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  • Author: William R. Cline
  • Publication Date: 04-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: For several years China has run persistent current account surpluses that have been widely seen as the most serious single source of global imbalances on the surplus side, and mirrored by persistent systemically large US current account deficits on the other side. In recent years, however, both imbalances have shown moderation (figure 1). China's surpluses have posed questions of international policy rules, because they have reflected in part an unwillingness to allow the exchange rate to appreciate sufficiently to act as an effective equilibrating mechanism. Exchange rate intervention resulted in a massive buildup of international reserves, which rose from $615 billion at the end of 2004 to $3.2 trillion at the end of 2011 (IMF 2012a).
  • Topic: Economics, Emerging Markets, Foreign Exchange, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Israel
  • Author: Karl P. Sauvant, Huiping Chen
  • Publication Date: 12-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment
  • Abstract: China is the largest foreign direct investment (FDI) host and home country among emerging markets, the United States among developed countries. As host countries, both seek to maintain policy space to pursue their own legitimate public policy objectives; as home countries, both seek to protect their investors' outward FDI. The development of their bilateral investment treaties (BITs) over the past decade reflects this: Chinese BITs have become more protective of investors, US ones more respectful of host country interests. If agreement is reached between both, it would provide a template for future investment agreements.
  • Topic: Economics, Emerging Markets, Treaties and Agreements, Foreign Direct Investment
  • Political Geography: United States, China
  • Publication Date: 12-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Human Rights First
  • Abstract: President Obama's 2009 Cairo speech and Secretary Clinton's 2012 speech at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace persuasively argued for policies that promote international religious freedom (IRF), including links to national security, economic development, and democracy promotion, and as an antidote to religious extremism and terrorism. Unfortunately, current IRF policy--in place since 1998 and largely built around the threat of economic sanctions which no administration has been willing to use--is not up to the challenges or the opportunities that President Obama and Secretary Clinton so eloquently identified. To correct that, the White House needs to embrace a leadership role, building an infrastructure and providing the necessary resources for a reinvigorated policy of new tools and strategies to thrive. The need is pressing.
  • Topic: Security, Democratization, Economics, Religion, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Publication Date: 12-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Human Rights First
  • Abstract: The rapid development of the Internet presents profound opportunities and challenges for U.S. interests around the world, particularly around the promotion and protection of human rights. The Internet is the steward of our economic, social, and political activity, but clearly the Internet itself is not the advocate for its possibilities: governments are. How the U.S. government organizes itself and collaborates with the businesses in the information and communication technology (ICT) sector to create policies and priorities for the Internet will set the foundation of whether the Information Age will be a success story for human rights.
  • Topic: Economics, Human Rights, Science and Technology, International Affairs, Communications
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Sean R. Roberts
  • Publication Date: 01-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: In looking at twenty years of independence in the former Soviet region of Central Asia, Kazakhstan stands out in most respects as a stable oasis in a desert of uncertainty. It is the wealthiest country in Central Asia. It has not suffered any serious conflict since gaining independence, and the development of its economy, financial sector, and private sector has been steadily moving forward as has its engagement with the global economy. It is little wonder, therefore, that the most stable and fruitful bilateral partnership for the United States in the region over the past twenty years has been with the Republic of Kazakhstan. US-Kazakhstan relations have never experienced a significant crisis, and there has been ongoing cooperation between the two countries in a variety of areas, including nuclear non-proliferation, economic development, and energy extraction.
  • Topic: Democratization, Diplomacy, Economics, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: United States, Central Asia, Kazakhstan
  • Author: Banning Garrett, James B. Steinberg, David Ignatius, Uri Dadush
  • Publication Date: 03-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: How will the US economy evolve over the next twenty years and what might be the impact of various US economic scenarios on the global system? Will the United States have a Japan-like decade or two of anemic growth? If so, would this lead the United States to reduce its foreign involvement and commitments, become more protectionist, and focus on its internal problems? Or will the United States solve its fiscal and debt problems, reinvigorate growth and innovation, and return to sustainable economic growth? Would this underpin a renewed commitment to active US global leadership in mobilizing international cooperation to manage security, economic growth, and global challenges?
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Debt, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Hegemony
  • Political Geography: United States, North America
  • 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: Mark A. Calabria
  • Publication Date: 03-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: The recent financial crisis was characterized by losses in nearly every type of investment vehicle. Yet no product has attracted as much attention as the subprime mortgage.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, Markets, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Stephanie Flamenbaum, Megan Neville, Constantino Xavier
  • Publication Date: 03-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Growing economic and political instability, rising support for extremism and increasing tensions in Pakistan's relationship with the United States currently threaten the country's prospects for a stable future.
  • Topic: Political Violence, Economics
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, United States, South Asia
  • Author: Ondřej Ditrych, Nik Hynek
  • Publication Date: 03-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Institute of International Relations Prague
  • Abstract: In the area of security, the Czech Republic and the U.S. should build closer cooperation around President Obama's Prague Agenda, NATO Ballistic Missile Defence project and in the field of post-conflict reconstruction while working together to mitigate obstacles to constructive NATO-EU relations. In economic relations, they should enhance cooperation taking full advantage of the Strategic Dialogue framework both in terms of discussing global and transatlantic trade issues, and in boosting bilateral commerce. Regarding values, they should cooperate more on democratic transition in Eastern Europe, including through the framework of Eastern Partnership in which the U.S. should become involved.
  • Topic: Security, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe
  • Author: Joshua Marks
  • Publication Date: 05-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: The government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) led by President Joseph Kabila faces the prospect of collapse. Popular disaffection has grown as a consequence of endemic corruption and a failure to provide broad and sustained economic growth. The possibility of widespread violence around national elections scheduled for November 2011 as well as the emergence of antigovernment movements in the Kivus, Bas Congo, Katanga, or Equateur provinces could precipitate a major political and humanitarian crisis with destabilizing consequences for the region. Having provided billions in foreign assistance and UN peacekeeping support to the DRC and eager to avoid another violent catastrophe in central Africa, the United States faces a looming foreign policy challenge.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Economics, Sanctions
  • Political Geography: Africa, United States
  • Author: Karel Lannoo
  • Publication Date: 04-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: Two years after the London G-20, CEPS Chief Executive Karel Lannoo finds that the EU is well advanced in delivering on the commitments made for the 2013 target date. Important steps have been taken on the institutional side, and regulatory changes are moving ahead. On some issues, in fact, such as remuneration, the EU has made even greater headway than the US. But certain key sensitive matters remain, such as bank resolution or structural changes.
  • Topic: Debt, Economics, Global Recession, Monetary Policy, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, London
  • Author: Gary Clyde Hufbauer, Meera Fickling, Woan Foong Wong
  • Publication Date: 05-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: The United States has experienced persistent trade deficits for decades, and thoughtful observers have concluded that deficits cannot be sustained at levels much exceeding 4 percent of GDP annually. There are only two ways to decrease the trade deficit: reduce imports or increase exports. For global economic health, increased exports are a far better proposition.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Monetary Policy
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: William R. Cline, John Williamson
  • Publication Date: 05-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: This policy brief updates our estimates of fundamental equilibrium exchange rates (FEERs) to the latest available data, which for exchange rates are the average rates of April 2011, and for the IMF's balance of payments forecasts, those published in the April 2011 issue of World Economic Outlook (WEO; see IMF 2011a). It is the central study in what has now become a regular annual cycle, in which we draw out what we believe to be the implications of the IMF's forecasts for the pattern that exchange rates need to take if the world is to approach a reasonably satisfactory medium-run position. This past year we also published an interim policy brief (Cline and Williamson 2010b) in which we updated our calculations to the average exchange rates of October 2010, as well as commented on Brazilian Finance Minister Guido Mantega's description of international monetary events as constituting "currency wars." As in the previous year, however, the November 2010 policy brief updated our estimates only for intervening changes in market exchange rates. We did not make use of the IMF's revised autumn WEO forecasts to update our estimates of FEERs; on the contrary, we assumed the FEERs estimated in May 2010 were correct. In contrast, this policy brief presents totally new estimates of FEERs.
  • Topic: Economics, Monetary Policy
  • Political Geography: United States, China
  • Author: Gary Clyde Hufbauer, Woan Foong Wong
  • Publication Date: 04-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: In his State of the Union address, President Barack Obama stressed four ingredients of American prosperity: faster innovation, better education, less deficit, and more jobs. As the president recognized in his address, the US free enterprise system drives the private sector to innovate, invest, and create jobs. This policy brief concentrates on how reforming the corporate tax system can strengthen the private sector, thereby spurring both innovation and job.
  • Topic: Economics, Globalization, International Trade and Finance, Monetary Policy, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Terutomo Ozawa
  • Publication Date: 06-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment
  • Abstract: Although not yet fully conceptualized as a new catch-up model in mainstream development economics, the infant industry argument (protectionism designed to replace imports with domestic substitutes) is giving way to a foreign direct investment (FDI)-led model of industrialization.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Industrial Policy, Foreign Direct Investment
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan, China
  • Author: Daniel M. Firger
  • Publication Date: 05-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment
  • Abstract: Developments in climate change policy and international investment law may be ushering in a new era characterized by profound harmonization between the two regimes. Although policy instruments such as the Kyoto Protocol's “Clean Development Mechanism” (CDM) have been in existence for years, it is only relatively recently that the international community has turned to low-carbon foreign direct investment (FDI) and away from command-and-control regulation as the preferred means by which to achieve future greenhouse gas emissions reductions. Meanwhile, states have begun to renegotiate international investment agreements (IIAs) or sign new treaties to take into account policy goals, including climate change mitigation, that extend beyond the regime's traditional preoccupation with investor protection. Though still somewhat tentative, emerging trends in both arenas are thus showing unmistakable signs of convergence.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Economics, Industrial Policy, Foreign Direct Investment
  • Political Geography: United States, China
  • Author: Giorgio Sacerdoti
  • Publication Date: 04-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment
  • Abstract: Some readers of the Columbia FDI Perspective No. 33 of December 14, 2010 may have been surprised to read Hans Smit's contribution against party-appointed arbitrators. The opening of his Perspective could not be expressed in more sweeping terms: "In my judgment, party-appointed arbitrators should be banned unless their role as advocates for the party that appointed them is fully disclosed and accepted. Until this is done, arbitration can never meet its aspiration of providing dispassionate adjudication..."
  • Topic: Economics, Human Rights, Foreign Direct Investment, Law
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: John H. Makin
  • Publication Date: 06-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: Market conditions in the United States, Japan, China, and Europe portend a weakening global economy. While not dramatic in any one region save an earthquake-burdened Japan, these conditions could accumulate to create a problematic loss of momentum for global growth, especially compared to current upbeat consensus views for the second half of 2011.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Global Recession
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan, China, Europe
  • Author: Hermann Ferré, Kabir Duggal
  • Publication Date: 08-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment
  • Abstract: In September 2008, the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers sent financial markets in the United States into a spin. Credit markets froze as banks began to mistrust counterparties, not knowing the extent of toxic assets in loan portfolios that could lead to another major bank collapse. The crisis quickly spread around the world. Governments were urged to take drastic measures. Experts discussed the possible nationalization of portions of the U.S. banking industry and other sectors. Other countries also considered measures to save key industries.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Karl P. Sauvant, Persephone Economou
  • Publication Date: 07-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment
  • Abstract: Twenty years ago, in the inaugural issue of the World Investment Report, the United Nations highlighted a shift in the global pattern of foreign direct investment (FDI) from bipolar, dominated by the United States and the European Community, to tri-polar (the FDI Triad), dominated by the European Community, the United States and Japan.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, United Nations, Foreign Direct Investment
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan, Europe
  • Author: Mauricio Cá¡rdenas, Joshua Meltzer
  • Publication Date: 07-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: A trio of trade agreements now pending before Congress would benefit the United States both economically and strategically. Carefully developed accords with South Korea, Colombia and Panama will boost U.S. exports significantly, especially in the key automotive, agricultural and commercial services sectors. Among the other benefits are: increased U.S. competitiveness enhancement of U.S. diplomatic and economic postures in East Asia and Latin America new investment opportunities better enforcement of labor regulation and improved transparency in these trading partners' regulatory systems.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Treaties and Agreements, Labor Issues
  • Political Geography: Kenya, United States, Israel, Colombia, Latin America
  • Author: Jeffrey J. Schott
  • Publication Date: 06-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: The Doha Round of multilateral trade negotiations in the World Trade Organization (WTO) remains stalled despite the political impetus provided by the Seoul G-20 Summit in November 2010. The major trading nations have not revised their positions enough to propel new negotiations on agriculture, manufactures, and services. There is now little chance to complete an agreement this year and little indication that current efforts could succeed next year.
  • Topic: Economics, International Cooperation, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Manfred Schekulin
  • Publication Date: 09-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment
  • Abstract: On May 25, 2011, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton joined ministers from members of the Organisation of Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and developing economies to celebrate the Organisation\'s 50th anniversary and agree on an update of the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises, the fifth revision since their adoption in 1976. This marked the culmination of an intense one-year negotiating process involving a large number of stakeholders, international organizations and emerging economies.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, International Cooperation, Foreign Direct Investment
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Geraldine McAllister, Joel H. Moser
  • Publication Date: 09-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment
  • Abstract: In his jobs address to a joint session of Congress last week, President Obama returned to a familiar theme: a call for nontraditional infrastructure investment as a generator of economic growth and, ultimately, jobs. The President's frequent references to “private investment” and “fully paid” infrastructure are encouraging, yet there is no assurance that domestic private capital investment alone is sufficient to reverse the degradation of the nation's infrastructure. As host to the largest flows of inward foreign direct investment (FDI), it is time that the United States employs this critical source of capital in tackling the nation's infrastructure deficit.
  • Topic: Economics, Labor Issues, Infrastructure, Foreign Direct Investment, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Gary Clyde Hufbauer, Martin Vieiro
  • Publication Date: 10-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: The United States holds contradictory views about large corporations. When Americans speak of breakthroughs in research and engineering, they are justly proud of large firms that pioneered railroads and steam engines in the 19th century, automobiles, electric power, and oil exploration in the 20th century, and computers, software, and biotechnology in the 21st century. Yet when talk turns to paying taxes, public opinion holds that large corporations should pay a higher statutory tax rate than other business firms, and enjoy fewer deductions in computing their taxable income. Despite common sense and the teachings of economics, tax discrimination is alive and well.
  • Topic: Economics, Globalization, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: United States, America
  • Author: Steven Horwitz
  • Publication Date: 09-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: Politicians and pundits portray Herbert Hoover as a defender of laissez faire governance whose dogmatic commitment to small government led him to stand by and do nothing while the economy collapsed in the wake of the stock market crash in 1929. In fact, Hoover had long been a critic of laissez faire. As president, he doubled federal spending in real terms in four years. He also used government to prop up wages, restricted immigration, signed the Smoot-Hawley tariff, raised taxes, and created the Reconstruction Finance Corporation-all interventionist measures and not laissez faire. Unlike many Democrats today, President Franklin D. Roosevelt's advisers knew that Hoover had started the New Deal. One of them wrote, "When we all burst into Washington ... we found every essential idea [of the New Deal] enacted in the 100-day Congress in the Hoover administration itself."
  • Topic: Economics, Markets, Political Economy, Financial Crisis, Governance
  • Political Geography: United States, Washington
  • Author: Daniel H. Rosen, Thilo Hanemann
  • Publication Date: 10-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment
  • Abstract: China's outward foreign direct investment (OFDI) grew rapidly in the past decade, but flows to developed economies have been limited. Now China's direct investment flows to the United States are poised to rise substantially. This new trend offers tremendous opportunities for the U. S., provided policymakers take steps to keep the investment environment open and utilize China's new interest productively.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Economics
  • Political Geography: United States, China
  • Author: Teemu Sinkkonen
  • Publication Date: 11-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The electoral defeat suffered by the ruling Socialist Party (Partido Socialista Obrero Español, PSOE) in the municipal elections and the prolonged financial crisis has forced Prime Minister Zapatero to call an early general election on 20 November. The Conservative People's Party (Partido Popular, PP) is ahead in the polls by a clear margin and is likely to gain an absolute majority in the parliament. The economic outlook for Spain looks bleak, which means that the new government will have to create new jobs quickly and push through harsh and unpopular reforms, particularly regarding the fiscal and administrative structures. The Indignados protest movement is gaining support, and looks set to challenge the legitimacy of the system and force the future government to produce speedy results. Spain is expected to enhance its role in international politics through pragmatic bilateral relations. In particular, relations with the US seem to be warming up, while Spain can turn to the UK and Poland in the EU for companionship
  • Topic: Debt, Democratization, Economics, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: United States, United Kingdom, Europe, Spain
  • Author: Nicolas Véron
  • Publication Date: 11-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: Credit Rating Agencies (CRAs) are prominent participants in the assessment of credit risk by financial markets. They determine and publish credit ratings, which represent the CRA's opinions on issuers' relative probability of default. The market for credit ratings is currently dominated in most western countries by three players: n Standard Poor's (S) is a division of the McGraw- Hill Companies, a US-based media group whose ownership is dispersed (the largest shareholder is Capital Group, with 12 percent of shares); n Moody's Corporation is an autonomous US-based listed company with dispersed ownership (the largest shareholder is Berkshire Hathaway, with 12.5 percent of shares); n Fitch Ratings is a division of the Fitch Group which is jointly owned by Fimalac, a Paris-based listed investment vehicle (60 percent of shares), and the US-based Hearst Corporation (40 percent of shares).
  • Topic: Debt, Economics, Globalization, International Trade and Finance, Markets
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Gary Clyde Hufbauer, Anders Åslund
  • Publication Date: 11-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: After 18 years, Russia is finally on the verge of acceding to the World Trade Organization (WTO). No country has struggled for so long to become a member of this important organization. The last impediment was removed on November 9, when Russia and Georgia concluded an agreement on monitoring trade flows across their disputed border. The WTO Working Party, which oversaw the negotiations, then approved Russian accession on November 10, clearing the way for formal membership to be adopted at the WTO ministerial conference to be held December 15–17, 2011 (WTO 2011).
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Georgia
  • Author: William R. Cline, John Williamson
  • Publication Date: 11-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: The currency markets have been extremely disturbed for the last three months. The period witnessed a major strengthening of the US dollar in September, then the European currency crisis, a recovery of the euro when the markets believed that the crisis was being controlled, and then a rebound of the dollar. In view of these developments, those who follow currency movements need a new guide as to how the current values of currencies compare to our estimates of fundamental equilibrium exchange rates (FEERs). That is the main object of this paper.
  • Topic: Economics, Globalization, International Political Economy, Monetary Policy
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe
  • Author: Pamela J. Perun, Patricia E. Dilley
  • Publication Date: 07-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Aspen Institute
  • Abstract: Critics of the Social Security program are fond of disparaging it as a "Ponzi" scheme or as a redistributive transfer of income from the young to the old. Others go even further, labeling the Social Security trust fund as a fiction or claiming the program is bankrupt. Some also suggest that the government bonds held in the trust fund are mere IOUs. Still others say that the program's legal basis is ephemeral, subject to the whims of Congress.
  • Topic: Demographics, Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Dieter Ernst
  • Publication Date: 08-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation, University of California
  • Abstract: China\'s innovation policy and its perceived threat to American innovation and competitiveness is a hot topic in U.S.-China economic relations. The role of standardization, together with intellectual property rights and government procurement, are at the center of this conflict. Fundamental differences in their levels of development and economic institutions lead to quite different approaches to standards and innovation policy by the two countries. China\'s strategy of pursuing indigenous innovation based on local standards faces internal challenges in trying to bring together a diverse group of stakeholders with conflicting interests, as well as external pressures to adopt international standards. Enhanced cooperation on standards and innovation policies should be possible, once the United States and China accept that, while their economic and innovation systems are different, they are deeply interdependent. Both sides would benefit, creating new Chinese markets for American firms and easing technology licensing restrictions for Chinese firms.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Science and Technology, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: United States, China, America, Asia, North America
  • Author: Harlan Ullman
  • Publication Date: 07-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: Regardless of how the conflict in Afghanistan (along with NATO's role, presence, and draw down) is resolved, one consequence will be to increase the importance of U.S. European Command (EUCOM) both in Europe and for the entire transatlantic community. Whether Operation Enduring Freedom and International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) produce a stunning victory in which Afghanistan emerges as a stable state under the rule of law with a viable government or a rocky withdrawal in the midst of continuing violence with no clear solution in sight, NATO nations will have long tired of that war. Fortunately, the Lisbon Summit with a 2014 end date has eased domestic political pressures over Afghanistan. However, that relief is by no means permanent.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, Economics, International Cooperation, Military Strategy, Reform
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, Europe
  • Author: Barbara Slavin
  • Publication Date: 06-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: The broadest and toughest sanctions regime imposed on any country except Libya has not convinced Iran's leaders to abandon a program that appears aimed at developing nuclear weapons. Instead of seeking even more crippling economic penalties—such as an oil embargo—that would fracture the international consensus on Iran, the United States should tighten implementation of measures already in force and enact more sanctions linked to human rights, which have a wide constituency in Europe and demonstrate to the Iranian people that international concerns extend beyond nuclear weapons. The U.S. should also work with its diplomatic partners to craft new proposals that would couple acceptance of limited uranium enrichment with rigorous international monitoring, and encourage China, Iran's major trading partner, to use its leverage in support of nonproliferation.
  • Topic: Economics, Human Rights, Nuclear Weapons, Sanctions, Nuclear Power
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Iran
  • Author: Julie Chon
  • Publication Date: 12-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: When it comes to resolving financial crises, size matters, but so does transparency. In both the US and European crises, the drive for size—firing off enough public funds to plug the hole in the financial system—has proven to be self-defeating as markets raise ever higher, unrealistic, and inappropriate expectations for government policy. This strategy addresses some of the economics and none of the politics of crisis management. The race to meet the size test distracts policymakers from addressing the real impediment to restoring investor and public confidence: the inherent uncertainty and lack of transparency associated with extraordinary government actions in times of crisis. The absence of transparent decision-making inflicts a costly blow to the credibility of policymakers because markets and citizens cannot see or believe what leaders are doing to stabilize the financial system.
  • Topic: Debt, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe
  • 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: Reuven S. Avi-Yonah
  • Publication Date: 02-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment
  • Abstract: The Obama Administration's 2011 budget proposals include revenues of $122 billion over ten years from “international tax reform.” This set of proposals is similar to but narrower than the ones advanced by the Administration in May 2009, which would have raised $210 billion.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Daniel Gros, Cinzia Alcidi
  • Publication Date: 01-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: This crisis was caused by a combination of asset price bubbles, mainly in the real estate sector, and a credit bubble that led to excessive leverage. This is wellknown. What is less well-known is that on both accounts the euro area was affected by both 'bubble' symptoms as much as the US.
  • Topic: Economics, Markets, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe
  • Author: Karel Lannoo
  • Publication Date: 01-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: Since 2003, the EU and the US have conducted a vibrant regulatory dialogue on financial regulation, but domestic priorities seem to have taken precedence in response to the financial crisis. This paper compares the institutional and regulatory changes occurring on both sides of the Atlantic. On the institutional side, it compares macro- and micro-prudential reforms. On the regulatory side, it compares four key areas: bank capital requirements, reform of the OTC derivative markets, and the regulation of credit ratings agencies and hedge funds. It concludes by highlighting certain implications for the regulatory dialogue.
  • Topic: Economics, Monetary Policy, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe
  • 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: Peter B. Kenen
  • Publication Date: 03-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: Today, the international monetary system is based largely on the US dollar, but reserve currency diversification has begun, thanks to the advent of the euro, and it is apt to continue. Eventually, the renminbi could acquire reserve currency status, and the resulting reserve currency diversification could be more disruptive than it has been to date. To forestall that possibility the quasi-currency issued by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Special Drawing Rights (SDRs), could be made to play a larger role in the international monetary system, precluding potentially disruptive diversification and achieving more orderly growth in the stock of international reserves.
  • Topic: Economics, International Political Economy, International Trade and Finance, Monetary Policy
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: John H. Makin
  • Publication Date: 02-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: February always brings with it the president's proposals for taxing and spending in the coming fiscal year. The president's budget proposals are accompanied by congressional and administration estimates of the path deficits and government debt are expected to take in coming years. Last year, those projections, especially a three-year string of actual and projected deficits over a trillion dollars from 2009 through 2011, excited widespread comment and handwringing about runaway deficits and their allegedly damaging effects in the form of lower growth, higher inflation, and higher interest rates.
  • Topic: Debt, Economics, Political Economy, Politics
  • Political Geography: United States
  • 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: Arnold Kling
  • Publication Date: 04-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: Recently, the Federal Reserve has significantly altered the procedures and goals that it had followed for decades. It has more than doubled its balance sheet, paid interest to banks on reserves held as deposits with the Fed, made decisions about which institutions to prop up and which should be allowed to fail, invested in assets that expose taxpayers to large losses, and raised questions about how it will avoid inflation despite an unprecedented increase in the monetary base.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, Political Economy, Politics, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: William A. Galston
  • Publication Date: 06-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: When experts and pundits are asked what the president and Congress should do to promote economic growth, they typically respond with a list of policies, often mixed with stylistic and political suggestions. Few focus on institutional change, which is too easy to conflate with yawn-inducing “governmental reorganization.”
  • Topic: Economics, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Grover J. (Russ) Whitehurst
  • Publication Date: 06-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: A nation's education system is a pillar of its economic strength and international competitiveness. The National Bureau of Economic Research analyzed data from 146 countries, collected between 1950 and 2010, and found that each year of additional average schooling attained by a population translates into at least a two percent increase in economic output. A 2007 World Bank policy research working paper reported similar results. Based on these findings, if the United States increased the average years of schooling completed by its adult population from the current 12 years to 13 years—that is, added one year of postsecondary education—our gross domestic product would rise by more than $280 billion.
  • Topic: Economics, Education
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Martin Neil Baily, Karen Dynan, Douglas J. Elliott
  • Publication Date: 06-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: As the nation strives to recover from the “Great Recession,” job creation remains one of the biggest challenges to renewed prosperity. Small businesses have been among the most powerful generators of new jobs historically, suggesting the value of a stronger focus on supporting small businesses— especially high-growth firms—and encouraging entrepreneurship. Choosing the right policies will require public and private decision-makers to establish clear goals, such as increasing employment, raising the overall return on investment, and generating innovations with broader benefits for society. Good mechanisms will also be needed for gauging their progress and ultimate success. This brief examines policy recommendations to strengthen the small business sector and provide a platform for effective programs. These recommendations draw heavily from ideas discussed at a conference held at the Brookings Institution with academic experts, successful private-sector entrepreneurs, and government policymakers, including leaders from the Small Business Administration. The gathering was intended to spur the development of creative solutions in the private and public sectors to foster lasting economic growth.
  • Topic: Economics, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: United States