Legacy of Control

Kevin Lewis

February 07, 2024

Social organizations and political institutions: Why China and Europe diverged
Joel Mokyr & Guido Tabellini
Economica, forthcoming

This paper discusses the historical and social origins of the bifurcation in the political institutions of China and Western Europe. An important factor, recognized in the literature, is that China centralized state institutions very early on, while Europe remained politically fragmented for much longer. These initial differences, however, were amplified by the different social organizations (clans in China, corporate structures in Europe) that spread in these two societies at the turn of the first millennium AD. State institutions interacted with these organizations, and were shaped and influenced by this interaction. The paper discusses the many ways in which corporate organizations contributed to the emergence of representative institutions and gave prominence to the Rule of Law in the early stages of state formation in Europe, and how specific features of lineage organizations contributed to the consolidation of the Imperial regime in China.

Do Chinese Citizens Conceal Opposition to the CCP in Surveys? Evidence from Two Experiments
Erin Baggott Carter, Brett Carter & Stephen Schick
China Quarterly, forthcoming

Most public opinion research in China uses direct questions to measure support for the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and government policies. These direct question surveys routinely find that over 90 per cent of Chinese citizens support the government. From this, scholars conclude that the CCP enjoys genuine legitimacy. In this paper, we present results from two survey experiments in contemporary China that make clear that citizens conceal their opposition to the CCP for fear of repression. When respondents are asked directly, we find, like other scholars, approval ratings for the CCP that exceed 90 per cent. When respondents are asked in the form of list experiments, which confer a greater sense of anonymity, CCP support hovers between 50 per cent and 70 per cent. This represents an upper bound, however, since list experiments may not fully mitigate incentives for preference falsification. The list experiments also suggest that fear of government repression discourages some 40 per cent of Chinese citizens from participating in anti-regime protests. Most broadly, this paper suggests that scholars should stop using direct question surveys to measure political opinions in China.

Activated History: The Case of the Turkish Sieges of Vienna
Christian Ochsner & Felix Roesel
American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, forthcoming

We show that history stored in collective memories and activated by political campaigns can create xenophobia and radicalization. Turkish troops besieged Vienna in 1529 and 1683 and pillaged individual Austrian villages, killing and kidnapping in the process. Attacked places remember those events well but never expressed aversion to Muslims until far-right populists started to campaign against Turks and Muslims in the mid-2000s. We find that anti-Muslim sentiments and far-right voting surge in previously attacked places after the populist campaigns were launched, and Turkish communities decrease in response. Historical narratives in political campaigns can mobilize both beliefs and actions.

Political systems, regime memory, and economic freedom
Peter Calcagno et al.
Contemporary Economic Policy, forthcoming

We expand on the economic research about regime types, culture, institutions, and economic freedom, with the development of a unique measure of regime memory and examine the generational effect of past regimes on a country's level of economic freedom. Using a panel of 144 countries between 1970 and 2015 we follow the literature and argue that institutions can be fast and slow-moving. We find evidence that regime memory promotes improvements in (discourages) economic freedom for countries that are historically democratic (autocratic).

The Political Legacy of Nazi Annexation
Mario Cannella, Alexey Makarin & Ricardo Pique
Economic Journal, forthcoming

We explore the legacy of foreign state repression by using the case of the de-facto annexed Nazi OZ in Italy and a spatial regression discontinuity design. We show that the OZ experienced harsher political persecution and violence. Post war, these exhibited greater support for radical opposition at the expense of the moderate ruling party. Consistent with a mechanism of greater distrust in the government, formerly annexed areas are more likely to vote against laws suppressing dissent and report lower political trust. These results suggest that repressive annexation, even if temporary, has enduring political and social consequences.

Blessing or curse? Assessing the local impacts of foreign direct investment on conflict in Africa
Samuel Brazys, Indra de Soysa & Krishna Chaitanya Vadlamannati
Journal of Peace Research, forthcoming

The question of foreign direct investment (FDI) and socio-political development is debated heavily. Liberals believe that FDI brings economic opportunities and/or increased incentives for peace and security among host societies. Critics suggest that FDI is exploitative, leading to conditions that increase the risk of violence. We take a political economy perspective that views FDI as problematic depending on how FDI affects politically powerful local interests. As such, all forms of FDI should meet domestic opposition, but only FDI in the extractive sector, where domestic political actors have little at stake, escalates to major war. Building on recent work which examines this question pertaining to extractive sector FDI, we introduce sub-national, geo-referenced data on FDI in all sectors for evaluating local conflict using combined data from four distinct geo-referenced conflict databases. Using site-period fixed effects with a difference-in-difference like approach, we find that FDI in all sectors increases local conflict. Conflicts induced by most FDI sectors fall short of becoming civil war, except for extractive sector FDI.

Cosmologies of conquest: The Renaissance foundations of modern international thought
Jens Bartelson
Review of International Studies, forthcoming

This paper seeks to reconstruct the worldview informing Iberian overseas expansion during the long sixteenth century, arguing that this worldview was more indebted to Renaissance cosmology than to a recognisably modern scientific worldview. The paper describes how this cosmology provided the intellectual resources necessary to justify overseas expansion to those who doubted its viability and legitimacy, and how the same cosmological beliefs were invoked to make sense of the New World and the people found there, if only to facilitate and justify the subjection of the latter to European rule. This story constitutes an important yet often neglected part of the prehistory of modern international thought insofar as it exposes its Iberian origins and Renaissance foundations and the role played by pre-modern ideas in the making of a modern international system.

Bots Versus Humans: Discursive Activism During the Pandemic in the Iranian Twittersphere
Hossein Kermani et al.
Social Media + Society, December 2023

This article explores how the pandemic in Iran was discursively framed by automated accounts and human users. While there is a growing body of literature on bot activism, little is known about how bots and humans framed the pandemic in authoritarian regimes. Drawing on networked framing theory, we use both computational and qualitative methods to fill this gap. Our empirical analysis centers on a data set of 4,165,177 tweets collected between 27 January 2020 and 18 April 2020. We found that while anti-regime human users strongly criticized Iran’s regime, pro-regime bots countered with messages emphasizing the sacrifices of medical staff, the strength of Iran, and the failings of Western governments in managing the crisis. Our results suggest that Persian Twitter human users were largely against the regime, while the regime employed bots extensively to maintain balance. Human users used sarcasm, while pro-regime bots invoked religious and revolutionary sentiments metaphorically to defend the regime. By focusing on a relatively unexplored context, this article adds to the growing literature on bot activism.

The dictator’s legionnaires: Foreign recruitment, coups, and uprisings
Marius Mehrl & Abel Escribà-Folch
Democratization, forthcoming

Several countries recruit foreign nationals into their armed forces. This is despite the norm of citizen armies and the strong idea that individuals join the military to defend their home country while military service socializes them into good citizens. We argue that foreign recruits can have very specific benefits for some authoritarian governments. Because they lack strong links to society, their loyalties lie with whoever recruited and pays them, not the nation, country, or its citizens. As such, we argue, first, that their recruitment is especially attractive for personalistic rulers. Second, we propose that foreigners’ presence in the armed forces stymies these forces’ ability to carry out coup attempts and deters the occurrence of mass uprisings by signalling the security forces’ willingness to respond with violent repression. Empirical tests for the period 1946–2010 support these arguments. This research expands our understanding of legionnaire recruitment, civil–military relations, and comparative authoritarianism.


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