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  • Author: Samer Matta, Michael Bleaney, Simon Appleton
  • Publication Date: 01-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Nottingham Interdisciplinary Centre for Economic and Political Research (NICEP)
  • Abstract: An extensive literature has examined the economic effects of non-violent political instability events. Nonetheless, the issue of whether economies react differently over time to such events remains largely unexplored. Using synthetic control methodology, which constructs a counterfactual in the absence of political instability, we estimate the output effect of 38 regime crises in the period 1970-2011. A crucial factor is whether crises are accompanied by mass civil protest. In the crises accompanied by mass civil protest, there is typically an immediate fall in output which is never recovered in the subsequent five years. In crises unaccompanied by protest, there are usually no significant effects. Furthermore, this paper provides new evidence that regime crises (with and without mass civil protest) have heterogeneous (country-specific) effects on output per capita.
  • Topic: Economics, Political Economy, Regime Change, Political stability, Economic Growth, Protests, Economic Policy, Civil Unrest
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Vincent Stamer
  • Publication Date: 01-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW)
  • Abstract: Global container ship movements may reliably predict global trade flows. Aggregating both movements at sea and port call events produces a wealth of explanatory variables. The machine learning algorithm partial least squares can map these explanatory time series to unilateral imports and exports, as well as bilateral trade flows. Applying out-of-sample and time series methods on monthly trade data of 75 countries, this paper shows that the new shipping indicator outperforms benchmark models for the vast majority of countries. This holds true for predictions for the current and subsequent month even if one limits the analysis to data during the first half of the month. This makes the indicator available at least as early as other leading indicators.
  • Topic: Economics, Science and Technology, Trade, Shipping, Machine Learning
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Chuck Fang, Julian Schumacher, Christoph Trebesch
  • Publication Date: 01-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW)
  • Abstract: Sovereign debt crises are difficult to solve. This paper studies the “holdout problem”, meaning the risk that creditors refuse to participate in a debt restructuring. We document a large variation in holdout rates, based on a comprehensive new dataset of 23 bond restructurings with external creditors since 1994. We then study the determinants of holdouts and find that the size of creditor losses (haircuts) is among the best predictors at the bond level. In a restructuring, bonds with higher haircuts see higher holdout rates, and the same is true for small bonds and those issued under foreign law. Collective action clauses (CACs) are effective in reducing holdout risks. However, classic CACs, with bond-by-bond voting, are not sufficient to assure high participation rates. Only the strongest form of CACs, with single-limb aggregate voting, minimizes the holdout problem according to our simulations. The results help to inform theory as well as current policy initiatives on reforming sovereign bond markets.
  • Topic: Debt, Economics, International Political Economy, Law, Credit
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Ingrid Ott, Ivan Savin, Chris Konop
  • Publication Date: 01-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW)
  • Abstract: Taking robotic patents between 1977 and 2017 and building upon the topic modeling technique, we extract their latent topics, analyze how important these topics are over time, and how they are related to each other looking at how often they are recombined in the same patents. This allows us to differentiate between more and less important technological trends in robotics based on their stage of diffusion and position in the space of knowledge, where some topics appear isolated while others are highly interconnected. Furthermore, we propose a novel approach to match the constructed topics to the IFR classification of service robots based on frequency and exclusivity of words overlapping between them. We identify around 20 topics belonging to service robotics. Our results corroborate earlier findings, but also provide novel insights on the content and stage of development of application areas in service robotics. With this study we contribute to a better understanding of the highly dynamic field of robotics and contribute to new practices of utilizing the topic modeling approach.
  • Topic: International Political Economy, Science and Technology, Robotics, Models
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Gemma Dipoppa, Guy Grossman, Stephanie Zonszein
  • Publication Date: 02-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Empirical Studies of Conflict Project (ESOC)
  • Abstract: Covid-19 caused a significant health and economic crisis, a condition identified as conducive to stigmatization and hateful behavior against minority groups. It is however unclear whether the threat of infection triggers violence in addition to stigmatization, and whether a violent reaction can happen at the onset of an unexpected economic shock before social hierarchies can be disrupted. Using a novel database of hate crimes across Italy, we show that (i) hate crimes against Asians increased substantially at the pandemic onset, and that (ii) the increase was concentrated in cities with higher expected unemployment, but not higher mortality. We then examine individual, local and national mobilization as mechanisms. We find that (iii) local far-right institutions motivate hate crimes, while we find no support for the role of individual prejudice and national discourse. Our study identifies new conditions triggering hateful behavior, advancing our understanding of factors hindering migrant integration.
  • Topic: Political Violence, Minorities, Violence, Far Right, Hate Speech, COVID-19, Racism, Hate Groups
  • Political Geography: United States, Italy, Global Focus
  • Publication Date: 02-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center on Global Energy Policy (CGEP), Columbia University
  • Abstract: In order to decarbonize the US economy at a reasonable cost and on an accelerated timeline, the country needs to both grow and rapidly decarbonize the power sector. This process will require many new technologies that support an affordable, equitable, and achievable transition. Expanding the clean-electricity focus beyond variable renewable technologies to include other types of zero-carbon power—as well as investing in the transmission and distribution grid that delivers this power to communities around the country—will allow the US to build a reliable, secure, and sustainable zero-carbon power system.
  • Topic: Energy Policy, Renewable Energy, Carbon Emissions
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: James Kobus, Ali Narshallah, Jim Guidera
  • Publication Date: 03-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center on Global Energy Policy (CGEP), Columbia University
  • Abstract: In recent years, many of the world’s biggest corporations, including Google, Facebook, Microsoft, and Apple, have pledged to power their businesses with increasing amounts of renewable energy in order to reduce their carbon footprints and contribute to efforts to address climate change. Such efforts have had an encouraging impact on US power sector decarbonization, with a material and increasing share of US wind and solar deployments now driven by the procurement preferences of corporate customers. The vast majority of corporate procurement of renewable energy has been secured via power purchase agreements (PPAs). Going forward, a wider universe of companies is expected to look to such PPA agreements as a means of contributing to a low-carbon future, raising the question of how substantial these initiatives might be in supporting the overall transition to zero-carbon electricity. Indeed, a number of positive underlying trends are likely to facilitate continued growth in the corporate renewables PPA market. For example, electricity demand in the technology sector continues to grow rapidly, while renewables PPA penetration in the commercial and industrial sectors more broadly remains low, with room to grow. Additionally, expectations of continued declines in the costs of solar and wind technologies are likely to facilitate more procurement. Lastly, US companies are facing increased pressure from customers, employees, and institutional investors to improve their greenhouse gas emissions profiles. At the same time, certain factors may constrain the size of the PPA market, such as market regulations that limit the feasibility of PPAs in certain regions and the need for renewable PPA prices to be competitive relative to wholesale power prices. Scale and creditworthiness requirements can also limit the universe of potential corporate buyers, and the financial risks brought about when signing long-term contracts may further deter some market participants. Finally, companies increasingly have alternative emission reduction mechanisms at their disposal, such as renewables energy credits (RECs), carbon offsets, and green tariff programs. This student-led paper, from the Power Sector and Renewables Research Initiative at Columbia University’s Center on Global Energy Policy, explores the drivers influencing the renewables PPA market and assesses whether these procurement initiatives by nonutility corporations are likely to continue growing in the United States at a rapid enough pace to support power sector deep decarbonization goals. The analysis finds that while robust private sector participation in recent years has been encouraging, the potential market size going forward may be smaller than previously projected, highlighting the need for comprehensive policy frameworks to support power sector decarbonization.
  • Topic: Energy Policy, Renewable Energy, Wind Power, Solar Power
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Katharina Krings, Jakob Schwab
  • Publication Date: 01-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: German Development Institute (DIE)
  • Abstract: While blockchain technology (BT) has gained a great deal of publicity for its use in cryptocurrencies, another area of BT application has emerged away from the public eye, namely supply chains. Due to the increasing fragmentation and globalisation of supply chains in recent years, many products have to pass through countless production steps worldwide (from raw material extraction to the point of sale). Ensuring the quality and sustainability of production in preceding steps is a major challenge for many firms and thus, ultimately, also for the consumer. BT offers potential for achieving significant progress on this front. Put simply, the blockchain makes it possible to verify data decentralised within a network, store it in a tamper-proof and traceable format and make it accessible to all members of a network.
  • Topic: Development, Science and Technology, Cryptocurrencies, Sustainability, Blockchain
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Daniele Malerba
  • Publication Date: 01-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: German Development Institute (DIE)
  • Abstract: To avoid catastrophic effects on natural and human systems, bold action needs to be taken rapidly to mitigate climate change. Despite this urgency, the currently implemented and planned climate mitigation policies are not sufficient to meet the global targets set in Paris in 2015. One reason for their current inadequate rollout is their perceived negative distributional effects: by increasing the price of goods, climate mitigation policies may increase both poverty and inequality. In addition, they may disrupt labour markets and increase unemployment, especially in sectors and areas dependent on fossil fuels. As a result, public protests in many countries have so far blocked or delayed the implementation of climate policies.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Development, Policy Implementation
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Mario Negre
  • Publication Date: 01-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: German Development Institute (DIE)
  • Abstract: With inequality reduction now being officially and broadly recognised as a key development objective with its own Sustainable Development Goal (SDG 10), there is a need for simple, economical and quick methodologies with which to focus on this area and assess progress. This paper presents such a methodology, which allows a rough assessment of the potential impacts of development cooperation on income, consumption and wealth inequality. This is important, as a rigorous causal analysis of the contribution development cooperation makes to reducing a partner country’s inequality is complex and costly. First, the relative contribution of targeted development cooperation programmes and projects to the economies of partner countries tends to be small (though admittedly not in all cases). Second, a myriad of factors contribute to changes in inequality in any given country, and assessing the impact of all of them is a complex, imprecise, time-consuming and resource-intensive exercise.
  • Topic: Development, International Cooperation, Inequality, Sustainable Development Goals
  • Political Geography: Global Focus