Now showing items 21-40 of 74

    • Selective Control: The Political Economy of Censorship

      Corduneanu-Huci, Cristina; Hamilton, Alexander; Department of Public Policy (Taylor & Francis, 2022)
      In recent years, alongside democratic backsliding and security threats, censorship is increasingly used by governments and other societal actors to control the media. Who is likely to be affected by censorship and why? Does censorship as a form of punishment coexist with or act as a substitute for reward-based forms of media capture such as market concentration or bribes? First, this argues that censors employ censorship only toward certain targets that provide information to politically consequential audiences, while allowing media that caters to elite audiences to report freely. Second, the paper hypothesizes that coercion and inducements are substitutes, with censorship being employed primarily when bribes and ownership fail to control information. To test these hypotheses, a new data set was built of 9,000 salient censorship events and their characteristics across 196 countries between 2001 and 2015. The study finds strong empirical support for the theory of media market segmentation.
    • The role of agencification in achieving value‐for‐money in public spending

      Cingolani, Luciana; Fazekas, Mihály; Department of Public Policy (Wiley, 2020)
      Agencification has been pursued globally under the promise of increasing public administration performance. In spite of ample theoretical arguments, the empirical evidence on the causal link between agencification and performance remains scarce and methodologically contested. We contribute to this debate by empirically testing the impacts of agencification across Germany, Spain, and the United Kingdom on valuefor-money, competitiveness, and timeliness during the period 2006–2016. We use unique administrative datasets, enabling objective and granular measurements of reforms and their effects, employing quasi-experimental methods. Findings suggest heterogeneous effects both across countries and outcomes. On average, value-for-money improves by 2.8% or 1.7 billion EUR over a decade, while outputs and processes change only marginally. Recently agencified organizations barely improve their performance, while older agencies achieve substantial improvements. The three countries' heterogeneous administrative contexts play a critical role as mediating factors, with the biggest changes occurring in higher new public management take-up countries.
    • The politics of experimentation: Political competition and randomized controlled trials

      Corduneanu-Huci, Cristina; Dorsch, Michael T.; Maarek, Paul; Department of Public Policy (Elsevier, 2021)
      This paper provides an analysis of how political factors affect the incidence of the evaluation of public policies, with a focus on Randomized Control Trial (RCT) experiments in international development. We argue that political environments where incumbents face greater electoral competition and smaller ruling margins are more likely to host RCT experiments. Using various data sources for the incidence of RCTs both at the cross-country level and at the sub-nationallevel in India, we find that RCTs are more likely to occur in politically competitive jurisdictions. We employ fixed effects regressions using various estimators and an instrumental variable strategy that exploits an electoral reform in India which limited the entry of independent candidates and exogenously affected the degree of electoral competition in state-level politics. The effect seems concentrated on RCTs that have the government as a partner, suggesting that political competition has an important demand-side effect on the incidence of RCTs.
    • Autocratic checks and balances? Trust in courts and bureaucratic discretion

      Corduneanu-Huci, Cristina; Department of Public Policy (Taylor & Francis, 2019)
      An emerging literature in political economy focuses on democratic enclaves or pockets of quasi-democratic decision-making embedded in non-democracies. This article first explores the factors that may lead to the emergence of such institutional checks and balances in autocratic politics. I use the comparative analysis of courts in Morocco and Tunisia, and argue that interest group mobilization and the centrality of legalism in political development have been essential for the existence of “governance” enclaves. Second, I explore whether such checks effectively contain everyday rent-seeking, as well as the theoretical channels through which this may occur. Findings from firm-level surveys conducted in Morocco and Tunisia in 2013 indicate that higher general trust in courts, even in modest relative terms, rendered businesses significantly less vulnerable to tax corruption in Tunisia, in sharp contrast to the Moroccan case.
    • Can impact assessments tame legislative drift? Event history analysis of modifications of laws across Europe

      Brenner, Dominik; Fazekas, Mihály; Department of Public Policy (Wiley, 2023)
      Laws should endure and change only if assumed benefits don't materialize over time. Yet frequent modifications of laws shortly after their enactment distort this compromise between stability and change. While, Impact Assessments (IAs) are designed to improve the quality of legislation, we know little about IAs' impact on legal stability post-enactment. We fill this gap by analysing whether the ex-ante application of IAs influences the incidence and frequency of legal modifications. The analysis is based on a complete dataset of more than 2500 laws in France, Hungary, Italy, and the UK between 2006 and 2012. We apply a comparative event history analysis to account for both first and subsequent modifications. We find across-the-board that IAs are associated with legal stability. IAs are predicted to have the largest effect when political power changes both in terms of seat shares and party ideology, suggesting that IAs can, to some degree, tame legislative drift.
    • Continuity and change in Venezuela’s Bolivarian Revolution

      Buxton, Julia; Department of Public Policy (Taylor & Francis, 2020)
      The aims and outcomes of the Bolivarian Revolution in Venezuela are fiercely contested. A sympathetic view sees the possibility of Left revolutionary transformation as destabilised by aggressive US and domestic opposition actions. Detractors trace an authoritarian path from President Hugo Chávez’s election in 1998 to an inevitable socialist implosion under his successor Nicolás Maduro two decades later. This article emphasises continuities between the Bolivarian Fifth Republic and the Fourth Republic that the Revolution displaced. These account for the limitations of the transformative process. Historical institutionalism explains the reproduction of rentier practices and centralised state management and political organisation, culminating in cascading crisis across regime types.
    • More Power, Less Support: The Fidesz Government and the Coronavirus Pandemic in Hungary

      Bátory, Ágnes; Department of Public Policy (Cambridge University Press, 2022)
      Conventional wisdom suggests that populists thrive in times of crisis. However, for populist radical right parties in government, managing a genuine calamity is both an opportunity and a challenge. On the one hand, crises provide the opportunity to project leadership and quell opposition to their rule. On the other hand, crisis response requires competence. Probably the most successful governing populist radical right party in the European Union, Viktor Orbán's Fidesz in Hungary, did not resolve this tension entirely adequately in the course of the COVID-19 pandemic. While the party consolidated its grip on power, the high human and economic costs of mismanaging the second and third waves of the pandemic started to erode its popular support. In ideational terms, the COVID-19 pandemic accentuated the populist, nativist and authoritarian tendencies that had long characterized the party.
    • A free lunch from the EU? Public perceptions of corruption in cohesion policy expenditure in post-communist EU member states

      Bátory, Ágnes; Department of Public Policy (Taylor & Francis, 2021)
      Under the EU’s cohesion policy, post-communist member states in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) are amongst the largest recipients of European Structural and Investment (ESI) Funds. This article focuses on popular narratives of corruption and abuse in the allocation of the funds in the ‘new’ member states. Specifically, it aims to investigate how citizens perceive and evaluate the origins and motivations of the EU for providing the funds, the abuse affecting these resources, and who they blame for the misuse, relying on focus group discussions in Hungary, Romania and Slovenia. Popular narratives indicate that citizens perceive cohesion policy implementation as intertwined with grand corruption. While national political elites are considered as the main culprit, EU institutions are also seen as failing in their duties. These findings are significant because perceived EU inaction against grand corruption undermines notions of European solidarity and damages the EU’s credibility and legitimacy.
    • Regulating Collaboration: The Legal Framework of Collaborative Governance in Ten European Countries

      Bátory, Ágnes; Svensson, Sara; Department of Public Policy (Taylor & Francis, 2020)
      Many scholars have considered when and why collaboration between government agencies and societal actors occurs. This article argues that a simple but largely overlooked answer to these questions is that a formal legal or administrative requirement to do so is in place. Therefore, the objective is to substantiate whether there are legal requirements to collaborate and in what type of source and context this obligation applies in ten European countries. The main finding is that collaboration is underpinned by an extensive range of legal requirements in Europe, although imposing these requirements is generally not the main objective.
    • The EU’s Enfants Terribles: Democratic Backsliding in Central Europe since 2010

      Bakke, Elisabeth; Sitter, Nick; Department of Public Policy (Cambridge University Press, 2022)
      In the academic literature, Hungary and Poland are often cited as paradigmatic cases of democratic backsliding. However, as the backsliding narrative gained traction, the term has been applied to the rest of the post-communist region, including the Czech Republic and Slovakia. We suggest that this diagnosis is in part based on conceptual stretching, and set out to rescue the concept as an analytical tool. We then assess the extent of backsliding in the four Visegrád countries, explaining backsliding (and the relative lack of it) in terms of motive, opportunity, and the strength or weakness of opposing or constraining forces. We conclude that the situation is not as desperate as some commentators would have it: democratic backsliding in Hungary and Poland was contingent on a few exceptional factors, and EU leaders therefore need not be paralysed by the fear of contagion when they contemplate forceful action against backsliding member states.
    • Artificial intelligence and the rights to assembly and association

      Ashraf, Cameran; Department of Public Policy (Taylor & Francis, 2020)
      The rights to assembly and association are fundamental rights guaranteed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. They are essential to the establishment and functioning of a democracy and ensure that individuals and groups can peacefully come together to pursue their common goals. These, and other human rights, are being challenged by the development and widespread deployment of artificial intelligence systems on the internet. Indeed, the development of artificial intelligence has been a cause for concern among human rights activists, scholars and practitioners. While much existing literature has examined how AI will impact privacy and freedom of expression, its impact on the rights to assembly and association has been neglected. To develop a more well-rounded body of literature about AI and human rights, this paper will examine the impacts of artificial intelligence on the rights to assembly and association. It will discuss AI’s impact on two key areas: content display, whereby AI determines the content we see, and content moderation, where AI determines which content exists. The paper concludes with policy recommendations and the hope that these recommendations will serve as a starting point for a discussion on protecting these important rights in the age of artificial intelligence.
    • Are emerging technologies helping win the fight against corruption? A review of the state of evidence

      Adam, Isabelle; Fazekas, Mihály; Department of Public Policy (Elsevier, 2021)
      Information and Communication Technology (ICT) is often thought of as a uniformly positive tool making governments more transparent, accountable, and less corrupt. However, the evidence on it is mixed and often misunderstood. Hence, this article carries out a systematic stocktaking of ICT tools’ impact on corruption, offering a nuanced and context-dependent assessment. The tools reviewed are digital public services, crowdsourcing platforms, whistleblowing tools, transparency portals, distributed ledger technology, and artificial intelligence. We scrutinise the evidence both on ICTs’ anticorruption effectiveness and misuse for corruption. Drawing on the commonalities across technologies, we find that ICT can support anti-corruption by impacting public scrutiny in numerous ways: enabling reporting on corruption, promoting transparency and accountability, facilitating citizen participation and government-citizen interactions. However, ICT can also provide new corruption opportunities through the dark web, cryptocurrencies, or the misuse of technologies such as centralised databases. The introduction of ICT tools does not automatically translate into anti-corruption outcomes; rather, impact hinges on the matching between ICT tools and the local context, including support for and skills in using technology.
    • Agency Independence, Campaign Contributions, and Favoritism in US Federal Government Contracting

      Fazekas, Mihály; Ferrali, Romain; Wachs, Johannes; Department of Public Policy (Oxford University Press, 2023)
      The impacts of money in US politics have long been debated. Building on principal-agent models, we test whether and to what degree companies’ political donations lead to their favored treatment in federal procurement. We expect the impact of donations on favoritism to vary by the strength of control by political principals over their bureaucratic agents. We compile a comprehensive dataset of published federal contracts and registered campaign contributions for 2004–15. We develop risk indices capturing tendering practices and outcomes likely characterized by favoritism. Using fixed effects regressions, matching, and regression discontinuity analyses, we find confirming evidence for our theory. A large increase in donations from $10,000 to $5m (in USD) increases favoritism risks by about 1/4th standard deviation (SD). These effects are largely partisan, with firms donating to the party that holds the presidency showing higher risk. Donations influence favoritism risks most in less independent agencies: the same donation increases the risk of favoritism by an additional 1/3rd SD in agencies least insulated from politics. Exploiting sign-off thresholds, we demonstrate that donating contractors are subject to less scrutiny by political appointees.
    • Mobility and Policy Responses during the COVID-19 Pandemic in 2020

      Cepaluni, Gabriel; Dorsch, Michael T.; Kovarek, Dániel; Department of Public Policy (Elsevier, 2021)
      This paper quantitatively explores determinants of governments' non-pharmaceutical policy responses to the COVID-19 pandemic. Our focus is on the extent to which geographic mobility affected the stringency of governmental policy responses. Using daily data since the beginning of 2020, we find that societies that are more geographically mobile have governmental policy responses that are less stringent. We pursue an instrumental variable strategy that exploits climate data to identify arguably exogenous variation in geographic mobility levels, which lends a causal interpretation to our results. One explanation for the sub-optimal result is that it may be more costly (economically and politically) for governments to impose stringent policies on more mobile societies. By examining disaggregated mobility data, we show that the negative relation between geographic mobility and policy stringency is the strongest for commercially-oriented movements. The relation is weaker for geographic movements that relate to civil society. This suggests that policy-makers are more willing to trade-off public health for economic concerns relative to other civil concerns.
    • Donor interactions in the allocation of adaptation aid: A network analysis

      Weiler, Florian; Klöck, Carola; Department of Public Policy (Elsevier, 2021)
      This article examines how adaptation aid is allocated across countries, and specifically focus on the role of donor—donor interactions in allocation decisions. We test two contrasting hypotheses: the presence of other adaptation donors in a recipient country may increase or reduce the likelihood of donor i to provide adaptation aid to that recipient. In the former case, donors support adaptation in the same recipient countries; in the latter, they provide their adaptation aid to different recipient countries. We model adaptation aid allocations as a network, and apply an innovative method, bipartite temporal exponential random graph models, to bilateral adaptation aid flows between 2010 and 2016. Our empirical analysis finds strong evidence for donor interactions. The results suggest a positive effect of other donors: donors tend to support adaptation in similar sets of recipient countries. These results provide further evidence that adaptation aid largely follow the structures and processes of traditional development aid, which poses questions for the additionality of finance for adaptation to climate change.
    • Three worlds of austerity: Voter congruence over fiscal trade-offs in Germany, Spain and the UK

      Hübscher, Evelyne; Sattler, Thomas; Truchlewski, Zbigniew; Department of Public Policy (Oxford University Press, 2022)
      Political opposition to fiscal adjustments has varied significantly across countries. Our analysis links this variation to differences in the congruence of voter attitudes towards fiscal trade-offs across political blocs in different countries. These differences in attitudes, in turn, coincide with the implications of the distinct macroeconomic growth strategies that these countries pursue. Based on original survey data, we show that in Germany, supporters of different parties not only share similar views on the appropriate size of fiscal adjustment, but also on how to distribute these cuts across various spending items. In Spain, there is fundamental disagreement on the amount of austerity, but voters largely agree on the composition of fiscal adjustments. In the UK, there is disagreement between voters of diverging political blocs on both accounts. Variation in public attitudes, therefore, gives rise to very diverse political dynamics surrounding fiscal adjustments in different countries.
    • Defining cyberwar: Towards a definitional framework

      Ashraf, Cameran; Department of Public Policy (Taylor & Francis, 2021)
      For nearly thirty years scholars have offered changing definitions of cyberwar. The continued ambiguity demonstrates that efforts at establishing definitional clarity have not been successful. As a result, there are many different and contradictory definitions, ranging from cyberwar’s non-existence to cyberwar as an imminent threat. Ongoing definitional ambiguity makes interdisciplinary research and policy communications challenging in this diverse field. Instead of offering a new definition, this paper proposes that cyberwar can be understood through a fluid framework anchored in three themes and five variables identified in a broad interdisciplinary survey of literature. This framework's applicability is demonstrated by constructing an example definition of cyberwar utilising these themes and variables.
    • Exploring the impacts of artificial intelligence on freedom of religion or belief online

      Ashraf, Cameran; Department of Public Policy (Taylor & Francis, 2022)
      Freedom of religion or belief is an essential right for building pluralistic and tolerant societies which can sustain a multiplicity of competing ideas. However, the opaqueness of artificial intelligence systems on the Internet represents a challenge to the protection and enjoyment of this and other human rights. Although AI has generated interest in the human rights literature, these studies have largely focused on AI and its impact on freedom of expression and privacy, leaving other rights such as freedom of religion or belief neglected. As part of a broader research project to expand the academic conversation about AI and human rights, this paper will examine the impact of artificial intelligence on freedom of religion or belief online. The paper will focus on the worship, teaching, observance, and practice associated with freedom of religion or belief alongside the impacts of AI in content display, content moderation, and online privacy. The paper will offer preliminary policy recommendations to encourage discussion on policy approaches to AI development and deployment which incorporate protections for freedom of religion or belief in the era of artificial intelligence.
    • Transnational Philanthropy or Policy Transfer? The Transnational Norms of the Open Society Institute

      Stone, Diane (2010)
      The Open Society Institute (OSI) is a private operating and grant-making foundation that serves as the hub of the Soros foundations network, a group of autonomous national foundations around the world. OSI is a mechanism for the international diffusion of expertise and ‘best practices’ to post communist countries and other democratizing nations. Focusing on the ‘soft’ ideational and normative policy transfer the paper highlights the engagement in governance that comes with OSI transnational policy partnerships.
    • Mobilizing for policy change: Women's movements in Central and Eastern European domestic violence policy struggles

      Krizsán, Andrea; Department of Public Policy (Central European UniversityBudapest, 2015)
      The aim of this edited volume is to explore and understand the influence of women's movement mobilization on domestic violence policy change in Central and Eastern Europe. Fifteen years ago domestic violence was barely present on the policy agenda of countries in the CEE region. By 2005 most countries of the region adopted laws and policies addressing it and proceeded with implementation. Domestic violence policy processes can be seen as one of the most remarkable successes of women's movements in the region, which may stand to challenge skepticism around the policy efficiency of women's movements in Central and Eastern Europe. While variation certainly exists in the extent to which policy change that ultimately took place responds to women's rights concerns, there is undoubted progress in all countries of the region. This volume addresses a series of questions: what are the dynamics that led to movement successes in the region? Which movements and the strategies they adopt are successful in promoting progressive policy change? Why do some movements manage to secure policy change that is women's rights friendly, while others lose control beyond setting the agenda? How do alliances, institutionalization and framing make a difference? And how patterns of achieving policy influence resemble or differ from patterns found in Western post-industrialized states? Are Central and Eastern European domestic violence policy processes any different? The book develops a theoretical framework explaining the links between mobilization and change, followed by the portrayal of in-depth case studies on Bulgaria, Croatia, Poland, and Romania.