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  • Author: Anirudh Burman
  • Publication Date: 04-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: As India’s economy recovers from the coronavirus pandemic, Indian businesses need efficient financial structures to regain their ground. Key reforms to India’s Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code could fill these gaps. One of the key drivers of economic recovery in India will be the efficient movement of capital from inefficient firms to efficient ones. The economic downturn caused by the coronavirus pandemic has been severe, and India’s economy was one of the worst affected in 2020–2021. Though the economy is recovering faster than initial estimates, sustained economic recovery will not take place if stressed businesses cannot restructure their debts properly or if failing firms cannot be resolved efficiently. India’s bankruptcy law is key to solving these challenges. In 2016 India enacted the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016 (IBC), which was a landmark reform to the nation’s financial system and the first comprehensive law to regulate insolvency.1 But the IBC has been suspended for a period of one year since the COVID-19-related lockdown was imposed in March 2020. In its place, India’s banking regulator, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), has introduced a limited restructuring scheme for COVID-19-related stress in the meantime. Older mechanisms for insolvency that are still in operation have historically not worked according to expectations. As the one-year period of suspension comes to a close, this paper argues that bringing back the IBC—with adequate modifications—is an important prerequisite for sustained economic growth. India historically suffered from a patchwork framework of insolvency laws that either did not give lenders adequate powers to recover their debts upon default or only catered to the interests of certain kinds of lenders—to the exclusion of others.2 The IBC is a modern and comprehensive bankruptcy law that since its enactment has had a significant role in reducing the problem of nonperforming assets (NPAs), or “bad loans,” in India’s financial system. In the wake of the economic disruption caused by COVID-19, the Indian government suspended the operation of critical parts of the IBC. These changes meant that lenders could not trigger insolvency proceedings against defaulting businesses if the default occurred after March 20, 2020. While this suspension possibly prevented unnecessary business failures and provided a “calm period” for the economy, these measures have outlived their utility.
  • Topic: Law, Finance, Economy, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: South Asia, India
  • Author: Rachel Lastinger, Sandra Urquiza
  • Publication Date: 03-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Georgetown Journal of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Election observers are a crucial mechanism for transparency in the electoral process and can play a key role in electoral reform. In the United States, election observers’ findings can be more efficiently utilized to catalyze needed reform. The Carter Center has observed over 113 elections and supported citizen observer efforts in various countries. Drawing from this international experience, we suggest that US election observers can monitor the electoral process beyond election day, from voter registration to election dispute resolution and have a similar impact on electoral reform and integrity.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Governance, Law, Elections
  • Political Geography: United States of America, North America
  • Author: Paulina García-Del Moral
  • Publication Date: 02-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Georgetown Journal of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Mexican feminists have used the hashtag “la policía no me cuida, me cuidan mis amigas” (police do not protect me, my female friends do) to denounce and document sexual abuse and harassment at the hands of police and the sharp increase in police repression against feminist demonstrations. The repression of these feminist demonstrations suggests a new and disturbing pattern of the criminalization of women’s right to mobilize.
  • Topic: Security, Civil Society, Law, Women, Feminism, Conflict, Police, Girls
  • Political Geography: Central America, Mexico
  • Author: Joshua Fitt
  • Publication Date: 02-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Georgetown Journal of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Many of China’s technology companies perfect their products in the domestic market by facilitating the party-state’s oppression and data control, and subsequently seek to export the technology to fledgling authoritarian states or nations with fragile democracies. This is part of Beijing’s strategy to enhance its digital instruments of national power, normalize illiberal uses of technology, and equip foreign governments with the tools to replicate aspects of the CCP’s authoritarian governance model. If Washington wants to blunt this strategy, the US government needs to implement a comprehensive strategy of its own to address this.
  • Topic: Science and Technology, Governance, Law, Authoritarianism, Grand Strategy, Multilateralism
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Michael C. Davis
  • Publication Date: 02-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Jamestown Foundation
  • Abstract: After the Hong Kong protest movement exploded in 2019, the world looked on with both hope and trepidation. Protestors made five demands: that a proposed extradition law be withdrawn; that there be an independent investigation of police behavior; that the protests stop being characterized as riots; that any charges against arrested protesters be dropped and that promised universal suffrage be implemented (HKPF, December 25, 2019). After months of protest, Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam publicly withdrew the extradition bill, fulfilling the first of the protestors’ demands (SCMP, September 4, 2019). But this temporary victory was too little too late and overshadowed by the ongoing and often violent crackdown on the protesters, and then in 2020, with Beijing’s imposition of the new National Security Law (NSL) (China Brief, July 29, 2020).
  • Topic: Human Rights, Law, Rule of Law, Protests, Repression
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, Hong Kong
  • Author: Sam Szoke-Burke, Samuel Nguiffo, Stella Tchoukep
  • Publication Date: 03-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment
  • Abstract: Despite a recent transparency law and participation in transparency initiatives, Cameroon’s investment environment remains plagued by poor transparency.
  • Topic: Agriculture, Environment, Law, Transparency, Land Reform
  • Political Geography: Africa, Cameroon
  • Author: Sarah Pierce
  • Publication Date: 01-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Migration Policy Institute (MPI)
  • Abstract: Over the course of four years, the Trump administration used a wide range of executive action tools to make sweeping changes to the U.S. immigration system. Among them is an obscure but powerful bureaucratic authority known as the attorney general’s “referral and review” power. By allowing the attorney general to review and overrule decisions made by the Board of Immigration Appeals (the immigration appellate body within the U.S. Department of Justice), referral and review makes it possible to alter or reinterpret the application of immigration laws—at times with wide-reaching effects. While the frequent and consequential use of this power by Trump-era attorneys general drew increased attention to it, many of the concerns that have been raised about it predate the Trump administration. Among them: that it allows the attorney general—the country’s chief law enforcement officer—to intercede in individual cases, raising questions about the independence of the immigration adjudication system; that referral and review decisions are made with minimal procedural safeguards or transparency; and that the power has remained in the Justice Department, even as most immigration functions were moved to the Department of Homeland Security when that agency was created nearly two decades ago. This report explores how referral and review has evolved over time, including under the Trump administration, whose attorneys general referred more cases to themselves for review than those in any prior administration, Republican or Democrat. The report also looks closely at the two areas of U.S. immigration policy most affected by Trump-era referral and review decisions: the U.S. asylum system and court procedures, including how immigration judges manage their own dockets. Finally, it looks ahead to how the power might be used in the future and recommends ways to improve its use and placement within the immigration bureaucracy.
  • Topic: Immigration, Law, Border Control, Asylum
  • Political Geography: North America, United States of America
  • 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: Philip Remler
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: The central task for Russian foreign policy in the era of President Vladimir Putin has been to regain the undisputed recognition that Russia is a world power like the Soviet Union before it, a status to which Russia feels entitled.1 The United Nations (UN) is Russia’s most important venue for putting its global aspirations and achievements on display. Russia’s status as a permanent member of the UN Security Council boosts its claim to be part of a global oligarchy and grants it the power to veto or undermine initiatives that it deems contrary to its interests. The concepts underlying Russia’s use of the UN to promote its aspirations form the subject of this paper. Russia, like the Soviet Union before it, devotes great resources to its missions at the UN, especially New York and Geneva. It traditionally cultivates extensive expertise among its mission members, appointing them to UN postings several times over their careers and leaving them in place for long periods. Russian diplomats are noted for their abilities in drafting highly technical UN documents in English—none more so than Sergey Lavrov, currently Russia’s foreign minister and formerly its permanent representative to the UN from 1994 to 2004.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Sovereignty, Power Politics, Law, Geopolitics, Legitimacy
  • Political Geography: Russia, United Nations
  • Author: Anirudh Burman
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: How should a legal framework for data protection balance the imperatives of protecting privacy and ensuring innovation and productivity growth? This paper examines the proposed data protection legislation in India from the perspective of whether it maintains this balance. In December 2019, the government introduced the Personal Data Protection Bill, 2019, in parliament, which would create the first cross-sectoral legal framework for data protection in India.1 This paper argues that the bill does not correctly address privacy-related harms in the data economy in India. Instead, the bill proposes a preventive framework that oversupplies government intervention and strengthens the state. This could lead to a significant increase in compliance costs for businesses across the economy and to a troubling dilution of privacy vis-à-vis the state. The paper argues that while the protection of privacy is an important objective, privacy also serves as a means to protecting other ends, such as free speech and sexual autonomy. A framework for protecting personal data has to be designed on a more precise understanding of the role of privacy in society and of the harms that emanate from violations of individual privacy.
  • Topic: Science and Technology, Law, Privacy, Data
  • Political Geography: South Asia, India