Columbia's School of International and Public Affairs comprises more than 70 full-time faculty and more than 200 adjunct faculty, scholars, and practitioners. All have distinguished themselves in research and leadership in the policy world, and have produced scholarship in a wide variety of subjects, including international relations, democratization, elections, demography, and social policy.

September 2007|Economic Journal|Bentley MacLeod, with V. Nakavarchara

Legal Default Rules: The Case of Wrongful Discharge Law

June 2007|Jounral of Wildlife Disease Association|Robert Cook, W.B. Karesh, M. Gilbert, J. Newcomb

Implications of Wildlife Trade on the Movement of Avian Influenza and other Infectious Diseases

November 2006|Journal of Public Economics|David K. Levine, César Martinelli

We model electoral competition between two parties in a winner-take-all election. Parties choose strategically first their platforms and then their campaign spending under aggregate uncertainty about voters' preferences. We use the model to examine why campaign spending in the United States has increased at the same time that politics has become more polarized. We find that a popular explanation -- more accurate targeting of campaign spending -- is not consistent. While accurate targeting may lead to greater spending, it also leads to less polarization. We argue that a better explanation is that voters preferences have become more volatile from the point of view of parties at the moment of choosing policy positions. This both raises campaign spending and increases polarization. It is also consistent with the observation that voters have become less committed to the two parties.

November 2006|Cambridge University Press |John Coatsworth, Victor Bulmer-Thomas, Roberto Cortes-Conde
Volume Two treats the "long twentieth century" from the onset of modern economic growth to the present. After analyzing the principal dimensions of Latin America's first era of sustained economic growth up to 1930, it explores the era of inward-looking development from the 1930s to the collapse of import-substituting industrialization and the return to strategies of globalization in the 1980s. Finally, it looks at the long term trends in capital flows, agriculture and the environment.
November 2006|Theoretical Economics|Cesar Martinelli

We present a model of participation in large elections in which the formation of voter groups is endogenous. Partisan citizens decide whether to become leaders (activists) and try to persuade impressionable citizens to vote for the leaders' preferred party. In the (unique) pure strategy equilibrium, the number of leaders favoring each party depends on the cost of activism and the importance of the election. In turn, the expected turnout and the winning margin in an election depend on the number of leaders and the strength of social interactions. The model predicts a nonmonotonic relationship between the expected turnout and the winning margin in large elections.

November 2006|Princeton University Press|Michael Doyle, Nicholas Sambanis

Making War and Building Peace examines how well United Nations peacekeeping missions work after civil war. Statistically analyzing all civil wars since 1945, the book compares peace processes that had UN involvement to those that didn't. Michael Doyle and Nicholas Sambanis argue that each mission must be designed to fit the conflict, with the right authority and adequate resources. UN missions can be effective by supporting new actors committed to the peace, building governing institutions, and monitoring and policing implementation of peace settlements. But the UN is not good at intervening in ongoing wars. If the conflict is controlled by spoilers or if the parties are not ready to make peace, the UN cannot play an effective enforcement role. It can, however, offer its technical expertise in multidimensional peacekeeping operations that follow enforcement missions undertaken by states or regional organizations such as NATO. Finding that UN missions are most effective in the first few years after the end of war, and that economic development is the best way to decrease the risk of new fighting in the long run, the authors also argue that the UN's role in launching development projects after civil war should be expanded.

November 2006|Russell Sage Foundation |Rodolfo de la Garza, Sharyn O'Halloran, David L. Epstein, Richard H. Pildes

The Voting Rights Act (VRA) stands among the great achievements of American democracy. Originally adopted in 1965, the Act extended full political citizenship to African-American voters in the United States nearly 100 years after the Fifteenth Amendment first gave them the vote. While Section 2 of the VRA is a nationwide, permanent ban on discriminatory election practices, Section 5 targets only certain parts of the country, requiring that legislative bodies in these areas--mostly southern states with a history of discriminatory practices--get permission from the federal government before they can implement any change that affects voting. In The Future of the Voting Rights Act, David Epstein, Richard Pildes, Rodolfo de la Garza, and Sharyn O'Halloran bring together leading historians, political scientists, and legal scholars to assess the role Section 5 should play in America's future.

The contributors offer varied perspectives on the debate. Samuel Issacharoff questions whether Section 5 remains necessary, citing the now substantial presence of blacks in legislative positions and the increasingly partisan enforcement of the law by the Department of Justice (DOJ). While David Epstein and Sharyn O'Halloran are concerned about political misuse of Section 5, they argue that it can only improve minority voting power and never worsen it--even with a partisan DOJ--and therefore continues to serve a valuable purpose. Other contributors argue that the achievements of Section 5 with respect to blacks should not obscure shortcomings in the protection of other groups. Laughlin McDonald argues that widespread and systematic voting discrimination against Native Americans requires that Section 5 protections be expanded to more counties in the west. Rodolfo de la Garza and Louis DeSipio point out that the growth of the Latino population in previously homogenous areas and the continued under-representation of Latinos in government call for an expanded Section 5 that accounts for changing demographics.

As its expiration date approaches, it is vital to examine the role that Section 5 still plays in maintaining a healthy democracy. Combining historical perspective, legal scholarship, and the insight of the social sciences, The Future of the Voting Rights Act is a crucial read for anyone interested in one of this year's most important policy debates and in the future of civil rights in America.

November 2006|Columbia University Press|Steven Cohen

In Understanding Environmental Policy, Steven Cohen introduces an innovative, multidimensional framework for developing effective environmental policy within the United States and around the world. He demonstrates his approach through an analysis of four case studies representing current local, national, and international environmental challenges: New York City's garbage crisis; the problem of leaks from underground storage units; toxic waste contamination and the Superfund program; and global climate change. He analyzes the political, scientific, technological, organizational, and moral import of these environmental issues and the nature of the policy surrounding them. He also places a specific focus on the response from the George W. Bush administration. Cohen considers how our current environmental policy and problems reflect the value we place on our ecosystems; whether science and technology can solve the environmental problems they create; and what policy is necessary to reduce environmentally damaging behaviors. Cohen's multifaceted approach is essential reading for analysts, managers, activists, students, and scholars of environmental policy.

October 2006|Charles Calomiris

China's Financial Transition at a Crossroads

October 2006|Du Bois Review: Social Science Research on Race|Dorian Warren, Paul Frymer , Dara Z. Strolovitch

Although political science provides many useful tools for analyzing the effects of natural and social catastrophes such as Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath, the scenes of devastation and inequality in New Orleans suggest an urgent need to adjust our lenses and reorient our research in ways that will help us to uncover and unpack the roots of this national travesty. Treated merely as exceptions to the “normal” functioning of society, dramatic events such as Katrina ought instead to serve as crucial reminders to scholars and the public that the quest for racial equality is only a work in progress. New Orleans, we argue, was not exceptional; it was the product of broader and very typical elements of American democracy—its ideology, attitudes, and institutions. At the dawn of the century after “the century of the color-line,” the hurricane and its aftermath highlight salient features of inequality in the United States that demand broader inquiry and that should be incorporated into the analytic frameworks through which American politics is commonly studied and understood. To this end, we suggest several ways in which the study of racial and other forms of inequality might inform the study of U.S. politics writ large, as well as offer a few ideas about ways in which the study of race might be re-politicized. To bring race back into the study of politics, we argue for greater attention to the ways that race intersects with other forms of inequality, greater attention to political institutions as they embody and reproduce these inequalities, and a return to the study of power, particularly its role in the maintenance of ascriptive hierarchies.