rule of Law Program of FRIDE (La Fundación para las Relaciones Internacionales y el Diálogo Exterior, Spain) published The Gulf States and the Arab Uprisings, by Ana Echagüe. Published in June 2013, the book “addresses the implications of the Arab revolts for the Gulf States,” including the impact on their domestic stability, their geopolitical strategies, and their relationships both within the region and in Europe. After analyzing many of the variables affecting the Gulf States and the region, Echagüe writes that “the European Union will have to equip itself to deal with a more diverse geopolitical scenario, more assertive governments, and an increasingly demanding and audacious population.” 

FRIDE’s Democratisation and Rule of Law Program also released four Working Papers. The first, “Security Sector Reform in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan,” published by Vera Axyonova, Jos Boonstra, and Erica Marat in May 2013, examines Europe’s role in promoting security sector reform in Central Asia. In “‘Foreign Funding’ in Post-Revolution Tunisia,” published May 20, 2013, Kristina Kausch assesses the way foreign democracy assistance is perceived in post-revolutionary Tunisia. “Syria’s Uprising: Sectarianism, Regionalisation, and State Order,” published on May 16, 2013, by Steven Heydemann, analyzes the increasingly serious regional challenges posed by the Syrian civil war. The final Working Paper, entitled “Foreign Funding in Egypt after the Revolution” and published in April 2013 by Mohamed Elagati, examines the “perception of foreign funding to NGOs, the media, and political parties in Egypt.” 

FRIDE also released a number of Policy Briefs: “Europe’s Gulf Dilemma” by Ana Echagüe, published June 21, 2013; “Belarus and the Eurasian Union: Incremental Integration” by Balázs Jarábik, Alexei Pikulik, and Andrei Yeliseyeu, published June 11, 2013; “The EU and the Palestinians: Anticipating the Third Intifada” by Romana Michelon, published June 6, 2013; “Venezuela’s International Projection Post-Chavez” by Susanne Gratius and Carlos A. Romero, published May 27, 2013; “The European Union in Asia’s Alphabet Soup” by Gauri Khandekar, published May 13, 2013; “Sweden and Central Asia” by Jibecke Joensson, published May 6, 2013; “Greece and Central Asia” by Ioanna-Nikoletta Zyga, published May 3, 2013; “Can Egypt’s Civil Opposition Save the Revolution?” by Moataz El Fegiery, April 15, 2013; and “Levers for Change: the EU and Civil Society in the Eastern Neighbourhood” by Aliaksandr Charniakovich, published April 4, 2011. 

The Quality of Government Institute (QoG, Sweden) released three new Working Papers. In the first, entitled “Women's Political Representation in the European Regions: The Impact from Corruption and Bad Governance” and published in May 2013, Aksel Sundström and Lena Wägnerud theorize that advancement in clientelistic environments depends on traditional networks to which women are less likely to have access, dampening their prospects in poorly governed states. 

In the second, “Dissatisfied Democrats: A Matter of Representation or Performance?” published April 2013, Stefan Dahlberg, Jonas Linde, and Sören Holmberg examine “the gap between the strong support for democratic principles and the weaker support for the actual functioning of democratic governance,” concluding that representativeness of government plays a somewhat greater role than transparency and impartiality of government in democratic satisfaction. 

Finally, in “Can Efficient Institutions Induce Cooperation Among Low Trust Agents? An Experimental Approach?” published April 2013, Pontus Strimling, Staffan I. Lindberg, Micael Ehn, Kimmo Eriksson, and Bo Rothstein demonstrate that in political environments characterized by low social trust, all agents involved can still gain significantly when working through “strong, socially efficient institutions.” 

The European Stability Initiative (ESI, Turkey) released “Red Lines for Albania. The EU and the June Parliamentary Elections” on May 7, 2013. ESI writes that in the lead up to the June 23 parliamentary elections in Albania, the European Union should issue a clear, unambiguous call for the reinstitution of the Central Election Commission alongside a warning that failure to comply will harm Albania’s accession process. 

The Centre for the Study of Public Policy (CSPP, United Kingdom) has released three papers as part of its “Studies in Public Policy” series. In the first, “Why Do Africans Differ in Paying Bribes?,” Caryn Peiffer and Richard Rose argue that perceptions of corruption, rather than moral beliefs, largely determine whether or not an individual is willing to pay a bribe, suggesting that anti-bribery campaigns should focus on reforming services and state monopolies rather than public appeals. In “How Size Matters: Portugal as an EU Member,” Richard Rose and Alexander Trechsel describe the behavior of Portugal, a medium-sized EU member which can serve as an example of how smaller states “influence the collective policies of a political Union with half a billion citizens.” Finally, in “Differentiation in the EU: the Development of Policy Clusters,” Frank Vibert discusses the implications of policy implementation differences among EU member states, noting that while differentiation creates losses in “cohesion,” they represent a gain in representativeness.

Latin America

The Center for the Implementation of Public Policies Promoting Equity and Growth (CIPPEC, Argentina) launched “CIPPEC Data,” a new interactive web tool that allows users to visually reference statistics about Argentina at the national and provincial level and compare the relative distribution of data across Argentina’s provinces. CIPPEC Data displays statistics for a variety of indicators related to social development, economic development, and government institutions and public management. The feature utilizes a cartogram map of Argentina which distorts the size of each province according to the proportionate distribution of data, illustrating the relative distribution of resources or data from one province and another. 

CIPPEC also initiated a call for submissions to apply for CIPPEC’s Award for Innovation in Public Management for Equity and Growth to recognize public policy innovations in Argentina. In offering the award, CIPPEC hopes to attract submissions from government entities and other public initiatives at the national, provincial, and local levels to share innovative policy projects that improved public management, equity, and transparency in a demonstrable way. CIPPEC seeks to draw attention to innovative policy projects, identify best practices, and encourage further innovations in these policy areas. 

The Center for Opening and Development in Latin America (CADAL, Argentina) published a new paper in May reflecting on the impact of 10 years under the administrations of Presidents Nestor and Cristina Kirchner in Argentina in a report by Marcos Novaro entitled “El juicio de la década K: ¿ganada o perdida?” Asking whether implementing a “popular democracy” was always part of the Kirchner’s governance plan, Novaro sees evidence that demonstrates that both Kirchners have been interested in accumulating executive power and polarizing the country politically since they took office. However, the Kirchners have also not succeeded in solidifying a strong populist system because they underestimated the time necessary to build consensus around their selected issues, and as a result, wasted significant amounts of financial and political capital in the pursuit of tenuous or partial political victories. 

In April, CADAL also released its annual report and country ranking on “Global Development: Democracy, Markets, and Transparency 2012.” To prepare the ranking of countries according to their combined levels of democracy, market openness, and transparency, CADAL combines scores from Freedom House’s Freedom in the World, the Wall Street Journal and the Heritage Foundation’s Index of Economic Freedom, and Transparency International’s Index on Perceptions of Corruption. Although New Zealand achieved the top ranking for the second year in a row, CADAL focused the publication’s main report on Norway (ninth) because it has achieved a high level of human development by promoting inclusion, transparency, and responsible management of natural resources despite having petroleum wealth. 

Congreso Visible (CV, Colombia) published the first edition of the e-bulletin Valle Visible in April to recognize a new regional branch of the organization established in the department of Valle del Cauca. Hosted by the Universidad Icesi in Cali, Colombia, Valle Visible is one of several regional initiatives that Congreso Visible has initiated since 2010 to develop a more extensive network that can foster closer cooperation and accountability between citizens and legislators throughout Colombia. 

The Observatory for Policy and Strategy in Latin America (OPEAL) at the Instituto de Ciencia Política (ICP, Colombia) launched a new microsite focusing on the recently formed “Pacific Alliance,” a new integration process between Chile, Mexico, Colombia, and Peru. The purpose of the site is to academically and informatively cover the process of building the new Pacific Alliance while providing an interactive news source focusing on the opinions of national and international authors that will be updated daily. The site will also feature a database compiling official statements, declarations, and communications produced by different parties involved in the process. The main highlights of the micro-site will feature analysis and policy articles produced by OPEAL staff. While most of the documents will be in Spanish, some are dedicated to OPEAL’s international audience, including a recent article entitled “A Promising Alliance” written by OPEAL´s Academic Director, Andrés Molano-Rojas. 

The Latinobarómetro (Chile) released a Flash Report “La Imagen de Hugo Chávez: 1995–2011” pulling data from their regional surveys in 2005–2011 to show how Latin Americans viewed Hugo Chávez. Overall, Latinobarómetro’s polling data showed that the average Latin American did not have a favorable opinion of Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez. Although results varied from country to country over time, populations in only 5 of the 18 Latin American countries surveyed expressed a favorable rating of Hugo Chávez in 2011. When survey participants were asked whether Chávez’s foreign policy was focused more on helping other countries resolve their problems versus extending his own influence in the region, only respondents in Venezuela and the Dominican Republic expressed the former viewpoint (2009 data). 

The State of the Nation Program (Programa Estado de la Nacion, Costa Rica) released three publications examining a variety of social, economic, and political indicators in Costa Rica. First, the 18th State of the Nation in Human Sustainability Report was published using data from Costa Rica’s development indicators in 2011. The annual report and flagship publication of the State of the Nation Program is intended to serve as a platform of information that citizens of Costa Rica can use for discussion and analysis to understand public affairs and make favorable decisions that will generate more opportunities and growth for the country. 

The State of the Nation Program collaborated with Vanderbilt University’s Latin America Public Opinion Project (LAPOP) to produce a study on Political Culture of Democracy in Costa Rica 2012. The report focuses on data collected by LAPOP’s 2012 Americas Barometer regarding public support for democracy in Costa Rica, which found strong empirical evidence demonstrating a decline in support. After a decade of polls showed consistent levels of support for democracy among Costa Ricans, polling results in 2012 demonstrated a reduction in political tolerance among Costa Ricans, which has a negative impact on the stability and legitimacy of democracy in the country. 

Finally, the State of the Nation Program released the Costa Rican Education Atlas, produced under the framework of the program’s State of Education Program. The atlas draws on geo-referenced school data compiled by Costa Rica’s Ministry of Public Education and analyzes Costa Rica’s education system to understand the evolution and physical placement of primary and secondary schools, as well as the quality, results, and environments for learning. In addition, the atlas seeks to identify vulnerabilities in particular parts of the country and education centers. 

Grupo Faro (Ecuador) published a new book in April entitled Ecuador: From a Country of Resources to a Country of Knowledge. The book is part of Grupo Faro’s Ecuador Será initiative exploring innovations in politics, social development, and the economy that will have a positive impact on the future of Ecuador. Edited by Executive Director Orazio Bellettini and Andrea Ordoñez, the book explores ways that Ecuador can transition from a country whose growth depends on exports of primary products and non-renewable natural resources into an economy of knowledge that strategically uses the country’s natural resources for growth. To this end, the book’s chapters explore topics such as education reform, agricultural modernization, ecosystems conservation and the promotion of sustainable development, and rethinking natural resources in Ecuador. To download the full book, visit Grupo Faro’s website

In May, Grupo Faro also released a new working paper by Orazio Bellettini on “Civil Society and Public Goods,” written in response to the growth in the size of the state and role of government in providing public goods in Latin America that has occurred in recent years. In the working paper, Bellettini makes the case for why civil society should actively participate in the production of public goods, arguing that civil society should view the construction of the state as a public good to not only guarantee and protect public goods provided by the state, but to also generate conditions through which individuals and groups can benefit from public goods and share in participating in governance. 

Finally, after holding a series of workshops and consultative meetings with local communities in Ecuador’s Tena region, Grupo Faro published a short handbook in May containing “Notes on Petroleum Activity in Ecuador.” The manual was published in both Spanish and Quechua so that indigenous communities and other citizens in the Tena region could have a framework for understanding and analyzing the impact of the petroleum industry in their lives and know their rights regarding the extraction of oil in the region. 

The Centro de Investigación y Docencia Económicas, A.C. (CIDE, Mexico) shared a new working paper in May written by Gilles Serra entitled “The 2012 Election in Mexico: Campaigns, Results, and Conflict.” Given the authoritarian past of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) in Mexico, the PRI’s 2012 victory generated widespread concern about the possible deterioration of Mexican democracy. However, Serra’s analysis argues that a return to a PRI-led authoritarian state is not likely, as the new composition of Mexico’s legislature is more conducive to passing structural reforms and reinvigorated political parties, civil society, and the international community will insist on the preservation of civic freedoms and electoral competition.

Middle East

The Israel Democracy Institute (IDI) released two new editions of its Peace Index, which analyzes survey data to measure the policy priorities of Jewish and Arab Israelis. In the April 2013 Index, survey data revealed (among other things) that a plurality of both Jewish and Arab Israelis consider closing socioeconomic gaps to be the most important priority the government should pursue—a preference at odds with Israel’s austerity program. A majority of both populations also agreed that while the government was making satisfactory progress on Israel’s security objectives, economic stability remained wanting. In the February Index of the same year, analysts noted that a majority in all but one of Israel’s Jewish political parties believes that the recent election results are a call for “new politics,” while they consider Netanyahu’s handling of coalition results inferior to that of his negotiating counterparts. Other significant findings centered on Obama’s state visit to Israel: only 45 percent of Israelis believe Obama can be trusted to safeguard Israel’s interests, and while a majority believes that his visit will be followed by a “softening” in Israeli and Palestinian positions, the public is almost evenly split on the desirability of such a softening. 

IDI also released four new issues of its monthly Terrorism and Democracy newsletter. In the May 2013 issue, IDI discussed the US State Department’s 2012 Human Rights Report on Israel, which analyzed the fulfillment of general human rights criteria in Israel, while noting the prevalence of violent acts both perpetrated against Israel and by Israeli armed forces as part of the ongoing Israeli/Palestinian conflict. The issue also covered other reports of human rights violations committed during Operation: Pillar of Defense and the 2010 flotilla incident. 

In the April 2013 issueTerrorism and Democracy covered two items relating to Operation: Pillar of Defense, one from the IDF Military Advocate General and one from the United Nations. Also discussed were updates to Israel’s “Foreign Terrorist” list and the decision by Israel’s high court to refuse the right to cross-examine an Israeli Security Agency agent in a case over administrative detention procedures. 

In the March 2013 Terrorism and Democracy, IDI released three more articles discussing judicial actions in security-related court cases. The first item covered involved the Supreme Court’s decision to reduce the sentence of a Palestinian accused of smuggling weaponry into the Gaza strip. In another item, IDI discussed the High Court of Justice’s decision to reject a petition exempting the Israeli Security Agency from recording its interrogations with suspects. The final item featured a report that the Justice Ministry was utilizing restrictions on judicial review in its detention practices in terrorism-related cases. 

Finally, in the February 2013 Terrorism and Democracy, IDI discusses the report of the “Turkel Commission,” Israel’s public commission examining the “flotilla” incident of 2010. While the commission found Israel’s legal mechanisms for examining complaints about the use of force were generally in line with international law, it also recommended several measures that could improve Israel’s existing measures. This issue also discussed the illegality of airstrikes launched during Operation: Pillar of Defense and the High Court of Justice’s criticism of the Israeli Security Agency’s use of classified information in an administrative detention procedure. 

The Lebanese Center for Policy Studies (LCPS) published “The Economic Cost of Political Instability” on May 10, 2013, in which Nisreen Salti calculates that the economic cost of dramatic political events in Lebanon, such as the assassination of Prime Minister Rafik Hariri and the 2006 war, detracted five percent from Lebanon’s GDP per capita. Likewise, the report finds that GDP per capita increased by 6 percent following the 2008 Doha agreement and the stability it brought to Lebanon. 

LCPS published another paper on May 10, entitled “Youth Employment in Lebanon: Skilled and Jobless.” The paper notes Lebanon’s high youth unemployment rate—24 percent—and proposes two possible causes: low labor supply due to a struggling education system and low labor demand due to poor economic policy. To alleviate these issues, LCPS prescribes a two-pronged approach: improved and expanded funding for job training initiatives in the education system and increased efficiency in government regulation and infrastructure. 

On May 8, 2013, LCPS held a roundtable discussion with the name “The Regional Implications of the Syrian Conflict: Challenges to the State Order in the Levant?” Led by LCPS Executive Director Sami Atallah, over 30 participants, including ambassadors, diplomats, academics, and other experts, met to discuss the impact of the Syrian civil war on the region’s political dynamic. The assembled experts observed a tightening interdependence among Iran, Hezbollah, and Syria, as well as the Turkey’s rise to major-power status. Meanwhile, the GCC countries have begun to act more as a bloc and Iraq’s sectarian groups are increasingly active in Syrian affairs; in fact, the group noted a general tendency to frame conflicts in a sectarian fashion dating back to the Iraq War, signifying a deepening Shi’a-Sunni split across the region. 

The Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research (PSR) has released its 47th Research Poll. The poll surveyed 1,270 adults between March 28-30th, 2013, in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip—a period closely following the formation of a new Israeli government and the visit of US President Barack Obama to Israel. The poll found that the popularity of Fatah and Palestinian President Abbas are rising at the expense of Hamas. Palestinians also indicated that while reconciliation between the two parties would be desirable, it would require a regime change in either the Gaza Strip, West Bank, or both. Other findings indicate that while conditions in Gaza continue to be seen as more favorable than those in the West Bank, Gazans are much more likely to wish to immigrate. Finally, the poll found that Palestinians did not believe Obama’s visit would succeed in convincing Israeli to halt the construction of settlements in the occupied territories. A press release summarizing the results in more detail can be found here

The Turkish Economic and Social Studies Foundation (TESEV) initiated the “Turkey Constitution Watch” project as part of its Democratization Program. Through Turkey Constitution Watch, TESEV hopes to “monitor, document, and report” the activities of parliament, the media, and civil society as Turkey undergoes the constitution-writing process. As part of this project, TESEV recently released a survey on “Definitions and Expectations Regarding the New Constitution.” The survey questioned 2,700 individuals on “their expectations, opinions, and tendencies relating to the new constitution” and analyzed the impact of demographic factors on the results. As part of this project, TESEV has also translated its second monitoring report, which focuses on events from February 2012–June 2012 and evaluates suggestions made to the constitutional commission from Turkish civil society. 

TESEV’s Democratization Program also released “Confronting the Past: Impunity and High Profile Cases,” a study evaluating the progress of trials involving serious human rights offenders, often with serious political implications. Featuring seven essays by seven Turkish legal experts, this study offers rigorous exploration of issues in Turkish human rights law and their relevance to Turkish politics and society. 

Finally, TESEV’s Democratization Program also released “Policy Suggestions for Free Independent Media in Turkey,” as part of a partnership with MEDIADEM. The paper notes that “the media in Turkey has always been in a relationship of interdependence with political power.” Conducting research into this interdependence, TESEV and MEDIADEM have issued four imperatives for the protection of media freedom in Turkey: democratize media policy-making, safeguard the independence of regulatory bodies, legally protect freedom of expression, and prevent unfair competition in media markets.

Russia and the Former Soviet Union

On May 7, 2013, the Belarusian Institute for Strategic Studies (BISS) released the most recent version of itsForeign Policy Index, which analyzes Belarus’ progress on five key foreign policy priorities. The Index reports progress on Belarus’ relationships with Russia, the European Union, the developing world, and Ukraine, but indicates increasing concern that relations with China may be “more economically beneficial to Beijing than for Minsk.” The Index also notes that Moscow and Minsk will likely continue to cooperate within a “framework” that will ultimately curtail Belarusian independence. 

BISS also released the 12th issue of BISS-Trends, which will be moving from a quarterly publication schedule to a semiannual publication accompanied by monthly BISS-Timeline updates. This issue laments that social and political life continues to be “stagnant” despite recent parliamentary elections, while economic life is subject to a state-led modernization campaign which “is likely to result in even more inefficient spending” and has included the virtual enslavement of the nation’s woodworkers. Further, it found that Russo-Belarusian economic tensions did not derail the overall relationship between the two countries. Finally, the issue noted that the government continues to promote an “official discourse” opposed to the revival of Belarusian language and national consciousness. 

On April 16, 2013, BISS published “Foreign Policy: Relations between Belarus and Latin American countries in the years 2002-2012,” in which Siarhei Bohdan notes that relations between Belarus and Latin America have progressed much more steadily over the past decade than any of Belarus’ other initiatives. However, this is largely true only because of the country’s close relationships with Venezuela and Cuba; outreach to Brazil, Argentina, and even Nicaragua (a former Soviet ally) met with little to no results. 

The Carnegie Moscow Center (Russia) released “The End of an Era in EU-Russia Relations,” a paper by Dmitri Trenin, Maria Lipman, and Alexy Malashenko in which they propose guiding principles for the European Union’s reaction to changes in the Russian domestic political environment. The authors note that “outsiders can influence Russian developments only at the margins” and therefore conclude the European Union should “focus on its own long-term strategic priorities,” such as increased trade and energy independence, while deepening ties with Russia “at all levels and in all fields,” especially by easing travel restrictions. 

The Center also published “The Stalin Puzzle: Deciphering Post-Soviet Public Opinion” by Thomas de Waal, Maria Lipman, Lev Gudkov, and Lasha Bakradze. In this piece, the authors analyze survey data and speculate as to why support of Stalin’s rule has increased since the fall of the Soviet Union. Among the factors identified by the analysis are Stalin’s association with victory in World War II, desire for social stability, and “half-hearted” attempts at de-Stalinization; however, the authors note that these factors hold less sway over the younger and more educated citizens. 

On March 1, 2013, the Center published “Poland’s Strategy for Dealing with Russia’s Human Rights Record,” by Pawel Dariusz Wisniewski. Wisniewski summarizes Polish foreign policy toward Russia, noting that while Poland’s bilateral relationship with its larger neighbor has been historically rocky, recent years have seen a “thaw” in relations between the two countries. However, Poland also stands to gain the most from Russian liberalization, as its desire for stable relations is in conflict with its dedication to human rights and its economic incentives. As such, Polish criticism of Russian human rights abuses tends to be delivered through EU channels, ‘masking’ the source of the critique and protecting Warsaw from backlash as it attempts to maintain a cordial relationship with Moscow. 

United States and Canada

The Applied Research Center at IFES (ARC, United States) released a public opinion survey of Ukrainian voters on March 1, 2013. Using data from the run-up to the October 2012 Rada elections, the survey found that 53 percent of Ukrainians feel the country is becoming increasingly unstable, down from 62 percent in 2011. However, 76 percent say they are “very or somewhat dissatisfied” with the country’s economic situation. More Ukrainians say their family’s economic situation has gotten worse than better over the past year (34 to 12 percent). When asked about economic partners, a plurality of Ukrainians prefers Russia to Europe or both (37, 27, and 26 percent, respectively). Despite the fact that President Yanukovych continues to suffer from low ratings in every area, his political party still leads all others in likely voters. While most Ukrainians do not believe that voting affords them a voice in policymaking, a majority intends to vote nonetheless. Other major observations include expectations that the elections would be falsified and unfamiliarity with the work of civil society organizations. 

Professor Larry Diamond, director of Stanford University’s Center on Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law (CDDRL, United States), published an article in the Atlantic entitled “All Fall Down: The Uncertain Future of the Only Solution for Israel and Palestine.” Diamond reflects that Israel, a state created as a refuge from anti-Semitism and constantly buffeted by conflict, must now make a serious choice at a particularly unstable moment. Explaining that Israel cannot remain a democracy and a Jewish state so long as an Arab majority remains oppressed within its borders, Diamond predicts Israel will soon be forced by demographic trends to choose between a two-state solution, permanent occupation, or the loss of its Jewish national character. 

CDDRL also recently held a number of events. On June 10, 2013, Barry Weingast spoke at an event entitled “The Violence Trap: A Political-Economic Approach to the Problems of Development” based on a paper by the same name coauthored with Gary Cox and Douglass North. In the paper, the authors examine the impact of violence on the economic development of states, finding that lesser developed states experience violent regime change much more often than developed states. “Increasing returns” explanations for development are then harnessed to explain how lesser developed states are unable to muster the resources to control violence, which then reduces their ability to muster resources in a “violence trap” which hampers their development. 

CDDRL held a conference entitled “Building Bridges: Towards Viable Democracies in Tunisia, Egypt, and Libya” on March 28-29 in Tunis, Tunisia. The conference, and the report issued afterward, took a comparative view of democratization in the Arab Spring countries and offered a forum for “knowledge-sharing” among experts. Those assembled discussed issues relating to political coalitions, Islamism, constitution-drafting, civil society, economic policy, and relations with the West. According to the report, “the conference brought together two leaders of [Tunisia’s] opposing political parties, notably President of the ruling party Ennahda, Sheikh Rached Ghannouchi, and President of Nida Tounes, Mr. Beji Caid Essebsi.” In their speeches, the two leaders emphasized the need to build bridges across ideological divides. 

On February 21, 2013, CDDRL held a conference on “Challenges of Private Sector Development in the Middle East and North Africa,” after which a case study of the Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE)’s projects in Egypt and Lebanon was released as a paper. The case study examined CIPE’s work to shed light on “important issues about decision-making processes, working with local partners, and supporting long-term reform, as means of strengthening democracy.” 

Finally, CDDRL held a February 19 event at which a paper entitled “Modes of Governance in the Chinese Bureaucracy: A 'Control Rights' Theory” by Xuegang Zhou was presented. Zhou analyzes the Chinese Bureaucracy to ascertain how local authorities often overrule or ignore the opinions of higher-ups despite China’s highly centralized political structure. Using environmental protection policy as a case study, Zhou illustrates how this is possible by “conceptualizing the allocation of control rights in goal setting, inspection and incentive provision among the principal, supervisor and agent.” 

The National Endowment for Democracy’s International Forum for Democratic Studies (United States) recently hosted a number of events. On June 20, the Forum, the Legatum Institute, World Affairs, and Democracy Lab organized an event entitled “The Role of Economics in Democratic Transitions: The Case of Tunisia,” featuring Mondher Ben Ayed and Larry Diamond. The event is the second in a series of seminars organized to recognize the importance of economic reform and policy during democratic transitions. The series was initiated with a January 18 event entitled “The Role of Economics in Democratic Transitions” that featured Ashraf Ghani and Anne Applebaum. Future lectures will examine the role of economics in democratic transitions in Kenya and Burma. The