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  • Author: Ryan Rutkowski
  • Publication Date: 01-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: Faced with slowing economic growth, Chinese policymakers now recognize that the service sector of the economy—transportation, communications, finance, and health care—could spur economic activity and employment. The catch is that China must reform these and other areas to accomplish this goal. Chinese leaders have outlined an ambitious agenda for reform, but myriad vested interests could slow or block their plans. This Policy Brief evaluates the steps taken so far and the difficulties that lie ahead in implementing them. If policymakers fail to reform and open up the service sector, they run the risk of seriously impairing China's growth prospects.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Labor Issues, Financial Crisis, Reform
  • Political Geography: China
  • Author: Boy Lüthje, Christopher A. McNally
  • Publication Date: 10-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: The global financial crisis of 2008-09 led to a policy consensus in China that its socioeconomic development model needed rebalancing. China's rapid development has been based on extensive growth reliant on exports, low wages, environmental exploitation, and the manufacturing of cheap products. China's current plans identify paths to economic rebalancing through intensive growth driven by rising investment in new technologies and manufacturing processes, improved wages and skills, and improved worker and environmental protections. Two industries, automotive and information technology, demonstrate the experience of and opportunities for rebalancing. Both offer improved employment conditions with better wages, but continue to incorporate large swaths of low-wage employment with little protection for workers' health and the environment. Economic rebalancing in China, therefore, has so far only appeared in pockets. Institutional safeguards for wages and labor standards remain constrained by powerful alliances among multinational corporations, Chinese state-owned/private enterprises, and the Chinese state.
  • Topic: Economics, Political Economy, Labor Issues, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: China
  • Author: Li-gang Liu
  • Publication Date: 08-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: China's property market has slowed significantly since the first half of 2014, with sharp declines in sales and a buildup in the inventory of new homes. This sharper than expected downturn—which has affected not only second- and third tier smaller cities but also first-tier megacities such as Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen, and Guangzhou—contrasts with last year's buoyant sales and double-digit price surge. Compounded by fears of a default in the shadow banking system and the perception of a highly leveraged Chinese economy, the sudden declines in the property sector are being watched closely. Many commentators believe this could be a turning point for the sector, triggering a hard landing of the Chinese economy and even a financial crisis. Over the last decade, China's property sector has become an important pillar for the country's growth as well as the key source for elevated commodity prices. A property market slump would hurt other sectors, as well as drag down resource-rich economies that rely heavily on China to buy their exports.
  • Topic: Economics, Financial Crisis, Urbanization
  • Political Geography: Japan, China, United Nations
  • Author: Nicholas Borst
  • Publication Date: 10-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: The Chinese financial system has undergone almost continuous reform since the dismantling in the 1980s of the Soviet- style system where only one state-controlled bank existed. Government efforts to create a financial system that adheres to international best practices of commercial lending accelerated in the 1990s (box 1). Reforms progressed quickly during this period, but they were accompanied by excessive credit growth and a massive increase in nonperforming loans, threatening the solvency of some banks and the financial stability of the entire economy. The risk of these weaknesses was dramatized by the 1997 Asian financial crisis, in which several nearby countries were crippled by plunging currency values, rising interest rates and difficulties servicing their foreign-held debts.
  • Topic: Debt, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: China
  • Author: Joseph E. Gagnon
  • Publication Date: 11-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: There is a long-standing debate among economists and policymakers on the benefits of flexible versus fixed exchange rates (Klein and Shambaugh 2010). In principle, flexible exchange rates allow a country's central bank to focus on stabilizing economic growth and inflation, which are the ultimate goals of monetary policy. However, some argue that in practice central banks often do not use their powers wisely and it may be better to restrict their freedom by requiring them to peg their currency to that of an important trading partner. Others note that flexible exchange rates are far more volatile than fundamental factors can explain (Flood and Rose 1995), raising the possibility that they may introduce wasteful cross-sectoral fluctuations in economic activity. One common viewpoint is that flexible exchange rates may be fine for large countries but that the smallest countries are better off with fixed exchange rates (Åslund 2010).
  • Topic: Economics, Foreign Exchange, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan, China, United Kingdom
  • Author: Paul Blustein
  • Publication Date: 10-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: Myriad dangers beset the global economy. The US Federal Reserve is trying to curb its ultra-easy money policy, a delicate operation that could plunge the world into recession if done too abruptly. The euro zone might fall back into turmoil. Japan's experiment with “Abenomics”1 could go sour. China's banking system looks shaky. Emerging economies are suffering large scale withdrawals of foreign funds.
  • Topic: Debt, Development, Economics, International Monetary Fund, Foreign Aid, Fragile/Failed State, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: China
  • Publication Date: 06-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Economist Intelligence Unit
  • Abstract: The global economy remains in precarious shape. Europe's debt crisis rages on, and although the euro appears to have survived its most recent test in the form of the Greek election on June 17th, austerity and financial-market uncertainty are depressing economic activity in Europe and, by extension, in much of the rest of the world. The Economist Intelligence Unit continues to expect global GDP growth to slow in 2012, and while our forecasts for the G3 economies—the US, euro zone and China—are essentially unchanged this month, we have cut our projections for Brazil and India.
  • Topic: Debt, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Europe, India, Brazil
  • Author: Alain Guidetti
  • Publication Date: 11-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Geneva Centre for Security Policy
  • Abstract: The international strategic landscape is evolving at an unprecedented pace. The widespread assumption is that the global balance of power is shifting from the West to the East (and the South), as a consequence of the convergence of two variables: the sustained economic growth of China and Asia over recent decades, and the Western economic downturn since the 2008 global financial crisis. Though interpretations differ on the meaning and magnitude of this power shift, the prevailing assumption is that it reflects the weakness, and for some the relative decline, of the US and the West against Asia's and primarily China's strong rise. The implications of these developments across the Asia-Pacific are deep and have already led to growing strategic competition between Beijing and Washington for preeminence over the Asia-Pacific and new uncertainties over global and regional governance.
  • Topic: Economics, Human Rights, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Washington, Beijing, Asia, Australia, Asia-Pacific
  • Author: John H. Makin
  • Publication Date: 03-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: The array of postbubble stresses and uncertainties identified in the January 2010 Economic Outlook (“The Year Ahead”) promised that the new year would see plenty of volatility in markets. That is exactly what is playing out as we move through the first quarter. As risks accumulate, it may be that 2010 is shaping up as a mirror image of 2009, reversing last year's down-then-up pattern with an up-then-down pattern this year.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Monetary Policy, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan, China, Europe
  • Author: Leonard S. Rubenstein
  • Publication Date: 01-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: During the 1990s, economic mismanagement, political oppression, natural disaster, and loss of external subsidies after the end of communism led to a calamitous decrease in food production in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK). The public health infrastructure, including water and sanitation systems, drug distribution and supply chains, and local clinics and hospitals, also deteriorated. At least half a million people died of starvation and millions more suffered acute or chronic malnutrition. Malnutrition increased vulnerability to disease at a time when the health system was incapable of effective response. Fifeen years later, neither health nor the food systems have recovered as the economy persistently stagnates. Health continues to be a low priority for the government. The availability of food is insufficient to meet population needs, hospitals and clinics are significantly ill-equipped, the medical workforce lacks appropriate training, and corruption in drug distribution is pervasive. Malnutrition and anemia, as well as diseases associated with poor sanitation, remain widespread. Over the last few years, DPRK has begun to accept international assistance to address health system needs, most notably to vaccinate children. Although these initiatives address some infrastructure needs, the continued centralized control of health and the lack of open discussion about key issues renders the possibility of reforms sufficient to meet the health needs of the people of North Korea dim. During the economic crisis, tens of thousands of North Koreans migrated to China despite harsh measures imposed by both governments to restrict border crossing and a refusal by China to give legal status to the migrants. To a limited extent, migration ameliorated the health impact of the crisis by stimulating illicit cross-border trade and informal markets that increased some North Koreans' access to food. Even after a disastrous effort by the DPRK government to shut the markets down in 2009, they are re-emerging. China's encouragement of these markets, along with regularizing the status of migrants in China, could advance its own economic interests as well as contributing to improving the health of North Koreans.
  • Topic: Communism, Economics, Health, Markets, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: China, Israel, North Korea
  • Author: Uri Dadush, Vera Eidelman
  • Publication Date: 11-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: The Great Recession included five major surprises: (1) the severity of the global trade and output collapse, (2) the United States suffered a milder than expected recession, (3) Europe saw the onset of a severe sovereign debt crisis, (4) China grew at an extraordinary rate even though it's greatly dependent on exports, and (5) Latin America showed remarkable resilience.
  • Topic: Economics, Globalization, Global Recession, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Europe, Latin America
  • Author: Luc Soete, Alexis Habiyaremye
  • Publication Date: 01-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Before the current global recession, many resource-rich African countries were recording unprecedented levels of growth due to a raw material price boom. However, the collapse in raw material prices and the ensuing severe economic difficulties have again exposed the vulnerability of these countries' natural resource export-focussed economic structures. In this research brief, we describe how Africa's abundance of natural resources attracted disruptive and predatory foreign forces that have hindered innovation-based growth and economic diversification by delaying the accumulation of sufficient stocks of human capital. We suggest that for their long-term prosperity, resource-rich African countries shift their strategic emphasis from natural to human resources and technological capabilities needed to transform those natural resources into valuable goods and services to compete in the global market.
  • Topic: Economics, Emerging Markets, Industrial Policy, Global Recession, Natural Resources, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Africa, China, India
  • Author: Nicholas R. Lardy
  • Publication Date: 03-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: China's policy response to the global financial and economic crisis was early, large, and well-designed. Although Chinese financial institutions had little exposure to the toxic financial assets that brought down many large Western investment banks and other financial firms, China's leadership recognized that its dependence on exports meant that it was acutely vulnerable to a global recession. Thus they did not subscribe to the view sometimes described as “decoupling,” the idea that Asian countries could passively weather the financial storm that originated in the United States and other advanced industrial economies. They understood that absent a vigorous policy response China inevitably would suffer from the backwash of a sharp economic slowdown in its largest export markets—the United States and Europe.
  • Topic: Economics, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Europe, Asia
  • Author: John H. Makin
  • Publication Date: 01-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: We can expect 2010 to be a volatile year. This likelihood is underscored by looking back at 2008 and 2009. Two thousand eight was a highly volatile year leading up to the collapse of Lehman Brothers in September, which was followed by the risk of a total systemic meltdown. That sharp and obvious risk spike prompted massive policy responses that were simply the largest that central banks, with rate cuts and liquidity provision, and governments, with tax cuts and spending increases, could manage. The result—beginning in March 2009—was a linear rise in the prices of risky assets, the result of massive relief once the slip into a global depression had been averted and the acute phase of the crisis in the financial sector had passed.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan, China, Europe
  • Author: Manmohan Agarwal
  • Publication Date: 01-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: Many analysts believe that developed countries will recover very slowly from the global economic crisis. Consequently, they have looked to the emerging economies of the developing world to help stabilize the world economy and generate a stronger recovery. Indeed, when the financial crisis first engulfed the rich countries in 2008 and early 2009, growth in developing economies was not affected as their banks and financial systems faced neither credit problems nor a more serious meltdown. It is true that some foreign investors, particularly institutional investors, withdrew their money from developing countries with large stock exchanges, setting off stock price declines and some currency devaluations. But this did not affect the “real” economy of production and employment. There was a wide belief that many developing economies were “decoupled” from the rich economies and could continue to grow and this growth would buoy the world economy. Even when output declined dramatically in the developed economies, reducing the demand for developing countries' exports, it was expected that growth in the larger emerging economies would not be significantly affected. This has been borne out by subsequent events. Growth in China has been 8-9 percent and in India about 6 percent in the first three quarters of 2009.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Emerging Markets, International Trade and Finance, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: China, India
  • Author: Kevin P. Gallagher
  • Publication Date: 02-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment
  • Abstract: Almost immediately after taking office, the Obama administration charged the U.S. Department of State's Advisory Committee on International Economic Policy with reviewing the U.S. Model bilateral investment treaty (BIT). The group established a sub-committee of business groups, labor and environmental organizations, and a handful of academic experts and tasked it to make official recommendations for reforming U.S. investment treaties. When completed, the Obama Administration hopes to proceed with official negotiations with China, India, Vietnam, and possibly Brazil.
  • Topic: Economics, Globalization, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: United States, China, India, Brazil, Vietnam
  • Author: Michael Pettis
  • Publication Date: 11-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: In September, the Obama administration imposed tariffs on Chinese tires. In October, the U.S. Department of Commerce announced it would launch an investigation into imports of seamless steel pipes from China. That same month, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the U.S.–China Business Council, two groups that in the past have defended Chinese policies, testified to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative that Chinese contracting rules, technical standards, and licensing requirements were protectionist.
  • Topic: Economics, Globalization, Foreign Direct Investment, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: China, Middle East, Asia
  • Author: Sandeep Kapur, Suma Athreye
  • Publication Date: 01-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: The last two decades have seen a significant rise in the internationalization of firms from developing economies. In addition to their growing participation in international trade, a number of leading emerging economies are contributing to growing outflows of foreign direct investment (FDI) and cross-border mergers and acquisitions. According to the 2008 World Investment Report, outward flows of FDI from developing countries rose from about US$6 billion between 1989 and 1991 to US$225 billion in 2007. As a percentage of total global outflows, the share of developing countries grew from 2.7% to nearly 13.0% during this period.
  • Topic: International Relations, Economics, Globalization, International Political Economy, Markets, Foreign Direct Investment, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: United States, China, India
  • Author: Stephen Grenville
  • Publication Date: 09-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Lowy Institute for International Policy
  • Abstract: International external imbalances have been blamed for playing a central role in the Global Financial Crisis. China's large external surplus usually figures prominently in these explanations. While a more balanced account of the causes of the crisis would give only a modest role to external imbalances there seems little doubt that some adjustment of these imbalances over the next few years is both inevitable and desirable, not because external imbalances in themselves are inherently undesirable, but because some of the specific components of today's current balances are unsustainable. Markets could bring about these necessary adjustments over time. History, however, tells us that market-driven adjustments are often accompanied by exchange-rate overshooting and trade- threatening protectionist responses.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: China
  • Author: Igor Torbakov, Vadim Kononenko
  • Publication Date: 09-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: As the Kremlin believes that the global economic downturn is increasing the trend towards greater regionalism, the strategic conclusion is to strengthen Russia's position as the centre of its "own region" - post-Soviet Eurasia. In order to enhance its geopolitical posture in the ex-Soviet area, Russia has been pursuing a two- track policy: it is buying up assets from, and giving out loans to, its distressed neighbours on a massive scale. Several forces appear to be working at cross-purposes with the Kremlin's ambitions: 1) the state of Russia's own economic system; 2) the wiliness and cunning maneuvering of Moscow's "allies"; and 3) the growing competition on the part of the other centres of power - the European Union and China. Ultimately, the Kremlin's desperate efforts to turn Russia into a geopolitical leader of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) are likely to be frustrated by Russia's lack of a coherent long-term strategy and by its socio-political system's dearth of appeal.
  • Topic: Globalization, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, Europe, Asia, Soviet Union
  • Author: John H. Makin
  • Publication Date: 09-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: More than two years have passed since the U.S. housing bubble burst. That event ushered in a financial crisis that was not only intense but also stunning. So stunning in fact, that in August of last year, just a month before the collapse of Lehman Brothers, the global economy was close to a crisis worthy of comparison with the Great Depression, yet neither the markets nor the Federal Reserve had much of an inkling of what was to come. The Standard and Poor's (S) 500 Index had come down to about 1,300 from its October 2007 high of 1,576. Positive growth had just been reported for the U.S. economy during the second quarter of 2008 at an annual rate of 2.8 percent (later revised down to 1.5 percent). Almost one percentage point of that growth came from U.S. consumption, and government spending also contributed. The wave of relief after the Bear Stearns scare in March 2008 had provided a nice boost to the economy and to markets. That boost was further enhanced by the substantial contribution to growth from net exports (2.9 percentage points) thanks to what was, then, continuing strength in the global economy, especially in China, which had reported blistering 10.1 percent year-over-year growth in the second quarter of 2008. These and other positive components more than offset a drag from inventories and residential investment. In short, the real economy had not shown much evidence of damage emanating from the chaos that was churning in the financial sector.
  • Topic: Economics, International Political Economy, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Monetary Policy, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: United States, China
  • Author: Jaya Prakash Pradhan
  • Publication Date: 08-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment
  • Abstract: Just over a year ago, outward foreign direct investment (OFDI) from India seemed to be on a path of rapid and sustained growth. Its annual average growth of 98% during 2004–07 had been unprecedented , much ahead of OFDI growth from other emerging markets like China (74%), Malaysia (70%), Russia (53%), and the Republic of Korea (51%), although from a much lower base. Much of this recent growth had been fuelled by large-scale overseas acquisitions, however, and it faltered when the global financial crisis that started in late 2007 made financing acquisitions harder.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Foreign Direct Investment, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, Malaysia, India, Korea
  • Author: Ken Davies
  • Publication Date: 05-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment
  • Abstract: In 2008 global FDI fell by around 20%, while outward FDI from China nearly doubled. This disparity is likely to continue in 2009 and 2010 as China invests even more overseas. What is driving this continuing surge in China's outward FDI?
  • Topic: International Trade and Finance, Foreign Direct Investment, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Publication Date: 12-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxford Economics
  • Abstract: A turn in the domestic investment cycle has been coupled with a dramatic slowdown in external demand, leaving China weathering storms on both fronts. But with the government announcing an unprecedented fiscal package and with fewer structural problems to contend with than in earlier downturns, China is likely to fare better than in previous domestically-driven slowdowns such as in the early-1980s and 1990s.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Markets, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: China