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  • Author: Saul P. Limaye, Tsutomu Kikuchi
  • Publication Date: 01-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: Until recently, Southeast Asia had not been a region of sustained focus for the US-Japan relationship. But the situation is changing. The international relations of the Asia-Pacific is becoming more "multipolarized." This requires the US and Japan to think about the future of the region beyond the issue of US-China relations, which has preoccupied past discussions. A number of nations and institutions in the Asia-Pacific region will substantially affect the region's future. Southeast Asian nations and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) are among them. A new era of more coordinated, sustained, and combined commercial and security involvement by the US and Japan in Southeast Asia may be at hand. In light of these changes, the East-West Center in Washington (EWCW), in collaboration with the Japan Institute of International Affairs (JIIA), and through the support of the Sasakawa Peace Foundation (SPF), initiated a dialogue with Southeast Asians about their perspectives on how the US-Japan relationship and alliance could or should approach cooperation with the region.
  • Topic: Security, Economics, Markets, Peacekeeping
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan, China, Asia-Pacific
  • Author: Robert Z. Lawrence
  • Publication Date: 06-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: Over the past decade, the US economy has been plagued by sluggish wage growth and rising income inequality. The debate over inequality in the 1980s and 1990s focused on the growing disparity between the earnings of skilled and unskilled workers and the earnings of the super-rich. Growing inequality between capital and labor income has now been added to these concerns. Remarkably, the growth in real GDP per worker over the decade of the 2000s, which averaged 1.7 percent annually, was actually more rapid than in the 1970s, 1980s, or 1990s, yet in the 2000s workers saw almost no increase in their take-home pay. Consistent with this gap between labor productivity and wage growth was a pronounced decline in the share of US national income earned by workers. As labor's share has declined, the share of capital has risen and has been especially concentrated in corporate profits. As profits are far less equally distributed than wages, this increase has contributed to rising income inequality. There are several plausible reasons for this development—globalization, automation, weak bargaining power of labor, political capture, higher markups—but the natural starting point for explaining factor income shares is the neoclassical theory of the functional distribution of income enumerated by John Hicks and Joan Robinson in the 1930s. In this framework there are two possible explanations for labor's recent declining share. The first is that capital and labor are gross substitutes, and the second is that capital and labor are gross complements. Several papers have explained the recent decline in labor's share in income by claiming that capital has been substituted for labor. Lawrence puts forward the alternative "gross complements" explanation for the declining US labor share. He shows that despite a rise in measured capital-labor ratios, labor-augmenting technical change in the United States has been sufficiently rapid that effective capital-labor ratios have actually fallen in the sectors and industries that account for the largest portion of the declining labor share in income since 1980. In combination with estimates that corroborate the consensus in the literature that the elasticity of substitution is less than 1, these declines in the effective capital-labor ratio can account for much of the recent fall in labor's share in US income at both the aggregate and industry level. Paradoxically, these results also suggest that increased capital formation, ideally achieved through a progressive consumption tax, would raise labor's share in income.
  • Topic: Economics, Globalization, Markets, Labor Issues
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Roger Ballentine, Andy Karsner
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Aspen Institute
  • Abstract: We are still in the early stages of a transformation of the U.S. electricity sector into a cleaner, more flexible, more resilient, and more dynamic system. The early history of investment in and adoption of clean energy technologies and practices has been mixed. The venture capital model has proven to be inadequate for scaling up clean energy, and anticipated policy developments have been slow to be realized. The sector-reshaping impact of unconventional gas, uneven capitalization of clean energy companies, and the mixed signals of government policymakers have slowed the march to a more distributed energy economy rooted in the greater use of renewables, the more efficient use of energy, and the optimization of information technologies in the energy sector.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Economics, Energy Policy, Industrial Policy, Markets, Science and Technology
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Joshua Meltzer
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: This paper is about the potential of the Internet as a platform for international trade. A traditional understanding of the impact of the Internet on commerce is derived from the dot.com experience of the 1990s, where Internet companies such as Pets.com and Amazon sold goods online. Since then, the impact of the Internet on commerce has grown and changed. Certainly, the ability to sell goods online remains important. However, the key development is that the Internet is no longer only a digital storefront. Instead, the Internet as described in this working paper is a platform for businesses to sell to customers domestically and overseas, and is a business input that increases productivity and the ability of businesses to compete. Understanding the Internet as a platform for trade highlights its broad economic potential. It emphasizes how the commercial opportunities are no longer limited to Internet companies, but are now available for businesses in all sectors of the economy, from manufacturing to services. Moreover, the global nature of the Internet means that these opportunities are no longer limited to domestic markets, but are embraced wherever Internet access is available.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Science and Technology, Communications
  • Political Geography: Africa, United States, Europe
  • Author: Richard Downie, Jennifer G. Cooke
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Africa's changing economic landscape is prompting a shift in how U.S. policymakers view the continent. High growth rates, new technologies, and a rapidly expanding consumer class are driving greater global competition for investment and access to potential export markets, and the United States is recognizing that it will need to step up its game to remain relevant and influential in an increasingly crowded and competitive environment. This will mean placing a stronger emphasis on strengthening trade and investment ties and encouraging U.S. companies to take fuller advantage of expanding opportunities. Playing up these opportunities will not only serve long-term U.S. commercial interests in Africa but will serve U.S. development and diplomatic objectives as well. U.S. investments, done right, can have long-term development impacts in Africa, through technology and knowledge transfer, training, systems development, and partnerships. And a new, more optimistic engagement with Africa's citizens and entrepreneurs will have strong resonance with the continent's up-and-coming generation, creating links based on enduring mutual interest.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Foreign Direct Investment
  • Political Geography: Africa, United States
  • Author: Daniel F. Runde, Scott Miller
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The link between economic development and state security has been well established but is still too often overlooked. Former secretary of defense Robert Gates argued in support of development efforts as a form of “preventative diplomacy,” preventing the conditions where violent crises occur that may require more aggressive intervention. For example, rising food prices in Egypt have been cited as a major instigator for the protests that overthrew Hosni Mubarak. That does not mean that Mubarak could have stayed in power if only food were more affordable, but higher levels of economic development and the concurrent factors that encourage it could have made the transition more stable and less violent.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, International Cooperation, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Foreign Direct Investment
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: David Pumphrey, Lisa Hyland, Michelle Melton
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: In the last several years, rail has come to play an important role in the transportation of growing U.S. crude oil production. Over the last seven months, a number of serious accidents have resulted in intense review of the safety of shipping large quantities of oil by rail. The focus has been on classification of the oil, the integrity of tank cars, and rail operations. Regulatory processes have been initiated to attempt to deal with these issues in a timely manner. This analysis provides facts that illuminate the players, concerns, current status of regulatory action, as well as the potential issues going forward.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Energy Policy, International Trade and Finance, Markets, National Security, Oil
  • Political Geography: United States, Canada, North America
  • Author: Maren Leed, Sarah O. Ladislaw, Jane Nakano, Molly A. Walton, Frank A. Verrastro, Michelle Melton, Andrew Metrick
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: In the last nine years, U.S. shale gas and tight oil production has skyrocketed. Between 2005 and 2014, U.S. production of crude oil and natural gas has risen by nearly 65 and 34 percent, respectively, due to tight oil and shale gas development. The shale gas supplies from Pennsylvania alone equal the entire natural gas export capacity of Qatar, the world's second largest natural gas exporter in 2012. And the increase from light tight oil production in places like North Dakota and Texas over the last five years is equivalent to Iraq's current production levels. These increased energy supplies have fed not only national but global markets, helping to offset other market disruptions and stabilize prices, to the benefit of many.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Energy Policy, Markets
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, North America
  • Author: Adam S. Posen, David G. Blanchflower
  • Publication Date: 09-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Oxfam Publishing
  • Abstract: In this paper we examine the impact of rises in inactivity on wages in the US economy and find evidence of a statistically significant negative effect. These nonparticipants exert additional downward pressure on wages over and above the impact of the unemployment rate itself. This pattern holds across recent decades in the US data, and the relationship strengthens in recent years when variation in participation increases. We also examine the impact of long-term unemployment on wages and find it has no different effect from that of short-term unemployment. Our analysis provides strong empirical support, we argue, for the assessment that continuing labor market slack is a key reason for the persistent shortfall in inflation relative to the Federal Open Market Committee's (FOMC) 2 percent inflation goal. Further, we suggest our results point towards using wage inflation as an additional intermediate target for monetary policy by the FOMC.
  • Topic: Economics, Markets, Labor Issues
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East
  • Author: David Bollier
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Aspen Institute
  • Abstract: The structure and character of commerce has changed dramatically since the arrival of the World Wide Web and various digital technologies, particularly mobile phones and large, interconnected databases. Consumers now have much greater market power and choice. Markets can more easily scale, often globally. Co-production and fluid producer/consumer interactions are routine. Transactions themselves have become far cheaper and more easily consummated.
  • Topic: Foreign Exchange, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Science and Technology, Communications, Monetary Policy
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe
  • Author: Malcolm D. Knight
  • Publication Date: 09-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: The global financial crisis that began in 2007 and deepened in 2008 exposed major weaknesses in financial and macroeconomic policy coordination, and profound flaws in financial risk management and regulation in a number of advanced countries. The severity of the crisis led global leaders to recognize that they must find a way to reform the global regulatory architecture to ensure that the financial system can absorb shocks while continuing to function efficiently.
  • Topic: International Trade and Finance, Markets, International Monetary Fund, Financial Crisis, Reform
  • Political Geography: United States, United Kingdom, Europe
  • Author: Thomas Jost
  • Publication Date: 04-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment
  • Abstract: In 2011 and the first half of 2012, inward FDI (IFDI) flows to Germany continued to be relatively strong. Germany attracte market-seeking MNEs, as its economy showed remarkable economic growth despite the ongoing problems in many other countries of the Eurozone. In the second half of 2012, IFDI flows turned sharply negative, declining for the year as a whole to only US$ 7 billion, compared with US$ 49 billion in 2011. This decline reflects the difficult financial situation of many companies, including banks in the Eurozone, and could also dampen inflows in 2013. In the longer-term, Germany could profit again from rising FDI as its economy has successfully implemented reforms over the past decade, and the German Government has continued to keep its investment policy regime open.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Foreign Direct Investment
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Germany
  • Author: Leo Abruzzese
  • Publication Date: 06-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Economist Intelligence Unit
  • Abstract: After a series of setbacks, the global economy is slowly mending US economy is strengthening; star performer Jobs market is on a modest upswing Housing is bouncing back China is recovering from a slowdown Boom years are over, but so is the slump European debt crisis is stabilizing but austerity is killing the economy Euro zone remains big drag on global growth Japan is showing signs of recovery under a new government Central banks are supporting the bounce - back in a big way Don't expect a brisk recovery, though; many risks remains Debt levels still high; asset prices are volatile; tensions in Middle East, China, Kore and has stabilised in Europe, but at a low level. In Germany, manufacturing output is rising again.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Monetary Policy, Infrastructure
  • Political Geography: United States, China
  • Author: David G. Blanchflower, David N. F. Bell
  • Publication Date: 08-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: One of the factors that may inhibit reductions in unemployment as the economy recovers is the extent to which existing workers would like to work more hours and employers may prefer to let them work longer hours before making new hires. This phenomenon suggests that the unemployment rate does not capture the full extent of excess capacity in the labor market. But how should it be measured? In this paper we argue that the United States does not have the necessary statistical tools to calibrate this form of underemployment. We describe an index that captures the joint effects of unemployment and underemployment and provides a more complete picture of labor market excess capacity. We show how this index can be implemented using British data and describe its evolution over the Great Recession. Comparisons of our index with unemployment rates suggest that unemployment rates understate differences in labor market excess capacity by age group and overstate differences by gender. We also show that being unable to work the hours that one desires has a negative effect on well-being. Finally, we recommend that the Current Population Survey conducted by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics might be extended to enable the construction of an equivalent US index.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Labor Issues
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe
  • Author: Jeri Jensen
  • Publication Date: 09-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The Obama administration has the opportunity to achieve more sustainable development solutions with a new model of development relevant in a world where private investment is the primary driver of economic growth.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Foreign Aid, Foreign Direct Investment
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Bill Dickenson (Co-Chair), Phil Sharp (Co-Chair), Dave Grossman (Rapporteur)
  • Publication Date: 09-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Aspen Institute
  • Abstract: The future of the U.S. electricity sector is hard to foresee – and it is never wise to overpay one's fortune tellers – but there appear to be some key trends and technologies that may reshape future electricity markets and determine the innovativeness, resilience, security, and global competitiveness of the sector. Discussions of the sector's past, present, and future formed the heart of the 2013 Aspen Institute Energy Policy Forum. This report summarizes and organizes some of the key insights from those discussions.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Economics, Energy Policy, Environment, Markets, Natural Resources
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Leighton Ku, Brian Bruen
  • Publication Date: 02-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: Claims are sometimes made that immigrants use public benefits, such as Medicaid, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families programs, more often than those who are born in the United States. This report provides analyses, using the most recent data from the Census Bureau, that counter these claims. In reality, low-income non-citizen immigrants, including adults and children, are generally less likely to receive public benefits than those who are native-born. Moreover, when non-citizen immigrants receive benefits, the value of benefits they receive is usually lower than the value of benefits received by those born in the United States. The combination of lower average utilization and smaller average benefits indicates that the overall cost of public benefits is substantially less for low-income non-citizen immigrants than for comparable native-born adults and children. The report also explains that the lower use of public benefits by non-citizen immigrants is not surprising, since federal rules restrict immigrants' eligibility for these public benefit programs.
  • Topic: Economics, Health, Humanitarian Aid, Markets, Immigration
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Brink Lindsey
  • Publication Date: 10-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: For over a century, the trend line for the long-term growth of the U.S. economy has held remarkably steady. Notwithstanding huge changes over time in economic, social, and political conditions, growth in real gross domestic product (GDP) per capita has fluctuated fairly closely around an average annual rate of approximately 2 percent. Looking ahead, however, there are strong reasons for doubting that this historic norm can be maintained.
  • Topic: Economics, Globalization, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Financial Crisis, Governance
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Pierre Siklos, Martin T. Bohl, Arne C. Klein
  • Publication Date: 12-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: Existing models of market herding suffer from several drawbacks. Measures that assume herd behaviour is constant over time or independent of the economy are not only economically unreasonable, but describe the data poorly. First, if returns are stationary, then a two-regime model is required to describe the data. Second, existing models of time-varying herding cannot be estimated from daily or weekly data, and are unable to accommodate factors that explain changes in this behaviour. To overcome these deficiencies, this paper proposes a Markov switching herding model. By means of time-varying transition probabilities, the model is able to link variations in herding behaviour to proxies for sentiment or the macroeconomic environment. The evidence for the US stock market reveals that during periods of high volatility, investors disproportionately rely on fundamentals rather than on market consensus.
  • Topic: Economics, Globalization, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: United States, Canada
  • Author: David J. Goldwyn
  • Publication Date: 12-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: Mexico's Congress passed its final hurdle to reform the Constitution and allow for private investment in the energy industry on December 12, 2013. This significant achievement heralds the most comprehensive energy reform in the last seventy-five years of the country's history.
  • Topic: Economics, Energy Policy, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Oil
  • Political Geography: United States, Latin America, Mexico
  • Author: Laura E. Seay
  • Publication Date: 01-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: Although its provisions have yet to be implemented, section 1502 of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act is already having a profound effect on the Congolese mining sector. Nicknamed “Obama's Law” by the Congolese, section 1502 has created a de facto ban on Congolese mineral exports, put anywhere from tens of thousands up to 2 million Congolese miners out of work in the eastern Congo, and, despite ending most of the trade in Congolese conflict minerals, done little to improve the security situation or the daily lives of most Congolese. In this report, Laura Seay traces the development of section 1502 with respect to the pursuit of a conflict minerals-based strategy by U.S. advocates, examines the effects of the legislation, and recommends new courses of action to move forward in a way that both promotes accountability and transparency and allows Congolese artisanal miners to earn a living.
  • Topic: Security, Development, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Poverty, Natural Resources, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Africa, United States, Democratic Republic of the Congo
  • Author: Michael Tanner
  • Publication Date: 02-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: Opponents of allowing younger workers to privately invest a portion of their Social Security taxes through personal accounts have long pointed to the supposed riskiness of private investment. The volatility of private capital markets over the past several years, and especially recent declines in the stock market, have seemed to bolster their argument.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Publication Date: 04-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Economist Intelligence Unit
  • Abstract: Three years after the global economy reached its lowest point in three-quarters of a century, the recovery remains incomplete and the outlook uncertain. On March 9th 2009, the capitalisation of Morgan Stanley\'s global stockmarket index fell to US$26trn, nearly 60% below its 2007 peak. Today, the value of the world\'s stockmarkets has yet to return to the pre-crisis level—nor has the confidence of most consumers and businesses. The excesses of the last ten years—the personal debt accumulated early in the last decade and the public debt added during the recession—have saddled many countries with weak economic foundations and little or no resilience to shocks. This has left the US economy, in particular, struggling for a third straight year to lock in faster growth. It has left debt-ravaged Europe in recession and China manoeuvring unsteadily to deflate a bubble. On the brighter side, the global economy will grow again this year and the imbalances that built up over the past decade will continue to unwind. But global growth will be slower this year than last, and a host of risks—from elevated oil prices to war in the Middle East, to the collapse of Europe\'s single currency—will weigh on confidence and reduce spending and investment.
  • Topic: Economics, Globalization, Markets, Global Recession, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Europe, Middle East
  • Author: Ted Piccone, Emily Alinikoff
  • Publication Date: 01-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center on International Cooperation
  • Abstract: As the emerging global order takes shape, debate is growing more intense around the trajectory of the rising powers and what their ascendency to positions of regional and international influence means for the United States, its traditional allies, and global governance more broadly. Commentary about these rising powers— often referred to in a generic way as the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) but actually encompassing a dozen or so countries largely represented in the G-20—ranges from alarmist to sanguine. Pessimists argue that China, with its impressive economic growth and increasingly global reach, is well-positioned to challenge the United States' role of global superpower and to weaken the commitment of other rising powers, and various international organizations, to liberal values. More optimistic analysts insist that the rise of middle powers, most of which are democracies of varying stripes, bodes well for the world: millions are being lifted out of poverty, rule of law is taking hold and the international system is bound to be a more inclusive, representative one.
  • Topic: Democratization, Development, Economics, Globalization, Human Rights, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Poverty, Governance
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, China, India, South Africa, Brazil, Arabia
  • Author: Jeremy A. Leonard
  • Publication Date: 03-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Aspen Institute
  • Abstract: As the United States struggles to find a politically acceptable and economically sensible solution to its severe fiscal crisis, hidden in plain sight just North of the 49th parallel is an example that ought to be considered more carefully. Quietly, but steadily, under governments of all political stripes, Canada has profoundly re-structured its economy, gotten its fiscal house in order, created a competitive business tax environment, and come into its own as a strong economic player in North America and beyond.
  • Topic: Debt, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: United States, Canada
  • Author: Dieter Ernst
  • Publication Date: 02-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: For its proponents, America's voluntary standards system is a "best practice" model for innovation policy. Foreign observers however are concerned about possible drawbacks of a standards system that is largely driven by the private sector. There are doubts, especially in Europe and China, whether the American system can balance public and private interests in times of extraordinary national and global challenges to innovation.
  • Topic: Democratization, Economics, Globalization, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Governance
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Europe
  • 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: Kimberly Ann Elliott
  • Publication Date: 02-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: The combination of relatively high American barriers to trade in textiles and apparel and the importance of the sector to the Pakistani economy make increased market access a potentially powerful tool of U.S. policy. Unfortunately, recent proposals to extend duty-free market access for Pakistani exports restrict the product and geographic coverage so severely that they would be meaningless in practice. Moreover, the analysis in this paper suggests that the concerns about job loss in the U.S. textile industry from broader coverage are exaggerated. A serious trade package for Pakistan would expand the geographic coverage to allow duty-free imports from all of Pakistan, expand the product coverage for clothing, and cover all other Pakistani exports as well.
  • Topic: International Trade and Finance, Markets
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, United States
  • Author: Andrew S. Mara
  • Publication Date: 02-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute for National Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: The stories of Google and Segway certainly end differently. With a market capitalization of over $180 billion, Google is arguably the biggest success in the information technology (IT) industry in the last decade. The phrase google it has worked its way into everyday language and dictionaries. On the other hand, Segway remains a privately held company whose products are largely relegated to use by tourists in major cities and security personnel at airports. We certainly do not hear people say that they “segwayed” to work this morning.
  • Topic: Markets, Science and Technology
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Jagadeesh Gokhale
  • Publication Date: 01-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: Unless repeal attempts succeed, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (ObamaCare) promises to increase state government obligations on account of Medicaid by expanding Medicaid eligibility and introducing an individual health insurance mandate for all US citizens and legal permanent residents. Once ObamaCare becomes fully effective in 2014, the cost of newly eligible Medicaid enrollees will be almost fully covered by the federal government through 2019, with federal financial support expected to be extended thereafter. But ObamaCare provides states with zero additional federal financial support for new enrollees among those eligible for Medicaid under the old laws. That makes increased state Medicaid costs from higher enrollments by "old-eligibles" virtually certain as they enroll into Medicaid to comply with the mandate to purchase health insurance. This study estimates and compares potential increases in Medicaid costs from ObamaCare for the five most populous states: California, Florida, Illinois, New York, and Texas.
  • Topic: Government, Health, Markets, Health Care Policy
  • Political Geography: United States, New York, California, Florida
  • 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: 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
  • Author: Giacomo Luciani, François-Loïc Henry
  • Publication Date: 06-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: Holding strategic oil stocks is at first sight an obvious tool to address potential disturbances in supplies. Rationally defining the desirable size of stocks and designing rules for their predictable use is an elusive task, however. A key conceptual difficulty arises in the distinction between commercial and strategic stocks, because a physical shortfall in the oil supply will inevitably lead to an increase in prices. But if strategic stocks are utilised when prices increase they become indistinguishable from commercial stocks. This paper reviews the legislation in force in the US and the EU on the use of strategic oil stocks as well as the emergency response systems of the International Energy Agency. It finds that such measures have been activated rarely and in dubious circumstances. Alternative approaches are proposed consisting of encouraging companies and major consumers to hold larger stocks and seeking a cooperative agreement with oil-producing countries for mutually beneficial stock management.
  • Topic: Security, Energy Policy, Markets, Oil
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe
  • Author: Carmen M. Reinhart
  • Publication Date: 04-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: Historically, periods of high indebtedness have been associated with a rising incidence of default or restructuring of public and private debts. A subtle type of debt restructuring takes the form of "financial repression." Financial repression includes directed lending to government by captive domestic audiences (such as pension funds), explicit or implicit caps on interest rates, regulation of cross-border capital movements, and (generally) a tighter connection between government and banks. In this paper, the authors describe some of the regulatory measures and policy actions that characterized the heyday of the financial repression era. In the heavily regulated financial markets of the Bretton Woods system, several restrictions facilitated a sharp and rapid reduction in public debt/GDP ratios from the late 1940s to the 1970s. Low nominal interest rates help reduce debt servicing costs while a high incidence of negative real interest rates liquidates or erodes the real value of government debt. Thus, financial repression is most successful in liquidating debts when accompanied by a steady dose of inflation. Inflation need not take market participants entirely by surprise and, in effect, it need not be very high (by historical standards). For the advanced economies in Reinhart and Sbrancia's sample, real interest rates were negative roughly half of the time during 1945–80. For the United States and the United Kingdom, their estimates of the annual liquidation of debt via negative real interest rates amounted on average to 3 to 4 percent of GDP a year. For Australia and Italy, which recorded higher inflation rates, the liquidation effect was larger (around 5 percent per annum).
  • Topic: Debt, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets
  • Political Geography: United States, United Kingdom
  • Author: Kevin Dowd, Martin Hutchinson, Jimi Hinchliffe, Simon Ashby
  • Publication Date: 07-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: The Basel regime is an international system of capital adequacy regulation designed to strengthen banks' financial health and the safety and soundness of the financial system as a whole. It originated with the 1988 Basel Accord, now known as Basel I, and was then overhauled. Basel II had still not been implemented in the United States when the financial crisis struck, and in the wake of the banking system collapse, regulators rushed out Basel III.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Monetary Policy, Governance
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Randal O'Toole
  • Publication Date: 06-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: The debate over President Obama's fantastically expensive high-speed rail program has obscured the resurgence of a directly competing mode of transportation: intercity buses. Entrepreneurial immigrants from China and recently privatized British transportation companies have developed a new model for intercity bus operations that provides travelers with faster service at dramatically reduced fares.
  • Topic: Economics, Markets, Infrastructure, Governance
  • Political Geography: United States, China
  • Author: David Reiss
  • Publication Date: 04-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: The federal government recently placed Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the government-chartered, privately owned mortgage finance companies, in conservatorship. These two massive companies are profit driven, but as government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs) they also have a government-mandated mission to provide liquidity and stability to the U.S. mortgage market and to achieve certain affordable housing goals. How the two companies should exit their conservatorship has implications that reach throughout the global financial markets and are of key importance to the future of American housing finance policy.
  • Topic: Economics, Markets, Privatization, Financial Crisis, Governance
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Matthew J. Slaughter, Edward Alden, Andrew H. Card, Thomas A. Daschle
  • Publication Date: 09-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: The growth of global trade and investment has brought significant benefits to the United States and to the rest of the world. Freer trade and investment, facilitated by rules the United States led in negotiating and implementing, have alleviated poverty, raised average standards of living, and discouraged conflict.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Labor Issues, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: United States