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  • Publication Date: 05-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxford Economics
  • Abstract: Shifts in financial balances between sectors of the economy are worth watching because they can signal broader cyclical changes. The US household financial balance turned negative in Q1. But that was mainly due to distortions in income related to tax increases in 2013. Taking the average of Q4 2012 and Q1 2013, households still have a positive balance. More importantly, the conditions are in place for a rise in capital expenditure (capex) by the corporate sector. This would allow both household and public sector savings to increase. It would also mean an upside risk to our main scenario for the US economy.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Baldur Thorhallsso, Alyson J. K. Bailes
  • Publication Date: 09-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Iceland applied for EU membership in 2009 at the height of the economic crisis. Four years later, a new government has put the application on hold: the majority of Icelanders are opposed to entry, but want to continue the accession process and put the results to a vote. Iceland's longer-standing problems with European integration stem from the issue of sovereignty in general, and maintaining control over fisheries and agriculture in particular. Since 2009, anti-European feelings have been stoked by the 'Icesave' dispute, while the prospective benefits of entry (including use of the euro) have been tarnished by witnessing the fate of other small states during the euro crisis. The new government proposes remaining a member of the EEA and developing relations with other world powers. But the US commitment to Iceland has weakened over the years, and 'rising' powers like China are unable, as yet, to solve the country's core problems. In terms of both its security and its standing within the global economy, Iceland is becoming more rather than less dependent on Europe over time. The question raised by the latest political turn is whether it will have to maintain that relationship from a distance, with limited control and with no guaranteed goodwill.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Political Economy, Regional Cooperation, Treaties and Agreements, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe
  • Author: William R. Cline, Joseph E. Gagnon
  • Publication Date: 09-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: Five years after the Federal Reserve and the Treasury allowed the investment bank Lehman Brothers to fail, their actions (or inaction) remain a focus of debate. Some argue that it was an inconsistent policy to have let Lehman fail while making emergency loans to save other large financial institutions in the same time frame. In this Policy Brief we present evidence that the Fed and Treasury had a sound reason to have bailed out other institutions while letting Lehman fail. Simply put, Lehman was insolvent—probably deeply so—whereas the other institutions arguably were solvent. In addition, the other institutions had abundant collateral to pledge, whereas what little collateral Lehman had to pledge was of questionable quality and scattered across many affiliated entities. Thus, federal officials, at least in hindsight, appear to have followed the dictum of Walter Bagehot (cited above), which has guided central banks for almost 150 years.
  • Topic: Debt, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Eva Gross
  • Publication Date: 04-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: European Union Institute for Security Studies
  • Abstract: Following President Obama's budget proposal on 8 April, the US has embarked on another round of negotiations in attempts to reach a fiscal deal. Differences between the two sides (Democrats insist on taxing the wealthy whereas Republicans insist on spending cuts) have their roots in respective party doctrines, and the current gridlock displays the exceedingly partisan nature of the current US political process. Although the origins of this dispute are clearly to be found in domestic politics, they increasingly have foreign policy implications as well. They are likely to have an impact across the Atlantic - where fiscal austerity and budgetary cuts are equally underway, albeit for reasons that do not entirely coincide - and an effect on EU-US security cooperation.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Economics, Politics
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Gayle Tzemach Lemmon
  • Publication Date: 12-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: The United States has made economic development a central tenet of its national security policy, alongside defense and diplomacy. One of the best and most cost-effective avenues for furthering economic development is investing in locally owned businesses, and yet the United States currently has no means for effectively and efficiently doing so. Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) have shown great potential in spurring economies, but their owners—especially women—are often unable to acquire the skills, resources, and support necessary to grow and sustain their businesses. Promoting local programs and global initiatives that encourage investments in SMEs and women entrepreneurs in lower-income countries will strengthen growth engines, diversify economies, improve communal well-being, stabilize societies, and accelerate progress toward international development goals. All of these results are in the interest of the United States, and could be achieved more quickly with the creation of an American development bank that aims to invest in and direct technical assistance to entrepreneurs in lower-income nations—the next-generation emerging markets. This can be done by expanding on the work already under way at the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC). Though several multilateral organizations have tackled pieces of this work, the United States has a unique role to play: investing in entrepreneurialism that creates jobs, bolsters the middle class, and spurs economic growth.
  • Topic: Security, Arms Control and Proliferation, Economics, Treaties and Agreements, Counterinsurgency
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, Central Asia
  • Author: Robert N. Stavins, Ottmar Edenhofer, Christian Flachsland
  • Publication Date: 10-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: The goal of the Harvard Project on Climate Agreements is to help identify and advance scientifically sound, economically rational, and politically pragmatic public policy options for addressing global climate change. Drawing upon leading thinkers in Argentina, Australia, China, Europe, India, Japan, and the United States, the Project conducts research on policy architecture, key design elements, and institutional dimensions of domestic climate policy and a post-2015 international climate policy regime. The Project is directed by Robert N. Stavins, Albert Pratt Professor of Business and Government, Harvard Kennedy School.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Economics, Energy Policy, Industrial Policy, International Cooperation, Treaties and Agreements
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan, China, Europe, India
  • Author: Karel Lannoo
  • Publication Date: 11-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: It is still an unresolved question whether a process for financial services regulatory cooperation and convergence will be included in the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).From a n end-user's perspective, it could be argued that its inclusion could be an opportunity not only as regards product choice, but also to improve the consumer or investor protection regulatory environment on both sides of the Atlantic. The inclusion would also be in line with the assessments made by both the EU and the US that the G-20 agenda has been incorporated in local legislation and that both regimes are thus 'equivalent'.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe
  • Author: Evanthia Balla
  • Publication Date: 04-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Norwegian Peacebuilding Resource Centre
  • Abstract: The South Caucasus, situated as it is at the crossroads of Eurasia's major energy and transport corridors, continues to play a vital role in the world's security affairs. After the end of the cold war the South Caucasus emerged as a key region in the geopolitical contest among regional and global powers. The South Caucasus states of Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia are constantly performing a balancing act in their relations with the U.S., Russia, Turkey and Iran. Armenia has developed strong political and economic ties with Iran in order to counter the Turkish-Azerbaijani axis. Azerbaijan seeks to reinforce its links with the West, especially the U.S., as its main extraregional source of diplomatic and economic support, while it remains cautious towards both Russian and Iranian ambitions in the region. Especially after the 2008 war with Russia and the loss of its provinces of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, Georgia has reinforced its links to Western powers and structures while strengthening its ties with Turkey. Both Turkey and Iran are trying to increase their influence in the region, while promoting their national interests in the international arena.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Economics, Islam, Power Politics
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Turkey, Middle East
  • Author: William C. Greenwalt
  • Publication Date: 12-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: The Pentagon has been undergoing major procurement reform since 1984, but hoped-for results have not been achieved. Bipartisan acquisition reform legislation was passed in the 1990s, but these positive changes did not hold. At the heart of the current procurement dilemma is too much faith in central planning and too little faith in the free market. Policymakers must first remedy the incentives underlying reform, and five overarching categories are driving the misplaced incentives: trust in central planning leading to increased bureaucracy, preference for defense-unique versus commercial solutions, distrust of the defense industry and profit motives, fear that the workforce is incapable of exercising discretion, and finally, preoccupation with cost certainty and maintaining low prices over achieving results and value. By reaching out to and incentivizing the private sector, the Pentagon can help reform the procurement system by lowering costs, restoring competition, and delivering taxpayers the best value for their money.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, Economics, Markets, Reform
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Andrew Shearer
  • Publication Date: 08-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: Like many other Western states, following the Cold War, Australia cut its defense budget, resulting in significant shortfalls in key military capabilities. Since the mid-1990s, successive Australian governments have outlined plans intended to boost the capabilities of Australia's armed forces. However, these strategic ambitions have in recent years been undercut by changes in government spending priorities and shortfalls in the national budget, jeopardizing the long-standing technological advantage Australian forces have enjoyed over other states in the region. As major Asian states such as China continue to grow their economies and modernize their armed forces, Australia must commit sufficient resources to its modernization agenda or risk losing its ability to help shape the Asia-Pacific ­security environment and risk fulfilling its role as a key US partner in America's pivot to Asia.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Defense Policy, Cold War, Economics, Armed Forces
  • Political Geography: Africa, United States, China, Asia, Australia
  • Author: David J. Stockton
  • Publication Date: 12-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: Janet Yellen, who will serve as the 15th chair of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System after her likely confirmation in December 2013, has the experience, intelligence, and judgment to be an excellent successor to Ben S. Bernanke. But she will need to employ all those strengths, and then some, to deal with the challenges facing the nation's central bank. Her success in confronting these challenges will profoundly affect the United States and world economies. Five key challenges await her.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Monetary Policy
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: William R. Cline
  • Publication Date: 11-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: Since the previous estimates of fundamental equilibrium exchange rates (FEERs) in this series in May (Cline 2013), numerous exchange rates have moved substantially in response to the announcement in late May that the US Federal Reserve would likely begin to "taper" its quantitative easing program of large-scale asset purchases. The new estimates here again take as their point of departure the medium-term current account projections of the most recent World Economic Outlook (WEO) of the International Monetary Fund (IMF 2013b). However, because of a seeming inertia in the Fund's projections despite large exchange rate moves, this round of calculations pays special attention to compiling alternative estimates for economies with large changes in exchange rates.
  • Topic: Economics, Foreign Exchange, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Monetary Policy, Governance
  • Political Geography: United States
  • 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: Robert Z. Lawrence, Lawrence Edwards
  • Publication Date: 10-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: Manufacturing is a key sector of the US economy. Although value added in manufacturing represented just 11.9 percent of GDP in 2012, manufacturing activity is strongly associated with economic growth, because manufacturing serves as the fulcrum of supply chains that combine and process raw materials and services to produce goods.1 In addition, the sector is among the most dynamic—accounting for about 70 percent of US spending on business research and development—and it regularly outstrips the rest of the economy in productivity growth. Over the long run, the contributions of US manufacturing to total output growth have been steady. Measured in 2005 dollars, for example, the share of manufacturing in US output was about the same in 2005 as in 1947.
  • Topic: Economics, Emerging Markets, Industrial Policy, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Simon Johnson, Jeffrey J. Schott
  • Publication Date: 10-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: In July 2013, the United States and the European Union launched negotiations on a Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). The talks aim to craft a comprehensive accord matching or exceeding the reforms achieved in their previous trade pacts. Since both sides have included financial services in prior free trade agreements (FTAs), they implicitly recognized that the TTIP accord would also cover this sector. But what will be included in the financial services chapter is still subject to debate.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Treaties and Agreements, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe
  • Author: Karl P. Sauvant
  • Publication Date: 10-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment
  • Abstract: Since China adopted its "going out" policy in 2001, her outward foreign direct investment (OFDI) flows have grown rapidly, reaching US$84 billion in 2012 (although the stock remains small). That year, China was the world's third largest outward investor (after the US and Japan). This performance raises all sorts of issues, especially because state-owned enterprises (SOEs) control some three-quarters of the country's OFDI stock. Three challenges are addressed in this Perspective.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Emerging Markets, Foreign Direct Investment
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan, China
  • Author: Benjamin W. Powell, Zachary Gochenour
  • Publication Date: 09-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Independent Institute
  • Abstract: The U.S. government interferes with the market for foreign laborers by restricting the number and mix of immigrants and setting tight quantitative limits on foreign-born guest workers. This has created a mismatch between the demand for foreign workers from U.S. businesses and their supply, directly leading to the illegal immigration situation we confront today. The current system inefficiently limits the gains that our economy could achieve from employing larger numbers of foreign workers, and it disproportionately harms small U.S. businesses. The economic fears associated with increased guest workers or immigrants are unfounded. The current Senate immigration reform proposal would be a marginal improvement but does not go far enough. Red Card, an alternative guest worker proposal, would better coordinate labor markets. Ultimately, an immigration market free from government limitations and interference would be the most efficient solution.
  • Topic: Economics, Labor Issues, Immigration, Governance
  • Political Geography: United States, North America
  • Author: Jeff Okun-Kozlowicki, Gabe Horwitz
  • Publication Date: 12-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Third Way
  • Abstract: The economic relationship between the United States and the European Union (EU) is so strong and so deeply integrated into multinational supply chains that policymakers often forget about it. Even with recent economic turbulence, the EU is America's largest trading partner. The EU remains one of the most important markets for the United States in terms of exports, two-way investment, and domestic job creation. But our marriage could be even stronger—especially at a time when both sides are seeking to recover from several years of lean economic growth. Breaking down trade barriers and spurring cooperation in key sectors would have significant benefits for American manufacturers and consumers in terms of the movies you watch, the car you drive, and the products you use.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Treaties and Agreements
  • Political Geography: United States, America, North America
  • Author: C. Boyden Gray
  • Publication Date: 02-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: In the aftermath of World War II, the greatest concern facing the United States and its European allies was restraining the Soviet Union and preventing the spread of communism. Cooperation on military security was paramount, and the United States and Europe rose to the challenge by creating NATO, a new type of multilateral defense agreement. Once again, the transatlantic relationship is at a new and perilous crossroads. But now it is economic, rather than military security that is at risk. Crisis grips the economies of Europe, just as the United States, mired in historic levels of unemployment in the wake of the 2008 recession, is rethinking its strategic priorities and place in the world. As before, fears mount concerning the future of liberal democracy and Western capitalism. The question is whether transatlantic cooperation will again rise to the challenge.
  • Topic: NATO, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Treaties and Agreements, Financial Crisis, Reform
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, North America
  • Author: Barry Pavel, Magnus Nordenman
  • Publication Date: 10-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: The current turbulent global landscape recalls past key transition points in history such as 1815, 1919, 1945, and 1989, when the path forward was not so clear-cut and the world faced the possibility of very different global futures. As the US National Intelligence Council suggested in its landmark 2012 report, Global Trends 2030: Alternative Worlds, the transatlantic community is entering a new era in history that will pose a very different set of challenges and offer unprecedented opportunities. If it is to survive, the NATO Alliance must navigate this crucial period by fundamentally reconsidering its place in the global landscape as well as its future roles, missions, and functions from a strategic, long-term perspective. The world is changing rapidly, and if NATO does not adapt with foresight for this new era, then it will very likely disintegrate.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Defense Policy, NATO, Demographics, Economics, Politics, Military Strategy, Reform
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: David Koranyi
  • Publication Date: 10-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: The fundamentals of the natural gas sectors of the United States and European Union (EU) are on divergent paths. While the US prepares for gas exports on the back of the unconventional gas revolution, Europe is facing declining indigenous production and growing dependence on imports. The Central and Southeastern Europe (CSEE) region has moved closer to integrate into the EU's internal energy market, but it remains in a vulnerable position in the short-term compared to the rest of the EU and especially the US due to the region's historic exposure to Gazprom's monopolistic abuse. A concerted US, EU, and regional effort is needed to implement a diversification strategy, where US liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports could make a real difference. In the medium and long run, the region can benefit from and play a crucial role in Europe's gas supply diversification strategy and may even succeed in adapting the US unconventional experience, contributing to a healthier energy import balance on the continent.
  • Topic: Economics, Energy Policy, Science and Technology, Natural Resources
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, North America
  • Author: Mariano-Florentino Cuéllar
  • Publication Date: 02-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center for International Security and Cooperation
  • Abstract: Education is the key to a strong democracy, economic competitiveness and a world-class standard of living. In recent decades, however, America has lost its place as a global leader in educational attainment in ways that will lead to a decline in living standards for millions of our children and the loss of trillions of dollars of economic growth.
  • Topic: Economics, Education, Poverty, Reform
  • Political Geography: United States, America
  • Author: Gary Clyde Hufbauer
  • Publication Date: 01-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: The United States suffers from a severe self-inflicted wound. Together, federal and state governments impose almost the highest corporate tax rate found among advanced countries, 39 percent. Only Japan is fractionally higher. The high US rate has adverse consequences—lost investment, lost jobs, and less innovation—and goes a long way to explain slipping US competitiveness in the world economy.
  • Topic: Economics, Industrial Policy, International Trade and Finance, Markets
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan
  • Publication Date: 01-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxford Economics
  • Abstract: The Federal Reserve has taken additional actions to make its monetary policy more transparent to markets. The latest moves include the release of FOMC members' expectatins for the federal funds rate at the end of each of the next few years and in the longer term. Another is an statement of strategy for meeting its dual mandates of price stability and full employment. Although the statement included an explicit target for inflation but not for unemployment, the equal weights given to each goal afford the Fed more discretion in setting monetary policy.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, Global Recession, Monetary Policy, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Mark A. Calabria
  • Publication Date: 02-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: While Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and private subprime lenders have deservedly garnered the bulk of attention and blame for the mortgage crisis, other federal programs also distort our mortgage market and put taxpayers at risk of having to finance massive financial bailouts. The most prominent of these risky agencies is the Federal Housing Administration (FHA).
  • Topic: Debt, Economics, Government, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: John Bowlus
  • Publication Date: 01-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Global Political Trends Center
  • Abstract: On December 26, 2011, in response to US, European, and potential Asian sanctions on Iranian oil exports, the government in Tehran issued a threat to “cut off the Strait of Hormuz.” The US Defense Department responded that any blockade of the strait would be met with force. On first read, it is easy to dismiss such saber rattling as another chapter in the new Cold War in the Middle East between Iran and its allies – including Syria, Hamas, and Hezbollah – and the US, Israel, and the Sunni Gulf States, mostly notably Saudi Arabia. Iran has since backed away from its threat, but the event still carries importance because it is unclear how both the US and Iran will continue to respond, particularly as the diplomatic and economic pressures grow more acute while Iran's controversial nuclear program advances. Could such a verbal threat by Iran to cut off the Strait of Hormuzignite a military conflagration in the region? The relationship between military conflict and oil supply disruptions is well established; however, policymakers and analysts tend to focus on the incidents in which military conflict causes disruptions in oil supplies and sharp increases in prices. The first and most obvious example of this dynamic was the Arab-Israeli War of 1973. The subsequent oil embargo by the Arab members of the Organization for Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) against the United States and the Netherlands for their support of Israel caused prices to soar as oil-consuming nations endured supply shortages. The Iranian Revolution from 1978 to 1979 was another event that curtailed Western nations' access to oil and caused prices to spike. When thinking about the relationship between military conflict and oil supply disruptions, however, policymakers and analysts should also recognize that the competition over oil – and even verbal threats to disrupt oil supplies by closing oil transit chokepoints – have either led directly to military conflict or have provided a useful cover under which countries have initiated military conflict. By examining past episodes when countries issued threats to close oil transit chokepoints, this Policy Brief helps illuminate the dangers associated with the current crisis over the Strait of Hormuz.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Economics, Sanctions
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Middle East, Asia, Arabia
  • Author: Onur Bayramoğlu
  • Publication Date: 03-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Global Political Trends Center
  • Abstract: While the post-war international monetary system that evolved under the leadership of the U.S. dollar has secured credit abundance – and hence contributed to global growth – the system has also revealed its deficiencies already by 1950's. In contrary to the 1930's when the world's main problem was chronic deflation; two decades later, the problem has become chronic inflation and fiscal deficits. Since then many blamed the indiscipline of the Keynesian school of thought and the inability of the U.S. dollar to become a global “public good” by being a stable international currency. In this Policy Brief, I overview the many aspects of the post-war international monetary system through the lens of the post-war French economist, Jacques Rueff, and question the applicability of his longproposed gold standard in today's highly integrated and speculative money markets.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Monetary Policy, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Michael Beckley
  • Publication Date: 01-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: Despite the hype about the rise of China, current power trends favor continued U.S. dominance. National power has three main material components: wealth, innovation, and military power. Over the last twenty years, China has fallen further behind the United States in all of these areas.
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Asia
  • Author: Stephen J. Hadley, Steven A. Cook, Madeleine Albright
  • Publication Date: 05-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Among the most important developments in international affairs of the past decade is the emergence of Turkey as a rising regional and global power. Turkey has long been an important country as a stalwart member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), an aspirant to European Union (EU) membership, and an important link between the West and the East. Yet the changes in Turkey over the past decade have been so dramatic—with far-reaching political and economic reforms, significant social reforms, and an active foreign policy—that the country is virtually unrecognizable to longtime Turkey watchers. Today Turkey is more democratic, prosperous, and politically influential than it was five, ten, and fifteen years ago.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Political Violence, Democratization, Economics, Human Rights, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Central Asia, Turkey, Middle East
  • Author: Karl P. Sauvant, Jonathan Strauss
  • Publication Date: 04-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment
  • Abstract: Developing country sovereign wealth funds (SWFs) as players in the world foreign direct investment (FDI) market have received considerable attention. While outward FDI from emerging markets has indeed risen dramatically, that by SWFs has been negligible: their outward FDI stock is around US$ 100 billion (compared to a world FDI stock of US$ 20 trillion in 2010).
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Emerging Markets, Government, International Law, Foreign Direct Investment
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Lisa Mensah, Raymond O'Mara III, Colby Farber, Robert Weinberger
  • Publication Date: 02-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Aspen Institute
  • Abstract: The imbalance of too much debt and not enough assets fuels financial insecurity in many American households. Building Americans' household balance sheets should start with making savings and asset-building incentives more efficient and equitable. Although millions of working Americans currently receive little or no tax incentive to save, modest reforms to our tax code have the potential to dramatically improve their financial futures. The Aspen Institute Initiative on Financial Security (Aspen IFS) proposes the Freedom Savings Credit to create a more equitable and economically efficient savings system that will benefit millions of American households and the nation as a whole.
  • Topic: Security, Debt, Economics, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: United States, America
  • Author: Sophie Meunier
  • Publication Date: 05-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment
  • Abstract: China is investing throughout the world, in industries from automobiles to zinc. In the US, Chinese foreign direct investment (FDI) accounted for only 0.25% of total FDI stock in 2010,but it is likely to increase as China diversifies its holdings and seeks to obtain technology, managerial know-how and easier access to US consumers. As these investments multiply, we expect a few cases to attract negative attention in the media and political arena. Chinese companies are predominately state-controlled, raising the specter that they act to fulfill strategic, rather than profit maximizing, goals. China is also an ideological rival, causing irrational concern that Chinese investment in the US may act as a Trojan Horse of Chinese values and politics --fueled by rational concerns about subsidies, piracy, and economic espionage.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Foreign Direct Investment
  • Political Geography: United States, China
  • Author: Michael McConnell
  • Publication Date: 03-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: ASEAN countries have long been an important international market for US agricultural exports. The United States, in 2011, exported almost $9.6 billion of agricultural products to ASEAN, making it the sixth-largest export destination for US farmers, ranchers, and agribusinesses—behind Japan ($14 billion) and just behind the European Union ($9.6 billion), but well ahead of South Korea ($7 billion). Moreover, the value of agricultural trade between the United States and ASEAN almost doubled between 2007 and 2011, with the top four ASEAN markets in 2011 for the United States being Indonesia ($2.8 billion), the Philippines ($2.1 billion), Vietnam ($1.7 billion), and Thailand ($1.3 billion). With a population of 614 million and strong economic growth, it is expected that ASEAN will continue to be an important market for US agricultural products. However, the United States is likely to face increasing competition, particularly from China, Australia, and New Zealand, all of which have free trade agreements (FTAs) with ASEAN.
  • Topic: Agriculture, Demographics, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Food
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Europe, East Asia, South Korea, Australia, Southeast Asia, New Zealand
  • Author: Robert Sutter
  • Publication Date: 02-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: As Sino-American competition for influence enters a new stage with the Obama administration's re-engagement with Asia, each power's legacies in the region add to economic, military and diplomatic factors determining which power will be more successful in the competition. How the United States and China deal with their respective histories in regional affairs and the role of their non-government relations with the Asia- Pacific represent important legacies that on balance favor the United States.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Arms Control and Proliferation, Diplomacy, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: United States, China, America, Asia
  • Author: Denny Roy
  • Publication Date: 01-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: Taiwan's elections on January 14, which for the first time combined polls for the presidency and the legislature, displayed further positive evolution in Taiwan's now well-established democracy. The results also precluded an immediate disruption in relations between Taiwan and the PRC, which is good news in Washington. In Beijing's view, however, the goal is not stability across the Taiwan Strait, but unification. Chinese impatience might weigh more heavily on President Ma Ying-jeou, and by extension on the United States, during Ma's second term.
  • Topic: Arms Control and Proliferation, Democratization, Economics, Politics
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Washington, Taiwan, Southeast Asia
  • 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: Muhittin Ataman
  • Publication Date: 07-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: When we consider Saudi Arabian large population, territories and natural resources, it is obvious that it will continue to preserve its geopolitical, geo-economic and geo-cultural importance in future. The assumption of King Abdullah as the ruler of the country provided an opportunity to restructure the country's foreign policy. The new king began to follow a more pragmatic, rational, interdependent, multilateral and multidimensional foreign policy. He pursues an active foreign policy required to be less dependent on a single state (the United States) and on a single product (oil).
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Oil, Political Economy, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: United States, Turkey, Middle East, Arabia, Saudi Arabia
  • Author: Onur Bayramoğlu
  • Publication Date: 03-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Global Political Trends Center
  • Abstract: The current concern among many is that what we are faced today is not a usual crisis that is part of the economic cycle, but an era of great stagnation with low growth and high unemployment, not witnessed since the Great Depression of the 1930's. One wonders which country will drive global growth while major actors such as the European Union are now financial casinos, the United States is continuously losing its dynamism, Japan is struggling under demographical problems, and the emerging markets are still too small and volatile. Once again, policy makers acknowledge that the problems of growth are global and systematic; such that if one faces an issue, all of them get contaminated. However, they still seek for solutions in mercantilist national policies.
  • Topic: Economics, Globalization, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe
  • Author: Leonardo Maugeri
  • Publication Date: 06-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: Oil Production Growth is Global. Global oil output capacity is likely to grow from 93 million barrels per day today to 110 million barrels per day by 2020—the largest increase in a single decade since the 1980s. The surge in oil production capacity will occur almost everywhere, with the largest increases in Iraq, the United States, Canada, Brazil, and Venezuela. United States Will Experience Unprecedented Output. Technological advances will increase the production of “unconventional” oil in the United States, which is in the midst of a shale boom. The Bakken/Three Forks formation in North Dakota alone has as much untapped shale/tight oil as a Persian Gulf country. Oil Prices May Collapse. If oil prices remain at or above $70 per barrel, investments will sustain the 20 percent increase in oil production capacity by 2020. However, world demand is sluggish due to the lagging economy and focus on energy efficiency. If these trends continue, we could see a significant dip—or even a temporary collapse—of oil prices. Shifting Market Has Geopolitical Consequences. While the Western Hemisphere could become oil self-sufficient by 2020, Iraq's oil output will also substantially increase as it stabilizes. China may escalate its competitive and political influence in the Persian Gulf and other oil-producing hotspots, including Canada, Venezuela, and possibly the United States. Oil Boom Must Trigger Environmental Action. Enforcement of environmental regulation and major investment in emission-reducing technologies must accompany the development of unconventional oil. Without this balance between industry and environmental interests, new oil production projects will be stymied or delayed.
  • Topic: Economics, Industrial Policy, Oil, Political Economy, Natural Resources
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Henk L.M. Kox
  • Publication Date: 09-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: In most EU member states, the business services industry has booked no productivity growth during the last two decades. The industry's performance in the other member states was weaker than that of its US counterparts. Exploring what may be causing this productivity stagnation, this policy brief reports that weak competition has contributed to the continuing malaise in European business services. The study analyzed the persistence (over time) of firm-level inefficiencies. The evidence further suggests that competition between small firms and large firms in business services is weak. Markets for business services work best in countries with flexible regulation on employment change and with low regulatory costs for firms that start up or close down a business. Countries that are more open to foreign competition perform better in terms of competitive selection and productivity.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Regional Cooperation
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe
  • Author: Sandy Walker
  • Publication Date: 08-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment
  • Abstract: In its World Investment Report 2011, UNCTAD reported that liberalizing investment policy measures taken globally in 2010 outnumbered restrictive measures. Without the benefit of statistics, investors might have drawn the opposite conclusion, witnessing what appears to be a rising tide of national resistance to foreign takeovers: the Australian Foreign Investment Review Board's rejection of a takeover of the Australian Securities Exchange by the Singapore Exchange, Italian concern over a French company's takeover of dairy giant Parmalat and the US Government's requirement that Chinese company Huawei divest certain assets it had acquired from 3Leaf.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Foreign Direct Investment
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Canada, Australia, Singapore
  • Author: James Manicom, John Higginbotham, Andrea Charron
  • Publication Date: 11-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: The shrinking Arctic ice cap is creating unprecedented geophysical change in the circumpolar region, a trend that is very likely to continue. Together, this “great melt” and the delineation of extended national economic zones afford increased access to economic resources in the Arctic Ocean. Intense activities in commercial, investment, diplomatic, legal, scientific and academic sectors abound in the new Arctic, but the region's long-term significance is only gradually penetrating North American public consciousness. Media reports such as the recent, virtually ice-free trans-polar transit of a Chinese icebreaker through the Russian Northern Sea Route, or the transit of the Northwest Passage by a large cruise ship, are only the tip of the proverbial economic iceberg. In preparing for the commercialization of the Arctic Ocean, Canada and the United States, as major nations bordering the Arctic, face enormous opportunities in protecting economic and environmental interests; however, a number of challenges impede the fulfillment of this vision.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Development, Economics, Environment, Oil, Natural Resources, Infrastructure
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, China, Canada, North America
  • Author: Mark P. Lagon
  • Publication Date: 10-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: The rule of law is critical for people to have a meaningful opportunity to thrive. Still, for billions of people around the world today, the rule of law exists on paper but not in practice. Even though a theme for the United Nations General Assembly High-Level Panel in fall 2012 is rule of law, various UN programs devoted to rule of law have not had a transformative impact. Traditional intergovernmental institutions will never offer enough to achieve systemic change. To supplement them and achieve what they alone cannot, the United States should take the lead to forge a more nimble partnership with public, private, and nonprofit sectors and establish a Global Trust for Rule of Law (“Global Trust”). Similar to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (“Global Fund”), a diverse board of donor states, philanthropists, rule of law experts, and civil society representatives would run this Global Trust. Its purpose would be to build developing nations' capacity to implement rule of law and unleash the potential of marginalized groups worldwide, promoting not only human dignity but, crucially, global economic growth.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Human Rights, International Cooperation, International Law, Non-Governmental Organization, United Nations
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Tural Ahmadov
  • Publication Date: 12-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Global Political Trends Center
  • Abstract: Throughout the years the overwhelming preponderance of US global leadership is debated by scholars and politicians. In light of the 'rise of the rest', this preponderance is either diminishing or still standing. As of now, yet again, the US is a dominant player both economically and militarily. However, economic recession is likely to make the United States put more emphasis on domestic problems and less emphasis on foreign challenges. Since political and economic landscape is swiftly changing overseas, the United States should act accordingly and cooperate with regional powers on issues of mutual interest. Similarly, as current development is under way in the Middle East, the United States should staunchly back Turkey as the regional hub in dealing with Syrian crisis and foiling Iranian menace.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Arms Control and Proliferation, Economics, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Asia
  • Author: Robert Z. Lawrence
  • Publication Date: 10-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: America deserves credit for not having succumbed to the global financial crisis by repeating the protectionist mistakes of the 1930s. Nonetheless, since 2007, although lip service has been paid to boosting US exports, its trade policy accomplishments have been modest. This is unfortunate because active trade policies can promote American living standards and facilitate America's return to full employment and sustained growth. These policies can also help to create a global trade order that advances American interests. This policy brief argues that the United States needs new initiatives that discipline foreign practices, increase access to foreign markets, revitalize the World Trade Organization (WTO), improve the administrative and regulatory environment for trade, and assist workers and communities adversely affected by change.
  • Topic: Economics, Globalization, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Global Recession, Monetary Policy, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: United States, America
  • Author: Joseph E. Gagnon Gagnon
  • Publication Date: 07-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: Widespread currency manipulation, mainly in developing and newly industrialized economies, is the most important development of the past decade in international financial markets. In an attempt to hold down the values of their currencies, governments are distorting capital flows by around $1.5 trillion per year. The result is a net drain on aggregate demand in the United States and the euro area by an amount roughly equal to the large output gaps in the United States and the euro area. In other words, millions more Americans and Europeans would be employed if other countries did not manipulate their currencies and instead achieved sustainable growth through higher domestic demand.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Monetary Policy
  • Political Geography: United States, America, Europe
  • Author: C. Fred Bergsten, Joseph E. Gagnon
  • Publication Date: 12-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: More than 20 countries have increased their aggregate foreign exchange reserves and other official foreign assets by an annual average of nearly $1 trillion in recent years. This buildup of official assets—mainly through intervention in the foreign exchange markets—keeps the currencies of the interveners substantially undervalued, thus boosting their international competitiveness and trade surpluses. The corresponding trade deficits are spread around the world, but the largest share of the loss centers on the United States, whose trade deficit has increased by $200 billion to $500 billion per year as a result. The United States has lost 1 million to 5 million jobs due to this foreign currency manipulation.
  • Topic: Economics, Globalization, International Cooperation, International Trade and Finance, World Trade Organization
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: William R. Cline
  • Publication Date: 06-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: Halfway through this presidential election year, there is great uncertainty about how, when, and even whether the United States will restore fiscal sustainability. As shown by the near-default because of the impasse over the debt ceiling in July 2011, the two parties have been in sharp opposition on this issue. The Republicans have insisted that adjustment be accomplished by spending cuts rather than tax increases. Two hundred and thirty eight Republican congressmen and 41 Republican senators have signed the Grover Norquist pledge to oppose any attempt to raise marginal tax rates or reduce deductions without implementing offsetting tax reductions. In contrast, Democratic lawmakers have tended to emphasize the maintenance of social and entitlement programs and expressed a willingness to restore higher tax rates if necessary.
  • Topic: Economics, Monetary Policy, Financial Crisis, Governance, Law
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Gary Clyde Hufbauer, Martin Vieiro
  • Publication Date: 05-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: The need for US corporate tax reform is blindingly obvious. Conservatives contend that the top corporate tax rate— whether measured in statutory or effective terms—is the second highest in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). Liberals argue that the US corporate tax system is riddled with complex “loopholes,” enabling many firms—whether incorporated or not—to pay less than their fair share.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Monetary Policy, Governance
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Gary Clyde Hufbauer, Sean Lowry
  • Publication Date: 04-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: In his 2012 State of the Union address, President Obama claimed that "over a thousand Americans are working today because we stopped a surge in Chinese tires." The tire tariff case, decided by the president in September 2009, exemplifies his efforts to get China to "play by the rules" and serves as a plank in his larger platform of insourcing jobs to America.
  • Topic: Economics, Industrial Policy, International Trade and Finance, Governance
  • Political Geography: United States, China, America