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  • Author: Caroline Freund
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: As the United States struggled with unemployment and other effects of the Great Recession in January 2010, President Barack Obama set the goal of doubling exports within five years and creating 2 million new export-related jobs. Four years later, however, exports are less than halfway toward that goal and the rate of export growth is slowing. More worrisome, the administration's strategy failed to boost average export growth from historical levels, despite the robust recovery in international trade after the collapse of 2009. The National Export Initiative (NEI) has come up short.
  • Topic: Economics, Industrial Policy, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Maritime Commerce
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Gary Clyde Hufbauer, Jeffrey J. Schott, Cathleen Cimino
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: Proponents of liberalized trade and finance were relieved when the global economic crisis in 2008 produced a broad range of pledges from countries around the world to avoid new barriers to trade and investment (see Evenett 2013). These promises, designed to avert a replay of the Great Depression of the 1930s, were largely honored when it came to classic forms of protection (tariffs and quotas). But the spirit of that pledge was violated as countries shifted from traditional forms of protection to behind-the-border nontariff barriers (NTBs), including local content requirements (LCRs)—policies mandating that local suppliers of goods, services, and even entire projects be favored by governments and private firms, even when foreign firms offer lower costs, better quality, and faster delivery.
  • Topic: Debt, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Financial Crisis, Reform
  • Author: Ángel Ubide
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: Inflation in the euro area is too low, just 0.9 percent year-on-year in December 2013, and inflation expectations, measured from inflation derivative contracts, have shifted lower, indicating that markets expect some small probability of deflation in 2014 and average inflation over the next five years in the 1.25 to 1.5 percent range. The European Central Bank (ECB), however, seems to be content with this outlook. Its current projections show a very slow economic recovery and inflation at just 1.3 percent in two years' time. Yet the ECB describes the risks to inflation as balanced. This puzzling assessment might be due to the fact that the ECB's definition of price stability is less precise than that employed by other central banks, and some ECB members may interpret the definition as setting a ceiling, rather than a target, for inflation at close to but below 2 percent. But if one considers the ECB's self-assessment of success since its creation—achieving 2 percent inflation on average—its current inflation forecast of 1.3 percent would fall short of achieving its price stability mandate.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Monetary Policy
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Joseph E. Gagnon, Brian Sack
  • Publication Date: 01-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: The dramatic increase in the Federal Reserve's balance sheet since 2009 has attracted the attention of economists, pundits, and ordinary citizens. The amount of assets held by the Fed recently crossed $4 trillion and will likely continue to rise to a peak of about $4.5 trillion. This run-up in asset holdings has resulted from the Fed's large-scale asset purchase programs, which were intended to support economic growth. However, a side-effect of these asset purchases is the creation of unprecedented amounts of liquidity in the financial system.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Monetary Policy
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Tomas Hellebrandt
  • Publication Date: 01-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: The Great Recession, which cost tens of millions of jobs, a collapse of asset values around the world, and threatened the global financial system, has generated renewed concern over the long-standing issue of the fairness of the distribution of wealth and income in many societies. Economic inequality has increased in the United States and many other advanced economies over the past 20 to 30 years. This trend generated less worry in the boom years, when unemployment rates were low and cheap credit enabled consumers to borrow and maintain higher standards of living, masking the impact of growing income disparity on consumption patterns and perceptions of well-being.
  • Topic: Debt, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Poverty, Social Stratification, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: United States, United Kingdom, Germany, Spain, Italy, Ireland
  • Author: C. Fred Bergsten
  • Publication Date: 01-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: A bipartisan majority in both Houses of Congress is insisting that the United States include a provision in future trade agreements that would bar currency manipulation. A letter from 60 senators to Secretary of the Treasury Jacob Lew and United States Trade Representative (USTR) Michael From an on September 23, 2013, called for "strong and enforceable foreign currency manipulation disciplines" in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) while 230 members of the House of Representatives told President Barack Obama on June 6, 2013, that "it is imperative that (the TPP) address currency manipulation.to create a level playing field for American businesses and prevent more US jobs from being shipped overseas." The trade promotion authority (TPA) legislation proposed by congressional trade leaders on January 9, 2014, establishes the avoidance of currency manipulation as a "principal US negotiating objective" in its future trade agreements.
  • Topic: Economics, Emerging Markets, International Trade and Finance, Monetary Policy
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Jacob Funk Kirkegaard
  • Publication Date: 01-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: Mark Twain once wrote an essay about the difficulties of learning what he called "The Awful German Language." Similar barriers to comprehension seem to plague those trying to explain recent German economic performance. By most measures, Germany has the best functioning labor market among large economies in the West, with levels of employment reaching those in the United States at the end of the turbo-charged 1990s. A debate has stirred, however, about whether this success has come with a price—specifically, whether Germany's domestic structural reforms have lowered living standards for Germany's low income workers and worsened income inequality and whether Germany is fortuitously and perhaps selfishly riding a wave of strong foreign demand for German exports.
  • Topic: Economics, Industrial Policy, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Labor Issues
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Germany
  • Author: DAVID JAKINDA OTIENO
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: Foreign land leases could help developing countries to acquire foreign direct investments (FDIs), including technical expertise and income necessary for economic transformation. A lack of local stakeholder consultation and involvement in the design of land leases leads to the rejection or disruption of such leases by local communities and wastes investors' resources due to disruptions. Local public stakeholders in Kenya are willing to accept and participate in leases, provided they include certain provisions: that leases do not exceed 15 years; are renewable subject to mutual negotiations; offer formal employment to landowners' household members; and provide adequate monetary compensation for the leased land. Effective and transparent management of land leases requires the formation of management committees comprising local stakeholders such as youth, women and land experts. To enhance lease transparency, regular consultative meetings should be held, negotiation records must be shared with local community members and landowners should receive direct payment, rather than being paid through intermediaries.
  • Topic: Security, Agriculture, Development, Economics, Poverty, Food
  • Political Geography: Kenya, Africa
  • Author: Peter A. Petri, Michael G. Plummer
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: ASEAN has become a focal point of the rapidly changing economic architecture of the Asia-Pacific region. ASEAN members are increasingly stable and politically confident, and constitute an emerging economic powerhouse. The region is dynamic, with 600 million citizens and a gross domestic product (GDP) that exceeds $2 trillion and is expected to grow 6 percent annually for the next two decades. (The Appendix at the end of this paper reports detailed output and trade projections to 2025.) Through deeper internal integration via the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) and external initiatives such as the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), ASEAN is becoming a driving force in regional cooperation and a much-courted economic partner. The AEC and the RCEP projects are globally significant: the AEC could generate powerful demonstration effects for other developing regions, and the RCEP could become an important building bloc of the multilateral trading system.
  • Topic: Security, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets
  • Political Geography: United States, East Asia, Asia, Asia-Pacific
  • Author: Jeong Yeon Lee
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: Multi-factor productivity (MFP) compares the growth of gross domestic product with the growth of combined capital and labor inputs. The growth rate of MFP assumes theoretical significance because it represents the slope of the steady-state growth path, and hence is a major determinant of the long-term growth trend. This paper offers the balanced panel of the estimated growth rates of MFP for 24 OECD countries over 1986-2011. Based on the estimates of MFP growth, a number of notable trends in productivity growth are identified for the entire OECD area as well as three major economies – the United States, the Eurozone and Japan – within the OECD.
  • Topic: Economics, Industrial Policy, International Trade and Finance, Labor Issues
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan, Europe
  • Author: Sarah Dransfield
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxfam Publishing
  • Abstract: Inequality is a growing problem in the UK. Whilst austerity measures in Britain continue to hit the poorest families hardest, a wealthy elite have seen their incomes spiral upwards, exacerbating income inequality which has grown under successive governments over the last quarter of a century.
  • Topic: Economics, Poverty, Governance
  • Political Geography: Britain, United Kingdom
  • Author: Jasmine Burnley, Javier Pereira
  • Publication Date: 01-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxfam Publishing
  • Abstract: In 2011, following decades of isolation, Myanmar embarked on an unprecedented reform process, raising hopes for a new democracy. These reforms have been welcomed by the international community with rising levels of aid. If properly handled and spent, aid offers an opportunity to harness Myanmar's economic potential and make it work for poor people – reducing inequality, providing essential services, building resilience, and promoting sustainable investment. This paper explores what good-quality aid should look like for Myanmar, what it could deliver for those living in poverty, and what decision makers can learn from other countries, to ensure that aid is a catalyst for democratic reform, equitable growth, and peace.
  • Topic: Democratization, Economics, Poverty, Foreign Aid
  • Political Geography: Southeast Asia, Myanmar
  • Author: Ricardo Fuentes-Nieva, Nicholas Galasso
  • Publication Date: 01-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxfam Publishing
  • Abstract: In November 2013, the World Economic Forum released its 'Outlook on the Global Agenda 2014', in which it ranked widening income d is parities as the second greatest worldwide risk in the coming 12 to 18 months. Based on those surveyed, inequality is 'impacting social stability within countries and threatening security on a global scale.' Oxfam shares its analysis, and wants to see the 2014 World Economic Forum make the commitments needed to counter the growing tide of inequality.
  • Topic: Security, Democratization, Economics, Political Economy, Poverty, Social Stratification
  • Author: Luke Simon Jordan, Katerina Koinis
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: Despite the region's economic growth over the last few decades, countries across Asia still face the complex challenge of structural transformation. Low-income economies must build formal industrial and service sectors from agricultural and informal bases; middle-income economies must move up the value chain; and high-income economies must continually generate new capabilities at the frontier of innovation.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Industrial Policy, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Asia
  • Author: Susan Schadler
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: Throughout the history of IMF lending, the institution has had PCS — that is, distressed countries borrowing from the IMF are expected to give priority to meeting their obligations to the IMF over those to other (private or official) creditors. This status is a defining characteristic of the IMF's role in financial crises: it provides a high degree of confidence that IMF resources are safe even when other creditors of the distressed country face substantial uncertainty about whether they will be repaid in full. In other words, the IMF, which lends to some of the riskiest countries in the world, faces minimal risk that its resources could be compromised by a debtor country's difficulties in servicing its debt. It does so, however, with the confidence that comes from its role in helping to formulate and monitor a program of policies that are strongly expected to return the country to stability.
  • Topic: Debt, Economics, International Monetary Fund, Monetary Policy, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Bessma Momani, Samantha St. Amand
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: Securing CBI has become best practice in global governance. Both the political and economic literatures suggest that CBI facilitates price stability, promotes transparency to citizens and provides accountability toward the public good. CBI is also credited with protecting the economic and financial system from the trappings of regulatory capture. In addition, a number of scholars have argued that CBI is correlated with positive policy outcomes, including balanced long- term economic growth, stable financial markets and a reduced likelihood of publicly funded financial institution bailouts. Moreover, some have suggested that CBI is important for fostering a healthy liberal democracy. As global markets have become increasingly integrated and interdependent, securing CBI is also considered a domestic, regional and global public good.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Globalization, Monetary Policy, Governance, Reform
  • Political Geography: Africa, North Africa
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: S.Rajaratnam School of International Studies
  • Abstract: Food security encompasses multiple, inter-connected dimensions, from production-related concerns, to market and price dynamics, environmental trends and policy approaches. Given this, 'robustness', the ability to withstand disruptions to the various dimensions, is critical to food security. Yet, countries in Southeast Asia continue to be largely focused on domestic production alone, which is unsustainable in the long run. This Policy Brief suggests that, in order to increase food security robustness, countries could turn to regional-level action. Towards this end, an analysis using the Rice Bowl Index is used to identify possible areas of cooperation and collaboration at the regional level.
  • Topic: Security, Agriculture, Economics, Environment, Markets, Food
  • Political Geography: East Asia
  • Author: Peter Nunnenkamp, Wan-Hsin Liu, Frank Bickenbach
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment
  • Abstract: P. Chidambaram, India's Minister of Finance, claimed that "FDI worked wonders in China and can do so in India." However, China's example may also point to the limitations of foreign direct investment (FDI) liberalization in promoting the host country's economic development. FDI in China is heavily concentrated in the coastal areas, and previous studies have suggested that this has contributed to the increasing disparity in regional income and growth since the late 1970s.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Foreign Direct Investment
  • Political Geography: China, South Asia, India
  • Author: Rudolf Adlung
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment
  • Abstract: A number of recent studies have discussed the implications of most-favored-nation (MFN) clauses in bilateral investment treaties (BIT s) and the possible need for, and role of, a multilateral framework for investment. Surprisingly, the relevance of existing multilateral disciplines, in particular under the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS), is seldom acknowledged in this context.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Treaties and Agreements, Foreign Direct Investment
  • Author: Gary Hufbauer, Sherry Stephenson
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment
  • Abstract: In Columbia FDI Perspectives, No. 102, Axel Berger claimed that the debate over a multilateral framework for investment is futile. We disagree. Following its achievements at the 9th Ministerial Conference in Bali, Indonesia, the World Trade Organization (WTO) should launch negotiations to draft a 21st century Investment Framework Agreement (IFA).
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Treaties and Agreements, Foreign Direct Investment
  • Political Geography: Colombia