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  • Author: Robert Z. Lawrence
  • Publication Date: 03-2018
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: President Trump has asserted that trade balances are a key measure of a nation’s commercial success and that large US trade deficits prove that past trade approaches have been flawed. But trade deficits are not in fact a good measure of how well a country is doing with respect to its trade policies. Many of the assumptions on which the administration’s beliefs rest are not supported by the evidence. This Policy Brief argues that trade deficits are not necessarily bad, do not necessarily cost jobs or reduce growth, and are not a measure of whether foreign trade policies or agreements with other countries are fair or unfair. Efforts to use trade policy and agreements to reduce either bilateral or overall trade deficits are also unlikely to produce the effects the administration claims they will and instead lead to friction with US trading partners, harming the people the policies claim to help
  • Topic: International Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Martin Chorzempa
  • Publication Date: 02-2018
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: Formidable barriers stand between the modern financial system and the hundreds of millions of Chinese citizens still using costly informal credit. For many, the financial data that could be used to give them a credit score that would lead to a fair priced loan exist but are not being used. This analysis finds that the most difficult barriers cutting these data off from their potential use for greater financial inclusion are the legal and political restrictions on data sharing and use, economic and competitive concerns from data holders, and the technical difficulty of integrating disparate systems. Policies that encourage coordination between public authorities and private actors in finance and technology can go a long way towards making these data available and driving access to credit in China. This shift would not only help borrowers: It would also encourage the needed economic rebalancing towards consumption, increase competition in the financial sector, raise efficiency through better credit allocation, and contribute to sustainable economic growth and social welfare.
  • Topic: International Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Antoni Estevadeordal
  • Publication Date: 04-2017
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: On February 22, 2017, the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) entered into force. The TFA was concluded at the WTO Bali Ministerial Conference in 2013. Since then, countries have been working on implementing the agreement in their domestic markets to reach the two-thirds requirement for implementation.[1] As of March 2017, 113 members (or 69 percent of WTO members) have ratified the agreement—including 19 Latin American and Caribbean (LAC) countries—and another 93 countries have notified the WTO of their timeline for each TFA provision, giving a comprehensive picture of the state of the agreement.
  • Topic: International Political Economy, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Roger Burkhardt, Colin I. Bradford Jr.
  • Publication Date: 03-2017
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: In this policy brief, we highlight the impact of the speed and the scale that digital innovation will have in disrupting labor markets in the future, which requires anticipating policy responses now. We advocate for the formation of new social partnerships between business, labor, governments, financial institutions, and social stakeholders to forge comprehensive policy responses to address the coming social impact of technological change. This brief was used at the VISION 20 Workshop held at the Brookings Institution on February 27, 2017 to help generate new “big picture” policy approaches for the German G-20 Summit in Hamburg in July. The workshop was sponsored by the University of British Columbia Institute for Asia Research, the Munk School at the University of Toronto, the Boell Foundation, and the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung with the participation of the Kiel Institute for the World Economy and the German Development Institute.
  • Topic: International Political Economy, International Development
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Sarah Goldfeder
  • Publication Date: 05-2017
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Canadian Global Affairs Institute (CGAI)
  • Abstract: On Jan. 23, the first Monday after being sworn in as president of the United States, Donald Trump signed a presidential memorandum that laid the groundwork for exiting the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). The TPP was the elegant solution to a host of hold-over irritants from the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) as well as a way to address wholly new issues of trade and commerce. In the wake of this decision, Trump also promised a wholesale reworking of NAFTA, in which everything would be on the table. In the days since, the Trump trade team has been off to a rocky start. Finally, after months of discussion, the notification incumbent for use of the Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) was provided to Congressional leaders on May 18, 2017. Mexico has taken it all in stride, as it took almost immediate advantage of the blusterous U.S. rhetoric to outline its demands for any NAFTA discussion. Canada meanwhile plays the sphinx, open about its willingness to negotiate, but not much else. The U.S. may find that it’s less ready for this round of negotiations than it wanted to be, but its partners are well placed to unite and drive a hard bargain.
  • Topic: International Political Economy, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Canada, Global Focus
  • Author: Linda Hasunuma
  • Publication Date: 04-2017
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Institute Français des Relations Internationales (IFRI)
  • Abstract: Four years have passed since Prime Minister Abe launched his Three Arrows of reform – “Abenomics” – to revitalize Japan’s economy. The first arrow targeted monetary policy; the second fiscal policy, and the third structural reform – including a measure aimed at reducing barriers to women’s participation in the labor force; this part quickly became known in the media as “womenomics”. Demographic and economic pressures make it imperative for the Japanese government to employ more women as its population ages and shrinks, but Japan has been under great international pressure over its disappointing record on women’s equality as well. What began as an economic strategy about women became also a foreign relations strategy that could help the Japanese government reframe the narrative and its reputation as a country that fails its women; it has also faced increasing criticism and even condemnation from human and women’s rights activists and organizations for its position on the Comfort Women issue. Womenomics is also a public relations strategy for the government to signal to other countries, financial and international institutions, investors and rights organizations, that it is taking action on two important fronts: economic reforms and gender equality. The inclusion of women can provide economic and political benefits to Japan.
  • Topic: Gender Issues, International Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Linda Hasunuma
  • Publication Date: 04-2017
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Institute Français des Relations Internationales (IFRI)
  • Abstract: Four years have passed since Prime Minister Abe launched his Three Arrows of reform – “Abenomics” – to revitalize Japan’s economy. The first arrow targeted monetary policy; the second fiscal policy, and the third structural reform – including a measure aimed at reducing barriers to women’s participation in the labor force; this part quickly became known in the media as “womenomics”. Demographic and economic pressures make it imperative for the Japanese government to employ more women as its population ages and shrinks, but Japan has been under great international pressure over its disappointing record on women’s equality as well. What began as an economic strategy about women became also a foreign relations strategy that could help the Japanese government reframe the narrative and its reputation as a country that fails its women; it has also faced increasing criticism and even condemnation from human and women’s rights activists and organizations for its position on the Comfort Women issue. Womenomics is also a public relations strategy for the government to signal to other countries, financial and international institutions, investors and rights organizations, that it is taking action on two important fronts: economic reforms and gender equality. The inclusion of women can provide economic and political benefits to Japan.
  • Topic: Gender Issues, International Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Erik Lundsgaarde
  • Publication Date: 03-2017
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: This policy brief argues that the expertise, networks, and convening role of governments are key assets in efforts to expand business involvement to promote sustainable development goals. In addition, development cooperation providers have the potential to adopt a systemic perspective that can contribute to improving the framework conditions in partner countries. These public sector advantages should provide a point of departure for partnership development approaches.
  • Topic: International Political Economy, International Development
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Susan Schadler
  • Publication Date: 10-2017
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: So far, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has defied the odds in its relations with the administration of US President Donald Trump. In contrast to the administration’s at times stormy ride with some other international organizations and agreements, relations have been rather calm — even friendly — between the United States and the IMF. There has been no talk of cutting US funding to the IMF, no threat of pulling out of the organization, no statements casting aspersions on the IMF and no “tweet storms” on specific events involving the IMF. In fact, although not directly from President Trump, statements in support of actions or positions of the IMF have surfaced. Why has the IMF escaped the antagonism of the new administration, and can it continue to do so?
  • Topic: International Political Economy, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Cyrus Rustomjee
  • Publication Date: 09-2017
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: The blue economy — a concept and framework for economic activity that recognizes and seeks to maximize the potential for economic growth, employment and diversification through the sustainable use of resources from the ocean — has vast economic potential for small states; however, they confront several unique international governance challenges in pursuing a marine-resource-based development framework; have few comparative lessons of good practice to draw on; and face several practical obstacles in taking the first steps to operationalize the blue economy, resulting in modest progress. Collective experience highlights six key priorities in operationalizing the blue economy. Small states can take several new initiatives, supported by regional and international development partners, to focus attention on and coalesce policy effort and resources.
  • Topic: International Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Edward A. Parson
  • Publication Date: 08-2017
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: Climate engineering can, if appropriately governed within a coherent overall climate change strategy, reduce risks beyond what mitigation and adaptation can achieve alone, and is probably essential to achieve the Paris Agreement temperature targets. Climate engineering also poses significant new risks, and needs expanded research and scrutiny in climate assessments.
  • Topic: International Political Economy, Climate Finance
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Steven L. Schwarcz
  • Publication Date: 07-2017
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: Unsustainable sovereign debt is a serious problem for nations, as well as their citizens and creditors, and a threat to global financial stability. The existing contractual approach to restructuring unsustainable debt is inadequate and no treaty or other multilateral legal framework exists, or is currently likely to be adopted, that would enable nations to restructure unsustainable debt. Because a significant percentage of sovereign debt is governed by English law, there is an opportunity to modify the law to fairly and equitably facilitate the restructuring of unsustainable sovereign debt. This policy brief proposes a novel legal framework, focusing on governing law, for doing that. This framework would legislatively achieve the equivalent of the ideal goal of including perfect collective action clauses in all English-law-governed sovereign debt contracts. It therefore should ensure the continuing legitimacy and attractiveness of English law as the governing law for future sovereign debt contracts. Even absent the legislative proposal, the analysis in this policy brief can contribute to the incremental development of sovereign debt restructuring norms.
  • Topic: International Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Santana Moisés
  • Publication Date: 09-2017
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: IEMed/EuroMeSCo
  • Abstract: The goal of this paper is to introduce the promotion of technology-based entrepreneurship as an engine for Mediterranean economic growth, with an emphasis on the role of entrepreneurs. Without avoiding or undermining current problems or challenges, this document takes a look at the Mediterranean Basin free of stereotypes and from a constructive viewpoint. Hence it applies to the Mediterranean the words spoken by Shimon Peres when he received the Nobel Peace Prize together with Yasser Arafat and Yitzhak Rabin in 1994: “A Middle East that is not a killing field but a field of creativity and growth.”
  • Topic: International Political Economy, International Security
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Publication Date: 10-2017
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment
  • Abstract: The message is by now clear: our global economy must be fundamentally reoriented and redeployed in order to achieve the SDGs and the commitments of the Paris Climate Agreement. This requires action by all stakeholders, including non-financial and financial firms, debt and equity investors, government policymakers, and consumers. In terms of the amount of money required, it has been estimated that meeting the SDGs will require $5 to $7 trillion annually, with investment needs for developing countries amounting to roughly $3.3 to $4.5 trillion per year. While a big picture view of and strategic thinking regarding the entire economic ecosystem is necessary to generate such investments, this paper, produced in conjunction with the UN Inquiry into the Design of a Sustainable Financial System, focuses on the actual and potential role of one type of financial flow—FDI—in achieving the transition to a low-carbon, just and sustainable world and, more specifically, FDI flows into developing countries.
  • Topic: International Political Economy, Climate Finance
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Publication Date: 10-2017
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment
  • Abstract: When a local asset (or a right relating to such asset) is sold, a country will generally have jurisdiction to levy a capital gains tax on the sale, both under domestic law and international treaty. This is called taxation of a “direct” transfer of a local asset. However, taxation becomes increasingly complicated when a company located offshore owns the local asset. Further difficulties arise when the local asset is held by a chain of corporations located in tax havens. An “indirect” transfer occurs when the shares of the domestic subsidiary, the shares of the foreign company with a branch in the country, or the shares of the holding company are sold, instead of the asset.
  • Topic: International Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Publication Date: 03-2017
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Zambia Institute for Policy Analysis and Research (ZIPAR)
  • Abstract: Zambia is emerging from a major economic downturn. The copper price collapse, electricity shortages, huge fall in the value of the Kwacha and high inflation in 2015 left the economy stalling. Growth in 2015 was 2.9% and possibly 3.4% in 2016, significantly below the long-term average rate of 6.9%. The downturn was compounded by a tightening of monetary policy which made it harder for businesses to borrow, and by a continuation of expansionary fiscal policies which increased the budget deficit and Government debt. Because the scale of the challenge was so significant, the Government announced it would launch Zambia Plus, a home-grown recovery programme to put the economy back on track
  • Topic: International Political Economy, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Samuel Howorth, Domenico Lombardi, Pierre Siklos
  • Publication Date: 02-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: Students of macroeconomics will have heard about the central role played by the so-called Phillips curve in both theoretical and empirical analyses for almost 70 years. In 1958, A. W. Phillips reported an inverse relationship between changes in wages and the unemployment rate (Phillips 1958). The progeny of his thinking led to a revolution both in policy making and in the development of theoretical links between the real and nominal macroeconomic variables. Names such as Samuelson, Solow, Phelps, Friedman, Lucas and Sargent became associated with refinements and enhancements of the core finding reported by Phillips. Indeed, all of these economists went on to become Nobel laureates in economics, although not exclusively because of their contributions to the analysis of what has since been called the Phillips curve. Indeed, the concept is so influential that it spawned several different versions of the trade-off used to guide policy makers as a menu for the choices they face when deciding whether the gains from lower inflation are offset by the economic costs of higher unemployment. Initially, expectations of individuals or firms were ignored. This briefly gave policy makers the impression that they could simply select an inflation-unemployment combination and implement the necessary policy mix to achieve the desired outcome. Once a role for expectations was incorporated, debate centred on how forward-looking individuals are. The more forward-looking, the less likely it was that policy makers would be able to “exploit” the trade-off because, unless wages rose in purchasing-power terms, the gains from lower unemployment would, at best, be temporary once workers realized that the higher inflation, at unchanged wages, actually drives real wages down. Indeed, the pendulum swung all the way to the conclusion — reached by the 1970s and early 1980s — that the Phillips curve was illusory and there was no trade-off policy makers could exploit.
  • Topic: Economics, Human Welfare, International Political Economy, Labor Issues, Global Markets
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Yang Jiang, Aki Tonami, Adam Moe Fejerskov
  • Publication Date: 11-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: China actively seeks to expand its overseas investment in critical infrastructure. This involvement makes host countries uneasy especially in the West, even though financial benefits sometimes override broader national interests and security issues. China’s attempts to invest in overseas critical infra- structure, defined as infrastructure closely related to sovereignty and national security, has become a sensitive issue to host country governments parti- cularly in the West. They fear that Chinese investment in nuclear and telecommunications infrastructures entails consequences for nuclear security and safety and information security respectively. This policy brief provides an overview of how various countries have received Chinese interest in nuclear power and telecommunications.
  • Topic: International Political Economy, International Security, Nuclear Power, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: China, Global Focus
  • Author: Dick Zandee
  • Publication Date: 12-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Clingendael Netherlands Institute for International Relations
  • Abstract: The newly launched European Defence Action Plan (EDAP) opens the door to EU spending on defence. This Policy Brief analyses why the EDAP has been launched, what it is and how it will work in practice. It argues that the plan is a step change in the European Commission’s growing involvement in defence and a potential game changer in solving the problem of European military shortfalls. European capitals should therefore embrace the new kid on the block and make full use of the potential offered by the EDAP.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, International Political Economy, Military Affairs
  • Political Geography: Europe, Global Focus
  • Author: Stephen Blank
  • Publication Date: 06-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Canadian Global Affairs Institute (CGAI)
  • Abstract: The global economy can be viewed today as a myriad of border-crossing supply chain networks of production, supply, distribution and marketing systems. Given the enormous value embodied in these systems, and an environment increasingly characterized by uncertainty and vulnerability, it is not surprising that concern about supply chain security has intensified. Concern takes many forms. For example, how supply chains might be used as vehicles for criminal activity (smuggling, trafficking of narcotics and importing counterfeit goods) or acts of terrorism (radio-active materials, bombs, even nukes in containers). Technology-based threats to supply chains, such as cybercrimes, data breaches and IT failures, now appear more frequently in the literature on supply chain security. These threats could result in substantial disruption to supply chains and damage to companies and their customers. But larger storms are brewing, whose menace to supply chain security is greater still – and where actions to protect supply chains move more slowly. These include the continued deterioration of transportation infrastructure, a new posture on trade which views supply chains as threats to jobs and wages, and the impact of climate change. These threats do not lie off in the distant future; they are threats of today and tomorrow.
  • Topic: International Political Economy, International Security, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Martin Guzman
  • Publication Date: 05-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: It is e cient that insolvent debtors restructure their liabilities. A timely and e cient process of debt restructuring is in the best interest of the aggregate. Conversely, delaying the restoration of debt sustainability may aggravate the economic situation of the debtor. is is ine cient: the prolongation of a recession decreases the amount of resources to be shared by the debtor and its creditors. e costs can be enormous for societies, as deep depressions are usually accompanied by high and persistent unemployment (generally unevenly distributed among the di erent cohorts and segments of the labour force), inequality and poverty.
  • Topic: International Political Economy, Sustainable Development Goals
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Domenico Lombardi , Kelsey Shanty
  • Publication Date: 11-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: The annual CIGI Survey of Progress in International Economic Governance assesses progress in five areas of international economic governance: macroeconomic and financial cooperation; cooperation on financial regulation; cooperation on development; cooperation on trade; and cooperation on climate change. In this year’s survey, 31 CIGI experts conclude that international economic arrangements continue to show a level of “status quo,” averaging a score of 50% across all five areas. The 2015 survey indicates a slight improvement to the result of last year’s survey, which suggested a minimal regression overall. The experts’ assessment of progress was most promising in the area of climate change cooperation, with an average score of 57%, whereas the least promising area was macroeconomic and financial cooperation, with a score of 44%, indicating minimal regression. The remaining three areas polled all fell within the “status quo” range, with trade at 46%, development at 48% and international cooperation on financial regulation at 53%. Interestingly, in the area of cooperation on development, CIGI’s experts provided a relatively mixed assessment. Responses varied based on experts’ perception of the effectiveness of current rhetoric, from 70% (indicating some progress) to 10% (suggesting major regression). Compared to last year, climate change governance has made the greatest improvement, but the remaining three areas (with the exception of development, which was not included in the 2014 survey) have all, on average, regressed further or remained stagnant. This trend is cause for concern.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Development, International Political Economy, International Trade and Finance, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Aspen Institute
  • Publication Date: 02-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Aspen Institute
  • Abstract: In this brief, we use data from the Entrepreneurship Acceleration Research Initiative in order to respond to the following question by Steve Cumming of the MasterCard Foundation about Youth Entrepreneurship “At The MasterCard Foundation, we have a portfolio of youth entrepreneurship projects that we support in Sub Saharan Africa. We’re always looking for data to better understand the space and to inform our programming. I’m wondering if you could share any data by ages 18-24 and 25-30, and by African country or region if possible. Do you see anything interesting under these parameters?”
  • Topic: International Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Global Focus