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  • Publication Date: 05-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Oxford Economics
  • Abstract: Since the credit crunch began in Q3 2007, there has been a dramatic slump in the prices of many financial assets. Global equity prices have dropped some 40-50% from their peaks in the major economies and by as much as 70% in some emerging markets. Many classes of other private sector securities have also seen sharp falls in value. Corporate bond spreads have exploded as defaults have soared, as have mortgage-backed securities (MBS). Currently, many classes of MBSs are trading at less than 10% of their par value, and even AAA-rated tranches are trading at as little of 25% of par.
  • Topic: Economics, Markets, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Publication Date: 03-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Oxford Economics
  • Abstract: Steep drops in output have been recorded across the industrialised world and much of the emerging market world in recent months. Such has been the scale of these declines that there is now little doubt that the global economy is set for its worst year since the end of WWII, with world GDP forecast to fall almost 1½% (and more than 2% at 2000US$). Significant uncertainties nevertheless remain about the economic outlook, in particular about how deep and protracted the recession will prove to be and how rapid an eventual recovery can be expected. A key factor generating uncertainty is that the current recession has been sparked by and accompanied by a major financial crisis. Recessions of this sort are often more severe than 'standard' recessions, featuring deeper and more sustained drops in asset prices, and a weaker impact from policy interventions due to malfunctioning banking systems. Equity and house prices have continued to drop in the early part of 2009, and there looks to be a significant risk that this weakness will drag on for some time – the average duration of stock price declines in previous financial crises is more than three years and for house prices around six years. The financial sector also remains in a highly dysfunctional state. Although the credit tightening process is showing some signs of coming to an end, stress levels remain extremely elevated and risk appetite is low with banks stuck in 'balance sheet repair mode'. This process is unlikely to be complete for some time. Retrenchment has also become a priority for the corporate and household sectors. In the face of a plunge in final demand, firms have slashed investment and begun destocking. Worryingly, the destocking process could continue f or several quarters as the ratio of inventory to sales remains high. US households were net re payers of debt in the final quarter of 2008, and it seems unlikely that the appetite to take on more debt will recover quickly there or elsewhere in the face of steep increases in unemployment and large falls in household wealth. Taylor rule analysis suggests that the 'appropriate' short-term interest rate for the major economies has now turned negative, supporting the big shift to quantitative easing now under way. Eventually, this and other stimuli in the pipeline should produce a strong recovery. But the outlook for 2010 has weakened significantly in recent weeks and the risks remain skewed toward a more deflationary outcome than that envisaged by our baseline forecast.
  • Topic: Economics, Markets, Foreign Direct Investment, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Giovanni Grevi
  • Publication Date: 06-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: European Union Institute for Security Studies
  • Abstract: Everyone agrees the world is changing. The question is in which direction? This paper offers an original contribution to the debate on the future shape of the international system. Based on a diagnosis of current developments, it argues that many factors point to the emergence of an 'interpolar' world. Interpolarity can be defined as multipolarity in the age of interdependence. The redistribution of power at the global level, leading to a multipolar international system, and deepening interdependence are the two basic dimensions of the transition away from the post-Cold War world. All too often, however, they are treated as separate issues. The real challenge lies in finding a new synthesis between the shifting balance of power and the governance of interdependence.
  • Topic: International Relations, Cold War, Economics, International Cooperation
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe
  • Author: Thomas J Trebat
  • Publication Date: 06-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute for Latin American and Iberian Studies at Columbia University
  • Abstract: As the great global crisis eases its grasp, it is a time to reconsider relations between Brazil and the North, especially the United States and the European Union. While the world economy is still reeling, it is very possible that a new and more productive period in Brazil's relations with the US and Europe is possible. This positive outcome derives from numerous factors, most especially Brazil's “peaceful rise” to a more prominent global role and the arrival of the Obama administration whose promise of a new beginning in U.S. foreign policy has been greeted with such evident enthusiasm in Latin America.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Development, Economics, International Political Economy, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Brazil, Latin America
  • Publication Date: 11-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Economist Intelligence Unit
  • Abstract: Leo Abruzzese, Editorial Director for North America, discusses the latest EIU forecast for the world. Forward-looking economic indicators have continued to improve in many countries in recent months, suggesting that the worst of the contraction in global GDP is over. The improvement has triggered hopes of an imminent and sustained global economic recovery. But does this signal the start of a genuine strong recovery, or is it a false dawn, to be followed by months—or even years—of anemic growth? What is the outlook for the US, Canada, and Asia, as well as the major emerging markets, over the next couple of years? And what are the downside risks to this outlook?
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: United States, Canada, Asia, North America
  • Author: Jacob Funk Kirkegaard
  • Publication Date: 08-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: Th is paper expands on the methodology of Groshen and Potter (2003) for studying cyclical and structural changes in the US economy and analyzes the net structural and cyclical employment trends in the US economy during the last 10 trough-to-trough business cycles from 1949 to the present. It illustrates that the US manufacturing sector and an increasing number of services sectors, including parts of the fi nancial services sector, are experiencing structural employment declines. Structural employment gains in the US labor market are increasingly concentrated in the healthcare, education, food, and professional and technical services sectors and in the occupations related to these industries. Th e paper concludes that the improved operation of the US labor market during the 1990s has reversed itself in the 2000s, with negative long-term economic eff ects for the United States.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Theodore H. Moran
  • Publication Date: 07-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: The 2008 election rekindled debate about whether US multinationals shift technology across borders and relocate production in ways that might harm workers and communities at home. President Obama now pledges to end tax breaks for corporations that ship jobs overseas. The preoccupation about the behavior of American multinationals takes three forms: (1) that US-based multinational corporations may follow a strategy that leads them to abandon the home economy, leaving the workers and communities to cope on their own with few appealing alternatives after the multinationals have left; (2) worse, that US-based multinational corporations may not just abandon home sites but drain off capital, substitute production abroad for exports, and “hollow out” the domestic economy in a zero-sum process that damages those left behind; and (3) worst, that US-based multinational corporations may deploy a rent-gathering apparatus that switches from sharing supranormal profits and externalities with US workers and communities to extracting rents from the United States. Each of these concerns contains a hypothetical outcome that can be compared with contemporary evidence from the United States and other home countries.
  • Topic: Economics, International Political Economy, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: United States, America
  • Author: Pablo M. Pinto, Karl P. Sauvant, Petros C. Mavroidis, Curtis J. Milhaupt, Peter Rosenblum, Hans Smit
  • Publication Date: 01-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment
  • Abstract: The international investment regime has grown rapidly over the past two decades, along with foreign direct investment (FDI) flows, which reached $1.8 trillion in 2007. Even in the absence of a single comprehensive multilateral investment treaty or institution, that regime is governed by principles and rules enshrined in some 2,600 bilateral investment treaties and another 250 free trade agreements that contain substantial investment provisions. These treaties are supplemented by a number of other relevant multilateral agreements and customary international law, along with complementary principles applied by international financial institutions such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, that cover aspects of the activities of multinational enterprises as well as how states regulate them.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Foreign Direct Investment
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Robert A. Manning, Evan A. Feigenbaum
  • Publication Date: 11-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: President Barack Obama heads to Singapore in November for the 2009 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum (APEC) summit. It will be his first foray into the arcane world of Asian multilateralism. And if his administration adopts a new approach, it could yet fashion a more sustainable role for the United States in a changing Asia.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Globalization, International Trade and Finance, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: United States, Asia
  • Author: Julie A. Nelson
  • Publication Date: 06-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Global Development and Environment Institute at Tufts University
  • Abstract: The field of ecological economics includes both economic analysis on the one hand, and discussions of values and visions for society, on the other. Using feminist insights into cultural beliefs about the relative "hardness" and "softness" of these two sides, this essay discusses how ecological economists can use this unique "between" space in order to better inform policy. The current crisis of global climate change, it is argued, requires that economists move beyond modeling and measurement, while ecological thinkers need to re-examine beliefs about markets and profit.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Economics, Environment, Gender Issues
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Tad DeHaven
  • Publication Date: 11-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has long been plagued by scandals, mismanagement, and policy failures. Most recently, HUD's subsidies and failed oversight of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac helped to inflate the housing bubble, which ultimately burst and cascaded into a major financial crisis.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Markets, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Col Jay Cope
  • Publication Date: 11-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute for National Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: Based on 5 busy months as commander, U.S. Southern Command, including visits to eight countries, General Douglas Fraser shared his impressions of opportunities and challenges in Central and South America and the Caribbean. He set the stage for his emphasis on cooperation by discussing geographical, economic, cultural, and military-to-military linkages between the United States and its southern neighbors, citing numerous examples of collaboration, particularly among the armed forces.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Economics, Regional Cooperation, Counterinsurgency
  • Political Geography: United States, America, Latin America, Caribbean
  • Author: Wolfgang Streeck
  • Publication Date: 11-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies
  • Abstract: The progress of markets erodes traditional relations of social solidarity that are essential for the stability and performance of societies. As markets advance, pressures build on the state to replace informal social obligations with formal ones. Regulation may fail, however, which tends to give rise to demands for public services substituting for private reciprocity and compliance with institutionalized normative expectations. As a result, demands on public finances increase. The paper demonstrates this sequence by describing how the pressures and attractions of labor markets undermined the “Fordist family” of the 1960s; how the complex interaction between increasingly more flexible employment and loosening family structures resulted in declining fertility in a variety of modern societies; and how providing for societies' physical reproduction increasingly became a matter of public policy in some countries but not in others. Parallels are drawn to active labor market policy and the recent rescue of the money-making industry by Western governments. Moreover, special attention is paid to differences between countries, especially Sweden on the one hand and the United States on the other, in particular to the conditions under which governments apparently can afford not to heed calls for ever deeper and ever more expensive intervention in social relations. Exploring the increasingly negative relationship between fertility and “familialism,” the paper also shows how advanced commodification of labor and individualization of social life has effectively made it impossible to return to traditional social arrangements, such as the postwar family.
  • Topic: Economics, Markets, Labor Issues, Sociology, Governance
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Stephen W. Polk, Daniel K.N. Johnson
  • Publication Date: 12-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Department of Economics and Business, Colorado College
  • Abstract: By one definition, the mean of the national poverty lines for the 10 poorest countries in the world or $1.25/day (2005 USD adjusted to purchasing power parity), the World Bank estimates that there are 1.4 billion people living under the poverty line (Chen and Ravallion, 2008). That represents a significant drop over the last twenty years, some due to policy and some due to concerted private action. Among private anti-poverty programs, none has become more publicized in recent years than micro-finance, or financial services targeting low-income clients.
  • Topic: Economics, Gender Issues, Poverty
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Kristina M. Lybecker, Daniel K.N. Johnson, Nicole Gurley, Alex Stiller-Shulman, Stephen Fischer
  • Publication Date: 10-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Department of Economics and Business, Colorado College
  • Abstract: Recent Wal-Mart openings have been accompanied by public demonstrations against the company's presence in the community, asserting (among other things) that their presence is deleterious to residential property values. Consider the following review of the film “Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price”: At the start of intrepid muckraker Robert Greenwald's awareness-building documentary, Wal-Mart CEO Lee Scott addresses an ecstatic crowd of employees to announce yet another year of unparalleled growth for the world's largest store. And though this success also makes Wal-Mart a bigger target of envy and bad feelings, he exhorts the crowd to stay the course: Wal-Mart is vital to families struggling to get by on a budget; to the suppliers who depend on Wal-Mart to sell their goods; and to the “associates” who depend on Wal-Mart for a paycheck. But is it possible that rather than serve these dependents, Wal-Mart is actually destroying them? How can a store that drives down property values and kills off mom-and-pop businesses that can't afford to compete with Wal-Mart's high-volume, low-price strategy be good for a community?
  • Topic: Economics, Markets
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Malgorzata Runiewicz-Wardyn
  • Publication Date: 09-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Minda de Gunzburg Center for European Studies, Harvard University
  • Abstract: There are significant differences in the innovative capacities between the economies of the United States and European Union. The US was able to gain and maintain technological leadership, whereas most of the EU member states (with the exception of some Scandinavian economies) still lag behind in the competitiveness and innovation rankings.
  • Topic: Economics, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe
  • Publication Date: 01-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars
  • Abstract: It is time to strengthen the U.S. relationship with Mexico. here are few countries—if any—which are as important to the United States as Mexico. We share more than just a two-thousand mile border. Our economies and societies are deeply interwoven and what happens on one side of our shared border inevitably affects the other side. As the United States seeks to redefine its role in the world, it is vital to start at home, with our neighbors.
  • Topic: Economics, Emerging Markets, Regional Cooperation, International Security, Bilateral Relations, Immigration, Law Enforcement
  • Political Geography: United States, Central America, Mexico
  • Author: Stefan A. Schirm
  • Publication Date: 06-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Transatlantic Relations
  • Abstract: The last 20 years have witnessed the economic emergence of several countries, which are considered today to be “pivotal states”, “regional powers”, and “emerging powers” in world politics. These emerging powers encompass countries such as China, India, Brazil and Russia, (the BRICs), which have in common both that they have experienced rapid economic growth and that they seek to influence the global economy and world politics to a greater degree than they did before their rise. The BRICs have become leading exporters and lenders (especially China to the US) as well as holders of currency reserves, and they (plus Mexico) are expected to surpass the GNP of the G7 industrialized countries by the year 2040. The reasons for the assignment of a new role, and often of increased power, to these states are their demographic and geographic size, their economic and military capacities, and their political aspirations.
  • Topic: Economics, Emerging Markets, Globalization
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, China, Europe, India, Brazil, Latin America
  • Publication Date: 10-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: The Atlantic Council of the United States (the Council) and the U.S./China Energy and Environmental Technology Center (EETC) at Tsinghua and Tulane Universities cosponsored a Dialogue, “U.S.-China Cooperation on Low-Emissions Coal Technologies” in Beijing from June 24-26, 2009. This report synthesizes and summarizes the information presented during the Dialogue to allow for an ongoing exchange of information and ideas between the meeting participants and key stakeholders in the effort to lower emissions from the use of coal.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Economics, Energy Policy, Environment, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Atlantic Ocean
  • Publication Date: 11-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: This report, based on the September 11, 2009 workshop on “U.S.-EU Cooperation toward Smart Grid Deployment” recommends that U.S. and EU leaders work in concert with the private sector to enhance the development and deployment of smart grid technologies across the Atlantic. The need for undertaking a holistic approach requires transatlantic cooperation in a number of complex areas, which warrant the establishment of specific public-private working groups focused on creating a common architecture with compatible standards, including those for cyber security, that can be applied in the transatlantic community and rolled out globally.
  • Topic: Economics, Foreign Exchange, International Trade and Finance, Treaties and Agreements
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe
  • Publication Date: 12-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: The world that created the transatlantic partnership is fading fast. The United States and Europe must urgently reposition and recast their relationship as a more effective and strategic partnership. It is a moment of opportunity -- to use or to lose. With the Cold War over and new powers rising, some say the transatlantic partnership has had its day. We disagree. Our achievements may not always match our aspirations, but the common body of accumulated principles, norms, rules and procedures we have built and accumulated together -- in essence, an acquis Atlantique -- affirms basic expectations we have for ourselves and for each other. In this new world of global connections, the transatlantic relationship is the thickest weave in the web. The deep integration of our democratic societies and economies is unparalleled and transcends neat “foreign” and “domestic” distinctions. We are literally in each other's business. North America's relationship with Europe enables each of us to achieve goals together that neither can alone -- for ourselves and for the world. When we agree, we are usually the core of any effective global coalition. When we disagree, no global coalition is likely to be very effective. The transatlantic partnership, while indispensable, is also insufficient. Only by banding together with others are we likely to advance our values, protect our interests, and extend our influence. Our partnership remains as vital as in the past. But now we must focus on a new agenda. Together, Europe and America must surmount immediate economic challenges while positioning their economies for the future; build transatlantic resilience -- protect our societies, not just our territory; continue work toward a Europe whole, free, and at peace; address conflicts more effectively; redouble efforts to halt proliferation of agents of mass destruction; reinvigorate efforts to preserve a habitable planet. Unfortunately, there is a growing mismatch between the nature of our challenges, the capacity of our institutions, and the tools at our disposal. Strong bilateral relations between the U.S. and European countries are still essential. NATO remains vital to our security. We offer views on NATO's future in a companion volume, Alliance Reborn. But we must also recast and reposition the U.S.-EU relationship. That is the subject of this report. The U.S.-EU relationship is important but not strategic. Such a partnership is possible, but it is not the partnership we have today. Given the challenges we face, such a partnership is urgent. It will require a new type of politics, not simply new kinds of process. Our central challenge is to mobilize political leadership behind a set of ambitious goals, tied to pragmatic steps forward.
  • Topic: Economics, International Cooperation, International Security
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe