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Strategic Reassurance in Institutional Contests: Explaining China's Creation of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank(Taylor and Francis, 2018-07-05) Chen, Zheng ; Liu, YanchuanThe Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) has been widely conceived as a Chinese effort to promote reforms of global financial governance. While the existing literature of contested multilateralism tends to focus on the problem of threat credibility, this article highlights the necessity of strategic reassurance in institutional contests. To facilitate incremental reforms of the existing order, rising powers like China need not only to pose credible challenge towards established institutions, but also to demonstrate their benign intentions and commitment to future cooperation. Besides revealing strength and resolve, the creation of a new multilateral regime helps rising powers to signal their self-restraints and reassure other powers. Consequently, the institutional configuration of new multilateral organizations involves a trade-off between the dual needs for threats and reassurance. Chinese behaviors in creating the AIIB can be explained through this framework.
Publication(Taylor and Francis, 2017-02-07) Cuesta, José ; Madrigal, Lucia ; Skoufias, EmmanuelThis analysis explores the determinants behind the unequal access to justice services among poor Indonesians. The study analyzes the stock of observed past disputes by socioeconomic group and the demand for conflict resolution services for unresolved conflicts or “trajectories.” It also models the hypothetical demand of justice services for future disputes. Results suggest that unequal access to justice might go beyond the financial costs of seeking justice and also depends on individual preferences and community infrastructure. These findings warn against focusing exclusively on formal justice costs to improve the equal access of the poor to conflict resolution services.
Publication(Elsevier, 2017-02) Cull, Robert ; Xu, Lixin Colin ; Yang, Xi ; Zhou, Li-An ; Zhu, TianWe use data from a large survey of Chinese firms to investigate whether local government efforts to facilitate market development improve firm efficiency. Both government provision of information about products, markets, and innovation and government assistance in arranging loans are positively associated with firm efficiency, and those private firms with weak access to and knowledge of financial, input, and product markets benefit most from such assistance. These patterns are robust across multiple estimation approaches. Our examination of the determinants of local government facilitation also suggests that it gravitates toward promoting efficiency, though there are also indications that rent-seeking may play a role. Our evidence is consistent with the notion that government facilitation can help some firms overcome market failures in the early stages of a country's private sector development. Though causality is difficult to establish, we argue that changing fiscal dynamics that forced local governments to become increasingly self-reliant in generating revenue, and a government promotion system based on local economic performance, were key motivating factors for market facilitation by local government officials.
Publication(Elsevier, 2016-10-18) Pierskalla, Jan H. ; Sacks, AudreyWe study the effect of decentralization on routine violence in Indonesia. We unpack decentralization along multiple dimensions and consider the individual effects of local elections, the creation of new administrative units, fiscal transfers, and local public service delivery. We use comprehensive data from Indonesia’s National Violence Monitoring System (NVMS), a new dataset that records the incidence and impact of violence in Indonesia. We use these data to examine the relationship between the different dimensions of decentralization and different types of local violence in Indonesian districts during 2001–10. Our analyses suggest that there is a positive association between local service delivery and at least some forms of violence. We argue that the positive effect of service delivery on violence is due to newly generated distributive conflicts among local ethnic groups around the control over and access to services. By comparison, district splitting and the introduction of direct elections of district heads are negatively associated with some forms of violence. There is little evidence that fiscal transfers, in general, mitigate conflict.