Kroc Institute fellow discusses Arab Spring research

first_imgWill Moore, a visiting research fellow at the Kroc Institute and Florida State University professor of political science, addressed the shortcomings of popular perspectives on the events of the Arab Spring. He revisited the dissent and revolutions in the Middle East on Tuesday during the lecture “Dissent, Repression and Outcomes of the Arab Spring.” “Conventional Arab Spring narratives are unpersuasive because they don’t focus on outcomes,” he said. “These narratives also have a very strong ‘blame the victim’ approach, which is ahistorical.” Moore said there should be a focus on the behavior and interactions of dissidents and states. He discussed 24 instances of mass protests in four different countries — Algeria, Egypt, Jordan and Syria — since 1990 and said it was significant that only one of those protests resulted in a victory for the dissidents. “Unless you start paying attention to the interaction of states and dissidents, you can’t understand the outcomes,” he said. Moore outlined the research methodology and theoretical approach for his current project, which will supply the content for an eventual book on the subject. “I don’t yet have the answers to the questions I’m addressing. I’m going to be laying out how I’ve designed a research project,” he said. Eventually, the project will include case studies for every country in the entire Middle East and North Africa, as well as further analyses for the period of 1990 to 2011, Moore said. Currently, he is focused on 10 countries in particular and only has access to data from 1990 to 2004. “During this time and in all of these countries, dissidents and states are interacting. In every single one of these 10 nations, there is a long history of people challenging government and government responding in kind,” Moore said. During the lecture, Moore displayed a graph of dissident and state activity in each of the 10 countries and pointed out that some, such as Tunisia, stood out as having less dissident activity. The data came from a database of news reports, he said. “Something I have to consider is whether there is less news coverage or actually less dissident activity,” he said. Moore said he intends to evaluate the behavior of two actors, the state and the dissidents, along a Hostility-Cooperation Continuum. He said the continuum shows how one side responds to the behavior of the other and how both the desire to stay in power and the influence of constituents are important in determining this behavior. “If you’re halfway up the hostility scale, my people want me slightly … more hostile than you,” Moore said. Moore said the continuum allows him to estimate the average behavior when the other actor does nothing. For example, the state will be very cooperative on average when the dissidents do nothing. He said he can also estimate the average responsiveness to surprise for each actor, though his calculations do not differentiate between hostile and cooperative responses to surprises. Moore said his current data reveals interesting patterns, but he has not analyzed the set thoroughly enough to draw any conclusions. “I haven’t delved into how much I can trust these particular estimates,” he said. “I’m showing you a flavor of what I’m going to be able to do,” Moore said his project might not lead to the kind of results he hopes for, but he believes it addresses something existing literature is missing. “Does this project that I’ve launched give me any leverage? It’s possible I’ll strike out,” he said. “I’ve argued existing scholarship ignores behavior and limits our ability to understand and answer important questions. The missing objective of inquiry is the behavior of dissidents and states.”last_img read more

Want to deliver excellent service? Offer an excellent service!

first_img 6SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,Richard Miller Richard joined JMFA after a 23-year career in banking, providing JMFA and our clients with a broad base of management experience in community banking, from chief lending officer to president … Web: www.jmfa.com Details Ask any financial institution about its mission and it will likely include “service-centric” or some variation of the idea. It’s something all smart institutions strive for. But excellent service doesn’t happen in a silo or start and end with tellers. It’s an all-encompassing idea that should be at the forefront of every decision and every offering.Yet some credit unions forget this part of their mission when it comes to providing a solution for overdrafts. Some overdraft programs – defined by data-driven algorithms that calculate unique and ever-changing limits for each member – seem designed to fail important service expectations. By contrast, fully disclosed overdraft programs with static limits offer a simple solution that empowers members to make informed financial decisions. Let’s compare how each method of overdraft protection delivers on serving your members’ best interest.Overdraft LimitsWith a data-driven overdraft solution, limits vary for each member based on factors like average daily balance, direct deposits, etc. These limits change as the data changes. So how can your members ever know how much they could overdraft? Unfortunately, they can’t. “Data-driven” feels safe to some credit unions, and provides the feeling of having control, but it comes at the expense of providing first-rate service.In a fully disclosed overdraft program, the limit is the same for everyone, all the time. Predictable, steady and reliable — all things that members appreciate, and count on.Ability to RepayWhile there’s an argument to be made that individuals with higher balances may be less risky overdraft users and therefore deserve a higher overdraft limit, I think this makes too many assumptions. Your members could have accounts elsewhere, have varying degrees of liabilities, or any number of other scenarios. The ability to repay is based on a lending process to determine credit worthiness.  We can’t know everyone’s financial story from one account snapshot, so from a service standpoint it only seems fair to treat all members equally. Moreover, overdrafts are not subject to Truth in Lending regulations, so care should be taken to avoid the appearance of a credit product.TransparencyOverdraft programs without an established limit by their very nature cannot be fully disclosed — no limit can be stated at the beginning because it frequently changes. Fully disclosed overdraft programs require members to opt in before ever using them. Being transparent upfront gives individuals the power to make an informed decision about whether to use the service or not. Employee UnderstandingEver try to explain something you don’t fully understand? How about trying to do so to an upset member who keeps getting more confused by what you’re saying? It’s not fun, and it is bad for morale. Data-driven overdraft solutions are designed to be unexplainable in simple terms — they’re highly technical, with ever-changing limits based on information a person may be uncomfortable being judged on.For a more service-centric option, an overdraft program with simple rules that can be explained to an individual easily and concisely fits the bill. Employees will remain poised and confident during inquiries.Bottom line: You can’t offer great service if you can’t even explain your service to the people who use it.Member UnderstandingIf your employees can’t explain your service, how is a member ever supposed to understand it? Do you want your members leaving confused, frustrated and suspicious? Or do you want them to feel empowered, grateful and satisfied – which will lead to trust, loyalty and advocacy of your credit union to others.The solution is clear:  If you want to offer excellent member service, offer an excellent service to your members. Fully disclosed overdraft protection programs line up with service-centric missions.And, if all else fails, use this litmus test: If I had limited funds available and needed to use an overdraft program, which type would I rather rely on?For more information on implementing a service-focused, fully disclosed overdraft solution with a 100 percent written compliance guarantee, contact your local JMFA representative.last_img read more