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  • Author: Hedvig Ördén, James Pamment
  • Publication Date: 01-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: Influence operations are increasingly seen as a threat to democratic societies because they can corrupt the integrity of political deliberation. As individuals engage in debate on social media, political deliberation becomes vulnerable to potentially destructive forms of interference. Many debates on what to do about influence operations emphasize that these operations constitute what is deemed to be a foreign threat. But does the notion of foreignness, viewed in isolation, constitute a helpful lens for distinguishing between legitimate and illegitimate influence operations? Ultimately, the lens of foreignness is only helpful when applied to a narrow set of cases. One sensible way of reviewing when the concept of foreignness can be useful in distinguishing between legitimate and illegitimate influence operations is to consider three separate conceptions of how to determine what counts as foreign: foreign states, foreign citizens, and foreign interests. In the first case, influence operations are seen as threatening acts directed at a targeted state by foreign states, using behaviors seen as analogous to acts of war. In the second instance, influence operations are considered threatening acts conducted by foreign citizens that undermine domestic democratic systems in a targeted state. In cases of the third sort, influence operations are viewed as acts aimed at advancing foreign interests through the illegitimate employment of soft power. Given these various models, the notion of foreignness constitutes a useful lens for discussions of influence operations in cases when there is overwhelming evidence of state-based, hybrid, and irregular warfare. An argument can also be made for employing the distinction in relation to the protection of democratic institutions, such as elections. However, when influence operations are regarded as a more generalized threat to political deliberation, foreignness is not a helpful category for determining the legitimacy or illegitimacy of such campaigns. In such cases, rather than focusing on the (domestic or foreign) identity of the malicious actors themselves, it is more fruitful to conceive of illegitimacy in terms of specific manipulative communication techniques. Suitable countermeasures could include, for instance, creating greater transparency surrounding, or even restricting, the use of artificial techniques to inflate the level of perceived engagement a piece of online content generates.
  • Topic: Democracy, Soft Power, Foreign Interference
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Rachel Kleinfeld, Thomas Carothers, Steven Feldstein, Richard Youngs
  • Publication Date: 02-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: Middle-power democracies—countries which regardless of their geopolitical weight have made democracy support a sustained component of their foreign policy—will be crucial to reimagining democracy support strategies and policies to better meet the moment. Some of these states have crafted new initiatives and wielded diplomatic tools to deepen their impact in recent years. However, these states have on the whole punched below their collective weight. This paper suggests that middle-power democracies can maximize their impact on global democracy in the following ways: Enhancing solidarity: when a country acts courageously in defense of democracy, it needs to know that others will stand alongside it. Sharpening their focus: middle-power democracies should target policy areas aligned with democratic values on issues both at the top of the geopolitical agenda and at the top-of-mind for citizens around the world—for example, economic recovery, injustice and discrimination, corruption, digital repression, and climate change. Improving diplomatic cooperation: pursuing flexible and focused multilateral partnerships allows for collaboration on key policy interests and amplifies middle-power actions.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Democracy, Solidarity, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Global Focus, United States of America
  • Author: Valeria Branca
  • Publication Date: 04-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The second Infrastructure Working Group workshop under the Italian G20 PPresidency, titled “Financing infrastructure investments for local communities”, was hosted on 4 February 2021 by the Istituto Affari Internazionali (IAI). As the world gradually recovers from the pandemic crisis, most governments are designing strategies to revive long-term growth. A key factor in their success will be the capacity to restart and reorient infrastructure investments. In this context, investments in local infrastructures are particularly important because social needs, work habits and production patterns have been greatly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, whose impact has been most severe on urban areas, the informal sector and marginalised groups – especially in developing countries. Investments in local infrastructures will therefore be crucial in addressing the need to sustain recovery while tackling long-standing problems posed by climate change and social exclusion.
  • Topic: Infrastructure, Sustainable Development Goals, Investment, Coronavirus, Sustainability, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Katarzyna Kubiak
  • Publication Date: 02-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The global treaty-based nuclear order is running out of steam. The problems facing it are progressively building up, while problem-solving is losing momentum. The search for a “golden key” to address disarmament and non-proliferation in a way fit for the 21st century prompts decision-makers to look for novel approaches. NATO needs to actively shape this newly emerging space. Acting today from within a tight policy and institutional “corset”, the Alliance should strengthen its non-proliferation and disarmament portfolio, and harness its consultative and coordination strengths for agenda-setting, norm-shaping and awareness-raising within the international community.
  • Topic: NATO, Arms Control and Proliferation, Nuclear Weapons, Nonproliferation
  • Political Geography: Europe, North America, Global Focus
  • Author: Marie Ladekjær Gravesen, Mikkel Funder
  • Publication Date: 08-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: Nature-based Solutions (NbS) to climate- and development-related challenges have recently gained attention in development cooperation. Among other, approaches that fall under the NbS umbrella include Ecosystem-based Adaptation (EbA), Ecosystem-based Mitigation (EbM) and Ecosystem-based Disaster Risk Reduction (Eco-DRR). This new DIIS Working Paper focuses on nature-based solutions to climate change adaptation, EbA. It provides an overview of selected lessons learnt from EbA in the context of development cooperation, with a particular emphasis on the opportunities and risks regarding poverty alleviation and rights. It generates learning for Danish development cooperation, including future programming under Denmark’s 2021 development strategy, in which NbS approaches are emphasised. However, the paper can also be read as a general discussion of experiences with EbA in the development context. The three-legged EbA approach focuses on human well-being, ecosystem management, and climate change adaptation. EbA has already been applied to a range of ecosystems, including the restoration of mangroves to shield them against storm and sea-level rises, the management of watersheds to protect against droughts and flooding, the management of rangelands to inhibit desertification and land degradation, and more sustainably managed fisheries and forestry to tackle food insecurity. EbA thus not only addresses the restoration of already degraded ecosystems, but also the sustainable use, management, and conservation of intact ecosystems. The paper provides a conceptual overview of EbA in relation to NbS, outlines the potential in using EbA approaches, and describes the landscape of the institutions and agencies that fund, promote and implement EbA. The paper then provides a synthesis of lessons learned from PES and REDD+ schemes that are of relevance to EbA. For instance, it is emphasised that many REDD+ measures have effectively existed as project islands that were not anchored in national or subnational planning and governance mechanisms. As a result, the conservation activities and socioeconomic benefits were often not effectively integrated or scaled up beyond small project sites. If comprehensively implemented, the EbA approach builds on these experiences by insuring full inclusion of stakeholders from all relevant sectors, as well as demanding full integration in existing policies, planning and governance practices from the ministry levels to sub-national governments. Among the final recommendations and possible entry points for Danish development cooperation, the paper highlights that the support must have a strong focus on ensuring that EbA is pro-poor (i.e. supports poverty alleviation) and rights-based (i.e. supports the rights of local resource users). Experience from EbA and related efforts show that EbA is not automatically pro-poor or supportive of local rights to natural resources and ecosystem services. In particular, there is insufficient attention to and knowledge of rights issues in EbA. Therefore, Danish development cooperation should help lead the way in ensuring that EbA takes a rights-based approach and supports poverty alleviation.
  • Topic: Agriculture, Climate Change, Development, Environment, Poverty, Natural Resources, Water, Food, Governance, Inequality, Investment, Land Rights
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Joseph E. Gagnon, Madi Sarsenbayev
  • Publication Date: 03-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: A 2017 PIIE analysis found that fiscal balances and foreign exchange intervention—more broadly, government purchases of foreign assets to influence exchange rates—are the most important factors behind differences in current account balances across countries and over time. The current account is the broadest measure of a country's balance of trade. It records all income received from foreigners and payments made to foreigners. It is dominated by trade in goods and services but also includes income receipts on domestically owned factors of production (capital and labor) that are employed abroad and payments to foreign-owned factors of production at home. A country’s fiscal surplus and official purchases of foreign assets tend to increase its current account balance. Net official purchases by other countries tend to reduce current account balances in the home country, especially when it issues a reserve currency. This paper updates the earlier analysis with three more years (2016–18) and roughly 40 percent more observations. New analysis of net international investment positions (which largely reflect cumulated current account balances) finds even stronger evidence for the dominant role of official reserve positions in explaining differences in current account balances across countries. An increase in a country’s official reserve position causes essentially a dollar-for-dollar increase in its net international investment position.
  • Topic: Fiscal Policy, Currency, Trade Policy, Trade Deficit
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Stephanie Savell, Rachel McMahon, Emily Rockwell, Yueshan Li
  • Publication Date: 02-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs at Brown University
  • Abstract: The map illustrates countries in which the U.S. government conducted operations it explicitly described as counterterrorism, in an outgrowth of President George W. Bush's “Global War on Terror.” These operations include air and drone strikes, on-the-ground combat, so-called “Section 127e” programs in which U.S. special operations forces plan and control partner force missions, military exercises in preparation for or as part of counterterrorism missions, and operations to train and assist foreign forces. (The map does not comprehensively cover the full scope of U.S. post-9/11 warfare, as it does not document, for instance, U.S. military bases used for counterterror operations, arms sales to foreign governments, or all deployments of U.S. special operations forces.) Despite the Pentagon’s assertion that the U.S. is shifting its strategic emphasis away from counterterrorism and towards great power competition with Russia and China, examining U.S. military activity on a country-by-country basis shows that there is yet to be a corresponding drawdown of the counterterror apparatus. If anything, the map demonstrates that counterterrorism operations have become more widespread in recent years.
  • Topic: Military Affairs, Counter-terrorism, Conflict
  • Political Geography: Global Focus, United States of America
  • Author: Pierre Siklos
  • Publication Date: 04-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: As digital forms of payment become increasingly popular, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, cash is no longer king. Central banks are turning their attention toward central bank digital currency (CBDC) to replace coins and bills and to provide other types of services through digital technology. CBDC can also facilitate cross-border transactions through the use of internationally accepted currencies such as the euro and the US dollar. This paper explores the many tailwinds and headwinds that will affect the implementation of a CBDC.
  • Topic: Governance, Digital Economy, Banks, Digital Currency
  • Political Geography: North America, Global Focus, United States of America
  • Author: Dan Ciuriak, Maria Ptashkina
  • Publication Date: 05-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: Trade secret theft is estimated to cost hundreds of billions of dollars annually. As a result, governments worldwide are developing legislation to mitigate these losses. This paper looks at the growing importance of trade secrets globally, corporations’ responsibilities to protect their trade secrets and how trade secret theft occurs (for example, through cybertheft or personnel movement between companies). The authors argue that protecting intellectual property rights must not come at the expense of the innovation-intensive economy.
  • Topic: Security, Intellectual Property/Copyright, Trade, Trade Policy
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Jimena Leiva Roesch
  • Publication Date: 04-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Peace Institute
  • Abstract: As the COVID-19 pandemic has increased reliance on digital technologies, it has highlighted the growing digital divide between and within societies. Universal access to the digital world has become more urgent than ever, and failure to achieve it could undermine progress toward the Sustainable Development Goals. While closing the digital divide and increasing connectivity are among the UN secretary-general’s priorities for 2021, this goal remains elusive and faces many obstacles. One challenge is the lack of a shared understanding of what universal connectivity means. It is not just a technical challenge; it also requires addressing questions related to adoption, usage, accessibility, and the relevance and veracity of content. Another challenge is that funding for digital connectivity is uncoordinated and not easily accessible by those who need it most. There is also a lack of concerted leadership and coherent governance structures at all levels. Moreover, getting the framing right is key. National, global, and local leaders need to establish clear and compelling links between universal connectivity and the 2030 Agenda with its message to “leave no one behind.” Addressing these challenges requires a human-centered, human rights–based approach. Connectivity comes with risks, including privacy issues, misinformation and hate speech, and online violence and sexual harassment. While discussions on universal connectivity have gained momentum, these human rights considerations often remain an afterthought. Governments, businesses, and civil society need to understand connectivity as a right whose protection is their shared responsibility. Ultimately, bridging the digital divide requires a stronger and more inclusive multilateral system. Geopolitics, a lack of shared understanding, knowledge gaps, and suspicion between actors continue to hold back digital cooperation at the UN. Governments need to meaningfully include private sector and civil society actors in formal decision-making processes. In parallel, the UN should create informal platforms to build trust among stakeholders. To achieve meaningful and sustainable progress toward digital inclusion, all actors need to commit to working through a multi-stakeholder platform.
  • Topic: Human Rights, Science and Technology, Sustainable Development Goals, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Publication Date: 03-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Liechtenstein Institute on Self-Determination, Princeton University
  • Abstract: The Handbook on the Prevention and Resolution of Self-Determination Conflicts is the latest product of a long and fruitful collaboration between the Mission of Liechtenstein to the United Nations, New York, and the Liechtenstein Institute on Self-Determination at Princeton University to assess the relationship of self-determination to conflict. The Handbook includes four case studies: Aceh, Bougainville, Mindanao, and Northern Ireland, in addition to setting out guidelines specifically aimed at those working to prevent and resolve self-determination conflicts. The handbook was conceived chiefly as the result of two meetings on self-determination held jointly by the Liechtenstein Institute on Self-Determination and the Liechtenstein Mission to the UN: “Models of Self-Governance as Tools to Promote Peace and Stability in Europe,” held in March 2016, in Triesenberg, Liechtenstein, and “Self-Determination in Conflict Prevention and Resolution,” held in December 2018, in Princeton, New Jersey, U.S.A. In these meetings, participants discussed the relationship between self-determination and conflict, as well as ways that self-determination conflicts may be prevented and resolved. These discussions drew on the tensions and links between self-determination, minority rights, autonomy and self-governance, and mediation, all of which are key elements of the handbook.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Diplomacy, Governance, Self Determination, Conflict
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Gary King, Melissa Sands
  • Publication Date: 04-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: Universities require faculty and students planning research involving human subjects to pass formal certification tests and then submit research plans for prior approval. Those who diligently take the tests may better understand certain important legal requirements but, at the same time, are often misled into thinking they can apply these rules to their own work which, in fact, they are not permitted to do. They will also be missing many other legal requirements not mentioned in their training but which govern their behaviors. Finally, the training leaves them likely to completely misunderstand the essentially political situation they find themselves in. The resulting risks to their universities, collaborators, and careers may be catastrophic, in addition to contributing to the more common ordinary frustrations of researchers with the system. To avoid these problems, faculty and students conducting research about and for the public need to understand that they are public figures, to whom different rules apply, ones that political scientists have long studied. University administrators (and faculty in their part­time roles as administrators) need to reorient their perspectives as well. University research compliance bureaucracies have grown, in well­meaning but sometimes unproductive ways that are not required by federal laws or guidelines. We offer advice to faculty and students for how to deal with the system as it exists now, and suggestions for changes in university research compliance bureaucracies, that should benefit faculty, students, staff, university budgets, and our research subjects.
  • Topic: Education, Science and Technology, Labor Issues, Bureaucracy, Academia
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Selma Talha-Jebril, Mirka Martel
  • Publication Date: 04-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute of International Education
  • Abstract: International Higher Education Scholarships and Fellowships for Social Justice: The Role of Foundations explores philanthropy's role in funding international scholarship and fellowship programs committed to reducing long-standing disparities in higher education. The research paper addresses a gap in the literature regarding U.S. and non-U.S. foundations that have funded international scholarship and fellowship programs that focus on social justice, namely equity and access. The research paper is framed by the Ford Foundation International Fellowships Program (IFP) and the IFP Alumni Tracking Study, administered by the Institute of International Education (IIE). It brings in the perspectives of IFP and other scholarship and fellowship programs for social justice. The findings indicate four elements that contributed to growing interest in funding international higher education programs: (1) The push from multilateral agencies such as the U.N. and World Bank; (2) The rise of personal wealth during the past two decades; (3) The growing global youth population and access to higher education; and (4) The increasing liberal government policies encourage non-state actors to contribute and play a more significant role in the field of higher education. The research paper reveals that higher education scholarship and fellowship programs with common agendas – whether between donors and academic institutions or between government and international partners – often lead to sustainable partnerships and better program outcomes because they are supported by more than one entity and are grounded in common goals and visions.
  • Topic: Social Justice, Higher Education, Philanthropy , Scholarships, Fellowships
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Ryan Lasnick
  • Publication Date: 01-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment
  • Abstract: This report analyses the size, scale and persistence of national development banks and offers ten clear observations and conclusions of the role of NDBs for the achievement of sustainable development globally. The Executive Summary can be found here. This report analyzes NDBs top down and bottom up. Top down, it includes the most recent data on the number of NDBs along with their total assets and annual disbursements. Bottom up, we conduct systematic case studies of various development bank ecosystems, including those of India, Brazil, China, South Africa, Germany and the US, to begin analyzing their role in the national development bank economy.
  • Topic: Development, Sustainability, Banking
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Sam Szoke-Burke
  • Publication Date: 03-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment
  • Abstract: Transparency is often seen as a means of improving governance and accountability of investment, but its potential to do so is hindered by vague definitions and failures to focus on the needs of key local actors. In a new report focusing on agribusiness, forestry, and renewable energy projects (“land investments”), CCSI grounds transparency in the needs of project-affected communities and other local actors. Transparency efforts that seek to inform and empower communities can also help governments, companies, and other actors to more effectively manage operational risk linked to social conflict.
  • Topic: Agriculture, Governance, Transparency, Sustainability, Community
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Publication Date: 04-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Foundation for Electoral Systems
  • Abstract: Environmental disasters such as fires, droughts, floods, hurricanes and rising sea levels displace more and more people each year. According to the University of Oxford, the scale of displacement related to climate change is difficult to forecast but has been “estimated at between 50 and 200 million people by 2050, mostly in developing countries.” Climate change, other environmental crises and migration resulting from environmental displacement increase the likelihood of insecurity and conflict – and put democratic rights at risk. A new paper from the International Foundation for Electoral Systems, Electoral Rights of Environmentally Displaced Persons, examines these questions and provides recommendations for election management bodies, governments, international organizations, political parties, the media, civil society organizations and displaced persons. Environmental challenges can exacerbate pre-existing vulnerabilities, including marginalization due to race, gender, disability and other identity factors. Widely ratified international treaties and resolutions obligate the state to provide accessible electoral processes, including special measures for women, persons with disabilities, youth, Indigenous peoples and racial and other minorities who may be at increased risk of marginalization. They also are critical agents to address the consequences of climate change. Electoral Rights of Environmentally Displaced Persons emphasizes how environmental challenges can exacerbate pre-existing vulnerabilities, including marginalization due to race, gender, disability and other identity factors. Displaced persons are key stakeholders. Those most affected by environmental problems need to be able to vote, run for office and engage with candidates and elected representatives to influence agendas, challenge policies and hold governments accountable. Political participation is particularly important in integrating them into their new environments to avoid conflict with host communities. Displaced persons can also bring skills, insights and talents that benefit their new communities.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Environment, Elections, Displacement, Humanitarian Crisis
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Thanos Athanasopoulos, Burak Dindaroglu, Georgios Petropoulos
  • Publication Date: 06-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Bruegel
  • Abstract: How do incentives to collude depend on how asymmetric firms are? For low levels of differentiation, an increase in quality difference makes collusion less stable. The opposite holds for high levels of differentiation.
  • Topic: Political stability, Business , Economic Growth
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Geoffrey Parker, Georgios Petropoulos, Marshall Van Alstyne
  • Publication Date: 06-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Bruegel
  • Abstract: Platform ecosystems rely on economies of scale, data-driven economies of scope, high quality algorithmic systems, and strong network effects that frequently promote winner-takes-most markets. Some platform firms have grown rapidly and their merger and acquisition strategies have been very important factors in their growth. Big platforms’ market dominance has generated competition concerns that are difficult to assess with current merger policy tools. We examine the acquisition strategies of the five major US firms—Google, Amazon, Facebook, Apple and Microsoft—since their inception. We discuss the main merger and acquisition theories of harm that can restrict market competition and reduce consumer welfare. To address competition concerns about acquisitions in big platform ecosystems we develop a four step proposal that incorporates: (1) a new ex-ante regulatory framework, (2) an update of the conditions under which the notification of mergers should be compulsory and the burden of proof should be reversed, (3) differential regulatory priorities in investigating horizontal versus vertical acquisitions, and (4) an update of competition enforcement tools to increase visibility into market data and trends.
  • Topic: Markets, Digital Economy, Internet, Economy, Innovation
  • Political Geography: Global Focus, United States of America
  • Author: Martin Hellwig, Viola Priesemann, Guntram Wolff
  • Publication Date: 05-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Bruegel
  • Abstract: Escape variants can cause new waves of COVID-19 and put vaccination strategies at risk. To prevent or delay the global spread of these waves, virus mobility needs to be minimised through screening and testing strategies, which should also cover vaccinated people. The costs of these strategies are minimal compared to the costs to health, society and economy from another wave.
  • Topic: Health, Governance, Global Political Economy, Vaccine, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Reinhilde De Veugelers
  • Publication Date: 05-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Bruegel
  • Abstract: We review the evidence on the impact of public intervention on private research and innovation, and how research and innovation and R&I policies affect growth in the applied macro models most commonly used in European Union policy analysis. The evidence suggests that R&I grants and R&I tax credits can have positive effects in terms of stimulating investment in innovation. In terms of the impact of public R&I interventions on economy-wide GDP growth and jobs, the available applied macro models predict positive effects over the long term. It therefore takes time before short-term negative effects associated with reallocations of high-skilled labour from other productive activities to generate the extra innovations, and the negative effects from displacing older, more labour-intensive production processes, are compensated for. To the question of whether R&I policies can serve to power growth, the answer can only be a timid yes at this stage. R&I policies certainly have the potential, but still too little is known of what drives their actual effects. More micro and macro evaluations are still needed.
  • Topic: Economy, Research, Innovation, Strategic Competition
  • Political Geography: Global Focus