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  • Author: Esbern Friis-Hansen
  • Publication Date: 01-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: Social accountability as a tool for development planning is gaining foothold in international donor circles. It is concerned with the responsibility and responsiveness of state authorities, as well as the ability of citizens to make claims and hold those who exercise power to account for their actions.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Foreign Aid, Foreign Direct Investment
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Ryszarda Formuszewicz
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The tougher tone in Germany’s policy towards Russia reflects changes in Berlin’s perception of the eastern giant and in its own self-perception as a power willing to play a more active international role. This readiness for leadership could cement Germany’s status as a key international player whilst handing it the influence necessary to secure its own primary economic interests vis-à-vis Russia. However, it will also require Germany to critically address the long-standing premises of its policy towards Russia, and its appetite to overturn old assumptions remains limited. Lessons drawn by Germany now, in particular with regards to the causes of the Ukraine crisis, will prevail as a guideline for its Russia policy, and as such will also be decisive in the prospects for Polish–German cooperation.
  • Topic: Security, Economics, Power Politics, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: Russia, Ukraine, Germany
  • Author: Damian Wnukowski, Artur Gradziuk
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: At the beginning of 2014, the European Union and China launched negotiations on a bilateral investment treaty that would launch the next stage in economic relations between them. Although both approach numerous issues differently, they have also strong incentives to seek compromise. Reaching an agreement on investment topics could be a significant step towards creating a favourable environment for cooperation and resolving most contentious sticking points in bilateral relations in the near future. It could also become a template for future similar EU agreements.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Bilateral Relations, China, European Union
  • Political Geography: China, European Union
  • Author: Maya Rostowska
  • Publication Date: 07-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Despite the reigning consensus that the Russian economy is facing trouble ahead, some indicators suggest that the situation is not as dire as first appeared. Moreover, it may seem that the fiscal situation in the country—particularly its copious foreign currency reserves and substantial sovereign wealth funds—could still help extricate Russia from its economic difficulties. However, the very difficult budgetary situation in the regions and the staggering levels of debt of its companies suggest that economic problems could hit the country hard. Investors should remain vigilant of social and political tensions and the possible further deterioration of the business environment in Russia.
  • Topic: Debt, Economics, Politics, Governance, Budget
  • Political Geography: Russia
  • Author: Artur Kacprzyk
  • Publication Date: 07-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: In the context of the Ukraine crisis, Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and Romania have called for significant strengthening of NATO’s deterrence and defence policy and for permanent deployments of Allied troops in the region. This position is, however, not shared by the rest of the Central and Eastern European NATO members. Similar to Western European countries, Hungary, Czech Republic and Slovakia do not feel as threatened by Russia’s actions and do not support moves that could damage their political and economic relations with Moscow. Fundamental differences among the current positions of the regional Allies indicate a profound divide between Central and Eastern European NATO members.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, NATO, Economics, Politics, Regional Cooperation
  • Political Geography: Russia, Ukraine
  • Author: Catharine Titi
  • Publication Date: 01-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment
  • Abstract: In July 2012, in an internal document, the European Commission's Directorate-General for Trade suggested that future EU investment agreement s (EUIAs) should incorporate regulatory flexibility in the same way in which EU free trade agreements (FTAs) safeguard parties' policy space. Since it is expected that a number of treaties on the EU's negotiating agenda will be concluded in the near future, and given the policy shift that has already taken place in Canada and the US, it is time to start thinking about a new balance in a move away from investment treaties' traditional laissez-faire liberalism toward WTO law's embedded liberalism, a model whereby liberalization is embedded within a wider framework that enables public regulation in the interest of domestic stability.
  • Topic: Economics, Globalization, International Trade and Finance, World Trade Organization, Foreign Direct Investment
  • Political Geography: Europe, Canada
  • Author: Harri Mikkola, Jukka Anteroinen, Ville Lauttamäki
  • Publication Date: 02-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The European defence industrial base is transforming. The changes in the European defence market legislation, the decrease in defence materiel demand and changing defence requirements are redefining the industry in a way that has not been seen in decades. The new European legislation in particular poses serious challenges for the Finnish defence industry, including the national market opening and the diminishing possibility for offset arrangements. It is likely that the major European states are trying to protect their own defence industrial base. The future of the Finnish defence industry will be determined by whether the European market opens up in the first place, in part or in its entirety. There is no going back to the time preceding the new legislation. It is crucial for the Finnish defence industry to find and utilize new market opportunities. Networking with the European system integrators and sub-contracting chains will be of paramount importance.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, Arms Control and Proliferation, Economics, Industrial Policy
  • Political Geography: Europe, Finland
  • Author: Francis X. Hezel
  • Publication Date: 09-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: Is out-migration an admission of a Pacific Island nation's failure to fulfill its economic promise and provide the jobs that its citizens seek in a modernized society? Or is it a legitimate alternative strategy for development, through the export of surplus labor, in lieu of the more conventional methods recommended by donor nations and international financial institutions? In this paper, Francis X. Hezel, SJ, reviews the 30-year history of migration from one Pacific Island nation, the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), and examines the current status of its migrants with an eye to shedding light on this question.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Migration, Immigration
  • Political Geography: United States, Israel, Australia/Pacific
  • Author: Richard Gitlin, Brett House
  • Publication Date: 08-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: A sovereign debt forum (SDF) would assist in facilitating more predictable, transparent and timely treatments of sovereign crises during future episodes of debt-servicing difficulties. An SDF would provide a non-statutory, neutral standing body to identify lessons from past episodes of sovereign distress, maintain information on sovereign debt and convene stakeholders to engage in confidential discussions at the outset of a sovereign crisis. The SDF proposal takes inspiration from existing precedents, such as the Paris Club and Vienna Initiative, which demonstrate that informal, rules-based representative entities have a long-standing history of organizing effective workouts for distressed countries An SDF would have a limited remit: to enable early, discreet consultation and information sharing between distressed sovereigns and their creditors to speed the process by which a sovereign is returned to solvency, stability and growth. An SDF would not supersede existing institutions and would rely on close collaboration with the International Monetary Fund (IMF). An SDF would complement other proposals for automatic maturity extensions on securitized debt, arbitration and mediation processes, voluntary standstills and improved aggregation in collective action clauses (CACs). The SDF and other incremental, pragmatic proposals to improve sovereign crisis management should be put at the core of the G20 agenda on an ongoing basis.
  • Topic: Economics, Financial Crisis, Governance
  • Author: Alexandre Catta, Aladdin Diakun, Clara Yoon
  • Publication Date: 08-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: Mainstream analysis on China tends to be overly optimistic, leaving a blind spot in strategic planning. While the country's socio-economic landscape has been transformed over several decades of uninterrupted growth, it faces significant domestic and international risks and constraints. Chief among these are labour insecurity and imbalances, environmental constraints and rising climatic risks, and food insecurity, all coupled with rising popular expectations for a higher overall standard of living. Major soy producers (Argentina, Brazil and the United States) should take steps to ensure the stability of China's supply. In particular, these countries should set aside reserves to help mitigate future supply shocks and price spikes resulting from climate change. Manufacturers operating in or with China should immediately begin mapping their supply chains to identify vulnerabilities associated with crisis scenarios in the country. Where specific risks are identified, they should explore supply-chain diversification to boost resilience among major trading partners. To deter China from externalizing internal stresses, international actors should raise the political costs of nationalistic unilateralism by opening more channels for dialogue, deepening institutional integration and buttressing cooperative security norms.
  • Topic: Security, Agriculture, Climate Change, Development, Economics, Environment, Food
  • Political Geography: China, Israel
  • Publication Date: 09-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for Non-Traditional Security Studies (NTS)
  • Abstract: This NTS Issues Brief is based on the proceedings of the Expert Group Meeting on the Impact of Climate Change on ASEAN Food Security held in June 2013. The Meeting called for higher priority to be given to research on climate shifts at national and local scales, as well as greater focus on agricultural R It also highlighted the need for resource and knowledge inputs from actors throughout food value chains in the region.
  • Topic: Security, Agriculture, Climate Change, Economics, Food
  • Author: Nicolle Graugnard
  • Publication Date: 09-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment
  • Abstract: Business needs a stable and predictable investment environment, especially in times of economic uncertainty, to continue to generate employment and create wealth. Although foreign direct investment (FDI) flows rose for two years after plummeting in the wake of the global financial crisis, they fell again by 18% to US$ 1.4 trillion in 2012. According to UNCTAD, the major factors contributing to this sharp decline were economic fragility and policy uncertainty in several economies. Moreover, investment regulations classified as “restrictive” rose to 25% in 2012, compared to just 6% in 2000; “liberalizing” regulations were 75 % of the total in 2012, compared to 94% in 2000. The result of these regulations is, therefore, not surprising: businesses are holding back on new investments, with multinational enterprises reporting record cash-holdings of between US$ 4 to 5 trillion.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, International Cooperation, International Trade and Finance, Foreign Direct Investment, Governance
  • Author: Axel Berger
  • Publication Date: 08-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment
  • Abstract: One of the recurrent debates on international investment rule-making relates to the question whether it is possible to establish a multilateral framework for investment (MFI). Proponents argue that growing foreign direct investment (FDI) from emerging countries, especially China, contributes to a new consensus on global investment rules.
  • Topic: Economics, Globalization, International Trade and Finance, Regional Cooperation, Foreign Direct Investment
  • Political Geography: China
  • Author: Karl P. Sauvant, Federico Ortino.
  • Publication Date: 08-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment
  • Abstract: Discussions on a multilateral investment framework have recently seen a revival, as the International Chamber of Commerce, the World Economic Forum and various authors have called for negotiations on this subject. A growing number of countries have been reviewing and adapting their international investment policies. This reflects dissatisfaction with the current international investment law regime, and a desire to improve it.
  • Topic: Economics, International Law, International Trade and Finance, Foreign Direct Investment
  • Author: Baiju S. Vasani, Anastasiya Ugale
  • Publication Date: 07-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment
  • Abstract: In 2006, the Thunderbird tribunal, operating under the UNCITRAL Arbitration Rules, called for the harmonization of cost-allocation approaches in commercial and investment arbitration. Subsequent tribunals appear to be heeding Thunderbird's call paving a trend in favor of the so-called “costs follow the event” (CFtE) approach and its variations. Generally, this approach prescribes the shifting of arbitral costs and reasonable legal fees to the unsuccessful party (or based on parties' relative success) and has historically been prevalent in commercial arbitration. By contrast, the more traditional approach in investment arbitration has been to share the costs of arbitration equally, save for special circumstances, with each party covering its own legal fees (traditional approach). In the wake of what appears to be an emerging trend in favor of a default CFtE custom, it is time to revisit the idea of whet her a single harmonized approach to cost allocation is really appropriate. We suggest that it most likely is not.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Emerging Markets, International Trade and Finance, Foreign Direct Investment
  • Author: Jon Temin, Princeton N. Lyman, Ph.D.
  • Publication Date: 08-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Sudan urgently needs to embark on a national dialogue and reform process that is led by Sudanese and supported by the international community. The process should be broadly inclusive, involving elements of the current regime, Islamists, and all armed and unarmed opposition groups. Any meaningful process will be lengthy, likely requiring years to complete. If a genuine, inclusive process is underway, elections in 2015 may need to be delayed. The African Union High-Level Implementation Panel has a critical role to play in advocating for and guiding such a process.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, International Cooperation, Foreign Aid, Fragile/Failed State
  • Political Geography: Africa, Sudan
  • Author: Kimberly Ann Elliott, Edward Collins
  • Publication Date: 09-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: The Quality of Official Development Assistance (QuODA) measures how well donors score on the dimensions of aid quality that evidence and experience suggest lead to effective aid. Those dimensions are maximizing efficiency, fostering institutions (in recipient countries), reducing burden (for recipient governments), and transparency and learning (on the part of donors). The Quality of Agricultural Official Development Assistance (Ag QuODA), as much as possible, applies the original QuODA methodology to donors giving agricultural aid. In this update of Ag QuODA, we use new data from the Creditor Reporting System to extend our earlier analysis and update it to 2011. We also examine data on aid activities that the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is now reporting. We find that the quality of official development assistance (ODA) varies widely, with multilateral donors generally doing better on average than bilateral donors. Improvements in the data quality and availability are making sector-specific assessments like Ag QuODA more feasible, but further improvements are needed to allow a deeper understanding of aid effectiveness.
  • Topic: Agriculture, Development, Economics, Foreign Aid, Foreign Direct Investment
  • Author: William A. Byrd
  • Publication Date: 09-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Massive amounts of money flowing into Afghanistan since 2001 (foreign military spending, aid, domestic revenues, opium profits, land takeovers and development, informal mineral exploitation, theft of funds such as at Kabul Bank) have had profound political economy impacts, not least by further entrenching factionalized politics and fragmented patronage networks. The ongoing transition involving the drawdown of international troops and Afghan takeover of security responsibilities will be accompanied by drastic declines in international military expenditures and aid. Total resources for patronage will fall sharply; the Afghan government's share in remaining funds will increase; declines will be greatest at local levels, especially in insecure areas in the south/east which had heavy international military presence and high aid; and drug money will become increasingly important. At lower levels of patronage, competition over declining resources may intensify, so even in the absence of major armed conflict at the national level, localized conflicts may continue and even proliferate, aggravated by taking revenge and “settling accounts” by currently excluded and marginalized groups.
  • Topic: Arms Control and Proliferation, Development, Economics, Islam, Foreign Aid, Narcotics Trafficking, Foreign Direct Investment
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Central Asia
  • Author: Steven E. Steiner
  • Publication Date: 09-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Ongoing dialogues and forums on nations in transition reinforce the commonality of challenges related to women's rights and roles in society, especially leadership in government. Women leaders in Afghanistan, Iraq and the Arab Spring countries face major challenges, including heightened insecurity and the risk of women's rights being rolled back significantly. Steps to address these challenges are to build coalitions across internal divides, engage male religious leaders and other men to support women's rights, reach out to youth, develop gender-based budgeting, and underscore the importance of women's economic empowerment. Keys to progress in these areas include obtaining grassroots support and taking a long-term strategic focus in international programs.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Gender Issues, Government, Labor Issues, Governance
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Arabia
  • Author: Timo Behr, Tuomas Iso-Markku
  • Publication Date: 08-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The outcome of the German federal elections on September 22nd will have a significant impact on the management of the on-going eurozone crisis and set the tone for the future course of European integration. Although the EU and the euro are largely absent from current electoral debates, significant differences on these issues exist both inside and between German political parties in the run-up to the September polls. However, in the absence of significant debate, fundamental decisions over the future of EU integration will be postponed until after the election, when a cross-party compromise appears more feasible. Regardless of the election outcome, the next German government is likely to prove more conciliatory on austerity policies in Europe and will boost domestic spending, but will retain some red lines on further EU integration. While the rhetoric and the pace of change might differ significantly depending on the shape that the next coalition government takes, German eurozone policies will continue to trade fiscal solidarity for structural reforms.
  • Topic: Economics, Markets, Financial Crisis, Governance
  • Political Geography: Europe, Germany
  • Author: Natalia Aivazova
  • Publication Date: 08-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: Five years since the global economic crisis began in 2008, many of the world's advanced economies are still struggling with sluggish growth and high levels of joblessness, especially among younger workers. In June 2013 the European Council expressed concern that “youth unemployment has reached unprecedented levels in several Member States” and called for “urgent action.” Much of the debate in Europe and the United States has focused on fiscal and monetary measures; while macroeconomic policy can address cyclical problems, a wide consensus recognizes the need to address structural challenges. One such challenge is a mismatch between the skills demanded by employers and those available among the population, especially younger workers. This mismatch can be addressed in part through the implementation of apprenticeship programs. The European Council recently concluded that “high quality apprenticeships and work-based learning will be promoted, notably through the European Alliance for Apprenticeships.” However, in the United States, where many are struggling to find jobs after graduating, apprenticeship programs hardly draw government and private-sector resources. Boosting apprenticeships could give both European and US workers the much-needed skills and competitive edge.
  • Topic: Economics, Markets, Labor Issues, Youth Culture
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe
  • Author: Edwin M. Truman, Allie E. Bagnall
  • Publication Date: 08-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: The term sovereign wealth fund (SWF) had not been coined a decade ago. By 2007, economists and the financial world were alternatively excited about or alarmed by the growing influence of these institutions, though in fact many of them had been around for decades. Politicians in countries in which the funds invested generally welcomed the additional financial resources from abroad while expressing concern about the motivations of investors and what they feared could be threats to political, economic, and financial security. The general public in the countries in which the funds were based realized at the same time that political leaders were investing large amounts of national wealth at home and abroad with limited disclosure, and they wanted to know more.
  • Topic: Economics, Globalization, International Trade and Finance, Foreign Direct Investment, Sovereign Wealth Funds
  • Publication Date: 09-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxford Economics
  • Abstract: Last week we argued that a US attack on Syria would have little impact on asset prices. Here we expand this analysis to consider the effect on asset prices of other recent US attacks on a foreign power. Subject to the qualifications set out below, we find that the impact of US warfare over the past twenty years has been minimal. Excluding the first Gulf War , it is almost non-existent.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets, War
  • Political Geography: United States, Syria
  • Publication Date: 09-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxford Economics
  • Abstract: The equity market has had a tough few months due to a combination of concerns, including fears that a US-led attack on Syria might lead to a wider Middle East conflict and threaten oil supplies. Of greater concern for equities are worries that a turn in the US monetary policy cycle could eventually kill off the US recovery. However with valuation not looking like a barrier to further gains, this four-and-a-half year equity bull market will in all likelihood climb the wall of worry and set another new high before the year is out.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Arabia
  • Publication Date: 08-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxford Economics
  • Abstract: It is now looking all but certain that the United States will launch some form of attack on Syria. What is unclear is the severity and duration of the attack. Leaving aside the political ramifications, the immediate economic effects are likely to be limited (and are mostly already factored in). Opposing impacts on inflation and activity means that changes to central bank policy could be postponed. A prolonged campaign could have wider ramifications, not least if there is a risk of a geographical widening of the conflict.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets, War
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Arabia, Syria
  • Publication Date: 08-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxford Economics
  • Abstract: Since the US Federal Reserve signalled that a turn in the interest rate cycle may be on the horizon, UK and to a lesser extent Eurozone interest rates have tracked US rates higher. But the UK and Eurozone economies are less well placed than the US to cope with higher interest rates. Simulations carried out on our Global Economic Model show that higher rates would be particularly harmful to the UK economy's embryonic recovery. In an attempt to stem the rise in interest rates, the Bank of England and the ECB have introduce forward guidance but with little, if any, success. Markets do not seem convinced by the Bank of England's commitment to forward guidance and are testing its resolve. It seems likely that over time both central banks may have to strengthen their forward guidance, in the case of the Bank of England by augmenting it with further quantitative easing.
  • Topic: Economics, Markets, Monetary Policy, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: United States, United Kingdom, Europe
  • Publication Date: 06-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxford Economics
  • Abstract: Shinzo Abe was elected Prime Minister of Japan last December on a programme intended to end two decades of deflation and lost growth in Japan. His regime, dubbed 'Abenomics', consists of three arrows: a monetary stimulus, a fiscal stimulus and structural reform. The first two are well under way. The third has yet to be fired. But following his party's victory in July's Upper House election, Mr Abe has all the backing he will need – or ever get – to forcefully launch the third arrow of Abenomics. This scenario alert examines the potential upsides for the Japanese economy if Abenomics succeeds. Although the economy will not return to the 4%+ growth rates seen in the 1980s, it could secure growth in the 2-3% range. This would be a major improvement on its dismal performance of less than 1% average real growth a year since 1993.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Monetary Policy, Reform
  • Political Geography: Japan, Syria
  • Publication Date: 08-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxford Economics
  • Abstract: At the end of last week, there were rumours that the Fed may change its unemployment threshold from 6.5% to 6%, either at its 30-31 July meeting or, perhaps more likely, at its 17-18 September meeting. Such a move would confirm that the Fed funds rate is likely to remain in its current 0-0.25% range until 2015, which is in line with our baseline scenario. But while the change would be an acknowledgement that the US labour market has performed more strongly than expected, the change – if implemented – could still be a mistake as it may erode the value of forward guidance by moving the goalposts.
  • Topic: Economics, Markets, Labor Issues, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Publication Date: 07-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxford Economics
  • Abstract: Mario Draghi's commitment a year ago to do “whatever it takes” to save the euro looks to have been an important turning point in the Eurozone crisis. Systemic risk has fallen, the euro has strengthened, spreads on peripheral debt have narrowed and bond and equity markets have become less sensitive to bad Eurozone news flow. Indeed, to date markets seem to have taken Draghi at his word and seem unwilling to test his resolve. But although confidence in the outlook for the Eurozone among investors has risen over the past year, the real economy is yet to emerge from recession. We continue to expect this to happen in the second half of this year, a view supported by this week's improvement in the PMI data. However, unless action is taken to reduce borrowing costs paid by households and companies in the peripheral economies, the recovery will be anaemic. With that in mind, the ECB's announcement that it will ease its collateral rules only marginally is disappointing.
  • Topic: Economics, Markets, Monetary Policy, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Publication Date: 07-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxford Economics
  • Abstract: Recent US data have been uneven. An improving manufacturing ISM survey was offset by non-manufacturing data being worse than expected. Last week a strong consumer credit number was balanced by weaker small business confidence. The US economy almost certainly went through a soft patch in Q2. However, on balance the recovery–unexciting as it has been–remains on track, with some possible further mileage to be had from equities. This is consistent with the recent dovish statement by Fed Chairman Bernanke, suggesting that the tapering of quantitative easing is still some way off.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Global Recession, Labor Issues, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Publication Date: 06-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxford Economics
  • Abstract: Comments from the US Federal Reserve aimed at signalling that monetary policy cannot stay at historically low levels indefinitely have caused bond yields and credit spreads to rise both in the US and abroad. Higher borrowing rates are particularly inappropriate for the Eurozone which, unlike the US, is still struggling to emerge from recession. This tightening of financial conditions will place pressure on the ECB to act. Although surveys show that investors' bearishness on US government bonds is at an extreme level, suggesting that in the coming weeks bond yields are more likely to fall than rise, the longer-term trend in bond yields is now upwards. But we do not expect the rise in yields over the next two or three years to kill off the US recovery. Consequently, we believe that the US equity market is still on an upward uptrend, albeit one that will experience regular spikes in volatility as the Fed gradually moves away from its ultra-loose policy.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Monetary Policy, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe
  • Publication Date: 06-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxford Economics
  • Abstract: The European Central Bank has postponed any plans to introduce targeted measures to reduce the cost of borrowing for small and medium-sized businesses in the credit-starved peripheral Eurozone economies. Given the widening gap between the lower costs of borrowing for companies in Germany and France and the higher costs in the periphery, we think that there is a strong case for the ECB to take action. Simulations using our Global Macroeconomic Model show that if half the tightening in credit conditions seen since 2008 were to be reversed within two years, Eurozone GDP would be 0.7% higher by the end of 2017 than under our baseline forecast. There would be over 400,000 fewer people unemployed. This would be particularly beneficial for peripheral Eurozone risk assets.
  • Topic: Debt, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Monetary Policy
  • Political Geography: Europe, Germany
  • Publication Date: 06-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxford Economics
  • Abstract: The housing market is recovering, according to recent price and activity data. Post-crisis price corrections were smaller in the UK than in the US and much of Europe, and demand is now being bolstered by the government's Funding for Lending and Help to Buy schemes. This has given rise to some worries that the UK is in danger of inflating another house price bubble. While housing supply is very tight, we are not convinced that these schemes will have enough impact on demand to cause prices to take off.
  • Topic: Economics, Markets, Monetary Policy, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: United States, United Kingdom, Europe
  • 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: Philip Martin
  • Publication Date: 08-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: Recruitment matches workers with jobs, a process that is often complicated by asymmetric information, viz. employers know more about the jobs they are offering than job seekers, who know more about their abilities than employers. Economists have developed a variety of models to explain how employers screen applicants to find the workers best suited to fill the jobs they offer, and how workers signal their ability to employers by earning degrees and certificates.
  • Topic: Economics, Markets, Migration, Labor Issues
  • Author: Nicolle Graugnard
  • Publication Date: 09-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment
  • Abstract: Business needs a stable and predictable investment environment, especially in times of economic uncertainty, to continue to generate employment and create wealth. Although foreign direct investment (FDI) flows rose for two years after plummeting in the wake of the global financial crisis, they fell again by 18% to US$ 1.4 trillion in 2012. According to UNCTAD, the major factors contributing to this sharp decline were economic fragility and policy uncertainty in several economies. Moreover, investment regulations classified as “restrictive” rose to 25% in 2012, compared to just 6% in 2000; “liberalizing” regulations were 75% of the total in 2012, compared to 94% in 2000. The result of these regulations is, therefore, not surprising: businesses are holding back on new investments, with multinational enterprises reporting record cash-holdings of between US$ 4 to 5 trillion.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Industrial Policy, International Trade and Finance, Natural Resources
  • Author: Marino Baldi
  • Publication Date: 09-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment
  • Abstract: Traditional bilateral investment treaties (BITs) focus on investment protection, i.e., regulate post-establishment aspects of foreign investment. In recent times, investment agreements have increasingly been supplemented with liberalization rules and also clauses on, e.g., key personnel, labor rights and sustainable development. Such integrated investment accords have notably become part of preferential trade agreements (PTAs). This trend started with NAFTA, continued with the negotiations on a Multilateral Agreement on Investment (MAI), and has in the course of the past ten years increasingly characterized PTAs throughout the world. The rapid proliferation of PTAs has, in the investment field, unfortunately led to lower quality provisions. Many of these treaties contain such wide-ranging exceptions and vaguely formulated safeguard clauses that their regulatory value as regards the protection of foreign investments in their post-establishment phase is called into question.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Foreign Direct Investment
  • Author: Krisnah Poinasamy, Teresa Cavero
  • Publication Date: 09-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxfam Publishing
  • Abstract: Europe has often seen itself as a place where the social contract balances growth with development. A place where public services aim to ensure everyone has access to a high-quality education and no one need live in fear of falling ill. A place w here the rights of workers, and particularly of women, are respected and supported, and w here societies care for the weakest and the poorest; where the market has been harnessed to benefit society, rather than the other way round.
  • Topic: Economics, Poverty, Social Stratification
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Kevin Ummel
  • Publication Date: 09-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: South Africa and many other countries hope to aggressively expand wind and solar power (WSP) in the coming decades. This presents significant challenges for power system planning. Success hinges largely on the question of how and where to deploy WSP technologies. Well-designed deployment strategies can take advantage of natural variability in resources across space and time to help minimize costs, maximize benefits, and ensure reliability.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Development, Economics, Energy Policy, Environment, Industrial Policy
  • Political Geography: South Africa
  • Author: Lant Pritchett
  • Publication Date: 09-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: More than a billion children worldwide—95 percent—are in school. That's due in part to steady progress toward the second Millennium Development Goal that every child “be able to complete a full course of primary school” by 2015. To put that in perspective, the average adult in the developing world today receives more schooling than the average adult in advanced countries did in 1960. Schooling, however, is not the same as education. Few of these billion students will receive an education that adequately equips them for their future. The poor quality of education worldwide constitutes a learning crisis; donors and development agencies have been complicit in its creation, but they can and should be part of the solution, not by prescribing changes, but by fostering environments where change is possible.
  • Topic: Demographics, Development, Economics, Education, Foreign Aid, Foreign Direct Investment
  • Publication Date: 04-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Institute of International Education
  • Abstract: The Institute of International Education's delegation to Myanmar last month had an unusual start. Dr.Catherine Raymond, a faculty member at Northern Illinois University who curates the Burmese art collection there, was a part of our group and had taken on the mission to give back to Myanmar a Buddha sculpture created more than 1,000 years ago. At a ceremony with the minister of culture, we learned that the return of the Buddha was not an easy thing.
  • Topic: Democratization, Development, Economics, Education, Human Rights, Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Southeast Asia, Myanmar
  • Author: Flavia Ramos-Mattouss, Jeffrey Ayala Milligan
  • Publication Date: 07-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Institute of International Education
  • Abstract: This briefing paper, “ Building Research and Teaching Capacity in Indonesia through International Collaboration, ” published by the Institute of International Education's Center for International Partnerships, provides a detailed, data-driven look at the research and teaching capacity of Indonesian universities. The authors, Flavia Ramos-Mattoussi and Jeffrey Ayala Milligan, report on key findings from a USAID-funded project in which faculty members from Florida State University worked in collaboration with university partners in Indonesia to develop and implement a series of activities with the aim of building the capacity of teacher education institutions. This IIE briefing paper examines recent efforts in building the research and teaching capacity of Indonesian universities and the specific challenges in developing the research capacity of university lecturers in Indonesia.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Education, International Cooperation, International Affairs, Foreign Aid
  • Political Geography: Indonesia, Southeast Asia, Florida
  • 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: Teija Tiilikainen
  • Publication Date: 09-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Safeguarding the EU's unity in the long-term development of the EMU is currently one of the major challenges for the Union. The de facto adjustments made to the EU's economic and fiscal powers due to the economic and financial crisis, including the completion of the Banking Union, create pressures to address the treaty-based division of powers and to strengthen the democratic control of the powers executed by the Union. The need to back the EU's macroeconomic goals with fiscal instruments has been made evident by the economic crisis; the position of these instruments outside the common budget might become increasingly controversial. A further increase in economic solidarity (jointly guaranteed debt, taxation power) might jeopardize the EU's stability and democratic legitimacy if carried out in the current political and institutional framework. A system of constitutional and fiscal federalism would produce a more stable outcome, but would require major changes in the EU's democratic system and system of policy implementation, in its external policies and the way its constitutional powers are arranged.
  • Topic: Debt, Economics, Regional Cooperation, Monetary Policy, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Nicholas Borst
  • Publication Date: 10-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: The Chinese financial system has undergone almost continuous reform since the dismantling in the 1980s of the Soviet- style system where only one state-controlled bank existed. Government efforts to create a financial system that adheres to international best practices of commercial lending accelerated in the 1990s (box 1). Reforms progressed quickly during this period, but they were accompanied by excessive credit growth and a massive increase in nonperforming loans, threatening the solvency of some banks and the financial stability of the entire economy. The risk of these weaknesses was dramatized by the 1997 Asian financial crisis, in which several nearby countries were crippled by plunging currency values, rising interest rates and difficulties servicing their foreign-held debts.
  • Topic: Debt, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: China
  • Author: Ángel Ubide
  • Publication Date: 10-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: The euro area has made significant strides in the last six months in designing a banking union. The goal has been to centralize supervisory decision making and improve the management of failing banks while protecting European taxpayers and imposing costs on creditors through so-called bail-ins to reduce moral hazard. Euro area leaders have reached some political agreements, and legislation is being prepared for eventual adoption by the European Parliament and then the various member states. This progress has been hailed as a step in the right direction, with particular praise for the euro area leaders' plan to endow the European Central Bank (ECB) with supervisory powers and create new rules for managing troubled banks.
  • Topic: Economics, Markets, Regional Cooperation, Monetary Policy
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Anders Åslund
  • Publication Date: 09-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: Since gaining independence in December 1991, Ukraine has vacillated between the European Union and Russia for economic and political cooperation. Until recently neither had offered Ukraine much, but in the last few months, things have heated up. Ukraine's intention to sign an Association Agreement for political association and economic integration with the European Union has raised a furor in the Kremlin, which is now trying to block Ukraine from aligning itself with the European Union. Moscow has imposed trade sanctions in clear violation of its obligations in the World Trade Organization (WTO) and is pursuing an intense confrontation.
  • Topic: Economics, Treaties and Agreements, World Trade Organization, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Ukraine, Asia, Moscow
  • 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: Marie-Hélène Ratel, Gabriel Williams, Keegan Williams
  • Publication Date: 09-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: Unprecedented human migration is an issue of critical importance in today's rapidly globalizing world. International migrants constitute a group with more people than the population of Brazil, and they send more money home each year than the entire value of Argentina's economy (International Organization for Migration [IOM], 2013). Migration flows have doubled since 1980 and show no signs of slowing down due to growing inequalities in global development, population pressure, environmental change and conflict (Koser, 2010). Compared to the majority of citizens in many countries, migrants face heightened risks because they do not receive adequate social protections such as health care, income security, education, housing or access to clean water and sanitation.
  • Topic: Economics, Migration, Social Stratification, Labor Issues, Immigration, Sociology
  • Political Geography: Brazil, Argentina
  • Author: Theodore Baird
  • Publication Date: 08-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: Human smuggling plays a central role in migration from areas affected by conflict and poverty to areas of relative safety. The terms 'smuggling' and 'trafficking' are often used synonymously in public discussions and the media. The accepted international definitions of smuggling and trafficking were not devised until the end of the 1990s. In international law, with the signing in December 2000 of the United Nations Protocol Against the Smuggling of Migrants and the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, a distinction was made in order to aid authorities in managing and prosecuting individuals involved. Human smuggling and trafficking are covered under the two Protocols to the Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime (UNTOC), which were negotiated in Vienna under the United Nations Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, with the UN Centre for International Crime Prevention serving as secretariat, in the 'Vienna Process'. The Smuggling Protocol was signed at a meeting convened in Palermo, Italy, as one of what were dubbed the 'Palermo Protocols'. The following definition of human smuggling is widely accepted by governments and academic communities.
  • Topic: Economics, Human Rights, Migration, Labor Issues, Border Control
  • Political Geography: Italy