Reports & Papers

12 Items

People stand in a line outside a bank in Beirut, Lebanon, amid a financial crisis and a lockdown imposed by the government to help stem the spread of the coronavirus in Lebanon, March 28, 2020.

AP Photo/Zeina Karam

Paper

Reform Chatter and Democracy

    Authors:
  • Simeon Djankov
  • Ha Nguyen
  • Ivan Yotzov
| March 2021

This paper explores the dynamics of media chatter about economic reforms using text analysis from about a billion newspaper articles in 28 languages. The paper shows that the intensity of reform chatter increases during economic downturns. This increase is more significant in democracies. Using instrumental variable techniques, the analysis finds the relationship to be causal. The paper also documents that reform chatter is followed by actual reforms, suggesting that democracies benefit from a “self-correcting” mechanism stemming from changing popular attitudes toward reform. 

Tractors on Westminster bridge

AP/Matt Dunham

Paper - Institut für Sicherheitspolitik

The Global Order After COVID-19

| 2020

Despite the far-reaching effects of the current pandemic,  the essential nature of world politics will not be transformed. The territorial state will remain the basic building-block of international affairs, nationalism will remain a powerful political force, and the major powers will continue to compete for influence in myriad ways. Global institutions, transnational networks, and assorted non-state actors will still play important roles, of course, but the present crisis will not produce a dramatic and enduring increase in global governance or significantly higher levels of international cooperation. In short, the post-COVID-19 world will be less open, less free, less prosperous, and more competitive than the world many people expected to emerge only a few years ago.

Report - Middle East Initiative, Belfer Center

The Crisis of the Arab State

August 11, 2015

During the spring 2015 semester, Professor Michael C. Hudson assembled eight leading Middle East scholars under the auspices of the Middle East Initiative at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs to participate in a study group titled Rethinking the Arab State: the Collapse of Legitimacy in Arab Politics. Over the course of the semester these experts used a variety of interdisciplinary approaches to  analyze the crisis of legitimacy of the Arab state in the wake of the 2011 uprisings.

Report

Challenges to U.S. Global Leadership

In a Harvard Kennedy School IDEASpHERE session titled "Challenges to US Global Leadership," Graham Allison, Nicholas Burns, David Gergen, David Ignatius, and Meghan O’Sullivan discussed challenges as well as opportunities facing the United States. Burns moderated the session.

Challenges include the rise of China and the future of the U.S.-China relationship, the crises taking place around the world, and the reputation of the U.S. worldwide. An unexpected opportunity is the increase in available energy sources in the United States.

Winning the Peace

Photo by Martha Stewart

Report

Winning the Peace

May 16, 2014

The last seven decades without war among the great powers – what historians describe as “the long peace” – is a remarkable achievement. “This is a rare and unusual fact if you look at the last few thousand years of history,” said Graham Allison, director of the Belfer Center and moderator of the IDEASpHERE panel “Winning the Peace.” “Furthermore, it is no accident. Wise choices by statesmen have contributed to ‘the long peace,’ which has allowed many generations to live their lives.”

An Iraqi police officer casts his vote at a polling center in Baghdad, Iraq, Monday, April 28, 2014.

AP Images

Paper

Choosing an Electoral System

| April 29, 2014

As the drama of the Middle East’s democratic upheaval unfolds, the design of electoral systems is a crucial but underreported part of the story. Our original analysis of Iraqi elections in 2005 and 2010 demonstrate that small changes in how votes become seats can have a major impact on who governs. As such, they offer critical lessons for those shaping the contours of the democracies struggling to emerge in the Middle East today.

Report - Centre for International Governance Innovation

Unleashing the Nuclear Watchdog: Strengthening and Reform of the IAEA

| June 2012

This report marks the culmination of a two-year research project that examined all aspects of the mandate and operations of the International Atomic Energy Agency, from major programs on safeguards, safety, security, and the peaceful uses of nuclear energy to governance, management, and finance.

Paper - American Academy of Arts & Sciences

Nuclear Collisions: Discord, Reform & the Nuclear Nonproliferation Regime

    Authors:
  • Wael Al-Assad
  • Jayantha Dhanapala
  • C. Raja Mohan
  • Ta Minh Tuan
| April 2012

Nearly all of the 190 signatories to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) agree that the forty-two-year-old treaty is fragile and in need of fundamental reform. But gaining consensus on how to fix the NPT will require reconciling the sharply differing views of nuclear weapon states and non-nuclear weapon states. Strengthening the international rules is increasingly important as dozens of countries, including some with unstable political environments, explore nuclear energy. The result is an ever-increasing distribution of this technology. In this paper, Steven E. Miller outlines the main points of contention within the NPT regime and identifies the issues that have made reform so difficult.

Norton Cybercrime Index

AP Photo

Paper - Science, Technology, and Public Policy Program, Belfer Center

Taking a Byte Out of Cybercrime

| October 2011

"Cybersecurity is a means to enable social stability and promote digital democracy; a method by which to govern the Internet; and a process by which to secure critical infrastructure from cybercrime, cyberespionage, cyberterrorism and cyberwar. As nations and corporations recognize their dependence on ICT, policymakers must find the proper balance in protecting their investments without strangling future growth."

Paper

What Accounts for the Success of Islamist Parties in the Arab World

Islamist organizations are generally considered to be the strongest and most credible opposition to incumbent regimes throughout the Arab world. Fear of Islamic takeovers has led regimes and other outside powers to justify not holding free elections, citing examples that include the Algerian election of 1991, the Iranian Revolution, the AKP victory in Turkey and the perceived popularity of Islamist opposition groups throughout much of the Arab world (Brumberg 2002). Yet, other analysts have questioned the actual strength of Islamist movements within the Arab world, noting that although Islamists may be the main challenger, few have actually been successful in taking power (Roy 1994).