Monday Headlines

Does Corruption Lead To Greater Efficiency
In a new paper, Bob Rijkers, Caroline Freund, Mary Hallward-Driemeier and Varanya Chaubey of the Brookings Institution examine whether bribes offered in order to evade burdensome government regulations enhance efficiency or whether corruption purely a costly impediment to entrepreneurship.

The analysts utilize firm-level data from the World Bank Enterprise Surveys of 107 countries to test the “grease-the-wheels” hypothesis that (1) bribe requests should be negatively correlated with wait times and, moreover, that (2) corruption should be especially beneficial in countries where regulation is burdensome and for firms with a high willingness to pay.

Terrorist Group Al Shabaab Calls For Attacks On Malls In U.S.
A new video from Al Shabaab purportedly shows the terror group calling for an attack on Mall of America, in Bloomington, Minnesota. The Somali-based terrorist rganization also has called for attacks on shopping centers in Britain, reports The London Telegraph.

Recently, at least 25 people were killed, including two members of parliament, and 40 injured in an attack by al-Shabab fighters on a luxury hotel in the Somali capital.

The National Counterterrorism Center offers a short background brief on the origins of the group.

The Lasting Impact Of Apartheid On South African Democracy
In Foreign Affairs, James L. Gibson explains how racial divisions continue to impact the governance of South Africa in a post-apartheid world. Gibson rightly notes that a democratically-elected leader cannot ensure stability or prosperity.

Despite its progress forward, South Africa faces a “daunting array of social and economic challenges, many rooted in inequalities that neither democratization nor economic growth has managed to reduce,” including higher poverty rates than existed in 1994.

“Even in a more homogeneous country without a very recent history of racial oppression, such factors would create significant pressure on democratic governance. Heterogeneous countries such as South Africa face a tougher road in building a democratic state, since racial and ethnic diversity can make it harder to foster social cohesion,” he writes.

Iran And Saudi Arabia Battle For Influence In Yemen
A new report for Chatham House by DemLab contributor Peter Salisbury explores the rivalry between Saudi Arabia and Iran for influence in Yemen.

Is The Government’s Focus On Terrorist Groups Distracting From Threats From Stable Governments?
Washington’s paranoia over weak and failing states is distracting from the real national security threats coming from more stable countries, writes Foreign Policy contributor Amy Zegart.

Missing At The Academy Awards
Lost amid all of the debate over Birdman versus The American Sniper was coverage of the Academy Award-nominated film “Timbuktu,” which explores the war within Islam.

“One of the great strengths of Timbuktu is its insistence on showing the jihadis as human beings rather than caricatures. They’re arrogant and brutal, make no mistake, but Sissako wants us to see how they, too, become tangled up in their own unforgiving ideology,” writes Christian Caryl of Foreign Policy.



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