Volume 9 (2012)

Information Control and Human Rights: Transforming Government Archives into Tools for Civil Society

Jesse Franzblau

Government archives hold important clues to human rights violations carried out in secret by dictatorship regimes. Internal state papers also provide insight into the methods that repressive security forces use to violate citizens’ rights with impunity. Archival discoveries in places such as Egypt and Tunisia expose the depth of internal repression sustained by security and intelligence apparatuses, and contain critical information for pro-democracy activists pushing for political reform. Latin American civil society actors have years of experience working with similar archives of atrocity. This article provides a case study of truth and justice projects in Guatemala, and examines the role that archives play in these processes. Papers discovered in Guatemala’s Historic Archive of the National Police (AHPN) are providing key pieces of evidence for prosecutions of state agents for past political crimes, and continue to expose the core institutions of a police state. The AHPN project is using technology and advanced archival science techniques to harness the archives into tools for civil society to propel forward human rights cases. The cases demonstrate how archives of repressive regimes can be used to prosecute deposed political leaders for acts of torture, assassinations and forced disappearances. The exposure of repressive government secrets through archival excavations contributes to such legal processes that effect the consolidation of democratic systems. In countries like Tunisia & Egypt, pro-democracy activists are learning that it is easier to remove a dictator than to remove dictatorship. Using Guatemala as a case study, this article examines the policy implications of archival discoveries, and explores how archives can serve as important tools to expose and disband the inner-workings of repressive institutions.

Aid, Growth, and Non-Military Expenditures: Applying a Two-Way Fixed Effects Model with Robust Clustered Errors

Keenan Pontoni & Elliot Robson

Current research on the effect of foreign aid on economic growth yields mixed results. Several papers and meta studies conclude that aid has a significant positive growth effect, while others conclude that aid has a non-significant or zero growth effect. More recent research has focused on testing interaction terms that show the conditional positive effect of aid. To test these results, we apply a dynamic two-way fixed effects model with robust clustered errors. First we test the pure effect of aid on growth. Then we test non-military expenditures interacted with aid. We find both the pure and interacted effects to be positive, but neither the pure effect of aid on growth nor the interaction term is significant.

Structure of the Economy, Financial and Debt Positions, and State Credit Ratings: Evidence from Michigan and the Great Lakes Region

Tatyana Guzman & Temirlan Moldogaziev

We examine the effects of sectoral dynamics in the economy, and financial and debt positions on state credit ratings in Michigan and the Great Lakes region. An in-depth study of Michigan and a subsequent comparison to other states in the region reveals that an overreliance on a single sector and/or a sub-sector has negative effects on state credit ratings. For Michigan, however, we find a positive and significant relationship between auto production and the credit ratings. Poor recent performance of the auto sector has been a major determinant of Michigan’s current low credit rating. State financial and debt positions are also found to have significant effects on credit ratings. Whereas tax and debt burdens demonstrate an inverse relation with credit ratings, a strong tax base has a positive correlation.

The 1996 Telecommunications Act and the Broadband Industry Duopoly

Chisheng Li

Development of the broadband Internet industry currently is regulated by the Telecommunications Act of 1996 with a pro-competition and deregulatory approach. However, the U.S. Supreme Court’s interpretation of this act has led to an anti-competitive ‘cable-phone’ duopoly in the broadband industry. This paper traces the development of the telecommunications industry prior to and after the 1996 Act. It concludes that open access and network unbundling mandates, as well as municipal-owned networks, are crucial to promote robust market competition and broadband innovation.

Grievances, Rights, and Conflict in Balochistan: Institutional Challenges for the Pakistani State

Sameen A. Mohsin Ali & Hassan E. Ansari

Balochistan – Pakistan’s southwestern province – has since integration into the federal structure been caught in recurring cycles of violence and conflict. Discontent, militancy, violent tactics and an increasingly complex network of political interests pose a series of challenges for policymakers in efforts to build peace in the province. Recent trends and the changing political environment in Pakistan, however, present a historical opportunity to address longstanding grievances in the region. Delineating the grievances of the Baloch, this essay outlines systematic, historical, and institutional challenges to conflict resolution in Balochistan. It further details institutional reform imperatives – with particular regard to federal political institutions and human rights – considered essential for the state to regain legitimacy in the province, facilitate representation, and create prerequisites for peace and prosperity in Balochistan.