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  • Author: Gregory Claeys, Maria Demertzis
  • Publication Date: 01-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Bruegel
  • Abstract: Productivity growth in Europe has been on a downward trend for several decades. Given that productivity growth is a crucial source of output growth, particularly in an aging society like the European Union, it is crucial to understand what is driving this slowdown and what the potential consequences are for our economic model and for citizens’ welfare. Some explanations for this trend are global in nature, but there are also significant differences in country structures in Europe that have led to different outcomes and that need to be accounted for before policy prescriptions can be made. The objective of MICROPROD, an EU-wide research project that runs until the end of 2021, is to contribute to this research strand by using data from various European countries to study the microeconomic mechanisms behind this macroeconomic phenomenon. In particular, the aim is to understand the challenges posed to Europe by the fourth industrial revolution and its impact on productivity in the context of globalisation and digitalisation, and to recommend policies to address these challenges. MICROPROD researchers have so far delivered 20 papers on four broad issues relevant for today’s policy debates: the measurement and effects of intangible capital on productivity; the impact of globalisation, international trade and the integration of global value chains (GVCs) on productivity; factor allocation and allocative efficiency; and finally the social consequences of the two structural shocks Europe has faced in the last two decades: globalisation and technological progress. This Policy Contribution reviews the main conclusions of these 20 MICROPROD papers and how they inform policy debates. However, the mid-point of the three-year MICROPROD project also coincided with the start of the COVID-19 crisis, which might have accelerated some trends or possibly reversed others. We therefore discuss how some of the messages of MICROPROD research may contribute to our understanding of the current crisis and its aftermath.
  • Topic: Globalization, Governance, European Union, Macroeconomics, Productivity, Digitalization
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Kateryna Markevych
  • Publication Date: 05-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Razumkov Centre
  • Abstract: Today’s world is being shaped in new conditions, where digital technologies are gaining more and more weight. They can greatly increase the level of labour efficiency and well-being of people, meet the challenges of health, education and state management (these advantages are particularly evident now, during the COVID-19 pandemic), but also increase the level of innovation of the economy or reduce the carbon intensity.
  • Topic: Education, Health, Labor Issues, Economy, COVID-19, Digitalization
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Adedeji Adeniran, Idris Ademuyiwa
  • Publication Date: 07-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: The growth of digitalization and digital technology adoption in Africa holds the key to strengthening and diversifying economies across the continent. Although these developments offer potentially life-changing benefits for consumers, businesses and governments, the inherent flaws in the digital market mean these benefits are not guaranteed. As most gains from the digital economy are largely concentrated in the United States and China, the digital divide may widen the gap between the Global North and the Global South.
  • Topic: Economics, Governance, Digital Economy, Digitalization
  • Political Geography: Africa, Global South
  • Author: Dan Ciuriak
  • Publication Date: 07-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: In the era of continuous and steadily accelerating technological change that started with the Industrial Revolution, economies and societies were repeatedly transformed in ways that can be traced to ownership of the essential and scarce factor of production of the day and command of the economic rents that flowed to that factor. The digital transformation is now ushering in a new economic era, in which the economy is again being reordered by new technologies based on a new essential capital asset — data. Data generates massive rents, fuels the rise of superstar firms and generates powerful incentives for strategic trade and investment policy. The emergence of this new economy signals a new era of conflict, on new battlegrounds and with new tools or weapons, between new coalitions within and between countries. This paper describes the contours of the conflicts that are to be expected with the digital transformation as it realigns interests; compares these expectations with actual developments; and comments on the strategies of the main protagonists and the implications for the rules-based system of international commerce.
  • Topic: Science and Technology, Commerce, Digitalization
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Michel Girard
  • Publication Date: 08-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: There is no consensus to create a global framework for managing data governance under the United Nations. A Data Standards Task Force (DSTF) is needed to create a single data zone where trustworthy data could circulate freely between like-minded countries. This proposal is aligned with the objectives of fora such as the International Grand Committee on Big Data, Privacy and Democracy. Canada could also spearhead the launch of the DSTF with like-minded countries through the implementation of regional free trade agreements such as the Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement, the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement or the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership.
  • Topic: International Cooperation, United Nations, Trade Policy, Digitalization
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Publication Date: 11-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Oxford Economics
  • Abstract: n this study, commissioned by the Computer and Communications Industry Association, we explore the economic and social impacts of digital services in Europe, and identify the actions digital services providers are taking to tackle illegal and harmful content. We conclude by suggesting points for the European Commission to consider as it develops its upcoming Digital Services Act. The rapid growth of digital services has had a transformative impact on daily lives and economic activity across Europe. Much of Europeans’ online activity is enabled by a dynamic and innovative network of online platforms. These sustain jobs and revenues themselves, and support economic activity amongst the ecosystems of businesses and individuals who use them. Even more importantly, digital services enhance economic competitiveness. They reduce barriers to growth for SMEs, enabling them to access infrastructure and customers, and to trade internationally, without making large up-front investments. Digital services also create value for consumers, delivering more choice, convenience and lower prices, and other benefits which are more social in nature. However, the technologies have been misused by some users for purposes which are harmful or illegal. Providers recognise this challenge and have developed a range of individual and collective initiatives to address it.
  • Topic: Infrastructure, Digital Economy, Internet, Digitalization
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Andrey Makarychev, Elizabeth Wishnick, Andrew J. Nathan
  • Publication Date: 08-2020
  • Content Type: Video
  • Institution: Weatherhead East Asian Institute, Columbia University
  • Abstract: Taiwan and Estonia are known as digital democracies. As both face threats from neighbors, their degree of digitization typically has been seen as a vulnerability. The DNS attack from Russia that Estonia faced in 2007 brought home the potential for cyberspace to be used as a domain of war. Similarly Taiwan has faced repeated cyberthreats from the People’s Republic of China. Nonetheless, in their successful responses to the COVID-19 pandemic, Taiwan and Estonia have highlighted the strengths of digital democracy in combating a non-traditional security threat without employing the strongarm tactics of authoritarian states. In this article we reexamine the digital vulnerability of democracies and put forward a conception of digital power to explain the success of Estonia and Taiwan in using their digital prowess to combat COVID-19. On the one hand their reliance on cybertechnology make them particularly vulnerable to cyberattacks, but on the other hand their digital power enhances their global stature and domestic capacity to address threats like COVID-19.
  • Topic: Security, Cybersecurity, Democracy, COVID-19, Non-Traditional Threats, Digitalization
  • Political Geography: Taiwan, Asia, Estonia
  • Author: Clemens Fuest, Jean Pisani-Ferry
  • Publication Date: 09-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Bruegel
  • Abstract: Roughly two thirds of the European Union’s budget is financed out of member states’ national tax revenues. These resources, based on gross national incomes, are transparent, fair and in line with the principle of subsidiarity but they lead to political debates that emphasise the cost of EU spending rather than the benefits, and add to the perception of the EU budget in terms of net balances, rather than value added. The financing of the EU budget must be reassessed in the light of the July 2020 decision to launch the Next Generation EU programme. Budget resources could include a plastics charge, a carbon border adjustment mechanism, a digital tax, revenues from emissions trading and a financial transactions tax. We evaluate these options against four criteria: whether the origin of the revenue can be assigned to a particular member state; whether the revenue can be raised in isolation or requires pan-European tax coordination; whether the new resource can help reduce tax distortions in the EU; and whether the resource is related to EU policies. Revenues from emissions allowances fit these criteria best. Carbon emissions do not primarily cause damage only where they occur. Taking the EU cap on emissions as a given, additional emissions in a particular member state should be regarded as a negative externality on other member states. Emission reduction objectives are set at EU level. Whoever auctions off an allowance, wherever the corresponding emission occurs in the EU, and wherever the resulting good or service is consumed, the impact on common policy outcomes is the same. In this regard, proceeds from the sale of emissions trading system allowances are not that different from customs duties. Compared to the ETS, the other candidates for EU own resources are less convincing. Carbon border adjustments are intended to limit international competitive distortions rather than to generate revenue. Digital taxes and minimum corporate taxes are best left to the process underway in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. On a financial transactions tax there is no agreement within the EU. Total ETS revenues up to 2050 would approach €800 billion in a realistic scenario and possibly even €1.5 trillion assuming the scope of the ETS and the share of auctioned permits are increased. ETS revenues therefore would be largely sufficient to repay the Next Generation EU debt. However they would generate distributional effects, and so part of the revenues should finance grandfathered rights that would accrue to the member states. The EU can tackle the distributional issues involved in the reform of own resources.
  • Topic: Budget, European Union, Finance, Tax Systems, COVID-19, Decarbonization, Digitalization
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Andreas Aktoudianakis
  • Publication Date: 12-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: European Policy Centre
  • Abstract: Digitalisation is driving major transformations in economics, politics, and the balance of power in global affairs. To catch the current wave of technological innovation and cope with its geo-economic and geopolitical implications, the EU should enhance its data infrastructure, unleash the potential of its Digital Single Market, and design a digital policy that contributes to the development of global digital governance and fosters multilateral cooperation. In order to foster its digital sovereignty, the EU and its member states should follow a strategy based on three main pillars: bracing to address European overdependence on foreign technologies, unfair competition in digital markets, and infrastructure vulnerabilities; empowering Europe by removing barriers in the Digital Single Market, implementing the principles of data-openness and innovation outlined in the EU digital strategies, addressing unfair data-merging practices, expanding EU funding for innovation with a focus on small- and medium-sized enterprises, and enhancing the digital skills of the workforce; and engaging internationally to leverage EU regulatory power and boost alliances for effectively regulating emerging technologies, digital markets, data governance, and international data flows. Digitalisation, innovation, digital skills, and international engagement will be crucial to sustaining Europe’s competitiveness and economic growth. The recommendations outlined above will enable the EU to pursue its objective of digital sovereignty during its “digital decade,” as European Commission President von der Leyen put it in her first State of the Union Address. This paper is part of the joint European Policy Centre – Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung project on ‘Fostering Europe’s strategic autonomy: priorities for action’ that runs throughout 2020 and aims to outline a concrete agenda to strengthen Europe’s role in the world and its sovereignty.
  • Topic: Science and Technology, European Union, Autonomy, Digitalization
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Marco Cangiano, Alan Gelb, Ruth Goodwin-Groen
  • Publication Date: 06-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: The ability of digital payments to deliver better outcomes for governments, businesses, and individuals—including driving financial inclusion—has been one of the success stories of the digital age. Payments are central to how governments transfer and receive financial resources; however, the way such payments are made—and how they could be made more effectively—is often not mainstreamed in public financial management (PFM) despite the fact that many of the direct benefits from effective digitalization of payments are identitical to those traditionally expected from strong PFM systems.The digitalization of payments does not provide a silver bullet for solving PFM problems; therefore it needs to be approached in an integrated way, with strong leadership from central agencies, including the Ministry of Finance, to exploit the synergies between the many different types of payments facilitated by digital technology. The paper explores the linkages between the digitalization of payments and PFM, including through four case studies.
  • Topic: Finance, Digitalization, Financial Management
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Alan Gelb, Anit Mukherjee
  • Publication Date: 07-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: Reforming inefficient and inequitable energy subsidies continues to be an important priority for policymakers as does instituting “green taxes” to reduce carbon emissions. Simply increasing energy prices will have adverse impact on poorer consumers, who may spend substantial budget shares on energy and energy-intensive products even though the rich typically appropriate more of the price subsidy. Equitable pricing reforms therefore need to be accompanied by programs to transfer compensation: depending on the situation, this can be targeted or universal. Successful reforms require measures to raise awareness-of the subsidies and the problems they cause, effective dissemination of the reform to the population, and rapid feedback loops to facilitate mid-course corrections. Digital technology, including for unique identification and payments, as well as general communications, can help build government capacity to undertake such reforms and respond to changes in fuel markets. The paper outlines the use of digital technology, drawing on four country cases. The technology is only a mechanism; it does not, in itself, create the political drive and constituency to push reform forward. However, it can be employed in a number of ways to increase the prospects for successful and sustainable reform.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Energy Policy, Environment, Science and Technology, Reform, Digitalization
  • Political Geography: Africa, Middle East, India, Latin America
  • Author: Vivian Vazquez, Jenny Weissbourd, Amy Blair
  • Publication Date: 08-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Aspen Institute
  • Abstract: Online upskilling programs have the potential to support continuous, lifelong learning that can help adults learn new skills and advance in a changing labor market. Yet the online learning landscape can be difficult to navigate. Many workers face challenges balancing digital courses with work and personal commitments, accessing and using technology, and determining which of the many available programs signal value to employers. Companies can play an important role in making online upskilling accessible and relevant to frontline workers. Our latest report documents one partnered approach to designing and piloting an online training program for incumbent workers, led by a food service company, a civic leadership organization, and a local university in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. It explores how Eat’n Park partnered with Robert Morris University and the Allegheny Conference on Community Development to design and deliver digital training to frontline Eat’n Park employees. Our profile shares findings from a pilot customer service training program, focusing on the experiences of workers who participated and their managers. It includes information on program content and design, and the business case for launching training. It also offers four key practices that workers noted were important to their motivation and ability to complete the program
  • Topic: Science and Technology, Labor Issues, Retail, Digitalization, Customer Service
  • Political Geography: North America, United States of America
  • Author: Aspen Institute
  • Publication Date: 07-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Aspen Institute
  • Abstract: The digitalization of the U.S. economy will transform the products businesses sell and the ways they can interact with customers. Thank you for registering to download our white paper on the changing U.S. economy.
  • Topic: Digital Economy, Economy, Business , Digitalization
  • Political Geography: United States, North America
  • Author: Marek Gorka
  • Publication Date: 01-2018
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Polish Political Science Yearbook
  • Institution: Polish Political Science Association (PPSA)
  • Abstract: In the last decade, one can notice the huge interest of researchers in the field of cyberpolicy, which is primarily due to the widespread use of the Internet in the public space. This fact is also an impulse for conducting interdisciplinary research that combines knowl- edge from social sciences on the one hand, and uses content from technical sciences on the other. Compared to the form of conducting election campaigns in the 20th century in the U.S., during the 2016 election campaign there were significant changes in the conduct of po- litical struggle. These changes consist above all in the use of cybernetic tools, which to a large extent, however difficult to determine, shaped electoral behavior. The contemporary political competition is more and more dependent on technology, which becomes the main element of the professionalization of election campaigns. Investigating the impact of cyberspace on electoral results is a big challenge, considering the fact that the area of cybertechnology is extremely complex. Cyberspace has now become a field for many political phenomena that are constantly evolving and in most cases their importance is immense for the functioning of the political system. The article is intended to deal with selected phenomena related to cybertechnology that were compared with other events from the U.S. election campaign in 2016. The article aims to investigate selected events resulting from the use of cybertechnol- ogy, which had an impact on electoral behavior.
  • Topic: Elections, Cybersecurity, Social Media, Disinformation, Election Interference , Digitalization
  • Political Geography: North America, United States of America