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  • Author: Mark A. Calabria
  • Publication Date: 02-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: While Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and private subprime lenders have deservedly garnered the bulk of attention and blame for the mortgage crisis, other federal programs also distort our mortgage market and put taxpayers at risk of having to finance massive financial bailouts. The most prominent of these risky agencies is the Federal Housing Administration (FHA).
  • Topic: Debt, Economics, Government, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Timo Behr, Niklas Helwig
  • Publication Date: 02-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Germany's ambiguous role during the eurozone crisis has stoked fears that a more self-confident and dynamic Germany is threatening the political independence and economic well-being of its neighbours and will lead to a “German Europe”. German weakness, not power, is the main challenge to EU integration. In order to build a supranational EU and a “European Germany”, Germans will have to overhaul their Cold War institutions and traditions that have become a brake on EU integration. Germany's political elite continues to favour a federalist vision for the EU, but faces a somewhat more sceptical public as well as strong domestic veto players, such as the Federal Constitutional Court, which limit their pro-integrationist tendency. While Germany continues to support the use of the “Community method”, Angela Merkel has increasingly resorted to the “Union method” that places function over form and prioritizes pragmatic problem-solving to address the current crisis. Germany's uncompromising attitude towards the eurozone crisis and its sometimes erratic foreign policy are the product of its deeply embedded stability culture and instinctive pacifism, rather than a sign of growing global ambitions. European partners will have to help Germany in its indispensable leadership role by jointly formulating a vision for the European integration project and by assisting Germany in adapting its political institutions and culture.
  • Topic: Cold War, Economics, Regional Cooperation, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Europe, Germany
  • Author: Shaheen Chughtai, Cate Heinrich
  • Publication Date: 02-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxfam Publishing
  • Abstract: The floods that began in August 2011 resulted in one of the most destructive disasters that Pakistan has experienced. More than five million people have been affected: 1.8 million people were left homeless and more than 2.2 million acres of crops were lost, resulting in agricultural losses of nearly $2 billion.
  • Topic: Economics, Humanitarian Aid, Poverty, Natural Disasters
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, South Asia
  • Author: Kate Raworth
  • Publication Date: 02-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxfam Publishing
  • Abstract: Humanity's challenge in the 21st century is to eradicate poverty and achieve prosperity for all within the means of the planet's limited natural resources. In the run-up to Rio+20, this discussion paper presents a visual framework – shaped like a doughnut – which brings planetary boundaries together with social boundaries, creating a safe and just space between the two, in which humanity can thrive. Moving into this space demands far greater equity – within and between countries – in the use of natural resources, and far greater efficiency in transforming those resources to meet human needs.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Environment, Poverty, Natural Resources
  • Author: Steven Blockmans, Natalia Alonso, Tidhar Wald
  • Publication Date: 01-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxfam Publishing
  • Abstract: The first anniversary of the European External Action Service (EEAS) finds the European Union (EU) in the midst of an economic, financial, and identity crisis that has aggravated the ongoing decline in Europe's stature on the global scene as new political and economic actors emerge. The new diplomatic service provides the EU with an opportunity to address its shortcomings in foreign policy by bringing greater coherence to external policy making; by enhancing consistency across EU instruments; and by adopting a more comprehensive and strategic approach to global challenges.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Economics, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Kate Raworth, Caroline Pearce, Richard Gower
  • Publication Date: 01-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxfam Publishing
  • Abstract: In 2010, the G20 committed themselves to promoting inclusive and sustainable economic growth. They argued that 'for prosperity to be sustained it must be shared' and also endorsed 'green growth', which promises to decouple economic expansion from environmental degradation. But G20 countries have some way to go to match this commitment. This paper assesses their record, and points the way forward.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Economics, International Organization, International Trade and Finance, Poverty
  • Author: Stefano Micossi
  • Publication Date: 03-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: The eurozone is in recession and will show negative growth in 2012; GDP will fall sharply in Greece and Portugal, and there is substantial risk that Spain and Italy will follow suit (the Commission's recent forecasts seem overly optimistic and complacent; the IMF is more downbeat). But fiscal policies are uniformly restrictive throughout the eurozone and much of the Union, and the hopes that fiscal consolidation could spur growth by improving household and business confidence are not materialising. In reality, domestic demand has been hit too hard by fiscal consolidation, and investment throughout the Union remains well below pre- crisis levels. Credit is tight due to the deteriorating quality of borrowers and the ongoing deleveraging in banking.
  • Topic: Economics, Foreign Exchange, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Europe, Greece
  • Author: Michael Kugelman
  • Publication Date: 03-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Peace Institute
  • Abstract: This policy brief assesses the potential for two types of youth-led political change movements in Pakistan. One is an Arab Spring-like campaign, fuelled by demands for better governance and new leadership. The other is a religious movement akin to the Iranian Revolution of 1979, which seeks to transform Pakistan into a rigid Islamic state. The brief discusses the presence in Pakistan of several factors that suggest the possibility of the emergence of an Arab Spring-type movement. These include economic problems; corruption; a young, rapidly urbanising and disillusioned population; youth-galvanising incidents; and, in Imran Khan, a charismatic political figure capable of channelling mass sentiment into political change.
  • Topic: Corruption, Economics, Youth Culture, Political Activism, Popular Revolt
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, South Asia
  • Author: Pierre Siklos
  • Publication Date: 03-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: Reinhart and Rogoff's timely volume, This Time Is Different: Eight Centuries of Financial Folly (2009), makes it abundantly clear that financial crises are protracted affairs. The title of this policy brief highlights the irony of lessons never learned. History, in the form of recurring economic crises, does indeed repeat itself. Nevertheless, a closer look at Reinhart and Rogoff's often-publicized conclusion reveals that there are remarkable variations across individual countries' experiences, as well as across time. For example, the actual severity of crises can be exacerbated when a banking crisis is accompanied by a currency crisis. Most importantly, the severity of the recession that typically accompanies all types of financial crises is often determined by the response of policy makers.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Global Recession, Monetary Policy, Governance
  • Author: John Bowlus
  • Publication Date: 01-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Global Political Trends Center
  • Abstract: On December 26, 2011, in response to US, European, and potential Asian sanctions on Iranian oil exports, the government in Tehran issued a threat to “cut off the Strait of Hormuz.” The US Defense Department responded that any blockade of the strait would be met with force. On first read, it is easy to dismiss such saber rattling as another chapter in the new Cold War in the Middle East between Iran and its allies – including Syria, Hamas, and Hezbollah – and the US, Israel, and the Sunni Gulf States, mostly notably Saudi Arabia. Iran has since backed away from its threat, but the event still carries importance because it is unclear how both the US and Iran will continue to respond, particularly as the diplomatic and economic pressures grow more acute while Iran's controversial nuclear program advances. Could such a verbal threat by Iran to cut off the Strait of Hormuzignite a military conflagration in the region? The relationship between military conflict and oil supply disruptions is well established; however, policymakers and analysts tend to focus on the incidents in which military conflict causes disruptions in oil supplies and sharp increases in prices. The first and most obvious example of this dynamic was the Arab-Israeli War of 1973. The subsequent oil embargo by the Arab members of the Organization for Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) against the United States and the Netherlands for their support of Israel caused prices to soar as oil-consuming nations endured supply shortages. The Iranian Revolution from 1978 to 1979 was another event that curtailed Western nations' access to oil and caused prices to spike. When thinking about the relationship between military conflict and oil supply disruptions, however, policymakers and analysts should also recognize that the competition over oil – and even verbal threats to disrupt oil supplies by closing oil transit chokepoints – have either led directly to military conflict or have provided a useful cover under which countries have initiated military conflict. By examining past episodes when countries issued threats to close oil transit chokepoints, this Policy Brief helps illuminate the dangers associated with the current crisis over the Strait of Hormuz.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Economics, Sanctions
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Middle East, Asia, Arabia
  • Author: Onur Bayramoğlu
  • Publication Date: 03-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Global Political Trends Center
  • Abstract: While the post-war international monetary system that evolved under the leadership of the U.S. dollar has secured credit abundance – and hence contributed to global growth – the system has also revealed its deficiencies already by 1950's. In contrary to the 1930's when the world's main problem was chronic deflation; two decades later, the problem has become chronic inflation and fiscal deficits. Since then many blamed the indiscipline of the Keynesian school of thought and the inability of the U.S. dollar to become a global “public good” by being a stable international currency. In this Policy Brief, I overview the many aspects of the post-war international monetary system through the lens of the post-war French economist, Jacques Rueff, and question the applicability of his longproposed gold standard in today's highly integrated and speculative money markets.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Monetary Policy, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Publication Date: 02-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: OECD donors, international organisations and non-governmental organisations are increasingly cooperating with China in Africa. This policy brief offers recommendations for policy-makers on how to lay the groundwork for such cooperation. It also stresses that the involvement of African partners is critical in fully realizing the benefits such cooperation can provide for sustainable development.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Development, Diplomacy, Economics, Foreign Aid, Foreign Direct Investment
  • Political Geography: Africa, China
  • Author: Miguel Pérez Ludeña
  • Publication Date: 03-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment
  • Abstract: Chinese foreign direct investment (FDI) in Latin America is a recent phenomenon. Although the China National Petroleum Corporation and other companies have been present in Peru, Ecuador and Venezuela since the early 1990s, large projects have been pursued only since 2006, following an extended period of high commodity prices. The Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) estimated that there were US$ 15 billion of Chinese FDI inflows into Latin America in 2010, 90% of which were in extractive industries. This further contributed to the already high percentage of Chinese FDI flows to the region that are in natural resources. At a time of high economic growth fueled by commodity exports and strong currency appreciation (particularly in Brazil), FDI into extractive industries strengthens the region's specialization in primary products at the expense of manufacturing and other activities.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Natural Resources, Foreign Direct Investment
  • Political Geography: China, Brazil, Latin America, Peru
  • Author: Karl P. Sauvant, Chen Zhao, Xiaoying Huo
  • Publication Date: 03-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment
  • Abstract: Among developing countries, China attracts most foreign direct investment (FDI). Where is this investment located within China, what explains its distribution and what are policy implications? We used UNCTAD's FDI Performance Index to answer the first question. Although developed for countries , it can be applied to sub-national units. It uses provincial GDP to ascertain whether a given territorial unit has received FDI inflows as expected from its economic size. Standardizing the data accordingly reveals three clusters of provinces for 2007-2010 (table 1, figure 1 below): The first cluster encompasses virtually all coastal provinces: they have an index value above 1, i.e. perform better than their economic size would lead one to expect. They account for 9 of the top 11 performers of Mainland China's 31 provinces, municipalities and autonomous regions (“provinces”). The provinces in the middle cluster underperform (index value of 1-0.5). They include 5 central provinces, but also 3 western and 2 coastal provinces. The provinces in the bottom cluster underperform significantly (index value below 0.5), comprising primarily the country's western provinces (8 out of the 10 provinces in this cluster).
  • Topic: Development, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Foreign Direct Investment
  • Political Geography: China
  • Author: Clint Peinhardt, Todd Allee
  • Publication Date: 02-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment
  • Abstract: The proliferation of investment treaties is perhaps exceeded only by academic studies of those treaties. Legal scholarship has long been attentive to the evolution in international investment agreement (IIA) content -- but until recently, quantitative assessments of IIAs have tended to treat them as interchangeable: the only measure of investor protections encoded in IIAs is whether a treaty had been signed and/or entered into force. Thankfully, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development has been at the forefront of capturing not just IIAs' proliferation but also the evolution in their content. Its work shows that treaties apply for differing durations, have conflicting procedures for termination and include varying definitions of even basic terms, such as “investors” and “investment.” Other quantitative studies have begun to measure these variations, focusing initially on differences in dispute resolution. 1 Some IIAs demand that investors choose between domestic and international dispute resolution; some provide explicit consent of both parties to international arbitration; and some designate a particular forum for arbitration, whereas others specify multiple options. Of course, IIAs vary across many dimensions, but our initial examination of dispute resolution provisions alone demonstrates the importance of examining IIA content.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Treaties and Agreements, Foreign Direct Investment
  • Political Geography: United Nations
  • Author: Alice H. Amsden
  • Publication Date: 02-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment
  • Abstract: A priori, is there a growth/efficiency justification for government programs designed to support and promote national companies (public and private) as opposed to, and in competition with, opening the doors to multinational enterprises (MNEs)? In competitive markets, there should be no difference. Where national companies close in capabilities to foreign affiliates do not exist, foreign direct investment (FDI) may stimulate development, if a country is lucky enough to attract it. But in the imperfect markets that characterize the BRICs and other emerging markets, where foreign affiliates may crowd out excellent but inexperienced national firms, the question arises as to which type of enterprise policy makers should encourage for the long run. Historically, policy makers used tariffs to promote national firms (a “race to the bottom”). Today they use investments in science and technology (a “race to the top”).
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Foreign Direct Investment
  • Author: Gus Van Harten
  • Publication Date: 02-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment
  • Abstract: Investment arbitration has a remarkably poor record on representation of women. This calls for reform of the appointments process for arbitrators, who make important policy choices in the context of global governance.
  • Topic: Economics, Gender Issues, International Trade and Finance, Foreign Direct Investment
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Stephan W. Schill
  • Publication Date: 01-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment
  • Abstract: At the heart of the so-called “legitimacy crisis” of international investment law, prominently reflected in the Public Statement on the International Investment Regime, is what I call the public law challenge. It builds on the observation that one-off appointed arbitrators, instead of standing courts, review government acts and reach far into the sphere of domestic public law by crafting and refining the standards governing in vestor-state relations. Arbitrations against Uruguay and Australia concerning cigarette packaging are the most recent examples of genuinely public law disputes now settled in arbitration. The disputes about Argentina's emergency legislation and Canada's ban on pesticide s are others. These arbitrations create friction with domestic public law as arbitrators, having little democratic legitimacy, often operate in non-transparent proceedings and produce increasing amounts of incoherent decisions.
  • Topic: Economics, International Law, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Foreign Direct Investment
  • Political Geography: Canada, Argentina, Australia
  • Author: Patrick Matschoss
  • Publication Date: 03-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Renewable energies will be the major contributor to any future low carbon energy system and the share may be as high as nearly 80% of the world's energy supply by 2050. Renewable energies have vast potential but require a set of coherent policies to reach necessary deployment rates, because the market place neither accounts sufficiently for their climate change-related and wider benefits nor for the benefits of technological learning, making them appear less competitive than they really are. Renewable energies can be integrated in all supply systems and end-use sectors but at some point they will require investment and change. In electricity, an enhanced Pan-European network infrastructure (smart grid) would smooth variability and the remaining non-renewable generation capacity would be highly flexible. Energy security would be enhanced by greater efficiency and a broader and less import-dependent energy portfolio with less vulnerability to energy price volatility. Network stability needs to be addressed but some renewable energies are fully dispatchable and part of the solution. The transition to renewable energies is possible and beneficial, not only due to climate change but also because it serves energy security concerns and necessary infrastructure improvements. The EU's proposed long-term strategy concerning emission reductions and competitiveness, as well as the related legislation, is moving in the right direction and it is up to the member states to pick this up and push it forward.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Economics, Energy Policy, Treaties and Agreements
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: William R. Cline
  • Publication Date: 02-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: Contagion from Greece, together with domestic political uncertainty in Italy, caused interest rates on Italian sovereign debt to spike in the second half of 2011. As shown in figure 1, the risk spread above German bunds for 10-year Italian government bonds rose from 200 basis points in early July 2011, to a range of 300 to 400 basis points after the July 21 Greek package with its new emphasis on private sector involvement. There was a second surge to the 400 to 500 basis point range in November through January, following the October 27 Greek package that insisted on a 50 percent reduction in private sector claims.
  • Topic: Debt, Economics, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Europe, Germany, Italy
  • Author: Michael Beckley
  • Publication Date: 01-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: Despite the hype about the rise of China, current power trends favor continued U.S. dominance. National power has three main material components: wealth, innovation, and military power. Over the last twenty years, China has fallen further behind the United States in all of these areas.
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Asia
  • Author: Daniel Gros, Thomas Mayer
  • Publication Date: 03-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: This paper argues that the new permanent European rescue fund, the European Stability Mechanism (ESM), should be provided with a liquidity backstop by having it registered as a bank – and be treated as such by the European Central Bank. If the crisis were to become acute again, the ESM would stand ready to intervene in secondary markets, potentially with almost unlimited amounts of funding. Access to central bank financing will be crucial in a future crisis, because in such a crisis risk aversion is likely to be extreme, and even the ESM might not be able to raise at very short notice the huge sums that might be required to prevent a breakdown of the financial system. Hundreds of billions of euro might be needed just to top up the programmes for Greece, Ireland and Portugal – and Spain and Italy may require more than a thousand billion euro. Sums of this order of magnitude cannot be raised quickly by a new institution. Simply increasing the headline size of the ESM might thus be of little use.
  • Topic: Debt, Economics, Monetary Policy, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Greece, Spain, Italy, Portugal, Ireland
  • Author: Jonas Teusch
  • Publication Date: 03-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: This Policy Brief argues that pursuing the renewables objective could contribute to the completion of the internal electricity market, help to overcome opposition to transmission projects and decrease the market power of incumbents. Conversely, an integrated internal electricity market means less price volatility in specific regional markets, which allows for more efficient deployment and grid integration of renewables.
  • Topic: Economics, Energy Policy, Markets
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Alex Evans, David Steven
  • Publication Date: 01-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center on International Cooperation
  • Abstract: Recent months have seen increasing interest in the idea that Rio+20 could be the launch pad for a new set of 'Sustainable Development Goals' (SDGs). But what would SDGs cover, what would a process to define and then implement them look like, and what would some of the key political challenges be? This short briefing sets out a short summary of current thinking the issue, followed by thoughts about the way forward.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Foreign Aid, Foreign Direct Investment
  • Political Geography: Latin America
  • Author: Mark Feldman
  • Publication Date: 04-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment
  • Abstract: The ICSID Convention, under Article 25(1), applies only to those investment disputes that are between a contracting state and a “national” of another contracting state. Given that limitation, and in light of the significant and growing amount of foreign investment by state-controlled entities (SCEs), ICSID tribunals likely will need to address one fundamental issue with greater frequency: whether disputes arising from SCE investments constitute investor-state disputes falling within, or state-to-state disputes falling outside of, the scope of the ICSID Convention.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Markets, Foreign Direct Investment, Governance
  • Author: Stephen J. Hadley, Steven A. Cook, Madeleine Albright
  • Publication Date: 05-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Among the most important developments in international affairs of the past decade is the emergence of Turkey as a rising regional and global power. Turkey has long been an important country as a stalwart member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), an aspirant to European Union (EU) membership, and an important link between the West and the East. Yet the changes in Turkey over the past decade have been so dramatic—with far-reaching political and economic reforms, significant social reforms, and an active foreign policy—that the country is virtually unrecognizable to longtime Turkey watchers. Today Turkey is more democratic, prosperous, and politically influential than it was five, ten, and fifteen years ago.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Political Violence, Democratization, Economics, Human Rights, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Central Asia, Turkey, Middle East
  • Author: Karl P. Sauvant, Jonathan Strauss
  • Publication Date: 04-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment
  • Abstract: Developing country sovereign wealth funds (SWFs) as players in the world foreign direct investment (FDI) market have received considerable attention. While outward FDI from emerging markets has indeed risen dramatically, that by SWFs has been negligible: their outward FDI stock is around US$ 100 billion (compared to a world FDI stock of US$ 20 trillion in 2010).
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Emerging Markets, Government, International Law, Foreign Direct Investment
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Paul De Grauwe
  • Publication Date: 05-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: One of the major problems of the eurozone is the divergence of the competitive positions that have built up since the early 2000s. This divergence has led to major imbalances in the eurozone where the countries that have seen their competitive positions deteriorate (mainly the so - called ' PIIGS ' – Portugal, Ireland, Italy, Greece and Spain ) have accumulated large current account deficits and thus external indebtedness, matched by current account surpluses of the countries that have improved their competitive positions (mainly Germany).
  • Topic: Economics, Markets, Regional Cooperation, Global Recession, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Europe, Greece, Germany, Spain, Italy, Portugal, Ireland
  • Author: Daniel Gros
  • Publication Date: 04-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: Lax financial conditions can foster credit booms. The global credit boom of the last decade led to large capital flows across the world, including large movements of resources from the Northern countries of the euro area towards the Southern part. Since the start of the crisis and more markedly after 2009, these flows have suddenly stopped, creating severe adjustment pressures. This paper argues that, at this point, the common monetary policy can only try to mitigate the unavoidable adjustment by maintaining overall financial stability. The challenge is to strike a delicate balance between providing liquidity for solvent institutions while keeping the overall pressure on for a rapid correction of the imbalances.
  • Topic: Economics, Markets, Monetary Policy, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Daniel Gros, Cinzia Alcidi
  • Publication Date: 04-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: Spain faces high unemployment and slow growth. This paper focuses on an important source of those problems, namely its housing market. While some adjustment has occurred since Spain's housing bubble burst in 2008, the authors find that house prices and construction need to decrease more to slow Spain's unsustainable accumulation of foreign debt.
  • Topic: Debt, Economics, Markets, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Europe, Spain
  • Publication Date: 03-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Aspen Institute
  • Abstract: Investments in family planning yield demonstrated social and economic returns in all sectors—food, water, health, economic development—yet are one of the least well-funded areas in global health. More than 215 million women want the ability to choose when and how many children to have yet do not have access to voluntary family planning services.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Gender Issues, Health, Food
  • Author: Lisa Mensah, Raymond O'Mara III, Colby Farber, Robert Weinberger
  • Publication Date: 02-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Aspen Institute
  • Abstract: The imbalance of too much debt and not enough assets fuels financial insecurity in many American households. Building Americans' household balance sheets should start with making savings and asset-building incentives more efficient and equitable. Although millions of working Americans currently receive little or no tax incentive to save, modest reforms to our tax code have the potential to dramatically improve their financial futures. The Aspen Institute Initiative on Financial Security (Aspen IFS) proposes the Freedom Savings Credit to create a more equitable and economically efficient savings system that will benefit millions of American households and the nation as a whole.
  • Topic: Security, Debt, Economics, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: United States, America
  • Publication Date: 12-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Aspen Institute
  • Abstract: The relationship between population dynamics and economic expansion is complex, but demographic changes play an important role in national development. While it is widely accepted that population growth rates do not have any consistent effect on economic growth, there is one set of population changes that can result in major economic benefits, as well as improved well - being for families and societies. This powerful opportunity is known as the demographic dividend, and it offers the potential to boost economic growth and poverty reduction — but only if government leaders implement sound policies.
  • Topic: Demographics, Economics, Government, Health Care Policy
  • Author: Terutomo Ozawa
  • Publication Date: 05-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment
  • Abstract: This is a reply to Francisco Sercovich's commentary on my Perspective on FDI-led industrial takeoff in which I described foreign direct investment (FDI) as an ignition for catch-up industrialization. He emphasized "the rich and nuanced variety of strategic options" (e.g., S policies, engineering education, chaebol-type enterprises for technology absorption, R capabilities), which are, however, relevant only to higher-stages of catch-up, but notto the kick-off stage with which my previous Perspective was concerned. Economic development derives from structural changes at different stages of growth, requiring stages-focused strategies.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Foreign Direct Investment
  • Author: Sophie Meunier
  • Publication Date: 05-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment
  • Abstract: China is investing throughout the world, in industries from automobiles to zinc. In the US, Chinese foreign direct investment (FDI) accounted for only 0.25% of total FDI stock in 2010,but it is likely to increase as China diversifies its holdings and seeks to obtain technology, managerial know-how and easier access to US consumers. As these investments multiply, we expect a few cases to attract negative attention in the media and political arena. Chinese companies are predominately state-controlled, raising the specter that they act to fulfill strategic, rather than profit maximizing, goals. China is also an ideological rival, causing irrational concern that Chinese investment in the US may act as a Trojan Horse of Chinese values and politics --fueled by rational concerns about subsidies, piracy, and economic espionage.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Foreign Direct Investment
  • Political Geography: United States, China
  • Author: John Lee
  • Publication Date: 04-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: In a recent online article in Foreignpolicy.com, regular columnist and head of the Economic Strategy Institute, Clyde Prestowitz, argued that the next president of the World Bank should be Zhou Xiaochuan, Chairman of the People's Bank of China. For Prestowitz, it was not just Zhou's excellent credentials that made him ideal for the position, but also the fact that he is Chinese. China is accurately accused of “gaming” the global economic liberal order through its currency policies, restricted market access for outside firms and governments, and internal intervention in the economy to the detriment of foreign firms. But Prestowitz believes that such an appointment would significantly encourage China to behave as a “responsible stakeholder.” Behind this thinking is the argument that the more power, prestige, and authority China accumulates within the existing order, the more liberal Chinese economic policies will become.
  • Topic: Democratization, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Monetary Policy
  • Political Geography: China
  • Author: Michael McConnell
  • Publication Date: 03-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: ASEAN countries have long been an important international market for US agricultural exports. The United States, in 2011, exported almost $9.6 billion of agricultural products to ASEAN, making it the sixth-largest export destination for US farmers, ranchers, and agribusinesses—behind Japan ($14 billion) and just behind the European Union ($9.6 billion), but well ahead of South Korea ($7 billion). Moreover, the value of agricultural trade between the United States and ASEAN almost doubled between 2007 and 2011, with the top four ASEAN markets in 2011 for the United States being Indonesia ($2.8 billion), the Philippines ($2.1 billion), Vietnam ($1.7 billion), and Thailand ($1.3 billion). With a population of 614 million and strong economic growth, it is expected that ASEAN will continue to be an important market for US agricultural products. However, the United States is likely to face increasing competition, particularly from China, Australia, and New Zealand, all of which have free trade agreements (FTAs) with ASEAN.
  • Topic: Agriculture, Demographics, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Food
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Europe, East Asia, South Korea, Australia, Southeast Asia, New Zealand
  • Author: Sasiwan Chingchit
  • Publication Date: 02-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: Burma's ongoing democratic and economic transition has created an unprecedented opportunity for India and Thailand to cooperate and strengthen economic links between South and Southeast Asia. It was therefore no coincidence that the Indian government invited Ms. Yingluck Shinawatra, Thailand's prime minister, to be the chief guest at the country's annual Republic Day parade on January 26. Even more symbolic was that the Thai premier's visit to New Delhi overlapped with that of Burma's foreign minister, Mr. Wanna Maung Lwin, who came to discuss progress on economic and security relations and extended an invitation to India's Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to visit his country.
  • Topic: Democratization, Economics, Government, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: South Asia, India, New Delhi, Burma, Thailand, Southeast Asia
  • Author: Peter Mattis
  • Publication Date: 02-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: The recently ended standoff between the villagers of Wukan in Guangdong province and local government officials has refocused attention on China's future stability. The more than 100,000 officially reported incidents of unrest each year gives observers the false impression that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) in Beijing barely holds the country together. Pressure may be building, but China's stability is like a champagne bottle. Until the cork pops, the bottle and its contents are stable. The question is how much pressure is building and how much wine is spilt when the cork flies out.
  • Topic: Communism, Democratization, Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: China
  • Author: Robert Sutter
  • Publication Date: 02-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: As Sino-American competition for influence enters a new stage with the Obama administration's re-engagement with Asia, each power's legacies in the region add to economic, military and diplomatic factors determining which power will be more successful in the competition. How the United States and China deal with their respective histories in regional affairs and the role of their non-government relations with the Asia- Pacific represent important legacies that on balance favor the United States.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Arms Control and Proliferation, Diplomacy, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: United States, China, America, Asia
  • Author: Denny Roy
  • Publication Date: 01-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: Taiwan's elections on January 14, which for the first time combined polls for the presidency and the legislature, displayed further positive evolution in Taiwan's now well-established democracy. The results also precluded an immediate disruption in relations between Taiwan and the PRC, which is good news in Washington. In Beijing's view, however, the goal is not stability across the Taiwan Strait, but unification. Chinese impatience might weigh more heavily on President Ma Ying-jeou, and by extension on the United States, during Ma's second term.
  • Topic: Arms Control and Proliferation, Democratization, Economics, Politics
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Washington, Taiwan, Southeast Asia
  • Author: Stefan Meister
  • Publication Date: 05-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The return of Vladimir Putin as Russia's president and the probable end of Dmitri Medvedev's modernization project will increase the alienation within German-Russian relations. Germany's modernization partnership with Russia has produced limited results because the two sides have different views on the cooperation. While the German side wants to develop common projects of good practice which will modernize the Russian economy and politics, the Russian side is interested in technology transfer. The interest in and knowledge of Russia among German decision-makers is decreasing. Germany lacks vision and concepts on how to influence developments in Russia. This is also due to the resistance of the current Russian elite towards implementing political reforms. As a result, Russia is losing its most important advocate in the EU (also regarding energy policy). This will have a negative impact on EU-Russia relations because the EU lacks leadership on Russia. Ongoing changes in Russian society, which challenge the Putin system, will present an opportunity to find new allies in Russia for cooperation and modernization, which may increase Germany's interest in its large neighbour. But this will call for a more balanced approach between the Russian elites and society in Germany's Russia policy.
  • Topic: Democratization, Economics, Social Stratification, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Germany
  • Author: Teija Tiilikainen
  • Publication Date: 05-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Lessons learned from the current economic and financial crisis pose great challenges for the EU concerning the future development of the EMU. Through the recent changes the limits of a mere coordination of economic policies have been reached and a debate about turning the system into a true Economic and Monetary Union must be launched. A further strengthening of the EU's power in economic and fiscal policies would require a clearer move in the direction of fiscal federalism, that is, a more balanced relationship between the Union's budget and those of the member states. It would also require the finalization of the Union's democratic system along the lines of a federal political order. The divided character of the currency union presents significant difficulties for its further deepening and democratization.
  • Topic: Economics, Political Economy, Regional Cooperation, Monetary Policy, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Timo korkeamäki
  • Publication Date: 04-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The costs of euro membership have been a topic of lively political debate in recent years, and they have received ample media attention. In contrast, numerical estimates on the benefits of the euro have been practically non-existent. While the corporate benefits of the euro have been widely documented in the academic literature, the practical value of those publications has suffered from their technical complexity. Several experts have linked the fast growth of corporate bond markets in Europe since 1999 to the introduction of the euro. With growing arm's length credit markets in Europe, companies' access to financing has improved significantly. Companies from countries with small and unstable legacy currencies, such as Finland, have benefited comparably more from the widened financial markets. The cost savings due to the lowered cost of debt are non-trivial. For a set of large Finnish companies alone, the narrowing spread between their interest expenses and those of their German counterparties has resulted in after-tax cost savings of over €400 million each year. Sweden, Norway, and Denmark may have received some free-rider benefits while staying outside the currency union. However, it is difficult to estimate whether such benefits would have been obtainable had Finland chosen to keep its own currency. Reductions in the cost of financing should increase companies' ability to invest, and thus these savings are likely to have multiplicative effects on the economy for years to come.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Monetary Policy
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Nazery Khalid
  • Publication Date: 05-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Maritime Institute of Malaysia
  • Abstract: Working hard behind the scenes amid the dazzling array of behemoth ships, towering port cranes, stacks of containers and huge cargo loads, workers in the maritime sector and along the maritime supply chain play a key role in ensuring good and raw materials are transported from producers to consumers smoothly and in a cost competitive manner.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Natural Resources
  • Political Geography: Southeast Asia
  • Author: Nazery Khalid
  • Publication Date: 03-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Maritime Institute of Malaysia
  • Abstract: The launching of the Malaysian Offshore Support Vessels Owners Association (OSV Malaysia) in February 2012 brings to attention the issues and challenges faced by the local offshore support vessels (OSV) sector. The contribution and importance of this sector in facilitating the offshore oil and gas industry cannot be overemphasized. These vessels enable a host of activities such as prospecting, exploring, commercializing, producing, storing, offloading and transporting of oil and gas and construction and decommissioning of offshore structures to be carried out.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Oil, Maritime Commerce, Natural Resources
  • Political Geography: Malaysia
  • Author: Kristi Raik
  • Publication Date: 06-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The EU has a strategic goal to build political association and economic integration with the six countries included in its Eastern Partnership policy. To reach this goal, it has invented a new model of association agreement that includes deep and comprehensive free trade. At best, three out of six Eastern partners are likely to sign the agreements within the next couple of years.
  • Topic: Democratization, Economics, Regional Cooperation
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Marikki Stocchetti
  • Publication Date: 06-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) marks a historic opportunity to address unsustainable trends in economic, social and environmental development multilaterally. Still, on the eve of Rio+20, the international community lacks consensus and leadership. The European Union has taken a very proactive and constructive role in the preparations for Rio+20. However, the EU's commitment to the sustainable development agenda is not shared equally across its policies or member states. This weakens the EU's strategic position in the negotiations. Disagreements between Rio+20 parties cut across all the main items on the agenda. In particular, the topic of the “Green Economy” brings old clashes between developing economies and post-industrialized countries back to the fore. The key question relates, on the one hand, to the right to determine development strategies, and on the other hand, to the division of responsibilities between countries. On a more optimistic note, the need for institutional reform and joint sustainable development objectives has been widely acknowledged. In addition, much progress can still be made in the 15 thematic areas of sustainable development. This may compensate for the lack of unanimity on grand paradigms. It is of utmost importance for a successful outcome that the Union works in unison, with clear negotiation mandates, and coordinates its views effectively throughout the process. Success at Rio+20 may also help to increase the EU's own coherence with regard to sustainable development in the future.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Environment
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Sasanka Thilakasiri, Rob Nash, Anne Perrault
  • Publication Date: 04-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxfam Publishing
  • Abstract: This issue briefing highlights the increasing use by development finance institutions of financial intermediaries to channel their funding. It identifies features of this lending and the implications for affected communities' access to land and resources. It also provides recommendations for addressing concerns related to these investments.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Natural Resources
  • Publication Date: 06-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Economist Intelligence Unit
  • Abstract: The global economy remains in precarious shape. Europe's debt crisis rages on, and although the euro appears to have survived its most recent test in the form of the Greek election on June 17th, austerity and financial-market uncertainty are depressing economic activity in Europe and, by extension, in much of the rest of the world. The Economist Intelligence Unit continues to expect global GDP growth to slow in 2012, and while our forecasts for the G3 economies—the US, euro zone and China—are essentially unchanged this month, we have cut our projections for Brazil and India.
  • Topic: Debt, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Europe, India, Brazil