WORKING PAPER 16 - January 13, 2020
KEYWORDS: Networks, Social Capital, Community Participation, Local Governance, India
Social networks and social capital have been a central discussion point for academicians and policy makers alike since last few decades. Intersecting literature on networks and applied areas stresses upon homophily effect operating through social categories of gender, caste and occupation play a crucial role in individual behaviour across health and related networks in the society. On the other hand, literature talks of social capital playing a vital role for the individual and collective society in various spheres of their lives. This empirical research triangulates the theories of social capital, social networks and community participation to study the role of networks in community participation in the context of local governance in rural society. We use indicators such as household network size as proxy to social capital, attendance and vocal participation as proxy to community participation while using the popular network concepts of peer-effect and homophily effect through logit models to assess the role of network-based social capital in community participation.
WORKING PAPER 15 - September 6, 2019
KEYWORDS: Global Public Goods, International Collective Action for Health, Global Action Plan, Aid for Health, World Health Organization, World Bank Group, Gavi, Vaccine Alliance, Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, Malaria
Twelve multilateral health and development organizations have signed on to a joint Global Action Plan for Healthy Lives and Well-being for All (the Global Action Plan). The Global Action Plan includes a call for signatory organizations to align efforts to strengthen the provision of global public goods (GPGs) for health. In this paper, we examined multilateral support for GPGs for health, focusing on the four largest multilateral health organizations — Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance; the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria; the World Bank; and the World Health Organization. Our analysis aimed to understand how these organizations define GPGs for health and support such goods. Taking a cross-cutting view of the four organizations, it also aimed to lay out the steps these organizations could take to align their support for GPGs for health to deliver on the Global Action Plan.
To conduct this analysis, we conducted a desk-based review including relevant academic and grey literature, strategy and finance documents, and grants and projects databases. We also conducted 46 key informant interviews with senior leadership among these organizations as well as individuals from think tanks and academia who have expertise in GPGs for health and/or our multilateral agencies of focus.
Overall, we found that these four organizations lack an explicit GPGs for health strategy and they do not use a common definition of GPGs for health. All four are supporting GPGs for health in some form, through a variety of mechanisms, and it would be valuable to assess which of these are working the most effectively. A long-term, sustained financing mechanism for GPGs for health, and an overarching governance mechanism, will ultimately be needed.
WORKING PAPER 14 - December 16, 2019
KEYWORDS: BRI, imperialism, Chinese Tribute Order, soft power, imperialism of nation-states, debt, environment
I seek to grasp the genealogy of China’s Belt and Road (BRI) in relation both to the imperial Chinese world order and the historical sequence of forms of global domination, i.e., modern imperialism, the ‘imperialism of nation-states’ during the inter-war and Cold War period as well as the post-Cold War notion of ‘soft power’. While we may think of BRI as poised uncertainly between the logics of the older imperial Chinese order and the more recent logic impelled by capitalist nation-states, there are significant novelties in the new Chinese order, mostly in relation to debt, the environment and digital technology which constitute new realms of power not easily dominated by a hegemon.
WORKING PAPER 13 - September 6, 2019
KEYWORDS: Lebensraum, Mahan, Ratzel, realism, Semple, Reinsch, Treitschke, Turner, Weltpolitik, world power, world politics
Beginning in the 1890s as US political elites began to think of the US as a “world power” or “great power” — a status that was considered distinct from a merely continental or hemispheric one. There is evidence for this in the writings of academic intellectuals such as the political scientist Paul Reinsch, the geographer Ellen Churchill Semple, and the historian and publicist Alfred Mahan, as well in the political rhetoric employed by politicians such as Henry Cabot Lodge and Theodore Roosevelt. This semantic and ideological shift in the self-image of the United States has its parallel in similar processes at work in Germany in the 1890s. At that time, German imperialism, long focused on the continent, began to develop a navally-oriented Weltpolitik around which intellectuals elaborated a discourse on the requirements of national greatness and “world empire.” This essay argues that the roots of the American foreign policy realism of the 1930s and 40s can be traced to this transatlantic moment.
WORKING PAPER 12 - September 6, 2019
KEYWORDS: realism, New International Economic Order (NIEO), utopianism, Global North, Global South
Not so long ago, an alternative to American hegemony and progressive isolationism was elaborated by non-aligned segments of the international left. In the search for potentially usable models from the past, this paper will shed light on the New International Economic Order (NIEO). Promulgated as a United Nations resolution in 1974, and drafted by leaders in the Global South, the NIEO was one of the most widely discussed transnational governance reforms of the twentieth century. This paper will argue that the NIEO was an exercise in utopian realism that fundamentally depended on foregrounding the global security dilemma and defending the legitimacy and lasting utility nation-state. As a result of these commitments, the NIEO's proponents unwittingly self-limited their chances for long-term success on the international stage.
WORKING PAPER 11 - September 12, 2019
KEYWORDS: Aron, Kennan, Morgenthau, neoconservatism, political realism
What are the politics of political realism? This paper tries to answer the question by showing the political differences that emerged between the doyens of IR realism theory—Raymond Aron, Hans Morgenthau and George Kennan—during the 1970s. It argues that the Vietnam War and differing perceptions of American military power in the 1970s led these elder statesmen of IR realism theory into myriad political directions. Perhaps the best way to understand the nature of IR realist thought, then, is to focus not just on the theories that inspire political realism, but its diverse political applications, which, in the case of Aron, Morgenthau and Kennan, led to wide-ranging ways of thinking about what the role of the US in the world should be. If we make this move, we would see that Aron, the supposed embodiment of liberal moderation, became by the 1970s the most reactionary or militarist of the elder generation of IR realists.
WORKING PAPER 10 - September 6, 2019
KEYWORDS: Morgenthau, International Relations Theory, realism, World Government
Prominent mid-century classical realists (e.g., E.H. Carr, John Herz, Hans J. Morgenthau) married identifiably realist ideas about international relations to left-liberal (and progressive) political sympathies, in some cases advocating a fundamental reorganization of the interstate system along globalist institutional lines. Although the history of international ideas clearly suggests the possibility of a progressive realist synthesis, legitimate questions can still be raised about its overall theoretical coherence.
WORKING PAPER 09 - July 22, 2019
KEYWORDS: Africa, debt, public debt, government
Since 2014, almost all African countries have experienced an increase in public debt and a change in its nature. The ratio of public debt to GDP has doubled, and sovereign debt is changing from concessional credit provided by official agencies to market-based loans from private institutions. This paper attempts to answer three questions that are being asked with increasing urgency to avoid another debt crisis. First, has the quality of institutions and policies of African countries, critical to sustaining higher levels of debt, improved since the debt relief of the early 2000s? Second, will debt markets get to know emerging Africa well enough before the next crisis? Third, have the resolutions of recent defaults in Africa been orderly so that debtor governments are not herded into traps set by foreign creditors? Our calculations suggest that the answer to all three questions is ‘no’. To avoid another debt crisis, the paper recommends preventive measures that involve full transparency in debt accounting, greater realism in growth forecasts, and diligence in matching the region’s seemingly limitless public investment needs with weak public sector capacity to manage infrastructure investments. More specifically, we recommend that as a rule African governments treat increases in commodity prices as temporary — not permanent — shocks; that in deciding how to finance public investment, governments compare the marginal cost of funds from taxation with market terms of borrowing; and that governments avoid financing long-term infrastructure projects with short-term money from abroad.
WORKING PAPER 08 - July 17, 2019
KEYWORDS: transition, graduation, aid, official development assistance
In the coming years, over a dozen middle-income countries (MICs) are likely to transition from multilateral concessional assistance, including assistance from the International Development Association (IDA) and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance (Gavi). The cohort of upcoming graduates, which includes Nigeria and Pakistan, may find the transition more challenging when compared with the experiences of previous countries that have already graduated. Many upcoming graduates, for example, still have high rates of child and maternal mortality and large proportions of the population living in poverty.
Is the upcoming cohort more vulnerable and less “ready” to transition than those countries that previously graduated? If it is, do multilateral agencies need to adjust their transition policies? To help answer these questions, in this working paper we compared two cohorts of countries: a “previous cohort” that graduated from IDA between 2010 and 2015, and an “upcoming cohort” that is anticipated to graduate from IDA, Gavi, or both in coming years. We compared the two cohorts across five categories of indicators: macroeconomic conditions, health financing, health performance, governance, and overall levels of poverty and inequality.
Overall, our findings suggest that, on average, the countries that graduated from IDA in the previous 2010-15 period had stronger capacity to manage the donor transition than that of upcoming graduates. The upcoming cohort seems to have, on average, lower per capita income, greater indebtedness, weaker capacity to efficiently use public resources, more limited and less effective health systems, weaker governance and public institutions, and greater inequality.
WORKING PAPER 07 - July 19, 2019
KEYWORDS: India, sanitation, child health, human capital, cognition
Poor sanitation has large negative impacts on environmental quality, health, and well-being. Sanitation infrastructure is particularly lacking in India, where in 2011, 66% of households did not own a toilet. Inadequate sanitation is a large contributor to diarrheal-related diseases, which cause 300,000 deaths in Indian children each year. We exploit an experimental sanitation campaign in rural Odisha, India to examine the relationship between sanitation improvements in early childhood and long-term cognitive development. We build on literature linking child health improvements to cognitive development and labor market outcomes and show that improvements in sanitation coverage can have large human capital returns. Using treatment assignment as an instrument for village latrine coverage, we find that children who belonged to a village with higher latrine coverage scored significantly higher on a cognitive test measuring analytic ability ten years later. We find that this elect is much stronger among girls than boys.