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  • Author: Soyoung Han, Marcus Noland
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: The Summer Olympic Games are the most globalized sporting event on earth. Until now, the Summer Games had been postponed only three times—in 1916, 1940, and 1944—all because of world wars. So, the announcement that in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 Tokyo Games would be postponed by a year is significant, implicit testimony to the destructiveness of the pandemic. The Tokyo Games were expected to continue the evolution of the Games away from the aristocratic European milieu where the modern Olympic movement began. As poverty has declined and incomes across the global economy have converged, participation in the Games has broadened and the pattern of medaling has become more pluralistic, particularly in sports with low barriers to entry in terms of facilities and equipment. This Policy Brief presents forecasts of medal counts at the 2020 Tokyo Summer Games had they had gone on as scheduled, setting aside possible complications arising from the coronavirus pandemic. The forecasts are not just a depiction of what might have been. They establish a benchmark that can be used when the Games are eventually held, to examine the impact of the uneven incidence of the pandemic globally.
  • Topic: Economics, Globalization, Sports, Olympics
  • Political Geography: Japan, Asia, Global Focus
  • Author: Zaid Ali Basha, Rafat Al-Akhali
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Sana'a Center For Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: The sustainability of a peace agreement in Yemen depends on two critical economic issues. First, in a conflict that is largely over access to resources, the issues of distribution, control, and sharing of those resources can make or break peace. Therefore, these issues must be addressed head-on during negotiations. Second, where peace agreements lack provisions that create overall economic stability, warfare can resume during the fragile implementation period. The fears over the resumption of conflict after signing a peace agreement are substantiated by several historical events in Yemen, such as the failure of the GCC Initiative.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Economics, Natural Resources, Peacekeeping, Peace, Economic Development
  • Political Geography: Asia, Yemen, West Asia
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Sana'a Center For Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: The fishing industry in Yemen faces many structural challenges that have limited its production and potential contribution to overall economic output. Development of the industry’s infrastructure, human capacity and regulation was already poor prior to the outbreak of the ongoing armed conflict in Yemen. Since the war began five years ago the fishing industry has faced increased challenges, including a significant drop in the level of production with the displacement of many fishermen and associated workforce; fish processing plants halting production; surging fuel costs; the decline of local purchasing power leading to a drop in the local demand for fish products; and the disempowerment of the Ministry of Fish Wealth (MFW), among other challenges.
  • Topic: Economics, Oceans and Seas, Economic Development , Fishing
  • Political Geography: Asia, Yemen, West Asia
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Sana'a Center For Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: This policy brief summarizes discussions regarding Yemen’s human capital at a “Rethinking Yemen’s Economy” workshop held in Amman, Jordan, on August 24-25, 2019. The workshop participants agreed that Yemen’s human capital accumulation has almost certainly regressed since the current conflict began. However, there is a dearth of reliable data to assess the scope and nature of this regression and thus how to best direct responses. There was also a consensus that many of the obstacles to improving Yemen’s human capital were present prior to the current conflict. In line with these findings, this brief recommends: countrywide population surveys; more funding of development projects over emergency humanitarian assistance; education reforms; and the targeting of sectors with high human capital returns. Crucially, policymakers should not wait for the end of the conflict to implement these recommendations. Investment in Yemen’s human capital now, specifically in geographic areas away from frontline fighting, should hasten the speed of the post-conflict economic recovery and lay the foundations for the sustainable development of the economy beyond the war.
  • Topic: Economics, Human Capital, Economic Development
  • Political Geography: Asia, Yemen, West Asia
  • Author: Gary Clyde Hufbauer , Zhiyaou (Lucy) Lu
  • Publication Date: 10-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: In early 2019, several important members of the World Trade Organization (WTO) submitted noteworthy proposals in a realm of international commerce that has evolved faster than rules to govern it: e-commerce or digital trade. While countries agree on less controversial subjects like banning unsolicited commercial electronic messages, the three leading WTO members—China, the European Union, and the United States—have big differences in their approaches to more challenging issues: data flows, data localization, privacy invasions by data collectors, transfer of source code, imposition of customs duties and internet taxes, and internet censorship. Their differing viewpoints lead Hufbauer and Lu to conclude that the prospect of reaching a high-level WTO e-commerce agreement is not promising. To reach an agreement, either most of the contentious issues must be dropped or the number of participating countries must be sharply reduced. A WTO accord, even of low ambition, would have value if only to establish basic digital norms on matters such as banning unsolicited commercial messages and protecting online consumers from fraudulent practices. A more ambitious accord covering the controversial issues should be negotiated in bilateral and/or plurilateral/regional pacts rather than in the WTO.
  • Topic: Economics, World Trade Organization, Finance, Privacy, Data
  • Political Geography: China, Europe, Asia, North America, United States of America, European Union
  • Author: Sherman Robinson, Karen Thierfelder
  • Publication Date: 11-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: The terms of the US-China trade war change often, but the tariff escalations have inflicted documented economic damage on both countries. Expanding the conflict will only increase the damage and reverberate across the world economy. This Policy Brief uses a computable general equilibrium model of the global economy to analyze three scenarios that could unfold in coming months. The first scenario is the current situation (as of June 2019). Two additional scenarios assume implementation of proposed US tariffs and Chinese responses. The models project the situation after the two countries and the rest of the world adjust across a time horizon of three to five years. For the United States, higher tariffs raise prices and reduce demand for consumers and producers. For China, the tariffs raise the prices of consumer goods but have less direct impact on producers, because the Chinese have exempted some intermediate inputs. US exports and imports decline under all three scenarios. But China can successfully divert its exports away from the United States and escape maximum economic damage.
  • Topic: Economics, Global Markets, Finance, Trade Wars, Trade
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Jacob Funk Kirkegaard
  • Publication Date: 09-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: For years China has been one of the world’s most rapidly growing sources of outward foreign direct investment. Since peaking in 2016, however, Chinese outward investments, primarily to the United States but also the European Union, have declined dramatically, especially in response to changes in China’s domestic rules on capital outflows and in the face of rising nationalism in the United States. Concerns about growing Chinese influence in other economies, the ascendant role of an authoritarian government in Beijing, and the possible security implications of Chinese dominance in the high-technology sector have put Chinese outward investments under intense international scrutiny. This Policy Brief analyzes the most recent trends in Chinese investments in the United States and the European Union and reviews recent political and regulatory changes both have adopted toward Chinese inward investments. It also explores the emerging transatlantic difference in the regulatory response to the Chinese information technology firm Huawei. Concerned about national security and as part of the ongoing broader trade friction with China, the United States has cracked down far harder on the company than the European Union.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, National Security, Foreign Direct Investment, Investment
  • Political Geography: China, Europe, Asia, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Olivier Blanchard, Takashi Tashiro
  • Publication Date: 05-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: For many years, the Japanese government has promised an eventual return to primary budget surpluses, but it has not delivered on these promises. Its latest goal is to return to primary balance by 2025. Blanchard and Tashiro, however, argue that, in the current economic environment in Japan, primary deficits may be needed for a long time, because they may be the best tool to sustain demand and output, alleviate the burden on monetary policy, and increase future output. What primary deficits are used for, however, is equally important, and the Japanese government should put them to better use. The authors recommend that, given Japan’s aging population, the government should spend on measures aimed at increasing fertility—and by implication population and output growth—which are likely to more than pay for themselves.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, Budget, Fiscal Policy, Deficit
  • Political Geography: Japan, Asia
  • Author: Andreas Goldthau
  • Publication Date: 11-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP)
  • Abstract: Global energy demand is shifting to Southeast Asia. This new trade flow is altering market power because it not only follows natural economic development, but also results from strategic trade and investment policies that promote national interests. In this context, the EU needs to account for the geo-economic side effects of the new European Green Deal.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Economics, Energy Policy, European Union, Risk, Trade
  • Political Geography: Europe, Asia, Southeast Asia
  • Publication Date: 10-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Sana'a Center For Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: Even before the current conflict, Yemen’s public finances suffered from an overdependence on energy exports, one of the lowest tax collection rates in the world, and chronic budget and balance of payments deficits. The government’s consistent operating deficits were funded through domestic debt instruments – drawing investment away from the private sector – borrowing from its own central bank, and foreign loans. Meanwhile, current (or recurring) expenditures dominated government spending relative to capital investments, indicating the state’s poor track record in development initiatives.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Tax Systems, Exports, Economic Development , Capital Controls
  • Political Geography: Asia, Yemen, West Asia
  • Publication Date: 09-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Sana'a Center For Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: This policy brief addresses the issue of Yemen’s bloated public sector. Due to decades of corruption and patronage appointments, among other factors, public sector salaries were already a source of fiscal stress prior to the ongoing war. Previous efforts to downsize the public sector, notably those supported by the World Bank, produced few tangible results, as this brief outlines. During the conflict, the internationally recognized Yemeni government and the armed Houthi movement have added to the public sector payroll — particularly in the military and security apparatus — as the economy has contracted. Amid consistently large budget deficits, the inflated public sector wage bill is fiscally unsustainable and threatens to undermine economic recovery and future stability in Yemen.
  • Topic: Economics, World Bank, Budget, Inflation, Public Sector, Fiscal Policy, Economic Development
  • Political Geography: Asia, Yemen, West Asia
  • Publication Date: 09-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Sana'a Center For Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: The business and investment climate for private sector actors in Yemen has long been challenging. The current conflict has expanded and magnified these changes such that today Yemen is last or near last in a host of global business competitiveness indexes. Many businesses across the country have closed and moved their capital elsewhere, while many of those that remain open have had to make drastic cuts to their workforces. However, relative to the public sector – which has seen the near collapse of most government institutions – the private sector has shown a far greater degree of resilience. Businesses have stepped in to replace absent government services in many areas, allowing access to basic commodities and providing livelihoods for millions of Yemenis.
  • Topic: Economics, Business , Economic Development , Private Sector
  • Political Geography: Asia, Yemen, West Asia
  • Author: Rafat Al-Akhali, Osamah Al-Rawhani, Anthony Biswell
  • Publication Date: 08-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Sana'a Center For Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: This policy brief offers recommendations to maximize the effectiveness of governance in post-conflict Yemen – whatever the composition or structure of the government. It presents three case studies on government models previously introduced in Yemen, Tunisia and Lebanon after periods of instability. These case studies offer useful lessons on the challenges, risks and opportunities of forming transitional governments in post-conflict contexts.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Economics, Government, Peacekeeping, Transitional Justice, Conflict, Peace, Transition
  • Political Geography: Asia, Yemen, West Asia
  • Author: Hannah Patchett, Dr. Fawziah Al-Ammar
  • Publication Date: 07-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Sana'a Center For Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: This policy brief sheds light on how the ongoing conflict in Yemen has affected women’s participation in the workforce. It finds that the protracted conflict has, on the one hand, pushed more women into the workforce and new labor markets, in some cases into professions previously dominated by men. While some women have established new enterprises, often home-based businesses, others have engaged in poorly paid physical work in response to the economic crisis and the loss of male breadwinners. On the other hand, the war has imposed new constraints on an already low women’s participation rate. This policy brief recommends that micro-economic initiatives to bring women into the workforce must be accompanied by long-term efforts to address socio-economic structures that have historically constrained women’s access to the workforce. Interventions must be guided by local consultations with women and men from all demographics, and must promote work that is fairly paid and provides security and social protection. Quota systems could ensure that women play an active role in recovery and reconstruction efforts; women must also be engaged at all decision-making levels in peace building efforts and in post-conflict Yemen.
  • Topic: Economics, Gender Issues, Women, Microeconomics, Economic Development
  • Political Geography: Asia, Yemen, West Asia
  • Publication Date: 04-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Sana'a Center For Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: Nearly five years of conflict in Yemen have created a humanitarian catastrophe that has brought the country to the brink of famine. The economy has collapsed and fighting has ravaged the country’s infrastructure. The reconstruction and recovery of Yemen will demand rebuilding the economy, restoring state institutions and infrastructure and repairing the social fabric. As yet, no official, donor-led, comprehensive reconstruction process is underway. The Development Champions emphasize that reconstruction and recovery efforts must begin immediately, even while the conflict is ongoing. Urgent humanitarian interventions should be linked to Yemen’s long-term economic recovery. The reconstruction of Yemen should aim to transform the country, and not only to restore the status quo ante. Yemenis and local institutions must be involved in this process from the planning stages to ensure legitimacy and local ownership; ultimately, local actors will be responsible for implementing these plans. With these factors in mind, the Development Champions held in-depth discussions to develop recommendations and guidelines to ensure the reconstruction and recovery of Yemen is a comprehensive, effective process that has a long-term positive impact. This policy paper presents those recommendations. They include measures to link immediate humanitarian interventions to Yemen’s long-term economic recovery; mechanisms to address fiscal challenges and enhance social protection; guidelines to create new jobs, rebuild infrastructure and strengthen the rule of law; and strategies to enhance local governance and local inclusion in the reconstruction process.
  • Topic: Economics, Economic Development
  • Political Geography: Asia, Yemen, West Asia
  • Author: Mansour Ali Al Bashiri
  • Publication Date: 03-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Sana'a Center For Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: In December 2018, 23 of Yemen’s leading socioeconomic experts convened in Amman during the Fourth Development Champions Forum to discuss economic confidence-building measures in the peace process in Yemen. The discussions at the Forum, which is part of the Rethinking Yemen’s Economy initiative, touched on a number of economic mechanisms that could be implemented to build confidence. These included supporting the Central Bank as an independent institution that serves all of Yemen; ensuring the deposit of public revenues in all governorates at the Central Bank headquarters in Aden; and opening ports and ensuring the free movement of goods, humanitarian aid and people between governorates. The Forum focused on the payment of salaries and pensions to all civil servants due to the critical importance of the issue; this policy brief presents the outcomes of this discussion. As a key step to simultaneously address the humanitarian crisis in Yemen and build confidence between the parties engaged in the peace process, the Development Champions recommend that the Yemeni government resumes salary payments to all civil servants working in the administrative apparatus of the state registered in the Ministry of Civil Service database of 2014 across Yemen, prioritizing payments to education and health workers. The Yemeni government should also continue to provide liquidity to guarantee the payment of pensions to all public sector retirees. Meanwhile, Ansar Allah should allow all state revenues in areas under their control to be deposited into the accounts specified by the Central Bank of Yemen temporarily headquartered in Aden, and all parties should work toward the restoration of the Central Bank as a national institution that serves all of Yemen. The Development Champions call on regional and international donors to cover any funding gap to support the payment of salaries and pensions.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Economics, Labor Issues, Income Inequality, Economic Development
  • Political Geography: Asia, Yemen, West Asia
  • Publication Date: 02-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Sana'a Center For Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: This policy brief outlines recommendations for the immediate priorities of the Government of Yemen, both to achieve quick wins and to prepare the ground for medium and long-term success. These recommendations are the outcomes of in-depth discussions held during the fourth Development Champions Forum convened on December 8-11, 2018, in Amman, Jordan. They are designed to offer Prime Minister Maeen Abdulmalik Saeed and his cabinet a set of practical measures to help the government build on the momentum and increased visibility it achieved in the final quarter of 2018. The immediate priorities recommended by the Development Champions include steps to support the stabilization of the local currency. an area in which tangible progress has already been made. The Champions also urge the government to regularize the payment of public sector salaries and pensions. Another immediate priority for the government should be to take steps to stabilize and transform Aden, the Champions suggest, based on the shared consensus that the southern coastal city could become a model for the rest of Yemen. The Champions emphasized that developing Aden would depend on improving the level of security across the governorate. While recognizing that the government faces immediate challenges that demand attention in Aden and across the country, the Development Champions urge the government to plan and implement procedures to prepare for the country’s medium and long-term future. These strategies should address the root causes of Yemen’s socio-economic instability, and not just its symptoms. Among the most important actions to prepare for long-term priorities is the expansion of the roles and responsibilities of local government authorities, the Champions concluded. During the conflict, decision-making authority has filtered down to the local level and become far more decentralized. The government should build on this new reality to reconfigure the state and its relationship with local government authorities.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, Public Sector, Economic Development
  • Political Geography: Asia, Yemen, West Asia
  • Publication Date: 11-2018
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Sana'a Center For Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: Corruption, or the abuse of power for private gain, has been deeply entrenched in the Yemeni political economy for decades. Over the course of the ongoing conflict, however, as the war has fragmented and regionalized the country, state capture in Yemen has become far more complex. In the war economy, patronage networks are now emerging among previously marginal or unknown figures. The financial involvement of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates has extended patronage across national borders. Alleged collusion between Houthi-affiliated importers and officials allied with the internationally recognized Yemeni government indicates patronage networks that potentially cross the frontlines of the war themselves. As greater numbers and a wider variety of actors profit from illicit activity in the war economy, vested economic interests in continued conflict become more entrenched. If state capture is among the main drivers of Yemen’s war economy, then post-conflict recovery must include a strong anti-corruption agenda. Policymakers must begin planning to address corruption as a part of a potential post-conflict strategy. Given the multi-faceted pervasiveness of corruption in Yemen, any anti-corruption agenda must aim to understand the complex configuration of patronage networks in Yemen, to be introduced gradually, and to get the buy-in of as wide a group of Yemenis as possible. Without these basic building blocks, more specific policy changes such as encouraging transparency or reducing conflicts of interest may founder. Corruption has become deeply entrenched in Yemen; any post-conflict anti-corruption agenda must be great in scope and long-term in vision.
  • Topic: Corruption, Economics, Government, War, Economic Development
  • Political Geography: Asia, Yemen, West Asia
  • Author: Justyna Szczudlik
  • Publication Date: 02-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Asia could be described as the world’s great construction site, and is already the focus of a scramble for infrastructure projects. Among countries competing for investments are not only China with its Silk Road initiative, but also Korea, Japan, India and ASEAN, which have prepared their own infrastructural strategies. The plethora of initiatives may have a positive impact on Asia, offering diverse solutions to the infrastructural bottleneck and reforms of existing institutions and modes of assistance. But there is also the risk that fierce competition may result in unprofitable projects, while economic slowdown could cause a decline in funding. For Europe these initiatives create opportunities to take part in new projects, but the EU should be aware that the projects will be implemented mainly in Asia and by Asian countries.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Infrastructure, Reform
  • Political Geography: Asia
  • Author: Jeffrey Schott, Eujiin Jung, Cathleen Cimino-Isaacs
  • Publication Date: 12-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: Of all the free trade agreements (FTAs) concluded by Korea with its major trading partners since the turn of the century, the Korea-China FTA may be the largest in trade terms. It is, however, far from the best in terms of the depth of liberalization and the scope of obligations on trade and investment policies. Korea and China agreed to liberalize a large share of bilateral trade within 20 years, but both sides incorporated extensive exceptions to basic tariff reforms and deferred important market access negotiations on services and investment for several years. Political interests trumped economic objectives, and the negotiated outcome cut too many corners to achieve such a comprehensive result. The limited outcome in the Korea-China talks has two clear implications for economic integration among the northeast Asian countries. First, prospects for the ongoing China-Japan-Korea talks will be limited and unlikely to exceed the Korea-China outcome. Second, Korea and Japan need to strengthen their bilateral leg of the northeast Asian trilateral and the best way is by negotiating a deal in the context of the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Politics, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Asia, Korea