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  • Author: Alice Evans
  • Publication Date: 10-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University
  • Abstract: This paper re-examines why global collective action problems persist, and how to overcome them. Drawing on 140 interviews with campaigners, politicians, and businesses in 10 European countries, it suggests that many activists are stuck in a despondency trap. Never seeing radical reform, they lower their ambitions, and invest in more feasible but sub-optimal alternatives. This creates a negative feedback loop, in which the dearth of radical reform becomes self-fulfilling. But if reformists see advances at home and abroad, they may become more optimistic about collective mobilisation and break out of their despondency trap. This is shown by tracing the drivers of ground-breaking legislation. From 2018, large French firms must mitigate risks of environmental and human rights abuses in their global supply chains, or else be liable. This bill – the world’s first of its kind – was vociferously contested by businesses. But French campaigners and politicians persisted for four years, because they saw reasons for optimism. These include growing international support; public outcry; the French political culture (state intervention, and distrust of multinationals); together with a Centre-Left Government. Optimism galvanised relentless mobilisation. Legislative success in France then delivered a positive shock to activists across Europe, who were emboldened to launch similar campaigns and escape their despondency trap.
  • Topic: Political Activism, Reform, Business , State, Multinational Corporations, Legislation, Accountability
  • Political Geography: Europe, France
  • Author: Timothy Besley, Anders Jensen, Torsten Persson
  • Publication Date: 09-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University
  • Abstract: This paper studies individual and social motives in tax evasion. We build a simple dynamic model that incorporates these motives and their interaction. The social motives underpin the role of norms and is the source of the dynamics that we study. Our empirical analysis exploits the adoption in 1990 of a poll tax to fund local government in the UK, which led to widespread evasion. The evidence is consistent with the model’s main predictions on the dynamics of evasion.
  • Topic: Political Economy, Economy, Financial Crimes, Tax Systems
  • Political Geography: United Kingdom, Europe, Global Focus
  • Author: Hans Binnendijk, Daniel S. Hamilton, Charles L. Barry
  • Publication Date: 08-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Transatlantic Relations
  • Abstract: The NATO Alliance faces simultaneous dangers to its east, to its south, and from a series of security challenges unbounded by geography, at a time when disparate allied responses to a host of challenges are tearing the seams of European unity and American political figures have even questioned the need for NATO. Europe risks turning from an exporter of stability to an importer of instability. The vision of a Europe whole, free and at peace is challenged by a Europe fractured and anxious. The Alliance must be revitalized for the new world rising before us. An overarching Alliance strategy must rely on NATO’s ability to provide a full spectrum of deterrent and defense tools to provide collective defense for all of its members, together with an ability to project stability and resilience beyond its borders using an array of tools for crisis management.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, NATO, International Cooperation, Nuclear Weapons, Partnerships, Alliance
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, North America
  • Author: Maciej Bałtowski, Piotr Kozarzewski
  • Publication Date: 08-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Social and Economic Research - CASE
  • Abstract: The paper discusses the role of the state in shaping an economic system which is, in line with the welfare economics approach, capable of performing socially important functions and achieving socially desirable results. We describe this system through a set of indexes: the IHDI, the World Happiness Index, and the Satisfaction of Life index. The characteris-tics of the state are analyzed using a set of variables which describe both the quantitative (government size, various types of governmental expenditures, and regulatory burden) and qualitative (institutional setup and property rights protection) aspects of its functioning. The study examines the “old” and “new” member states of the European Union, the post-communist countries of Eastern Europe and Asia, and the economies of Latin America. The main conclusion of the research is that the institutional quality of the state seems to be the most important for creation of a socially effective economic system, while the level of state interventionism plays, at most, a secondary and often negligible role. Geographical differentiation is also discovered, as well as the lack of a direct correlation between the characteristics of an economic system and the subjective feeling of well-being. These re-sults may corroborate the neo-institutionalist hypothesis that noneconomic factors, such as historical, institutional, cultural, and even genetic factors, may play an important role in making the economic system capable to perform its tasks; this remains an area for future research.
  • Topic: Demographics, Economy, Economic growth, State, Economic Policy, Institutions, Trade, Welfare
  • Political Geography: Europe, Eastern Europe, Asia, Latin America, European Union
  • Author: Saliha Metinsoy
  • Publication Date: 09-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Global Political Economy, University of Sussex
  • Abstract: Why does the International Monetary Fund (IMF) assign more stringent labor conditions in some cases and not others? This paper argues that the Fund’s bureaucratic organizational culture and neoliberal economic beliefs dictate its interpretation of international economics and predict the stringency of labor conditions in its programs. Particularly, the Fund staff envisage that lower unit labor costs would indirectly increase competitiveness, boost exports, and contribute to the balance of payments in fixed exchange rate regimes, where currency depreciation is not possible. To this end, the Fund assigns more stringent labor conditions in fixed regimes compared to floating ones. To test this theory, the paper uses a mixed method. It firstly demonstrates the association between exchange rate regimes and the stringency of labor conditions in Fund programs in a global sample. It then complements this analysis by showing particular organizational habits and beliefs at work in two cases, namely in Latvia and Hungary in 2008 under their respective IMF programs. Furthermore, the paper shows that distribution of income away from labor groups (i.e. lowered wages) is in fact by design in IMF programs in an attempt to increase competitiveness in fixed regimes.
  • Topic: Economics, International Monetary Fund, International Development, Neoliberalism
  • Political Geography: Europe, Eastern Europe, Hungary, Latvia
  • Author: Michael Kende1, Nivedita Sen
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Trade and Economic Integration, The Graduate Institute (IHEID)
  • Abstract: E-commerce has long been recognized as a driver of growth of the digital economy, with the potential to promote economic development. The benefits come from lower transaction costs online, increased efficiency, and access to new markets. The smallest of vendors can join online marketplaces to increase their sales, while larger companies can use the Internet to join global value chains (GVCs), and the largest e-commerce providers are now among the most valuable companies in the world.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Science and Technology, World Trade Organization, Digital Economy, Economic growth, Free Trade
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Switzerland, Global Focus
  • Author: Tarek A. Hassan, Laurence van Lent, Stephan Hollander, Ahmed Tahoun
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute for New Economic Thinking (INET)
  • Abstract: Using tools from computational linguistics, we construct new measures of the impact of Brexit on listed firms in the United States and around the world: the share of discussions in quarterly earnings conference calls on costs, benefits, and risks associated with the UK’s intention to leave the EU. Using this approach, we identify which firms expect to gain or lose from Brexit and which are most affected by Brexit uncertainty. We then estimate the effects of these different kinds of Brexit exposure on firm-level outcomes. We find that concerns about Brexit-related uncertainty extend far beyond British or even European firms. US and international firms most exposed to Brexit uncertainty have lost a substantial fraction of their market value and have reduced hiring and investment. In addition to Brexit uncertainty (the second moment), we find that international firms overwhelmingly expect negative direct effects of Brexit (the first moment), should it come to pass. Most prominently, firms expect difficulties resulting from regulatory divergence, reduced labor mobility, trade access, and the costs of adjusting their operations post-Brexit. Consistent with the predictions of canonical theory, this negative sentiment is recognized and priced in stock markets but has not yet had significant effects on firm actions.
  • Topic: Economics, Political Economy, Regional Cooperation, Brexit, Global Political Economy, Economic Policy
  • Political Geography: Britain, United States, United Kingdom, Europe, European Union
  • Author: Joseph Halevi
  • Publication Date: 06-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute for New Economic Thinking (INET)
  • Abstract: This paper analyzes the early stages of the formation of the Common Market. The period covered runs from the end of WW2 to 1959, which is the year in which the European Payments Union ceased to operate. The essay begins by highlighting the differences between the prewar political economy of Europe and the new dimensions and institutions brought in by the United States after 1945. It focuses on the marginalization of Britain and on the relaunching of French great power ambitions and how the latter determined, in a very problematical way, the European complexion of France. Because of France’s imperial aspirations, France, not West Germany, emerged as the politically crisis prone country of Europe acting as a factor of instability thereby jeopardizing the process of European integration, Among the large European nations, Germany and Italy appear, for opposite economic reasons, as the countries most focused on furthering integration. Germany expressed the strongest form of neomercantilism while Italy the weakest.
  • Topic: Economics, Political Economy, Global Political Economy, World War II, Common Market
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Germany, Global Focus
  • Author: Joseph Halevi
  • Publication Date: 11-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute for New Economic Thinking (INET)
  • Abstract: This essay deals with the contradictory dynamics that engulfed Europe from 1959 to 1979, the year of the launching of the European Monetary System. It focuses on how the macroeconomic frame- work of stop-go policies in the 1960s ended up privileging external – intra-European - exports at the expense of domestic demand. The paper offers a very tentative explanation as to why stop-go policies, by weakening domestic demand, did not put an end to the to the ‘long boom’ earlier as they should have. The French crisis of 1968-69 leading to the demise of De Gaulle is discussed at length, as is the renewal of the German export drive in the wake of a nominal revaluation of the D-Mark in 1969. Finally, the revival of labor struggles in Italy in the same year is put in the context of the structural weaknesses of the Italian economy as analyzed by the late Marcello de Cecco. The conclusion is that European countries had neither the political culture nor the institutional mechanisms to coordinate mutually advantageous policies. Their so-called cooperation was an exercise in establishing hegemony while defending the interests specific to the dominant economic groups of each country. The essay then deals with the formation of the EMS as an expression of efforts to establish and enforce economic dominance.
  • Topic: Economics, Markets, History, Monetary Policy, Capitalism, Common Market, Macroeconomics
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Joseph Halevi
  • Publication Date: 11-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute for New Economic Thinking (INET)
  • Abstract: The paper highlights the position of German authorities, showing that they were quite lucid about the fundamental weaknesses inherent in a process that separated monetary from fiscal policies by giving priority to the centralization of the former. Instead of repeating the well known critiques levelled against the EMU – for which readers are referred to the unsurpassed treatment by Stiglitz, the essay highlights the splintering of Europe in the way in which it has unfolded during the 1990s and in the first decade of the present millennium. In particular the early economic and political origins of the terminal crisis of Italy are located between the late 1980s and the 1990s. France is shown to belong increasingly to the so-called European periphery by virtue of a weakening industrial structure and persistent balance of payments deficits. The paper argues that France regains its central role by political means and through its weight as an active nuclear military power centered on maintaining its imperial interests and posture especially in Africa. The first decade of the present millennium is portrayed as the period in which a distinct German economic area had been formed in the midst of Europe with a strong drive to the east with an increasingly powerful gravitational pull towards the People’s Republic of China.
  • Topic: Economics, International Political Economy, Political Economy, History, Macroeconomics
  • Political Geography: Africa, China, Europe, Asia, Germany, Global Focus
  • Author: Servaas Storm
  • Publication Date: 04-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute for New Economic Thinking (INET)
  • Abstract: Using macroeconomic data for 1960-2018, this paper analyzes the origins of the crisis of the ‘post-Maastricht Treaty order of Italian capitalism’. After 1992, Italy did more than most other Eurozone members to satisfy EMU conditions in terms of self-imposed fiscal consolidation, structural reform and real wage restraint—and the country was undeniably successful in bringing down inflation, moderating wages, running primary fiscal surpluses, reducing unemployment and raising the profit share. But its adherence to the EMU rulebook asphyxiated Italy’s domestic demand and exports—and resulted not just in economic stagnation and a generalized productivity slowdown, but in relative and absolute decline in many major dimensions of economic activity. Italy’s chronic shortage of demand has clear sources: (a) perpetual fiscal austerity; (b) permanent real wage restraint; and (c) a lack of technological competitiveness which, in combination with an overvalued euro, weakens the ability of Italian firms to maintain their global market shares in the face of increasing competition of low-wage countries. These three causes lower capacity utilization, reduce firm profitability and hurt investment, innovation and diversification. The EMU rulebook thus locks the Italian economy into economic decline and impoverishment. The analysis points to the need to end austerity and devise public investment and industrial policies to improve Italy’s ‘technological competitiveness’ and stop the structural divergence between the Italian economy and France/Germany. The issue is not just to revive demand in the short run (which is easy), but to create a self-reinforcing process of investment-led and innovation-driven process of long-run growth (which is difficult).
  • Topic: Economics, Capitalism, Global Political Economy, Macroeconomics, Eurozone
  • Political Geography: Europe, Italy
  • Author: Vincenza Scherrer, Alba Bescos Pou
  • Publication Date: 01-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Geneva Centre for Security Sector Governance (DCAF)
  • Abstract: Multilateral organizations are playing an important role in shaping the SSR agenda through the development of policy and guidance and by engaging in the provision of a wide range of SSR support on the ground. However, despite their significant engagement in this area, there is no predictability in terms of the type of support that multilateral organizations will take on. While policy frameworks concur that international support should be well coordinated, the support provided by these organizations tends to be compartmentalized in practice. As a result, considerable time is often lost while each organization separately assesses a conflict, maps what others are doing, and agrees on a division of labour. The report presents the findings of a multi-year research project on the approaches of the United Nations (UN), the African Union (AU), the European Union (EU), and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) to supporting nationally-led SSR processes. The study aims at developing an empirically-based understanding of the roles and potential comparative advantages of these organizations in SSR support, as well as avenues for enhanced cooperation. For this purpose, the study examines the following three categories related to the role of multilateral organizations in SSR support: normative frameworks, institutional capacities, and operational practices. This report was commissioned from DCAF by the Security Sector Reform Unit (SSRU) of the United Nations Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO).
  • Topic: Security, Human Rights, Peacekeeping, Reform, Multilateralism
  • Political Geography: Geneva, Africa, Europe, United Nations, European Union, African Union
  • Author: Sarah Ferbach, Audrey Reeves, Callum Watson, Léa Lehouck
  • Publication Date: 01-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Geneva Centre for Security Sector Governance (DCAF)
  • Abstract: Since 2007, the NATO Parliamentary Assembly has pursued an original and ground-breaking approach of mapping the distinctive contribution of its member parliaments to advancing the women, peace and security (WPS) agenda. Following on from previous reports in 2013 and in 2015, this study provides an up-to-date analysis of the 28 national responses to the NATO Parliamentary Assembly WPS survey in 2018. The main findings are as follows: 1. There was an increase in parliaments’ reported activity in the field of WPS, from 81% of respondents reporting some degree of involvement in 2015 to 100% in 2018. Countries with a National Action Plan (NAP) on Women, Peace and Security remain twice as active as countries without a NAP. 2. Of all participating delegations, 91% report that women recently occupied prominent functions related to peace and security in their parliament, thus contributing to enhancing women’s leadership in public debate on peace and security. 3. Parliamentary reports suggest that their engagement as legislative and oversight bodies has remained stable or slightly decreased in quantitative terms. Encouragingly, this engagement has nonetheless diversified in qualitative terms. Parliaments now report the development of legislation and resolutions on a greater variety of WPS themes and 36% mention using two or more monitoring mechanisms in overseeing the implementation of the WPS agenda, an increase from 24% in 2015. 4. Parliaments of NATO member countries have taken up NATO policy recommendations regarding dialogue with civil society organisations and cooperation with other NATO member states, with 17 delegations (61% of respondents) now reporting some activity in this area. The report includes full details and analysis of the survey responses as well as recommendations for parliaments in NATO member countries going forward.
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy, Development, Gender Issues, Refugee Issues, Peacekeeping, Women, Gender Based Violence
  • Political Geography: Geneva, Europe, United Nations
  • Author: Niklas Bremberg
  • Publication Date: 01-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Stockholm International Peace Research Institute
  • Abstract: Research suggests that states and societies around the world are increasingly confronted by climate-related security risks. These risks are unavoidably transnational in character, and intergovernmental organizations (IGOs) are instrumental in developing policy solutions and enhancing international cooperation. However, previous research highlights that knowledge about the conditions under which IGOs address climate security risks, and when they do so effectively, is incomplete. There is a need for further in-depth analysis of relevant IGOs in the field of climate security.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Alessandro Colombo, Paola Magri
  • Publication Date: 03-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Italian Institute for International Political Studies (ISPI)
  • Abstract: Under the pressure of the new US administration’s aggressive rhetoric, 2017 has revealed that traditional dynamics among great powers are back in the international context of the XXI century. Contrary to the most optimistic predictions and discourses of the early post-Cold War period, the “game of big powers” is regaining centre stage. This is mainly due to three intertwined processes: the growth and renewed assertiveness of potential United States’ global competitors such as Russia and China; the enduring crisis of multilateralism and global co-existence; and even more, the breakdown of the regional order into increasingly autonomous arenas, where regional powers are on the rise. The ISPI 2018 Report reflects upon this change, only partly offset by positive news coming from the global economy over the past year. The first part of the volume focuses on the global context; the second investigates the role Europe can play in a “world of big powers”; the last part addresses Italian foreign policy.
  • Topic: Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Maria Demertzis, Stavros Zenios
  • Publication Date: 04-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Bruegel
  • Abstract: Since the financial crisis, EU countries' economies have recovered to the point that they are exiting their adjustment programmes. Institutional stability mechanisms have been improved at the European level, with the promotion of the banking union and the establishment of a European Monetary Fund, for instance. However, the authors argue that such crisis contingencies should include markets in their risk-sharing, which would require better coordination with institutions.
  • Topic: International Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Alimar Lazkani
  • Publication Date: 06-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Arab Reform Initiative (ARI)
  • Abstract: The Syrian Army has inherited a few of the norms and customs the French used for running army affairs following the French occupation. These did not include any provisions on regulating the army. After the Baa’th Party came to power, particularly after Hafez Assad had assumed office, the norms and customs guaranteeing minimum rights for army soldiers, non-commissioned officers, and officers faded gradually, leaving room for cronyism and allegiance to individuals and to the regime as the sole guarantor for the military to gain their rights. Leaders of military units became almost governors of their own units where nothing could take place without their blessings The Russians became fully in charge of the Syrian Army and started to instil rules and regulations that would ensure discipline and transform the army to a professional force capable of actual missions on the ground. Such rules included entrenching among Syrian soldiers, non-commissioned officers, and officers’ allegiance to Russian military officers and meant to subdue and prevent them from exercising their authority. This has established the Russians as the de facto leaders in the minds of members of the Syrian army. This has mainly shifted the responsibility for all the atrocities committed by the Assad forces under the Russian leadership to the Russians together with the regime’s officers and leaders. Despite their inability to make decisions, they are responsible, in terms of political structure and posturing, for all cases of genocide, chemical attacks, displacement, starvation and other violations. It has therefore become difficult in the Syrian context to separate between the Russian leadership and the Syrian Army, except in terms of differentiating between the leader and the follower, a divide that Russia has been working on consolidating in the media and in its diplomacy as an entity “assisting to achieve peace and combat terrorism”, while it undoubtedly deserves the description of “occupier” with its ability to run a lot of important issues on Syrian soil.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Genocide, Political structure, Military Intervention
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Middle East, Syria
  • Author: Bassma Kodmani
  • Publication Date: 10-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Arab Reform Initiative (ARI)
  • Abstract: As long as military means prevailed in deciding the fate of Syria, the European Union could not alone induce any decisive change in the dynamics of the conflict, and Assad was vindictively seeking to prove that the European Union’s ability to influence the conflict was nil. Assad’s luck was that Putin was determined to prevent his fall and threw his full weight behind him to maintain his rule. When the guns finally fall silent, should the key countries of Europe and the EU itself simply accept as “a sad reality” the fact that the Syrian regime is back in full control of the country? Will they channel funds for humanitarian, post-emergency and early recovery purposes through the State’s financial system knowing full well that European tax payers’ money might be massively diverted to end in the pockets of Assad’s family and the kleptocracy around him,1 and serve to pursue his sectarian scheme of changing the demographics of Syria along religious and ethnic lines? Framing the discussion in terms of accepting Assad and rehabilitating him or not is disempowering for the EU. It assumes that military force alone is what determines the outcome of the conflict and the political fate of the country. If it follows this rationale, Europe would be annihilating everything it stands for; it would serve as a helping hand in Assad’s strategy to bury the civil society groups it helped organize and silence the democratic forces and all those within the different sectors of society who want a Syria that resembles Europe in terms of its values and its political system on the other side of the Mediterranean. The EU’s declared position that there will be no reconstruction without political transition in Syria is an honorable one, but this position still needs to be operationalized if the EU is to turn it into a policy and use its full clout to shape the resolution of the conflict.
  • Topic: Europe Union, Humanitarian Intervention, Military Intervention, Economic Policy
  • Political Geography: Africa, Russia, Europe, Syria
  • Author: Bassma Kodmani
  • Publication Date: 12-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Arab Reform Initiative (ARI)
  • Abstract: Eight years of a high intensity conflict in Syria resulted in the forcible displacement of over half of the population of the country, some internally, while over six million others fled outside, causing the most severe refugee crisis the world has known since World War II. Little is written however on the estimated 18 million Syrians who have been living abroad for years, often decades. These Syrians emigrated in waves and settled in some 30 different countries worldwide, including in the most remote lands of South America and the Caribbean islands. Together with the refugees who fled as a consequence of the conflict, the number of Syrians outside the country is now three times higher than those living inside. This is not specific to Syrians. The number of Palestinians, Lebanese, Armenians and, of course, Jews scattered across continents is also three to four times higher than those inside Palestinian occupied territories, Lebanon, Armenia or Israel. But the Syrian conflict and its toll on civilians has undoubtedly triggered a new awareness of the existence of a strong Syrian diaspora which had, so far, kept a rather low profile. To the stories of suffering and misery about refugees, diaspora communities oppose inspiring stories of the successful integration of individuals and families in their host societies. The Syrian diaspora is no exception. Its story contrasts with the dire situation of desperate boat people and helpless refugees. In general, the Syrian diaspora is economically self-sufficient and composed of well-integrated communities spreading across the Americas, Europe, the Middle East and Africa. This report is the result of a collective effort to draw the first comprehensive picture of the de-territorialized Syrian people encompassing the old diaspora and the recent refugees. Co-authored by 13 experts, it describes the socio-economic and cultural features of the old diaspora communities (a subject largely under-researched by scholars) and captures the fast moving but very uneven process of transformation of recent refugees into a new component of the Syrian diaspora. Scholarly research and interviews with key members of the diaspora in their different living contexts reveal the considerable effort that the diaspora has mobilized to support Syrians during the conflict and its potential to be a major player in the reconstruction and development of Syria when the conflict ends.
  • Topic: Civil War, Diaspora, Immigration, Refugees, Revolution
  • Political Geography: Africa, Europe, Middle East, South America, Syria, North America
  • Author: Marek Gora
  • Publication Date: 07-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Social and Economic Research - CASE
  • Abstract: The end of 2018 will mark the 20th anniversary of the introduction of Poland’s current pension system. It has been subjected to constant modifications, in general dictated by either ideological or ad hoc goals, but it has resisted destruction, and in essence is working as it was designed. The need for its introduction, misleadingly called a reform, was dictated by a long-term shift in the age structure of the population. In essence, the earlier system was replaced by the current one. The essence of this switch is a shift from the quasi-tax financing suited to the population structure by age of the past, to quasi-savings financing suited to the structure in the 21st century. This text is not an overview of the 20-year history of the current system; it is a critical examination of the functioning of Poland’s pension system against the backdrop of the universal challenges that pension systems are facing in the 21st century. The text barely touches on many fundamental questions. A full discussion of them would require a longer discourse, for which there is no space here. The purpose of introducing the current system was to balance the interests of the working generation and the generation of retirees. The previous system worked only for the interests of retirees, while those of the working generation, expressed in the level of its net income, was treated as an afterthought. This kind of system could operate in the 20th century. But in the 21st, it turned out to be not so much immediately impossible, as socially harmful. A change of system was thus essential. The current system is now quite well suited to the current population structure. The biggest problem in its functioning is citizens’ negligible awareness of how it is actually structured and what that implies – both on the macro level and on the level of individual behaviors. Pension issues are counterintuitive. This results both from their combination of macro- and microeconomic issues and from the fact that their time horizon exceeds any other undertaking. For a pension system to work well, it has to be understood by its participants; meanwhile, pension education practically does not exist. What’s worse, the public debate concerning pensions tends to frighten people rather than helping them. Instead of knowledge, there are chaotic assumptions, often far removed from reality. They are adopted as axiomatic, or as a result of inertia in thinking, or unrealistic expectations. In the first case, the current system is perceived as if it were the previous one. Meanwhile, in reality they are fundamental opposites. In the second case, people expect that the system will miraculously multiply the funds available for pensions. But in reality each system can only divide up what has been created. Discussions partly concern side issues, partly consist of misunderstandings and partly are derivations of general views. Much harm was done by the discussion on changing the proportions of the division of contributions in the universal system (the so-called OFE discussion). Debate on pension questions requires that the issues be laid out in an orderly fashion; we need a critical view of basic concepts and how they are understood. Without that there is no chance to solve the problems of pensions systems, or even to understand what they’re about.
  • Topic: Demographics, Labor Issues, Finance, Social Policy
  • Political Geography: Europe, Poland, European Union
  • Author: Vandana Gyanchandani
  • Publication Date: 08-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Trade and Economic Integration, The Graduate Institute (IHEID)
  • Abstract: Three methodologies are used to enforce labour and environmental commitments in the US and EU trade agreements: cooperative, sanctions and composite. In-depth analysis of the scope of commitments, level of protection, institutional framework as well as types of informal and formal dispute processes elucidates the pros and cons of such methodologies. Sanctions approach weakens cooperation by misjudging the complexity of domestic policy adjustments through transnational governance. Cooperative mechanism within the NAAEC's composite design emerges as the best approach: Submission on Enforcement Matters (SEM). As it provides for an independent secretariat supported by civil society group and factual records as a sunshine remedy to review citizen submissions. However, the process is constrained by political clout, lack of managerial capacity and legal dilemmas around informal lawmaking (IN-LAW) procedures.
  • Topic: Economics, Environment, International Cooperation, International Trade and Finance, Labor Issues, Sustainable Development Goals, Global Political Economy
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Global Focus, European Union
  • Author: Ricardo Hausmann, Ljubica Nedelkoska
  • Publication Date: 01-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University
  • Abstract: Over the past few decades, migration from developing to developed countries was often viewed as 'brain drain', as talented workers were forced out of their home countries due to lack of competitive opportunities. The population that left these countries and settled in the more economically advanced parts of the world have, over time, acquired financial capital and built social networks within host countries. Hence, while the home countries were still suffering from the scarcity of knowhow, significant shares of their populations began to actively engage in more productive economies. It seems that, through migration, developing countries had unexpectedly created significant networks of human and financial capital abroad. But are these foreign networks transferring knowhow back to their home countries? It turns out that those same reasons that induced the economic migration in the first place, often make it difficult for migrants to engage afterwards. What would happen, however, if a large proportion of these diasporas was forced to return back to their home country - would that lead to knowhow transfer? Our study investigates the impact of such an abrupt return migration wave between Greece and Albania.
  • Topic: Development, Migration, Labor Issues, Developing World, Economy
  • Political Geography: Europe, Eastern Europe, Greece, Albania
  • Author: Hans Lucht
  • Publication Date: 06-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: Without a stable Libya to strike migration deals with, EU is looking further south, to Niger, as a way of cutting off the trans-Saharan migration routes. However, the question is whether the EU is exchanging short-term gains for long-term stability?
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Europe, Niger
  • Author: Fabrizzio Tassinari, Sebastian Tetzlaff
  • Publication Date: 05-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: From being a historical bridge-builder among different sensibilities in Europe, Germany has gradually assumed a more assertive posture on key issues from the refugee crisis to Brexit negotiations. As a result, the federal election in September will be consequential not just for Germany, but also for the rest of Europe.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Mikkel Barslund, Matthias Busse
  • Publication Date: 06-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: The British economy has always been able to rely on a continuous inflow of high-skilled workers from the rest of the EU and the UK is currently home to over three million EU citizens and. As a result of the UK’s decision to leave the European Union, however, the image of the UK in the eyes of foreign workers may have become tarnished. By using LinkedIn data, the authors of this study analyse the movements of IT professionals between the EU and the UK and thereby illustrate what is at stake for the UK, as exemplified by this particular ‘shortage sector’. LinkedIn data show that on an annual basis the UK gains over 6,000 IT experts more than it loses to the EU. Moreover, these mobile IT professionals tend to be much more qualified than domestic IT experts are. This reliance on the EU for IT recruitment – one in ten new hires comes from the EU – suggests that even if the UK is not aiming to restrict high-skilled immigration, curbing overall immigration could have unintended negative consequences for its capability to attract talented EU nationals in the future. The UK government should perhaps bear this in mind during negotiations with the EU27.
  • Topic: Science and Technology, Brexit
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Baronia Nitisha
  • Publication Date: 03-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute of European Studies
  • Abstract: Due to economic, political, and cultural disparities between member states, the European Union (EU) has been unable to form a pan-European political and cultural identity. This has resulted in a long-term vote capturing opportunity for far-right political parties, which have brought Euroscepticism to the EU’s doorstep through election to the European Parliament (EP). Furthermore, because of their ability to emphasize these deeply rooted economic, political, and cultural disparities, far-right eurosceptic Members of European Parliament (MEPs) exacerbate Euroscepticism in a self-sustaining cycle that both internally and externally threatens EU legitimacy and, if left unaddressed, the very future of European integration.
  • Topic: International Affairs, Brexit
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Marcin Kaczmarski
  • Publication Date: 03-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Transatlantic Relations
  • Abstract: This paper is part of CTR's Working Paper Series: "Russia and the West: Reality Check." U.S. domination in global politics provided a powerful incentive for the post-Cold War rapprochement between Russia and China. The worsening of Russia’s relations with the West since 2014 made Moscow even more willing to offer significant concessions to Beijing. However, closer Russian-Chinese cooperation predates the Russian-Western crisis over Ukraine and reaches back to the 2008-2009 global economic crisis. Even the growing power asymmetry has not dissuaded Moscow from deepening its cooperation with China. This challenged widespread Western expectations that Russia would be eager to cooperate with the West in order to compensate for China’s increasing advantage. Hence, a potential improvement of Russian-Western relations is highly unlikely to result in the weakening of Russian-Chinese ties
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Energy Policy, International Cooperation, Bilateral Relations, Trump, Alliance
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, Europe, United States of America
  • Author: Dzianis Melyantsou
  • Publication Date: 03-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Transatlantic Relations
  • Abstract: This paper is part of CTR's Working Paper Series: "Eastern Voices: Europe's East Faces an Unsettled West." The new geopolitical environment formed after the annexation of Crimea and the war in the Donbas, together with emerging threats and challenges, are pressing both Belarus and the West to revise their policies in the region as well as their relations with each other. In this new context, Belarus is seeking a more balanced foreign policy and, at least towards the Ukrainian crisis, a more neutral stance.
  • Topic: International Relations, Diplomacy, International Trade and Finance, War, Territorial Disputes, Foreign Aid, Sanctions, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Ukraine, Belarus, Crimea, United States of America, European Union
  • Author: Stepan Grigoryan, Hasmik Grigoryan
  • Publication Date: 03-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Transatlantic Relations
  • Abstract: This paper is part of CTR's Working Paper Series: "Eastern Voices: Europe's East Faces an Unsettled West." With the growing tension between East and West, and with the rejection by Russia of common international rules, the question how the post-Soviet states should construct their foreign relations remains of utmost importance. Armenia, a landlocked country in the South Caucasus, has yet to accomplish its transition from socialism to democracy and market economy. Moreover, efforts along these lines have regressed, and the authorities do little to implement reforms or to establish a healthy system of checks and balances. In recent months the country has been overwhelmed by protests. The authorities neither address domestic problems nor satisfy protestor demands. Instead the Armenian government frequently resorts to disproportionate use of police forces against peaceful protestors. With political prisoners and hundreds of detained civil activists, journalists and politicians, it will be impossible to build an independent and prosperous country. Armenia has a rich history and culture, but at the same time it has experienced dark historical periods. The Armenian Genocide of 1915 and the unresolved Nagorno-Karabakh conflict shape Armenian identity. However, such historical issues have been instrumentalized by the Armenian government. Instead of building the future, Armenian authorities emphasize the past. Policies based on past grievances lead the Armenian government to become more and more dependent on Russia. Armenia needs to tackle corruption, falsified elections, a corrupt judiciary and many other problems -- and Western partners whose efforts are based on democratic values, free and fair elections, and respect towards human rights have a crucial role to play. This chapter offers background on Armenia's relations with various actors, historical matters that shape Armenian identity, and the failure and lack of will to improve the country's current situation. It then discusses the role of the West and its importance for Armenia. We seek to answer why Armenia slowed down its reform efforts, what the West needs to do to improve the situation in Armenia.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Corruption, Genocide, International Cooperation, Reform, Political Prisoners, Conflict
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Eastern Europe, Armenia, European Union
  • Author: Hans Martin Sieg
  • Publication Date: 03-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Transatlantic Relations
  • Abstract: This paper is part of CTR's Working Paper Series: "Eastern Voices: Europe's East Faces an Unsettled West." Since Moldova's November 2014 election, the country's image has changed drastically from the “success story” of the EU´s Eastern Partnership to that of a “captured state.” Moldova's politics continue to be defined by corruption and vested interests, which take advantage of weak state institutions and public administration, an ineffective judiciary and law enforcement agencies. This environment has enabled hostile takeovers of financial companies, often through concealed offshore operations, for criminal purposes, money-laundering schemes and a spectacular banking fraud, which was uncovered in autumn 2014. Low incomes have prompted hundreds of thousands of Moldovans to leave the country in search of a better life. Rivalries for political power, control over institutions, and economic assets have generated growing crises within different ruling coalitions, resulting in rapid changeover in governments, the break-up of major political parties and the formation of new parliamentary majorities with precarious democratic legitimacy. All of these factors have subjected Moldova to an unrelenting series of governmental, economic, financial and social crises since early 2015. The deeper causes of these crises can be traced to much earlier developments, however, and are deeply rooted in local structures.
  • Topic: International Relations, Corruption, Development, Economics, Reform, Elections, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Moldova, European Union
  • Author: Natalie A. Jaresko
  • Publication Date: 03-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Transatlantic Relations
  • Abstract: This paper is part of CTR's Working Paper Series: "Eastern Voices: Europe's East Faces an Unsettled West." Once again, the world is grappling with historic challenges, as it did when the Soviet Union fell in 1991, and once more, Ukraine is at the forefront of these challenges. The Kremlin’s attempts to destroy Ukraine’s European aspirations is simply one of Russia's many challenges to the post-World War II international liberal order. The actions of the Kremlin -- be they in Ukraine, Georgia, Moldova, and Syria; in the U.S. electoral process; or in the funding of far-right and far-left political parties throughout Europe -- have but one purpose: to destroy the transatlantic partnership and the principles of the post-World War II order and peace. Ukraine is simply one of the battlegrounds, but it is a key because it is in Europe. Unity of the transatlantic partnership and of the democratic nations is critical. Unity of support for the Ukrainian transition process is a serious part of this battle, because Ukraine’s successful democratic, rule-of-law based transformation is key to ensuring a Europe whole, free and at peace.
  • Topic: International Trade and Finance, Territorial Disputes, Economy, Protests
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Ukraine, Crimea
  • Author: Alexander Van der Bellen
  • Publication Date: 09-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Columbia University World Leaders Forum
  • Abstract: His Excellency Dr. Alexander Van der Bellen, Federal President of the Republic of Austria, addresses the Columbia University World Leaders Forum in Low Library.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Human Rights, International Cooperation, International Affairs, European Union
  • Political Geography: New York, Europe, Austria, European Union
  • Author: Zsolt Darvas, Dirk Schoenmaker
  • Publication Date: 03-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Bruegel
  • Abstract: Integrated capital markets facilitate risk sharing across countries. Lower home bias in financial investments is an indicator of risk sharing. We highlight that existing indicators of equity home bias in the literature suffer from incomplete coverage because they consider only listed equities. We also consider unlisted equites and show that equity home bias is much higher than previous studies perceived. We also analyse home bias in debt securities holdings, and euro-area bias. We conclude that European Union membership may foster financial integration and reduce information barriers, which sometimes limit cross-country diversification. We calculate home bias indicators for the aggregate of the euro area as if the euro area was a single country and report remarkable similarity between the euro area and the United States in terms of equity home bias, while there is a higher level of debt home bias in the United States than in the euro area as a whole. We develop a new pension fund foreign investment restrictions index to control for the impact of prudential regulations on the ability of institutional investors to diversify geographically across borders. Our panel regression estimates for 25 advanced and emerging countries in 2001-14 provide strong support for the hypothesis that the larger the assets managed by institutional investors (defined as pension funds, insurance companies and investment funds), the smaller the home bias and thereby the greater the scope for risk sharing.
  • Topic: International Political Economy, International Trade and Finance, Economic structure, Europe Union
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Yakov Ben-Haim, Maria Demertzis, Jan Willem Van Den End
  • Publication Date: 02-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Bruegel
  • Abstract: This paper applies the info-gap approach to the unconventional monetary policy of the Eurosystem and so takes into account the fundamental uncertainty on inflation shocks and the transmission mechanism. The outcomes show that a more demanding monetary strategy, in terms of lower tolerance for output and inflation gaps, entails less robustness against uncertainty, particularly if financial variables are taken into account. Augmenting the Taylor rule with a financial variable leads to a smaller loss of robustness than taking into account the effect of financial imbalances on the economy. However, in some situations, the augmented model is more robust than the baseline model. A conclusion from our framework is that including financial imbalances in the monetary policy objective does not necessarily increase policy robustness, and may even decrease it
  • Topic: Economics, International Political Economy, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Spiros Bamiatzis
  • Publication Date: 06-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Hellenic Foundation for European and Foreign Policy (ELIAMEP)
  • Abstract: Europe, and most importantly, Western Europe has become a fertile ground for ISIS recruits. Western Muslim Europeans have been making the trip to Syria and Iraq, filling in the ranks of ISIS, and back. Western intelligence agencies are faced with multiple challenges: what is the level of threat those war hardened returned fighters represent to public safety? Can these returned jihadists become de- radicalized and re-enter the society, without killing anybody that does not agree with their ideology? The purpose of this study is to present to counter-terrorism policy makers, the reasons Western European Muslims born and converted become radicalized, by presenting the psychological factors that contribute to the radicalization of the Western European Youth, towards jihadism. Furthermore, by using the Freudian splitting of the Id, the Ego, and the Superego, it examines how Muslim extremists using tenants of the Muslim faith are influencing the psychic of the youth toward radicalization, as the only true expression of the Muslim faith. This study also examines, how fundamentalism impacts the minds of “believers” and castigates everybody else that is considered a “non-believer”, while influencing the path of a young mind towards his or her becoming the defender of the Ummah, or the Muslim community at large. Finally, what lessons security agencies can learn and apply towards, before a youth becomes radicalized and then jihadist and makes the trip to ISIS fold, and after the return of the well grown jihadist by now, back to European society.
  • Topic: Terrorism, Violent Extremism
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Andrea Teti, Pamela Abbott, Paolo Maggiolini, Valeria Talbot
  • Publication Date: 01-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Arab Transformations Project, University of Aberdeen
  • Abstract: Survey data from the ArabTrans 2014 survey contains a unique battery of questions pertaining to the perception of the European Union. This report builds on those questions to analyse perceptions of the EU, its development cooperation programmes, its promotion of democracy, the appropriateness of its response to the Arab Uprisings, and the perception of the EU as an international actor. Overall, the data suggests low levels of awareness and relatively negative opinions of the EU’s actions both in general and in the specific context of its response to the Arab Uprisings. However, respondents’ preferences also suggest avenues for policy development for the Union such that it might simultaneously achieve its interests and meet the demands of MENA populations. Throughout, the paper also takes note of specific patterns and conditions found in individual countries which present particular challenges for the EU.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Security, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Europe, Middle East
  • Author: Fabian Zuleeg
  • Publication Date: 07-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: European Policy Centre
  • Abstract: The Brexit negotiations continued this week with the UK government still insisting that the endpoint be an exit from the EU, including its Customs Union and the Single Market. But back in Britain, the turmoil is obvious, with different members of government taking diverging views, suggesting, at times, that a soft Brexit or a transition arrangement might be possible, even if it means concessions on the role of the European Court of Justice (ECJ), the exit payment, the rights of EU citizens and even (temporarily) continued freedom of movement of EU citizens.
  • Topic: Europe Union, Brexit
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Zbigniew Polański
  • Publication Date: 12-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Social and Economic Research - CASE
  • Abstract: This paper contrasts the impact of the 1929 and 2008 world crises on the Polish economy. Her much better performance during the recent crisis can be explained by two groups of factors: first, by very different stabilization policies and second, by distinct structural developments (resulting both from authorities' structural policies and spontaneous processes). It is emphasized that several factors responsible for Poland's superior performance during the 2008 crisis also contributed to her economic success vis-à-vis other European Union countries.
  • Topic: Financial Crisis, Economic structure, Economic growth, Global Financial Crisis, Trade
  • Political Geography: Europe, Poland, European Union
  • Author: Robert Stehrer, Roman Stöllinger, Sandra Leitner
  • Publication Date: 11-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Social and Economic Research - CASE
  • Abstract: Global trade patterns are changing rapidly. Emerging economies are increasing their share of exports overall and intensifying competition in nearly all sectors. Using a gravity-based approach, this report examines the future profile of European Union (EU) world market shares at the aggregate and sectoral level. It further points towards the changing patterns of trade within the EU. Based on the results, some conclusions on EU industrial policy are drawn.
  • Topic: Industrial Policy, International Trade and Finance, Global Markets, Economic growth, Trade
  • Political Geography: Europe, Global Focus, European Union
  • Author: Renata Karkowska
  • Publication Date: 11-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Social and Economic Research - CASE
  • Abstract: The goal of this study is to identify empirically how country-level development, taking into account the financial and macroeconomic environment, affect the risk profiles of the banking sector in Europe. Through a dataset that covers 3,399 European banks spanning the period 1996-2011, and the methodology of panel regression, the empirical findings document the heterogeneity of banking risk determinants. I examine the implications of bank leverage that manifest itself as spreading and growing instability. The study contributes to and combines the different strands of literature and understanding of the importance of the links between the variables. It also contributes to the literature by focusing on a group of countries from Central and Eastern Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States that have not been studied before. The extended model provides a causal link between risk in the banking sector and the growth of the financial market and macroeconomy. I apply four measures of country-level development that are available in previous studies: share of foreign ownership in the banking sector; the financial freedom index; the real growth rate; and stock market capitalization. Using these measures, I obtain different results which highlight the fact that the effect of macroeconomic and financial development on banking sector risk-taking is ambiguous.
  • Topic: Financial Markets, Economic growth, Banks, Trade Liberalization, Macroeconomics, Trade
  • Political Geography: Europe, Eastern Europe, Central Europe, European Union
  • Author: Daniel Daianu
  • Publication Date: 11-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Social and Economic Research - CASE
  • Abstract: The financial crisis and its ensuing effects have brought back into the limelight the issue of cycles and of policies which fuel or mitigate crises. Cognitive and operational models in economics and business are questioned. There is a specter of much lower economic growth in the industrialized world. Central banks are over-burdened. This makes central bankers’ lives much more complicated and obfuscates the boundaries between monetary policy and fiscal policy, especially when financial stability gets to center stage. New systemic risks show up in capital markets. The eurozone has escaped collapse owing to the European Central Bank’s extraordinary operations and large macro-imbalance corrections in its periphery, but major threats persist. This paper focuses on economic cycles and policies in an international (European) context. Attention is paid to linkages between domestic cycles and the European financial cycle, drivers of financial cycles, finance deregulation and systemic risks, ultra-low interest rates, the international policy regime, and global stability. The experience of European emerging economies is taken into account.
  • Topic: Debt, Monetary Policy, Financial Crisis, Economies, Economic growth, Interest Rates, Fiscal Policy
  • Political Geography: Europe, European Union
  • Author: Jakub Zowczak, Kamil Pruchnik
  • Publication Date: 09-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Social and Economic Research - CASE
  • Abstract: The aim of this paper is to analyze how different models of transformation in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) increased or decreased the risk of being stuck in the middle-income trap (MIT). The key finding is that the CEE and CIS countries are, from a definition point of view, not materially at risk of the MIT as out of nine selected MIT definitions, none of the CEE or CIS countries were “stuck” more than three times. At the same time, the CEE countries are more at risk of falling into the MIT than the CIS countries; however this is because the CIS is a poorer region and is not near the lower MIT thresholds. The CEE countries had a better start at the beginning of the transformation and on average implemented a better set of transformation models; however, some CEE countries are now struggling to permanently join the advanced countries and CIS countries are, on average, far behind that. The literature review on transformation models and the analysis of the “jumps” in the World Bank ranking classification suggest that while the MIT is not a concern for CEE or CIS countries, in order to speed up convergence, CIS countries might consider more shocks and consistently following free market related approaches. The study fills a gap in the literature on the MIT which has thoroughly analyzed the Asian and Latin American countries but has provided little analysis of the CEE and CIS countries.
  • Topic: Finance, Economic growth, Economic Policy, Trade
  • Political Geography: Europe, Eastern Europe, Central Europe