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FSI scholars offer expert commentary and convene thought leadership events on contemporary global issues.

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Wondering what's really going on in North Korea or Russia? Or how climate change or the health-care debate could affect your life? On FSI's Medium blog, faculty give context for the latest global issues and help us understand what's likely to happen next. Looking ahead, Stanford students tell us about their research and internships and give a glimpse of tomorrow's global policy landscape.

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Swinnen commentary on "How can trade improve food security in sub-Saharan Africa?"

Commentary / July 11, 2013

Johan Swinnen, Visiting Professor at Stanford's Center on Food Security and the Enviroment, comments on Kym Anderson's Global Food Policy and Food Security Symposium paper on "How can trade improve food security in sub-Saharan Africa?".

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Cross-Cutting Cleavages and Ethnic Voting: Results from an Experiment in Mali

Commentary / July 11, 2013

Social scientists often attribute the absence or moderation of ethnic conflict, in ethnically diverse societies, to the presence of cross-cutting cleavages - that is, to dimensions of identity or interest along which members of the same ethnic group may have diverse allegiances. Yet estimating the casual effects of cross-cutting cleavages is difficult.

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Expert Information, Public Deliberation and Electoral Support for Good Governance; Experimental Evidence from Benin

Commentary / July 11, 2013

This paper provides experimental evidence on the effect of "informed" public deliberation on electoral support for programmatic, non-clientelist platforms. The experiment takes place in Benin and involves real candidates running in the first round of the 2006 presidential elections. The treatment is a campaign strategy based exclusively on town meetings during which policy proposals made by candidates are "specific" and informed by empirical research. The control is the "standard" strategy based on campaign rallies and targeted or clientelist electoral promises.

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A Theory of Fairness in Trade

Commentary / July 11, 2013

A theory of fairness in international trade should answer at least three questions.  What, at the basic level, are we to assess as fair or unfair in the trade context?  What sort of fairness issue does this basic subject of assessment raise?  And, What moral principles must be fulfilled if trade is to be fair in the relevant sense?  In this paper, I will offer answers to these three questions which derive from a broadly Rawlsian "constructivist" methodology.

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Globalization's Losers Responding? Foreign Direct Investment and Voting in Israel's Development Towns

Commentary / July 11, 2013

When do people perceive themselves to be losing out from international economic integration?  Do these perceptions translate into vote change? Existing literature studies gain and loss from economic integration as a function of its objective material effect and political preferences that follow are assumed to reflect concerns about a broader set of social outcomes that they associate with economic openess, particularly reentment about relative deprivation.

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CISAC and Stanford students work with UN to rethink refugee communities

News / July 11, 2013
In a trip facilitated by the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees and the International Rescue Committee, a group of Stanford students recently visited UNHCR refugee camps and surrounding communities in Ethiopia. The students came away with a better understanding of the complex issues facing refugees as well as new ideas for possible solutions.
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In Sierra Leone, Stanford researchers empower rural poor

News / July 11, 2013
A team of Stanford researchers traveled to Sierra Leone this spring as part of a new course called Rebooting Government taught by FSI Senior Fellow Jeremy Weinstein. The group was tasked with designing new approaches to empower rural communities against the powerful interests of foreign mining and agricultural companies.
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Women’s equality in China focus of research by CISAC honors student

News / July 11, 2013
CISAC 2013 Honors Student Flora Wang heads to China on a Fulbright scholarship to study gender equality and reforms to China's outdated Marriage Law. She will be mentored by the dean of the law school in the fabled central city of Xi'an.
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Poorly Governed Resource-Dependent States: Policy Options for the New Administration

Commentary / July 10, 2013

Many resource dependent states have to varying degrees, failed to provide for the welfare of their own populations, could threaten global energy markets, and could pose security risks for the United States and other countries.  Many are in Africa, but also Central Asia (Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan), Southeast Asia (Cambodia, Burma, East Timor), and South America (Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador) Some have only recently become – or are about to become – significant resource exporters.  Many have histories of conflict and poor governance.  The recent boom and decline in commodity prices –

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Justifying Universal Human Rights

Commentary / July 10, 2013

In this article Ackerly sets out a method of justification for a universal theory of human rights that is able to identify human rights and responsibilities in patterns of human rights violations that are experienced by individuals and by classes or catagories of people. She concludes with an outline of the responsibilities for human rights that would correspond to this view. The theory justifies a view of responsibilities and duty- bearers that is enlarged beyond those anticipated by an entitlement-based theory of human rights.

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Republicanism, Liberalism, and Empire in Post-revolutionary France

Commentary / July 10, 2013

The republican tradition continues to frame French debates on empire, as it has done since the Revolution. French republicanism and Anglophone liberalism have shared numerous features in relation to empire: both are egalitarian traditions of moral universalism, and both uphold an ideal of political emancipation that has tended to entail assimilation to a European political model.

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Open Borders and the Claims of Community

Commentary / July 10, 2013

In this paper (which is a chapter from a book manuscript on the ethics of immigration), Carens explore the principled challenges to open borders that grow out of concerns for community. He begins with the claim that our moral commitments to freedom and equality apply only within the boundaries of the state. Next I consider the relationship between sovereignty and immigration. Carens then turn to the threats that some say free movement would pose to national security, to democratic values, and to public order.

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An Equilibrium Model of the African HIV/AIDS Epidemic

Commentary / July 10, 2013

An equilibrium search model of the Malawian HIV/AIDS epidemic is presented. Individuals engage in di¤erent types of sexual activity, which vary in their riskiness. When choosing a sexual activity, such as short-term sex without a condom, a person rationally considers its risk. A simulated version of the model is parameterized to match some salient facts about the Malawian epidemic.

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