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  • Author: Susan Schadler
  • Publication Date: 04-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: Research on links between the level of a country’s public debt and its broader economic developments has been heatedly debated in the economic literature. Two strands of the research stand out — one linking the level of debt to a country’s GDP growth rate and the other examining the debt level as an EWI of economic crises. As a broad generalization, research at the moment favors the view that high levels of debt are not a cause, in and of themselves, of low growth nor are they particularly good predictors of impending economic or even debt crises. In principle, the empirical findings have obvious implications for policy makers confronting the question of how to fashion policies (and fiscal policy in particular) when a country has a high debt burden. The IMF, as both a contributor to the literature and an adviser concerned with preventing or dealing with debt crises, has a particularly important stake in navigating the findings. Whether in its surveillance (routine annual advice to all member countries) or the construction of its lending programs to support countries in or near crisis, the IMF must answer the question “how much does the level of debt matter?” Despite the empirical research that casts doubt on the importance of debt, the level of debt figures prominently in the algebra of debt sustainability and the IMF’s real world policy advice. This policy brief examines the nexus of the relatively strong conclusions coming from the academic research and the IMF’s policy advice. It addresses the following question: given that the broad conclusion from the academic literature is that the level of debt itself is not systematically bad for growth or stability, why does the debt level seem to figure rather prominently in the IMF’s policy advice and conditionality?
  • Topic: Debt, Development, Economics, International Monetary Fund, Financial Crisis, GDP, Global Markets
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Bobby Anderson
  • Publication Date: 03-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: West Papua is the most violent area of Indonesia. Indonesian security forces battle the country's last active separatist insurgency there. The majority of Indonesia's political prisoners are Papuans, and support for independence is widespread. But military repression and indigenous resistance are only one part of a complex topography of insecurity in Papua: vigilantism, clan conflict, and other forms of horizontal violence produce more casualties than the vertical conflict that is often the exclusive focus of international accounts of contemporary Papua. Similarly, Papua's coerced incorporation into Indonesia in 1969 is not unique; it mirrors a pattern of long-term annexation found in other remote and highland areas of South and Southeast Asia. What distinguishes Papua is the near-total absence of the state in indigenous areas. This is the consequence of a morass of policy dysfunction over time that compounds the insecurity that ordinary Papuans face. The author illuminates the diverse and local sources of insecurity that indicate too little state as opposed to too much, challenges common perceptions of insecurity in Papua, and offers a prescription of policy initiatives. These include the reform of a violent and unaccountable security sector as a part of a broader reconciliation process and the urgent need for a comprehensive indigenous-centered development policy.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Political Violence, Development, Politics
  • Political Geography: Indonesia
  • Author: Louise Van Schaik
  • Publication Date: 11-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Clingendael Netherlands Institute for International Relations
  • Abstract: This policy brief addresses the opportunities for and impediments to green growth and energy security in Colombia. As a result of renewed international activity and high vulnerability to the effects of climate change, Colombia has embraced ambitious green growth objectives and climate change mitigation goals. Rapid economic growth and rising peak demand centres for energy may well go hand in hand with clean energy uptake. Most Colombian citizens are highly aware of the need for a low-carbon growth trajectory and the country has already invested substantially in renewable energy development. However, dominance of private sector interests within the state, resulting from a powerful transnational alliance of extractive industries, may hamper long-term green growth efforts to succeed. Greening the private sector in a post-conflict Colombia may prove to be one of the crucial steps in consolidating Colombia’s low-carbon growth trajectory.
  • Topic: Development, Energy Policy, Environment
  • Political Geography: Colombia
  • Author: Ries Kamphof
  • Publication Date: 11-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Clingendael Netherlands Institute for International Relations
  • Abstract: This policy brief addresses the opportunities for and impediments to green growth and energy security in Kenya. It is part of a two-year research project on energy security and green growth in middle income countries by means of political economy analysis. Other project outputs can be found here. Kenya has taken a leading role in the region on several fronts, including its ambitions to address climate change and boost green growth while improving the country’s energy security. Efforts have been underway to realise this goal. Most vividly illustrated by the execution of large-scale geothermal, hydro and wind power projects. Yet, not all is straightforward. Constitutional reform has led to a new institutional framework which presents both opportunities and obstacles to green growth implementation. Moreover, the presence of oil and coal reserves and the ambition to exploit these threaten efforts to build a low-carbon economy. Kenya is currently at crossroads, and decisions taken today may influence its green growth potential for the decades to come.
  • Topic: Development, Energy Policy, Environment
  • Political Geography: Kenya