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  • Author: Angel Ubide
  • Publication Date: 12-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: The rules and buffers created in the last few years to enable the euro area to withstand another sudden stop of credit and market-driven panic in one or more of its member states are welcome steps, but they are widely recognized as inadequate. Ubide proposes creating a system of stability bonds in the euro area, to be issued by a new European Debt Agency, to partially finance the debt of euro area countries—up to 25 percent of GDP. These stability bonds should be initially backed by tax revenues transferred from national treasuries, but ultimately by the creation of euro area–wide tax revenues, and used to fund the operations of national governments. They could also be used for euro area–wide fiscal stimulus, to complement the fiscal policies of member states. Such bonds would strengthen the euro area economic infrastructure, creating incentives for countries to reduce their deficits but not forcing them to do so when such actions would drive their economies further into a downturn. The bonds would permit the euro area to adopt a more flexible or expansionary fiscal policy during recessions.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Monetary Policy, GDP
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Jeffrey Schott, Euijin Jung, Cathleen Cimino-Isaacs
  • Publication Date: 12-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: Of all the free trade agreements (FTAs) concluded by Korea with its major trading partners since the turn of the century, the Korea-China FTA may be the largest in trade terms. It is, however, far from the best in terms of the depth of liberalization and the scope of obligations on trade and investment policies. Korea and China agreed to liberalize a large share of bilateral trade within 20 years, but both sides incorporated extensive exceptions to basic tariff reforms and deferred important market access negotiations on services and investment for several years. Political interests trumped economic objectives, and the negotiated outcome cut too many corners to achieve such a comprehensive result. The limited outcome in the Korea-China talks has two clear implications for economic integration among the northeast Asian countries. First, prospects for the ongoing China-Japan-Korea talks will be limited and unlikely to exceed the Korea-China outcome. Second, Korea and Japan need to strengthen their bilateral leg of the northeast Asian trilateral and the best way is by negotiating a deal in the context of the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Treaties and Agreements, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: Korea
  • Author: William A. Byrd
  • Publication Date: 05-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: For several years, Afghanistan’s economy and public finances have worsened, culminating in a full-blown fiscal crisis in 2014. Political uncertainties, the weakening Afghan economy, corruption in tax collection, stagnant government revenues, and increasing expenditures have contributed to the current fiscal impasse. In the absence of bold actions by the Afghan government along with proactive international support to turn around the fiscal situation, the fiscal crisis and its insidious effects will continue.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Corruption, Economics, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Central Asia
  • Author: Ishrat Husain, Muhammad Ather Elahi
  • Publication Date: 08-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Pakistan and Afghanistan are among each other’s largest trading partners. Though an agreement was signed in 2010 to strengthen trade relations and facilitate Afghan transit trade through Pakistan, implementation has been mixed, with many on both sides of the border complaining of continued barriers to exchange. Both nations need to improve trade facilitation through streamlined payments settlement and improved insurance mechanisms, the use of bonded carriers, visa issuance, trade financing, tax collection, and documentation.
  • Topic: Economics, Foreign Exchange, International Trade and Finance, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Afghanistan
  • Author: William A. Byrd
  • Publication Date: 10-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Some say reviving the Afghan economy in a time of intensifying violent conflict and declining external financial inflows will be impossible. Expectations need to be kept modest, and measures must go beyond conventional economic approaches in order to be effective. This brief puts forward some outside-the-box ideas, which, combined with greater government effectiveness and, hopefully, reductions in violent conflict, may help turn the economy around.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Political Violence, Development, Economics
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Central Asia
  • Author: Vickie Choltz, Maureen Conway
  • Publication Date: 12-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Aspen Institute
  • Abstract: The Future of Work for Low-Income Workers and Families is a policy brief aimed at state policy advocates and policymakers seeking to help low-income workers and their families secure healthy economic livelihoods as the nature of work evolves in the United States. Published by the Working Poor Families Project in December 2015, the brief was written by Vickie Choitz, associate director of the Economic Opportunities Program, with Maureen Conway, vice president at the Aspen Institute and executive director of the Economic Opportunities Program. This brief reviews the major forces shaping the future of work, including changes in labor and employment practices, business models, access to income and benefits, worker rights and voice, education and training, and technology. Across these areas, we are seeing disruptive change in our economy and society resulting in increasing risk and challenges for low-income workers, in particular.
  • Topic: Security, Economics, Human Welfare, Social Stratification, Employment
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Annie Kim
  • Publication Date: 12-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Aspen Institute
  • Abstract: The 2015 Financial Security Summit, titled Reimagining Financial Security: Managing Risk and Building Wealth in an Era of Inequality, took place July 15–17 in Aspen, Colorado. The Summit agenda built on FSP's core themes of expanding retirement security and children’s savings accounts for low- and moderate-income families, and began to explore a broader vision of how to improve short- and long-term dimensions of financial wellbeing in a rapidly changing economy. Participant contributions helped shape new areas of focus for FSP going forward. This report incorporates those insights and provides an outline for future policy dialogue and directions.
  • Topic: Security, Economics, Human Welfare, Social Stratification, Employment
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Dave Grossman, Roger Ballentine, Andy Karsner
  • Publication Date: 12-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Aspen Institute
  • Abstract: The 2015 Clean Energy Innovation Forum, “The New Energy Innovation Economy,” was co-chaired again this year by Roger Ballentine of Green Strategies and Andy Karsner of Manifest Energy. Topics discussed included the ongoing transformation of the energy user experience; distributed generation and disruption incumbent electricity business model; challenges in bridging the energy technology gap between development and adoption; and the impact of climate concerns on accelerating change.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Economics, Energy Policy, Markets, Science and Technology
  • Political Geography: United States of America
  • Author: Dave Grossman, Claire Farley, Bill White
  • Publication Date: 11-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Aspen Institute
  • Abstract: The 2015 Forum on Global Energy Economy and Security, “The New Pricing Reality in Global Oil and Gas Markets,” was co-chaired by Claire Farley, Member at Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Company, and Bill White, Senior Advisor and Chairman of Lazard Houston and former Mayor of Houston. Topics discussed included the current and future drivers of global supply and demand for petroleum; specific regional changes and challenges; the global LNG market and market penetration for natural gas; environmental challenges that may impact oil and gas development; and the effect of new technology and data changing planning and investment.
  • Topic: Economics, Energy Policy, Environment, Oil, Global Markets
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Carl Van Horn, Tammy Edwards, Todd Greene
  • Publication Date: 10-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Aspen Institute
  • Abstract: Transforming U.S. Workforce Development Policies for the 21st Century explores how new policies and practice can meet the changing needs of workers, businesses and their communities. Produced in partnership by the Federal Reserve Banks of Atlanta and Kansas City, and the John J. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development at Rutgers University, this edited volume presents contributions from more than 65 leading scholars and practitioners engaged in workforce development. The book includes chapters co-written by two leaders at the Economic Opportunities Program.
  • Topic: Economics, Human Welfare, Politics, Communications, Employment
  • Political Geography: United States of America
  • Publication Date: 01-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Aspen Institute
  • Abstract: In New York City on October 16-17, 2014, the Aspen Institute Business & Society Program hosted a Symposium focused on exemplary teaching at the business and society interface with a particular emphasis on sourcing and employment practices-leveraging increased consumer demand for "responsible" labor practices and supply chains, and employer demand for graduates with strong operational skills. This meeting brought together an impressive roster of corporate, academic and non-profit leaders, and identified ways for business schools to effectively prepare future leaders for the challenges of our complex economy, and to lead companies in ways that help build a vibrant economy for all.
  • Topic: Economics, Education, International Trade and Finance, Politics, Labor Issues
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Joël Blit
  • Publication Date: 11-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: This policy brief recommends that to diminish the potential for holdup, uncertainty around patent rights should be reduced. Patents should be easily searchable and more easily understood by non-legal experts. In addition, patents should be narrower and more clearly demarcated. To the extent that the welfare costs of patents appear to outweigh their benefits, the requirements for obtaining a patent should be tightened. Further, patents should be made less broad and, concomitant with the reduction in the length of the product cycle, the length of patents should also be reduced.
  • Topic: Economics, Intellectual Property/Copyright, Governance, Law
  • Political Geography: North America
  • Author: Domenico Lombardi , Kelsey Shantz
  • Publication Date: 11-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: The annual CIGI Survey of Progress in International Economic Governance assesses progress in five areas of international economic governance: macroeconomic and financial cooperation; cooperation on financial regulation; cooperation on development; cooperation on trade; and cooperation on climate change. In this year’s survey, 31 CIGI experts conclude that international economic arrangements continue to show a level of “status quo,” averaging a score of 50% across all five areas. The 2015 survey indicates a slight improvement to the result of last year’s survey, which suggested a minimal regression overall. The experts’ assessment of progress was most promising in the area of climate change cooperation, with an average score of 57%, whereas the least promising area was macroeconomic and financial cooperation, with a score of 44%, indicating minimal regression. The remaining three areas polled all fell within the “status quo” range, with trade at 46%, development at 48% and international cooperation on financial regulation at 53%. Interestingly, in the area of cooperation on development, CIGI’s experts provided a relatively mixed assessment. Responses varied based on experts’ perception of the effectiveness of current rhetoric, from 70% (indicating some progress) to 10% (suggesting major regression). Compared to last year, climate change governance has made the greatest improvement, but the remaining three areas (with the exception of development, which was not included in the 2014 survey) have all, on average, regressed further or remained stagnant. This trend is cause for concern.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Development, Economics, International Cooperation, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Domenico Lombardi, Kesley Shantz
  • Publication Date: 11-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: The annual CIGI Survey of Progress in International Economic Governance assesses progress in five areas of international economic governance: macroeconomic and financial cooperation; cooperation on financial regulation; cooperation on development; cooperation on trade; and cooperation on climate change.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Economics, Financial Crisis, Governance
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Susan Schadler
  • Publication Date: 11-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: This policy brief examines a number of poses key challenges in the evolution of a coherent role for the IMF in future crises.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, International Monetary Fund
  • Political Geography: Ukraine
  • Author: Céline Bak
  • Publication Date: 10-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: Reporting on global trade in environmental goods would provide a comprehensive lens into diversification that will be needed for the transition to low-carbon economies, help countries benchmark the shorter- and longer-term impact of policies such as regulation and fiscal stimulus targeted at green growth, as well as innovation, and strengthen the G20 leaders’ commitment to inclusive and sustainable growth by providing visibility into the pace of investments to address climate change.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Economics, International Trade and Finance, G20
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Penelope Hawkins, Olaf Weber
  • Publication Date: 09-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: One of the most important and topical discussions within the global multilateral arena is the challenge of meeting the world’s climate finance needs in order to reduce carbon emissions to sustainable levels and support adaptation strategies. The mobilization of finance is key in supporting the transition away from traditional high-carbon or business-as-usual economic pathways toward low-carbon, climate-resilient economic systems. A conference, Global Sustainability, Climate Change and Finance Policy, organized by the Centre for International Governance Innovation and the South African Institute for International Affairs and held in Johannesburg from July 1 to July 3, considered aspects of the debate.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Economics, Environment, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Jonathan Diab, Anna Klimbovskaia
  • Publication Date: 09-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: Populist uprisings often call for the renationalization or buying back of public goods that were originally privatized as a result of austerity measures established and disseminated by the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.
  • Topic: Economics, International Monetary Fund, Financial Crisis, World Bank, Popular Revolt
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Suzan Ilcan, Marcia Oliver, Laura Connoy
  • Publication Date: 12-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: Increasingly, refugees residing in refugee camps are living in protracted situations for which there are no quick remedies. Existing attempts to address protracted situations for refugees engage with the concept and practices of the Self-reliance Strategy (SRS). This paper focuses on the SRS in Uganda’s Nakivale Refugee Settlement. It draws attention to the strategy's disconnection from the social and economic relations within which refugees live in settlements, and its inability to provide refugees with sufficient access to social support and protection.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Humanitarian Aid, Refugee Issues
  • Political Geography: Uganda
  • Author: Hongying Wang
  • Publication Date: 12-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: The International Monetary Fund recently concluded its quinquennial review of the composition of the Special Drawing Right (SDR), accepting the Chinese currency into the SDR basket alongside four major international currencies — the US dollar, the euro, the British pound and the Japanese yen. The Chinese government has spent a great deal of energy and political capital to achieve this outcome. This policy paper explains China’s interest in this seemingly exotic and technical pursuit, identifying the political and economic motivations underlying this initiative.
  • Topic: Economics, Politics, International Monetary Fund, Monetary Policy
  • Political Geography: China
  • Author: Marcus Noland
  • Publication Date: 11-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: Unconventional monetary policy (UMP) has had predictable effects. How exit plays out is scenario-dependent. Quantitative easing has had the predictable effect of encouraging currency depreciation and some partner countries may have attempted to offset these exchange rate effects. Korea presents a particularly interesting case: it is relatively small and relatively open and integrated, in both trade and financial terms, with the United States and Japan, two practitioners of UMP. Authorities have acted to limit the won's appreciation primarily against the currency of China, not the US or Japan. Nevertheless, Korea's policy is a source of tension with the US. Under legislation currently being considered, the currency manipulation issue could potentially interfere with Korean efforts to attract direct investment from the US and create an obstacle to Korea joining the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Political Economy, Monetary Policy, Foreign Direct Investment
  • Political Geography: Asia
  • Author: Jordan P. Howell
  • Publication Date: 11-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: With limited space and ever-growing trash, the islands of the Pacific share unique challenges managing their solid wastes. The traditional approach has been to collect waste in open dumps and landfills. But overwhelmed sites and unsanitary conditions are driving governments to seek alternative solutions. Hawai'i has implemented "resource recovery" systems in past decades to deal with waste, including an innovative energy-from-waste project on O'ahu, and a recycling/composting program on Maui that focuses on diverting material from landfills. While both have been successful in reducing waste and generating products, the programs have also endured unexpected delays and problems. Despite differences in scale and capacity, the Hawai'i experience offers insights for other Pacific islands into how to tackle their own solid waste management issues, and create systems and policies that deliver the greatest ecological and economic benefits.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Economics, Energy Policy, Governance, Climate Finance
  • Political Geography: Hawaii, United States of America
  • Author: Boy Lüthje, Christopher A. McNally
  • Publication Date: 10-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: The global financial crisis of 2008-09 led to a policy consensus in China that its socioeconomic development model needed rebalancing. China's rapid development has been based on extensive growth reliant on exports, low wages, environmental exploitation, and the manufacturing of cheap products. China's current plans identify paths to economic rebalancing through intensive growth driven by rising investment in new technologies and manufacturing processes, improved wages and skills, and improved worker and environmental protections. Two industries, automotive and information technology, demonstrate the experience of and opportunities for rebalancing. Both offer improved employment conditions with better wages, but continue to incorporate large swaths of low-wage employment with little protection for workers' health and the environment. Economic rebalancing in China, therefore, has so far only appeared in pockets. Institutional safeguards for wages and labor standards remain constrained by powerful alliances among multinational corporations, Chinese state-owned/private enterprises, and the Chinese state.
  • Topic: Economics, Political Economy, Labor Issues, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: China
  • Author: Jon Dorsch
  • Publication Date: 09-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: At the end of 2015 the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) will announce the establishment of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC). In theory, this agreement should produce an association-wide economic integration. However, following the announcement, and for the foreseeable future, ASEAN member states will continue in significantly less than full regional economic integration. Why? Some observers believe that the AEC plans involve an "overly ambitious timeline and too many ill-thought-out initiatives." Others point to ASEAN's traditional aversion to legally binding agreements. While progress has been made in reducing or eliminating intra-ASEAN trade tariffs, substantial non-tariff barriers to trade persist. However, for most member states, the ASEAN market is relatively small while external markets, especially China, are growing rapidly. Given this outward-orientation for ASEAN trade, is the lack of an unhindered regional market really a problem?
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Victoria Bucătaru
  • Publication Date: 11-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Leading up to the formation of Moldova’s third government since elections a year ago, Chisinau faces not only political and macro-financial instability, but also suffers from a severe trust deficit in relations with external partners, some of which have suspended aid flows this year. If Moldova was once the most advanced Eastern Partnership state in terms of aid coordination, government ownership of the process has significantly weakened as a result of the protracted political crisis. Although donors continue to cooperate among themselves via well-established channels, participation by state institutions is currently limited. Once the political setting is stabilised, the government will need to go to great lengths to regain the trust of its external partners and re-establish donor coordination. This is fundamental if Moldova is to make the best use of assistance in order to recover its finances quickly.
  • Topic: Economics, Politics, Governance, Elections
  • Author: Kinga Dudzińska, Jakub Godzimirski, Roderick Parkes
  • Publication Date: 09-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The migration and refugee situation in Eastern Europe receives comparatively little attention in the EU for a simple reason: the people displaced by the fighting in eastern Ukraine have tended to stay close to home or travel to Russia rather than head to the European Union. But eastern migration deserves attention. Migration issues, including questions of population loss, diaspora loyalty and border management, are gaining real geopolitical significance across Eastern Europe. Moreover, the EU’s technocratic efforts to leverage access to its labour markets in return for political reform in Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia are becoming increasingly politicised there. This paper therefore sets out some basic data on the issue. It takes as its case studies the receiving countries Norway and Poland, both located at the external border of the EU, EEA and Schengen zone and next to Russia, and pays special attention to the question of border management, including small border traffic and migration control, looking particularly at the gender dimension of migration.
  • Topic: Economics, Migration, Politics, Refugee Issues
  • Political Geography: Ukraine, Eastern Europe
  • Author: Patryk Kuglel
  • Publication Date: 10-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The EU-India Strategic Partnership launched in 2004 has made only modest achievements and needs a thorough rethink. Both sides must reset cooperation and base it on a more realistic footing centred on common interests, such as economic cooperation, global governance, development cooperation, and defence. The resumption of free trade negotiations, the organisation of a long overdue bilateral summit, and more frank dialogue on contentious issues is necessary in order to utilise the partnership’s potential. Poland may use this strategic drift to revitalise bilateral cooperation and play a more active role in reviving EU-India dialogue.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Politics, Bilateral Relations, Governance
  • Political Geography: Europe, India
  • Author: Patryk Sasnal
  • Publication Date: 10-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Syrians constitute the biggest national group migrating to Europe in 2015, according to Frontex. Of all the social diversity within a single society, two generalised profiles of a Syrian refugee can be inferred from available information: a poorer, rural worker based in camps in Jordan, Turkey and Lebanon, and a richer, middle-class professional living outside of refugee camps, recently migrating to Europe via the Greece and Western Balkans route. While Europe has so far received the best of the Syrian society, poorer Syrians may also be on the move without an immediate and substantial improvement of educational infrastructure and their legal labour market status in host countries.
  • Topic: Civil War, Economics, Migration, Poverty, Refugee Issues, Infrastructure
  • Political Geography: Syria
  • Publication Date: 07-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: Ukraine's economy is flagging. But a Ukrainian economy, integrated with the rest of Europe and by extension, the world economy, is essential for the country's political stability and its ability to withstand Russian aggression. While the international community is yet to develop a large-scale macro-economic assistance program on the order of the Marshall Plan, the US government can utilize existing programming through its development agencies to provide an immediate positive jolt to the private sector economy in Ukraine.
  • Topic: Economics, Self Determination
  • Political Geography: Ukraine
  • Author: Mohsin Khan, Karim Merzan
  • Publication Date: 10-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: The Norwegian Nobel Committee awarded the Tunisian National Dialogue Quartet, a civil society group comprising the Tunisian General Labor Union; the Tunisian Union of Industry, Trade, and Handicrafts; the Tunisian Human Rights League; and the Tunisian Order of Lawyers the 2015 Nobel Peace Prize on Friday, October 9, 2015 "for its decisive contribution to the building of a pluralistic democracy in Tunisia." In a new Atlantic Council Issue Brief, "Tunisia: The Last Arab Spring Country," Atlantic Council Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East Senior Fellows Mohsin Khan and Karim Mezran survey the successes of Tunisia's consensus-based transition and the challenges that lie ahead. "The decision to award this year's Nobel Peace Prize to Tunisia's National Dialogue Quartet is an extremely important recognition of the efforts made by Tunisian civil society and Tunisia's political elite to reach a consensus on keeping the country firmly on the path to democratization and transition to a pluralist system," says Mezran. With the overthrow of the authoritarian regime of President Zine El Abedine Ben Ali in 2011, Tunisia embarked on a process of democratization widely regarded as an example for transitions in the region. The National Dialogue Conference facilitated by the Quartet helped Tunisia avert the risk of plunging into civil war and paved the way for a consensus agreement on Tunisia's new constitution, adopted in January 2014. In the brief, the authors warn that despite political successes, Tunisia is hampered by the absence of economic reforms. Facing the loss of tourism and investment following two terror attacks, Tunisia's economy risks collapse, endangering all of the painstaking political progress gained thus far. Unless the Tunisian government moves rapidly to turn the economy around, Tunisia risks unraveling its fragile transition.
  • Topic: Security, Democratization, Economics, Political Activism, Reform
  • Political Geography: Arab Countries, Tunisia
  • Publication Date: 02-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Soufan Group
  • Abstract: King Salman has confirmed his reputation as a religious conservative through the reappointment of traditionalist clerics However he has also made some effort to streamline the Saudi government Recent changes have given considerable power to two men from the next generation: King Salman's son and his nephew The result may be good for hard security measures, but less certain for the soft measures necessary for Saudi Arabia to weather the storm.
  • Topic: Security, Development, Economics, Islam, Political Economy, Governance
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arabia
  • Publication Date: 03-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Soufan Group
  • Abstract: There hasn't been a lasting and successful end to an armed conflict in the Middle East in decades, and the newest fighting in Yemen can be seen through a lens of deep regional frustration over countless issues that seem to defy solutions The entire region is frustrated with the worsening status quo, but the consensus and creativity to meaningfully address the challenges is lacking, even with the newly announced Arab 'rapid response force' to an extremist problem that has been openly growing for a decade The only actors not frustrated are non-state actors, who fill the ever-widening chasm between what regional governments can deliver and what their populations demand.
  • Topic: Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Yemen, Algeria
  • Publication Date: 10-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Natural Resource Governance Institute
  • Abstract: Commodity trading and the activities of trading companies influence economic and governance outcomes in developing countries. Typically privately owned with flexible business models, many trading companies work extensively in “high-risk” environments – including countries with weak institutions, conflicts or other challenges that scare away more risk-averse companies. Given the size of this footprint, and its prevalence in countries with high levels of corruption or poverty (or both), the quality of trading companies’ business practices is of serious concern. Trading companies play several roles through which they influence public institutions and public revenues, and they frequently build close relationships with top officials and political elites. They are major buyers of raw materials sold by governments and state-owned companies worldwide, and these transactions generate significant public revenues. Traders also provide large loans to governments, sell refined products, and enter into joint ventures with state-owned entities. They are expanding their upstream and downstream operations in developing countries as well.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Natural Resources, Governance
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Max George-Wagner, Erica Westenberg
  • Publication Date: 06-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Natural Resource Governance Institute
  • Abstract: Under the EITI Standard, implementing countries are required to produce far more comprehensive reports than before; these go beyond revenue payments to include disclosures across the entire extractive industries decision chain. However, the objective of the Standard is not merely to generate more data, but rather that stakeholders will use the information to impact the governance of the sector. This EITI briefing note explores how countries are faring at meeting the EITI’s more ambitious requirements and what implementing countries can do to begin moving “from reporting to reform.” This briefing note is based on a review of the first 22 reports produced under the Standard; the review assesses both the quality of reporting, as well as the content. We found that in many respects countries have risen to the challenge and become more ambitious and comprehensive in their reporting. This has included highlighting critical deficiencies in license allocation processes, revealing politically affiliated owners of companies, and identifying significant local revenues that were never disbursed. However, a number of significant gaps remain and these are holding countries back from seeing meaningful impacts from their EITI processes. For instance, these reports have missed opportunities to inform major tax code revisions, ignored hotly debated issues of sector employment, and left stakeholders in the dark about individual extractive projects.
  • Topic: Economics, Industrial Policy, Intelligence, Natural Resources, Governance
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Publication Date: 04-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Natural Resource Governance Institute
  • Abstract: NRGI has created a series of short, illustrated overviews of key topics in NRGI's portfolio of work. Together they serve as a robust introduction for the lay reader to fundamental issues and concepts in resource governance. Most contain helpful figures and infographics, and each reader has a standard format: key messages, key concepts and case examples, and a final set of practitioner-orientated questions to ask. Each topic is explicitly linked to the relevant precepts of the Natural Resource Charter.
  • Topic: Economics, Industrial Policy, Oil, Natural Resources, Governance
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Marko Lovec
  • Publication Date: 11-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: IEMed/EuroMeSCo
  • Abstract: The recent food security crisis has shed light on the importance of agricultural development in the South Mediterranean countries. An ‘urban bias’ and ‘trade liberalisation’ policies have resulted in growing dependence on imports, narrow specialisations and unsustainable production practices. The Euro-Mediterranean integration process has put trade liberalisation in the centre of attention, while the progress in agriculture has been limited. The purpose of this paper is to analyse the challenges faced by agro-food systems in Southern and Eastern Mediterranean Countries, with specific attention to the role of the Euro-Mediterranean integration and the reform of the Common Agricultural Policy. The paper also reviews relevant economic and environmental data in selected South and East Mediterranean countries.
  • Topic: Security, Agriculture, Development, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Food
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Peter Harrell
  • Publication Date: 09-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center for a New American Security
  • Abstract: U.S. and European sanctions on Russia mark a significant evolution in the sanctions toolkit. Officials deployed novel types of financial and energy sanctions to create a regime that imposed significant costs on Russia while minimizing collateral impacts on the U.S. and European economies. The U.S. and European decision to create these new tools was driven by the need to take an innovative approach to sanctions against an economy twice the size of the combined gross domestic products (GDPs) of all other countries subject to significant U.S. economic sanctions and on Russian companies that play an important role in global markets. These developments, while tailored to Russia’s unique circumstances, hold important lessons for the future of sanctions policy.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Cold War, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Sanctions
  • Political Geography: Russia
  • Author: Elizabeth Rosenberg, Zachary K. Goldman
  • Publication Date: 06-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center for a New American Security
  • Abstract: The United States has long relied on its economic power to protect and advance its interests abroad. In an increasingly integrated international financial system, the U.S. economy and capital markets remain the largest in the world by almost every measure. This status affords the United States an important global leadership position and the ability to shape foreign policy outcomes with economic tools. The structure of the international trade and financial system, in which many significant banking and energy transactions as well as currency reserves are denominated in U.S. dollars, reinforces the central role of the United States.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Economics, Globalization, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Power Politics
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Evan Braden Montgomery
  • Publication Date: 06-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: What are the potential consequences of China's military modernization? This question is at the heart of recent debates over the durability of U.S. primacy, whether or not the United States can sustain its grand strategy of global engagement, and how it should adapt its armed forces. During the past two decades, China has been increasing its defense spending, developing new war fighting strategies, and fielding advanced weapons systems. Yet many scholars and policymakers still believe that U.S. dominance will remain uncontested.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Economics, International Security, Military Strategy
  • Political Geography: North America
  • Author: Steven A. Cook
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Egypt is experiencing a deep economic crisis. The country's foreign currency r e serves are less than half of what they were before the January 2011 uprising, threatening Egypt's ability to pay for food and fuel. Egypt's budget deficit is 14 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) and its overall debt, which is the result of accumulated deficits, is more than the country's economic output. In this difficult economic climate, roughly 4 5 percent of Egyptians live on less than two dollars per day. Inflation, which reached as high as 12.97 percent after the July 2013 military coup, is currently at 11.4 percent. Tourism revenue—traditionally a primary source of foreign currency along with Suez Canal tolls and remittances from Egyptians working abroad—is less than half of what it was in the last full year before the uprising. Foreign direct investment has dried up outside the energy sector. Unemployment remains high at 13.4 percent. Among the unemployed, 71 percent are between fifteen and twenty-nine years old. This economic weakness makes it politically difficult to address the problems that contribute to a potential solvency crisis because the necessary reforms will impose hardship on a population that is already experiencing economic pain.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Economics, Regime Change, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Arabia, North Africa, Egypt
  • Author: Edward Alden, Rebecca Strauss
  • Publication Date: 05-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Each year, U.S. state and local governments spend tens of billions of dollars to lure or retain business investment. The subsidies waste scarce taxpayer dollars that could better be used to strengthen public services such as education and infrastructure, or to lower overall tax burdens to create a more favorable investment climate. No state wants to dole out such subsidies, but most fear losing jobs to competing states if they refuse. States should take steps to curb subsidies, beginning with greater disclosure and cost-benefit analyses, and building up to a multistate agreement that creates strong disincentives for continuing subsidies. Existing international arrangements provide models and tools for achieving this.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Governance, Reform
  • Political Geography: United States, North America
  • Author: Isobel Coleman
  • Publication Date: 08-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Fossil fuel subsidies are a global scourge. They distort markets, strain government budgets, encourage overconsumption, foster corruption, and harm the environment while doing little to remedy inequality or stimulate development. Yet despite compelling arguments for reform, fossil fuel subsidies remain deeply entrenched. Citizens have yet to be convinced that fuel subsidies can and should be replaced with more efficient poverty alleviation programs. As a result, governments refrain from phasing out fuel subsidies for fear of triggering a public backlash, and even civil unrest. To bolster the prospects for subsidy reform, the United States should support the creation of a new public-private partnership within the World Bank, the Global Subsidy Elimination Campaign (GSEC), to work with governments to execute country-specific communication programs that would build the case for fossil fuel subsidy reform among citizens. The GSEC would start with pilot programs in select countries, and on the basis of these efforts, expand its work to other countries interested in fuel subsidy reform. If the GSEC help s generate just a 5 percent reduction in the more than half a trillion dollars that governments now spend on fossil fuel subsidies, it would free up billions of dollars for more effective anti-poverty initiatives.
  • Topic: Economics, International Cooperation, International Political Economy, International Trade and Finance, Natural Resources
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Le 13 avril 2014, deux ans et un jour après le coup d'Etat qui a empêché la victoire du Parti africain pour l'indépendance de la Gu inée et du Cap-Vert (PAIGC) à l'élection présidentielle de mars-avril 2012, au terme d'une série de reports et de crises, la Guinée-Bissau va enfin tenir ses élections. Ce s élections législatives et présidentielles ne résultent pas d'un consensus endogène fort. Elles auront lieu parce que le pays est au bord de la banqueroute et que la communauté internationale, moins divisée qu'au moment du coup d'Etat, a exercé une forte pression. Elles ne sont qu'une première étape dans la transition, et les problèmes de fond qui minent la stabilité demeurent. Les scrutins ne manqueront pas de bousculer des intérêts établis et de mettre en jeu l'équilibre du pays. Le nouveau pouvoir devra favoriser le consensus et le pluralisme politique. La communauté internationale, quant à elle, doit rester attentive dans la période cruciale qui s'engage.
  • Topic: Economics, International Cooperation, Regime Change
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Publication Date: 08-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: The large emigration of youths is the clearest sign of extreme domestic discontent with Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki's government. Social malaise is pervasive. An ever-growing number of young people have fled over the last decade, frustrated by open-ended national service – initiated in 1995 and expanded during the war with Ethiopia (1998-2000). Yet, this flight has resulted in neither reforms nor a viable movement to create an alternative to the current government. Once outside, the ties that bind émigrés to their birthplace are strong and lead them to give financial support to the very system they escaped, through the 2 per cent tax many pay the state as well as remittances sent home to family members.
  • Topic: Economics, Labor Issues, Immigration, Youth Culture, Governance
  • Political Geography: Africa, Europe
  • Publication Date: 08-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: That nuclear negotiations between Iran and the P5+1 (China, France, Russia, the UK, U.S. and Germany) were extended beyond the 20 July 2014 deadline was neither unexpected nor unwelcome. The parties ha d made enough headway to justify the extension, which was envisioned in the Joint Plan of Action (JPOA) that was signed in November 2013 and came into force in January, but given the political and technical complexity, they remain far apart on fundamental issues. Unless they learn the lessons of the last six months and change their approach for the next four, they will lose the opportunity for a resolution not just by the new 24 November deadline but for the foreseeable future. Both sides need to retreat from maximalist positions, particularly on Iran's enrichment program. Tehran should postpone plans for industrial- scale enrichment and accept greater constraints on the number of its centrifuges in return for P5+1 flexibility on the qualitative growth of its enrichment capacity through research and development.
  • Topic: Development, Diplomacy, Economics, Nuclear Weapons, Nuclear Power
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, Iran, Middle East, France
  • Publication Date: 09-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: The July 2013 election victory of the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) failed to secure broad-based legitimacy for President Robert Mugabe, provide a foundation for fixing the economy, or normalise external relations. A year on, the country faces multiple social and economic problems, spawned by endemic governance failures and compounded by a debilitating ruling party succession crisis. Both ZANU-PF and the Movement for Democratic Change-Tsvangirai (MDC-T) are embroiled in major internal power struggles that distract from addressing the corrosion of the social and economic fabric. Zimbabwe is an insolvent and failing state, its politics zero sum, its institutions hollowing out, and its once vibrant economy moribund. A major culture change is needed among political elites, as well as commitment to national as opposed to partisan and personal interests.
  • Topic: Economics, Politics, Governance
  • Political Geography: Africa, Zimbabwe
  • Publication Date: 09-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: The streets of Venezuela's major cities are now largely calm, following several months of violent clashes between opposition demonstrators, security forces and civilian gun- men that left more than 40 dead. The crisis, however, is not over. The opposition is demanding freedom for several dozen activists jailed during the unrest and an end to the threat of prosecution against more than 2,000. The underlying causes have not been addressed, and calls to restore autonomy and independence to the justice system and other key institutions have not been heeded. Living standards continue to decline due to economic recession; violent crime remains at record levels, and labour unrest and protests over poor-quality public services are often dealt with harshly. Greater international efforts are required to bring the sides back to the negotiating table, since the alternative to dialogue is likely to be further violence sooner or later.
  • Topic: Security, Economics, Sociology
  • Political Geography: Venezuela
  • Author: Mike Callaghan
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Lowy Institute for International Policy
  • Abstract: Restoring global economic growth and creating jobs has been an objective of successive G20 summits. Australia has also made it a priority for the G20 in 2014. To achieve such an outcome requires a comprehensive and agreed growth strategy. The G20 lacks such a strategy and has failed to provide a clear and consistent message about how members can or are working together to achieve such an outcome.
  • Topic: Economics, International Cooperation, International Organization, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Labor Issues
  • Political Geography: Australia
  • Author: Jonah Busch, Kalifi Ferretti-Gallon
  • Publication Date: 05-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: A new Center for Global Development meta-analysis of 117 studies has identified the key factors that drive or deter deforestation. Some findings confirm conventional wisdom. Building roads and expanding agriculture in forested areas, for example, worsen deforestation, whereas protected areas deter deforestation. Encouragingly, payments for ecosystem services (PES) programs that compensate people who live in or near forests for maintaining them are consistently associated with lower rates of deforestation. But contrary to popular belief, poverty is not associated with greater deforestation, and the rising incomes brought about by economic growth do not, in themselves, lead to less deforestation. Community forest management and strengthening land tenure, often thought to reduce deforestation while promoting development, have no consistent impact on deforestation.
  • Topic: Agriculture, Economics, Environment, Poverty
  • Author: Nancy Birdsall, Homi Kharas, Nabil Hashmi
  • Publication Date: 07-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: The Quality of Official Development Assistance (QuODA) measures donors' performance on 31 indicators of aid quality to which donors have made commitments. The indicators are grouped into four dimensions associated with effective aid: maximizing efficiency, fostering institutions, reducing the burden on partner countries, and transparency and learning. The 2014 edition finds that donors are overall becoming more transparent and better at fostering partner country institutions but that there has been little progress at maximizing efficiency or reducing the burden on partner countries. The World Bank's concessional lending arm, the International Development Association (IDA), performs very well in QuODA, ranking in the top 10 of 31 donors on all four dimensions. The United States ranks in the bottom half of all donors on three of the four dimensions of aid quality and last on reducing the burden on partner countries. The United Kingdom ranks in the top third on three of four dimensions of aid quality and scores particularly well on transparency and learning. The Global Fund ranks in the bottom third on fostering institutions but ranks in the top third on the other three dimensions of aid quality, including the top spot in maximizing efficiency.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Development, Economics, Foreign Aid, Foreign Direct Investment
  • Political Geography: United States, United Kingdom