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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: Theodore Moran
  • Publication Date: 09-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: For more than a decade, China has complained about what it maintains has been a pattern of erratic and politicized treatment of Chinese investors when they attempt to acquire US companies. The Chinese want the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) to be more open and transparent in its rulings and to not discriminate against Chinese firms. The United States is not likely to accede to these demands in any formal or legal manner. Moran proposes practical steps to address the concerns of Chinese investors without diluting CFIUS procedures. He provides a national security threat assessment filter, which allows Chinese investors—like investors of all nationalities—to determine when their proposed acquisitions might pose a genuine threat and when any such threat is simply not plausible. He also suggests that first-time Chinese investors seek expert counsel to overcome the secrecy surrounding CFIUS objections to figure out how to proceed with problematic acquisitions.
  • Topic: Economics, Markets, Foreign Direct Investment
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Elizabeth Rosenberg, Zachary K. Goldman
  • Publication Date: 06-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center for a New American Security
  • Abstract: The United States has long relied on its economic power to protect and advance its interests abroad. In an increasingly integrated international financial system, the U.S. economy and capital markets remain the largest in the world by almost every measure. This status affords the United States an important global leadership position and the ability to shape foreign policy outcomes with economic tools. The structure of the international trade and financial system, in which many significant banking and energy transactions as well as currency reserves are denominated in U.S. dollars, reinforces the central role of the United States.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Economics, Globalization, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Power Politics
  • 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