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  • Author: Ansgar Belke, Rainer Fehn
  • Publication Date: 11-2000
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: This paper analyses whether differences in institutional structures on capital markets contribute to explaining why some OECD-countries, in particular the Anglo-Saxon countries, have been much more successful over the last two decades in producing employment growth and in reducing unemployment than most continental-European OECD-countries. It is argued that the often-blamed labour market rigidities alone, while important, do not provide a satisfactory explanation for these differences across countries and over time. Financial constraints are potentially important obstacles against creating new firms and jobs and thus against coping well with structural change and against moving successfully toward the “new economy”. Highly developed venture capital markets should help to alleviate such financial constraints. This view that labour-market institutions should be supplemented by capital market imperfections for explaining differences in employment performances is supported by our panel data analysis, in which venture capital turns out to be a significant institutional variable.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Paul Brenton
  • Publication Date: 10-2000
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: EU trade policies and the environment in which they are determined are now considerably different from when the EU came into being in the 1950s. With the exceptions of agriculture and textiles and clothing, tariffs and quantitative restrictions on trade in goods have been reduced to historically very low levels. But trade policy is now about much more than border restrictions upon trade in goods. Trade in services and the impact of national differences in regulatory regimes are now firmly on the trade policy agenda. This paper describes the current multilateral and preferential trade policies of the EU. It highlights the increasing importance of regulatory issues and the fact that some of these are being addressed outside of both multilateral and standard bilateral free trade agreements. This reflects the mixed motives behind EU trade policies and that for trade with certain regions the typical political economy factors framing trade policy are no longer relevant. For example, liberalisation of transatlantic trade, in the limited form at present of mutual recognition of conformity assessment, is being strongly driven by large corporate business. This trend suggests that the pyramid of preferences usually used to depict EU trade policies is becoming very distorted.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, Human Rights, International Trade and Finance, Migration, Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Nathalie Tocci
  • Publication Date: 09-2000
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: Since 1963 the 'Cyprus question' has proved one of the most intractable inter-communal conflicts within the international system. Despite the assiduous involvement of the United Nations, the long list of negotiations and inter-communal talks have failed to yield any concrete agreement. What are the roots and causes of the 'Cyprus question' and what explains the international community's repeated failures to resolve it? This paper argues that the causes of the 'Cyprus question' comprise two crucial dimensions. First, the conflict is caused by the underlying inter-communal dispute between Greek and Turkish Cypriots, which is in turn triggered both by real and by imaginary conditions of division and disparity. Second, the 'Cyprus question' is the product of a delicate balance of elite interests. Clearly, a solution to the problem must reflect both dimensions. An initial settlement that represents preferable payoffs than the current status quo to both community elites, must be brokered. Thereafter it is possible to tackle the real conditions of division and disparity, which cause the underlying inter-communal conflict. The overarching framework of prosperity and stability provided by the European Union could contribute in both respects by facilitating the formulation and implementation of an initial inter-elite settlement and accelerating the ultimate eradication of the underlying conflict between peoples.
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy, NATO, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Michael Emerson, Nathalie Tocci, Bruno Coppieters, Alexandru Liono, Sergiu Celac, Brenda Shaffer, Thomas Waelde, Sergei Vinogradov, Armando Zamora, Terry Adams
  • Publication Date: 07-2000
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: The problems surrounding the Chechen conflict are indeed many and difficult to tackle. This paper aims at unveiling some of the mysteries covering the issue of so-called “Islamic fundamentalism” in Chechnya. A comparison of the native Sufi branch of Islam and the imported Wahhaby ideology is made, in order to discover the contradictions and the conflicts that the spreading of the latter inflicted in the Chechen society. Furthermore, the paper investigates the main challenges President Aslan Maskhadov was facing at the beginning of his mandate, and the way he managed to cope with them. The paper does not attempt to cover all the aspects of the Chechen problem; nevertheless, a quick enumeration of other factors influencing the developments in Chechnya in the past three years is made.
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy, NATO, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Daniel Gros, Carsten Hefeker
  • Publication Date: 07-2000
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: What policy objective should a common central bank in a heterogeneous monetary union pursue? Should it base its decisions on the EU-wide average of inflation and growth or should it instead focus on (appropriately weighted) national welfare losses based on national rates of inflation and growth? We find that a central bank that minimises the sum of national welfare losses reacts less to common shocks and that this can lead to higher average union-wide expected welfare, if the variability of common shocks is large relative to the inflation bias. But for countries with a transmission mechanism close to the average, welfare can actually be lower in this case. The inflationary bias depends on the interaction between the transmission mechanism and distortions in labour markets.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, Human Rights, International Trade and Finance, Migration, Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Kimberly A. Clausing
  • Publication Date: 06-2000
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: Multinational firms are an increasingly important part of international economic integration. In recent years, foreign direct investment has been increasing at a rate that exceeds both the rate of growth of international trade and that of income. For many countries, the sales of affiliates of multinational firms have long dwarfed the value of trade. For example, in 1997, European Union country firms exported $283 billion in products to the United States. In the same year, affiliates of E.U.-based multinational firms sold $816 billion worth of products in the United States, almost three times the value of exports.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, Human Rights, International Trade and Finance, Migration, Political Economy
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe
  • Author: Paul Brenton, John Sheehy, Marc Vancauteren
  • Publication Date: 04-2000
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: With trade in industrial products between the EU and the CEECs now essentially free of tariff and non-tariff restrictions, the principal impact of accession to the EU on trade flows will be through access to the Single Market of the EU. A key element of this will be the removal of technical barriers to trade. In this paper we try and highlight the importance of technical barriers to trade between the EU and the various CEECs, distinguishing sectors according to the different approaches to the removal of these barriers in the EU: mutual recognition, detailed harmonisation (old approach) and minimum requirements (new approach). We utilise two sources of information on technical regulations: a sectoral classification from a previous study of the impact of the Single Market and our own detailed translation of EU product related directives into the relevant tariff codes. The analysis suggests that the importance of technical barriers varies considerably across the CEECs. The adjustment implications of access to the Single Market are likely to be greatest for those most advanced in their accession negotiations.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, Human Rights, International Trade and Finance, Migration, Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Michael Emerson, Jorge Núñez Ferrer
  • Publication Date: 02-2000
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: This paper describes the development of the negotiations from the birth of the Agenda 2000 proposals to the end of the Berlin European Council Summit and discusses the consequences of the outcome. The study shows to what extent net contributions to the EU budget and narrow national interests dominated the negotiations, at the expense of the original aims of the reforms (to prepare the Union for enlargement and for the next round of WTO negotiations), which were practically forgotten. This type of behaviour is by no means unique. On the contrary, it has been recurrent in the history of the EU. Estimates of future expenditures and own resources show that the Berlin European Council conclusions will prove to be far from satisfactory.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, Human Rights, International Trade and Finance, Migration, Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Europe, Berlin
  • Author: Nuria Diez Guardia
  • Publication Date: 02-2000
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: This report analyses the European consumer credit markets and their regulation at European level. Its findings are as follows: European consumer credit markets are characterised by deep national differences and strong market segmentation. The report finds no generalised model of consumer credit from the analysis of statistical data. An Anglo-Saxon consumer credit model cannot be identified. The weight of consumer credit is far higher in the US economy than in the EU countries, including the UK. In the US, the share of consumer loans made by banks is much lower, securitisation of consumer credit assets is very developed and the share of revolving credit is much greater than in the EU countries. Nor is it possible, on account of the large differences in the use of consumer credit observed across EU countries, to identify a European model of consumer credit. Consumer credit is very widely used in Sweden, whereas it is underdeveloped in Greece and Italy. The use of consumer credit reaches comparatively high levels in Germany and the UK and an intermediate level in France and Spain. Lending to consumers is carried out through bank intermediation, crossborder provision is non-existent.
  • Topic: Economics, Political Economy
  • Political Geography: United States, United Kingdom, Europe, Greece, France, Germany, Spain, Italy
  • Author: Daniel Gros
  • Publication Date: 05-1999
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: Economic recovery in the region requires stable currencies and open markets. The best way to establish these two basic conditions quickly is for the countries concerned to immediately link their currencies to the euro via a currency board and join the customs union of the EU. The EU should support this radical approach financially in two ways: a) through compensation for lost tariff revenues (conditional on clean and efficient border controls), and, b) emergency loans to acquire the necessary backing for the currency board. The currency boards should graduate to full euroisation in 2002. The total cost for the EU would be modest: around 2 billion euro p.a. if all countries participate. A market-led approach that pays local hosts to house refugees would ensure that the expenditure on refugees benefits the local economies.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Migration
  • Political Geography: Europe, Eastern Europe