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  • Author: William R. Cline
  • Publication Date: 11-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: This semiannual review finds that most of the major international currencies, including the US dollar, euro, Japanese yen, UK pound sterling, and Chinese renminbi, remain close to their fundamental equilibrium exchange rates (FEERs). The new estimates find this result despite numerous significant exchange rate movements associated with increased volatility in international financial markets at the beginning of the fourth quarter of 2014, and despite a major reduction in the price of oil. The principal cases of exchange rate misalignment continue to be the undervalued currencies of Singapore, Taiwan, and to a lesser extent Sweden and Switzerland, and the overvalued currencies of Turkey, New Zealand, South Africa, and to a lesser extent Australia and Brazil. Even so, the medium-term current account deficit for the United States is already at the outer limit in the FEERs methodology (3 percent of GDP), and if the combination of intensified quantitative easing in Japan and the euro area with the end to quantitative easing in the United States were to cause sizable further appreciation of the dollar, an excessive US imbalance could begin to emerge.
  • Topic: Economics, Foreign Exchange, International Trade and Finance, Monetary Policy
  • Political Geography: Africa, United States, Japan, Turkey, South Africa, Brazil, New Zealand
  • Author: Andrew Adams, Lyne Maheu, Kieran McDougal
  • Publication Date: 11-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: The Northern Pass Transmission Project is mired in political deadlock due to conflict over its potential impacts and current assessment process. Although the proposal has little political support within New Hampshire, the US Department of Energy (DOE's) assessment process is moving forward. New England has become increasingly dependent on natural gas for power generation, which has dramatically risen in price recently, and the Northern Pass presents an opportunity to diversify the region's electrical supply. However, as the project stands, New Hampshire bears a majority of the economic, social and ecological costs, while receiving little of the regional benefit of affordable, flexible and reliable energy. There may be similar alternatives to the Northern Pass that secure the regional benefits of energy security and reliability while also reducing local costs. Without comparing the Northern Pass against alternative infrastructure projects, policy makers cannot assess which project generates the most net benefits. This policy brief contrasts the local and regional impacts of the Northern Pass, in order to shed light on the deficiencies that arise when analysing energy infrastructure projects in isolation.
  • Topic: Economics, Energy Policy, Politics, Infrastructure
  • Political Geography: Canada, England
  • Author: Kevin Carmichael
  • Publication Date: 11-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper will miss the 2014 Beijing APEC summit. His former spokesman says it does not matter. "[I]t's safe to say that Canada won't lose out by skipping this particular summit, at this particular time, for this particular reason," Andrew McDougall (2014) wrote in an opinion article posted on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's (CBC's) website on November. In early October, a US State Department official told an audience in Washington, DC that Beijing was shaping up to be a "good" summit, in part because US President Barack Obama was planning to attend after missing the previous two APEC leaders' meetings (Wang 2014).
  • Topic: Economics, Regional Cooperation
  • Political Geography: United States, India, Asia
  • Author: Susan Schadler
  • Publication Date: 10-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: In April 2014, in a departure from its normal aversion to lending to countries in conflict, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) approved a US$17 billion loan to Ukraine to be disbursed over two years. At the time, Ukraine was three weeks away from a presidential election; engaged in combat with an armed separatist movement backed by Russia, its largest trading partner and supplier of energy; and experiencing a significant drain in foreign exchange reserves and bank deposits along with soaring yields on sovereign debt. The country was also reaping the returns of decades of economic mismanagement. Dire from both political and economic perspectives, the situation had the markings of a case where the IMF has the expertise to be usefully engaged, but there were also red flags demarcating circumstances that can hobble the IMF's effectiveness.
  • Topic: Economics, International Monetary Fund, Foreign Aid
  • Political Geography: Europe, Ukraine
  • Author: Domenico Lombardi, Barry Carin, David Kempthorne
  • Publication Date: 11-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: The annual CIGI Survey of Progress in International Economic Governance assesses progress in four dimensions of international economic governance: macroeconomic and financial cooperation; cooperation on financial regulation; cooperation on trade; and cooperation on climate change. Governance related to these dimensions is scored on the following progress scale: 0%-19% represents "major regression"; 20%-39% represents "some regression"; 40%-59% indicates "minimal progress"; 60%-79% characterizes progress; and 80%-100% represents "major progress." Recognizing the difficulty of making objective judgments given the complexity of the issues, the results are offered as a range of subjective opinions from CIGI experts with diverse backgrounds.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Economics, International Cooperation, International Trade and Finance, Governance
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe
  • Author: Pierre Siklos, Martin T. Bohl, Jeanne Diesteldorf
  • Publication Date: 09-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: This paper examines whether the introduction of Chinese stock index futures had an impact on the volatility of the underlying spot market. To this end, we estimate several Generalized Auto-Regressive Conditional Heteroscedasticity (GARCH) models and compare our findings for mainland China with Chinese index futures traded in Singapore and Hong Kong. Our results indicate that Chinese index futures decrease spot market volatility with all three spot markets considered. In contrast, we do not obtain the same results for the companion index futures markets in Hong Kong and Singapore. China's stock market is relatively young and largely dominated by private retail investors. Nevertheless, our evidence is favourable to the stabilization hypothesis usually confirmed in mature markets.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets
  • Political Geography: China, Singapore
  • Author: Tim Gore, Simon Bradshaw, Annaka Carvalho, Kiri Hanks, Jan Kowalzig
  • Publication Date: 12-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxfam Publishing
  • Abstract: Negotiations are currently under way to develop a new international climate change agreement that will cover all countries and curb global warming to below the internationally agreed limit of 2 degrees. The new agreement will be adopted at the United Nations Climate Change Conference – Conference of the Parties 21, or COP21 – to be held in Paris in November/December 2015, and will be implemented from 2020.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Development, Economics, Environment
  • Author: Rachel Wilshaw
  • Publication Date: 12-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxfam Publishing
  • Abstract: Almost a century after the ILO Constitution recognized the need for workers to earn a living wage, the question of whether wages enable workers to meet their needs and those of their families has gained renewed momentum. Much has been written on the issue, but very little that assesses how companies are implementing it, and the outcomes.
  • Topic: Economics, Human Welfare, Labor Issues
  • Author: Anders Åslund
  • Publication Date: 11-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: Ukraine has experienced a year of unprecedented political, economic, and military turmoil. The combination of Russian military aggression in the east and a legacy of destructive policies leading to pervasive corruption has plunged the country into an existential crisis. The West, meanwhile, has been largely paralyzed with uncertainty over how to assist Ukraine without reviving Cold War hostilities. Yet all is not lost for Ukraine. A tenuous ceasefire, along with the successful elections of President Petro Poroshenko in May and a new parliament in October offer an opportunity for economic reform. If the current ceasefire in the east holds, Ukraine has a great opportunity to break out of its vicious circle of economic underperformance. Yet, the window of opportunity is likely to be brief. The new government will have to act fast and hard on many fronts to succeed.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Economics, Politics
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Ukraine
  • Author: Giang Ho, Paolo Mauro
  • Publication Date: 12-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: With economic growth in advanced economies still lackluster or elusive, much hope for world prosperity rests on projections of continued strength in developing and emerging economies. On average, the economic growth rate in these economies was roughly twice as high—on an unweighted per capita basis—as in the advanced economies during the past decade. According to the forecasts analyzed in this Policy Brief, this superior performance is projected to extend into the next two decades.
  • Topic: Debt, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Political Economy