Decolonization, Government Criticism, and Indonesia’s Criminal Code
Tom Pepinsky
by tompepinsky
1M ago
Indonesia’s House of Representatives has passed a major revision to the country’s criminal code that creates new penalties for, among other things, having sex outside of marriage, criticizing the government, and insulting or discriminating based on race, ethnicity, religion, belief, skin color, sex, or mental disability. As is often the case, the main focus among the English-language international media is the new criminal penalties for extramarital sex.* And unfortunately, the focus on sex and protest might obscure other important parts of these new laws (PDF here) that might be of interest ..read more
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GE15 in Malaysia: Urbanization, Income, and Other Factors
Tom Pepinsky
by tompepinsky
2M ago
In yesterday’s post on Malaysia’s 15th General Election, I showed that constituency-level ethnic structure is a very robust and consistent predictor of which coalition prevailed in elections on the peninsula. But there is a lot more at play than just ethnicity in explaining election results, and new data from Malaysia’s Department of Statistics allows us to be much more comprehensive in our analysis. This post is a “data-dump” of additional exploratory analysis. The tl;dr version is that urbanization is another strong predictor of which coalition prevailed in peninsular constituencies, but acc ..read more
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Malaysia’s Upcoming General Election: Ethnicity in a Multipolar Political System
Tom Pepinsky
by tompepinsky
2M ago
Lots of people are excited by the most interesting general election scheduled this November: GE15, Malaysia’s 15th General Election since independence. There have been a lot of changes in Malaysian politics that I have had the fortune to see over the past twenty years, including the return of Anwar Ibrahim, first-ever defeat of the dominant Barisan Nasional government in 2018, and the most complicated coalitional politicking I’ve ever seen, which is so baroque and complicated that it has its own wikipedia page called, simply, “2020-2022 Malaysian political crisis.” One thing that has not chang ..read more
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Two-Party Democracies with One Anti-Pluralist Party Are Rare
Tom Pepinsky
by tompepinsky
3M ago
Here is a question: around the world, how often is it that you find a political system in which the following conditions are true? there are two main political parties of roughly the same size they compete in democratic elections one of those parties is an openly and explicitly anti-pluralist party You’d imagine that given the many varieties of democracy that exist around the world, we should be able to find lots of configurations of political systems. Some with many parties, some with few; some with big anti-pluralists parties, some without such parties; and so forth. But some configuration ..read more
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Refugee Crises, Refugee Hypocrisy, and Public Opinion in Hungary
Tom Pepinsky
by tompepinsky
4M ago
The Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 was a watershed moment in European politics. Among the many shocking visuals of the early weeks of the war was the sight of millions of Ukrainian refugees fleeing their home country into neighboring countries like Poland, Hungary, and Romania—as well as to other countries throughout Europe. As of this week, more than 7 million Ukrainian refugees had fled the conflict, with more than half of them having received temporary status in a European country. It did not take long for observers—in Europe and around the world—to notice the dramatic differe ..read more
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Will Poor Midterm Results Pull the GOP Towards the Center?
Tom Pepinsky
by tompepinsky
5M ago
The emerging consensus among pundits is that the GOP is underperforming relative to expectations in the 2022 midterm elections. The normal account of U.S. midterm elections is that the incumbent president’s party loses seats in midterm elections. In 2022, this would mean that the Democrats should expect to lose seats in the House, the Senate, and in statewide elections. This isn’t an ironclad law—witness how the GOP did in 2002, in the midterm elections of George W. Bush’s—but it’s a pretty robust pattern. An anti-incumbent midterm swing would seem to be particularly likely in a highly polariz ..read more
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What If This is As Good As It Gets? Defective Democracy and the Comparative Democratic Ideal
Tom Pepinsky
by tompepinsky
6M ago
Over the past two decades, third-wave- and post-third-wave democracies have found themselves facing difficult challenges of consolidation and democratic performance. It is common to hear analyses of Brazil, Nigeria, Bangladesh, South Africa, Ukraine (in the day), and many other recent democratizers that lament the poor quality of their democracy. Analysts point to rampant corruption, weak rule of law, unaccountable executives and judiciaries, unproductive legislatures, growing inequality, electoral violence, anti-democratic rhetoric, weak parties, and other factors that undermine democratic pe ..read more
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The Tragedy of Democratic Politics
Tom Pepinsky
by tompepinsky
7M ago
A propos of nothing in particular, here are some thoughts about why democracy is better than any alternative.  Political philosophers have asked which is the best form of government for millennia. There are perhaps as many answers as there are people who have asked this question, but we can think of two general ways that people go about answering it. One is to start with a set of values (divine right, some scripture, popular sovereignty, etc.) and figure out which kind of government best embodies that. If you think that a government should be whatever it is that the first born male heir t ..read more
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The Chinese of Singkawang and the Politics of Indigeneity in Indonesia
Tom Pepinsky
by tompepinsky
8M ago
Indigeneity and indigenous politics have been important fields of research in the social sciences for decades. And so too, in recent years, in Southeast Asian studies. The current issue of Sojourn, for example, is devoted to the question of “unpacking” indigeneity in Southeast Asia. At stake are at least three conceptual questions: what does indigenous mean as a political claim and as a social science concept? what makes a community an indigenous community, and on whose authority? how do concepts of indigeneity as invoked in settler colonial contexts (i.e. USA, Canada, Argentina, Australia, N ..read more
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Illustrating Contamination Bias, with Implications for Intersectional Description
Tom Pepinsky
by tompepinsky
8M ago
A new NBER working paper by Paul Goldsmith-Pinkham, Peter Hull, and Michal Kolesár shows that in experiments with more than one mutually exclusive treatment, regression with covariate adjustment does not identify treatment effects even under the assumption of conditional ignorability. Here is the abstract: We study the interpretation of regressions with multiple treatments and flexible controls. Such regressions are often used to analyze stratified randomized control trials with multiple intervention arms, to estimate value-added (for, e.g., teachers) with observational data, and to leverage ..read more
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