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  • Author: Mark Wilson
  • Publication Date: 06-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: The federal government has imposed a minimum wage since 1938, and nearly all the states impose their own minimum wages. These laws prevent employers from paying wages below a mandated level. While the aim is to help workers, decades of economic research show that minimum wages usually end up harming workers and the broader economy. Minimum wages particularly stifle job opportunities for low-skill workers, youth, and minorities, which are the groups that policymakers are often trying to help with these policies.
  • Topic: Economics, Labor Issues, Governance
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Randal O'Toole
  • Publication Date: 06-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: Streetcars are the latest urban planning fad, stimulated partly by the Obama administration's preference for funding transportation projects that promote "livability" (meaning living without automobiles) rather than mobility or cost-effective transportation. Toward that end, the administration wants to eliminate cost-effectiveness requirements for federal transportation grants, instead allowing non-cost-effective grants for projects promoting so-called livability. In anticipation of this change, numerous cities are preparing to apply for federal funds to build streetcar lines.
  • Topic: Economics, Environment, Government, Political Economy, Infrastructure
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Thomas L. Hogan
  • Publication Date: 06-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: Privately issued money can benefit consumers in many ways, particularly in the areas of value stability and product variety. Decentralized currency production can benefit consumers by reducing inflation and increasing economic stability. Unlike a central bank, competing private banks must attract customers by providing innovative products, restricting the quantity of notes issued, and limiting the riskiness of their investing activities. Although the Federal Reserve currently has a de facto monopoly on the provision of currency in the United States, this was not always the case. Throughout most of U.S. history, private banks issued their own banknotes as currency. This practice continues today in a few countries and could be reinstituted in the United States with minimal changes to the banking system.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, Markets, Monetary Policy
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Morris A. Davis
  • Publication Date: 05-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: For decades U.S. housing policy has focused on promoting homeownership. In this study, I show that the set of policies designed to further homeownership has been ineffective and expensive and that homeownership as a public policy goal is not well supported.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, Markets, Urbanization
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Randal O'Toole
  • Publication Date: 05-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: Although gasoline taxes have long been the main source of funding for building, maintaining, and operating America's network of highways, roads, and streets, the tax is at best an imperfect user fee. As such, Congress and the states should take action to transition from gas taxes to more efficient vehicle-mile fees.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, Communications, Infrastructure
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Michael Tanner
  • Publication Date: 04-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: News that the poverty rate has risen to 15.1 percent of Americans, the highest level in nearly a decade, has set off a predictable round of calls for increased government spending on social welfare programs. Yet this year the federal government will spend more than $668 billion on at least 126 different programs to fight poverty. And that does not even begin to count welfare spending by state and local governments, which adds $284 billion to that figure. In total, the United States spends nearly $1 trillion every year to fight poverty. That amounts to $20,610 for every poor person in America, or $61,830 per poor family of three.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, Poverty
  • Political Geography: United States, America
  • Author: Patric H. Hendershott, Kevin Villani
  • Publication Date: 03-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: The current narrative regarding the 2008 systemic financial system collapse is that numerous seemingly unrelated events occurred in unregulated or underregulated markets, requiring widespread bailouts of actors across the financial spectrum, from mortgage borrowers to investors in money market funds. The Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, created by the U.S. Congress to investigate the causes of the crisis, promotes this politically convenient narrative, and the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act operationalizes it by completing the progressive extension of federal protection and regulation of banking and finance that began in the 1930s so that it now covers virtually all financial activities, including hedge funds and proprietary trading. The Dodd-Frank Act further charges the newly created Financial Stability Oversight Council, made up of politicians, bureaucrats, and university professors, with preventing a subsequent systemic crisis.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, Markets, Global Recession, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Gayle Tzemach Lemmon
  • Publication Date: 05-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Economic development is a critical component of promoting stability and U.S. security interests, particularly in conflict and postconflict zones. Reviving institutions and rebuilding an economic base are among the first priorities after fighting ends and reconstruction begins. According to the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), negative economic shocks of just 5 percent can increase the risk of a civil war by as much as 50 percent in fragile environments. Additionally, donor assistance, which can account for 20 percent to as much as 97 percent of a country's GDP, is unsustainable in the long term. Building local business capacity and supporting homegrown entrepreneurs can help curb this risk. Research from Iraq has found that labor-generating reconstruction programs can reduce violence during insurgencies, with a 10 percent increase in labor-related spending associated with a 10 percent decrease in violence. And as Shari Berenbach, director of the Office of Microenterprise Development at USAID, argues, the development of “private enterprise is an important stabilizing force,” particularly for countries suffering from the political uncertainty and civil unrest that often characterizes the postconflict period.
  • Topic: Security, Development, Economics, Emerging Markets, Foreign Aid, Foreign Direct Investment
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Anthony H. Cordesman, Robert M. Shelala II
  • Publication Date: 06-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The US may not face peer threats in the near to mid term, but it faces a wide variety of lesser threats that make maintaining effective military forces, foreign aid, and other national security programs a vital national security interest. The US does need to reshape its national security planning and strategy to do a far better job of allocating resources to meet these threats. It needs to abandon theoretical and conceptual exercises in strategy that do not focus on detailed force plans, manpower plans, procurement plans, and budgets; and use its resources more wisely. The US still dominates world military spending, but it must recognize that maintaining the US economy is a vital national security interest in a world where the growth and development of other nations and regions means that the relative share the US has in the global economy will decline steadily over time, even under the best circumstances. At the same time, US dependence on the security and stability of the global economy will continue to grow indefinitely in the future. Talk of any form of "independence," including freedom from energy imports, is a dangerous myth. The US cannot maintain and grow its economy without strong military forces and effective diplomatic and aid efforts. US military and national security spending already places a far lower burden on the US economy than during the peaceful periods of the Cold War, and existing spending plans will lower that burden in the future. National security spending is now averaging between 4% and 5% of the GDP -- in spite of the fact the US has been fighting two wars in Iraq and Afghanistan -- versus 6-7% during the Cold War.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, Economics, Government, Monetary Policy
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, Iraq
  • Author: Clark A. Murdock
  • Publication Date: 05-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: As the defense budget is reduced in the coming years, the Department of Defense (DoD) will be confronted with not one but two budgetary threats: it will face not only fewer defense dollars but also a weakening defense dollar in terms of purchasing power. This weaker defense dollar, driven by the internal cost inflation of personnel, operations and maintenance (O), and acquisition accounts in particular, threatens to hollow out the defense budget from within. -
  • Topic: Defense Policy, Economics, Monetary Policy
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: David J. Berteau, Guy Ben-Ari, Gregory Sanders, Jesse Ellman, David Morrow
  • Publication Date: 05-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Spending by the Department of Defense (DoD) on services contracts, which range from clerical and administrative work to vehicle maintenance to research and development (R), has been largely neglected by past studies of DoD spending trends. Yet DoD spending on services contract actions amounted to just under $200 billion in 2011, more than 50 percent of total DoD contract spending and nearly a third of the entire DoD budget. Both the executive branch and Congress have implemented policies to improve acquisitions of services, but the impacts of their efforts remain uncertain without a clear, concise analysis of past spending. And the then Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics, Dr. Ashton Carter, has stated that: “Most of our services acquires, unlike weapons-system acquires, are amateurs… I intend to help them get better at it” (Speech at the Heritage Foundation, April 20, 2011).
  • Topic: Defense Policy, Economics, Government, Monetary Policy
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Murray Hiebert, Ernest Z. Bower, Elina Noor, Mahani Zainal Abidin, Gregory Poling, Tham Siew Yean
  • Publication Date: 05-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Relations between the United States and Malaysia are at an all-time high. Since President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Najib Razak entered office in 2009, both countries' governments have committed to a new beginning and moved to establish closer ties through increased political, economic, and people-to-people cooperation.
  • Topic: Economics, International Cooperation, International Trade and Finance, Treaties and Agreements, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: United States, Malaysia
  • Author: Anthony H. Cordesman
  • Publication Date: 05-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: It is surprisingly difficult to get a meaningful estimate of the total cost of the Afghan conflict, total spending on Afghan forces and total spending on various forms of aid. More data are available on US efforts – which have dominated military and aid spending, but even these data present serious problems in reliability, consistency, and definition. Moreover, it is only since FY2012 that the US provided an integrated request for funding for the war as part of its annual budget request. The data for the period before FY2009 are accurate pictures of the Department of Defense request, but there is only a CRS estimate of total spending the previous years.
  • Topic: Economics, War
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States
  • Author: David Kirby, Emily McClintock Ekins
  • Publication Date: 08-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: Many people on the left still dismiss the tea party as the same old religious right, but the evidence says they are wrong. The tea party has strong libertarian roots and is a functionally libertarian influence on the Republican Party.
  • Topic: Democratization, Economics, Politics, Insurgency, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Mark A. Calabria, Emily McClintock Ekins
  • Publication Date: 08-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: During the financial crisis of 2008, the financial markets would have been better served if the credit rating agency industry had been more competitive. We present evidence that suggests the Securities and Exchange Commission's designation of Nationally Recognized Statistical Rating Organizations (NRSROs) inadvertently created a de facto oligopoly, which primarily propped up three firms: Moody's, S, and Fitch. We also explain the rationale behind the NRSRO designation given to credit rating agencies (CRAs) and demonstrate that it was not intended to be an oligopolistic mechanism or to reduce investor due diligence, but rather was intended to protect consumers. Although CRAs were indirectly constrained by their reputation among investors, the lack of competition allowed for greater market complacency. Government regulatory use of credit ratings inflated the market demand for NRSRO ratings, despite the decreasing informational value of credit ratings. It is unlikely that this sort of regulatory framework could result in anything except misaligned incentives among economic actors and distorted market information that provides inaccurate signals to investors and other financial actors. Given the importance of our capital infrastructure and the power of credit rating agencies in our financial markets, and despite the good intentions of the uses of the NRSRO designation, it is not worth the cost and should be abolished. Regulators should work to eliminate regulatory reliance on credit ratings for financial safety and soundness. These regulatory reforms will, in turn, reduce CRA oligopolistic power and the artificial demand for their ratings.
  • Topic: Economics, Markets, Financial Crisis, Governance
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Tad DeHaven
  • Publication Date: 07-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: Rising federal spending and huge deficits are pushing the nation toward a financial and economic crisis. Policymakers should find and eliminate wasteful, damaging, and unneeded programs in the federal budget. One good way to save money would be to cut subsidies to businesses. Corporate welfare in the federal budget costs taxpayers almost $100 billion a year.
  • Topic: Economics, Markets, Monetary Policy, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Christopher Freise
  • Publication Date: 08-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: S.Rajaratnam School of International Studies
  • Abstract: Much attention has been devoted to the Obama Administration's “Pacific Pivot” and the vocal reassertion of an upgraded security, economic, and diplomatic presence in East Asia by the United States. Commentators have ascribed various rationales to these efforts, including speculation that this is part of a “containment” strategy towards China, a reaction to the US presidential election cycle, or, more benignly, an effort to forestall concerns of American withdrawal from the region. These explanations have some elements of truth, but also fall short of fully describing or understanding the strategic rationale behind these moves.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Economics
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Israel, Asia
  • Publication Date: 09-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Oxfam Publishing
  • Abstract: Climate change is making extreme weather – like droughts, floods and heat waves – much more likely. As the 2012 drought in the US shows, extreme weather means extreme food prices. Our failure to slash greenhouse gas emissions presents a future of greater food price volatility, with severe consequences for the precarious lives and livelihoods of people in poverty.
  • Topic: Security, Agriculture, Climate Change, Economics, Food
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Anthony H. Cordesman, Sean T. Mann, Bryan Gold
  • Publication Date: 09-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: In a little over two years the US and its allies plan to hand over security and other responsibilities to the Afghan government as part of a process labeled “Transition.” Afghanistan is still at war and will probably be at war long after 2014. The political, governance, and economic dimensions of this Transition, however, will be as important as any developments in the fighting.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Economics
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, Asia
  • Author: Anthony H. Cordesman, Robert Shelala II
  • Publication Date: 09-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The US may not face peer threats in the near to mid term, but it faces a wide variety of lesser threats that make maintaining effective military forces, foreign aid, and other national security programs a vital national security interest. The US does need to reshape its national security planning and strategy to do a far better job of allocating resources to meet these threats. It needs to abandon theoretical and conceptual exercises in strategy that do not focus on detailed force plans, manpower plans, procurement plans, and budgets; and use its resources more wisely. The US still dominates world military spending, but it must recognize that maintaining the US economy is a vital national security interest in a world where the growth and development of other nations and regions means that the relative share the US has in the global economy will decline steadily over time, even under the best circumstances. At the same time, US dependence on the security and stability of the global economy will continue to grow indefinitely in the future. Talk of any form of “independence,” including freedom from energy imports, is a dangerous myth. The US cannot maintain and grow its economy without strong military forces and effective diplomatic and aid efforts. US military and national security spending already places a far lower burden on the US economy than during the peaceful periods of the Cold War, and existing spending plans will lower that burden in the future. National security spending is now averaging between 4% and 5% of the GDP – in spite of the fact the US has been fighting two wars in Iraq and Afghanistan – versus 6-7% during the Cold War.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Defense Policy, Economics
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, Iraq, Asia
  • Author: Benjamin Zycher
  • Publication Date: 08-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: This study examines the prospective economic effects of a reduction below the current baseline in defense outlays of $100 billion per year over 10 years.
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy, Economics, Labor Issues
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Shanker A. Singham
  • Publication Date: 10-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: The U.S. economy faces major challenges competing internationally. One of the most worrisome is the growing use in China and other advanced developing countries of anticompetitive market distortions (ACMDs)—including regulatory protection that privileges specific companies—which put foreign competitors at a disadvantage. ACMDs are government actions that give certain business interests artificial competitive advantages over their rivals, be they foreign or domestic, to the detriment of consumer welfare. These market distortions are especially damaging to the industries in which the United States enjoys the greatest comparative advantages, but they are also harmful to the long-term prosperity of developing economies and cost the global economy trillions of dollars. To combat ACMDs, the conventional trade policy approach of focusing on the The U.S. economy faces major challenges competing internationally. One of the most worrisome is the growing use in China and other advanced developing countries of anticompetitive market distortions (ACMDs)—including regulatory protection that privileges specific companies—which put foreign competitors at a disadvantage.1 ACMDs are government actions that give certain business interests artificial competitive advantages over their rivals, be they foreign or domestic, to the detriment of consumer welfare. These market distortions are especially damaging to the industries in which the United States enjoys the greatest comparative advantages, but they are also harmful to the long-term prosperity of developing economies and cost the global economy trillions of dollars.
  • Topic: Economics, Emerging Markets, Globalization, International Trade and Finance, Markets
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, China, India, Brazil
  • Author: Arie Krampf
  • Publication Date: 10-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Kolleg-Forschergruppe "The Transformative Power of Europe"
  • Abstract: During the 1990s, a consensus consolidated among policy makers and economists worldwide regarding the desirability of very low inflation targeting. So far, this process has been explained on the basis of a domestic- functional thesis, according to which commitment to very low inflation provides local economic gains with no costs. In this paper, I present an alternative explanation, according to which the global norm of very low inflation targeting was consolidated as a political solution to the problem of exchange rate misalignment and volatility. I argue that policy makers in Germany and the US believed that convergence of monetary policies and inflation rates, in addition to liberalization of financial markets, will stabilize exchange rates without the need for direct coordination. The paper employs the theory of liberal intergovernmentalism as a benchmark to explain the choice of the European and the G-5/7 countries to establish a low-inflation rule-based international monetary regime. The paper concludes that the regime of very low inflation targeting was consolidated as a politically viable solution to a political problem rather than as an economic best practice. Furthermore, it concludes that the norm of very low inflation targeting was a “corer solution” that neglected the problem of exchange rate stability.
  • Topic: Economics, Markets, Political Economy, Monetary Policy, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe
  • Author: Martin Adams
  • Publication Date: 10-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Economist Intelligence Unit
  • Abstract: The bulk of the world's proven oil reserves are concentrated in places that are hostile to the West, unstable or a combination of the two. Since the US is the world's largest importer of oil, concerns about energy security have long simmered in Washington. On top of this, global oil prices have hit new highs in recent years and remained persistently strong. This adds to anxieties about the security of energy supplies and places a burden on the US economy. Partly as a result of elevated prices, however, something new—and, arguably, revolutionary—has happened.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Economics, Energy Policy, International Trade and Finance, Oil, Natural Resources
  • Political Geography: United States, North America
  • Author: Perrin Beatty, Andrés Rozental
  • Publication Date: 11-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: Both Canada and Mexico are recovering well from the global economic recession of 2008-2009, but must work harder to make their bilateral relationship work to their mutual benefit. Bilateral trade and investment have grown steadily from very low pre-North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) levels, but there remains enormous, untapped potential, particularly in Mexico. Student, tourist, investor and temporary worker exchanges are enhancing familiarity with each other, but unhelpful stereotypes remain common. New investment and trade opportunities should flow from the new Mexican administration's commitment to open up the energy sector to foreign participation. The assessment and recommendations contained in this special report point to the benefit of efforts that will intensify bilateral partnerships, not only in their own right, but also in strengthening the two countries' ability to deal more effectively with the United States in pursuing matters of mutual concern.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: United States, Canada, Latin America, North America, Mexico
  • Author: Jagadeesh Gokhale
  • Publication Date: 11-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: Official federal budget accounts are constructed exclusively in terms of current cash flows – receipts from taxes and fees and outlays on purchases and transfers. But cash-flows do not reveal economically relevant information about who benefits and who loses from government policies. Cash flows also do not reveal how changes in government's policies redistribute resources within and across generations, including reducing the tax burden on today's generations and increasing it on future ones. Because most government transact ions are targeted by age and gender, the federal government can bring about large resource transfers across generations. Intergenerational resource transfers will grow larger as the composition of budget receipts and expenditures changes with relatively faster growth of age-and-gender-related social insurance program. Intergenerational redistributions across generations through federal government operations could substantially affect different generations' economic expectations and choices and exert powerful long-term effects on economic outcomes.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, Health, Human Welfare, Markets, Monetary Policy
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Gerald P. O'Driscoll Jr.
  • Publication Date: 10-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: Advocates of central bank reform must examine why central banks emerged and what forces sustain them. They did not arise in an institutional vacuum, and will not be reformed in an institutional vacuum. The historical origins of central banks explain how they came into existence. The forces sustaining and feeding their growth may differ from those explaining their origin.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Monetary Policy, Governance
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Alan Reynolds
  • Publication Date: 10-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: This paper confirms recent studies which find little or no sustained increase in the inequality of disposable income for the U.S. population as a whole over the past 20 years, even though estimates of the top 1 percent's share of pretax, pretransfer (market) income spiked upward in 1986-88, 1997-2000 and 2003-2007.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, Markets, Social Stratification
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Joshua Kurlantzick
  • Publication Date: 11-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: In a region largely bereft of regional organizations and long divided by the Cold War, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) has been the most significant multilateral group for the past forty-five years. Since the end of the Cold War, ASEAN has grown increasingly influential. While much of the West and most emerging markets continue to suffer because of the 2008 global recession, the leading ASEAN economies have recovered and are thriving. Perhaps most important, ASEAN has helped prevent interstate conflicts in Southeast Asia, despite several brewing territorial disputes in the region.
  • Topic: Cold War, Development, Economics, Emerging Markets, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: United States, Asia
  • Author: Jacob Funk Kirkegaard
  • Publication Date: 10-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: In this paper Kirkegaard presents new micro-level data consisting of individual greenfield investment projects and mergers and acquisitions as a source for detailed analysis of services sector cross-border investment flows among the Asian Development Bank (ADB) regional membership in Asia. The new transactional foreign direct investment (FDI) data are methodologically distinct from traditional BPM5-compliant FDI data but found to yield generally comparable aggregates, when compared with the latest available International Monetary Fund (IMF) data from the Comprehensive Direct Investment Survey for the ADB regional membership. The services sectors are found to receive considerably larger amounts of foreign investment, when compared with the Asian region's manufacturing and raw materials sectors. OECD countries account for roughly three-quarters of total recorded inward services sector FDI of about $2 trillion, relatively evenly split between the United States, the EU-27, and regional OECD-level-income countries. The presence of sizable regional "upward flowing" services sector investments into OECD-level-income economies is verified. Kirkegaard draws preliminary policy conclusions based on the new transactional FDI data results concerning prospects for regional services sector liberalization, threshold income levels for inward services sector FDI, upward-flowing regional services FDI, and preferred modes of services sector investments.
  • Topic: Economics, Emerging Markets, International Trade and Finance, Foreign Direct Investment
  • Political Geography: United States, Israel, Asia
  • Author: Olivier Jeanne
  • Publication Date: 05-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: Has the US dollar delivered the benefit that the rest of the world is expecting from its holdings of international liquidity? US government debt has been liquid and safe, and it is supplied in sufficient quantity. But it has given a low return to the countries that accumulated the most reserves, especially when those returns are measured in terms of the countries' own consumption. Jeanne argues that countries that accumulate the most reserves should expect a low return in terms of their own consumption and that international monetary reform can do little to change that fact.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Suzanne Brundage, J. Stephen Morrison
  • Publication Date: 11-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: From July 22 to July 27, 2012, Washington, D.C., was host to the International AIDS Conference, the biannual Super Bowl of global health and the preeminent forum for reviewing the science, policy, programs, and politics in the fight against HIV/AIDS.
  • Topic: Economics, Health, Humanitarian Aid, Health Care Policy
  • Political Geography: United States, Washington
  • Author: Magali Girard
  • Publication Date: 03-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for German and European Studies, University of California, Berkeley
  • Abstract: The role played by immigrants in the American economy is well documented and, to a lesser extent, the effect of the migration experience on the families of immigrants. However, little is known of the connections between work and family when it comes to immigrants, especially immigrants in low-skilled jobs, whether it is the effect of labour market experiences on the family or the effect of family patterns on integration into the labour market. Yet, the issue of balancing personal life with professional responsibilities is of growing interest among scholars and policy makers, given the increasing participation of women in the labour market, the increase in non-standard work and the high proportion of immigrants in these work arrangements.
  • Topic: Economics, Political Economy, Labor Issues, Immigration
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Philip Martin
  • Publication Date: 03-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for German and European Studies, University of California, Berkeley
  • Abstract: Most Americans and Europeans in opinion polls say that governments are doing a poor job of selecting wanted newcomers, preventing the entry and stay of unwanted foreigners, and integrating settled immigrants and their children. This seminar reviewed the evidence, asking about the economic and socio-political integration of low-skilled immigrants and their children.
  • Topic: Economics, Migration, Immigration, Governance, Law Enforcement
  • Political Geography: United States, America, Europe
  • Author: Ed Gerwin
  • Publication Date: 06-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Third Way
  • Abstract: By 2020, the Asia-Pacific's $10 trillion import market will present vast opportunities to support U.S. economic growth and wider prosperity for America's Middle Class. But, over the past decade, the U.S. share of key Asia-Pacific markets has actually plummeted–by over 40%. Retaking America's share of these rapidly expanding economies—beginning with trade deals like the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP)—could pay huge dividends: over a half trillion dollars in additional U.S. exports, supporting millions of good American jobs.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Labor Issues
  • Political Geography: United States, America, Asia
  • Author: Irwin M. Stelzer
  • Publication Date: 07-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Hudson Institute
  • Abstract: Slow, slower, and may be even stop. That's a quick summary of how Federal Reserve Board chairman Ben Bernanke sees the US economy. The economy grew at an annual rate of 2.5% last year, 1.9% in the first quarter of this year, "and available indicators point to a still-smaller gain in the second quarter" he advised congress last week. Household spending is slowing down because "confidence remains relatively low" (at its lowest level since December); numerous factors (a supply overhang, unavailability of credit) "impede growth" in the housing sector; manufacturing production has slowed; business investment has "decelerated"; there is "further weakness ahead" for investment demand; and "reduction in the unemployment rate seems likely to be frustratingly slow."
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Irwin M. Stelzer
  • Publication Date: 05-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Hudson Institute
  • Abstract: There comes a tide in the affairs of men And the one sweeping from Greece, across Europe and into the United States is washing away support for austerity, in some cases reinforcing opposition to it, largely from the Left. President Obama is delighted at this support for his refusal to cut spending in the face of mounting deficits, and the Republicans are feeling beleaguered at what they see as the disinterment of the body of works of John Maynard Keynes. No longer must the President sit at G8 meetings (in this weekend's case, G7 since Vladimir Putin finds it necessary to stay at home to deal with an unpleasant spate of dissent) and hear only the voice of Germany's iron Chancellor, Angela Merkel, extolling the virtues of thrift, austerity and balanced budgets. Now he has France's new socialist President, François Hollande, to preach the virtues of spending, "the indispensable stimulation of the economy", and, even better, high taxes-- up to 75% on incomes in excess of $1.35 million per year, which makes the team of Buffett and Obama mere pikers at the soak-the-rich game. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton expressed the administration's delight at Hollande's "different political approach Different voices may be louder on growth than they have been It's been our view that there needed to be adjustments to austerity, so that there could be growth, both for economic reasons and for political reasons President Obama and our economic team have been saying for some time that growth had to factor into a European recovery." Take that, Mrs. Merkel and all you Republicans who want to cut entitlement spending and retain the Bush tax cuts that benefit "millionaires and billionaires", Obama shorthand for families earning more than $250,000 per year.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Monetary Policy, Budget
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Washington, Greece, France
  • Author: Irwin M. Stelzer
  • Publication Date: 06-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Hudson Institute
  • Abstract: This version of the glorious sonnet composed by Emma Lazarus in 1883, and later engraved on a bronze plaque installed on the Statue of Liberty, calling the world's huddled masses to our shores, captures what it means these days to be a safe haven. Just as America proved to be such a safe haven for immigrants in the latter 19th and early 20th centuries, it is now seen as a safe haven for wealth attempting to escape Europe's tax collectors and financial chaos and recession in Europe, and for foreign central banks newly enamored of the dollar.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Immigration, Monetary Policy
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Germany
  • Author: Irwin M. Stelzer
  • Publication Date: 06-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Hudson Institute
  • Abstract: Slow growth here and in China, and recession in Europe are reducing demand for oil. Inventories in the U.S. are at a 22-year high. The Federal Reserve Board's QEs that pumped paper money into the economy and drove up the nominal price of oil have come to an end. And the twelve OPEC oil cartelists, who between them supply 40% of the world's oil, are producing 1.6 million barrels in excess of the agreed daily quota of 30 million barrels. As a result, U.S. benchmark crude oil prices are now closer to $80 per barrel than to the $110 they reached only four months ago.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Oil
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Europe
  • Author: Tim Kane
  • Publication Date: 07-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Hudson Institute
  • Abstract: Three of the last six U.S. presidents have inherited a recessionary economy: Ronald Reagan, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama. Let's define "inheriting a recession" as meaning that on the date a president is sworn into office, the economy is technically still in recession or enters one within a few months. Most economists would agree that presidents have little short-term control over the economy, but that their fiscal policies can be implemented quickly and affect macroeconomic performance after the first year. Reagan, inaugurated in January 1981, actually endured a double-dip recession-one that had been raging since early 1980 and a second that hit in July 1981-but the economy experienced a strong and sustained recovery that began in November 1982 during his second year in the White House. Bush was inaugurated in January 2001, and the economy entered recession just weeks later. Obama entered office in January 2009, like Reagan, after the United States had been in recession for a full year.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Monetary Policy, Financial Crisis, Governance
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Publication Date: 10-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: The Atlantic Council promotes constructive US leadership and engagement in international affairs based on the central role of the Atlantic community in meeting the international challenges of the 21st century. The Council embodies a nonpartisan network of leaders who aim to bring ideas to power and to give power to ideas by stimulating dialogue and discussion about critical international issues with a view to enriching public debate and promoting consensus on appropriate responses in the Administration, the Congress, the corporate and nonprofit sectors and the media in the United States and among leaders in Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Americas. Through its diverse networks, the Council builds broad constituencies to support constructive US leadership and policies. Its program offices publish informational analyses, convene conferences among current and/or future leaders, and contribute to the public debate in order to integrate the views of knowledgeable individuals from a wide variety of backgrounds, interests and experiences.
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy, Economics, Military Strategy, Maritime Commerce
  • Political Geography: Africa, United States, Europe, Asia, Atlantic Ocean
  • Author: Robert A. Manning
  • Publication Date: 12-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: The National Intelligence Council in its new report, Global Trends 2030: Alternative Worlds, argues that the historic moment the Obama Administration now confronts “recalls past transition points–such as 1815, 1919, 1945, and 1989–when the path forward was not clear-cut and the world faced the possibility of different global futures.”
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Economics, Globalization, Politics, Hegemony
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Atlantic Ocean
  • Author: Daniel Danxia Xie
  • Publication Date: 02-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: This paper provides new evidence on the long-run relationship between economic growth and labor's share in national income, based on a comprehensive panel data set for 123 countries from 1950 to 2004. Xie's primary finding is that labor's share follows a cubic relationship with real GDP per capita over the long process of development. At the beginning of the modern economic growth process, the share of labor in national income first decreases until an initial threshold is reached. After that, labor's share keeps increasing until the country's GDP per capita reaches a second threshold before falling again. Xie argues that these dynamics apply not only to the less developed countries in the postwar years, but also to the advanced countries like the United States and the United Kingdom during their early economic take-offs, starting in the late 18th and 19th century, respectively. Finally, he proposes a two-sector constant elasticity of substitution (CES)-type growth model and simulate the model to replicate and explain the possible mechanism behind such a nonlinear pattern of movements in labor's share.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Labor Issues, Monetary Policy
  • Political Geography: United States, United Kingdom
  • Author: Morris Goldstein, Nicolas Véron
  • Publication Date: 01-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: Although the United States and the European Union were both seriously impacted by the financial crisis of 2007, resulting policy debates and regulatory responses have differed considerably on the two sides of the Atlantic. In this paper the authors examine the debates on the problem posed by "too big to fail" financial institutions. They identify variations in historical experiences, financial system structures, and political institutions that help one understand the differences of approaches between the United States, EU member states, and the EU institutions in addressing this problem. The authors then turn to possible remedies and how they may be differentially implemented in America and Europe. They conclude on which policy developments are likely in the near future.
  • Topic: Economics, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: United States, America, Europe
  • Author: Luigi R. Einaudi
  • Publication Date: 03-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute for National Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: Washington's identification of Brazil with Latin America and the Third World hampers its appreciation of Brazil's power and importance to the United States. It is true that Brazil is geographically part of Latin America, and it is also true that Brazil, a founder of the Group of 77, was, with India, among the original leaders of the “Third World.” But Brazil is Brazil—as large and every bit as unique as the United States or China. Brazil, for many years the seat of the Portuguese empire, is the world's largest Portuguese-speaking country. It never had the large settled Amerindian populations that became a repressed underclass in the Andes and Mesoamerica; Brazilians today are as diverse as their North American cousins but growing faster.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: United States, Brazil, Latin America
  • Author: Francis Fukuyama, Nancy Birdsall
  • Publication Date: 03-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: A clear shift in the development agenda is underway. Traditionally, an agenda generated in the developed world was implemented in—and, indeed, often imposed on—the developing world. The United States, Europe, and Japan will continue to be significant sources of economic resources and ideas, but the emerging markets will become significant players. Countries such as Brazil, China, India, and South Africa will be both donors and recipients of resources for development and of best practices for how to use them. In fact, development has never been something that the rich bestowed on the poor but rather something the poor achieved for themselves. It appears that the Western powers are finally waking up to this truth in light of a financial crisis that, for them, is by no means over.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Emerging Markets, Poverty, Foreign Aid
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan, China, Europe, India, South Africa, Brazil
  • Author: Michael Spence, Sandile Hlatshwayo
  • Publication Date: 03-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: This paper examines the evolving structure of the American economy, specifically, the trends in employment, value added, and value added per employee from 1990 to 2008. These trends are closely connected with complementary trends in the size and structure of the global economy, particularly in the major emerging economies. Employing historical time series data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Bureau of Economic Analysis, U.S. industries are separated into internationally tradable and nontradable components, allowing for employment and value-added trends at both the industry and the aggregate level to be examined. Value added grew across the economy, but almost all of the incremental employment increase of 27.3 million jobs was on the nontradable side. On the nontradable side, government and health care are the largest employers and provided the largest increments (an additional 10.4 million jobs) over the past two decades. There are obvious questions about whether those trends can continue; without fast job creation in the nontradable sector, the United States would already have faced a major employment challenge.
  • Topic: Economics, Markets, Labor Issues, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: United States, America
  • Author: Augustin Kwasi Fosu
  • Publication Date: 01-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: The study presents recent global evidence on the transformation of economic growth to poverty reduction in developing countries, with emphasis on the role of income inequality. The focus is on the period since the early/mid-1990s when growth in these countries as a group has been relatively strong, surpassing that of the advanced economies. Both regional and country-specific data are analysed for the US$1.25 andUS$2.50 level poverty headcount ratios using the most recent World Bank data. The study finds that on average income growth has been the major driving force behind both the declines and increases in poverty. The study, however, documents substantial regional and country differences that are masked by this 'average' dominant growth story. While in the majority of countries growth was the major factor behind falling...
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Poverty, Third World
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Leo Abruzzese
  • Publication Date: 04-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Economist Intelligence Unit
  • Abstract: A serious deficit-reduction debate is underway. Despite wide policy differences, this is encouraging and long overdue. Agreement on some basic steps may happen soon. A serious, long-term deal won't happen until after the election. A credible plan will require revenue increases. These won't come quickly or easily, but they are unavoidable, The debt ceiling will be raised, amidst much drama. The US will not default on its debt. The US economy is still recovering...but higher energy and food prices are creating headwinds.
  • Topic: Debt, Economics, Global Recession, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Robert M. Buckley, Alex F. Schwartz
  • Publication Date: 05-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The New School Graduate Program in International Affairs
  • Abstract: This paper provides a general overview of U.S. housing policy, with emphasis on state and local programs. Despite the focus on local programs we also discuss the broader national policy environment. This broader context is necessary because national policies play a crucial role in shaping the country's housing markets. We briefly trace out some of the key features of the housing market, highlighting tenure distributions, housing conditions and costs. Particular emphasis is given to the role of increasing housing costs and the housing opportunities of the poor. The paper also describes: (1) the nation's housing finance and tax systems, focusing on the different ways the government uses the tax code to subsidize homeowners and renters; and (2) state and local government programs, often implemented in the close collaboration of nonprofit organizations. A final section provides a brief overview of the strengths and weaknesses of U.S. housing policy and the evolving role of sub-national governments.
  • Topic: Economics, Markets, Global Recession, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: United States