Latest Research: Articles, Papers, and Reports


Making democracy with autocrats: East Asia’s past, China’s future?

September 15, 2022

Democracy is not just Western; it is Eastern as well. In a time when democracies globally—including the United States—are endangered, three Asian democracies stand out for their quality and stability: Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan. How did this “Eastern democracy” come to be? And could China ever follow a similar path?

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Tibetans get DNA taken by authorities

Mass DNA Collection in the Tibet Autonomous Region from 2016–2022

September 13, 2022

Analyzing 100 publicly available sources, we find that since June 2016 China’s police have conducted a mass DNA collection program in the Tibet Autonomous Region. Out of the 100 sources we analyzed, 44 contained figures for the number of DNA samples police had collected in particular areas of Tibet. Based on our analysis of these 44 reports, we estimate that between June 2016 and July 2022, police may have collected between roughly 919,282 and 1,206,962 DNA samples, representing between one quarter (25.1%) and one third (32.9%) of Tibet’s total population (3.66 million).

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Students protesting University Mandates

Do Students Want Vaccine Mandates?

September 1, 2022

Governments, universities, and students are confronting challenges associated with a return to in-person classes for the 2021 academic year. Thus far, the debate on a safe return to classes has either focused on government, in relation to ongoing political conversations already occurring, or at the university-level, between university staff, faculty, and administration; surprisingly little attention has been paid to what students prefer when they return to school. An evolving area of policy change at the post-secondary level relates to vaccine mandates.

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Cutting sugar cane in Trinidad, 1836. Lithograph courtesy Wikimedia Commons

Slavery and the British Industrial Revolution

September 1, 2022

Did overseas slave-holding by Britons accelerate the Industrial Revolution? We provide theory and evidence on the contribution of slave wealth to Britain’s growth prior to 1835. We compare areas of Britain with high and low exposure to the colonial plantation economy, using granular data on wealth from compensation records. Before the major expansion of slave holding from the 1640s onwards, both types of area exhibited similar levels of economic activity. However, by the 1830s, slavery wealth is strongly correlated with economic development – slave-holding areas are less agricultural, closer to cotton mills, and have higher property wealth. We rationalize these ndings using a dynamic spatial model, where slavery investment raises the return to capital accumulation, expanding production in capital-intensive sectors. To establish causality, we use arguably exogenous variation in slave mortality on the passage from Africa to the Indies, driven by weather shocks. We show that weather shocks ininfluenced the continued involvement of ancestors in the slave trade; weather-induced slave mortality of slave-trading ancestors in each area is strongly predictive of slaveholding in 1833. Quantifying our model using the observed data, we found that Britain would have been substantially poorer and more agricultural in the absence of overseas slave wealth. Overall, our findings are consistent with the view that slavery wealth accelerated Britain’s industrial revolution.

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Urgent Relief for Just Action in India

Addressing Violence Against Women in Madhya Pradesh, India: The Urgent Action and Just Relief Program

August 31, 2022

Studying the impact of Urgent Action and Just Relief (URJA) on improving women’s security in Madhya Pradesh, India. Studies show that police mistreatment in marginalized and resource poor communities – particularly in the gender violence context, where female victims are...

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Assessing the effectiveness of dual-use goods sanctions against Russia

August 22, 2022

The globally coordinated push to economically ostracize the Russian Federation in response to
their illegal invasion of Ukraine has been swift and expansive. The EU, US, Australia, Japan, the
UK, Canada and New Zeal and have imposed financial, commercial, and personal sanctions in
varying capacities. Together, around 30 nations, representing about 50% of Russian imports and
23% of Russian exports have enacted sanctions.1 The purpose of these sanctions has primarily
been to punish Russia for their unjust and unlawful behaviour and disincentivize them from
further pursuing conflict.

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Image of industrialized cities, with smoke stacks

A critical analysis of international organizations’ and global management consulting firms’ consensus around twenty-first century skills

July 27, 2022

A growing number of academic studies and policy reports have identified a set of core skills considered crucial in the twenty-first century economy. This article critically examines the evidence base underpinning that ideational consensus among international organizations (IOs) and global management consulting firms (GMCFs). We collected 234 skills reports produced over the past decade by major IOs (European Commission, ILO, OECD, UNESCO, and World Bank) and GMCFs (BCG, Deloitte, Ernest and Young, KPMG, McKinsey, and PWC). We then extracted bibliographic references from each report and used the analytic technique of citation analysis to examine how the consensus around these core skills was generated in order to uncover the authoritative sources of knowledge and the pattern of ideational policy diffusion observed. Our analysis reveals substantial gaps in the evidence base used. Evidence drew largely on a few academic economists, along with strong use of grey literature, and high rates of self-citation. Given these characteristics, the consensus around twenty-first century skills appears less epistemic in nature and more like an ideational echo chamber, which raises concerns about the extent to which policymakers should rely on this evidence.

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A critical analysis of international organizations’ and global management consulting firms’ consensus around twenty-first century skills

July 26, 2022

A growing number of academic studies and policy reports have identified a set of core skills considered crucial in the twenty-first-century economy. Co-authored by Linda White, this article critically examines the evidence base underpinning that ideational consensus among international organizations...

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Instruments of Evasion: The Global Dispersion of Rights-Restricting Migration Policies

July 15, 2022

From the Ukrainian refugee crisis to the UK-Rwanda migrant deal, Professor of Law & Global Affairs, Ayelet Shachar shows how and why rich nations facing a trilemma in the immigration context learn from, and in certain cases, exceed, the policies...

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ON360 Transition Briefings 2022 – Homeward Bound: A Reshoring Strategy for Ontario

Ontario 360 Transition Brief by Drew Fagan and Sean Speer: Homeward Bound: A Reshoring Strategy for Ontario

July 12, 2022

The supply chain disruptions precipitated by the COVID-19 pandemic have led to renewed calls for industrial reshoring across advanced economies, and the Ontario government is no exception. What policies could the Ontario government deploy to strengthen capacities? And should the government’s goal be to reshore, or pursue more resilient supply chains?

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