New and exciting research from scholars in the Tobin Project network.
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Government & Markets

An Unlikely Alliance: How Experts and Industry Transformed Consumer Credit Policy in the Early Twentieth Century United States

In this paper, Elisabeth Anderson, Bruce Carruthers, and Timothy Guinnane examine how the Russell Sage Foundation successfully campaigned for widespread changes to small-loan policy in order to fight predatory lending in the early 20th century. They find that one key to the foundation’s success was its close cooperation with the small-lenders trade association, which was willing to subordinate itself to RSF in order to keep RSF, with its carefully built reputation for disinterested expertise, as an ally. This dynamic is very different, the authors note, from the popular narrative in which experts are coopted by powerful industry groups and promote the interests of narrow groups over that of the public.
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Substituted Compliance: The Emergence, Challenges, and Evolution of a New Regulatory Paradigm

Just before the financial crisis, Howell Jackson writes, the SEC considered implementing a regime of “substituted compliance,” which would have allowed certain foreign securities firms operating in the U.S. to substitute their home country’s regulatory regime for American regulation. In this paper, Jackson considers the many ways in which the SEC could have evaluated foreign regulatory regimes, such as the size of regulatory agencies and the frequency of enforcement actions, as well as the challenges that the SEC would face in doing so, such as the difficulty of knowing how effective foreign regulators are or comparing different styles of regulation. He then discusses other challenges to substituted compliance, such as the possibility of firms taking advantage of the rules by moving to eligible offshore jurisdictions. He concludes by considering the links between this “first generation” of substituted compliance and the “second generation” now being put into place in connection with the extraterritorial components of Dodd-Frank.
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The Political Economy of Public Reform Adoption: Patterns in Twenty Indonesian Districts

In this paper, Anna Wetterberg and Derick Brinkerhoff investigate the uptake of New Public Management (NPM) reforms - which apply various market and private-sector principles to public service delivery - at the district level in Indonesia. They write that while NPM reforms are often seen as primarily technical, with relatively little influence from political or institutional factors, such factors actually have a significant impact on which NPM reforms are taken up and implemented. They find that democratic political competition, state-led policy entrepreneurship, public sector modernization, and opportunities for citizen participation all affect which reforms get taken up. They write that policy entrepreneurs within the state appeared to have the largest impact, while ordinary citizens often had little impact on budgeting or policy choices. Ultimately, the authors argue that reformers must work within the environment defined by these “political economy” variables when implementing reforms instead of seeing them as mere obstructions to a predetermined plan.
[Read the paper]

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Tobin Project News

Sustainable Security: Rethinking American National Security Strategy Now Available for Download

The research from the Tobin Project’s newest National Security volume, Sustainable Security: Rethinking American National Security Strategy, is now available online. The volume is edited by Jeremi Suri and Ben Valentino and is forthcoming from Oxford University Press; until the book is published, all of the chapters from it will be available for free download on our website, so that scholars can easily make use of it for teaching or research.
[Download the research and learn more about the book]

Tobin Project Update Published

The 2015 Tobin Project Update is now available at our website. It covers last year’s developments across Tobin’s research areas, featuring the newest projects in the Inequality and Decision Making initiative, research from the forthcoming volume Sustainable Security, and the many ways in which scholars are helping advance the mission of the Tobin Project at their home institutions.
[Read the Update]

Inequality and Decision Making Conference Participants Selected

On August 4-5, 2016, scholars will gather at a Tobin Project conference at the Méridien Hotel in Cambridge, MA, to present innovative early-stage research exploring the effects of economic inequality on individual behavior and decision making. The Conference Advisory Board and Tobin staff recently completed a comprehensive review of the submitted proposals and have selected the projects that will be presented at the conference. We look forward to supporting this new research and providing a forum for scholars to learn from each other.
[More about the conference]

 Institutions of Democracy

Why did the Democrats Lose the South? Bringing New Data to an Old Debate

Why did so many Southern whites leave the Democratic Party starting in the 1950s? Was it Democratic support for civil rights reforms, Southern economic development, rising political polarization, or other trends? In this paper, Ilyana Kuziemko and Ebonya Washington use data from Gallup polls dating back to 1958 to show that Democrats’ support for civil rights initiatives, starting in the 60s, accounts for nearly all of the loss of white Southern Democratic support, and further analysis using other sources suggests that racial views played a major role in this phenomenon dating back to the 1940s.
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  Economic Inequality

Job Loss by Wage Level: Lessons from the Great Recession in Ireland

Do high- or low-income workers fare better during economic booms and busts? Using recent data from Ireland, Brian Nolan and Sarah Voitchovsky find that higher-earning workers were more likely to keep their jobs than low-earning workers during periods of both growth and contraction, but that the effect was much larger during the Great Recession than during the years of good economic performance preceding it. This relationship, they show, remains significant even after controlling for a wide range of individual variables, including gender, age, education, and occupation.
[Read the paper]

  National Security

Nonproliferation Policy and Nuclear Posture: Causes and Consequences for the Spread of Nuclear Weapons

This volume, edited by Neil Narang, Erik Gartzke, and Matthew Kroenig, asks: what is the impact of nuclear policy and posture on nuclear proliferation? They point out that, despite the central importance of this question for nonproliferation policy, past research has not produced any clear answers. The volume’s contributors, including Tobin Project network members Nicholas Miller, Mark Bell, and Vipin Narang, bring new quantitative data and methods to bear on this question, uncovering insights on the effects of nuclear policy and posture on: “horizontal” proliferation, in which new states acquire nuclear weapons; “vertical” proliferation, in which states increase the size and power of their nuclear arsenals; and security outcomes, such as deterrence of conflicts.
[More about the book]
[Read the introduction]

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