Spring 2001 Colloquia

Colloquia during Spring 2001:

Monday, January 22, 2001

The Transformation of Property Rights in Kenya's Maasailand

Presented by Esther Mwangi, Graduate Student of the School of Public and Environmental Affairs and the Department of Political Science Joint Ph.D. Program and Research Assistant at the Workshop in Political Theory and Policy Analysis, Indiana University, Bloomington.

Abstract: The transformation of land property rights from communal rights based on indigenous or traditional systems, to more formal, legally enforced individual rights continues to characterize much of sub-Saharan Africa. For many African governments, Kenya included, such transformation is expected to increase land productivity as 'modern' methods of land management are applied. It is also expected to control or reduce environmental degradation thought to occur under communal property rights systems. Contrary to expectation, trends towards privatization have in many developing countries been associated with potentially harmful economic and ecological consequences such as economic inequity, landlessness, overgrazing and range deterioration. Yet many, such as the Maasai of Kenya, still choose to individualize land that is held in common. This colloquium presents a research proposal that focuses on questions of land transformation among the Maasai pastoralists of Southwestern Kenya. The research shall explore the process by which property rights to land in Kenya's Maasailand are changing from communally owned parcels to individually-held units. It will also explore the environmental outcomes of transformation in an ecosystem characterized as semi-arid to arid.

Property rights institutions are important as they not only structure incentives for economic behavior within society, but also influence the distribution of power within society. Yet the process by which property rights institutions change, and whether such change represents an appropriate solution to a particular problem has received less attention. Much as the new institutional economists have highlighted the important role that institutional change plays in economic development, they have not paid adequate attention to the dynamics of institutional change. This research is a modest response to this challenge. Drawing from the theory of property rights it focuses on the process by which property rights are transformed, and in particular on the political process that characterizes this transformation. It also considers whether institutional change impacts ecological behavior.
Paper in PDF format

Monday, January 29, 2001

A Memetic Approach to the First Amendment

Presented by Jeffrey E. Stake, Professor at the School of Law, Indiana University, Bloomington.

Abstract: The marketplace of ideas has long been the dominant metaphor for analyzing the free speech clause in the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. This metaphor suggests that ideas are chosen by humans according to which best serve the interests of the people. Indeed, it is often thought that the truth will be a winner in this competitive marketplace. This article argues that ideas are less passive than is contemplated by the marketplace metaphor. Some ideas in some contexts have the power to replicate and some of these replicating ideas may be harmful to the health, and the free speech, of humans. The ideas that are most dangerous are those that discourage people from voicing opposition. Today, many of these potential runaway ideas are protected by the First Amendment. This article suggests that the Supreme Court should narrow the scope of protection and allow states to punish speech that advocates physical harm to holders of opposing ideas.
Paper in PDF format

Monday, February 5, 2001


Presented by James Walker, Professor at the Department of Economics and Co-Associate Director of the Workshop in Political Theory and Policy Analysis, Indiana University, Bloomington. (Co-authors: Martin Sefton, University of Nottingham, and Robert Shupp, Ball State University)

Abstract:We examine how opportunities to reward and sanction other group members affect resource allocations in a voluntary contribution mechanism experiment. Rewards represent a zero sum transfer from participants giving to those receiving rewards. Sanctions represent a net loss, a cost to both the participant giving and the participant receiving the sanction.

In our baseline treatment, without opportunities to reward or sanction, we reproduce the results of other studies: group allocations to the public good are less than fully efficient and decline with repetition. When we allow participants to reward other group members after observing allocation decisions, group allocations temporarily increase before falling to the same level as in the baseline. With opportunities to sanction, group allocations are stable and higher than in the baseline. The highest group allocations are observed in a treatment in which participants can use sanctions as well as rewards.

Initially, earnings exceed those in the baseline when subjects have opportunities to reward, or opportunities to use both rewards and sanctions; earnings are below the baseline when participants have an opportunity to sanction, but not reward. Over the course of multiple decision rounds, however, earnings in the four treatments tend to converge. By the last round, the earnings difference between the four treatments is minimal.
Paper in PDF format

Monday, February 12, 2001

A Research Proposal

Presented by Robert Huckfeldt, Professor at the Department of Political Science, Indiana University, Bloomington, and Paul E. Johnson, Professor at the Department of Government, University of Kansas, Lawrence

This presentation is jointly sponsored by the Workshop in Political Theory and Policy Analysis and the Center for the Study of Participation and Citizenship.

Abstract:In this paper we propose to address a series of questions related to political communication among citizens in democratic societies. What are the circumstances that give rise to political influence within networks of communication among citizens? What are the conditions under which disagreement among people who interact is likely to persist? What are the aggregate and dynamic consequences, both for individual citizens and for the collective experience of democratic politics? While extant theories suggest that political homogeneity will be the inevitable consequence of frequent and sustained political interaction, a series of empirical studies have demonstrated that high levels of political disagreement exist and are sustained over time. The project addresses the complex and emergent forms of social organization that undergird the persistence of disagreement. Rather than viewing disagreement as the consequence of limitations on interdependence or its effects, the project treats the persistence of political heterogeneity as the consequence of highly complex patterns of social interaction.

In keeping with these objectives, the project focuses on individual citizens and the networks of communication through which they interact. The study employs two complementary methodologies. First, the study undertakes a series of empirical and statistical analyses of communication and influence among interdependent individuals who are related to one another through informal networks of discussion. Second, the study constructs and analyzes a series of simulations based on computer models that portray the complex and emergent forms of social organization that arise due to individually interdependent actors. The two analytic strategies are interdependent and complementary because the statistical analyses are aimed at identifying the terms and conditions of individual interdependence, while the computer modeling is aimed at determining the aggregate and dynamic consequences of these terms and conditions. In short, the two methodologies are coupled so that each informs and poses questions to the other.

The empirical and statistical analyses are based on an election study conducted during and after the 1996 presidential election campaign. This study is built on interviews with 2,612 registered voters and 1,740 of their discussion partners. These interviews were conducted over a period of 21 months, between March of 1996 and October of 1997, in the Indianapolis and St. Louis metropolitan areas. Each of the main respondents to the survey provided a range of information on their own opinions, attitudes, preferences, and circumstances. In addition, each of the respondents also provided the first names of not more than five discussants, as well as providing perceptions and information regarding the discussant's characteristics and political preferences. A sample of these discussants was subsequently interviewed using a similar survey instrument, and these discussants were also asked to identify their own discussion networks.

The computer modeling effort is an agent-based approach using the Swarm simulation toolkit. The simulation tools allow us to build a general framework in which a number of conjectures about individuals and the ways in which they interact can be investigated. The design of the model is informed both by empirical findings and existing theory.
Paper in PDF format

Monday, February 19, 2001


Presented by Tobias Klaus, Ph.D. Candidate at the Department of Political Science, Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland, and Visiting Scholar at the Workshop in Political Theory and Policy Analysis, Indiana University, Bloomington. Abstract: In neoclassical economic theory, rational actors are very simple entities: they know everything; they value more better than less; and given a decision situation with certain physical constraints, they are able to calculate the optimal outcome and to behave accordingly (cf. Kiser/Ostrom). Any form of social interaction enters the decision situation as an additional constraint. Relaxing the conditions of the model asks the actors to apply a different calculus. The central consequence of any relaxation of the three basic assumptions mentioned above is that the model loses its determinacy, and therefore allows that multiple alternatives can be rationally derived. While, in the simple neoclassical case, alternatives that are subject to rational decisions only exist on the level of tastes and preferences, the relaxed model introduces a stage of rationally equivalent alternatives, i.e., alternatives that are not comparable within the narrow model. We therefore have to expect that they employ supplementary strategies to arrive at the final decision. The solution Amartya Sen suggests for this decision dilemma is that actors decide, with reference to a particular social context, where one of the alternatives becomes or already is viable. Unfortunately, Sen's suggestion remains rather vague and leaves room for critique. In my paper, I will build on this suggestion and propose an implementation of the concept of a social context using the grammar outlined by Crawford/Ostrom.

Paper in PDF format

Monday, February 26, 2001


Presented by Gerhard Glomm, Professor at the Department of Economics, Indiana University, Bloomington (Co-authors: Doug Harris, Michigan State University, and Te-Fen Lo, University of Chicago).

Abstract: Charter schools represent one part of the larger movement toward parental choice in the U.S. school system. The intention of these programs is to use market mechanisms to improve school efficiency and innovation. However, opponents argue that charter schools may decrease equity. This study provides evidence on these issues using data on Michigan and California. We develop an informal model in which location is determined by horizontal and vertical differentiation in education programs. To estimate this model, we regress the number of charter schools in each school district on the characteristics of students and public schools in those same districts. The results indicate that more charter schools locate where populations are diverse in terms of race, income, and adult education levels. We interpret this as demand for horizontal differentiation, reflecting preferences for both homogeneous student populations and preferences for specific education programs. Vertical differentiation, in contrast, does not appear to play a significant role. Most differences in results across the two states can be attributed to differences in state policies regarding the granting of charters. Specifically, our product differentiation model seems to fit well in Michigan, where various types of organizations can authorize charter schools. The model does not fit well in California, where charters are authorized by public school districts.

Paper in PDF format

Monday, March 5, 2001

A Workshop Study for Sida

Presented by Clark Gibson, Assistant Professor at the Department of Political Science, IU, Bloomington; Elinor Ostrom, Co-Director of the Workshop in Political Theory and Policy Analysis, Co-Director of CIPEC, and Arthur F. Bentley Professor of Government, IU, Bloomington; Sujai Shivakumar, Visiting Scholar at the Workshop in Political Theory and Policy Analysis, IU, Bloomington.

Abstract:Recent studies indicate that no matter how well-intentioned donor assistance is, or how many resources are transferred, development will only occur if political and economic institutions generate incentives that facilitate individuals' achievement of development goals. This general conclusion then prompts a more detailed examination of how aid, incentive, and sustainability are related and, further, how understanding the context of incentives can make aid more sustainable. In February 2000, Sida, the Swedish International Development Agency, commissioned the Workshop in Political Theory and Policy Analysis to study this issue.

Many collective action problems faced by individuals and groups in developing countries tragically remain unresolved for long periods due to the lack of appropriate institutions. (In fact, this is why they are identified as requiring assistance in the first place.) In such instances, participants regularly generate sub-optimal outcomes that are the result of a combination of the underlying material and physical events, the specific rules-in-use that affect the structure of the situation, and the broader community of understanding about the appropriate way to relate to other members of diverse groups. Participants, after all, devise strategies congruent to the structure of incentives perceived in such contexts. A donor's intervention that does not address in basic ways these underlying conditions, rules, and understandings, is likely, at best, to be temporarily effective and, at worst, to be counterproductive.

We will submit a report to Sida on March 9. Chapters 1 and 2 of the report are now available on the Workshop website. In addition, we will be adding Chapter 4 to the Workshop website on Friday March 2. During our presentation, we will provide a brief theoretical foundation, a discussion of our findings from field work, and a summary of our recommendations to Sida. Workshop colleagues who would like to see other parts of our report should contact Patty Zielinski ( and we will make them available as we complete the final drafts.

Chapter 1 in PDF format

Chapter 2 in PDF format

Chapter 4 in PDF format

Appendix 4A in PDF format

Monday, March 19, 2001

A Survey

Presented by Thomas P. Lyon, Professor at the Kelley School of Business, Indiana University, Bloomington (Co-author John W. Maxwell, Indiana University)

Abstract: In the 1970s and 1980s most developed nations created a host of new regulations aimed at curbing environmental degradation. The approach taken was typically one of "command and control," which specified in law the standards to be met, often in the form of specific technologies that had to be adopted. Industry fought these new regulations vigorously in many cases, and was repeatedly surprised by the political effectiveness of environmental activists. From the beginning, command-and-control regulation had been criticized by economists for its costliness and inflexibility, and by the late 1980s market-based instruments for environmental regulation-especially emissions-trading programs-became increasingly common. One of the most striking environmental developments of the 1990s, however, goes beyond even this type of environmental regulation. Under the emerging "voluntary approach" to pollution abatement, firms make commitments to improve their environmental performance above and beyond the level required by law. The purpose of this survey is to make sense of this new and rapidly spreading phenomenon.

BIO: Associate Professor of Business Economics and Public Policy, and Bank One Faculty Fellow. Professor Lyon received his BSE from Princeton University in 1981 and his Ph.D. in Engineering-Economics Systems from Stanford University in 1989. During the 1995/96 academic year he was Visiting Associate Professor at the University of Chicago, and in 1997 he held the Pisa Chair in the Economics and Management of Innovation at the Scuola Sant'Anna, in Pisa, Italy. His research interests are in the economics of regulation, industrial organization, contracts, and technological innovation. His varied work experience includes positions with Benjamin Schlesinger and Associates, a management consultancy; the U.S. Department of Energy; the National Audubon Society; and Public Service Electric and Gas Company. He has served as a consultant to a variety of organizations including Air Products Corporation, AT&T, and Enron Corporation. Professor Lyon teaches Managerial Economics and Game Theory in the MBA program, and has lectured on Business Strategy and the Economics of Innovation at various Italian universities.

Paper in PDF format

Monday, March 26, 2001


Presented by Madhu Khanna, Professor at the Department of Agricultural and Consumer Economics, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign (Co-author Wilma Anton, University of Central Florida, Orlando)

Abstract: The corporate approach to environmental protection has been evolving from a regulation-driven reactive mode to a more proactive approach involving voluntarily crafted management systems that integrate environmental concerns with traditional managerial functions. These "business-led" initiatives are in sharp contrast to the adversarial "government-push" approach towards environmental protection that existed during the 1980s and was based on a view of efforts to control pollution as being "non-productive." However, there is considerable diversity in the comprehensiveness of the environmental management systems being adopted by firms. These systems vary in scope from being strictly passive to demonstrating varying levels of environmental stewardship. These observations raise several interesting questions. What factors are motivating firms to adopt a proactive environmental management system and the determinants of its scope? In particular, what is the role of regulatory pressures and market pressures in inducing environmental self-regulation by firms? What are the implications of the adoption of environmental management systems by firms for their environmental performance?

This paper develops a behavioral model of firm decision-making to obtain econometrically testable hypotheses of the factors influencing firms to undertake proactive environmental management and its implications for their environmental performance. These hypotheses are tested using survey data on adoption of environmental management practices for a sample of S&P 500 firms for the two-year period 1994-95. These data are used to estimate a negative binomial and an ordered probit model to explain adoption of environmental practice. The analysis shows that economic factors such as the threat of environmental liabilities and penalties for non-compliance with mandatory regulations as well as market pressures from consumers and investors play a statistically significant role in inducing corporate environmentalism among these firms. Innovative firms were significantly more likely to adopt environmental practices. Among the firms emitting toxic releases, the threat of anticipated regulations on hazardous air pollutants, high on-site toxic emissions per unit output and high costs of off-site transfers are significant in influencing the adoption of innovative environmental management practices. Overall, however, we find that market based pressures and cost-considerations were relatively more important in influencing corporate environmental management than regulatory pressures.

Both pooled and panel data analysis shows that an increase in the comprehensiveness of the environmental management system led to a reduction in on-site releases and off-site transfers but at a decreasing rate. The negative impact of adoption was stronger on off-site transfers than on on-site releases. However, the marginal effect of adoption of an additional environmental management practice by an average firm, on both on-site releases and off-site transfers, was statistically insignificant. Results also show that existing mandatory regulations as well as anticipated regulations and a desire for consumer goodwill motivated firms to reduce their on-site toxic releases.


Educational Background

M.S., University of California, Berkeley, 1991 Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley, 1995

Honors, Recognitions, and Outstanding Achievements

Hilgrad Scholarship, U.C. Berkeley, 1990-91 U.C. Berkeley Regents Fellowship, 1991-92 MacArthur Interdisciplinary Group on International Security Studies Fellowship, 1992-93 MacArthur Interdisciplinary Group on International Security Studies Fellowship, 1994-95 Listed on the UIUC Incomplete List of Teachers rated as Excellent by their Students, 1997, 1999 Outstanding Faculty Award, Dept. of Agricultural and Consumer Economics, UIUC, 1999 Gamma Sigma Delta, 2000

Professional Experience

Assistant Professor (50% Research, 50% Teaching), Dept. of Agricultural and Consumer Economics, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, August 1995 to date


Technology adoption and policies to induce pollution prevention Welfare analysis of alternative policies for abatement of global warming Economic incentives and environmental implications of business-led environmental management

Paper in PDF format

Monday, April 2, 2001

Cross National Variations in Firms' Responses to EMS-Based Environmental Regimes

Presented by Aseem Prakash, Assistant Professor at the Department of Strategic Management and Public Policy, School of Business and Public Management, The George Washington University, Washington, DC (Co-author Kelly Kollman, The George Washington University)

Abstract: Environmental Management Systems (EMS) represent a new generation of voluntary beyond compliance' environmental policies that neither set substantive goals nor specify final outcomes. As a result, many stakeholder groups are lukewarm towards them. Since 1993 two major supranational EMS -- ISO 14001 and the European Union's Environmental Management and Audit Scheme (EMAS) have been introduced. Firms receive formal accreditation after their EMS has been certified by outside verifiers. This accreditation can potentially bestow monetary and non-monetary benefits on these firms.

Firm-level EMS adoption patterns in the United Kingdom (UK), Germany and the United States (US) vary, thereby suggesting that national contexts influence firms' responses to them. In Germany and UK, a significant number of sites have become either ISO 14001 or EMAS certified while the take-up of ISO 14001 in the US (EMAS is only available to European sites) has been less enthusiastic.

This paper begins with the hypothesis that firms in countries with adversarial economies' -- where regulators and business are on less than friendly terms -- are less likely to adopt EMS-based programs. This hypothesis explains why ISO 14001 take-up has been relatively high in UK and relatively low in the US. However, it cannot explain: (1) the high rate of take-up of both ISO 14001 and EMAS in Germany where the stringency of environmental legislation has been a contentious issue between the government and the industry and; (2) why EMAS has been more popular in Germany than in UK. This paper argues that the original hypothesis, while largely correct, is underspecified. To better explain the cross-national differences in EMS adoption, the type of adversarial economy (adversarial legalism versus prescriptive interventionism), the nature of the policy regime (procedural versus substantive regimes) need to be taken into account.

BIO: Aseem Prakash is Assistant Professor of Strategic Management and Public Policy at the School of Business and Public Management, The George Washington University. He also serves on the faculty of the Department of Political Science and The Elliott School of International Affairs. He received a Joint Ph.D. in Public Policy from Department of Political Science and SPEA, IU, Bloomington (1993-97). His dissertation won the Academy of Management's 1998 Organizations and the Natural Environment Best Dissertation Award. Prior to his Ph.D., he completed his MBA from the the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad (1986-88), and then worked as a marketing manager in Procter and Gamble (1989-1992). His research examines governance issues at the interface of business strategy and public policy. His recent work focuses on voluntary environmental codes, biopolitics, NGOs and business strategy, and the political economy of globalization. He is the author of Greening the Firm: The Politics of Corporate Environmentalism (Cambridge University Press, 2000) and the co-editor (with Jeffrey A. Hart) of Globalization and Governance (Routledge, 1999), Coping with Globalization (Routledge, 2000), and Responding to Globalization (Routledge, 2000). At GW, he teaches an MBA core course, "Business and Public Policy. He is the recipient of the 2000 MBA Faculty Teaching Award. Business Week (September 26, 2000) lists him as one of two "Most Popular Professors" at GW's School of Business and Public Management.

Since the paper for this session is due to be published in World Politics, April 2001, it will not be added to our website. Hard copies of the paper will be available at the Workshop. If you would like to be mailed a copy of the paper or have a question regarding our Colloquium Series, please contact Gayle Higgins (tel 855-0441, email


Presented by Bertin Martens, Visiting Scholar at the Mercatus Center, George Mason University, Virginia, and Editor of The Institutional Economics of Foreign Aid.

Abstract: This book is about the institutions - incentives and constraints - that guide the behavior of persons involved in the implementation of foreign aid programs.

While traditional foreign aid performance and evaluation studies tend to focus almost exclusively on policies and institutions in recipient countries, this book looks at incentives in the entire chain of organizations involved in the delivery of foreign aid, from donor governments and agencies to consultants, experts and other intermediaries. It breaks down the aid delivery chain into a series of principal-agent relationships and examines the specific incentives that are at work in each of the key parts of the chain. Four aspects are examined in detail: incentives inside donor agencies, the interaction of subcontractors with recipient organizations, incentives inside recipient country institutions, and biases in aid performance monitoring systems.

It shows that aid delivery processes are inherently biased because of a broken feedback loop between donor and beneficiaries. Whereas domestic wealth transfer programs usually contain some sort of political feedback mechanism that allows recipients to exert influence over political decision makers, foreign wealth transfer programs are determined by donors and suppliers only. This has major implications for the performance of foreign aid programs, independently of beneficiary country or government performance.

BIO: Bertin Martens is currently a Visiting Research Fellow at the Mercatus Center, George Mason University, where he does research on cognitive approaches to the emergence and evolution of the division of labor, institutions and belief systems, and their role in economic development. Over the last decade, he worked as an economist at the European Commission in Brussels (Belgium). He was involved in the evaluation of institutional reform programs in Eastern Europe, the preparation of structural adjustment programs and macro-economic policy reforms in a series of African and Asian countries that received development aid from the EU.

Paper in PDF format


Presented by Amos Sawyer, Research Scholar at the Workshop in Political Theory and Policy Analysis, Indiana University, Bloomington

Abstract: During the Cold War, many of Africa’s “failing states” were able to survive, in part, by adopting demonstrably anti-Soviet or anti-Western postures as a means of attracting military and economic support and masking internal challenges. Strengthened structures of command and control made ruling possible without legitimacy among substantial sectors of society. The removal of this incentive with the disintegration of the Soviet Union at the close of the 1980s exposed the “vulnerability” and desperation of autocracies. In some countries, the repressive course of autocratic governance has yielded tragedies of unspeakable proportions. Systems of violent conflicts have now developed, notably in central and west Africa, making peacemaking and peace building the most challenging preoccupation of African societies today.

Actors involved in peacemaking and peace-building processes cover the spectrum, ranging from “eminent persons,” civil society organizations, international non-governmental organizations, warlords, governments, regional intergovernmental organizations, the United Nations, and others at the international level. Rules-in-use in peacemaking processes seem to be designed typically to establish mechanisms for “effective control” and power sharing as necessary conditions for creating “a conducive environment” for peace building. Experience has shown that such processes of peacemaking quite frequently provide incentives structuring relationships that are more suitable for incubating potential autocracies than nurturing democratic governance. Peace building that proceeds from such foundations may succeed in ameliorating the impact of overcentralization but may not be able to nurture self-organizing capabilities or sustain democratic governance. The challenge facing peacemaking initiatives is to ensure the development of peacemaking strategies that allow the victims of the tragedy of violent conflict, ordinary peoples in their communities and towns, to address problems of order in ways that foster democratic self-governance.

Using the case of Liberia, this presentation will show how post-Cold War interactions at the international and regional levels enhanced incentives for violent conflict and exacerbated an already unfolding tragedy. Peacemaking strategies that assigned significance to effective occupation of territory and deal-making about power sharing served to encourage formation of more armed groups as a means of ensuring a role in negotiations and in government. The holding of elections as an exit from war and the beginning of a process of democratization has not succeeded in bringing violent conflict to an end and creating the foundations for meaningful dialogue; but instead, has exacerbated the waging of war in ways that are resulting in an ever-widening subregional conflict. Can African societies, out of the tragedies of violent conflicts, find opportunities for crafting institutions that will draw upon their self-organizing capabilities and nurture democratic self-governance? This presentation is an initial step toward addressing this question.

BIO: In addition to participating in the year-long seminar on “Institutional Analysis and Development,” Amos Sawyer will pursue his own research interests at the Workshop. One of the outputs of his research projects will be a book that will analyze the causes, dynamic and consequences of state collapse in Africa with special reference to Liberia. The book will examine the unfolding of an enormous human tragedy in Liberia and outline the challenges to be met in peace building and the reconstitution of order. Applying analytic approaches of institutional analysis, it will attempt to identify elements essential to developing a theory of constitutional choice and collective choice and action for Liberia. Using Tocqueville’s concept of self-governance as a point of departure, the book will provide elements of a citizens-centered institutional framework for governance. Sawyer will also be working on initiatives designed to strengthen the Workshop’s network of African scholars and practitioners who can apply “bottoms-up” approaches and associated theory of governance in building self-governing, democratic systems in Africa.

This will be Sawyer’s second stay at the Workshop. During his first, 1986 to 1988, he completed the book, The Emergence of Autocracy in Liberia: Tragedy and Challenge, and contributed articles to other publications produced at the Workshop. Since leaving the Workshop, he has been actively involved in conflict management and conflict resolution initiatives in his native Liberia and the West African sub-region. During Liberia’s civil war, he served as Interim President from 1990 to 1994 . He continues to work on questions of peace building and governance in Africa generally. Sawyer currently serves as Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Center for Democratic Empowerment, a pro-democracy research and advocacy outfit with offices in Liberia and Cote d’Ivoire.

Note: There will be no paper for this presentation.


Presented by Junning Liu, Visiting Scholar at the Workshop in Political Theory and Policy Analysis, Indiana University, Bloomington.

Abstract: After the great democratic transformation in Eastern Europe and former Soviet republics, China is naturally becoming the next on the transition roll in the worldwide wave of democratization. What should be done to promote democratic transition there has been a great challenge to all the Chinese people, especially to the learned intelligentsia in China. Using the example of the journal of Res Publica, this presentation will address some special attempts and efforts by a small group of scholars in China in pushing the democratic transition. What is the status quo in today's China? How far is China away from a constitutional democracy? What are the major difficulties, obstacles, and challenges in China's transitional process? What has been done and what is going to be done in the coming future? Is a compound republic possible in China? Is a constitutional revolution inevitable in China? The speaker looks forward to discussing all these questions and others with the audience.

BIO: Dr. Liu received his doctorate from Peking University. He is a researcher at the Institute of Chinese Cultural Studies, Ministry of Culture, Beijing, China, and until March 2000, he had worked at the Institute of Political Science, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. His field of research is political theory. In 1995, he founded the journal Res Publica. In 2000, he set up the website “The Constitutionalist.” He is the author of Republicanism, Democracy and Constitutionalism, and the editor of the Res Publica Translation Series. His research at the Workshop focuses on constitutionalism with emphasis on constitutional choice and self-governing society.

Paper in PDF format

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Last updated:  January 23, 2001