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  • Author: Gary Clyde Hufbauer
  • Publication Date: 03-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: Open Sub-navigation BackOpen Sub-navigation Publications Back Policy Briefs Working Papers Books PIIE Briefings Open Sub-navigation Commentary Back Op-Eds Testimonies Speeches and Papers Topics & Regions PIIE Charts What Is Globalization? Educational Resources Open Sub-navigation Back Senior Research Staff Research Analysts Trade Talks Open Sub-navigation Back RealTime Economic Issues Watch Trade & Investment Policy Watch China Economic Watch North Korea: Witness to Transformation 中文 Open Sub-navigation Back All Events Financial Statements Global Connections Global Economic Prospects Stavros Niarchos Foundation Lectures Trade Winds Open Sub-navigation Back News Releases Multimedia Media Center Open Sub-navigation Back Board of Directors Staff Employment Contact Annual Report Transparency Policy POLICY BRIEF VIEW SHARING OPTIONS Will industrial and agricultural subsidies ever be reformed? Gary Clyde Hufbauer (PIIE) Policy Brief21-5 March 2021 Photo Credit: REUTERS/Denis Balibouse One economic argument for government subsidies is that they are necessary to compensate firms and industries for benefits they provide to society at large but cannot capture in the prices they charge for goods or services. For example, subsidies to renewable energy are defended because renewable energy limits carbon emissions. When a major economy subsidizes extensively, however, its trading partners are drawn into the game, with losses all around. As the prisoner’s dilemma suggests, a better outcome would entail mutual restraint. But the goal of mutual restraint is no less difficult in international trade than it is in international arms control. Both the European Union and the US federal system try, in different ways, to regulate industrial subsidies. Hufbauer examines efforts to contain unjustifiable subsidies and proposes modest improvements, bearing in mind that as countries struggle to overcome the global economic downturn resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, there is little appetite for restoring a free market economy—one in which firms compete with minimum government assistance or regulation. Selective upgrading of the rulebook may nevertheless be possible.
  • Topic: Agriculture, Government, Reform, European Union, Regulation, Manufacturing, Industry, COVID-19, Subsidies
  • Political Geography: Europe, North America, United States of America
  • 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: Simeon Djankov, Eva (Yiwen) Zhang
  • Publication Date: 05-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: New business applications have surged in the United States since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. The growth is driven largely by startups in online retail, transportation, and personal services. Many of these new entrepreneurs are self-employed and were likely laid off and forced into entrepreneurship by necessity. No official data are available yet on the number of businesses destroyed in 2020, because business data for firms that close without entering bankruptcy are lagging. But the authors calculate that firm births may have surpassed firm deaths during the pandemic. While this boom in business entry is a tribute to the adaptability and potential innovative spirit in US capitalism, one should not be overly optimistic about jobs created in this wave of startups. As many of these new startups are by people forced to strike out on their own, the number of jobs created per new firm is even smaller than it was during previous US recessions. And like online businesses started around the last recession (e.g., Uber, Airbnb, and Venmo), some of these new firms may turn out to be major contenders in their sectors, displacing workers employed by their traditional rivals.
  • Topic: Science and Technology, Labor Issues, Financial Crisis, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: North America, United States of America
  • Author: Joseph E. Gagnon, Steve Kamin, John Kearns
  • Publication Date: 05-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: COVID-19 vaccination programs are generally understood to be a prerequisite for a return to normalcy in our social and economic lives. Emergency measures to research, test, produce, and distribute vaccines have been expensive, but increases in GDP resulting from the vaccines are expected to exceed those costs by wide margins. Few studies have quantified the economic costs and benefits of different rates of COVID-19 vaccination, however. This Policy Brief focuses on developing such a quantitative assessment for the United States; the approach may be applied to other countries as well. Two illustrative scenarios support the conclusion that most plausible options to accelerate vaccinations would have economic benefits that far exceed their costs, in addition to their more important accomplishment of saving lives. This Policy Brief shows that if, for example, the United States had adopted a more aggressive policy in 2020 of unconditional contracts with vaccine producers, the up-front cost would have been higher but thousands of lives would have been saved and economic growth would have been stronger. Instead, the federal government conditioned its contracts on the vaccines’ being proven safe and effective. The projections presented in this analysis show that even if unconditional contracts led to support for vaccines that failed the phase III trial and ultimately were not used, the cost would have been worth it.
  • Topic: Economics, Health, Crisis Management, COVID-19, Health Crisis
  • Political Geography: North America, United States of America
  • Author: Egor Gornostay, Madi Sarsenbayev
  • Publication Date: 06-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: An intense debate has erupted over whether the unprecedented size of the US fiscal stimulus will cause the US economy to overheat and generate high inflation. To date, the debate has focused primarily on the United States, even though many other developed economies responded to the COVID-19 crisis with unprecedented economic stimulus packages. By some measures, Japan stands out: The total amount of its three consecutive stimulus packages is estimated to exceed 50 percent of its GDP, about twice as high as the US fiscal packages (about 26 percent of US GDP). However, overheating concerns are not being actively raised for Japan. This Policy Brief finds that although Japan’s headline number looks astonishingly high, the actual size of its discretionary fiscal measures is about 16 percent of GDP, substantially smaller than the total size of the US packages. US fiscal stimulus is the largest among Group of Seven (G7) countries relative to GDP, justifying the attention economists have given it. The United Kingdom is estimated to spend more than Japan as a proportion of GDP, but even the UK stimulus program markedly lags behind that of the United States. If additional stimulus measures making their way through the legislative process in Canada are counted, Japan’s fiscal stimulus looks even smaller and would amount to being only average in size among G7 countries. Given this and the lackluster performance of its economy in the first quarter of 2021, it is unlikely that Japan will find itself in overheating territory any time soon.
  • Topic: Inflation, G7, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Japan, Asia, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Saud Al-Sharafat
  • Publication Date: 03-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The pandemic has not ended terrorism in Jordan, and ISIS is still a significant threat. Last year’s abnormally low terrorist activity in Jordan could be interpreted as an indication that the threat of ISIS in the country has diminished significantly. Unfortunately, this is not the case; while there are several explanations for the low occurrence of terrorist attacks in Jordan in 2020, none of them point to a future in which ISIS does not continue to pose a threat to Jordanian security. On the contrary, the decrease in ISIS activity in Jordan last year was primarily a result of effective counterterrorism efforts, not the special circumstances of the pandemic or any other factor. Accordingly, Jordanian anti-terror institutions should not relax their guard. Rather, they should capitalize on their successes, expanding cooperation with their partners and enhancing their resources in combatting extremism. Jordanian security forces should be especially concerned with activities along their borders. There have been several recent international and UN reports that confirmed the rising activities of terrorist groups in countries that border Jordan. Iraq in particular has seen a recent rise in terrorist attacks, including two suicide bombings in Baghdad on January 21, 2021 that killed 32 people and injured 110 others. ISIS claimed responsibility for the attacks. In turn, ISIS's mounting activities in Iraq have led to increased terrorist activity in the Badia al-Sham region and the Jordanian Syrian-Iraqi border triangle, where terrorist militants move in small, highly mobile groups. This increase in activity has prompted Jordanian security forces to strengthen their presence on the borders with Iraq and Syria. Following a Russian air campaign in the Badia region in late February, in which Russian planes launched at least 130 air strikes in one day against terrorist groups in the area, Jordan started to strengthen and tightened its security presence on the borders to prevent infiltration of ISIS elements into Jordan. Russian strikes were especially targeted at ISIS, which extends between the governorates of Homs and Deir al-Zour at the border with Iraq.
  • Topic: Security, Counter-terrorism, Peace, Pandemic, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Syria, Jordan
  • Author: Elizabeth Chen
  • Publication Date: 02-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Jamestown Foundation
  • Abstract: On January 28, members of an international team led by the World Health Organization (WHO) concluded fourteen days of quarantine and began field work in Wuhan, China for a mission aimed at investigating the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic. As of the time of writing, the team had made visits to the Hubei Center for Disease Control and Prevention; the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) and the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market. State media also reported that the WHO team visited “an exhibition featuring Chinese people fighting the epidemic,” raising concerns that the trip could prove to be little more than a public relations move even as the origins of the coronavirus remain heavily politicized and uncertain (Global Times, January 31). Foreign experts have worried about whether the WHO investigation will be sufficiently transparent or if investigators will be allowed adequate access to key locations and scientific data (SCMP, January 27). Apart from a “terms of reference” report and a list of WHO members released in November, further details on the WHO team’s trip have not been released.
  • Topic: World Health Organization, COVID-19, Misinformation , Health Crisis
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Thomas S. Wilkins
  • Publication Date: 04-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Japan Institute Of International Affairs (JIIA)
  • Abstract: In November of 2020, Australian Prime Minster Scott Morrison was the first head of government to physically visit Japan to meet with his new counterpart Yoshihide Suga since the latter’s assumption of office for the annual summit meeting of their bilateral strategic partnership. Commentators were surprised that Mr Morrison would travel internationally in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, but his determination to do so, enduring quarantine measures upon his return, was indicative of the high value that Australia ascribes to its “Special Strategic Partnership” with Japan. At a time of simmering strategic rivalr y in the Indo-Pacific region, Canberra places a premium on its close collaborative relationship with Tokyo, as both countries confront similar challenges in navigating the turbulent and unstable regional environment. It is in this context they affirmed their intent ‘to elevate bilateral security and defence cooperation under the Special Strategic Partnership to a new level.
  • Topic: Security, Bilateral Relations, Partnerships, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Japan, Asia, Australia, Oceania
  • Author: Monika Grzegorczyk, Mario Mariniello, Laura Nurski, Tom Schraepen
  • Publication Date: 06-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Bruegel
  • Abstract: The pandemic has shown that many workers can efficiently work remotely, with benefits for wellbeing and even productivity. The European Union should develop a framework to facilitate hybrid work.
  • Topic: European Union, Work Culture, Innovation, Strategic Competition, Pandemic, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Europe, Global Focus
  • Author: Gregory Claeys, Zsolt Darvas, Maria Demertzis, Guntram B. Wolff
  • Publication Date: 05-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Bruegel
  • Abstract: The COVID-19 pandemic has led to the biggest global recession since the Second World War. Forecasts show the European Union underperforming economically relative to the United States and China during 2019-2023. Southern European countries have been particularly strongly affected. While the ICT sector has benefitted from the COVID-19 crisis, tourism, travel and services have suffered. Business insolvencies have, paradoxically, fallen. While total employment has almost recovered, the young and those with low-level qualifications have suffered employment losses. Inequality could rise. The pandemic may lead to medium to long-term changes in the economy, with more teleworking, possibly higher productivity growth and changed consumer behaviour. Policymakers must act to prevent lasting divergence within the EU and to prevent scarring from the fallout from the pandemic. The first priority is tackling the global health emergency. Second, we warn against premature fiscal tightening and recommend instead additional short-term support from national budgets. Over the medium term, fiscal policymakers will need to gradually move away from supporting companies through subsidies, towards tax incentives for corporate investment. A review of the European fiscal framework is needed to achieve the EU’s green goals more rapidly. The quality of public finances, how policymakers spend resources and the associated reforms are of central importance to prevent scarring. Improving the efficiency of insolvency procedures will be crucial for speedy and effective recovery. Targeted labour market policies for the young and less-qualified are needed. As teleworking becomes a more permanent feature of the EU’s labour markets, it will be crucial to adapt social security and taxation systems in the context of the single market for labour. The EU should resist protectionist calls in the wake of the pandemic. Rigorous competition policy enforcement and an integrated EU market have been beneficial for European convergence and growth. Capital markets have an important role to play in a speedy recovery.
  • Topic: Governance, European Union, Inequality, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Marek Dabrowski, Marta Dominguez-Jimenez
  • Publication Date: 01-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Bruegel
  • Abstract: In the 2010s, the economic situation in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) deteriorated as a result of lower oil and other commodity prices, a new round of domestic political instability, continuous intra-regional conflicts, stalled economic and governance reforms and, finally, the COVID-19 pandemic. The growth of real GDP, which slowed after the global financial crisis of 2008-2009, further decelerated in the second half of the 2010s and became negative in 2020 as result of the COVID-19 shock. Fiscal balances have deteriorated, even in the oil-exporting countries, and public debt has grown rapidly. MENA countries continue to face numerous long-term socio-economic and institutional challenges including high unemployment (especially youth unemployment), low female labour-market participation rates, the poor quality of education, costly and ineffective public sectors, high military and security spending, high energy subsidies and trade protectionism. Only comprehensive long-term reform programmes can address these challenges. The European Union is MENA’s second largest trading partner after the region itself, and is one of two main sources of foreign direct investment and a major aid donor. However, given the critical importance of the MENA region to its own security and stability, the EU’s engagement in conflict resolution and in supporting economic and political transformation of the region is insufficient and should be intensified. The EU should also update and upgrade its existing association agreements with the countries of the Southern and Eastern Mediterranean, including their free trade provisions.
  • Topic: International Trade and Finance, Governance, European Union, Trade, COVID-19, Economic Crisis
  • Political Geography: Europe, Middle East, North Africa
  • Author: Zsolt Darvas
  • Publication Date: 01-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Bruegel
  • Abstract: The estimation of payments from the European Union’s COVID-19 economic recovery fund, Next Generation EU (NGEU), to each EU country in 2021-2026 involves uncertainties, yet the overall magnitudes can be estimated with a reasonable degree of precision. In contrast, estimating member states’ contributions to the repayment of EU debt (which will be issued to finance NGEU spending) is burdened with enormous difficulties, primarily related to the uncertainty of gross national income projections up to 2058. Some numerical scenarios can be put forward to illustrate the difficulties in estimating the amounts of such future contributions.
  • Topic: Economics, Governance, European Union, Macroeconomics, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Jai Chul Heo
  • Publication Date: 03-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Korea Institute for International Economic Policy (KIEP)
  • Abstract: China has been able to escape from the Covid-19 outbreak relatively quickly compared to other countries. Nevertheless, it still remains greatly influenced by the Covid-19 pandemic across its politics, economy, society, culture, and other areas, which has led to various changes throughout China. Therefore, this study comprehensively examined the impact of the Covid-19 outbreak on various aspects of Chinese politics, economy, society, and culture. And in response to these changes in Chinese society, the study explores new strategies toward China in the post-Covid-19 era.
  • Topic: Politics, Culture, Economy, COVID-19, Society
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, Korea
  • Author: Pyoung Seob Yang, Cheol-Won Lee, Suyeob Na, Taehyn Oh, Young Sun Kim, Hyung Jun Yoon, Yoo-Duk Ga
  • Publication Date: 04-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Korea Institute for International Economic Policy (KIEP)
  • Abstract: China’s investment in the European Union (EU) increased significantly during the European financial crisis, but has been on the decline in recent years. The surge of Chinese investment has raised concerns and demands for analysis on the negative effects it could have on the EU companies and industries. In this context, the present study aims to analyze the main characteristics of Chinese investment and M&A in Europe, major policy issues between the two sides, the EU’s policy responses, and prospects of Chinese future investment in Eu-rope, going on to draw important lessons for Korea. To summarize the main characteristics of China's investment in Europe, the study found that the EU's share of China's overseas direct investment has continued to increase until recently. Second, investment in the Central and Eastern European Countries (CEECs) is gradually increasing, although it is still insignificant compared to the top five destinations in the EU: Netherlands, Sweden, Germany, Luxembourg and France. Third, China's investment in the EU is being made in pursuit of innovation in manufacturing and to acquire high-tech technologies. When it comes to China's M&A in Europe, the study found that the proportion of indirect China's M&As (via third countries (e.g. Hong Kong) or Chinese subsidiaries already established in Europe) was relatively higher than direct ones. Empirical factor analysis of investment also shows that China's investment in the EU is strongly motivated by the pursuit of strategic assets. Other factors such as institutional-level and regulatory variables are found to have no significant impact, or have an effect contrary to expectations. This suggests that China's investment in the EU is based on the Chinese government's growth strategy, and accompanies an element of national capitalism Today, It is highly expected that the COVID-19 pandemic will have a reorganizing effect on the global value chain (GVC) and Foreign investment regulation in the high-tech sector motivated by national security is emerging as a global issue as the US and the EU are tightening their control. As Korean companies are not free from the risk of falling under such regulations, a thorough and careful response is required. And for the Korean government, it is necessary to prepare legal and institutional measures regulating foreign investment in reference to the US and the EU.
  • Topic: Foreign Direct Investment, Financial Crisis, European Union, Economy, Economic Growth, Global Value Chains, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: China, Europe, Asia, Korea, United States of America
  • Publication Date: 01-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for Policy Research, India
  • Abstract: This brief presents some of the key effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on India’s public school education, focussing specifically on children. It begins with a discussion of the pre-pandemic status of school education and key policy shifts over the past few years, and provides an overview of the principal issues arising from the pandemic and the resulting school closures. It then offers potential policy suggestions to address these challenges, and thereby ensuring quality education to all children.
  • Topic: Education, Health, Children, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: South Asia, India
  • Author: Mukta Naik
  • Publication Date: 01-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for Policy Research, India
  • Abstract: Resilience and adaptation have become buzzwords as governments, corporations and society find ways to survive the Covid-19 pandemic and, where possible, seek to develop processes and outcomes that improve on the pre-crisis status quo. Members of the Women, Work, and the Gig Economy research consortium have also thought deeply about strategies to continue research under these challenging conditions, while considering the ethics that must underpin research at a time of great distress for people across the world. This brief summarizes the conceptual and practical approaches that consortium members have taken to address ethical concerns as well as strategic and tactical shifts in research methods within the broader, geographically diverse and evertransforming context of Covid-19. These insights draw on the deliberations of an internal workshop held in September 2020 where consortium members presented and debated their respective approaches and perspectives. In particular, the team at LIRNEasia provided substantive takeaways from their colloquium on “Research methods in a pandemic.”
  • Topic: Women, Ethics, Work Culture, COVID-19, Gig Economy
  • Political Geography: South Asia, India
  • Author: Owen Mangiza, Joshua Chakawa
  • Publication Date: 04-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (ACCORD)
  • Abstract: This Policy and Practice Brief (PPB) discusses the implications of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic on border communities, principally in relation to border controls by governments and trans-border activities by community members living close to the border in Zimbabwe.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Government, Border Control, Pandemic, Community, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Africa, Zimbabwe
  • Author: Danièle Hervieu-Léger
  • Publication Date: 01-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Robert Schuman Foundation (RSF)
  • Abstract: Crises reveal the state of a policy, reveal its ambiguities, strengths and shortcomings, and sometimes force a redefinition or clarification of its guiding principles to ensure its sustainability, if not its survival. Although at the height of the crisis, there is a reflex to completely overhaul what already exists, the constants and structuring considerations quickly tend to dampen the ardour for reform.
  • Topic: Reform, European Union, Trade, COVID-19, Adaptation
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Sachka Stefanova-Behlert, Martina Menghi
  • Publication Date: 04-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Robert Schuman Foundation (RSF)
  • Abstract: We live at a time of deep and radical transformations. The pandemic has accelerated many of the changes that were already underway and has brought new challenges to the surface. Among the most affected realms of our societies, we undoubtedly find work and the freedom of movement of people. In Europe, it is precisely at the intersection of these two elements that the posting of workers lays. In this field, we are also at a crucial moment because the pandemic arrived just a few months before the deadline for the implementation of the changes related to the revision of the Posting of Workers Directive. Hence, it has become even more urgent to understand how all these changes have impacted the posting of workers as well as propose solutions to facilitate workers and companies in this adaptation path. That is key if we are to safeguard an important instrument of the European single market. This is exactly the merit of this article and its two co-authors: offering a first and clear account of the characteristics of posting of workers during the pandemic, identifying the main challenges faced by Member States, EU institutions and businesses, while also identifying some potential future developments, despite the climate of great uncertainty surrounding us.
  • Topic: European Union, Crisis Management, Pandemic, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Alexandre Kateb
  • Publication Date: 02-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Robert Schuman Foundation (RSF)
  • Abstract: According to official statistics, the African continent has been relatively spared by the Covid-19 pandemic compared to Europe, America and Asia. The factors behind the low incidence of coronavirus in Africa are not fully understood. According to the WHO, the African continent has benefited from certain structural factors such as the limited international connectivity of most African countries, with the exception of some regional "hubs" such as Johannesburg, Casablanca, Addis Ababa and Nairobi. Incidentally, the most 'connected' African countries such as Morocco and South Africa have incurred the highest prevalence rates of Covid-19, which may lend credence to this explanation.
  • Topic: International Relations, European Union, Pandemic, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Africa, Europe