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  • Author: Peter R. Orszag, Robert E. Rubin, Joseph E. Stiglitz
  • Publication Date: 01-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: Orszag, Rubin, and Stiglitz outline a new fiscal framework that they argue would better equip policymakers to face deep uncertainties about future interest rates (which, they say, may not remain low forever), hard-to-predict global shocks, and climate risks. They reject fiscal anchors—simple limits on deficits or debt as a share of GDP that governments adopt to check their spending and borrowing—that have historically guided fiscal policy and believe any attempts to modify such targets for the current period of low interest rates are likely to fail. Instead they propose making the budget respond more automatically to economic distress (through stronger automatic stabilizers) and to long-term fiscal pressures (e.g., embedding adjustment mechanisms in health care and pension programs), as well as creating an infrastructure program and extending debt maturities to insure against interest rate changes. Such a "streamlined dashboard" would then allow policymakers to use discretion as necessary to take any additional actions—either to provide more stimulus during short-term difficulties or to adjust the automatic features themselves—rather than adhering to fiscal targets that may no longer be appropriate when economic conditions change.
  • Topic: Financial Crisis, Economy, Fiscal Policy, Fiscal Deficit
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Julien Maire, Adnan Mazarei, Edwin M. Truman
  • Publication Date: 02-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: In the last two decades, sovereign wealth funds (SWFs)—funds accumulated by a government that are invested in whole or in part abroad to benefit the country in the future—have faced increased public scrutiny over their investment patterns, financial results, and governance. This Policy Brief updates and expands a prototype scoreboard rating the transparency and accountability of SWFs, which Truman established in 2007. This fifth edition of the scoreboard shows that the average scores continued to improve for the 64 SWFs examined, but governance issues remain. New funds have emerged—many of them government holding companies or strategic investment funds—but the growth of assets under management by SWFs has slowed, in some cases partly because of withdrawals to help finance expenses related to the COVID-19 pandemic, raising questions about their future role.
  • Topic: Government, Markets, Sovereign Wealth Funds, Governance, Regulation, Capital
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Olivier Blanchard, Josh Felman, Arvind Subramanian
  • Publication Date: 03-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: Anew consensus on fiscal policy has emerged in advanced economies, that stimulus is both needed and feasible. At first blush, the scope for stimulus seems even greater in emerging markets, since their primary deficits are smaller and interest-growth differentials more favorable, suggesting that they can sustain much higher levels of debt. But more careful analysis suggests that this is not the case. The authors point out that what matters for debt sustainability are not current conditions but rather the range of possible future outcomes. And prospects for interest rates and growth are more uncertain in emerging markets, while primary balances are more difficult to adjust. As a result, debt limits are in fact tighter than advanced economies. Taking India as a case study, the authors argue that what is needed in the current situation is responsible, slow fiscal adjustment. More generally, one should be careful about importing wholesale the new fiscal consensus into emerging markets.
  • Topic: Emerging Markets, Monetary Policy, Fiscal Policy, Consensus
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Simeon Djankov, Pinelopi Koujianou Goldberg, Lisa Hyland, Eva (Yiwen) Zhang
  • Publication Date: 04-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: Despite many significant gains by women in the paid workforce in recent decades, the percentage of women participating in the labor force has remained lower than the percentage of male participants. Now, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the global economic downturn it precipitated, the gap in labor force participation between men and women in some economies has actually widened, with potentially damaging repercussions for women’s career prospects and pay. The pandemic has disproportionately affected sectors employing more women, such as retail stores, restaurants, and the hotel and hospitality business. An increase in family caregiving responsibilities because of school and childcare closures has also fallen on working mothers' shoulders. Both factors have pulled women out of the labor force. The authors track trends in male and female labor force participation in 43 countries and find substantial differences across countries in the way women’s participation has been affected relative to that of men. In some countries, such as Colombia, Chile, and Cyprus, the gender gap in labor force participation widened the most during the pandemic. The gender gap also widened in the United States, driving 2.5 million women from their jobs in what Vice President Kamala Harris called a “national emergency” for women. In other economies, such as Luxembourg and Lithuania, the gender gap in labor force participation, unexpectedly, shrank during the early period of the pandemic. On average, female employees have fared better in countries where women are less concentrated in the services sector, less likely to be employed as temporary workers, and where laws supported greater equality at the onset of the crisis. Greater government expenditure on childcare in the pre-COVID-19 era, however, does not appear to have insulated female workers from the damaging repercussions of the pandemic.
  • Topic: Economics, Gender Issues, Labor Issues, Women, Services, COVID-19, Empowerment
  • Political Geography: Colombia, Chile, Cyprus, Global Focus, United States of America
  • Author: Jeff D. Colgan, Thomas N. Hale
  • Publication Date: 04-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs at Brown University
  • Abstract: Climate change is the defining global challenge of the twenty-first century. It constitutes a direct threat to the safety and prosperity of Americans. U.S. President Joe Biden has committed to reorienting U.S. foreign policy to meet the climate challenge. This report provides an early assessment of the Biden administration’s international climate diplomacy against these goals in the first 100 days, recognizing that others have focused on domestic policy, and that climate change must be at the top of the U.S. foreign-policy agenda. It builds on a previous report by the Brown University Climate Solutions Lab, issued on October 8, 2020, that identified and recommended ten executive climate actions, which are central to advancing U.S. foreign-policy objectives. Of the 9 internationally-oriented climate pledges evaluated, made by the Biden campaign during the 2020 presidential election, the report finds that the Biden team has already delivered effectively on 4 of them, made some progress on 2, and taken baby steps or made no real progress on 3. These will require further attention and resources in the coming months.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Climate Change, Joe Biden
  • Political Geography: Global Focus, United States of America
  • Author: Chantal de Jonge Oudraat, Jana Wattenberg
  • Publication Date: 05-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Women In International Security (WIIS)
  • Abstract: I n recent years, gender has come up in arms control and disarmament deliberations. Ireland, for example, submitted working papers on gender to preparatory committee meetings of the Nuclear Non-ProliferationTreaty (NPT) Review Conferences. The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) emphasizes that nuclear weapons use affects men and women differently and calls for equal representation in disarmament negotiations. However, such references to gender are so far the exception rather than the rule in arms control and disarmament talks. We argue that a systematic inclusion of gender perspectives advances arms control and disarmament deliberations and negotiations in four main ways. First, a gender lens calls attention to the human and gendered consequences of the development and use of weapons. Second, it exposes arms control and disarmament agreements that lack gender provisions. Third, a gender lens highlights the absence of diversity in arms control and disarmament communities.3 Fourth, gender perspectives help reveal hierarchical power structures and encourage critical reflections on the legitimacy of established processes and agreements. In sum, the inclusion of a gender perspective produces more humane, effective, legitimate and sustainable agreements.
  • Topic: Arms Control and Proliferation, Gender Issues, Nuclear Weapons, Treaties and Agreements, International Security, Women, Disarmament, Nonproliferation
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Johan Norberg
  • Publication Date: 03-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: European Centre for International Political Economy (ECIPE)
  • Abstract: During the Covid-19 pandemic, Europe has benefitted strongly from being an open economy that can access goods and services from other parts of the world. Paradoxically, some politicians in Europe think that dependence on foreign supplies reduced the resilience of our economy – and argue that Europe now should wean itself off its dependence on other economies. In this Policy Brief, it is argued that self-sufficiency or less economic openness is a dangerous direction of policy. It would make Europe less resilient and less capable of responding to the next emergency. It is key that people, firms and governments can get supplies from other parts of the world. It is diversification, not concentration of production, that will make Europe more resilient when the next emergency hit. We don’t know where the next crisis will come from. Nature will throw nasty surprises at us, and we will make stupid mistakes, some of which will have devastating consequences. What we do know, though, is that we stand a better chance to fight the next emergency if we get richer and improve our technology. The best policy for resilience is one that encourages specialisation and innovation – and, when the emergency hit, allow for people to improvise in search for solutions. For that to happen, we need openness to goods, services and technology from abroad.
  • Topic: Health, International Political Economy, Innovation, Economic Cooperation, Pandemic, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Europe, Global Focus
  • Author: David Henig
  • Publication Date: 01-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: European Centre for International Political Economy (ECIPE)
  • Abstract: In the last 25 years global value chains have come to dominate global trade in a way surprisingly little discussed or understood. To meet the policy challenges of today and the future we need to understand the key characteristics of this new global trade and how they came about. The OECD estimate around 70% of total trade takes place in global value chains. Using their definition as where “the different stages of the production process are located across different countries”, and considering both goods and services inputs, this may be an understatement. The example most commonly used is the automotive sector, with 30,000 parts and associated services like satellite navigation going into one car. However there are many others. Modern primary commodity production is optimised by technology developed in other countries, diverse services and goods are frequently combined to create new product offerings, and most international business to consumer transactions are facilitated by leading global platforms. Positively this new globalization has provided consumers with an unprecedented choice of products at affordable prices. More challengingly it has seen governments struggle with the question of how they can best influence modern trade, amid signs of a backlash and simple demands for ‘more domestic manufacturing’. The popular global narrative that feeds such demands is one that has a traditional view of trade as a set of simple primary or manufactured goods transactions. Policymakers must move on from this narrative, making their choices, and explaining them clearly, on the basis of global value chains.
  • Topic: International Political Economy, International Trade and Finance, Trade, Global Value Chains
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Julia Masterson
  • Publication Date: 02-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Arms Control Association
  • Abstract: In recent years, the global norm against chemical weapons use has eroded, and it is critical that responsible states take action to reinforce it. Systematic violations of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) and the malign use of chemical agents have continued for nearly a decade without adequate accountability. These incidents risk growing in severity and becoming more widespread for as long as the issue remains unaddressed. Reinforcing the norm against chemical weapons use necessitates a unified global effort to utilize all CWC provisions and to strengthen the consequences that violators face under the treaty and in accordance with international law.
  • Topic: Arms Control and Proliferation, International Law, Weapons , Norms, Chemical Weapons
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Kelsey Davenport, Daryl G. Kimball, Kingston Reif
  • Publication Date: 01-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Arms Control Association
  • Abstract: Upon taking office, the new presidential administration of Joseph Biden will confront a dizzying array of major challenges, not the least of which are related to the risks posed by the world’s most dangerous weapons. Tensions between the world’s nuclear-armed states are rising; the risk of nuclear use is growing; billions of dollars are being spent to replace and upgrade nuclear weapons; and key agreements that have kept nuclear competition in check are gone or are in serious jeopardy. The situation has been complicated by the neglect and poor policy choices of President Donald Trump and his administration. Over the past four years the Trump administration made nearly every nuclear policy challenge facing the United States worse. Fortunately, Biden has a long and distinguished track record when it comes to dealing with nuclear weapons-related security issues. Unlike his predecessor, Biden possesses a strong personal commitment to effective nuclear arms control, nonproliferation, and disarmament that dates back to his early days in the Senate and continued through his last days as vice-president under President Barack Obama. In this analysis we have outlined what we believe to be the five most important sets of nuclear weapons policy challenges and decisions that the new Biden administration will need to address in its first 100 days and beyond, along with recommendations for effectively dealing with each of these policy challenges: Reviving and Advancing the Nuclear Arms Control Enterprise Reducing U.S. Nuclear Weapons Excess Stabilizing the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action Jump-starting Denuclearization and Peace Diplomacy with North Korea Restoring U.S. Leadership on Multilateral Nonproliferation and Disarmament If pursued, these actions and decisions would make the United States and the world safer from the threats posed by nuclear weapons. These initial steps would also put the administration in a better position to pursue more lasting and far-reaching nuclear risk reduction and elimination initiatives over the next four years.
  • Topic: Arms Control and Proliferation, Diplomacy, Nuclear Weapons, Treaties and Agreements, Peace, Denuclearization, Joe Biden
  • Political Geography: United States, Global Focus