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  • Author: Eswar Prasad, M. Ayhan Kose, Ashley D. Taylor
  • Publication Date: 05-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: The financial crisis has re-ignited the fierce debate about the merits of financial globalization and its implications for growth, especially for developing countries. The empirical literature has not been able to conclusively establish the presumed growth benefits of financial integration. Indeed, a new literature proposes that the indirect benefits of financial integration may be more important than the traditional financing channel emphasized in previous analyses. A major complication, however, is that there seem to be certain “threshold” levels of financial and institutional development that an economy needs to attain before it can derive the indirect benefits and reduce the risks of financial openness. In this paper, we develop a unified empirical framework for characterizing such threshold conditions. We find that there are clearly identifiable thresholds in variables such as financial depth and institutional quality—the cost-benefit trade- off from financial openness improves significantly once these threshold conditions are satisfied. We also find that the thresholds are lower for foreign direct investment and portfolio equity liabilities compared to those for debt liabilities.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Globalization, International Political Economy, International Trade and Finance
  • Author: Ravi Kanbur, Eswar Prasad, Gill Hammond
  • Publication Date: 08-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: This paper introduces a significant collection of papers on monetary policy in emerging market economies, written by leading analysts and policymakers. Does existing economic theory provide lessons that are pertinent for designing effective monetary policy frameworks in emerging markets? What can be learnt from cross-country studies and from experiences of individual countries that have adopted different approaches? While country-specific circumstances and initial conditions matter a great deal in formulating suitable frameworks, are there clear general principles that can serve as a guide in this process? These are among the issues addressed in the dialogue between academics and policymakers represented in the volume. In this paper, we provide an overview of the main issues, linking them to broader debates in the academic literature as well as an assessment of how individual countries have chosen to respond to specific policy challenges and what the consequences have been. We discuss many controversies where there are still sharp differences in views between and amongst theorists and practitioners. We also delineate a few key analytical issues where there is still a yawning gap between theory and practice. In the process, we set out a broad agenda for further re- search in this area.
  • Topic: Economics, Emerging Markets, Markets, Monetary Policy
  • Author: Rachel McCulloch, Chad P. Bown
  • Publication Date: 12-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: Critical appraisals of the current and potential benefits from developing country engagement in the WTO focus mainly on the Doha Round of negotiations. This paper examines a different aspect of developing country participation in the WTO: use of the WTO dispute settlement system to enforce foreign market access rights already negotiated in earlier rounds of multilateral negotiations. We examine data on developing country use from 1995 through 2008 of the WTO Dispute Settlement Understanding (DSU) to enforce foreign market access. The data reveal three notable trends: developing countries' sustained rate of self-enforcement actions despite declining use of the DSU by developed countries, developing countries' increased use of the DSU to self-enforce their access to the markets of developing as well as developed country markets, and the prevalence of disputes targeting highly observable causes of lost foreign market access, such as antidumping, countervailing duties, and safeguards. The paper also examines how introduction of the Advisory Centre on WTO Law (ACWL) into the WTO system in 2001 has affected developing countries' use of the DSU to self-enforce their foreign market access rights. A first pass at the data indicates that developing country use of the ACWL mirrors their use of the DSU more broadly; the ACWL has had little effect in terms of introducing new countries to DSU self-enforcement. A closer look at the data reveals evidence on at least three channels through which the ACWL may be enhancing developing countries' ability to self-enforce foreign market access: increased initiation of sole-complainant cases, more extensive pursuit of the DSU legal process for any given case, and initiation of disputes over smaller values of lost trade.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets
  • Author: Eswar Prasad, Kenneth Rogoff, M. Ayhan Kose, Shang-Jin Wei
  • Publication Date: 04-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: We review the large literature on various economic policies that could help developing economies effectively manage the process of financial globalization. Our central findings indicate that policies promoting financial sector development, institutional quality and trade openness appear to help developing countries derive the benefits of globalization. Similarly, sound macroeconomic policies are an important prerequisite for ensuring that financial integration is beneficial. However, our analysis also suggests that the relationship between financial integration and economic policies is a complex one and that there are unavoidable tensions inherent in evaluating the risks and benefits associated with financial globalization. In light of these tensions, structural and macroeconomic policies often need to be tailored to take into account country specific circumstances to improve the risk-benefit tradeoffs of financial integration. Ultimately, it is essential to see financial integration not just as an isolated policy goal but as part of a broader package of reforms and supportive macroeconomic policies.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Globalization, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: William Easterly, Tobias Pfutze
  • Publication Date: 06-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: This paper does not address the issue of aid effectiveness—that is, the extent to which foreign aid dollars actually achieve their goals—but instead focuses on “best practices” in the way in which official aid is given, an important component of the wider debate. First, we discuss best practice for an ideal aid agency and the difficulties that aid agencies face because they are typically not accountable to their intended beneficiaries. Next, we consider the transparency of aid agencies and four additional dimensions of aid practice: specialization, or the degree to which aid is not fragmented among too many donors, too many countries, and too many sectors for each donor); selectivity, or the extent to which aid avoids corrupt autocrats and goes to the poorest countries; use of ineffective aid channels such as tied aid, food aid, and technical assistance; and the overhead costs of aid agencies. We compare 48 aid agencies along these dimensions, distinguishing between bilateral and multilateral ones. Using the admittedly limited in- formation we have, we rank the aid agencies on different dimensions of aid practice and then provide one final comprehensive ranking. We present these results as an illustrative exercise to move the aid discussion forward.
  • Topic: Economics, Humanitarian Aid, Poverty, Third World, United Nations
  • Author: Alan Abramowitz, Ruy Teixeira
  • Publication Date: 04-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: Dramatic shifts have taken place in the American class structure since the World War II era. Consider education levels. Incredible as it may seem today, in 1940 three-quarters of adults 25 and over were high school dropout s (or never made it as far as high school), and just 5 percent had a four-year college degree or higher. But educational credentials exploded in the postwar period. By 1960, the proportion of adults lacking a high school diploma was down to 59 percent; by 1980, it was less than a third, and by 2007, it was down to only 14 percent. Concomitantly, the proportion with a BA or higher rose steadily and reached 29 percent in 2007. Moreover, those with some college (but not a four-year degree) constituted another 25 percent of the population, making a total of 54 percent who had at least some college education 1 . Quite a change: moving from a country where the typical adult was a high school dropout (more accurately, never even reached high school) to a country where the typical adult not only has a high school diploma, but some college as well.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Demographics, Economics
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Lael Brainard
  • Publication Date: 02-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: Compiled by Brookings Institution experts, this chart is part of a series of issue indices to be published during the 2008 Presidential election cycle. The policy issues included in this series were chosen by Brookings staff and represent the most critical topics facing America's next President. Available voting records and statements vary based on time in office. For candidates who have not been a Member of Congress, public statements are noted when available.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Politics
  • Political Geography: United States, America
  • Author: Bruce Katz
  • Publication Date: 01-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: Infrastructure has a dramatic effect on the economic competitiveness of our nation, the health of our environment and our quality of life. And infrastructure—freight ports, airports, bridges, roads, rail and transit networks, water and sewer systems, web of channel communications—is the connective tissue of our nation. Smart policies and investments can enhance and further national prosperity and the health and vitality of metropolitan areas, where the bulk of our population lives and jobs are located.
  • Topic: Debt, Economics, Political Economy
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Ruy Teixeira
  • Publication Date: 01-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: Political polarization in the United States has a number of causes, ranging from media hype to gerrymandering to hyper- ideological elites to cultural “sorting” between the parties. But there is another key contributor that is frequently overlooked: demographic and geographic changes in the electorate that have altered the sizes of different population groups and even shifted their political orientations over time. These changes have helped produce the current deadlock between coalitions of roughly equal size and opposed outlooks. But these same changes—since they will continue to alter group sizes and political orientations in the future—could also provide the impetus for unlocking this polarization and policy gridlock in the future.
  • Topic: Democratization, Economics, Politics
  • Political Geography: United States, America
  • Author: Ralph C. Bryant
  • Publication Date: 01-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: A prosperous, stable world economy is in the self interest of every nation—large or small, rich or poor. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is a worldwide intergovernmental institution that can facilitate that prosperity and stability. Because every nation has a stake, each should participate in the IMF's governance and operations. The value to each nation of an effective IMF increases as the world economy and financial system become more integrated.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, International Organization, International Political Economy