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  • Author: Mehdi Lahlou
  • Publication Date: 02-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The coronavirus pandemic has turned into a global economic crisis with severe social effects in the least developed countries, particularly in Africa. Pre-existing challenges related to widespread poverty, demographic growth, food insecurity and governance issues have been exacerbated by the pandemic. While migration remains one of the key elements of the partnership agenda between Africa and the European Union, the aggravating socioeconomic situation in the African continent due to the impact of COVID-19 and its implications for migration dynamics requires going beyond business-as-usual approaches. The renewed scenario calls for a more comprehensive and development-oriented approach to migration, requiring new policy initiatives addressing the wider set of conditions that, beyond constituting developmental challenges in their own right, also drive migration in North Africa as well as in Sub-Saharan African countries.
  • Topic: Economics, Migration, European Union, Mobility, Asylum, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Africa, Europe, North Africa
  • Author: Petar Jolakoski, Branimir Jovanovic, Joana Madjoska, Viktor Stojkoski, Dragan Tevdovski
  • Publication Date: 02-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Vienna Institute for International Economic Studies (WIIW)
  • Abstract: If firm profits rise to a level far above than what would have been earned in a competitive economy, this might give the firms market power, which might in turn influence the activity of the government. In this paper, we perform a detailed empirical study on the potential effects of firm profits and markups on government size and effectiveness. Using data on 30 European countries for a period of 17 years and an instrumental variables approach, we find that there exists a robust relationship between firm gains and the activity of the state, in the sense that higher firm profits reduce government size and effectiveness. Even in a group of developed countries, such as the European countries, firm power may affect state activity.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Government, International Political Economy, Profit
  • Political Geography: Europe, Global Focus
  • Author: Michael Landesmann, Isilda Mara
  • Publication Date: 05-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Vienna Institute for International Economic Studies (WIIW)
  • Abstract: The South-North migration corridor, i.e. migration flows to the EU from Africa, the Middle East and EU neighbouring countries in the East, have overtaken the East-West migration corridor, i.e. migration flows from Central and East European countries to the EU15 and the European Free Trade Association (EFTA). This is likely to dominate migration flows into the EU+EFTA over the coming decades. This paper applies a gravity modelling approach to analyse patterns and drivers of the South-North migration corridor over the period 1995-2020 and explores bilateral mobility patterns from 75 sending countries in Africa, the Middle East and other EU neighbours to the EU28 and EFTA countries. The study finds that income gaps, diverging demographic trends, institutional and governance features and persisting political instability, but also higher climate risks in the neighbouring regions of the EU, are fuelling migration flows along the South-North corridor and will most likely continue to do so.
  • Topic: Economics, International Political Economy, Migration, Labor Issues, European Union, Human Capital, Labor Market
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Sonali Chowdhry, Gabriel Felbermayr
  • Publication Date: 02-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW)
  • Abstract: In 2011, the EU-South Korea Free Trade Agreement (EUKFTA) entered into force. With its focus on non-tariff barriers (NTBs), it is a leading example of a deep new generation agreement. Using detailed French customs data for the period 2000 to 2016, we investigate how exporters of different size have gained from the agreement. Applying a diff-in-diff strategy that makes use of the rich dimensionality of the data, we find that firms with larger pre-FTA sizes benefit more from the FTA than firms at the lower end of the size distribution, both at the extensive (product) and the intensive margins of trade. The latter finding is in surprising contrast to leading theories of firm-level behavior. Moreover, we find that our main result is driven by NTB reductions rather than tariff cuts. In shedding light on the distributional effects of trade agreements within exporters, our findings highlight the need for effective SME-chapters in FTAs.
  • Topic: Economics, International Political Economy, Treaties and Agreements, Tariffs, Trade
  • Political Geography: Europe, South Korea, European Union
  • Author: Thomas Brand, Fabien Tripier
  • Publication Date: 03-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre d'Etudes Prospectives et d'Informations Internationales (CEPII)
  • Abstract: Highly synchronized during the Great Recession of 2008-2009, the Euro area and the US have diverged in the period that followed. To explain this divergence, we provide a structural interpretation of these episodes through the estimation for both economies of a business cycle model with financial frictions and risk shocks, measured as the volatility of idiosyncratic uncertainty in the financial sector. Our results show that risk shocks have stimulated US growth in the aftermath of the Great Recession and have been the main driver of the double-dip recession in the Euro area. They play a positive role in the Euro area only after 2015. Risk shocks therefore seem well suited to account for the consequences of the sovereign debt crisis in Europe and the subsequent positive effects of unconventional monetary policies, notably the ECB’s Asset Purchase Programme (APP).
  • Topic: Debt, Economics, International Political Economy, Global Recession, Finance, Europe Union, Economic Growth, Risk
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Global Focus
  • Author: Okko-Pekka Salmimies
  • Publication Date: 09-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Finland is preparing a Strategic Programme for the Circular Economy this autumn. It offers an opportunity to strengthen policy coherence between domestic policies and different aspects of foreign policy relevant when promoting a circular economy.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Economics, Domestic politics
  • Political Geography: Europe, Finland, Scandinavia
  • Author: Rudolf Furst
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute of International Relations Prague
  • Abstract: The Euro-Japanese rapprochement stimulates the Japanese interest in the new EU member states, which are then matched with Japanese investments and Japan’s global trade strategy. The V4 countries benefit from their geographical position, existing infrastructure and political stability, industrial tradition, and low labour costs, emphasizes Rudolf Fürst.
  • Topic: Economics, Bilateral Relations, Labor Issues, European Union, Political stability, Industry
  • Political Geography: Japan, Europe, Asia
  • Author: Alice Gambarin, Osman Ismail
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Oxford Economics
  • Abstract: This report explores the short-term effects of Covid-19 on the financial sustainability of the creative industries in the UK. Along with the tourism sector, Creative Industries (CIs) are among the most affected by the current Covid-19 crisis. Creative workers, one of the more vulnerable sectors of the workforce, are already seeing devastating impacts on their income, not only in turnover terms, but also in their charitable contributions and sponsorship. Leaving behind the more fragile part of the sector could cause irreparable socio-economic damage. We find that the Creative Industries are projecting a combined £77bn turnover loss over the course of 2020 compared to 2019 (-31%). This is expected to translate into a GVA shortfall of £29bn in 2020 compared to 2019 (-26%), over half of which is in London. In 2020, CIs are projecting a 122,000 drop in employment among employees (despite the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme - JRS) and a further 287,000 job losses among self employed workers, compared to 2019 levels. In total, 409,000 CIs jobs are considered at risk, 27% of which are in London and 20% are in the South East.
  • Topic: Economics, Public Health, Pandemic, COVID-19, Socioeconomics
  • Political Geography: United Kingdom, Europe
  • Publication Date: 11-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Oxford Economics
  • Abstract: The European music sector has a major impact on the economies of the EU and the UK. In 2018 the recorded music industry supported an €81.9 billion contribution to EU27 and UK GDP, according to a study by Oxford Economics, commissioned by IFPI. This was larger than the GDP of nine of the 28 EU Member States in that year. Of this contribution, €37.5 billion was generated by the music sector itself through its output, wages and tax payments. To give a sense of scale, this was 1.5 times larger than that made by the wine-making and brewing sectors. The European music sector also had a significant indirect impact on the labour market and fiscal position around Europe. We estimate the music sector supported 2 million jobs across the EU27 and UK, which meant that 1 in every 119 jobs in the 28 countries were dependent on the sector’s activities to some degree. All of this economic activity also benefited public finances, with the sector supporting a total contribution of €31.0 billion to EU27 and UK tax revenues, equivalent to 19.4% of the entire EU budget for the same year. In addition to this, we also conservatively estimate that the European music sector earned €9.7 billion in export revenue in 2018 from customers around the rest of the world. These earnings are 13% higher than all exports of European GI-protected wines to non-EU countries (including champagne).
  • Topic: Economics, Culture, Music, popular culture, Job Creation
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Amat Adarov, Robert Stehrer
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Vienna Institute for International Economic Studies (WIIW)
  • Abstract: The paper studies the drivers of productivity at country and sectoral levels over the period 2000-2017 with the focus on the impact of capital accumulation and structure. The analysis confirms an especially important role of ICT and intangible digital capital for productivity growth, particularly in the manufacturing sectors. While backward global value chain participation and EU integration are also found to be instrumental for accelerating productivity growth, the impact of inward foreign direct investment is not robustly detected when the data is purged from the effects of special purpose entities and outlier countries.
  • Topic: Economics, Foreign Direct Investment, European Union, Digital Economy, Capital Flows, Trade
  • Political Geography: Europe, Global Focus
  • Author: Stefan Jestl, Roman Römisch
  • Publication Date: 08-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Vienna Institute for International Economic Studies (WIIW)
  • Abstract: This paper analyses the economic effects of a reallocation of Cohesion Policy expenditures across EU countries. We evaluate a shift from stronger (i.e. older) Member States to less-developed EU economies (i.e. CEE countries) and vice versa. On top of that, we also assess the effects of a general reduction in the Cohesion Policy budget. For evaluation, we construct a demand-driven macroeconomic model which spans country models of 21 EU economies and is calibrated based on empirical data for the period 1995-2018. Our results suggest that a shift of Cohesion Policy funds to more (less) developed countries would result in a higher (lower) overall economic performance. However, the reallocation would affect economic outcomes in EU economies unevenly. In addition to direct effects on demand and production, it is pivotal to take into account indirect effects via trade as well. As a result, Cohesion Policy seems to be confronted with a trade-off between long-run convergence and short-run economic performance.
  • Topic: Economics, International Political Economy, European Union, Economic Growth, Investment, Economic Cooperation
  • Political Geography: Europe, European Union
  • Author: Roman Römisch
  • Publication Date: 08-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Vienna Institute for International Economic Studies (WIIW)
  • Abstract: This paper develops a simple method to consistently break down world input-output tables to regional input-output tables. They are used to estimate Cohesion Policy-induced demand spillovers in the EU, covering the years 2007-2018. Results indicate that Cohesion spillovers from less developed regions to other regions exceed 40% of their initial EU support in some cases. In addition, spillovers from the more developed regions are equivalent to 24% of their initial EU support. This shows that the existing trade and investment linkages across the EU regions are strong and not only run from less developed to more developed regions but also vice versa. Our results are good news for the net paying regions in the EU. Taking into account capacity growth effects, Cohesion Policy spillovers might well be a multiple of the pure demand spillovers estimated in this paper. Thus, for net paying regions, Cohesion Policy is not only an act of European solidarity but also a rational long-run economic growth policy.
  • Topic: Economics, International Political Economy, International Trade and Finance, European Union, Investment, Economic Cooperation
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Stefan Jestl, Ambre Maucorps, Roman Römisch
  • Publication Date: 08-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Vienna Institute for International Economic Studies (WIIW)
  • Abstract: This paper analyses the effects of the EU Cohesion Policy (CP) on the economic growth of 276 European NUTS-2 regions between 2008 and 2016. Using a structural equation model (SEM) consisting of both a measurement component (with two latent variables) and a structural component, we estimate the impact of CP funding on the growth of GDP per capita across EU regions. The estimation also enables us to predict changes in the growth of GDP per capita based on a scenario of CP funding reallocation between member states. Overcoming the limitations of traditional linear regression, SEM modelling proves to be a promising method for impact evaluation, also allowing for the inclusion of indirect causal paths and feedback loops to depict, for example, cross-border economic spillover effects.
  • Topic: Economics, International Political Economy, European Union, Economic Growth, Investment, Economic Cooperation
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Julia Grübler, Oliver Reiter
  • Publication Date: 09-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Vienna Institute for International Economic Studies (WIIW)
  • Abstract: Political debates and economic analyses often focus on single free trade agreements and their potential economic effects on participating trading partners. This study contributes to the literature by shedding light on the significance of trade agreements in the context of countries’ positions in worldwide trade agreement networks, by combining network theory with gravity trade modelling. We illustrate, both numerically and graphically, the evolution of the global web of trade agreements in general, and the network of the European Union specifically, accounting for the geographical and temporal change in the depth of agreements implemented. Gravity estimations for the period 1995-2017 distinguish the direct bilateral effects of trade agreements from indirect effects attributable to the scope of trade networks and countries’ positions therein.
  • Topic: Economics, International Political Economy, International Trade and Finance, Treaties and Agreements, Profit, Models
  • Political Geography: Europe, Austria
  • Author: Mahdi Ghodsi, Mohammad Sharif Karimi, Robert Stehrer
  • Publication Date: 09-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Vienna Institute for International Economic Studies (WIIW)
  • Abstract: Until 2012, the Central Bank of Iran (CBI) used its policy rate to stabilise the rial’s exchange rate and, given a persistent current-account surplus, had accumulated sizeable currency reserves. In 2012, however, international sanctions against Iran intensified and the value of the rial halved against the US dollar. Since then Iran has followed a dual interest rate policy, with both a market rate and an official rate applied by the CBI to major imports. In recent years, as sanctions have cut access to foreign reserves, the gap between the two rates has widened substantially. Given these important changes in the exchange rate regime, this paper investigates the impact of the real exchange rate on the trade balance in Iran over the period 1997-2017. For this purpose, an asymmetric model is used, as the speed of the effects of changes in the exchange rate can be asymmetric. The results of the nonlinear autoregressive distributed lag model (NARDL) indicate that this is indeed the case. Results are generally consistent with the Marshall-Lerner condition: an exchange rate depreciation improves the trade balance, whereas an appreciation worsens it. However, the trade balance reacts more strongly in the short run to depreciations of the rial than to appreciations. Although the government could easily improve the trade balance in the short run through currency depreciation, policymakers should in the longer run promote non-oil exports to reduce dependency on oil and to diversify the economy.
  • Topic: Economics, International Political Economy, International Trade and Finance, Exchange Rate Policy, Central Bank, Models
  • Political Geography: Europe, Iran
  • Author: Mahdi Ghodsi, Robert Stehrer
  • Publication Date: 10-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Vienna Institute for International Economic Studies (WIIW)
  • Abstract: Eight multilateral rounds of negotiations under the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) and international agreements under the World Trade Organisation (WTO) have contributed significantly to the reduction of tariffs among WTO members. However, over the years legitimate reasons for the imposition of non-tariff measures (NTMs) within regulations have triggered their extensive use. Among these measures, technical barriers to trade (TBTs) and sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) measures allow countries to impose restrictions on the import of low-quality products suspected of harming domestic consumers’ health, plant life or the environment. Such trade policy instruments may lead to higher standards in the import market, in addition to improving market efficiency through information requirements such as mandatory labelling. This paper analyses two types of regulative and standard-like NTMs – TBTs and SPS measures – and the quality improvement of traded products that is driven by their imposition, which might be a general underlying motive for the adoption of such regulations. Based on a model framework involving both the supply and the demand side of trade and using four types of measures of these NTMs, this paper assesses the impact of TBTs and SPS measures on the quality of traded products. A dummy variable measuring the existence of these NTMs and a count variable indicating their stringency are used in the analysis. Moreover, two other variables indicate flows of NTMs imposed in each year and stocks of these NTMs accumulated over years. The results indicate that TBTs and SPS measures do indeed imply a higher quality of traded products, which is also consistent with the model when NTMs enter as a specific trade cost. Stringent TBTs with more regulations imposed in each year (i.e. flows of count TBTs) have the largest impact on the quality of traded products. However, for SPS measures only the existence of a regulation (i.e. the dummy variable on flows of SPS measures) on a traded product has the strongest impact on its quality.
  • Topic: Economics, International Political Economy, International Trade and Finance, WTO, Non-Tariff Measures, GATT
  • Political Geography: Europe, Global Focus
  • Author: Lisa Ann Richey, Maha Rafi Atal
  • Publication Date: 08-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Business and Development Studies (CBDS), Copenhagen Business School
  • Abstract: As the global Covid-19 pandemic spread through Europe and North America, companies raced to communicate how they were responding to the crisis. Advertising that focuses on a company’s response to humanitarian crises is hardly new. Every holiday season features a parade of brands touting their seasonal partnerships with charitable causes. Yet these exercises in “Covid-branding” struck a particular nerve with both consumers and media commentators because so many of the brands stuck to the same script.
  • Topic: Economics, Markets, Communications, Advertising
  • Political Geography: Europe, North America, Global Focus
  • Author: Anthony Edo, Jacques Melitz
  • Publication Date: 12-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre d'Etudes Prospectives et d'Informations Internationales (CEPII)
  • Abstract: The scale of the rise in personal wealth following the Black Death calls the life-cycle hypothesis of consumption into consideration. This paper shows for the first time that the wealth effect of the Black Death on the price level continued in England for generations, up to 1450. Indeed, in absence of consideration of the wealth effect, other influences on the price level do not even appear in the econometric analysis. The separate roles of coinage, population, trade, wages and annual number of days worked for wages all also receive attention and new results follow for adjustment in the labor market.
  • Topic: Economics, International Political Economy, Infectious Diseases, Population, Trade, Labor Market
  • Political Geography: Europe, England
  • Author: Aymeric Ortmans, Fabien Tripier
  • Publication Date: 10-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre d'Etudes Prospectives et d'Informations Internationales (CEPII)
  • Abstract: This paper studies how the announcement of the ECB’s monetary policies stopped the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic to the European sovereign debt market. We show that up to March 9, the occurrence of new cases in euro area countries had a sizeable and persistent effect on 10-year sovereign bond spreads relative to Germany: 10 new confirmed cases per million people were accompanied by an immediate spread increase of 0.03 percentage points (ppt) that lasted 5 days, for a total increase of 0.35 ppt. For periods afterwards,the effect falls to near zero and is not significant. We interpret this change as an indicator of the success of the ECB’s March 12 press conference, despite the “we are not here to close spreads” controversy. Our results hold for the stock market, providing further evidence of the effectiveness of the ECB’s March 12 announcements in stopping the financial turmoil. A counterfactual analysis shows that without the shift in the sensitivity of sovereign bond markets to COVID-19, spreads would have surged to 4.2% in France, 12.5% in Spain, and 19.5% in Italy by March 18, when the ECB’s Pandemic Emergency Purchase Programme was finally announced.
  • Topic: Debt, Economics, International Political Economy, Markets, Central Bank, COVID-19, Banking
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Chad P. Bown, Jennifer A. Hillman
  • Publication Date: 10-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: The United States, the European Union, and Japan have begun a trilateral process to confront the Chinese economic model, including its use of industrial subsidies and deployment of state-owned enterprises. This paper seeks to identify the main areas of tension and to assess the legal-economic challenges to constructing new rules to address the underlying conflict. It first provides a brief history of subsidy disciplines in the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade and the World Trade Organization (WTO) predating any concerns introduced by China. It then describes contemporary economic problems with China’s approach to subsidies, their impact, and the apparent ineffectiveness of the WTO’s Agreement on Subsidies and Countervailing Measures to address them. Finally, it calls for increased efforts to measure and pinpoint the source of the problems—in a manner analogous to how the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development took on agricultural subsidies in the 1980s—before providing a legal-economic assessment of proposals for reforms to notifications, evidence, remedies, enforcement, and the definition of a subsidy.
  • Topic: Economics, World Trade Organization, Tariffs, Trade
  • Political Geography: Japan, Europe, Asia, North America, United States of America, European Union
  • Author: Alvaro Leandro, Jeromin Zettelmeyer
  • Publication Date: 08-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: This paper explains and evaluates three proposals to create “safe assets” for the euro area based on sovereign bonds, in which sovereign risk is limited through diversification and some form of seniority. These assets would be held by banks and other financial institutions, replacing concentrated exposures to their own sovereigns. The paper focuses on three ideas: (1) to create multitranche “sovereign bond-backed securities” (SBBS), of which the senior tranche would constitute a safe asset; (2) to create a senior, publicly owned financial intermediary that would issue a bond backed by a diversified portfolio of sovereign loans (“E-bonds”); and (3) to issue sovereign bonds in several tranches and induce banks to hold a diversified pool of senior sovereign bonds (“multitranche national bond issuance”). Public attention (including public criticism) has so far focused on the first idea; the other two have not yet been seriously debated. The authors find that none of the competing proposals entirely dominates the others. SBBS do not deserve most of the criticism to which they have been subjected. At the same time, E-bonds and multitranche national bond issuance have several interesting features—including inducing fiscal discipline—and warrant further exploration.
  • Topic: Economics, Sovereign Wealth Funds, Banks, Risk
  • Political Geography: Europe, Global Focus
  • Author: Maria C. Latorre, Zoryana Olekseyuk, Hidemichi Yonezawa, Sherman Robinson
  • Publication Date: 03-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: This paper examines 12 economic simulation models that estimate the impact of Brexit (Britain’s exit from the European Union). Most of the studies find adverse effects for the United Kingdom (UK) and the EU-27. The UK’s GDP losses from a hard Brexit (reversion to World Trade Organization rules due to a lack of UK-EU agreement) range from –1.2 to –4.5 percent in most of the models analyzed. A soft Brexit (e.g., Norway arrangement, which seems in line with the nonbinding text of the political declaration of November 14, 2018, on the future EU-UK relationship) has about half the negative impact of a hard Brexit. Only two of the models derive gains for the UK after Brexit because they are based on unrealistic assumptions. The authors analyze more deeply a computable general equilibrium model that includes productivity and firm selection effects within manufacturing sectors and operations of foreign multinationals in services. Based on this latest model, they explain the likely economic impact of Brexit on a wide range of macroeconomic variables, namely GDP, wages, private consumption, capital remuneration, aggregate exports, aggregate imports, and the consumer price index.
  • Topic: Economics, World Trade Organization, Brexit, Multinational Corporations
  • Political Geography: Britain, Europe, European Union
  • Author: Felipe González, Nicolas Véron
  • Publication Date: 08-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: China's rapid rise and unique economic system and the increasingly aggressive and disruptive US trade policy are posing an unprecedented threat to the global rules-based trading and economic system. The European Union has critical interests at stake in the current escalation, even as it has so far been comparatively spared from US trade policy belligerence and China's reactions. In this context, the European Union should adopt an independent and proactive stance, building on recent efforts and going beyond them. The European Union, even more than the United States or China, has a strategic interest in the preservation of the global rules-based order embodied by the World Trade Organization (WTO). It must play a leading role in steering WTO reform and modernization, working closely with broadly aligned third countries such as Japan and other players. It should expand its outreach beyond its immediate negotiating counterparts in both the United States and China, and leading European officials at both the EU and member state levels should work at better understanding China. While strengthening its domestic policy instruments to address new challenges, such as the screening of foreign direct investment for security purposes, the European Union must also resist its own temptations of protectionism and economic nationalism. In support of these objectives, the European Union should prepare itself for difficult decisions, which may involve revising some of its current red lines in international trade negotiations. Conversely, the European Union should stand firm on principles such as refusing one-sided agreements and rejecting abusive recourse to national security arguments in trade policies. The European Parliament, in working with the European Council and the European Commission, will have a critical role to play in steering the European Union through these challenging times.
  • Topic: International Relations, Economics, Trade Wars, Trade Policy
  • Political Geography: China, Europe, Asia, North America, United States of America, European Union
  • Author: Alvaro Leandro, Jeromin Zettelmeyer
  • Publication Date: 08-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: This paper explains and evaluates three proposals to create “safe assets” for the euro area based on sovereign bonds, in which sovereign risk is limited through diversification and some form of seniority. These assets would be held by banks and other financial institutions, replacing concentrated exposures to their own sovereigns. The paper focuses on three ideas: (1) to create multitranche “sovereign bond-backed securities” (SBBS), of which the senior tranche would constitute a safe asset; (2) to create a senior, publicly owned financial intermediary that would issue a bond backed by a diversified portfolio of sovereign loans (“E-bonds”); and (3) to issue sovereign bonds in several tranches and induce banks to hold a diversified pool of senior sovereign bonds (“multitranche national bond issuance”). Public attention (including public criticism) has so far focused on the first idea; the other two have not yet been seriously debated. The authors find that none of the competing proposals entirely dominates the others. SBBS do not deserve most of the criticism to which they have been subjected. At the same time, E-bonds and multitranche national bond issuance have several interesting features—including inducing fiscal discipline—and warrant further exploration.
  • Topic: Economics, Regional Integration, Risk, Fiscal Policy
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: John Wilkinson
  • Publication Date: 02-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies
  • Abstract: New economic sociology (NES) in Germany has many similarities with economic sociology in the United States in its conscious efforts to institutionalize its presence within the broader sociology community, its promotion of a canon via handbooks, and its focus on the sociology of markets. At the same time, it differs in its stronger connections to the German classics, the greater vitality of a macrosociological tradition in Germany, the prior existence of a “bridging” generation of economic sociologists, and its later consolidation in a period of neo-liberal globalization, all of which have giv- en NES in the German-speaking world a distinctive character. In addition, it has been influenced by successive waves of French economic sociology – Bourdieu, convention, and actor-network theory – and its bilingual academic tradition has ensured its integration into English-speaking NES. In its contribution to the sociology of markets, the fact that NES emerged later in Germany than in the US led to a greater concern with quality markets rather than commodity markets, and a concomitantly greater attention to issues of value and price. These latter themes, in their turn, establish a continuity with German economic sociology’s enduring concern with understanding the role of money. Not surprisingly, therefore, German NES is now making key contributions to discussions on the sociol- ogy of money and is increasingly situating its analysis within the broader dynamic of capitalism and current processes of financialization.
  • Topic: Economics, Globalization, Sociology, Capitalism
  • Political Geography: Europe, Germany, Central Europe
  • Author: Uri Dadush, Marta Dominguez-Jimenez, Tianlang Gao
  • Publication Date: 11-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Bruegel
  • Abstract: China and the European Union have an extensive and growing economic relationship. The relationship is problematic because of the distortions caused by China’s state capitalist system and the diversity of interests within the EU’s incomplete federation. More can be done to capture the untapped trade and investment opportunities that exist between the parties. China’s size and dynamism, and its recent shift from an export-led to a domestic demand-led growth model, mean that these opportunities are likely to grow with time. As the Chinese economy matures, provided appropriate policy steps are taken, it is likely to become a less disruptive force in world markets than during its extraordinary breakout period.
  • Topic: Economics, Governance, European Union, Investment, Trade
  • Political Geography: China, Europe, Asia
  • Author: Alicia Garcia-Herrero, Jianwei Xu
  • Publication Date: 11-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Bruegel
  • Abstract: China’s economic ties with Russia are deepening. Meanwhile, Europe remains Russia’s largest trading partner, lender and investor. An analysis of China’s ties with Russia, indicate that China seems to have become more of a competitor to the European Union on Russia’s market. Competition over investment and lending is more limited, but the situation could change rapidly with China and Russia giving clear signs of a stronger than ever strategic partnership.
  • Topic: Economics, Markets, Bilateral Relations, Governance, Investment, Exports
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, Europe, Eurasia, Asia
  • Author: Saliha Metinsoy
  • Publication Date: 09-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Global Political Economy, University of Sussex
  • Abstract: Why does the International Monetary Fund (IMF) assign more stringent labor conditions in some cases and not others? This paper argues that the Fund’s bureaucratic organizational culture and neoliberal economic beliefs dictate its interpretation of international economics and predict the stringency of labor conditions in its programs. Particularly, the Fund staff envisage that lower unit labor costs would indirectly increase competitiveness, boost exports, and contribute to the balance of payments in fixed exchange rate regimes, where currency depreciation is not possible. To this end, the Fund assigns more stringent labor conditions in fixed regimes compared to floating ones. To test this theory, the paper uses a mixed method. It firstly demonstrates the association between exchange rate regimes and the stringency of labor conditions in Fund programs in a global sample. It then complements this analysis by showing particular organizational habits and beliefs at work in two cases, namely in Latvia and Hungary in 2008 under their respective IMF programs. Furthermore, the paper shows that distribution of income away from labor groups (i.e. lowered wages) is in fact by design in IMF programs in an attempt to increase competitiveness in fixed regimes.
  • Topic: Economics, International Monetary Fund, International Development, Neoliberalism
  • Political Geography: Europe, Eastern Europe, Hungary, Latvia
  • Author: Michael Kende1, Nivedita Sen
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Trade and Economic Integration, The Graduate Institute (IHEID)
  • Abstract: E-commerce has long been recognized as a driver of growth of the digital economy, with the potential to promote economic development. The benefits come from lower transaction costs online, increased efficiency, and access to new markets. The smallest of vendors can join online marketplaces to increase their sales, while larger companies can use the Internet to join global value chains (GVCs), and the largest e-commerce providers are now among the most valuable companies in the world.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Science and Technology, World Trade Organization, Digital Economy, Economic Growth, Free Trade
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Switzerland, Global Focus
  • Author: Tarek A. Hassan, Laurence van Lent, Stephan Hollander, Ahmed Tahoun
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute for New Economic Thinking (INET)
  • Abstract: Using tools from computational linguistics, we construct new measures of the impact of Brexit on listed firms in the United States and around the world: the share of discussions in quarterly earnings conference calls on costs, benefits, and risks associated with the UK’s intention to leave the EU. Using this approach, we identify which firms expect to gain or lose from Brexit and which are most affected by Brexit uncertainty. We then estimate the effects of these different kinds of Brexit exposure on firm-level outcomes. We find that concerns about Brexit-related uncertainty extend far beyond British or even European firms. US and international firms most exposed to Brexit uncertainty have lost a substantial fraction of their market value and have reduced hiring and investment. In addition to Brexit uncertainty (the second moment), we find that international firms overwhelmingly expect negative direct effects of Brexit (the first moment), should it come to pass. Most prominently, firms expect difficulties resulting from regulatory divergence, reduced labor mobility, trade access, and the costs of adjusting their operations post-Brexit. Consistent with the predictions of canonical theory, this negative sentiment is recognized and priced in stock markets but has not yet had significant effects on firm actions.
  • Topic: Economics, Political Economy, Regional Cooperation, Brexit, Global Political Economy, Economic Policy
  • Political Geography: Britain, United States, United Kingdom, Europe, European Union
  • Author: Joseph Halevi
  • Publication Date: 06-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute for New Economic Thinking (INET)
  • Abstract: This paper analyzes the early stages of the formation of the Common Market. The period covered runs from the end of WW2 to 1959, which is the year in which the European Payments Union ceased to operate. The essay begins by highlighting the differences between the prewar political economy of Europe and the new dimensions and institutions brought in by the United States after 1945. It focuses on the marginalization of Britain and on the relaunching of French great power ambitions and how the latter determined, in a very problematical way, the European complexion of France. Because of France’s imperial aspirations, France, not West Germany, emerged as the politically crisis prone country of Europe acting as a factor of instability thereby jeopardizing the process of European integration, Among the large European nations, Germany and Italy appear, for opposite economic reasons, as the countries most focused on furthering integration. Germany expressed the strongest form of neomercantilism while Italy the weakest.
  • Topic: Economics, Political Economy, Global Political Economy, World War II, Common Market
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Germany, Global Focus
  • Author: Joseph Halevi
  • Publication Date: 11-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute for New Economic Thinking (INET)
  • Abstract: This essay deals with the contradictory dynamics that engulfed Europe from 1959 to 1979, the year of the launching of the European Monetary System. It focuses on how the macroeconomic frame- work of stop-go policies in the 1960s ended up privileging external – intra-European - exports at the expense of domestic demand. The paper offers a very tentative explanation as to why stop-go policies, by weakening domestic demand, did not put an end to the to the ‘long boom’ earlier as they should have. The French crisis of 1968-69 leading to the demise of De Gaulle is discussed at length, as is the renewal of the German export drive in the wake of a nominal revaluation of the D-Mark in 1969. Finally, the revival of labor struggles in Italy in the same year is put in the context of the structural weaknesses of the Italian economy as analyzed by the late Marcello de Cecco. The conclusion is that European countries had neither the political culture nor the institutional mechanisms to coordinate mutually advantageous policies. Their so-called cooperation was an exercise in establishing hegemony while defending the interests specific to the dominant economic groups of each country. The essay then deals with the formation of the EMS as an expression of efforts to establish and enforce economic dominance.
  • Topic: Economics, Markets, History, Monetary Policy, Capitalism, Common Market, Macroeconomics
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Joseph Halevi
  • Publication Date: 11-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute for New Economic Thinking (INET)
  • Abstract: The paper highlights the position of German authorities, showing that they were quite lucid about the fundamental weaknesses inherent in a process that separated monetary from fiscal policies by giving priority to the centralization of the former. Instead of repeating the well known critiques levelled against the EMU – for which readers are referred to the unsurpassed treatment by Stiglitz, the essay highlights the splintering of Europe in the way in which it has unfolded during the 1990s and in the first decade of the present millennium. In particular the early economic and political origins of the terminal crisis of Italy are located between the late 1980s and the 1990s. France is shown to belong increasingly to the so-called European periphery by virtue of a weakening industrial structure and persistent balance of payments deficits. The paper argues that France regains its central role by political means and through its weight as an active nuclear military power centered on maintaining its imperial interests and posture especially in Africa. The first decade of the present millennium is portrayed as the period in which a distinct German economic area had been formed in the midst of Europe with a strong drive to the east with an increasingly powerful gravitational pull towards the People’s Republic of China.
  • Topic: Economics, International Political Economy, Political Economy, History, Macroeconomics
  • Political Geography: Africa, China, Europe, Asia, Germany, Global Focus
  • Author: Servaas Storm
  • Publication Date: 04-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute for New Economic Thinking (INET)
  • Abstract: Using macroeconomic data for 1960-2018, this paper analyzes the origins of the crisis of the ‘post-Maastricht Treaty order of Italian capitalism’. After 1992, Italy did more than most other Eurozone members to satisfy EMU conditions in terms of self-imposed fiscal consolidation, structural reform and real wage restraint—and the country was undeniably successful in bringing down inflation, moderating wages, running primary fiscal surpluses, reducing unemployment and raising the profit share. But its adherence to the EMU rulebook asphyxiated Italy’s domestic demand and exports—and resulted not just in economic stagnation and a generalized productivity slowdown, but in relative and absolute decline in many major dimensions of economic activity. Italy’s chronic shortage of demand has clear sources: (a) perpetual fiscal austerity; (b) permanent real wage restraint; and (c) a lack of technological competitiveness which, in combination with an overvalued euro, weakens the ability of Italian firms to maintain their global market shares in the face of increasing competition of low-wage countries. These three causes lower capacity utilization, reduce firm profitability and hurt investment, innovation and diversification. The EMU rulebook thus locks the Italian economy into economic decline and impoverishment. The analysis points to the need to end austerity and devise public investment and industrial policies to improve Italy’s ‘technological competitiveness’ and stop the structural divergence between the Italian economy and France/Germany. The issue is not just to revive demand in the short run (which is easy), but to create a self-reinforcing process of investment-led and innovation-driven process of long-run growth (which is difficult).
  • Topic: Economics, Capitalism, Global Political Economy, Macroeconomics, Eurozone
  • Political Geography: Europe, Italy
  • Author: Stefan Jestl
  • Publication Date: 12-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Vienna Institute for International Economic Studies (WIIW)
  • Abstract: This paper examines the impact of income inequality on consumption-related household indebtedness at the household level. Using the first wave of the Eurosystem Household Finance and Consumption Survey data, the analysis sheds light on heterogeneous effects across euro area countries. The results suggest a positive impact of income inequality on consumption-related household indebtedness in a small sample of countries. We further employ a multilevel regression model to also take country’s macroeconomic characteristics into account, such as credit market and welfare state design. In this setting, we find an overall positive impact of income inequality on consumption-related household indebtedness.
  • Topic: Economics, Inequality, Economic Inequality, Macroeconomics
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: José Pablo Martínez Romera
  • Publication Date: 12-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Security Studies Group (GESI) at the University of Granada
  • Abstract: The measurements of external image carried out in recent years to guide the "country-brand" strategies could have the potential to be used as economic intelligence tools. This way, public authorities would be able to foresee variations in those variables linked to the preferences of foreign citizens, such as investments, exports, tourism or immigration; helping them to design politics in these fields.
  • Topic: Economics, Intelligence
  • Political Geography: Europe, Spain
  • Author: Anand Menon
  • Publication Date: 10-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: UK in a Changing Europe, King's College London
  • Abstract: The Prime Minister has set out a means of escaping the Brexit stalemate, but his new Brexit proposals have, as yet, not managed to overcome the impasse. What, though, would the plan mean for the UK economy? That is the question we seek to answer in what follows. As ever, we have been lucky enough to be able to draw on the skills and expertise of some of the leading experts in the field. The bulk of the work was done by Hanwei Huang, Jonathan Portes and Thomas Sampson, with contributions from Matt Bevington and Jill Rutter. Hanwei and Thomas used the LSE’s Centre for Economic Performance trade model to carry out the modelling. We hope you find the report interesting and informative. Brexit is clearly about more than economics, but the economic impact of leaving the EU nevertheless merits careful scrutiny.
  • Topic: Economics, Politics, European Union, Brexit, Boris Johnson
  • Political Geography: United Kingdom, Europe
  • Author: Dany Bahar, Hillel Rapoport, Cem Özgüzel, Andreas Hauptmann
  • Publication Date: 10-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre d'Etudes Prospectives et d'Informations Internationales (CEPII)
  • Abstract: During the early 1990s Germany offered temporary protection to over 600,000 Yugoslavian refugees fleeing war. By 2000, many had been repatriated. We exploit this natural experiment to investigate the role of migrants in post-conflict reconstruction in the former Yugoslavia, using exports as outcome. Using confidential social security data to capture intensity of refugee workers to German industries –and exogenous allocation rules for asylum seekers within Germany as instrument– we find an elasticity of exports to return migration between 0.08 to 0.24. Our results are stronger in knowledge-intensive industries and for workers in occupations intensive in analytical and managerial skills.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Economics, International Political Economy, Migration, Refugee Issues, Refugees, Exports
  • Political Geography: Europe, Yugoslavia, Germany
  • Author: Anthony Edo, Jacques Melitz
  • Publication Date: 10-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre d'Etudes Prospectives et d'Informations Internationales (CEPII)
  • Abstract: We perform the first econometric test to date of the influences of inflows of precious metals and population growth on the “Great Inflation” in Europe following the discovery of the New World. The English evidence strongly supports the near-equivalent importance of both influences. For 1500-1700, silver is the only relevant precious metal in the estimates. The study controls for urbanization, government spending, mortality crises and climatic changes. The series for inflows of the precious metals into Europe from America and European mining are newly constructed based on the secondary sources.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, International Political Economy, Urbanization, Inflation
  • Political Geography: Europe, England
  • Author: Fabien Tripier, Jérôme Héricourt, Thomas Grjebine
  • Publication Date: 09-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre d'Etudes Prospectives et d'Informations Internationales (CEPII)
  • Abstract: This paper investigates the role of sectoral reallocations in the divergence of productivity in Europe, based on a database for 33 sectors and 14 countries between 1995 and 2015. Using the contribution of sectoral productivity growth to Total Factor Productivity (TFP) at the country level, we highlight that variations in the relative size of sectors - less productive sectors growing relatively to more productive ones - have been at the origin of variable productivity losses in main European countries. Parallel to this divergence, European countries experienced heterogeneous real estate price dynamics, which took the form, in some economies, of massive boom-bust cycles. We investigate real estate shocks as a potential source of sectoral reallocations through a collateral mechanism. These shocks turn out to be a strong driver of productivity divergence between European countries.
  • Topic: Economics, International Political Economy, Real Estate , Productivity
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Valérie Mignon, Antonia Lopez-Villavicencio
  • Publication Date: 06-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre d'Etudes Prospectives et d'Informations Internationales (CEPII)
  • Abstract: This paper assesses whether the emergence of new trading partners (i.e., China and Eastern Europe) as suppliers reduces the exchange rate pass-through (ERPT) in Eurozone countries which differ regarding their external exposure. Using bilateral data on import prices at the two-digit sector level, we find that (i) pass-through is complete in many cases, (ii) ERPT from China is higher than from the United States, and (iii) there is no compelling evidence of a generalized link between ERPT and the increasing integration of some emerging markets in European imports. We also show that the launch of the single currency has not provoked a sufficient change in the part of trade exposed to exchange rate fluctuations and, therefore, has not affected the pass-through. Overall, the trend of liberalization in new players' markets has not altered the competitive environment such as to induce exporters of other countries to absorb exchange rate depreciations.
  • Topic: Economics, International Political Economy, International Trade and Finance, Exchange Rate Policy, Eurozone, Trade, Imports
  • Political Geography: China, Europe, Eastern Europe
  • Author: Virginie Coudert, Cécile Couharde, Carl Grekou, Valérie Mignon
  • Publication Date: 03-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre d'Etudes Prospectives et d'Informations Internationales (CEPII)
  • Abstract: We assess cross-country heterogeneity within the eurozone and its evolution over time by measuring the distances between the equilibrium exchange rates’ paths of member countries. These equilibrium paths are derived from the minimization of currency misalignments, by matching real exchange rates with their economic fundamentals. Using cluster and factor analyses, we identify two distinct groups of countries in the run-up to the European Monetary Union (EMU), Greece being clearly an outlier at that time. Comparing the results with more recent periods, we find evidence of rising dissimilarities between these two sets of countries, as well as within the groups themselves. Overall, our findings illustrate the building-up of macroeconomic imbalances within the eurozone before the 2008 crisis and the fragmentation between its member countries that followed.
  • Topic: Economics, International Political Economy, Monetary Policy, European Monetary Union
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: François Vallancourt, Jesús Ruiz-Huerta, Violeta Ruiz Almendral
  • Publication Date: 01-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Fundación Alternativas
  • Abstract: Since 2009 Autonomous Communities have started to set their own Personal Income Tax rates for the first time. This is both the result of the 2009 rule change and the difficulties to get other public revenues during the years of the Great Recession. We will examine what the Autonomous Communitie s explicit choices have been and see how they compare to what Canadian Provinces have done. Before 2000, these provinces other than Québec were required to use a surtax approach that saw provinces collect personal income tax as a% of federal taxes (tax on tax) using the same number of brackets, boundaries of brackets and progressivity structure. Since 2000 they can and have chosen to use a tax on income approach as noted above. Thus they must make similar choices to those of Autonomous Communities for their Personal Income Tax since 2000.
  • Topic: Economics, Global Recession, Tax Systems, Recovery
  • Political Geography: Europe, Canada, Spain, North America, Western Europe
  • Author: Sandro Knezović
  • Publication Date: 02-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute for Development and International Relations (IRMO)
  • Abstract: The European strategic landscape has changed dramatically over the course of the last decade. The post-Cold War mantra about the obsolescence of conventional threats in the wider European space proved to be short-sighted with developments at its eastern �lanks, while security dysfunctions in the MENA region and their immanent consequences for the safety of European citizens have loaded a heavy burden on compromise-building and decision-making in the �ield of the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) of the EU. Furthermore, the approach of the new US administration to European security and the strategic consequences of Brexit have changed the wider framework in which security of 'the Old Continent' is to be determined, hence stimulating European leaders to rethink European security in a strive for strategic autonomy of their own. The very ambitiously phrased EU Global Strategy that came out in June 2016, served as both catalyst and umbrella document for such an endeavour. However, in order to achieve measurable progress in responding to contemporary security challenges, it was clear that the EU needs to develop a structural way for member states to do jointly what they were not capable of doing at the national level. This is so especially in the environment in which China, Russia and Saudi Arabia are championing the defence spending, right after the US, while European states are signi�icantly trailing behind. The fact that the EU collectively is the second largest military investor and yet far from being among the dominant military powers only emphasises the burning issue of ef�iciency of military spending and the level of interoperability among member states’ armies. High-level fragmentation of the European defence market and the fact that defence industries are kept in national clusters is clearly contributing to that. The reality on the ground is obviously challenging traditional methods of co-operation that operate mainly in ‘national boxes’ and calling for a paradigm change in the wider policy context of CSDP. However, it remains to be seen to which extent will this new security environment actually be able to push the European defence policy context over the strict national boundaries.
  • Topic: Security, Economics, Military Strategy, European Union
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Europe, Middle East, Asia, Saudi Arabia
  • Author: Vandana Gyanchandani
  • Publication Date: 08-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Trade and Economic Integration, The Graduate Institute (IHEID)
  • Abstract: Three methodologies are used to enforce labour and environmental commitments in the US and EU trade agreements: cooperative, sanctions and composite. In-depth analysis of the scope of commitments, level of protection, institutional framework as well as types of informal and formal dispute processes elucidates the pros and cons of such methodologies. Sanctions approach weakens cooperation by misjudging the complexity of domestic policy adjustments through transnational governance. Cooperative mechanism within the NAAEC's composite design emerges as the best approach: Submission on Enforcement Matters (SEM). As it provides for an independent secretariat supported by civil society group and factual records as a sunshine remedy to review citizen submissions. However, the process is constrained by political clout, lack of managerial capacity and legal dilemmas around informal lawmaking (IN-LAW) procedures.
  • Topic: Economics, Environment, International Cooperation, International Trade and Finance, Labor Issues, Sustainable Development Goals, Global Political Economy
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Global Focus, European Union
  • Author: Christopher Smart
  • Publication Date: 11-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: The recent collapse in the U.S.-Russia relationship has roots that stretch back to fundamental misunderstandings at the end of the Cold War. Western democracies have watched with dismay as tightening political controls in Russia have throttled domestic pluralism, while Moscow’s roughshod foreign policy and military tactics have driven its neighbors into submission or open hostility. Russia has bemoaned what it sees as Western arrogance and a stubborn refusal to recognize its security concerns and great-power status. Today, Russia’s annexation of Crimea, support of Syrian repression, and, above all, meddling in the U.S. presidential election have shattered any desire in Washington—at least outside the Oval Office—to search for common ground. Indeed, amid congressional logjams on nearly every issue, overwhelming bipartisan majorities passed a stiffer sanctions regime. The narrative in Moscow, meanwhile, paints a consistent picture of Washington actively rallying Europeans to expand footholds around Russia’s borders with an ultimate goal of regime change in the Kremlin itself. In spite of President Donald J. Trump’s apparent eagerness to improve relations, deepening resistance across the political spectrum makes any progress fanciful at this stage.Whether either side understands how to get relations back on track remains uncertain. What is clear is that neither side wants to. Deep-seated U.S. mistrust and an unyielding Russian government seem likely to confine the bilateral relationship to a series of sour exchanges and blustery confrontations for now. Yet one persistent weakness will ultimately limit Russia’s foreign agenda: an economy that is likely to fall increasingly behind those of its major neighbors and partners. For now, Russia has largely learned to tolerate Western economic sanctions, and its companies have found ways to live with restricted access to finance. Without reform and economic integration with the West, however, Russian influence will drift toward the margins of global diplomacy. Russia’s economy will atrophy from a combination of hyperconcentrated decision-making, continuing dependence on hydrocarbons, and persistent financial isolation. Core goals of Russia’s foreign policy will steadily recede from view, including important elements of the economic agenda with its immediate neighbors, the European Union and China. Though a snapback of oil prices would undoubtedly delay any day of reckoning, even large new inflows of petro-profits will not fundamentally close the widening gap with major partners.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Economics, International Cooperation, Military Strategy
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Europe, North America
  • Author: Hans Martin Sieg
  • Publication Date: 03-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Transatlantic Relations
  • Abstract: This paper is part of CTR's Working Paper Series: "Eastern Voices: Europe's East Faces an Unsettled West." Since Moldova's November 2014 election, the country's image has changed drastically from the “success story” of the EU´s Eastern Partnership to that of a “captured state.” Moldova's politics continue to be defined by corruption and vested interests, which take advantage of weak state institutions and public administration, an ineffective judiciary and law enforcement agencies. This environment has enabled hostile takeovers of financial companies, often through concealed offshore operations, for criminal purposes, money-laundering schemes and a spectacular banking fraud, which was uncovered in autumn 2014. Low incomes have prompted hundreds of thousands of Moldovans to leave the country in search of a better life. Rivalries for political power, control over institutions, and economic assets have generated growing crises within different ruling coalitions, resulting in rapid changeover in governments, the break-up of major political parties and the formation of new parliamentary majorities with precarious democratic legitimacy. All of these factors have subjected Moldova to an unrelenting series of governmental, economic, financial and social crises since early 2015. The deeper causes of these crises can be traced to much earlier developments, however, and are deeply rooted in local structures.
  • Topic: International Relations, Corruption, Development, Economics, Reform, Elections, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Moldova, European Union
  • Author: Yakov Ben-Haim, Maria Demertzis, Jan Willem Van Den End
  • Publication Date: 02-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Bruegel
  • Abstract: This paper applies the info-gap approach to the unconventional monetary policy of the Eurosystem and so takes into account the fundamental uncertainty on inflation shocks and the transmission mechanism. The outcomes show that a more demanding monetary strategy, in terms of lower tolerance for output and inflation gaps, entails less robustness against uncertainty, particularly if financial variables are taken into account. Augmenting the Taylor rule with a financial variable leads to a smaller loss of robustness than taking into account the effect of financial imbalances on the economy. However, in some situations, the augmented model is more robust than the baseline model. A conclusion from our framework is that including financial imbalances in the monetary policy objective does not necessarily increase policy robustness, and may even decrease it
  • Topic: Economics, International Political Economy, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Michele Coscia, Ricardo Hausmann, Frank Neffke
  • Publication Date: 11-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University
  • Abstract: Tourism is one of the most important economic activities in the world: for many countries it represents the single largest product in their export basket. However, it is a product difficult to chart: "exporters" of tourism do not ship it abroad, but they welcome importers inside the country. Current research uses social accounting matrices and general equilibrium models, but the standard industry classifications they use make it hard to identify which domestic industries cater to foreign visitors. In this paper, we make use of open source data and of anonymized and aggregated transaction data giving us insights about the spend behavior of foreigners inside two countries, Colombia and the Netherlands, to inform our research. With this data, we are able to describe what constitutes the tourism sector, and to map the most attractive destinations for visitors. In particular, we find that countries might observe different geographical tourists' patterns - concentration versus decentralization -; we show the importance of distance, a country's reported wealth and cultural affinity in informing tourism; and we show the potential of combining open source data and anonymized and aggregated transaction data on foreign spend patterns in gaining insight as to the evolution of tourism from one year to another.
  • Topic: Economics, Political Economy, Tourism
  • Political Geography: Europe, Colombia, South America, Netherlands
  • Author: Samuel Appleton
  • Publication Date: 10-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Global Political Economy, University of Sussex
  • Abstract: The Bretton Woods conference is conventionally understood as a radical break between the laissez faire order and its ‘embedded liberal’ successor, in which finance was suppressed in the interest of trade and productive growth. The new institutions, particularly the IBRD are often considered emblematic of this. In response to this, the paper argues that the Bretton Woods order required the enlistment, not repression, of private American finance. Firstly, laissez-faire era proposals for international financial institutions provided important precedents for the Bretton Woods institutions. Second, these were predicated on the uniquely deep liquidity of American financial markets following upon Progressive-era reforms, in the legacy of which the Roosevelt administration sought to locate the New Deal. Thirdly, they found new relevance in the 1940s as the IBRD turned by necessity to American financial markets for operating capital. Negotiating the imperative of commercial creditworthiness had two important consequences. First, it entailed the structural and procedural transformation of the IBRD, and allowed management to carve out a proprietary terrain in which its agency was decisive. Second, this suggests that US agendas were mediated by the Bank’s institutional imperatives – and that finance was no more ‘embedded’ during the Bretton Woods era than its predecessor.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, World Bank, Global Markets, International Development, Global Political Economy
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Latin America