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  • Author: Trevor Houser, Jason Selfe
  • Publication Date: 11-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: At the United Nations climate change conference in Copenhagen in 2009 and Cancun in 2010, the United States joined other developed countries in pledging to mobilize $100 billion in public and private sector funding to help developing countries reduce greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to a warmer world. With a challenging US fiscal outlook and the failure of cap-and-trade legislation in the US Congress, America's ability to meet this pledge is increasingly in doubt. This paper identifies, quantifies, and assesses the politics of a range of potential US sources of climate finance. It finds that raising new public funds for climate finance will be extremely challenging in the current fiscal environment and that many of the politically attractive alternatives are not realistically available absent a domestic cap-and-trade program or other regime for pricing carbon. Washington's best hope is to use limited public funds to leverage private sector investment through bilateral credit agencies and multilateral development banks.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Development, Economics, Energy Policy, Politics, Foreign Direct Investment
  • Political Geography: United States, America, Washington, United Nations
  • Author: Robert Z. Lawrence, Lawrence Edwards
  • Publication Date: 06-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: Concerns that growth in developing countries could worsen the US terms of trade and that increased US trade with developing countries will increase US wage inequality both implicitly reflect the assumption that goods produced in the United States and developing countries are close substitutes and that specialization is incomplete. In this paper we show on the contrary that there are distinctive patterns of international specialization and that developed and developing countries export fundamentally different products, especially those classified as high tech. Judged by export shares, the United States and developing countries specialize in quite different product categories that, for the most part, do not overlap. Moreover, even when exports are classified in the same category, there are large and systematic differences in unit values that suggest the products made by developed and developing countries are not very close substitutes—developed country products are far more sophisticated.
  • Topic: Development, Emerging Markets, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Science and Technology, Labor Issues
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Lori G. Kletzer, J . Bradford Jensen
  • Publication Date: 01-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: While the uproar over offshoring has largely subsided since the 2004 presidential campaign, there continues to be concern and anxiety regarding the potential impact of offshoring in general and services offshoring in particular. With the economy softening and potentially headed for a recession in the midst of the current presidential campaign, worries about jobs and globalization seem likely to reemerge.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Howard F. Rosen
  • Publication Date: 01-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: In 1962, when the United States was running a trade surplus, imports were barely noticeable, and manufacturing employment was increasing, Congress made a commitment to assist American workers, firms, and communities hurt by international trade, by establishing the Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) program. This commitment was based on an appreciation that despite their large benefits, widely distributed throughout the economy, international trade and investment could also be associated with severe economic dislocations.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Edwin M. Truman
  • Publication Date: 12-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: In the first decade of the 21st century the International Monetary Fund (IMF) faced crises of legitimacy, relevance, and budgetary finance. It now confronts what likely will be the worst global recession since World War II, potentially huge demands for its financial assistance with limited resources, and calls for it to play a more central role in the international financial and regulatory systems. At the same time, the incoming Barack Obama administration must decide what to do about the modest package of IMF reforms that was completed in the spring of 2008. The package requires US congressional approval to go into effect. This paper reviews the recent, slow progress on IMF reform and makes recommendations to the Obama administration against the background of that record, the emerging global recession, and continuing financial turmoil. I recommend that the IMF package be reopened to include a doubling of IMF quotas and an amendment that will permit the Fund to swap special drawing rights (SDR) with major central banks to finance its short-term lending facility. I also recommend a special allocation of 50 billion SDR. If these proposals are turned down by the G-20 at its meeting in April 2009, I reluctantly recommend that the Obama administration seek congressional approval of the IMF package as it now stands because a failure to do so would seriously undermine the Fund as a central multilateral institution.
  • Topic: Development, International Organization, International Political Economy, International Trade and Finance, Global Recession
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Morris Goldstein
  • Publication Date: 06-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: This working paper assesses the progress made in improving China's exchange rate policies over the past five years (that is, since 2002). I first discuss four indicators of progress on China's external imbalance and its exchange rate policies—namely, the change in (and level of) China's global current account position, movements in the real effective exchange rate of the renminbi (RMB), the role of market forces in the determination of the RMB, and China's compliance with its obligations on exchange rate policy as a member of the International Monetary Fund (IMF). I then discuss why the lack of progress in improving China's exchange rate policies matters for the economies of the China and the United States and for the international monetary and trading system. I also argue that several popular arguments and excuses for why more cannot be accomplished on removing the large undervaluation of the RMB are unpersuasive. Finally, I consider what can and should be done by China, the United States, and the IMF to accelerate progress over the next year or two.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Foreign Exchange
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Asia
  • Author: Jacob Funk Kirkegaard
  • Publication Date: 04-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: This working paper evaluates the validity of available data on and the extent of the impact of offshoring on service-sector labor markets in the United States, EU-15, and Japan. A three-tier data validity hierarchy is identified. The impact of offshoring on employment in the three regions is found to be limited. Correspondingly, developing Asia is unlikely to experience large employment gains as a destination region. The paper highlights the case of the Indian IT industry, where the majority of job creation has been in local Indian companies rather than foreign multinationals. Domestic entrepreneurs have played a crucial role in the growth of the Indian IT-related service industry. However, increased tradability of services and associated skill bias in favor of higher skilled workers could have an uneven employment impact on developing Asia. Some high-skilled groups are benefiting and will continue to benefit dramatically from new employment opportunities and rising wage levels. Meanwhile, the same skill bias may eliminate many employment opportunities for unskilled or low-skilled groups in the region. Developing Asian countries therefore face a double educational challenge in the coming years: the need to simultaneously improve both primary and higher education.
  • Topic: International Relations, Development, Economics, Industrial Policy
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan, Asia
  • Author: Adam S. Posen
  • Publication Date: 01-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: On January 13, Germany's new chancellor, Angela Merkel, will have her first official visit with US President George W. Bush. Washington, or at least the part of Washington that still pays attention to transatlantic issues, not just the Bush administration, will be glad to see her given that she is not her US-bashing predecessor Gerhard Schroeder. Though this change in atmosphere is welcome, no one should make too much of it. It is unlikely to make much difference on security issues, where Iran's own actions are forcing the United States and Germany to come together, where German public opinion will keep the governments apart on Iraq, and where neither country is prepared to make major changes to defense budgets and approaches. The Masri case will certainly limit Merkel's interest in appearing too chummy with Bush on security matters.
  • Topic: Development, Economics
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Europe, Iran, Washington, Germany
  • Author: Catherine L. Mann, Katharina Plück
  • Publication Date: 09-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: The paper prepares new estimates for the elasticity of US trade flows using bilateral, commodity-detailed trade data for 31 countries, using measures of expenditure and trade prices matched to commodity groups, and including a commodity-and-country specific proxy for global supply-cum-variety. Using the United Nations Commodity Trade Statistics Database (UN Comtrade) we construct bilateral trade flows for 31 countries in four categories of goods based on the Bureau of Economic Analysis's "end-use" classification system--autos, industrial supplies and materials-excluding energy, consumer goods, and capital goods. We find that using expenditure matched to commodity category yields more plausible values for the demand elasticities than does using GDP as the measure of demand that drives trade flows. Controlling for country and commodity fixed effects, we find that industrial and developing countries have demand elasticities that are statistically significant and that generally differ between development groups and across product categories. Relative prices for the industrial countries have plausible parameter values, are statistically significant and differ across product groups, but the relative prices for developing countries are poorly estimated. We find that variety is an important variable for the behavior of capital goods trade. Because the commodity composition of trade and of trading partners has changed dramatically, particularly for imports, we find that the demand elasticity for imports is not constant. Comparing the in-sample performance of the disaggregated model against a benchmark that uses aggregated data and GDP as the expenditure variable, our disaggregated model predicts exports better in-sample but does not predict imports as well as the benchmark model.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Edwin M. Truman
  • Publication Date: 07-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: Halving the US current account deficit as a share of GDP is likely to impose a burden of $2,350 per capita on the United States, which explains why US policymakers want to postpone adjustment. The rest of the world relies on the economic stimulus of a widening US external deficit, which explains why they are not eager to see global adjustment. The paper examines three scenarios of exchange rate adjustments, calls on the Federal Reserve to take more account of the external deficit in its words and policy actions, and familiarly notes the need for US fiscal adjustment as part of an efficient adjustment process. Complementary policies are required in the rest of the world. The paper discusses the pattern of recent international capital flows and proposes an international reserve diversification standard to remove some of the uncertainty about the management of foreign exchange reserves.
  • Topic: Debt, Development, Globalization
  • Political Geography: United States