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  • Author: Eric Daniels
  • Publication Date: 12-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: Not yet a year into its term, the initially popular Obama administration has plummeted in popularity. In light of Washington's escalated meddling in the economy, many Americans are expressing deep concerns and anger about the statist direction in which this administration is steering the country. Unfortunately, however, few Americans are aware of-and the media is ignoring-one of the administration's most serious threats to our freedom: its stated intention to bolster antitrust enforcement. Since May, Christine Varney, the newly appointed assistant attorney general for the Justice Department's Antitrust Division, has conducted a speaking tour promoting the Division's new mandate under Obama and affirming the president's many campaign promises to "reinvigorate antitrust enforcement." Varney and her counterpart at the Federal Trade Commission, Jon Leibowitz, are publicly threatening "possible investigations" of businesses ranging from Google to Monsanto to IBM. In response to this new climate, antitrust advocates from Senator Charles Schumer to the American Booksellers Association have called on Varney to undertake new prosecutions. And New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo recently joined the push by filing a suit against Intel.1 Americans should not only be aware of this ominous trend; they should be up in arms about it. Antitrust laws violate the rights of American businessmen and consumers, thwart economic development, and stifle our quality of life in myriad ways. To see why, we must first understand what antitrust law is. During the second half of the 19th century, as American companies grew and acquired assets around the country, they found themselves in a difficult position. Although companies could achieve economies of scale by acquiring smaller firms and unifying their efforts, state laws prevented them from doing so. Whereas some state legislatures imposed special taxes on out-of-state corporations doing business in their states, other legislatures forbade corporations in their state from holding the stock of companies based elsewhere. (Legislators established such restrictions in the hope that they would force successful companies to incorporate-and thus pay taxes-in their state.) In response to these restrictions on acquisitions, C. T. Dodd and John D. Rockefeller of Standard Oil created a new form of business using the device of a legal trust, which enabled them to hold the stock of dozens of companies and thus effectively manage vast productive assets.2 The operational and financial advantages of this novel corporate structure were immense, yet critics alleged that the newly created trusts were "odious monopolies," charging them with "making competition impossible," "raising prices," and "disregarding the interests of the American consumer."3 Critics condemned this new legal device as a "problem" and branded businessmen who employed it as "robber barons." Yet these businessmen used this legal device to create their vast fortunes by increasing competition, lowering prices, and providing American consumers with more and better products.4 The problem was not that their novel form of business had generated economic inefficiencies-it had done the opposite. Rather, the problem was a political one. Because these businesses were becoming fabulously successful and their owners enormously wealthy, egalitarian-minded and envious Americans pressured politicians to "do something," and politicians, seeking approval, got "tough" on the issue. A solution to the trust "problem" came in the form of the Sherman Antitrust Act of 1890. Senator John Sherman and his colleagues claimed that trusts were "combinations that affect injuriously the industrial liberty of the citizens of these States."5 Critics of the trusts claimed that their high profits were achieved-not through the entrepreneurial, managerial, and productive genius of men such as Rockefeller, Edison, and Carnegie-but by "the few extorting the many."6 Because of the "public outcry on the trust question" and the alleged need to protect the "interests of the consumer," Sherman and his colleagues advocated the creation of a broad law that outlawed "monopolization" and "restraint of trade." That law was the Sherman Antitrust Act, and since its passage in 1890 Congress has added five other antitrust laws to the books, prohibiting dozens of supposedly "anticompetitive" business practices.7 . . . To read the rest of this article, select one of the following options: Subscriber Login | Subscribe | Renew | Purchase a PDF of this article.
  • Topic: Economics, Oil
  • Political Geography: America
  • Author: Daniel K. N. Johnson, Kristina M. Lybecker
  • Publication Date: 08-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Department of Economics and Business, Colorado College
  • Abstract: In an effort to explore the potential for financing environmental innovation, this paper examines different forms of financing and attempts to evaluate their effectiveness. The study considers both public and private forms of funding as well as providing policy suggestions for the support of appropriate financing for eco-innovation.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Development, Economics, Energy Policy, Environment, Globalization
  • Author: Daniel K. N. Johnson, Kristina M. Lybecker
  • Publication Date: 08-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Department of Economics and Business, Colorado College
  • Abstract: This paper aims to summarize the state of academic knowledge surrounding the economics of environmental innovation. Following a definition of environmental technology, the paper enumerates and describes the obstacles or constraints to the development of eco-innovation.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Environment
  • Author: Esther Redmount, Arthur Snow, Ronald S. Warren Jr.
  • Publication Date: 08-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Department of Economics and Business, Colorado College
  • Abstract: We analyze the effects of a largely ignored 1885 legislative reform in Massachusetts requiring that firms provide workers the option of receiving weekly wage payments. Using an inter-temporal model of deferred compensation, we derive conditions on elasticities of labor supply that determine the effects of the reform on workers' effective wage and utility. We then examine empirically the effects of the reform, using weekly data on mill workers in Lowell. Given the implications of our theoretical analysis, the empirical findings of positive wage and reform elasticities imply that the switch to weekly payment increased workers' effective wage and well-being.
  • Topic: Economics, Markets, Labor Issues
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Kristina M. Lybecker, Brendan Hannah
  • Publication Date: 05-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Department of Economics and Business, Colorado College
  • Abstract: The recent stagnation of electronic commerce highlights the need to understand contemporary online consumer behavior. This study incorporates current user demographics and emerging Internet activities to dynamically model the determinants of two key measurements of recent online shopping, a purchase within the last year and the novel dependent variable, percentage of income spent online in the last three months. Logistic regression is applied to a nationally representative 2007 survey of the U.S. online population. Determinants of a recent online purchase include, ownership of a credit card, an online payment account (PayPalTM), listening to podcasts, participating in online auctions, and for the first time, female gender. In a second regression, positive determinants for the percentage of income spent online include male gender, educational attainment, online auctions, instant messenging and online dating. Online spending increases with time online and appears to compete with other forms of online entertainment and social networking.
  • Topic: Economics, Gender Issues, Markets, Science and Technology
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Daniel K. N. Johnson, Hilary S. Johnson
  • Publication Date: 04-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Department of Economics and Business, Colorado College
  • Abstract: This study examines the relationship between pharmaceutical R and health care expenditures, distinguishing between the short- and long-run impacts. To measure these relationships quantitatively, we focus on patents as a key factor driving the costs of pharmaceuticals, and develop a structured vector autoregressive (SVAR) model to measure the social rate of return to pharmaceutical research as protected by patents. We conclude with unambiguous results that pharmaceutical patents are not correlated with higher short-run prices in any measure of medical costs. They are associated with higher long-run prices in pharmaceuticals themselves, but with lower long-run prices in the aggregate medical sector which includes pharmaceuticals as a component part. Further, the TRIPS Agreement and Hatch-Waxman Act to enable generic competition have both been demonstrably effective at lowering prices across the spectrum of medical sector prices. We conclude that pharmaceutical patents may be economically medicinal themselves, acting as the 'ounce of prevention' that saves a 'pound of cure', the cure which would come in the form of even higher costs elsewhere in the medical sector.
  • Topic: Economics, Health, Markets
  • 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: Kristina M. Lybecker, Daniel K.N. Johnson
  • Publication Date: 08-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Department of Economics and Business, Colorado College
  • Abstract: In an effort to explore the potential for financing environmental innovation, this paper examines different forms of financing and attempts to evaluate their effectiveness. The study considers both public and private forms of funding as well as providing policy suggestions for the support of appropriate financing for eco-innovation.
  • Topic: Economics, Environment, Markets
  • Author: Kristina M. Lybecker, Daniel K.N. Johnson
  • Publication Date: 08-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Department of Economics and Business, Colorado College
  • Abstract: This paper considers the challenges to the dissemination of environmental innovation. Following a brief exploration of the legal and regulatory regimes surrounding environmental technologies, the paper examines diffusion mechanisms, market factors, social characteristics and political elements that facilitate and complicate dissemination. Given the importance of innovation to economic development and growth, the diffusion of innovation is of great interest to economists and policymakers alike.
  • Topic: Economics, Environment, Science and Technology
  • Publication Date: 01-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Oxford Economics
  • Abstract: OEF has regularly provided scenario assessments of the economic impact of a wide range of risks to the global outlook from financial market volatility to banking crises to country studies to threats arising from less economy-based disturbances such as earthquake damage and the impact of health scares like the UK's foot and mouth outbreak and Asia's SARS attack of 2003.
  • Topic: Economics, Globalization, Health, Infectious Diseases
  • Political Geography: Europe, Asia
  • Publication Date: 10-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Oxford Economics
  • Abstract: The financial stress indicator is a composite index of a number of indicators including risk spreads, mortgage spreads, equity volatility, commercial paper and commercial loans outstanding and the spread of LIBOR rates over T-bill rates (the “Ted” spread). The stress indicator fell again last week, driven by a further narrowing of corporate bond spreads and lower equity volatility. These shifts offset a rise in 30-year mortgage spreads. Stress levels are now at their lowest levels since February 2008, and while still well above their long-term average have also dropped below the levels seen in previous periods of distress such as in the early 1990s and in 2001- 2003.
  • Topic: Economics, Markets, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Publication Date: 01-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Oxford Economics
  • Abstract: The credit crunch that began in July 2007 intensified dramatically in September 2008, with a series of bank failures prompting rescues and effective nationalisation of major financial institutions in the US, the UK and the Eurozone. Despite massive intervention, financial stress rose to new highs at the start of Q4 2008 as financial markets dried up, with treasury bond yields falling, interbank lending rates still high, emerging market spreads widening sharply and stock markets plunging further. Faced with financial sector meltdown, many governments have recapitalised banking sectors and guaranteed interbank loans and bank deposits to try to shore up confidence in the financial system. These moves have averted a meltdown, but the spotlight has moved onto the rapidly weakening real economy – both world growth and world trade are now expected to decline in 2009, making it the worst year since 1945.
  • Topic: Economics, Markets, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Publication Date: 10-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Oxford Economics
  • Abstract: Global capital flows dropped steeply in the wake of the financial crisis, with an unprecedented outflow of foreign funds both from developed and emerging markets.
  • Topic: Economics, Globalization, Markets, Monetary Policy
  • Publication Date: 10-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Oxford Economics
  • Abstract: With the economies of most countries having passed their troughs, it is a good time to take stock of some of the main features of the crisis so far and to assess what the upturn may look like. In this article, we look back at how the different countries have fared in this crisis and how monetary and fiscal authorities have responded to the crisis. We then turn to the nascent recovery to compare and contrast the upturn across countries. Finally, we highlight some of the main legacies of this crisis. Exposure to financial services, housing booms, consumer debt and trade with the US were seen as factors that would make some countries suffer deeper downturns than others. In the event, the downturn has surprised by how quickly it has spread across countries. So the most affected countries turned out to be the most exposed to the world economy such as Germany, Italy, Japan and Eastern Europe. All major central banks have responded with aggressive cuts in interest rates and adopted wide-ranging unconventional measures. This has helped stabilise financial markets, but the goal of getting credit flowing to the non-financial economy has not yet been achieved. Governments have also responded to the crisis with large fiscal stimulus packages. These packages have helped contain the collapse in activity and contributed to some countries exiting the recession in 2009Q2. Whether these packages will be enough to get the world economy back on a sustainable growth path is still uncertain though. Beyond the short term, where fiscal stimulus and the stock cycle will boost growth, the recovery is expected to be sluggish and bumpy in most places. History suggests that recoveries from financial crises tend to be slower than others, and the repair of household and corporate balance sheets will be a drawn out process. In addition, with large amounts of spare capacity around the world, demand for investment will be weak for some time to come. Furthermore, the nascent upturn has already put pressure on oil and commodity prices. If this continues, it will hamper growth in net importer economies. These factors will combine with country-specific features that determine their potential growth. We forecast the recovery to be most drawn out in Italy, Japan and Germany as these countries are hit by weak demand for investment goods and are characterised by relatively low potential growth. One main legacy of this crisis is the likelihoo d of years of fiscal austerity, to bring public deficits back under control. Another legacy may be in changes to the regulation of financial services, although do date little progress has been made in this area. In addition, EMU has so far proved a resilient entity during the crisis, so that the euro could gain a more prominent role on the world stage, depending on how it fares in the upturn.
  • Topic: Economics, Globalization, Markets
  • Political Geography: Japan, Europe, Germany, Italy
  • Publication Date: 09-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Oxford Economics
  • Abstract: Although it is only since 2000 that the growing economic power of the Chinese 'dragon' has emerged fully into the media spotlight, its GDP has in fact been growing at an average rate of close to 10% pa for the last 30 years. On a PPP basis, China is already the second largest economy in the world. The Indian 'elephant', on the other hand, has grown at a more sedate pace, but following a burst in the 2000s it now has the fourth largest GDP in the world on a PPP basis and has been close to emulating Chinese growth rates. With the global economy perhaps now starting to recover slowly from the deep recession, it is possible that India is better placed than China to benefit from what may prove to be a fairly slow period of growth in the developed economies in the years ahead, with the latter's huge exports of manufactured goods struggling to recapture the momentum of the last ten years. For China, net trade will probably be a significant drag on growth in the year ahead, while the stimulus from state-led investment may begin to peter out. In order to maintain earlier rapid growth, the Chinese economy will need to rely much more heavily on domestic demand than before, especially if global over-capacity appears in certain key industries. Despite the apparent resilience of the economy to the global recession, there are a number of question marks over whether this shift can be made quickly. India's fundamentals have become more favourable given the rise in its service sector and climbing FDI inflows (albeit both of these remain well below Chinese levels), and its lower reliance on trade will also mean that it is less exposed to what may be a lengthy period of sluggish world demand. But it also faces problems, including an inefficient agricultural sector, a still-burdensome bureaucracy and a cautious stance towards privatisation. Its fiscal position is also much weaker than China, which may be a long-term threat to greater foreign investment. India also has the benefit of being a democracy – although to date this has probably hampered rather than helped growth performance, it should facilitate faster growth in the longer term. China's authoritarian regime has enabled policies to be implemented more quickly and with little regard to public popularity, but this may be storing up socio-political problems for the longer term, especially if growth were to slow sharply. Demographic factors should also favour India, but again over the long term rather than the next decade. China's decision to start to reverse its one-child policy indicates mounting concern about its ageing population and labour shortages in the future. India on the other hand may be able to turn population growth trends to its advantage, as long as it can improve the skills base. In conclusion, although India's growth trend is forecast to pick-up to 7-8% over the next decade, this is not likely to be enough to overtake China's pace of expansion. But India's recent surge in growth was achieved with few reforms – if it can manage to implement further liberalisation measures, attract increasing FDI inflows and turn its more favourable demographics to its advantage, then the 'elephant' may begin to catch up with the 'dragon' after 2020, although by that time the gap will be even wider than it is now.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Foreign Direct Investment
  • Political Geography: China, South Asia, India
  • Publication Date: 08-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Oxford Economics
  • Abstract: Australia, along with the entire world, faces the tremendous challenge of climate change over the coming decades. Along with its impacts on a wide variety of global ecosystems, climate change has the potential to have long-term impacts on Australia's Great Barrier Reef (GBR). Among the most serious of these are the phenomenon of coral bleaching (or, more properly, bleaching mortality) and its attendant effects on the reef's biodiversity.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Economics, Environment
  • Political Geography: Australia
  • Publication Date: 06-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Oxford Economics
  • Abstract: US mortgage foreclosures have risen to extraordinary heights in recent months, with the scale of the distress in the US mortgage market much greater than in the UK. Key factors behind this divergent performance include laxer underwriting standards in the US and the widespread existence of 'non-recourse' loans. The latter allow borrowers in negative equity to walk away from their mortgage debt and sap the incentive to remain current on 'underwater' loans. As a result, steep house price falls can generate a sharp rise in foreclosures even without high interest rates or unemployment. In the UK, by contrast, there are strong incentives for home owners to remain in their properties, even when in negative equity.As a result, the escalation from arrears to foreclosure in the UK is much more limited. This may head off very abrupt prices falls but could also mean a more drawn out process of adjustment in the housing market.
  • Topic: Debt, Economics, Markets, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Publication Date: 06-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Oxford Economics
  • Abstract: Health experts agree that, while the current flu epidemic that started in Mexico in April 2009 may weaken during the summer, it could re-appear in the autumn, possibly in a stronger form. Using historical benchmarks of previous flu pandemics and of the SARS episode, we estimate the economic impact of a global flu pandemic.
  • Topic: Economics, Globalization, Health, Infectious Diseases
  • Political Geography: Mexico
  • 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: 04-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Oxford Economics
  • Abstract: Growth in China has slowed dramatically over the past year from a blistering pace of over 13% in 2007 to just 6.1% in 2009 Q1. A turning in the domestic investment cycle has been coupled with a dramatic slowdown in external demand. Despite an unprecedented fiscal package, in the near term we expect growth to dip below 6% but it should begin to recover strongly towards the end of this year as the fiscal stimulus comes on stream, rising to 10% by end-2010. Indeed, some green shoots of recovery are already emerging with a pickup in manufacturing new orders and strong growth in credit. Domestic demand may be recovering but the impact of the external crisis on China’s growth prospects is uncertain. Nevertheless, more fundamental downside risks remain if rising unemployment leads to social instability or if an increase in loss-making investments uncovers weakness in the banking sector. By looking at what has driven the recent slowdown and how this compares with previous downturns, we can shed light on China’s prospects going forward and the major risks.
  • Topic: Economics, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • 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
  • Publication Date: 03-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Oxford Economics
  • Abstract: Ten years after the introduction of the euro, the onset of deep recession in the Eurozone has triggered concern that the single currency might impose intolerable strains upon some members. With some countries hit hard by the impact of the credit crunch, there are mounting concerns about a possible debt default by one or more member states, which in turn might threaten the euro and even the existence of the Eurozone. With the Eurozone economy forecast to contract by 3.1% this year, unemployment is starting to climb steeply and fiscal deficits are soaring. This has raised concerns about deteriorating public finances in a number of countries, leading to sharply wider spreads on government bonds and credit rating downgrades for Greece, Spain and Portugal, with Ireland maybe facing a similar fate soon. And repercussions from the growing economic crisis in Central and Eastern Europe are adding to the problem, with Austria particularly exposed. Rising bond spreads were always intended to be the mechanism that would restrain public spending by more profligate Eurozone countries. But the question now is whether the weaker economies can withstand the strains that a lengthy period of recession will impose and, at the same time, adopt credible medium-term spending plans to ward off the worst of the downturn and retain market confidence. With fiscal deficits already rising as a result of bank bailouts, fiscal packages and recession will push budget deficits far above the 3% of GDP target – Ireland, facing a deficit of 12% of GDP, and Spain will be worst hit. And with rising deficits and higher bond spreads pushing up the cost of debt, countries face a sharp rise in their level of indebtedness, with Greece and Italy seeing debt/GDP ratios around 100%. This deterioration could lead to a further downward spiral if the recession is prolonged and will be a test of countries' euro commitment, which has remained strong thus far despite rising social tensions in some countries. At this stage, the problems remain manageable and the risk of default or of countries leaving the euro is still very low. Bond spreads are still much lower than during much of the 1990s, when countries were striving to qualify for euro membership, and the currency risks attached to leaving the euro would be substantial. Moreover, EU countries that have been exposed to considerable currency strain over the past year are anxious to join the Eurozone as soon as possible, to take advantage of the benefits of a stable currency. While some smaller countries may experience financial difficulties, it seems inevitable that the larger Eurozone members would step in to stabilise the situation – failure to do so would risk contagion spreading to other countries, which in turn would cause even deeper problems for the euro. More policy action also seems likely to counter this threat – although the German government will probably remain reluctant to countenance the scale of expansionary fiscal policy really needed at this time. Current policies inevitably mean a long hard slog back towards fiscal rectitude in the years ahead, with monetary policy also tightening and growth slower than previously expected. Fiscal federalism may also have to be on the agenda. All this will undoubtedly lead to ongoing strains within the Eurozone. And any measures by governments that appear to be protectionist – such as the support for the French car industry – will only fuel these tensions.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Regional Cooperation, Treaties and Agreements, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Europe, Germany
  • Publication Date: 03-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Oxford Economics
  • Abstract: Ports are vital for the health of the UK economy and the movement of its population. They are gateways into the UK for trade and travel. Over 95% of UK imports and exports by volume and 75% by value pass through the country's ports. In terms of tonnage handled, the UK ports sector is the largest in Europe. In 2007, UK ports handled 580 million tonnes of freight. In 2007, 24.8 million international sea passengers went through UK ports. Nearly three quarters of journeys were to France. Another 14 per cent were to the Republic of Ireland. In 2007, 24.2 million domestic sea passengers traveled between ports in the UK. Sea crossings comprised 4.0 million of these journeys. Inter island journeys the remaining 20.2 million. Of which 10.7 million trips were between Hampshire and Isle of Wight and 8.0 million between the Scottish islands.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: United Kingdom, Europe
  • Publication Date: 02-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Oxford Economics
  • Abstract: Business for New Europe has requested Oxford Economics to undertake a study detailing the economic ties between the UK and the rest of the European Union (EU), and where possible, quantify them according to a number of parameters such as trade, labour force, tourism, FDI, portfolio investments and banking linkages. In the context of the current economic situation, there is a growing need for increased economic integration and cooperation between partner countries. Therefore, it is particularly relevant to review the importance of the economic links between the UK and the rest of the EU. These inter-relations have come to the fore since the outbreak of the financial crisis. Analysing the impact of the credit crunch on UK-EU relations is not within the scope of this report.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Regional Cooperation
  • Political Geography: United Kingdom, Europe
  • Publication Date: 10-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Oxford Economics
  • Abstract: The present recession, which had its origins in the global financial crisis that began to unfold in mid-2007, has hit London's economy hard. And in the face of ongoing financial sector constraints, a debt overhang and rising unemployment, a strong bounce in the immediate future – of the kind seen in the wake of the early1990s recession – cannot be realistically expected. Nevertheless, Oxford Economics' forecasts show the recovery in the capital gaining traction by 2011, with growth into the medium term matching the robust performance of the decade prior to the recession. We expect growth over the period 2011-2019 to outstrip that of the rest of the UK and of most comparable cities across the western world.
  • Topic: Economics, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: United Kingdom, Europe, London
  • Author: Martha Brill Olcott
  • Publication Date: 11-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Norwegian Centre for Conflict Resolution
  • Abstract: The absence of a functional government in Afghanistan has been creating economic and security challenges for the Central Asian states since their founding in 1991. Long frustrated by the international community's failure to end the Afghan civil war through negotiation, the 2001 September 11 attack created the expectation among these countries that the US would intervene successfully in Afghanistan, leading to an economic recovery that would advance the development of all the states in the region.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Economics
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Central Asia
  • Publication Date: 07-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Transparency International
  • Abstract: Cartels are illegal and costly. They inflate prices for consumers, exact an economic toll on countries and undermine the integrity of companies. Cartels can form in any sector, ranging from health care and transport, to construction and telecommunications. They leave no industry untouched or consumer unburdened. When companies engage in collusion by conspiring to fix prices, markets become inefficient and consumers bear unjustified price hikes that can reach up to 100 per cent.
  • Topic: Corruption, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Law
  • Author: Nazery Khalid
  • Publication Date: 09-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Maritime Institute of Malaysia
  • Abstract: The Wall Street meltdown has had a massive domino effect on major industries worldwide. The ensuing financial crisis cuts deep and wide across the global economy. It has clipped the wings of growth of many business activities and industry.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Maritime Commerce, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Malaysia
  • Author: William Dudley
  • Publication Date: 12-2009
  • Content Type: Video
  • Institution: Columbia University World Leaders Forum
  • Abstract: This World Leaders Forum program features a keynote address by William C. Dudley, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, followed by a question and answer session with the audience.
  • Topic: Economics, International Political Economy, International Trade and Finance, Global Recession, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: United States, New York
  • Author: Fritz W. Scharpf
  • Publication Date: 09-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Kolleg-Forschergruppe (KFG)
  • Abstract: Judge-made law has played a crucial role in the process of European integration. In the vertical dimension, it has greatly reduced the range of autonomous policy choices in the member states, and it has helped to expand the reach of European competences. At the same time, however, “Integration through Law” does have a liberalizing and deregulatory impact on the socio-economic regimes of EU member states. This effect is generally compatible with the status quo in “Liberal Market Economies”, but it tends to undermine the institutions and policy legacies of Continental and Scandinavian “Social Market Economies”. Given the high consensus requirements of European legislation, this structural asymmetry cannot be corrected through political action at the European level.
  • Topic: Economics, Markets, Law
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Silke Adam
  • Publication Date: 09-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Kolleg-Forschergruppe (KFG)
  • Abstract: Economic considerations, identity related considerations and cueing theory are used for explaining citizens' attitudes towards the European Union. Yet, all of this research has failed to show how elite cues on interests and identities actually reach the citizens. As a consequence, the author argues that domestic mass media as the most widely used source for citizens' information about the European Union has the potential to fill this missing link. Mass media actively construct reality by promoting ideas (agenda-setting and framing) and thereby shaping processes of socialization and persuasion. In this article the author discusses theoretical concepts of how mass media might affect citizens' attitudes, summarizes what we know about the role of domestic mass media in the course of EU integration, derives research desiderates and finally shows why knowledge on the link between mass media and citizens is paramount to understand the future of EU integration.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Economics, Regional Cooperation, Mass Media
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Andrea Gawrich, Inna Melnykovska, Rainer Schweickert
  • Publication Date: 08-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Kolleg-Forschergruppe (KFG)
  • Abstract: We contribute to the literature of European Studies by introducing the approach of Neighbourhood Europeanization. Based on insights from Membership and Enlargement Europeanization, we reveal important inconsistencies of Neighbourhood Europeanization through the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) as well as a lack of robust empirical support for its effectiveness. We also define core dimensions and determinants of Neighbourhood Europeanization and implement this analytical framework for the case of Ukraine. Our analysis clearly demonstrates substantial asymmetries in the ENP for Ukraine across three dimensions we chose – democracy promotion, economic cooperation, and Justice and Home Affairs, which clearly reflect the inconsistency of the ENP concept, that is top-down formulation of EU interests combined with weak conditionality. However, our analysis shows that despite Ukraine's growing frustration because of the lack of a membership perspective, there is a lot of room for keeping up Ukraine's motivation for Europeanization reforms. Especially, widening and strengthening the linkage-mechanisms would allow to overcome ENP inconsistency and to improve the effectiveness of Neighborhood Europeanization.
  • Topic: Democratization, Economics, Regional Cooperation, Law
  • Political Geography: Europe, Ukraine
  • Author: Thomas Risse, Tanja A. Börzel
  • Publication Date: 05-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Kolleg-Forschergruppe (KFG)
  • Abstract: This paper sets out the research agenda of the Kolleg-Forschergruppe “The Transformative Power of Europe. The European Union and the Diffusion of Ideas”. The diffusion of ideas has become a central research theme in political science, sociology, law, history, and economics. In this context, the Kolleg-Forschergruppe focuses on the theoretical and methodological challenges of identifying scope conditions for and interaction effects between the various causal mechanisms by which ideas are spread across time and space. We concentrate on the European Union (EU) as an almost ideal laboratory for investigating processes and outcomes of diffusion. First, European integration itself can be described as an effort to promote the diffusion of ideas across Europe and beyond. Second, European societies and polities emulate each other through mimetic processes. Third, Europe and the EU also serve as active promoters of diffusion processes toward the outside world. Last not least, European integration is embedded in and responds to larger global diffusion processes. The Kolleg-Forschergruppe will explore the diffusion of ideas in three thematic areas: “identity and the public sphere,” “compliance, conditionality, and beyond,” and “comparative regionalism and Europe's external relations”.
  • Topic: Economics, Regional Cooperation, Political Theory
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Koen Vlassenroot
  • Publication Date: 09-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: EGMONT - The Royal Institute for International Relations
  • Abstract: In the pursuit of security and development in Africa, more and more reference is being made to the concept of fragile states. This paper explores the meaning of this concept and considers the attention that is being paid to it as a consequence of integrating security and development into the policy of the major donor countries. In an African context state fragility is a cause of numerous conflicts, but also a major focal point of peace processes and donor interventions. This paper is intended to be a warning against a too narrow focus on security in the process of combating fragility. It pleads for an integrated policy, based on the pursuit of sustainable development and emphasises the strengthening of the authority and power of the state and the promotion of local economic and social development.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Political Violence, Development, Economics, Fragile/Failed State
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Franklin Kramer, John Lyman
  • Publication Date: 03-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: The world is energy short and carbon long. This report focuses on that juxtaposition and the means to achieve energy security in a world concerned over climate change and maintaining economic growth. The provision of a sustainable energy future will require a dramatic transformation of the world's energy supplies and consumption patterns. The current global financial crisis and accompanying economic downturn has made meeting this challenge significantly more difficult. Despite the current softening of energy demand, the world is facing a long-term tightening of conventional energy supplies and a need to address increasing environmental concerns that will require international cooperation on an unprecedented scale.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Economics, Energy Policy, International Security
  • Author: Robin Niblett, Alexei Monsarrat, Aola Subacchi
  • Publication Date: 03-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: What started last year as a growing international credit crunch and, by September, a global banking crisis has now spread into the real economy. International trade, investment and economic growth are all contracting. A drastic curtailment of credit, collapsing global demand and a loss of trade finance is having a devastating economic effect on both the developed and developing worlds, especially those economies that are heavily dependent on exports.
  • Topic: Economics, Foreign Exchange, International Trade and Finance, Financial Crisis
  • Author: Ashraf Ghani
  • Publication Date: 04-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: Describing the situation in Afghanistan and Pakistan as increasingly perilous, President Obama has committed his administration to enhancing the military, governance, and economic capacity of the two countries. On March 27, 2009, he announced plans to launch a new strategy in the region: To succeed, we and our friends and allies must reverse the Taliban's gains and promote a more capable and accountable Afghan government. . . . Afghanistan has an elected government, but it is undermined by corruption and has difficulty delivering basic services to its people. The economy is undercut by a booming narcotics trade that encourages criminality and funds the insurgency. The people of Afghanistan seek the promise of a better future. Yet once again, they have seen the hope of a new day darkened by violence and uncertainty.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Development, Economics, Military Strategy, Governance
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Afghanistan
  • Author: Alexei Monsarrat, Kiron K. Skinne
  • Publication Date: 09-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: This statement, delivered by Federal Reserve Chairman Bernanke in the understated manner of a central banker, was made nearly a year after the collapse of Lehman Brothers—the event that tipped the global financial system into full crisis. Bernanke's message starkly reveals the scope of the challenge facing the stewards of the global economy.
  • Topic: Economics, International Cooperation, International Trade and Finance, Financial Crisis
  • Author: Annette Heuser, Frances Burwell
  • Publication Date: 10-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: This memo is a joint effort of the Bertelsmann Foundation and the Atlantic Council and is intended as a contribution to advancing the integration of the trans‐Atlantic economy. This project was conceived as a blueprint for the Transatlantic Economic Council (TEC) on the occasion of the October meeting.
  • Topic: International Relations, Climate Change, Economics, International Cooperation, International Trade and Finance
  • 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