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  • Author: Morris Goldstein
  • Publication Date: 06-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: This working paper assesses the progress made in improving China's exchange rate policies over the past five years (that is, since 2002). I first discuss four indicators of progress on China's external imbalance and its exchange rate policies—namely, the change in (and level of) China's global current account position, movements in the real effective exchange rate of the renminbi (RMB), the role of market forces in the determination of the RMB, and China's compliance with its obligations on exchange rate policy as a member of the International Monetary Fund (IMF). I then discuss why the lack of progress in improving China's exchange rate policies matters for the economies of the China and the United States and for the international monetary and trading system. I also argue that several popular arguments and excuses for why more cannot be accomplished on removing the large undervaluation of the RMB are unpersuasive. Finally, I consider what can and should be done by China, the United States, and the IMF to accelerate progress over the next year or two.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Foreign Exchange
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Asia
  • Author: Jacob Funk Kirkegaard
  • Publication Date: 04-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: This working paper evaluates the validity of available data on and the extent of the impact of offshoring on service-sector labor markets in the United States, EU-15, and Japan. A three-tier data validity hierarchy is identified. The impact of offshoring on employment in the three regions is found to be limited. Correspondingly, developing Asia is unlikely to experience large employment gains as a destination region. The paper highlights the case of the Indian IT industry, where the majority of job creation has been in local Indian companies rather than foreign multinationals. Domestic entrepreneurs have played a crucial role in the growth of the Indian IT-related service industry. However, increased tradability of services and associated skill bias in favor of higher skilled workers could have an uneven employment impact on developing Asia. Some high-skilled groups are benefiting and will continue to benefit dramatically from new employment opportunities and rising wage levels. Meanwhile, the same skill bias may eliminate many employment opportunities for unskilled or low-skilled groups in the region. Developing Asian countries therefore face a double educational challenge in the coming years: the need to simultaneously improve both primary and higher education.
  • Topic: International Relations, Development, Economics, Industrial Policy
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan, Asia
  • Author: J. Bradford Jensen, Andrew B. Bernard
  • Publication Date: 09-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: Plant shutdowns shape industry productivity, the dynamics of employment, and industrial restructuring. Plant closures account for more than half of gross job destruction in US manufacturing. This paper examines the effects of firm structure on US manufacturing plant closures. Plants belonging to multi-plant firms and those owned by US multinationals are less likely to exit. However, the superior survival chances are due to the characteristics of the plants rather than the nature of the firms. Controlling for plant and industry attributes, we find that plants owned by multi-unit firms and US multinationals are much more likely to close.
  • Topic: Economics, Human Welfare, Industrial Policy
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Adam S. Posen
  • Publication Date: 01-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: On January 13, Germany's new chancellor, Angela Merkel, will have her first official visit with US President George W. Bush. Washington, or at least the part of Washington that still pays attention to transatlantic issues, not just the Bush administration, will be glad to see her given that she is not her US-bashing predecessor Gerhard Schroeder. Though this change in atmosphere is welcome, no one should make too much of it. It is unlikely to make much difference on security issues, where Iran's own actions are forcing the United States and Germany to come together, where German public opinion will keep the governments apart on Iraq, and where neither country is prepared to make major changes to defense budgets and approaches. The Masri case will certainly limit Merkel's interest in appearing too chummy with Bush on security matters.
  • Topic: Development, Economics
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Europe, Iran, Washington, Germany
  • Author: Gary Clyde Hufbauer, Yee Wong
  • Publication Date: 10-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: Frustrated with lackluster momentum in the WTO Doha Round and the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum, and mindful of free trade agreement (FTA) networks centered on the United States and Europe, Asian countries have joined the FTA game. By 2005, Asian countries (excluding China) had ratified 14 bilateral and regional FTAs and had negotiated but not implemented another seven. Asian nations are also actively negotiating some 23 bilateral and regional FTAs, many with non-Asian partners, including Australia, Canada, Chile, the European Union, India, and Qatar. China has been particularly active since 2000. It has completed three bilateral FTAs—Thailand in 2003 and Hong Kong and Macao in 2004—and is initiating another 17 bilateral and regional FTAs. However, a regional Asian economic bloc led by China seems distant, even though China accounts for about 30 percent of regional GDP. As in Europe and the Western Hemisphere, many Asian countries are pursuing FTAs with countries outside the region. On present evidence, the FTA process embraced with some enthusiasm in Asia, Europe, and the Western Hemisphere more closely resembles fingers reaching idiosycratically around the globe rather than politico-economic blocs centered respectively on Beijing, Brussels, and Washington.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Regional Cooperation
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Europe, Washington, Canada, India, Beijing, Asia, Australia, Qatar, Chile, Hong Kong, Brussels, Macao
  • Author: Catherine L. Mann, Katharina Plück
  • Publication Date: 09-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: The paper prepares new estimates for the elasticity of US trade flows using bilateral, commodity-detailed trade data for 31 countries, using measures of expenditure and trade prices matched to commodity groups, and including a commodity-and-country specific proxy for global supply-cum-variety. Using the United Nations Commodity Trade Statistics Database (UN Comtrade) we construct bilateral trade flows for 31 countries in four categories of goods based on the Bureau of Economic Analysis's "end-use" classification system--autos, industrial supplies and materials-excluding energy, consumer goods, and capital goods. We find that using expenditure matched to commodity category yields more plausible values for the demand elasticities than does using GDP as the measure of demand that drives trade flows. Controlling for country and commodity fixed effects, we find that industrial and developing countries have demand elasticities that are statistically significant and that generally differ between development groups and across product categories. Relative prices for the industrial countries have plausible parameter values, are statistically significant and differ across product groups, but the relative prices for developing countries are poorly estimated. We find that variety is an important variable for the behavior of capital goods trade. Because the commodity composition of trade and of trading partners has changed dramatically, particularly for imports, we find that the demand elasticity for imports is not constant. Comparing the in-sample performance of the disaggregated model against a benchmark that uses aggregated data and GDP as the expenditure variable, our disaggregated model predicts exports better in-sample but does not predict imports as well as the benchmark model.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: J. Bradford Jensen, Peter K. Schott, Andrew B. Bernard
  • Publication Date: 09-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: This paper provides an integrated view of globally engaged US firms by exploring a newly developed dataset that links US international trade transactions to longitudinal data on US enterprises. These data permit examination of a number of new dimensions of firm activity, including how many products firms trade, how many countries firms trade with, the characteristics of those countries, the concentration of trade across firms, whether firms transact at arm's length or with related parties, and whether firms import as well as export. Firms that trade goods play an important role in the United States, employing more than a third of the US workforce. We find that the most globally engaged US firms, i.e. those that both export to and import from related parties, dominate US trade flows and employment at trading firms. We also find that firms that begin trading between 1993 and 2000 experience especially rapid employment growth and are a major force in overall job creation.
  • Topic: Economics, Globalization, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Morris Goldstein, Anna Wong
  • Publication Date: 07-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: This paper addresses the following question: If a financial crisis affecting a group of emerging economies were to take place sometime over the next three years, where would the crisis likely originate, how could it be transmitted to other economies, and which economies would be most affected by particular transmission or contagion mechanisms? A set of indicators is presented to gauge the vulnerability of individual emerging economies to various shocks, including a slowdown in import demand in both China and the United States, a fall in primary commodity prices, increased costs and lower availability of external financing, alternative patterns of exchange rate changes, and pressures operating on monetary and fiscal policies in emerging economies.
  • Topic: Economics, Emerging Markets, Globalization, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: United States, China
  • Author: Marcus Noland
  • Publication Date: 06-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: This paper examines the impact of American public attitudes toward foreign countries on the volume of trade. The issue is whether popular attitudes, as elicited in these surveys, convey any information about trust, risk, or transactions costs beyond what can be explained through standard economic models. The results of this paper suggest that they do, with a one standard deviation increase in warmth of feeling associated with a 20 to 31 percent larger trade volume when evaluated at the sample means. These public attitudes are in turn correlated with indices of cultural affinity and political ideology. A one standard deviation increase in the democracy score is associated with a 5 to 7 percent increase in trade. There might be additional secondary effects if democratization was associated with an increased likelihood of the removal of sanctions or the initiation of preferential trade relations.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Economics, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Fred Bergsten
  • Publication Date: 04-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: The dollar has been the dominant currency of the world economy for almost a century for a single overwhelming reason: It had no competition. No other economy came close to the size of the United States. Hence no currency could acquire the network externalities, economies of scale and scope, and public goods benefits necessary to rival the dollar at the global level. A similar situation for the United Kingdom explains sterling's dominance in the 19th century.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: United States, United Kingdom, Europe