Search

You searched for: Content Type Policy Brief Remove constraint Content Type: Policy Brief Topic Development Remove constraint Topic: Development
Number of results to display per page

Search Results

  • Author: John H. Makin
  • Publication Date: 05-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: In their April 21 press release following their spring meeting in Washington, D.C., the G7 finance ministers and central bank governors added an important sentence to their usual bland statement that exchange rates should reflect economic fundamentals: Greater exchange rate flexibility is desirable in emerging economies with large current account surpluses, especially China, for necessary adjustments to occur. In their April 21 press release following their spring meeting in Washington, D.C., the G7 finance ministers and central bank governors added an important sentence to their usual bland statement that exchange rates should reflect economic fundamentals: Greater exchange rate flexibility is desirable in emerging economies with large current account surpluses, especially China, for necessary adjustments to occur. The G7, significantly, also called for an increased role for the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to help countries, including those in the G7 but also China and others in emerging Asia, meet the macroeconomic and financial policy challenge of globalization. Specifically, the G7 supported the strengthening of IMF surveillance, including through increased emphasis on the consistency of exchange rate policies with domestic policies and a market-based international monetary system and on the spillover effects of domestic policies on other countries. The G7s endorsement of greater exchange-rate flexibility and of an enhanced IMF role in implementing it is important. The IMF, having been founded after World War II to maintain stable exchange rates among major economies, has become an advocate on behalf of the major economies of global exchange-rate flexibility. The lesson regarding the need for G7 currency flexibility was learned after Americas August 1971 abandonment of fixed exchange rates, which was followed by a decade of adjustments to higher oil prices that would have wreaked havoc under fixed exchange rates. The lesson for needed currency flexibility in emerging markets was learned after the disastrous attempt, fostered in part by the IMF, to impose fixed exchange rates during the Asian and Russian crises of 1997 and 1998, which prolonged and exacerbated the market gyrations caused by the crises. Sadly, China response to the G7-IMF call for greater currency flexibility has been both negative and misguided. China's foolishly insouciant attitude, captured in a comment by Zhou Xiao-chuan, governor of the Peoples Bank of China, carries with it serious risks both for China and for the world economy. Zhous remark was quoted on April 24 in the Wall Street Journal: [T]he speed of moving forward (on yuan appreciation) is OK. Its good for China and welcomed by many other countries. China's currency has appreciated only 1.2 percent since its initial 2.1 percent revaluation last July 21. That is less than OK. The total 3.3 percent revaluation against the dollar really represents no adjustment at all in view of the 1 to 2 percent inflation differential (lower in China) that has persisted between the United States and China over the past two years. If China had allowed prices to rise instead of mandating caps on prices of important commodities like gasoline, there would be less pressure for the yuan to rise in value. Both the intervention to cap the yuans appreciation and the capping of domestic prices are building up potentially disruptive inflation pressure inside China, as we shall see below. The most dangerous aspect of China's increased efforts to prevent yuan appreciation, as measured by accelerating reserve accumulation over the past year, is the rising pool of liquidity inside China that has resulted. The level of excess reserves in Chinese banks is now larger, relative to GDP, than the level of excess reserves built up in Japan from 2001 to 2005 during the years of a prolonged, desperate struggle against deflation. China's currency undervaluation, coupled with the massive liquidity buildup in its banking system, has resulted in excessive investment in China's state enterprises that have close traditional ties with the liquidity-sodden banks. The usual Chinese response to excess reserves has been to boost reserve requirements for its banks. But to absorb the huge pool of excess reserves now in place, reserve requirements would have to be boosted by 5 percentage points to 12.5 per-cent, going far beyond previous moves of 0.5 to 1 percentage point, and far beyond what China's shaky, insolvent banks could endure. When the Peoples Bank of China boosted its one-year benchmark lending rate on April 26 by 27 basis points (to 5.85 percent), it took a tiny step that will do little to tighten China's monetary stance.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Washington
  • Author: John H. Makin
  • Publication Date: 02-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: In August 2000, with the Japanese growth rate holding above 2 percent, the Bank of Japan decided to initiate an end to the zero interest rate policy that it had initiated in March 1999. This step was taken despite the existence of modest deflation, indicated by readings of minus 0.2 to minus 0.5 percent on various measures of inflation. At that time, no central bank had thought seriously about deflation as a threat since the depression of the 1930s.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Japan, Israel, East Asia
  • Author: Charles Murray
  • Publication Date: 12-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: The twenty-fifth anniversary of the Atlas Foundation provided Charles Murray with an occasion to consider the influence of classical liberal ideas on policy and also to speculate on what lies ahead.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Government
  • Author: Allan H. Meltzer
  • Publication Date: 11-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: On November 16, eminent economist Milton Friedman passed away. Friedman made unparalleled contributions to free-market economics, demonstrating in Capitalism and Freedom the close relationship of free enterprise to political liberty. His philosophy has been extraordinarily influential regarding social and economic policies in governments around the world.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Markets, Politics
  • Author: Douglas J. Besharov
  • Publication Date: 08-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: It has been nearly ten years since President Bill Clinton signed the landmark 1996 welfare reform law. The anniversary has been the occasion for various news stories and opinion pieces, most of them praising the law's success in reducing welfare dependency. And it is true: welfare caseloads have fallen an astounding 60 percent since reform efforts began. But even as a strong supporter of welfare reform, I find it difficult to muster unqualified enthusiasm for the law and how it has been implemented.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Development, Economics, Human Welfare
  • Author: Steven F. Hayward
  • Publication Date: 10-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: A close reading of Al Gore's views on the linkages between environmental issues and broader social and philosophical currents reveals their problematic political and policy implications. Gore derives our environmental problems from deeper metaphysical and psychosocial currents, a path that will foreclose a number of productive policy approaches to the problem of climate change.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Development, Environment, Politics
  • Author: Harry Harding
  • Publication Date: 01-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: China has done remarkably well in its development over the last twenty-five years. It has achieved and sustained high rates of economic growth, lifting millions out of poverty. It has achieved a significant place in the international economy. It is widely regarded as a major power, not only in Asia but also increasingly on a global stage. Looking ahead, however, things could go wrong – possibly quite seriously wrong – for China, and if China experiences serious problems, its size and its expanded role in the world mean that there could be serious consequences for the broader international community as well.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Albert Kiedel
  • Publication Date: 01-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: What are the implications if China sustains nine-percent growth through 2010? This is the basic question posed by conference organizers. The relevant time frame is what matters most. If China merely maintains nine-percent growth until the year 2010, the implications are not great. Too much is left unknown about what comes after 2010. Even with nine-percent growth over the next five years, China in 2010 will still be at a relatively low level of performance, both overall and in per-capita terms. But if sustaining nine-percent growth to 2010 means that China has launched on-going reforms that will continue to engineer institutional changes needed for a market economy's successful commercial and political management, then the resulting successful development trajectory in the rest of the century will generate profound and, from today's perspective, unexpected consequences.
  • Topic: International Relations, Development, Economics
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: David C. Gompert, Jan M. Lodal, Leslie S. Lebl, Walter B. Slocombe, Frances G. Burwell
  • Publication Date: 03-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: Since 1989, the security environment facing the United States and its European allies has changed beyond recognition. The Soviet Union has disintegrated, as has the division of Europe between East and West, and new threats have arisen. The disintegration of Yugoslavia in the 1990s demonstrated that instability and war emerging from failing states could affect the peace and security of Europe. After 2001, global terrorism became the priority threat, especially when linked with the prospect of proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.
  • Topic: Security, NATO, Development
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Soviet Union, Yugoslavia
  • Author: Emily Hsu, Robert Pierto
  • Publication Date: 07-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Haiti's new government faces an enormous economic challenge. Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere and among the poorest countries in the world. Two thirds of Haiti's eight million citizens live in poverty. Half of its adult population is illiterate. Only a quarter of its children attend school. Since a brief spike in the 1970's, Haiti's economy has experienced a steady decline as a result of rapacious government policies and, possibly well intentioned, but destructive international sanctions.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: Central America, Haiti
  • Author: Patricia Karam, A. Heather Coyne
  • Publication Date: 07-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: The U.S. Institute of Peace was the venue for a roundtable session in mid-July to discuss the prospects for mediation of the current crisis in Lebanon. The discussants included former White House and State Department officials, as well as regional experts with experience in mediating previous conflicts between Israel and Lebanon. This USIPeace Briefing highlights the central points made during that discussion and does not represent the views of the Institute, which does not advocate specific policies.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Relations, Development
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Lebanon
  • Author: Robert Perito
  • Publication Date: 05-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Two years after Jean-Bertrand Aristide's ouster by armed revolt, Haiti appears ready to turn a page in its turbulent political history. Earlier this month, the Haitian people successfully completed parliamentary elections with minimal violence or fanfare, two months after choosing their new president, René Préval. Once in office, Haiti's new leadership will face grave political challenges in governing a country that has been traumatized by chronic violence and instability.
  • Topic: Development, Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: Central America, Haiti
  • Author: Yll Bajraktari
  • Publication Date: 05-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: A UN/World Bank survey conducted after the fall of the Saddam Hussein regime revealed that even though women represented about 55 percent of Iraq's population, they made up only 23 percent of the workforce. Although the international community and Iraqis have since devoted considerable attention to boosting the status of women in Iraq, most of these efforts have focused on the social and political empowerment of women. Full democratic consolidation in Iraq can only be achieved by guaranteeing, in addition, a leading economic role for women in Iraq.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Gender Issues
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East
  • Author: Abdeslam Maghraoui
  • Publication Date: 05-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Throughout the Muslim world, Islamist parties have emerged as major power brokers when allowed to compete in free elections. Yet their positions on many crucial governance issues remain unknown or ambiguous. Most debates on the potential to moderate and integrate Islamists in the democratic process have focused on Islam's compatibility with democracy or on debates over Islamists' normative commitment to democracy separately from the mechanics of achieving political power.
  • Topic: Democratization, Development, Government, Religion
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Author: Scott Lasensky
  • Publication Date: 03-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: This is the second in a series of USIPeace Briefings written by Scott Lasensky and Mona Yacoubian of USIP's Center for Conflict Analysis and Prevention. It is based on discussions at a recent seminar. The views expressed do not reflect those of USIP, which does not take policy positions. One year after the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri and facing mounting international pressure, the Syrian regime is consolidating its hold on power and adopting a more defiant stance, both in the region and toward the West. On December 12, Lebanese journalist Gibran Tueni—who had been staunchly opposed to Syrian involvement in Lebanon—was killed by a car bomb in Beirut. The attack occurred amidst continued Syrian intimidation of key witnesses as well as an orchestrated Syrian campaign to discredit the UN's Hariri investigation. Then, in a late December interview on al-Arabiya, former Syrian Vice President Abdel Halim Khaddam accused the Syrian regime of directly threatening Hariri just before his death. Khaddam is now openly calling for regime change, even reaching out to exiled leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood. In February 2006, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice criticized the Syrian government for encouraging violence and inflaming popular anger over the Danish cartoon controversy.
  • Topic: Development, Politics, United Nations
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Syria
  • Author: Imad Harb
  • Publication Date: 03-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Over the past year and a half, Lebanon has witnessed tremendous political upheaval. In September 2004, Parliament extended the term of the country's president, Emile Lahoud, for three years after heavy-handed Syrian interference. Attempts were made on the lives of several public figures; among those killed was former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. A popular uprising forced Syria to withdraw the troops it had deployed in Lebanon since 1976. New parliamentary elections were held in May and June, 2005, and resulted in a new majority coalition of reform-minded, albeit sectarian, leaders who promised an overhaul of Lebanese politics.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Development, Politics
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Lebanon, Syria
  • Author: Daniel Serwer, Yll Bajraktari
  • Publication Date: 01-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: More than a decade after the dissolution of Yugoslavia, people of the region remain deeply divided by contradictory accounts of what happened. Redefinition of historical perspectives along ethno-nationalist lines makes mutual understanding more difficult and hinders reconciliation. Controversies that emerged from the decade of wars continue to hamper the region's prospects.
  • Topic: International Relations, Development, Nationalism
  • Political Geography: Eastern Europe
  • Author: Kelly Campbell, Adams Fusheini
  • Publication Date: 08-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: On June 19-20, 2006, the U.S. Institute of Peace (USIP), in partnership with the West African Network for Peacebuilding (WANEP), hosted a workshop entitled "Challenges to Peace and Reconstruction in Côte d'Ivoire" in Accra, Ghana. Fourteen representatives of diverse Ivoirian civil society organizations (CSOs) attended the conference, as well as representatives from the United Nations Mission in Côte d'Ivoire (UNOCI), the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), and other nongovernmental organizations.
  • Topic: International Relations, Development, Peace Studies
  • Political Geography: Africa, United States
  • Author: Peter Viggo Jakobsen
  • Publication Date: 12-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: This brief takes issue with the prevailing view that the ESDP capacity building process is easier and has been more successful in the civilian than in the military field. It argues that civilian capacity building is harder than military capacity building, demonstrates that the EU's civilian rapid reaction capacity is considerably smaller and less integrated than it is generally assumed, and that the capacity goals set for 2008 are unattainable. Yet another major EU expectations-capability gap has been created and there is now a real danger that this gap will seriously damage the EU's reputation as the global leader in civilian crisis management.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Civil Society, Development
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Adrian Favell
  • Publication Date: 12-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: Policy makers underestimate the importance of underlying demographics and labour market dynamics on future East-West migration in Europe. Flows have generally been demand driven, and have therefore been drawn by European nations with the most open and informal labour markets – such as Britain, Ireland, Italy and Spain –rather than more highly regulated welfare states such as Denmark. They are also more likely to be circular and temporary than one way immigration. I discuss the desirability of the apparently inevitable trend in Europe towards a more US style international labour market that strongly parallels the migration system between the US and Mexico. The underlying trend in Europe is towards the emergence of a more regionalised system, in which West European societies come to rely on East European movers to fill secondary labour market needs in the service economy, rather than more racially or ethnically distinct non-European immigrants.
  • Topic: Development, Migration, Politics
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Helle Munk Ravnborg, Claus Aagaard
  • Publication Date: 08-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: Many countries are currently in a process of water reform, often motivated by increasing and a changing composition – and strength – of demands for fresh water. In many countries this reform process has been met with opposition from all political corners, including traditional water users such as large scale farmers and civil society organizations such as indigenous movements and environmental groups.
  • Topic: Development, Health, Human Welfare, Poverty
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Bent Nørby Bonde
  • Publication Date: 07-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: Media have contributed significantly to the escalation of violent conflicts, but also have a strong potential for contributing to peace building and conflict transformation. The sooner the first steps are taken towards changing the existing media the cheaper and more efficient this process will become. The need for boosting the rapid deployment is evident.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Development, Peace Studies, United Nations
  • Political Geography: Yugoslavia
  • Author: Sergey Filippov, Iornara Costa, Mariana Zanatta
  • Publication Date: 10-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: The growing importance attached to attracting foreign direct investment (FDI) is evidenced by the steady rise of investment promotion agencies (IPAs) worldwide, especially from the early 1990s. Since its launch in 1995, the World Association of Investment Promotion Agencies (WAIPA) has registered a growing number of members representing cities, regions, countries and free zones from all over the world: from 112 in 2002, 161 in 2004, rising to 191 members from 149 countries in 2006. According to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) there were around 500 IPAs in more than 160 countries in 2004.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Development, Economics, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: United Nations
  • Author: Andrs Solimano
  • Publication Date: 08-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: The generation of new ideas and their application for productive uses is an important engine for growth and development. This is an area in which developing countries usually lag behind developed countries and is where development gaps are more evident. Behind the generation of ideas, innovations, and new technologies there is 'human talent': an inner capacity of individuals to develop ideas and objects, some of them with a high economic value. The 'human factor' is critical to the success or failure of many endeavours. Several countries, particularly China and India, followed by Russia, Poland, and some Latin American countries, are becoming an important source of talented people with PhDs and degrees in science, engineering, and other areas that can lead to change in the international patterns of comparative advantages and reduce development gaps. Part of the new talent formed in developing countries goes to live and work to developed countries, typically the USA, UK, and other OECD nations. At the same time multinational corporations are outsourcing several of their productive and service activities, including research and development, to developing countries (China and India are main destinations) to take advantage of the (less expensive) talent being developed there. Today, therefore, we see a double movement of talent and capital around the globe: on the one hand talent from developing countries is moving north seeking better opportunities where people are equipped with more capital, technologies, and effective organizations. On the hand capital from the north pursues talent in the south; a process largely led by multinational corporations.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Human Welfare, Migration
  • Political Geography: United States, China, United Kingdom, India
  • Author: Matthew Smith, Alan Roe, Tony Addison
  • Publication Date: 06-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: An effective state is able to mobilize revenue and spend it on infrastructure, services, and public goods that both enhance human capital and the well-being of communities (especially the poor), as well as stimulating investment and employment creation by the private sector. An effective state also manages public finance to ensure that macroeconomic balance is maintained—with policy neither too restrictive to discourage private investment and growth, nor too accommodative to create high inflation and crowd out private investment. Fiscal issues are therefore at the heart of the state's role in the development process and failure in this policy area—whether it is in taxation, public expenditures, or in managing the fiscal deficit and public debt—can quickly undermine growth and poverty reduction. Fiscal weakness can also be fatal to social peace when one or more ethnic, religious, or regional groups are taxed unfairly—or receives too little in the allocation of public spending.
  • Topic: Debt, Development, Economics, Poverty
  • Political Geography: Africa, Asia
  • Author: Grant Boyle, Lynn Mytelka
  • Publication Date: 05-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Recent technological advances in the application of hydrogen fuel cells in the transport sector have drawn considerable attention and increased funding from both public and private sources over the past ten years. The International Energy Agency estimates that about US$1billion per year is currently being invested in public hydrogen and fuel cell research, development, test vehicles, prototype refuelling stations and demonstration projects, as compared to the total annual public budget for energy research, development and demonstration of around US$8billion. While still in the early stages of development and costly in comparison to conventional vehicle propulsion and fuel technologies, fuel cells and hydrogen offer a promising solution to address growing concerns over the transport sector's dependence on oil and its impact on climate change.
  • Topic: Development, Energy Policy, Science and Technology, Third World
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe
  • Author: Philip Schmidt, Rishab Aiyer Ghosh
  • Publication Date: 03-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Free software (also called open source software or libre software) has become one of the most talked about phenomena in the ICT world in recent years. This is remarkable, not only for the usual reasons—that open source has been around for many years as a volunteer driven success story before being discovered by big business and now government— but also because it has largely developed quietly on its own without the headline coverage and glare of international attention that it now receives.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Science and Technology, Third World
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Ben Fishman, Mohammed Yagi
  • Publication Date: 11-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Rumors of a newly formed Palestinian unity government have been ubiquitous in recent weeks, yet Hamas and Fatah appear to be closer than ever to reaching an agreement. Their unity talks survived even the tragic killing of twenty Palestinian civilians on November 8 in Beit Hanun, an incident that would ordinarily derail such negotiations. Both Hamas and Fatah understand the severity of the current political crisis and recognize they must move beyond this impasse to avoid further civil violence.
  • Topic: Development, Government, Treaties and Agreements
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Palestine
  • Author: Ehud Yaari
  • Publication Date: 10-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The governments on both of our “hot” fronts, Lebanon and the Palestinian Authority, are on the verge of change, with practical, immediate implications for Israel—and unfortunately, not positive ones. Rather, the storm clouds continue to gather on the strategic horizon.
  • Topic: International Relations, Development, Government, War
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Gaza
  • Author: Soner Cagaptay
  • Publication Date: 10-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On September 1, 2006, Gen. Yasar Buyukanit became Turkey's new chief of staff. Compared with his predecessor, Gen. Hilmi Ozkok, who came into office about the same time as the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government, General Buyukanit is a more vocal personality on many issues, including secularism. As Turkey prepares for the April 2007 election of a new president by parliament, General Buyukanit's term marks a new, crucial era in military-civilian relations in Turkey. What are the dynamics of this new era, and what implications does it have for U.S. policy?
  • Topic: International Relations, Development, Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: United States, Turkey
  • Author: Michael Jacobson
  • Publication Date: 09-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The West at War focuses on both U.S. and European counterterrorism efforts from the September 11 attacks until June 2005, specifically the role of law enforcement and prosecutors in the United States and Europe. The 9-11 Commission's examination of the counterterrorism policies of Britain and especially Germany made clear that Europe did not posses the adequate tools to counter the terrorist threat prior to the September 11 attacks. Al-Qaeda's Hamburg cell produced the leaders of the September 11 hijacking teams. Prior to the September 11 attacks, German authorities were constrained by domestic factors that inhibited their ability to investigate terrorist organizations. While Europe's approach to terrorism suffered from many problems, there are also were some potential lessons for the United States. In particular, the experience of Britain's domestic intelligence agency MI-5 may have possible implications for strengthening the counterterrorism capabilities of U.S. authorities.
  • Topic: Development, International Cooperation, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Germany
  • Author: Jeremy Shapiro, Telmo Baltazar
  • Publication Date: 09-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: In the past ten years, the European Union's (EU) counterterrorism capabilities have changed dramatically. Two of the most evident changes have been the emergence of an increasingly unified European approach to terrorism and the virtual elimination of internal border controls on the Continent. As the EU begins to act decisively in the fight against terror, trans-Atlantic cooperation has become vital for mutual security.
  • Topic: Development, International Cooperation, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe
  • Author: Ben Fishman, Mohammed Yaghi
  • Publication Date: 09-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On September 11, 2006, advisors to Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas and prime minister Ismail Haniyeh announced that the two had reached agreement on the formation of a national unity government after months of on-again, off-again discussions. The core of the agreement appears to be that Haniyeh will remain prime minister, Hamas will yield some key ministries, such as finance and foreign affairs, to Fatah, and the government will adopt some formula for its program that will allow it to claim it has met the Quartet's three conditions for renewing international aid. According to the Quartet's statement on January 30, “future assistance to any new government would be reviewed by donors against that government's commitment to the principles of nonviolence, recognition of Israel, and acceptance of previous agreements and obligations, including the Roadmap.”
  • Topic: Development, Government, Treaties and Agreements
  • Political Geography: Palestine
  • Author: Seth Wikas
  • Publication Date: 08-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On August 15, Syrian president Bashar al-Asad gave a significant policy speech to the Syrian Journalists Union in which he expressed his support for Hizballah. More importantly, the address sought to redefine Syria's position in the Arab world. Building on Washington's talk of the birth of a new Middle East, Asad described his own vision for a new Middle East, one with an empowered Arab resistance, a weakened Israel, and a renewed regional unity against Western interests.
  • Topic: International Relations, Development, Politics
  • Political Geography: Washington, Middle East, Arabia, Syria
  • Author: David Schenker, Michael Eisenstadt
  • Publication Date: 08-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Recent developments related to the war in Lebanon—a warning from Damascus that Israeli forces in Lebanon should keep away from the Syrian border, the placement of Syrian forces on a heightened state of alert, the explosion of a crude improvised explosive device (IED) on the Syrian side of the Golan, President Bashar al-Asad's bellicose August 1 Army Day speech, Syrian facilitation of Iranian efforts to resupply Hizballah, and Israeli attempts to interdict these supply lines through air strikes along the Lebanon-Syria border—have prompted concerns that the fighting in Lebanon could escalate to involve Syria. Warnings from Damascus that an international stabilization force for Lebanon would be seen as an army of occupation, and therefore a legitimate target of resistance, have likewise raised the possibility that Syria might sponsor or support attacks on such a force, as it sponsored attacks against the Multi-National Force (MNF) in Beirut in 19821984.
  • Topic: International Relations, Development, War
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Lebanon, Syria
  • Author: Michael Eisenstadt
  • Publication Date: 07-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The capture yesterday of two Israeli soldiers (eight more were killed) in a crossborder raid by the Lebanese group Hizballah, as Israeli forces in Gaza continued to search for an Israeli soldier kidnapped last week by Hamas and to clear Qassam rocket launch sites, marked the opening of a second front in the war against Israel being waged by these two Islamist terrorist groups and their state sponsors, Syria and Iran. These developments highlight the potential for further escalation and illustrate the rising dangers posed by the emergence of an anti-Israel and anti-American military axis comprised of Hamas, Hizballah, Syria, and Iran.
  • Topic: Development, Terrorism, War
  • Political Geography: America, Iran, Middle East, Israel, Gaza, Syria
  • Author: Simon Henderson
  • Publication Date: 07-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The June 29 parliamentary elections in Kuwait achieved international media coverage because women were allowed to stand for office and vote for the first time in the sheikhdom. Less well reported were the local political divisions that had brought about elections a year earlier than expected. The results of the balloting—in which, incidentally, none of the women candidates won office—worsened the divisions between the Kuwaiti government and the National Assembly and could lead to greater public disagreement about the character of the country's alliance with the United States.
  • Topic: Democratization, Development, Politics
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Kuwait
  • Author: David Schenker
  • Publication Date: 06-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Acting Lebanese interior minister Ahmad Fatfat arrived in Washington June 20 for his first official visit in his new capacity. The U.S. trip comes one month after a radical Sunni Islamist organization was legalized in Lebanon, and just weeks after thousands of Shiite Hizballah supporters rioted in Beirut after the broadcast on LBC television of a comedy skit satirizing Hizballah leader Hassan Nasrallah. These developments highlight growing tensions between Sunnis and Shiites in Lebanon. Unchecked, this dynamic could lead to a resumption of the type of conflict that has long plagued Lebanon and threaten the gains of the Cedar Revolution.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Development, Religion
  • Political Geography: United States, Washington, Middle East, Lebanon
  • Author: Ali M. Koknar
  • Publication Date: 06-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Recently in Iran, tens of thousands of Iranian Azeris took to the streets for several days of demonstrations touched off by the May 12 publication of a racist cartoon in the state-run Iran newspaper. (The cartoon depicted an Azeri-speaking cockroach.) Iranian security forces cracked down violently on the demonstrators, killing at least four people (Azeri nationalists claim twenty dead), injuring forty-three, and detaining hundreds of others. These developments indicate brewing discontent among Iran's Azeri population and should be studied for their implications for U.S. and Western policy toward Tehran.
  • Topic: International Relations, Security, Development
  • Political Geography: United States, Iran, Tehran
  • Author: William McCoy, James Jeffrey
  • Publication Date: 06-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On May 18, 2006, Ambassador James Jeffrey and Maj. Gen. William McCoy addressed The Washington Institute's Special Policy Forum. Ambassador Jeffrey is senior advisor to the secretary of state and coordinator for Iraq policy at the U.S. Department of State. He previously served as deputy chief of mission and charge d'affairs in Baghdad, ambassador to Albania, and deputy chief of mission in Turkey and Kuwait. General McCoy is commander of the Gulf Region Division, Army Corp of Engineers, in Baghdad, where he oversees most of the U.S. government's major infrastructure projects in Iraq. Previously, he served as assistant commandant of the U.S. Army Engineer School, held command and staff positions in various combat engineer units, and served in Saudi Arabia. The following is a rapporteur's summary of their remarks.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Development, Government
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Turkey, Middle East, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia
  • Author: Yaaron Deckel
  • Publication Date: 03-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On March 16, 2006, Yaron Deckel and David Makovsky addressed The Washington Institute's Special Policy Forum. Mr. Deckel is a leading political analyst in Israel and Washington correspondent for Israel Television and Israel Radio. Mr. Makovsky is a senior fellow and director of the Project on the Middle East Peace Process at The Washington Institute. Mr. Makovsky's remarks were released in PolicyWatch no. 1086, “The Shape of Israel's Election Race.” The following is a rapporteur's summary of Mr. Deckel's remarks. In several recent interviews with the press, Israeli acting prime minister Ehud Olmert articulated a specific agenda for disengagement and the evacuation of thousands of additional settlers from the West Bank, distinguishing his campaign from the vague promises that have characterized past Israeli elections. Ariel Sharon campaigned in 2003 on eventual “deep and painful” future concessions, but did not specifically address disengagement until after the elections. It is therefore important to evaluate the prospect that Kadima will head the next government and what policies it would likely follow if in power.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Development, Politics
  • Political Geography: Washington, Middle East, Israel
  • Author: Mehdi Khalaji
  • Publication Date: 02-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: In recent months, the growing controversy surrounding the Iranian nuclear program and Western suspicions about the military intentions of the Iranian regime has reached a crucial phase. A serious problem for the Western campaign to press the Islamic Republic about its nuclear program is that Iranian society has been indifferent or hostile to the West's efforts. The United States in particular needs to find ways to reenergize its outreach to Iranian society.
  • Topic: International Relations, Development, Nuclear Weapons
  • Political Geography: United States, Iran
  • Author: Simon Henderson
  • Publication Date: 01-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: At a time when attention is focused on the problems democracy has brought in one part of the Middle East, such as the Palestinian territories, it has been easy to overlook how democratic processes were key to resolving a crisis in another Middle Eastern country: Kuwait. The January 15 death of Kuwait's emir, or ruler, Sheikh Jaber brought to power the physically and mentally incapacitated Sheikh Saad al-Abdullah al-Sabah. But the crisis engendered by his ill health and his refusal to abdicate was resolved quickly through democratic processes. On January 24, the parliament of the oil-rich Persian Gulf state of Kuwait exercised a previously unused constitutional power and voted to oust Sheikh Saad. The new emir, Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmed al-Sabah, is expected to be confirmed by parliament on January 29, and is now under pressure from some members of parliament to choose a prime minister from outside the ranks of the ruling al-Sabah family.
  • Topic: Democratization, Development, Government
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Kuwait
  • Author: James F. Hoge Jr., Stuart Rothenberg
  • Publication Date: 01-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Barring any unforeseen developments in the region, there will be very little change in U.S. policy toward the Middle East this year. Terrorism will remain the top priority overall. In addition, the Bush administration will continue to maintain the priorities that have defined American approaches over recent decades, such as preserving energy supplies, containing strife, ensuring Israel's existence, and working with allies such as Turkey. Further, the White House will reiterate its condemnations of the Syrian regime—though it will refrain from more active policies of regime change for fear that a new government would be even worse. However, the issues of democratization, Iraqi development, the Iranian nuclear program, and the Israeli-Palestinian issue will also be high on the agenda in 2006.
  • Topic: International Relations, Development
  • Political Geography: United States, America, Washington, Middle East
  • Author: Ben Fishman, Mohammed Yaghi
  • Publication Date: 01-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On Wednesday, January 25, Palestinian voters will elect a new Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) for the first time since the initial PLC was elected ten years ago. The participation of Hamas in the elections marks a turning point in Palestinian politics; the group boycotted the original 1996 ballots as part of its rejection of the Oslo process. Ensuring a smooth transition from elections to the seating of the new PLC will require passing several hurdles, not the least of which is protecting balloting and vote-counting from violent disruptions. Assuming election day proceeds without incident—no small matter given the level of domestic lawlessness over the last several weeks—Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas will then face the challenge of selecting a prime minister to form the next government. What remains unknown is precisely how well Hamas will finish in relation to Abbas' own Fatah party, and whether a tight race will lead Abbas to include Hamas as an active partner in the next Palestinian government—or, indeed, whether a poor Fatah showing might prompt Abbas to resign.
  • Topic: Development, Politics, Religion
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Palestine
  • Author: Ben Fishman, Mohammed Yaghi
  • Publication Date: 01-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: With just over two weeks left before January 25 Palestinian legislative elections, the mainstream Fatah movement remains bitterly divided, with some of its key factions advocating the postponement of elections and others demanding that voting be held as scheduled. Having publicly aired its internal problems over the last weeks rather than developing a clear campaign message, Fatah is unlikely to win more than 40 percent of the seats in the next Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC). Even though the question of Israel allowing voting in East Jerusalem now seems resolved, it remains to be seen whether elections will take place. If they do proceed, Fatah is certain to lose its monopoly on the Palestinian Authority and will require a coalition to form the next government.
  • Topic: International Relations, Development, Politics
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Jerusalem
  • Author: Shelley Rigger
  • Publication Date: 01-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: A peaceful, amicable relationship between Taiwan and the People's Republic of China (PRC) is essential to prosperity and security in and beyond the Taiwan Strait. Anticipating the future direction of cross­strait relations is thus very important. But it is also very difficult, not least because key trends in the Strait seem to be headed in opposite directions. On the one hand, the scope and intensity of cross­strait interactions are expanding rapidly, creating shared interests on the two sides and eroding resistance to closer cross­strait ties. On the other hand, popular support for political unification within Taiwan is declining, and the percentage of Taiwan residents who think of themselves as Taiwanese, not Chinese, is rising.
  • Topic: Development, Energy Policy, Environment
  • Political Geography: Europe, Taiwan
  • Author: Peter J. Middlebrook, Sharon M. Miller
  • Publication Date: 01-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Foreign Policy In Focus
  • Abstract: The forthcoming “London Conference” on Afghanistan (January 31-February 1, 2006), to be attended by President Hamid Karzai, British Prime Minister Tony Blair, UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, and Paul Wolfowitz, head of the World Bank, brings together high ranking dignitaries from the government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and the international development community to endorse a new multilateral agreement to be known as the “Afghanistan Compact,” the successor of the Bonn Agreement.
  • Topic: International Relations, Development, Government
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Middle East, London
  • Author: Felix Zimmermann, Denis Drechsler
  • Publication Date: 12-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
  • Abstract: With concern about how to finance the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) widespread, recent donor pledges to raise aid volumes are welcome. However, aid alone will not suffice – bringing in new actors and sources of development finance will be essential. In many developing countries, this is already happening, creating new opportunities and challenges for their governments and donors.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Health, International Trade and Finance
  • Publication Date: 11-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
  • Abstract: The Russian economy has been enjoying a period of robust growth, thanks largely to steadily rising terms of trade. The challenge confronting policy-makers is to facilitate Russia's transition into a period of self-sustaining, investment- and innovation-led growth. This will require a sound macroeconomic policy framework to manage the economy's adjustment to sustained high oil prices and a range of structural reforms aimed at creating better framework conditions for business.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Markets
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Asia
  • Publication Date: 11-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
  • Abstract: Considerable progress has been made in recent years in achieving macroeconomic stability and restructuring the economy. Productivity has risen since the macroeconomic stabilisation of the mid-1990s and the implementation of a series of structural reforms. But Brazil's GDP growth performance (about 2.5% per year on average since 1995) nevertheless needs to improve to close a widening income gap relative to the OECD area. Reaping the full benefits of stabilisation in terms of faster growth will require consolidating macroeconomic adjustment, boosting innovation in the business sector and stepping up formal labour utilisation.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Markets
  • Political Geography: Brazil, South America
  • Publication Date: 03-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
  • Abstract: With a surface area of 1.22 million km2 and a population of 46.9 million, South Africa is one of the largest countries on the African continent. It is also the largest African economy, with a per capita gross domestic product (GDP) of USD 3 530, more than four times the African average.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, International Organization, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: South Africa
  • Publication Date: 03-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
  • Abstract: Competition policy plays a key role in promoting consumer welfare and market opening. Lack of competition is a main reason for the high prices of many products and services on the Swiss market. Traditionally, Swiss competition policy has been relatively lenient and low profile, allowing a relatively uncompetitive internal market to remain unchallenged. The impact of competition policy on economic development has therefore been at best neutral. As the slow rate of growth becomes an issue, however, a more vigorous approach to competition has been identified as an important factor for improving growth prospects. The 2003 reform of the Cartel Act strengthened Swiss competition law, in particular by introducing direct sanctions for the most serious infringements and a leniency programme, thus bringing it closer to that of the European Union and of many other OECD countries. The Swiss Competition Commission has been given considerable new powers to combat private restraints of competition. Comco will have to enforce the new laws resolutely and step up action to promote regulatory reforms. In doing so, it is burdened by institutional arrangements and mechanisms that temper its full independence. The Swiss competition enforcers do not benefit from the networks of exchanges available to national competition authorities in EU member States. Matters are further complicated by a relative lack of resources. Strengthening competition is a key for an effective internal market. The amendments to strengthen the Cartel Law and pending reform proposals signal determination on the part of the Confederation to tackle the problems. It is too early to say how effective they will be and the extent to which they will encourage a change in general attitudes, notably among the sub federal levels of government.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, International Organization, International Trade and Finance, Law
  • Political Geography: Switzerland
  • Publication Date: 05-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
  • Abstract: Growth performance has been among the best in the OECD, underpinned by a strong innovation performance and high educational attainment. The unemployment rate, currently at 8%, has dropped below the euro area average, employment rates, particularly among the old workers, have been increasing rapidly, inflation is among the lowest in the OECD and the government surplus sizeable.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, International Organization, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Finland
  • Publication Date: 03-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
  • Abstract: Portugal's economic performance has deteriorated markedly since 2000, with the slowdown turning out to be more severe and prolonged than in most other OECD countries. This lack of resilience reveals structural weaknesses. Meanwhile, with low growth and weak control of public expenditure, the fiscal deficit has remained at unsustainably high levels, reaching close to 6% of GDP in 2005. Despite the existence of a large output gap, the high fiscal deficit leaves no room to stimulate demand. The government has embarked on a strategy that aims at consolidating public finances and enhancing growth and it is important to strengthen these efforts. Without more wage restraint and higher productivity growth, there is a clear risk that Portugal's competitiveness continues to deteriorate and the income gap vis-à-vis the OECD average widens further.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, International Organization, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Portugal
  • Publication Date: 04-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
  • Abstract: For many cities in OECD countries, globalisation has opened access to new markets, skilled human resources and advanced technology, while accelerating international competition and industrial restructuring. Seoul – a city of 10.3 million people at the core of a capital region of 22.5 million people, one of the world's most populous metropolitan regions – is striving to upgrade its position from that of a national mega-capital to become a “world city” and a leading business hub in Northeast Asia.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, International Organization, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Korea, Northeast Asia, Seoul
  • Publication Date: 03-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
  • Abstract: Fears that “globalisation” implies increasing job losses and lower wages are an important source of popular ambivalence towards the increasingly open character of OECD economies. Although such concerns are not new, recent developments appear to have heightened workers' apprehensions that rising trade competition threatens their jobs, wages and employment conditions, particularly in the higher-wage OECD countries. Increased international sourcing of production activities – including the “offshoring” of some white-collar jobs in information technology (IT) and business services – has led some commentators to conclude that a large share of high-wage OECD workers will soon be in direct competition with workers in countries where wages are far lower. EU enlargement and the increasing integration of large, labour-surplus economies such as India and China into the world trading system also reinforce anxieties about “delocalisation” and “a race to the bottom”.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, International Organization, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: China
  • Publication Date: 05-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
  • Abstract: Stockholm is one of the most successful metropolitan regions in the OECD. Throughout the 1990s, the region experienced consistent and impressive growth, drawing on its role as the national capital, its research and development strengths, concentration of advanced business, logistical and financial services, and specialisation in high growth, high-tech sectors, notably ICT. Stockholm also stands out for its high quality of life, as is evident in its strong public health performance, high educational attainment and low poverty levels. In terms of these and other socio-economic indicators, Stockholm ranks among the best in the world.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, International Organization, International Trade and Finance
  • Publication Date: 03-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
  • Abstract: Many OECD countries have reformed their personal income tax system over the last two decades. Yet no clear consensus has emerged on what is the ideal personal income tax. These reforms have tried to create a competitive fiscal environment, which encourages investment, risk taking and entrepreneurship and provides increased work incentives. At the same time, fairness and simplicity have become the byword of reformers. Fairness requires that taxpayers in similar circumstances pay similar amounts of tax and that the tax burden is appropriately shared. Simplicity requires that paying your taxes becomes as painless as possible and that the costs of collecting taxes are kept at a minimum.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Emerging Markets, International Trade and Finance
  • Publication Date: 03-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
  • Abstract: Climate change poses a serious challenge to social and economic development. Developing countries are particularly vulnerable because their economies are generally more dependent on climate-sensitive natural resources, and because they are less able to cope with the impacts of climate change.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Environment, Human Welfare
  • Publication Date: 03-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
  • Abstract: What is sustainable development and why is it important? Most people support the idea of sustainable development, but without fully understanding what it is. Most would agree that it implies a better balance between economic, environmental and social goals, and greater fairness in distributing the gains from growth among people and countries. It also concerns preserving the environment and natural resources as a basis for progress. And it means making policy decisions which are in the interest of future generations.
  • Topic: International Relations, Development, Economics, Environment
  • Publication Date: 03-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
  • Abstract: China's evolution from a centrally-planned to a market-based economy is leading to major transformations of its public expenditure policies. Much progress has been made in raising infrastructure spending to a level more in line with China's development needs and in modernising mechanisms for budget planning and implementation. Nevertheless, significant challenges remain.
  • Topic: Development, Government, Markets
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Publication Date: 03-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
  • Abstract: Ireland has continued its exemplary economic performance, attaining some of the highest growth rates in the OECD. After a remarkable decade, per-capita income has caught up with and overtaken the EU average. Further progress will require strong productivity growth and continued increases in labour supply. These challenges are familiar to most OECD economies. But it also faces some issues that are less common: it is going through a transition phase in upgrading its social services; infrastructure levels need to catch up with the boom in activity and population that has occurred over this period; and it has to manage some sizeable macroeconomic risks.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Markets
  • Political Geography: Europe, Ireland
  • Publication Date: 03-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
  • Abstract: Access to water that is safe to drink is vital to human health and to development. Recognising this, world leaders have set themselves the goal of halving by 2015 the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation. This is one of the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) to reduce world poverty set out in the United Nations Millennium Declaration in the year 2000, and reaffirmed at the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development.
  • Topic: Development, Environment, Health
  • Publication Date: 03-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
  • Abstract: Securing safe and reliable water and sanitation services for all is one of the leading challenges facing sustainable development. All but a few OECD countries have connected 100% of their populations to safe water supplies, and the majority are connected to wastewater treatment. Progress has also been made in developing countries, where between 1990 and 2000 access to safe water supply rose from 73% to almost 80% of the population. But there is still a long way to go. Over 1 billion people worldwide still lack access to safe water and 2.6 billion people are without access to adequate sanitation. About 80% of all diseases in developing countries are water-related, leading to an estimated 1.7 million deaths each year.
  • Topic: Development, Environment, Health, Third World
  • Publication Date: 01-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
  • Abstract: E-learning is becoming increasingly prominent in tertiary education, with universities increasing provision and more students signing up. But is it actually changing the way universities teach and students learn, or is it simply a case of students typing up their essays on computers and professors sending them course reading lists or work assignments by e-mail?
  • Topic: Development, Education, Science and Technology
  • Author: Ken Conca
  • Publication Date: 11-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars
  • Abstract: Amid the talk of looming “water wars,” a less dramatic—but more immediate—link between water and violence is often ignored: the violence engendered by poor governance of water resources. Policies to expand water supplies, develop hydroelectric power, alter freshwater ecosystems, or change the terms of access to water can have devastating impacts on the livelihoods, cultures, and human rights of local communities. As these communities learn to voice their grievances, build networks across borders, and connect with human rights and environmental activists, once-local conflicts become international disputes. As a result, policymakers at all levels are being forced to rethink water's role in development. To ensure water security in the 21st century, social conflicts over water must be managed in ways that accommodate the full range of people affected by water development projects.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Development, Environment
  • Author: Aaron Wolf
  • Publication Date: 07-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars
  • Abstract: “Water wars are coming!” the newspaper headlines scream. It seems obvious—rivalries over water have been the source of disputes since humans settled down to cultivate food. Even our language reflects these ancient roots: “rivalry” comes from the Latin rivalis, or “one using the same river as another.” Countries or provinces bordering the same river (known as “riparians”) are often rivals for the water they share. As the number of international river basins (and impact of water scarcity) has grown so do the warnings that these countries will take up arms to ensure their access to water. In 1995, for example, World Bank Vice President Ismail Serageldin claimed that “the wars of the next century will be about water.”
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Development, Environment
  • Author: Dominique Harre-Rogers
  • Publication Date: 02-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars
  • Abstract: Greater Cairo Region's population of about 19 million places it among the twenty largest cities in the world. The making of the 'polynucleated' urban region was fast. Restricted up to mid-20th century to what is now the downtown area, the medieval core and the ancient village of Gizah, the city's total built area quadrupled between 1945 and 1982 (El-Kadi 1987). With 4% annual growth in the 1960s-1970s, the city incorporated old suburbs and satellite towns (Maadi, Helwan, Heliopolis), spilled across the Nile and expanded north and west into the desert and the agricultural lands of the Nile Delta valley, swallowing several villages in the process.2 In the mid-1980s, the mega-city entered a new phase and population growth slowed significantly, falling below Egypt's national rate of growth
  • Topic: International Relations, Development
  • Political Geography: Africa, Middle East, Egypt
  • Author: A.C. Hepburn
  • Publication Date: 02-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars
  • Abstract: Cities are frequently seen as the cutting edge of human achievement, as cosmopolitan sites where new identities may develop and flourish. In this view, traditional barriers are eroded through proximity of living and working. But many modern cities are made up of communities that regard themselves or are regarded by others as distinct in terms of language, religious belief, skin color or culture. In this context, the question becomes "how have cities sought to mitigate their potential for dysfunctionality?" The rapidly growing British industrial cities of the nineteenth century, for instance, drew their populations mainly from nearby hinterlands, so that while the challenges of acculturation to urban living and the discipline of the factory may have been great, the challenge of acculturation to new neighbors was substantially reduced.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Relations, Civil Society, Development
  • Author: Andreas Schneider
  • Publication Date: 12-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: It is generally agreed that making progress towards eradicating hunger worldwide is a moral obligation for the richer countries of the world. The instrument known as food aid is widely regarded as an important vehicle for providing assistance to needy countries. However, fresh debates in the present Doha round of WTO negotiations have brought a renewed interest in food aid issues. The Doha round is designed to put development at the centre of trade negotiations, and along with agriculture, to the fore among the contentious issues to be agreed.
  • Topic: Agriculture, Development, Economics, International Trade and Finance
  • Author: Richard E. Baldwin
  • Publication Date: 12-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: Thanks to the British Freedom of Information Act, the list of all CAP payments to English farms is public. It shows that the CAP is a dooH niboR scheme (that's Robin Hood spelled backwards). Table 1 records the CAP receipts for some of Britain's richest royalty. Why do royalty get paid? The CAP makes payments to farm owners, not to farmers, and about 40% of EU farmland is not farmed by its owner.
  • Topic: Development, Economics
  • Political Geography: United Kingdom, Europe
  • Author: Christian Egenhofer
  • Publication Date: 11-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: The EU and the US have found themselves supporting two polar views on which strategy is the most effective in achieving stabilisation of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions: 'market pull' vs 'technology push'. As an advocate of the latter, the US asserts that the principal emphasis should be on technology development, financed through typical public R programmes. It argues that it would be preferable to invest in the short term in R and to adopt emissions limitations later, when new technologies will have lowered the cost of limiting GHG emissions. In supporting the 'market-pull' approach, the EU argues that technological change is an incremental process emanating primarily from business and industry, induced by government incentives. According to this logic, profit-seeking firms will respond with technological innovation.
  • Topic: Development, Science and Technology
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe
  • Author: Karel Lannoo, Jean-Pierre Casey
  • Publication Date: 10-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: The debate on banking supervision over the last decade has largely focused on capital requirements and solvency of financial institutions. The interaction between solvency and liquidity has been much less debated. Traditionally, it was assumed that once solvency was under control, liquidity should pose no problem. Banks with sufficient capital should be able to obtain extra liquidity from the central bank against adequate collateral if needed. Furthermore, the aim of the New Basel Accord to create a better alignment of regulatory capital with the risk to which banks are exposed, and the stronger focus on diversification, should eventually reduce mismatches between solvency and effective liquidity.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Emerging Markets
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Ángel Ubide
  • Publication Date: 09-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: Since the Asian crisis, the IMF has undergone a deep process of soul searching, trying to extract lessons from the experience. External criticism has been abundant, and basically all three of the IMF's main areas of work – surveillance, crisis prevention and resolution, and poverty reduction – have been called into question. Several years later, there is a feeling that not much has been achieved, and key questions remain unanswered. As the world business cycle matures, and thus the likelihood of further crises slowly increases, it is critical for the stability of the world financial system to discuss what the IMF's business model should look like.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Emerging Markets, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Asia
  • Author: Sam Gibson
  • Publication Date: 12-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxfam Publishing
  • Abstract: Sub-Saharan Africa has some huge problems to reslove if it is to achieve gender equality in education, and fulfill the Millennium Development Goals related to education and gender. Conversely, the region has some of the most innovative and enterprising examples of initiative that promote gender equality in education. This paper focuses on sub-Saharan Africa and considers some of the most significant obstacles that African girls face in achieving the education that is their right. The paper then reviews the most significant initiatives–those that are 'gender-neutral' and those that have a specific focus aon gender equality–that have enabled African countries to overcome these obstacles.
  • Topic: Development, Education, Gender Issues
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Duncan Green
  • Publication Date: 12-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxfam Publishing
  • Abstract: Four years on, the Doha Round looks increasingly unlikely to deliver on its promises to the world's poor. Rich countries have sidelined developmjent concerns and insisted on, among other conditions, the "blood on the floor" rule, i.e. obtaining economically painful concessions from all countries, including poor ones. In agriculture, trade rules look set to remain stacked against developing countries and poor farmers. Talks on industrial tariffs could jeopardise the industries of poor countries. If the rich countries fail to significantly improve their offer at the WTO ministerial meeting in Hong Kong in December 2005, developing countries should not be expected to sign on to a bad deal.
  • Topic: Development, Globalization, International Trade and Finance, World Trade Organization
  • Political Geography: Hong Kong
  • Author: Ha-Joon Chang
  • Publication Date: 11-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxfam Publishing
  • Abstract: The NAMA negotiations are heading towards a development disaster. If the developed countries have their way and force the developing countries to massively cut (or even altogether eliminate) industrial tariffs on a line-by-line basis in an irreversible manner, the future prospect of industrial development, and therefore economic development, in today's developing countries is truly bleak.
  • Topic: Development, Globalization, International Trade and Finance, World Trade Organization
  • Author: Duncan Green, Marita Hutjes
  • Publication Date: 11-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxfam Publishing
  • Abstract: The WTO's current NAMA (non-agricultural market access) negotiations will not lead to a pro-development outcome. Developed countries are demanding excessive opening to imports which, if agreed, could destroy local businesses and jobs in developing countries without bringing compensating economic gains. Poor-country governments will face balance of payments problems, loss of tax revenue, and downward pressure on workers conditions and rights, and their future industrial development prospects will be undermined.
  • Topic: Development, Globalization, International Trade and Finance, World Trade Organization
  • Author: Liz Stuart
  • Publication Date: 11-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxfam Publishing
  • Abstract: Green Box subsidies, by definition of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), are not allowed to distort trade. This is why, under the terms of the Agreement on Agriculture (AoA), countries may provide as many Green Box subsidies as they like. ActionAid, CIDSE, and Oxfam believe, as this briefing note will show, that the EU and the USA are using this provision to continue to give support that is manifestly trade-distorting, thereby causing serious damage to farmers in developing countries. At least $40bn of Green Box payments annually are likely to be trade-distorting and therefore break WTO rules.
  • Topic: Development, Globalization, International Trade and Finance, World Trade Organization
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Jennifer Brant
  • Publication Date: 11-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxfam Publishing
  • Abstract: As the poorest continent on earth, Africa needs debt relief, aid, and trade to help it to alleviate poverty and achieve sustainable development. Unfortunately, unfair trade rules and supply constraints impede Africa's capacity to trade. As a result, it captures a mere one per cent of world trade.
  • Topic: Development, International Trade and Finance, World Trade Organization
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Shuna Lennon
  • Publication Date: 10-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxfam Publishing
  • Abstract: This paper aims to make the case for a complete overhaul of the way in which Least-Developed Country (LDC) applicants hoping for accession to the World Trade Organisation (WTO) are treated by the WTO itself, and by the member countries that elect to join the working party dealing with the accession application.
  • Topic: Development, Globalization, International Trade and Finance, World Trade Organization
  • Author: Martin R. West
  • Publication Date: 12-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: The No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) has the potential to improve many of America's schools, but this potential is currently undermined by serious flaws in how the program evaluates school performance. Because NCLB's measurement system compares only students' performance at a single point in time against state-determined standards, the information generated on school performance is often misleading and creates perverse incentives for states to lower their expectations.
  • Topic: Development, Education, Politics
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Margy Waller
  • Publication Date: 12-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: Research suggests that having a car is a worthwhile investment in better outcomes for low-income families. Recent reports quantify the additional money required to own and operate personal vehicles, as compared to the lower cost of traveling on public transit. However, this method of accounting fails to consider the fact that poor workers without a car may not be able to search for or accept a better-paying job because public transit doesn't take them there, causing these workers to lose income or benefits as a result. This report outlines opportunity costs experienced by transit-dependent poor households, and concludes that when all costs are considered along with benefits of private vehicles, it makes sense to press for more assistance and policies that reduce car ownership costs for poor workers.
  • Topic: Demographics, Development, Economics, Human Welfare
  • Author: Margy Waller
  • Publication Date: 12-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: Since the 1940s, federal officials, commissions, and scholars all have suggested that local governments receive their federal funds in the form of so-called block grants. Supporters say block grant sallow local governments more freedom to design programs, simplify administration of funds, and improve consumer access to social services. The biggest challenge to wholesale support for block grants is simple: How can we ensure accountability for spending and outcomes? Policymakers face a dilemma: keep block grant funding flexible to ensure its success or protect programs from potential cuts that threaten the stability of services. This policy brief reviews the history of federal block grants for social services, the academic literature examining block grant outcomes, and recent federal proposals.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Government, Human Welfare
  • Author: Pietro S. Nivola
  • Publication Date: 10-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: What do we want from federalism?” asked the late Martin Diamond in a famous essay written thirty years ago. His answer was that federalism—a political system permitting a large measure of regional selfrule—presumably gives the rulers and the ruled a “school of their citizenship,” “a preserver of their liberties,” and “a vehicle for flexible response to their problems.” These features, broadly construed, are said to reduce conflict between diverse communities, even as a federated polity affords inter-jurisdictional competition that encourages innovations and constrains the overall growth of government.
  • Topic: Development, Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Ray Boshara
  • Publication Date: 03-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: Individual Development Accounts (IDAs)—matched savings accounts for low-income households—are a relatively new means of improving the lives of the poor. Advocates of IDAs argue that those with assets are more economically secure, have more options in life, and can pass on status and opportunities to future generations. They further argue that assets have positive social, psychological, and civic effects that are independent of the effects of income. Over the last decade, research and demonstration projects have been initiated to address these claims; some of the key findings are that IDAs do lead the poor to save or acquire assets, but do not necessarily increase their net worth (assets minus debt). While costs are declining, IDAs are expensive to administer and are often used by the poor as checking and savings accounts as well as a means to accumulate wealth, reflecting in part the dearth of savings products aimed at the poor.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Development, Economics, Government
  • Author: Nathan J. Brown
  • Publication Date: 02-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: Iraq's newly elected National Assembly (NA) will soon take up its major task—although hardly its only one—of drafting a permanent constitution. The task is to be completed in time to submit the draft constitution to a national plebiscite by October 15, 2005.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Development, Government
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East
  • Author: Thomas Carothers
  • Publication Date: 02-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: The Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI), an important component of the Bush administration's policy of promoting Middle East reform, is falling short. MEPI should be relaunched as a private foundation funded by the government, akin to the Asia Foundation or the Eurasia Foundation. Such a relaunch would permit MEPI to develop greater expertise in the region, use more flexible, effective aid methods, and gain some independence from other U.S. programs and policies that serve conflicting ends. The restructuring of MEPI should be part of a broader set of measures to establish a more visible, coherent institutional policy structure to pursue the critical goal of fundamental political and economic change in the Middle East.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Politics
  • Political Geography: Eurasia, Middle East, Asia
  • Author: Dr. Malcolm Cook, Allen Gyngell
  • Publication Date: 10-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Lowy Institute for International Policy
  • Abstract: What is the Problem? The Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation forum, APEC, has served Australian interests very well since its establishment in 1989, but it has lost its early momentum and is confused about its purposes. It faces competition from the new East Asian Summit. In 2007, Australia will chair APEC and host its 21 leaders in Sydney. How can we ensure that APEC is in good shape for that meeting and that it continues to serve the interests of the Asia Pacific region?
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Development, Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: Australia/Pacific
  • Author: Anthony Bubalo
  • Publication Date: 05-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Lowy Institute for International Policy
  • Abstract: The current fragile ceasefire between Palestinian militants and Israel has raised hopes of an end to four years of violence. To sustain that ceasefire both Israel and the Palestinian Authority must meet their respective commitments under the "Road Map for Middle bast Peace". For the PA this means preventing terrorist attacks against Israel and undertaking political, legal and security reforms. These reforms are also critical to meeting the Palestinian public's own demands for an end to lawlessness and corruption. Given Australia's expertise in legal and institutional development, the Australian government's commitment to promoting democracy and peace in the Middle bast and its sound relationship with both the PA and the government of Israel, Australia should lend what support it can to the Palestinian effort to establish strong foundations for a stable, prosperous and democratic Palestinian state.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Relations, Development
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Australia
  • Author: Anthony Bubalo
  • Publication Date: 11-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Lowy Institute for International Policy
  • Abstract: Arafat may have suffered a lingering physical demise, but politically he has long been in decline. He lost much of his international credibility over his unwillingness to rein in Palestinian terrorism against Israel, and domestically his authority had gradually been eroded. While lacking an anointed heir, a succession plan is more or less in place. Political infighting is a possibility, though a desire for unity will probably prevail in the short term. But Arafat's successors will struggle to end the chaos and lawlessness into which the West Bank and the Gaza Strip have descended. Over the longer term Arafat's passing will remove the main obstacle to internal Palestinian reform. It has the potential to re-invigorate the peace process although it will not solve the fundamentals of the current impasse. It will also complicate Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's plans for a unilateral withdrawal from Gaza and parts of the West Bank, even if his instinct will be to press ahead.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Development, Government
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Author: Richard N. Cooper
  • Publication Date: 11-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: Three propositions have become conventional wisdom in Washington and elsewhere. Americans save too little. As a consequence, the US current account deficit is unsustainably large. A necessary step to bring the global economy into sustainable balance is a significant appreciation of the Chinese currency, which in practice has been fixed to the dollar for over a decade.
  • Topic: International Relations, Development, Economics, Globalization
  • Author: John H. Makin
  • Publication Date: 11-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: Let's begin with a riddle: Why is the dollar like a Republican president? Answer: Because the dollar faces incessant predictions of imminent collapse, but in the end it wins out over weaker alternatives.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Government, International Trade and Finance
  • Author: John H. Makin
  • Publication Date: 10-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: Japan's stock market, one of the world's strongest this year, is up about 20 percent since spring. It is doing remarkably well for a country whose nominal GDP is still below its 1997 level. By contrast, the U.S. stock market has been drifting lower all year. The S 500 Index is down about 4 percent in the last five months, even more when the highflying energy sector is excluded. This is the case despite U.S. nominal GDP having grown by a cumulative 46 percent since 1997. Clearly, stock markets are looking ahead and seeing a brighter future for Japan than for the United States.
  • Topic: International Relations, Development, Economics
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan, Israel, East Asia
  • Author: John H. Makin
  • Publication Date: 10-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: The U.S. economy was in recession when the 9/11 terrorist attacks struck New York and Washington, D.C. Yet within a few months, despite fears of a collapse in confidence, consumption growth surged to a fourth-quarter annualized rate of nearly 5 percent, up sharply from a 1 percent rate during the third quarter. That consumption surge was enough to drag the economy out of what turned out to be a mild recession. By the first quarter of 2002, overall growth reached a booming 5 percent rate.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Environment, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: United States, New York, Washington
  • Author: John H. Makin
  • Publication Date: 08-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: Among the more remarkable features of the U.S. economy over the past five years—through a tech-stock collapse (from which we have still not recovered), the 9/11 disaster, and numerous chastening corporate scandals —has been the extraordinary resilience of American consumers. To paraphrase H. L. Mencken, no one has ever gone broke (at least not recently) by overestimating the willingness of Americans to spend money.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: United States, America
  • Author: John H. Makin
  • Publication Date: 08-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: The persistence of annualized economic growth of about 3.5 percent—despite crude oil prices between $50 and $60 per barrel—has led many analysts to claim that the U.S. economy has already "absorbed" the shock of $2.35-plus-pergallon prices for self-serve regular gasoline along with a rise in heating oil costs of more than 30 percent over the last year. As if to underscore their insouciance over energy costs, American consumers accelerated the volume of vehicle purchases in June, especially those of light trucks that get only twelve or thirteen miles per gallon.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: United States, America
  • Author: John H. Makin
  • Publication Date: 06-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: Paul Samuelson once quipped elegantly that (falling) stock prices had predicted seven out of the last three recessions. There is indeed wisdom in the suggestion to ignore wiggles in the financial markets as indicators of the behavior of the real economy that produces goods and services.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: John H. Makin
  • Publication Date: 05-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: The Federal Reserve's measured move toward a "neutral" federal funds rate, the short-term rate that keeps the economy growing at about 3.5 percent, is a tricky process. No one knows with certainty what the neutral fed funds rate is, and it changes over time. As long as the Fed keeps raising rates and the economy keeps growing at or above trend, it is reasonable to infer that the neutral fed funds rate is higher than the current rate. The corollary to that proposition is that rates have to be boosted above the neutral rate, inducing an asset market collapse, a real economy slowdown, or both to infer that the neutral rate has been exceeded. It is beginning to appear as though the current rate of 2.75 percent is at or above neutral. If so, that would be about a full percentage point below what many were guessing.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: United States