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  • Author: David M. Arseneau
  • Publication Date: 02-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System
  • Abstract: This paper uses disaggregated data from a broad cross-section of countries to empirically assess differences in energy consumption profiles across countries. We find empirical support for the energy ladder hypothesis, which contends that as an economy develops it transits away from a heavier reliance on traditional fuel sources towards an increase in the use of modern commercial energy sources. We also find empirical support for the hypothesis that structural transformation--the idea that as an economy matures, it transforms away from agriculture-based activity into industrial activity and, finally, fully matures into a service-oriented economy--is an important driver for the distribution of end-use energy consumption. However, even when these two hypotheses are taken into account, we continue to find evidence suggesting that the patterns of energy consumption in the BRIC economies are importantly different from those of other economies.
  • Topic: Development, Energy Policy, Infrastructure, Services, BRIC
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, Europe, India, Asia, Brazil, South America, Global Focus
  • Publication Date: 06-2001
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System
  • Abstract: Russia's Foreign Policy Russian foreign policy in the coming years will be characterized by weakness; frustration--primarily with the United States as the world's preeminent power--over Russia's diminished status; generally cautious international behavior; and a drive to resubjugate, though not reintegrate, the other former Soviet states. The international situation affords Russia time to concentrate on domestic reforms because, for the first time in its history, it does not face significant external threats. But rather than use the breathing space for domestic reforms, Putin is as much--if not more--focused on restoring Russia's self-defined rightful role abroad and seeking to mold the CIS into a counterweight to NATO and the European Union. The Outside World's Views of Russia Russia does not have any genuine allies. Some countries are interested in good relations with Russia, but only as a means to another end. For example, China sees Russia as a counterweight to the United States but values more highly its ties with the United States. Some countries see Russia as a vital arms supplier but resent Russia also selling arms to their rivals (China-India, Iran-Iraq). Pro-Russia business lobbies exist in Germany, Italy, Turkey, and Israel (one-fifth of whose population now consists of Soviet √©migres), but they do not single-handedly determine national policies. Europe is the only region that would like to integrate Russia into a security system, but it is divided over national priorities and institutional arrangements as well as put off by some Russian behavior. Most CIS governments do not trust their colossal neighbor, which continues to show an unsettling readiness to intervene in their internal affairs, though they know Russia well and are to a considerable degree comfortable in dealing with it. Turkey has developed an improved dialogue and an unprecedented number of economic ties with Russia during the post-Cold War period, but this more positive pattern of relations has not fully taken root, and Ankara remains suspicious of Moscow's intentions. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, Moscow's role in the Middle East has been reduced, but Israel, Syria, Egypt, Libya, and Iraq all favor good relations with Russia. Mutual interests also override disagreements in Russian-Iranian relations, but Tehran is wary of Russian behavior, particularly toward Saddam Hussein. India still trusts Russia--a sentiment that is perhaps a residue of the genuine friendship of Cold War days--but clearly not in the same way it once did, and New Delhi fears that weakness will propel Russia into doing things that could drive India further away. In East Asia, the most substantial breakthrough has been the resurrected relationship between Russia and China, one that entails significant longer-term risk for Russia. Other countries in the region value their links with Moscow as a means to balance a more powerful China, or as a useful component of their larger political and economic strategies, but Russia's role in East Asia--as elsewhere--remains constrained by the decline in its political, military, and economic power over the last decade. Russia's Weakness Russia's weakness stems from long-term secular trends and from its domestic structure. In essence, the old nomenklatura and a few newcomers have transformed power into property on the basis of personal networks and created an equilibrium resting on insider dealings. These insiders may jockey for position but have a vested interest in preserving the system. The public does not like the system but is resigned to it and gives priority to the preservation of order. As for the economy, it is divided into a profitable, internationally integrated sector run by oligarchs and a much larger, insulated, low-productivity, old-style paternalistic sector that locks Russia into low growth. No solace will be forthcoming from the international business and energy worlds. They do not expect the poor commercial climate to improve greatly and will not increase investments much beyond current levels until it does. Militarily, Russia will also remain weak. Its nuclear arsenal is of little utility, and Moscow has neither the will nor the means to reform and strengthen its conventional forces. Hope for the Future? The best hope for change in Russia lies with the younger generation. Several participants reported that under-25 Russians have much more in common with their US counterparts, including use of the Internet, than with older Soviet generations. But there was some question over whether the new generation would change the system or adapt to it. Others placed some hope in international institutions, for instance the World Trade Organization, eventually forcing Russia to adapt to the modern world. Dissenting Views Some participants dissented from the overall forecast of depressing continuity. The keynote speaker, James Billington, stated that Russia would not be forever weak and that the current confusion would end in a few years either through the adoption of authoritarian nationalism or federated democracy. One scholar felt the Chechen war was feeding ethnic discord in other areas of the Federation to which Moscow would respond with increased authoritarianism, not necessarily successfully. Finally, a historian observed that the patience of Russians is legendary but not infinite, meaning that we should not be overly deterministic.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Development
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, China, Middle East, Israel
  • Publication Date: 12-2000
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System
  • Abstract: During the past two years, the National Intelligence Council and the Bureau of Intelligence and Research of the US Department of State sponsored a working group and four seminars with experts from outside the Intelligence Community to examine the impact of societal and infrastructural factors on Russia's future over the next two decades. The factors identified--demography, health, intellectual capital, and physical infrastructure--all pose great challenges to Russia. The purpose of the project was to begin to think through in systematic fashion the difficulties and opportunities confronting Russia's leadership in these four specific areas.
  • Topic: Demographics, Development, Government
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States
  • Publication Date: 05-2000
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System
  • Abstract: In a recent conference, trade experts identified three primary reasons the World Trade Organization (WTO) failed to launch a new trade Round at its December 1999 Ministerial. First, leading members were unable to resolve differences on critical issues prior to the gathering. In addition, many developing countries and nongovernmental organizations were more assertive than they had been at previous conferences. Finally, in recent years, the WTO has expanded the range of issues it addresses, which has made efforts to reach a consensus on any point more difficult. According to the speakers, as a result of the acrimonious Ministerial, the WTO has suffered a substantial loss of credibility, which will impair efforts to launch a new Round in the near term. There is no immediate alternative to strong US leadership, and WTO negotiations will be more complicated because developing countries and nongovernmental organizations will be more inclined to resist trade liberalization efforts that they believe do not advance their interests. Experts at the conference offered a variety of assessments regarding the course the WTO might choose to follow this year. The majority argued that if the trade body is seeking to rebuild confidence, it could continue with scheduled meetings on agriculture and services and use the time to rebuild confidence. A minority, however, held that the forum is too fractured to make progress, thus talks would only undermine the already declining prestige of the trade body. The experts identified several long-run challenges that the WTO will probably need to address to be an effective decisionmaking institution, including: Bridging the developed-developing country gap Costa Rica, Mexico, and South Africa generally support trade liberalization and have credibility among developed and developing states; thus they are in a position to meld the interests of the two sides. Enacting institutional reforms The organization's expansive agenda and large membership require that it adopt policies that facilitate decisionmaking, especially before new members such as China and Russia join. The trade body may try to increase transparency to promote greater trust in its procedures. Also, to avoid protracted and bitter selections such as the forum suffered last year, the WTO could review its procedures for electing a new director general. Managing the backlash against globalization Supporters of freer trade could launch a massive educational program to highlight the gains for all countries from expanded trade and to counter the dire assertions made by nongovernmental organizations (NGOs).
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Development, Economics, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Russia, China