• Letter from the Editors 2020

    Wednesday, May 5, 2021

    The publication of the 31st edition of the Journal of Public and International Affairs comes at a time of tremendous change, uncertainty, and disruption. The Covid-19 pandemic has upended many of our lives, shuttered businesses, and will have a lasting impact on the global economy. The importance of public policy in managing the crisis and shaping the recovery cannot be overstated. In times of great disruption, implementing big ideas becomes more possible and laying the foundations of the world to come becomes more important.

  • Gender and Migration from North Korea

    Friday, May 1, 2020
    by Erin Engstran, Caitlin Flynn and Meg Harris
    Women make up more than 80 percent of North Korean migrants to South Korea. This paper provides a gendered analysis of their migration and offers recommendations to address the systematic oppression and abuse of North Korean migrant women and girls. Gendered human rights abuses and societal shifts in gender roles due to famine contributed to women leaving in record numbers. On the journey, often via China, women face human trafficking fueled by China’s skewed sex ratios, sexual violence, and the threat of extradition back to North Korea where defectors are imprisoned, tortured, or killed. Even those who successfully complete the journey suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, discrimination, and difficulty adjusting into South Korean society. Interventions and policies must acknowledge the gendered dimension of migration to effectively address the harm North Korean women and girls experience.
  • From White Teyab to Pink Kandakat: Gender and the 2018-2019 Sudanese Revolution

    Friday, May 1, 2020
    by Miriam Engeler, Elena Braghieri, and Samira Manzur
    This paper provides a gender analysis of the 2018-2019 Sudanese Revolution, its goals and outcomes, and the strategies employed by protestors and state security forces. To do so, it sheds a light on how protesters drew on, emphasized, and mobilized along gendered identities. It pays particular attention to the part women played in mobilization efforts in the revolution and historic (dis)continuities of their role in mass mobilization. An analysis of protest spaces brings to light the way gender roles were practiced and negotiated within the movement. Examining the state’s response to the demonstrations, the paper highlights state forces’ gender-specific strategies to intimidate protesters and their practice of sexual violence. Lastly, the analysis turns to the first months of political transition. Women’s important roles in the revolution and their challenging of traditional gender roles have not yet translated into equal political representation in the transition, although some of their human rights demands have been met. The paper concludes by urging the Sudanese interim government to include the grievances and perspectives of women and marginalized groups in the negotiation of the country’s future both at the negotiation table and in the transitional legislative body.
  • Tailpipe Wars: The Presidential Politics of U.S. Auto Emissions

    Friday, May 1, 2020
    by Ryan Warsing
    Despite growing consensus that climate change is real, manmade, and pernicious, the U.S. Congress has failed to update old laws – to say nothing of passing new ones – that might mitigate the crisis. State governments have attempted to fill the void, with California setting de facto national policy using powers delegated under the 1970 Clean Air Act (CAA). The Trump administration’s 2019 bid to revoke these powers rejects the process of “iterative federalism” and leads one to believe Trump’s agenda is both vindictive in nature and impervious to broad support for environmental regulation. Yet this support (even in electorally pivotal states like Pennsylvania) proves a weak motivating factor next to the needs of vulnerable constituencies, notably autoworkers. Trump’s agenda is rationally set by his need to attract support in states like Michigan where votes are precious and regulatory exposure is high. Long a means for the federal government to enjoy environmental progress at a safe political distance, the “California carve-out” seems to have exhausted its utility with the Trump administration, which deems all environmental regulation anathema to growth and the happiness of its base. Trump’s rationale is best understood using Conditional Pandering Theory (CPT), which predicts that presidents with middling approval numbers are apt to be led by the public as Election Day draws near and policy outcomes can be delayed. In the case of emissions, policy outcomes are immaterial so long as targeted marginal voters deliver the president a second term.
  • Lessons from Ukraine: Shifting International Surrogacy Policy to Protect Women and Children

    Friday, May 1, 2020
    by Emma Lamberton
    Ukrainian surrogacy companies now hold over a quarter of the global surrogacy market since a series of human rights violations caused India, Thailand, and Nepal to close their borders. Similar violations are occurring in Ukraine, including the abandonment and trafficking of children and the abuse of surrogates. The Ukrainian government is not taking action, despite concerns expressed by both lawmakers and surrogates that the industry engages in unethical practices. This paper proposes that the Hague Conference’s Experts’ Group on the Parentage/Surrogacy Project spearhead international ratification of a holistic series of policies focused on protecting women and children from exploitation.
  • The Accuracy Of Proxy Means Tests For Immigrant Populations: A Case Study In Colombia

    Friday, May 1, 2020
    by Will Sims
    This paper examines the accuracy of proxy means tests (PMTs) for identifying low-income households among migrant and refugee populations. Specifically, it develops a PMT model based on Colombia’s SISBEN system, and evaluates its ability to identify poverty among recent and established Venezuelan migrants and refugees. It finds that these groups have significantly higher rates of exclusion errors relative to native Colombians, which could prevent them from accessing valuable social services. These findings are robust to a number of specifications, and the issue is not resolved by simply including immigration status within the model. Additionally, occupational downgrading is identified as the most likely mechanism for this effect, as Venezuelan migrants and refugees in Colombia generally have lower returns to education when compared with native Colombians. These results should inspire caution when choosing to use PMTs for targeting, and it is recommended that all policymakers evaluate the accuracy of their PMTs for vulnerable subpopulations prior to implementation.
  • The Social Credit System: Not Just Another Chinese Idiosyncrasy

    Friday, May 1, 2020
    by Eunsun Cho
    As the unparalleled ability of big data to capture and process real-time information signals a revolution in public administration, countries around the world have begun to explore the application of the technology to government functions. At the forefront of these efforts is China, which is planning to launch the social credit system (SCS), a data-powered project to monitor, assess, and shape the behavior of all citizens and enterprises. This new frontier of digital surveillance raises questions about how the United States will incorporate data technology into its own politics and economy. This article argues that the U.S. needs a comprehensive nationwide data protection framework that places limits on surveillance by both private business and the government. Without drawing its own baseline for personal data protection, the United States risks missing the already narrowing opportunity to define its balance between democracy, security, and growth.
  • The Politics of Pineapple: Examining the Inequitable Impacts of Southern Costa Rica's Pineapple Industry

    Friday, May 1, 2020
    by Jennifer Brown, Tara Flint, Jessica LaMay
    The Global North’s growing demand for fresh pineapple has created a system that is disproportionately profitable for companies and consumers in those countries to the detriment of people living and working in the Global South. Since the mid-1980s the Pineapple Development Corporation (PINDECO), a subsidiary of U.S.-based Del Monte, has established a monopoly over fresh pineapple exports in southern Costa Rica. We conducted pilot research in the municipalities of Buenos Aires and San Isidro del General in 2019, where the majority of PINDECO’s production takes place. PINDECO and the Costa Rican state claim pineapple production is beneficial to national development through its contribution to Costa Rican gross domestic product and employment opportunities, but our research and recent data reveal that in pineapple producing areas in the southwest, poverty levels remain high with worsening water and food security despite PINDECO’s large profit margins. There are numerous human and environmental health concerns linked to pineapple monocropping. Intensive pesticide use often utilizes chemicals that are banned or restricted in the countries they are imported from. PINDECO has been able to evade responsibility for environmental damages and social welfare obligations to employees while maintaining a largely positive public image through a lax regulatory environment and extensive subcontracting structure. This article connects regional socioeconomic issues to the intricate power dynamics and collusion between industry and state. The findings suggest that Costa Rica is not as environmentally conscious and sustainable as its public image portrays, with pockets of profit-driven industries taking precedence over community well-being and environmental sustainability.
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