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By focusing on NAFTA as an intervening variable in the Mexican transition to democracy, this paper explores the interplay and the sequencing of economic liberalization and political opening that occurred in Mexico between 1988 and 2000. More precisely, its goal is to evaluate whether neo-liberalism in Mexico has steered a process of democratic transition or, conversely, if the consolidated features of the political system have remained practically unchanged despite the speed of the impressive market reforms that Mexico has experienced. As the analysis will highlight, the Salinas administration (1988-1994) adapted the ruling coalition and state-society relations to the imperatives of neo-liberalism, thus making the free-trade agreement politically viable. The result was political paralysis rather than a positive political opening. By contrast, economic liberalism under Zedillo (1994-2000) triggered an ongoing process of political liberalization, mainly by reducing the power of the presidency and by partially removing the past authoritarian legacies of Mexico. However, this paper argues that Mexico still falls short of a full-fledged democracy. The path toward democratization, although well on its way, remains uncertain and complex given the current reality of the country.

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Considering the increasing involvement of private, for-profit companies in humanitarian aid activities, this essay looks at the incentive structures and moral hazards of the industry. Its goal is to identify conditions under which profit-driven actors could increase the efficiency of aid delivery without compromising its humanitarian aims. The essay argues that when faced with informational asymmetries and the “temptation to cheat,” donors, for-profits and nonprofits compromise efficiency to differing degrees and in different ways. By spelling out these organizations’ respective predispositions, and their effects on performance, this essay answers when and why we should prefer for-profit to nonprofit organizations in the humanitarian aid industry.

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Seemingly cursed by the legacy of the caudillo, government under a strong executive has come to characterize the structure of the modern Argentine state. Since the administration of Carlos Menem in the 1990s, questions have arisen as to the progress Argentina has made with regard to the consolidation of its democracy. However, while Menem set a precedent for directly challenging democratic institutions during his presidency, has history justified his unilateral decision-making as the only means of overcoming the barriers that obstructed Argentina’s political and economic development?

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While it is quite common in the West to provide monetary assistance to people in emergency situations, the practice is highly underutilized in developing countries. Under certain conditions, giving cash is one of the most cost-efficient methods of delivering assistance to a high number of people in a short amount of time while engendering future economic growth. This paper counters the arguments of skeptics and calls on key figures in the industry to reflect upon the paternalism and inefficiency that they may continue to foster through their institutions.

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Even with foreign military surveillance, Afghanistan's democratization may become no more than a paper tiger and Iraq's a solid clay pigeon for ethnic groups to shoot at. So suggests a post-war comparative study of (a) the democratization mandates, (b) structures and procedures envisioned, and (c) the implementation record. Depending on how welcome foreign troops are in other ethnically divided societies today, they too may find their fate between the paper and pigeon roles.

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