weak states
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2021 ◽  
Ken Ochieng' Opalo

Why does clientelism persist? What determines how politicians signal responsiveness to voters and exert effort towards fulfilling campaign promises? This article explores how state capacity, legislative institutional strength, and established ideas about what politicians can do structure the political market in legislative elections. The argument herein is that campaign promises must be credible to have any currency. Therefore, programmatic campaign promises are likely to be more credible in countries with strong states and legislatures, while clientelism predominates in weak states whose legislatures cannot compel the executive branch to implement legislators’ campaign promises. Historical experience also matters in shaping shared expectations of what politicians can do and the feasible sets of credible campaign promises. I support these arguments with a historical institutionalist analysis of Kenya’s Harambee Movement and the Constituency Development Fund (CDF), as well as evidence from a nationally representative survey. Findings corroborate the claim that clientelism persists when it is the most credible means of fulfilling campaign promises. This article also shows that rising costs can precipitate legislative reforms away from clientelism – as happened with the creation of Kenya’s CDF in 2003. Overall, this article increases our understanding of the origins and persistence of clientelism in low-income states and potential avenues for reform towards programmatic politics.

2021 ◽  
pp. 1-16
Yong-Soo Eun ◽  
Amitav Acharya ◽  
Chanintira na Thalang

Ryan Martínez MITCHELL

Abstract Despite the Qing Empire's formal inclusion as a member of the Eurocentric community of states by the turn of the 20th century, its lack of full sovereign status was frequently reasserted in practice. This included proceedings where legal norms were unilaterally applied to it as an object of regulation, provoking a pursuit of agency. In particular, the unprecedented foreign occupation and administration of China after the Boxer crisis of 1899–1901 spurred efforts in pedagogy, legal reform, and diplomacy. Several such efforts subsequently overlapped at the Second Hague Conference in 1907. There, Qing diplomats for the first time influenced multilateral negotiations, and discovered a nascent solidarity with other “weak” states in Latin America and Asia. Joint struggle against great power initiatives sparked new conversations about the equality of states, however, major questions about the implications of sovereign status for genuine agency, and the contingent forms of international legal “progress,” remained unresolved.

2021 ◽  
pp. 096701062110274 ◽  
Nicholas R Micinski

In 2012, 2016 and 2018–2019, Pakistan threatened to expel Afghan refugees and in 2015, 2016 and 2019, Kenya threatened to demolish the Dadaab camp and expel Somali refugees. Following the threats, the governments extracted more than $300 million aid, combined. Why did these states succeed in extracting aid despite their relatively weak status and not bordering the target of their blackmail? This article first situates refugee expulsion within the literature on refugee policies, migration diplomacy and refugee rentier states. Second, in two cases – Somalis in Kenya and Afghans in Pakistan – I show how states used the threat of expulsion to construct and leverage the deportability of their refugee communities as a foreign policy tool. States used the legal uncertainty around deportability to channel threats and violence toward refugees, but the primary audience of the threats were not refugees, but the international community. Officials in Kenya and Pakistan used threats paired with six-month or one-year delays as negotiation tactics to extract aid. Surprisingly, states that were generous hosts to refugees become strategically important because of their role in providing regional stability, which turned otherwise weak states into important allies that could threaten expulsion and extract aid from superpowers.

Nicolas Lemay-Hébert

This chapter explores the relationship between discourses of state fragility and peacebuilding and statebuilding interventions. The chapter covers two different (yet compatible) discourses of state fragility and intervention. The first one is grounded in the modern episteme, based on a dichotomy between strong and weak states through state rankings and fragile states listings that legitimize intervention in these weak states. The second one is an emerging discourse on risk and resilience, with more fluid understandings of fragility that go beyond the dichotomy of strong versus weak states, but also opens up new interventionary possibilities for international actors. The chapter takes stock of these discourses, emphasizing commonalities and divergences between them, as well as the repercussions for the peacebuilding and statebuilding practice and academic literature.

Nadiya Kostyuk

Abstract Can cyber deterrence work? Existing scholarly works argue that deterrence by punishment using cyberattacks is ineffective because the difficulty of attributing the origin of cyberattacks makes the threat of future attacks less credible. However, these works have told us relatively little about the deterrence ability of public cyberinstitutions (PCIs), defined as publicly observable proactive efforts aimed at signaling a country’s level of cyber offensive and defensive capability. This research shows that middle powers (that have scarce cyber arsenals) can use PCIs to deter cyber attacks that cause significant damage to their economy and prosperity; however, this deterrent capability is rather limited. Using an incomplete-information model, we demonstrate that PCIs only deter adversaries that are susceptible to the costs created by these institutions. Despite this limited deterrence ability, middle powers tend to over-invest resources in these cyberinstitutions: Weak cyber states tend to over-invest to convince strong cyber adversaries that they are strong, whereas strong cyber states over-invest so that adversaries do not believe that they are weak states pretending to be strong. By doing so, states reduce their overall cybercapacity. We establish the empirical plausibility of these results using election interference campaigns as examples of strategic attacks. Our focus on the strategic use of PCIs as a deterrent represents a departure from existing literature—which has focused only on cyberoperations—and has important policy implications.

Maria Koinova

Chapter 2 is the first theoretical chapter developing the contours of the theory of socio-spatial positionality and how it applies to the four types of diaspora entrepreneurs—Broker, Local, Distant, and Reserved. They operate in transnational social fields, simultaneously embedded in different global contexts. The chapter builds on diaspora-, host-land-, and home-land-centric theories and further integrates three streams of thought that have not been in conversation with one another. First, it reimagines transnational social fields from a socio-spatial positionality perspective, considering earlier work in International Political Sociology. Secondly, it draws on scholarship on fragile and weak states in IR, especially on de facto states, and discusses their place in the international system and the rationales through which they engage diasporas abroad. Third, the chapter consults relational theories in IR, demonstrating that durable interactions among actors in international politics form structures spanning borders. These theories are useful to think about configurations of socio-spatial linkages of the four types of diaspora entrepreneurs, at the core of the typology. The chapter then lays out the socio-spatial positionality approach and its major features—relativity, power, fluidity, and perception—while delving deeper into the individual level of analysis. The four types of diaspora entrepreneurs have different socio-spatial positionalities at the intersection of various global contexts that empower them differently to pursue homeland-oriented goals. The chapter ends with a discussion about structure and agency in diaspora mobilizations.

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