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  • Publication Date: 07-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: As its name suggests, the payoff on a credit default swap (CDS) depends on the default of a specific borrower, such as a corporation, or of a specific security, such as a bond. The value of these instruments is especially sensitive to the state of the overall economy. If the economy moves toward a recession, for example, the likelihood of defaults increases and the expected payoff on credit default swaps can rise quickly. The Depository Trust and Clearing Corporation (DTC C) estimates that in April 2009, the notional amount of credit default swaps outstanding was about $28 trillion. As a result of the overall size of the CDS market and the sensitivity of CDS payoffs to economic conditions, large exposures to credit default swaps can create substantial systemic risk.
  • Topic: Economics, Markets, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Steven Dunaway
  • Publication Date: 09-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: The seeds of the current economic and financial crisis were sown by economic policies of the major countries that fostered the growth of global imbalances during the 2000s. Consequently, an essential element in any assessment of prospects for world economic recovery and the pace of future growth has to factor in exactly how these imbalances are likely to unwind—or fail to be resolved—in the period immediately ahead.
  • Topic: Economics, Markets, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Robert A. Manning, Evan A. Feigenbaum
  • Publication Date: 11-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: President Barack Obama heads to Singapore in November for the 2009 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum (APEC) summit. It will be his first foray into the arcane world of Asian multilateralism. And if his administration adopts a new approach, it could yet fashion a more sustainable role for the United States in a changing Asia.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Globalization, International Trade and Finance, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: United States, Asia
  • Publication Date: 05-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: This Task Force report takes stock of the current situation in Latin America and the main challenges and opportunities for U.S.-Latin America relations. Latin America has benefited greatly in recent years from democratic opening, stable economic policies, and increasing growth. Many countries are taking advantage of these developments to consolidate democratic institutions, broaden economic opportunities, and better serve their citizens. Yet Latin American nations face daunting challenges as they integrate into global markets and work to strengthen historically weak state institutions. These challenges increasingly matter for the United States, as deepening economic and social ties link U.S. well-being to the region's stability and development.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Economics, Poverty
  • Political Geography: United States, South America, Latin America, Caribbean
  • Author: Brad W. Setser
  • Publication Date: 09-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: In the 1870s, the scope of Great Britain's financial empire exceeded the scope of its political empire. Dependence on British investors sometimes was a precursor, though, to informal—or even formal— political control. When Egypt's khedive needed to raise cash to cover his personal debt to private British banks, he sold his large personal stake in the Suez Canal to the British state. Egypt's ruler did little better managing Egypt's public debt: difficulties making payments led Britain and France to assume control over Egypt's treasury and, by 1882, to full British political control.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, International Political Economy, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Britain, United States, America, Egypt
  • Author: Douglas A. Irwin
  • Publication Date: 07-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: The news from Geneva of the breakdown of the Doha Round after seven years of effort has generated a great deal of pessimism about the future of multilateral trade agreements. America's troubles with the World Trade Organization (WTO) are of course only the beginning. There are also domestic problems when it comes to trade policy, an issue that ties together America's economic prosperity and its global political influence. Recent public opinion polls in the United States reveal increased skepticism about the benefits of globalization and diminished support for free trade policies. The post–World War II bipartisan consensus in favor of open trade has broken up, leading to gr eater resistance to new trade agreements in Congress, as reflected in the House's recent decision to postpone consideration of the Colombia free trade agreement (FTA). Despite efforts in the Doha Round to limit agricultural subsidies, Congress recently showered domestic farmers with more cash in the recently passed Farm Bill, even at a time when commodity prices are soaring.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets
  • Political Geography: Geneva, United States, America, Colombia
  • Author: Gordon H. Hanson
  • Publication Date: 04-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Illegal immigration is a source of mounting concern for politicians in the United States. In the past ten years, the U.S. population of illegal immigrants has risen from five million to nearly twelve million, prompting angry charges that the country has lost control over its borders. Congress approved measures last year that have significantly tightened enforcement along the U.S.-Mexico border in an effort to stop the flow of unauthorized migrants, and it is expected to make another effort this year at the first comprehensive reform of immigration laws in more than twenty years.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Development, Economics
  • Political Geography: United States, Latin America, Mexico
  • Author: Robert LaLonde
  • Publication Date: 06-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: An important component of U.S. productivity growth and economic competitiveness is a flexible labor market that shifts workers quickly into the jobs where they are most needed. Much of the time, this job shifting is fairly painless: Workers quickly find new positions that pay at least as much as their previous ones, often without an intervening spell of unemployment. But prime-aged and older workers can sometimes suffer large, long-term income losses. Such workers' well-founded fears about job displacement lead them and their advocates to resist policies such as free trade that are sometimes blamed for the job shifting. This resistance harms the majority of households because trade helps to lower prices, raise real incomes and promote economic growth. It also has foreign policy consequences since it threatens the United States' ability to play its traditional post–World War II role as the bulwark of a relatively open international trading system. And by reducing the dynamism of the U.S. economy, resistance to trade and other pro-growth policies can weaken the nation's long-term ability to exert global leadership.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, Markets
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Richard Lapper
  • Publication Date: 11-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: The popularity of the new political and economic model being developed in Venezuela has been a consistent source of aggravation for the U.S. government. Since first winning the presidency in December 1998, Hugo Chávez has been able through repeated electoral victories and radical constitutional reform to dominate Venezuela's government and public institutions. Undaunted by stiff U.S. opposition, President Chávez has launched what he calls a Bolivarian revolution, named after Simón Bolívar, a nineteenth-century leader of Latin America's independence wars. Chávez has reasserted the role of the state in the Venezuelan economy and developed extensive social programs to advance an anti- U.S., anti-capitalist crusade. New or newly reinvigorated alliances with established U.S. adversaries have helped internationalize Chávez's aims. Most alarming to those concerned with the health of Venezuelan democracy, Chávez and his allies have concentrated political power in the hands of the executive, curtailed the independence of the judiciary, shown limited tolerance for domestic critics, and openly intervened in the electoral politics of neighboring states.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Foreign Policy, Development, Economics, Politics
  • Political Geography: United States, South America, Latin America
  • Author: Keith E. Mascus
  • Publication Date: 11-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: America's robust economic competitiveness is du e in no small part to a large capacity for innovation. That capacity is imperiled, however, by an increasingly overprotective patent system. Over the past twenty-five years, American legislators and judges have operated on the principle that stronger patent protection engenders more innovation. This principle is misguided. Although intellectual property rights (IPR) play an important role in innovation, the recent increase in patent protection has not spurred innovation so much as it has impeded the development and use of new technologies.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Markets
  • Political Geography: United States, China, America