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Regular version of the site

Is Increased Democratization Domestically Linked to Improved Government Performance in Eastern Europe after the Cold War?

Thomas J. Volgy, Professor at the School of Government and Public Policy, University of Arizona USA and Executive Director of the International Studies Association is a political scientist specialising in international politics, democratic processes and domestic public policy. Perhaps unusually for an academic, he also has 14 years of practical experience in public office and was Mayor of Tucson until 1991. Volgy was born in Hungary and after the collapse of the USSR he returned to Eastern Europe and the FSU where he worked on US government training programmes for democratic political development and public policy. He also has his own consulting business. At the XV International April Conference this year Professor Volgy will be delivering two papers, one on his own and one with two fellow academics. We asked him to tell the English News service  more about them and about his work with HSE.

— Could you please tell what papers are you going to present at the Conference?

— I will be giving two presentations. In the first one, I explore the conditions under which status is attributed to states in international politics by the larger community of states. I argue and demonstrate that in addition to receiving status for realist, power considerations, such as military capabilities, economic size, and size of population (capabilities that can impact other states' foreign policies), states are also rewarded with additional status for conforming to certain types of norms that are broadly accepted by the international community, including especially conforming to the norms of multilateralism, resource transference to poorer states, and engagement in international trading (economic liberalism).  Certain norms, however, that are more contested in international politics, such as peaceful dispute resolution, democratic governance, and behavioral conformance with human rights norms, do not appear to be rewarded with additional status, even by states that advocate these contested norms.

These conferences are the beginnings of structured relationships that should blossom into joint research projects and the sharing of further research opportunities between colleagues

The second presentation, jointly with two other colleagues explores the hypothesis that increased democratization domestically is linked to improved government performance in the provision of domestic public goods. Some have argued that this relationships is very much unclear, and we are exploring the extent to which the two are linked together among states in Eastern Europe following the end of the Cold War.

— How did you get involved with HSE?

— Although I have worked with another major educational institution in Moscow for nearly two decades, my cooperation with HSE has been relatively recent. My very good colleague and friend Professor Andrei Melville, with whom I've worked for a long time, both through the International Studies Association, and the Russian International Studies Association, urged me to participate in this conference and I am now very pleased to do so. 

— In what ways could this cooperation be developed?

— I believe that these conferences are the beginnings of structured relationships that should blossom into joint research projects and the sharing of further research opportunities between colleagues . I am looking forward to those opportunities.

— What research are you working on at the moment?

— I am working with my PhD graduate students developing a new theory of comparative regions, allowing us to explore how international politics affect and are affected by regional dynamics and the factors driving those regional dynamics. Regional orders differ greatly from one another, and sometimes from the larger global order, and we are building a general theory to account for those differences.

— What are you hoping for at the Conference?

— I expect two things: one is to receive quality feedback for my research that will help to improve its contours. Second, I am looking forward to meeting the colleagues at HSE and I hope to learn more from participating colleagues about the intersection between their work and mine.

Anna Chernyakhovskaya, specially for the HSE News service 

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