Search

You searched for: Content Type Working Paper Remove constraint Content Type: Working Paper Publishing Institution The Brookings Institution Remove constraint Publishing Institution: The Brookings Institution Topic Economics Remove constraint Topic: Economics
Number of results to display per page

Search Results

  • Author: Hafez Ghanem
  • Publication Date: 02-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: Morocco has so far been a success story in the Arab world. It has followed a gradual approach to political reforms and democratization, which led to the adoption of a new constitution and the holding of free parliamentary elections in 2011. At the same time, economic growth averaged 4.5 percent between 2000 and 2010, reached 5.0 percent in 2011, 2.7 percent in 2012, and 4.4 percent in 2013. That is, Morocco has avoided the political upheavals and economic meltdowns that plagued other Arab Countries in Transition (ACTs). Maintaining this record of success will require continued political and economic reforms.
  • Topic: Development, Economics
  • Political Geography: Arabia, Morocco
  • Author: Vidya Putcha, Jacques van der Gaag
  • Publication Date: 02-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: In the developing world, more than 200 million children under the age of five years are at risk of not reaching their full human potential because they suffer from the negative consequences of poverty, nutritional deficiencies and inadequate learning opportunities. Given these risks, there is a strong case for early childhood development (ECD) interventions in nutrition, health, education and social protection, which can produce long-lasting benefits throughout the life cycle. The results from the 2012 round of the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA)—an international, large-scale assessment that measures 15-year-olds\' performance in mathematics, reading and science literacy—demonstrate the benefits of ECD: Students in the countries that belong to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) who had the benefit of being enrolled for more than one year in preprimary school scored 53 points higher in mathematics (the equivalent of more than one year of schooling), compared with students who had not attended preprimary school. Although there is much evidence that ECD programs have a great impact and are less costly than educational interventions later in life, very few ECD initiatives are being scaled up in developing countries. For example, in 2010, only 15 percent of children in low-income countries—compared with 48 percent worldwide—were enrolled in preprimary education programs. Furthermore, even though the literature points to larger beneficial effects of ECD for poorer children, within developing countries, disadvantaged families are even less likely to be among those enrolled in ECD programs. For instance, in Ghana, children from wealthy families are four times more likely than children from poor households to be enrolled in preschool programs.
  • Topic: Development, Economics
  • Author: Lord Nicholas Stern, Jeremy Oppenheim, Amar Bhattacharya
  • Publication Date: 07-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: The agendas of accelerating sustainable development and eradicating poverty and that of climate change are deeply intertwined. Growth strategies that fail to tackle poverty and/or climate change will prove to be unsustainable, and vice versa. A common denominator to the success of both agendas is infrastructure development. Infrastructure is an essential component of growth, development, poverty reduction, and environmental sustainability.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Development, Economics, Poverty, Infrastructure
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Carol Graham, Shaojie Zhou, Junyi Zhang
  • Publication Date: 06-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: The past two decades in China brought unprecedented rates of economic growth, development, and poverty reduction. Indeed, much of the reduction in the world’s extreme poverty rates during that time can be explained by the millions of people in China who exited poverty. GDP per capita and household consumption increased fourfold between the years 1990 and 2005.1 China jumped 10 places forward on the Human Development Index from 2008 until 2013, moving up to 93 of 187 countries, and life expectancy climbed to 75.3 years, compared to 67 years in 1980.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Health, Human Welfare
  • Political Geography: China
  • Author: Christine Zhang, Jeffrey Gutman
  • Publication Date: 06-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: Economic development is often tied to the evolution of local industry. One way to assess a country’s emergence as a major player in the global economy is by examining the ability of its domestic firms to compete on the global market. Public procurement—the purchase of goods, works, and services by governments—represents a significant portion of this market, making up an estimated average of 15 to 30 percent of a country’s GDP. Procurement in the developing world is especially noteworthy, since large projects are often partially or wholly financed by external donors such as the World Bank and other international financial institutions (IFIs), which encourage developing country governments to internationally advertise the goods, works, or services they require and to select the most competitive bid they receive. Yet the role of IFI-funded procurement in the emergence of global markets, particularly for and among developing countries, is seldom a topic of empirical study, despite its linkages to global growth.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Emerging Markets, World Bank, Developing World
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Joshua Meltzer
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: This paper is about the potential of the Internet as a platform for international trade. A traditional understanding of the impact of the Internet on commerce is derived from the dot.com experience of the 1990s, where Internet companies such as Pets.com and Amazon sold goods online. Since then, the impact of the Internet on commerce has grown and changed. Certainly, the ability to sell goods online remains important. However, the key development is that the Internet is no longer only a digital storefront. Instead, the Internet as described in this working paper is a platform for businesses to sell to customers domestically and overseas, and is a business input that increases productivity and the ability of businesses to compete. Understanding the Internet as a platform for trade highlights its broad economic potential. It emphasizes how the commercial opportunities are no longer limited to Internet companies, but are now available for businesses in all sectors of the economy, from manufacturing to services. Moreover, the global nature of the Internet means that these opportunities are no longer limited to domestic markets, but are embraced wherever Internet access is available.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Science and Technology, Communications
  • Political Geography: Africa, United States, Europe
  • Author: Akira Murata
  • Publication Date: 01-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: The paper uses a discrete choice experiment (DCE) to elicit job preferences among youth, and analyzes survey data collected from engineering students at 10 universities in six cities in Egypt during the period of July through October 2013. For a comparative analysis, the survey was also conducted at eight universities in five cities in Indonesia, which is one of the nations in Asia with a Muslim-majority population that faces the same demographic issue. The findings of this research will contribute to building a foundation for designing youth employment policies in Egypt. The most obvious findings to emerge from this study are that: the public-private sector wage differentials must be narrowed; better benefits must accompany private sector employment (particularly support for continuing education, upgrading qualifications, and health insurance); and good IT infrastructure matters. Taken together, these steps could significantly contribute to an increase in the rates of a private sector employment among young Egyptian job seekers, even in the case of continued high public sector wages.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Islam, Labor Issues, Youth Culture
  • Political Geography: Africa, America, Arabia
  • Author: Hafez Ghanem
  • Publication Date: 01-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: This paper examines how economic growth in Egypt can be made more inclusive through a focus on rural development and reducing regional disparities. Nearly all of the extremely poor in Egypt live in rural areas and 83 percent of them live in Upper Egypt. The youth in those rural areas feel particularly excluded.
  • Topic: Agriculture, Development, Economics, Poverty
  • Political Geography: Africa, Arabia
  • Author: Carol Graham
  • Publication Date: 01-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: The United States has long been viewed as the "land of opportunity," where those who work hard get ahead. Belief in this feature of American national identity has persisted even though inequality has been rising for de¬cades. In recent years, the trend toward extremes of income and wealth has accelerated significantly, owing to demographic shifts, the skills bias of the economy and fiscal policy. From 1997 to 2007, the share of income accru¬ing to the top 1 percent of U.S. households increased by 13.5 percentage points, which is equivalent to shifting $1.1 trillion in total annual income to this group - more than the total income of the bottom 40 percent of households. The precise impact of inequality on individual well-being remains controversial, partly because of the complex nature of the metrics needed to gauge it accurately, but also because why it matters depends on what it signals. If inequality is perceived to be the result of just reward for individual effort, then it can be a constructive signal of future opportunities. However, if it is perceived to be the result of an unfair system that rewards a privileged few, inequality can undermine incentives to work hard and invest in the future. In this sense, current U.S. trends have been largely destructive. Economic mobility, for example, has declined in recent decades and is now lower than in many other industrialized countries. There is also a strong intergenerational income correlation (about 0.5) in the U.S.; children of parents who earn 50 percent more than the average are likely to earn 25 percent above the average of their generation. In a world in which individuals' fates are increasingly linked and effective gover¬nance depends on some kind of consensus on social and distributive justice norms, growing income differentials in one country - especially one that has long served as a beacon of economic opportunity - can affect behavior elsewhere, both in terms of investments in education and the labor market and the propensity to protest. More generally, declining economic mobility in the U.S. could undermine confidence in the principles of market econo¬mies and democratic governance that America has espoused for decades - principles that are fundamental to many countries' development strategies.
  • Topic: Economics, Poverty, Social Stratification, Labor Issues
  • Political Geography: United States, Germany
  • Author: John McArthur, Gordon C. McCord
  • Publication Date: 09-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: This paper uses cross-country panel data to estimate the agronomic inputs that lead to cereal yield improvements and the consequences for developing countries' processes of structural change. The results suggest a clear role for fertilizer, modern seeds and water in boosting yields. It then estimates empirical links in developing economies between increased agricultural yields and economic growth; in particular, the spillover effect from yield growth to declines of labor share in agriculture and increases of non-agricultural value added per capita. The identification strategy for the effect of fertilizer includes a novel instrumental variable that exploits variation in global fertilizer price, interacted with the inverse distance between each country's agriculturally weighted centroid and the nearest nitrogen fertilizer production facility. Results suggest that a half ton increase in staple yields (equal to the within-country standard deviation) generates a 13 to 20 percent higher GDP per capita, a 3.3 to 3.9 percentage point lower labor share in agriculture five years later, and approximately 20 percent higher non-agricultural value added per worker a decade later. The results suggest a strong role for agricultural productivity as a driver of structural change.
  • Topic: Agriculture, Economics, Labor Issues
  • Author: Hakan Altinay
  • Publication Date: 02-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: We frequently treat the changing constellation that has come to be referred to as global governance as a lackluster fait accompli. Nobody has masterminded it. Nobody is really in charge. Almost everybody has reasons to be unhappy about what they view as its current suboptimal state. As such, global governance is not an easy phenomenon to assess or audit. The benchmarks and scales to be used are not obvious. Yet an audit attempt is nevertheless necessary, if for no other reason than to start to form a deliberated assessment, to develop some benchmarks, and to refine our questions for the future.
  • Topic: Economics, Globalization, Governance
  • Political Geography: China, Europe
  • Author: Urjit R. Patel, Gangadhar Darbha
  • Publication Date: 01-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: Compared to immediately preceding years, that is, its own recent history, India's inflation became unhinged (thereby reversing creditable performance) from as far back as 2006. The paper puts forward an empirical framework to analyze the time series and cross-sectional dynamics of inflation in India using a large panel of disaggregated sector prices for the time period, 1994/95 to 2010/11. This allows us to rigorously explore issues that have been, at best, loosely posed in policy debates such as diffusion or comovement of inflation across sectors, role of common and idiosyncratic factors in explaining variation, persistence, importance of food and energy price changes to the overall inflation process, and contrast the recent experience with the past. We find, interalia, that the current period of high inflation is more cross-sectionally diffused, and driven by increasingly persistent common factors in non-food and non-energy sectors compared to that in the 1990s; this is likely to make it more difficult for anti-inflationary policy to gain traction this time round compared to the past. The paper has also introduced a novel measure of inflation, viz., Pure Inflation Gauges (PIGs) in the Indian context by decomposing price movements into those on account of: (1) aggregate shocks that have equiproportional effects on all sector prices; (2) aggregated relative price effects; and (3) sector-specific and idiosyncratic shocks. If PIGs, in conjunction with our other findings, for example, on persistence had been used as a measure of underlying (pure) inflationary pressures, the monetary authorities may not have been sanguine regarding the timeliness of initiating anti-inflationary policies.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Industrial Policy, International Trade and Finance, Monetary Policy
  • Political Geography: South Asia, India
  • Author: Raj M. Desai, Shareen Joshi
  • Publication Date: 01-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: This paper evaluates the impact of the Self- Employed Women's Association's (SEWA) farmer development center (FDC) initiative across five farming districts in Gujarat, India. The initiative provided a mix of training, information provisions, access to farming inputs, risk mitigation, and output. Controlling for a range of individual-specific, household, and village level factors, we find that SEWA membership primarily raised awareness of available opportunities among its participants, linked women to the financial sector and to diversified employment opportunities, including non-farm work. There is also evidence that the program's impact varied depending on the participants' socio-economic background. The poorest members experienced higher farm and non-farm incomes, increased food consumption, improved household and farm productivity, more self-employment opportunities, a greater likelihood of opening a bank account, higher crop harvests, and greater food security. These estimates suggest that the major comparative advantage of FDCs lies in improving access to credit and in expanding access to useful information.
  • Topic: Agriculture, Development, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets
  • Political Geography: India, Gujarat
  • Author: Douglas J. Elliott
  • Publication Date: 11-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: European leaders have committed to moving toward a banking union, in which bank regulation and supervision, deposit guarantees, and the handling of troubled banks will be integrated across at least the euro area and possibly across the wider European Union. This is quite positive for two reasons. Most immediately, it will help solve the euro crisis by weakening the link between debt-burdened governments and troubled banks, where each side has added to the woes of the other. In the longer run, it will make the “single market” in European banking substantially more effective.
  • Topic: Debt, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Monetary Policy, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Laurence Chandy
  • Publication Date: 12-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: Is Australia's aid program effective? Measuring the effectiveness of aid is no easy feat. For a start, there is uncertainty about what aid is trying to achieve. Even seemingly straightforward objectives, like poverty reduction, throw up a range of questions as to what precisely ought to be measured. For instance, how should one balance the provision of temporary relief to those in need with catalyzing permanent transformation in people's lives (Barder, 2009)? Second, it is notoriously difficult to isolate the effect of a single aid program from other factors. Aid is delivered in an environment of enormous complexity where all manner of other events shape outcomes, including actions by recipient governments, aid from other countries, non-aid flows, and the performance of the global economy. To accurately attribute impact to aid therefore requires a thorough understanding of the setting in which aid is given. Third, the effects of aid are not always immediate or straightforward. For instance, improvements in people's skills or the performance of institutions may manifest gradually. Measurements of what aid achieves must be sensitive to the different ways change is brought about (Woolcock et al., 2009).
  • Topic: Economics, Globalization, Humanitarian Aid, Poverty, Foreign Aid
  • Political Geography: Australia/Pacific
  • Author: Hakan Altinay
  • Publication Date: 03-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: “Civics” often refers to the familiar constellation of rights and responsibilities emanating from citizenship in a nation-state. But what about global civics? Would this be feasible—or even desirable?
  • Topic: International Relations, Civil Society, Economics, International Cooperation
  • Author: Robert Mosbacher, Jr.
  • Publication Date: 05-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: To tackle global poverty, it is essential to craft a new and dynamic approach to economic development that refl ects the realities of a 21st century global economy and incorporates the participation of a wide variety of new players, particularly from the private sector. While investment, trade and innovation all represent basic components of building healthy economies, this paper focuses primarily on strategies to increase both in-country and international private capital investment in order to create jobs. To that end, it concentrates on two areas: strengthening and reforming the existing structures, coordinating mechanisms and policies that support U. S. economic development efforts; and improving public-private partnership models to promote broader fi nancing to local businesses, greater human capital support and technical assistance and improved physical and ICT infrastructure.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Development, Economics, Emerging Markets, Poverty, Third World
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Peter Blair Henry, Conrad Miller
  • Publication Date: 01-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: Recent work emphasizes the primacy of differences in countries' colonially-bequeathed property rights and legal systems for explaining differences in their subsequent economic development. Barbados and Jamaica provide a striking counter example to this long-run view of income determination. Both countries inherited property rights and legal institutions from their English colonial masters yet experienced starkly different growth trajectories in the aftermath of independence. From 1960 to 2002, Barbados' Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita grew roughly three times as fast as Jamaica's. Consequently, the income gap between Barbados and Jamaica is now almost five times larger than at the time of independence. Since their property rights and legal systems are virtually identical, recent theories of development cannot explain the divergence between Barbados and Jamaica. Differences in macroeconomic policy choices, not differences in institutions, account for the heterogeneous growth experiences of these two Caribbean nations.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Political Economy, Poverty
  • Political Geography: Caribbean
  • Author: Marco E. Terrones, Eswar Prasad, Ayhan Kose
  • Publication Date: 01-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: Economic theory has identified a number of channels through which openness to international financial flows could raise productivity growth. However, while there is a vast empirical literature analyzing the impact of financial openness on output growth, far less attention has been paid to its effects on productivity growth. This paper provides a comprehensive analysis of the relationship between financial openness and total factor productivity (TFP) growth using an extensive dataset that includes various measures of productivity and financial openness for a large sample of countries. We find that de jure capital account openness has a robust positive effect on TFP growth. The effect of de facto financial integration on TFP growth is less clear, but this masks an important and novel result. We find strong evidence that FDI and portfolio equity liabilities boost TFP growth while external debt is actually negatively correlated with TFP growth. The negative relationship between external debt liabilities and TFP growth is attenuated in economies with higher levels of financial development and better institutions.
  • Topic: Debt, Development, Economics, Foreign Direct Investment
  • Author: Shang-Jin Wei, Eswar Prasad, M. Ayhan Kose, Kenneth Rogoff
  • Publication Date: 04-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: We review the large literature on various economic policies that could help developing economies effectively manage the process of financial globalization. Our central findings indicate that policies promoting financial sector development, institutional quality and trade openness appear to help developing countries derive the benefits of globalization. Similarly, sound macroeconomic policies are an important prerequisite for ensuring that financial integration is beneficial. However, our analysis also suggests that the relationship between financial integration and economic policies is a complex one and that there are unavoidable tensions inherent in evaluating the risks and benefits associated with financial globalization. In light of these tensions, structural and macroeconomic policies often need to be tailored to take into account country specific circumstances to improve the risk-benefit tradeoffs of financial integration. Ultimately, it is essential to see financial integration not just as an isolated policy goal but as part of a broader package of reforms and supportive macro- economic policies.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Globalization, Political Economy
  • Author: Eswar Prasad, M. Ayhan Kose, Ashley D. Taylor
  • Publication Date: 05-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: The financial crisis has re-ignited the fierce debate about the merits of financial globalization and its implications for growth, especially for developing countries. The empirical literature has not been able to conclusively establish the presumed growth benefits of financial integration. Indeed, a new literature proposes that the indirect benefits of financial integration may be more important than the traditional financing channel emphasized in previous analyses. A major complication, however, is that there seem to be certain “threshold” levels of financial and institutional development that an economy needs to attain before it can derive the indirect benefits and reduce the risks of financial openness. In this paper, we develop a unified empirical framework for characterizing such threshold conditions. We find that there are clearly identifiable thresholds in variables such as financial depth and institutional quality—the cost-benefit trade- off from financial openness improves significantly once these threshold conditions are satisfied. We also find that the thresholds are lower for foreign direct investment and portfolio equity liabilities compared to those for debt liabilities.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Globalization, International Political Economy, International Trade and Finance
  • Author: Ravi Kanbur, Eswar Prasad, Gill Hammond
  • Publication Date: 08-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: This paper introduces a significant collection of papers on monetary policy in emerging market economies, written by leading analysts and policymakers. Does existing economic theory provide lessons that are pertinent for designing effective monetary policy frameworks in emerging markets? What can be learnt from cross-country studies and from experiences of individual countries that have adopted different approaches? While country-specific circumstances and initial conditions matter a great deal in formulating suitable frameworks, are there clear general principles that can serve as a guide in this process? These are among the issues addressed in the dialogue between academics and policymakers represented in the volume. In this paper, we provide an overview of the main issues, linking them to broader debates in the academic literature as well as an assessment of how individual countries have chosen to respond to specific policy challenges and what the consequences have been. We discuss many controversies where there are still sharp differences in views between and amongst theorists and practitioners. We also delineate a few key analytical issues where there is still a yawning gap between theory and practice. In the process, we set out a broad agenda for further re- search in this area.
  • Topic: Economics, Emerging Markets, Markets, Monetary Policy
  • Author: Rachel McCulloch, Chad P. Bown
  • Publication Date: 12-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: Critical appraisals of the current and potential benefits from developing country engagement in the WTO focus mainly on the Doha Round of negotiations. This paper examines a different aspect of developing country participation in the WTO: use of the WTO dispute settlement system to enforce foreign market access rights already negotiated in earlier rounds of multilateral negotiations. We examine data on developing country use from 1995 through 2008 of the WTO Dispute Settlement Understanding (DSU) to enforce foreign market access. The data reveal three notable trends: developing countries' sustained rate of self-enforcement actions despite declining use of the DSU by developed countries, developing countries' increased use of the DSU to self-enforce their access to the markets of developing as well as developed country markets, and the prevalence of disputes targeting highly observable causes of lost foreign market access, such as antidumping, countervailing duties, and safeguards. The paper also examines how introduction of the Advisory Centre on WTO Law (ACWL) into the WTO system in 2001 has affected developing countries' use of the DSU to self-enforce their foreign market access rights. A first pass at the data indicates that developing country use of the ACWL mirrors their use of the DSU more broadly; the ACWL has had little effect in terms of introducing new countries to DSU self-enforcement. A closer look at the data reveals evidence on at least three channels through which the ACWL may be enhancing developing countries' ability to self-enforce foreign market access: increased initiation of sole-complainant cases, more extensive pursuit of the DSU legal process for any given case, and initiation of disputes over smaller values of lost trade.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets
  • Author: Eswar Prasad, Kenneth Rogoff, M. Ayhan Kose, Shang-Jin Wei
  • Publication Date: 04-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: We review the large literature on various economic policies that could help developing economies effectively manage the process of financial globalization. Our central findings indicate that policies promoting financial sector development, institutional quality and trade openness appear to help developing countries derive the benefits of globalization. Similarly, sound macroeconomic policies are an important prerequisite for ensuring that financial integration is beneficial. However, our analysis also suggests that the relationship between financial integration and economic policies is a complex one and that there are unavoidable tensions inherent in evaluating the risks and benefits associated with financial globalization. In light of these tensions, structural and macroeconomic policies often need to be tailored to take into account country specific circumstances to improve the risk-benefit tradeoffs of financial integration. Ultimately, it is essential to see financial integration not just as an isolated policy goal but as part of a broader package of reforms and supportive macroeconomic policies.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Globalization, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: William Easterly, Tobias Pfutze
  • Publication Date: 06-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: This paper does not address the issue of aid effectiveness—that is, the extent to which foreign aid dollars actually achieve their goals—but instead focuses on “best practices” in the way in which official aid is given, an important component of the wider debate. First, we discuss best practice for an ideal aid agency and the difficulties that aid agencies face because they are typically not accountable to their intended beneficiaries. Next, we consider the transparency of aid agencies and four additional dimensions of aid practice: specialization, or the degree to which aid is not fragmented among too many donors, too many countries, and too many sectors for each donor); selectivity, or the extent to which aid avoids corrupt autocrats and goes to the poorest countries; use of ineffective aid channels such as tied aid, food aid, and technical assistance; and the overhead costs of aid agencies. We compare 48 aid agencies along these dimensions, distinguishing between bilateral and multilateral ones. Using the admittedly limited in- formation we have, we rank the aid agencies on different dimensions of aid practice and then provide one final comprehensive ranking. We present these results as an illustrative exercise to move the aid discussion forward.
  • Topic: Economics, Humanitarian Aid, Poverty, Third World, United Nations
  • Author: Alan Abramowitz, Ruy Teixeira
  • Publication Date: 04-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: Dramatic shifts have taken place in the American class structure since the World War II era. Consider education levels. Incredible as it may seem today, in 1940 three-quarters of adults 25 and over were high school dropout s (or never made it as far as high school), and just 5 percent had a four-year college degree or higher. But educational credentials exploded in the postwar period. By 1960, the proportion of adults lacking a high school diploma was down to 59 percent; by 1980, it was less than a third, and by 2007, it was down to only 14 percent. Concomitantly, the proportion with a BA or higher rose steadily and reached 29 percent in 2007. Moreover, those with some college (but not a four-year degree) constituted another 25 percent of the population, making a total of 54 percent who had at least some college education 1 . Quite a change: moving from a country where the typical adult was a high school dropout (more accurately, never even reached high school) to a country where the typical adult not only has a high school diploma, but some college as well.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Demographics, Economics
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Lael Brainard
  • Publication Date: 02-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: Compiled by Brookings Institution experts, this chart is part of a series of issue indices to be published during the 2008 Presidential election cycle. The policy issues included in this series were chosen by Brookings staff and represent the most critical topics facing America's next President. Available voting records and statements vary based on time in office. For candidates who have not been a Member of Congress, public statements are noted when available.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Politics
  • Political Geography: United States, America
  • Author: Bruce Katz
  • Publication Date: 01-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: Infrastructure has a dramatic effect on the economic competitiveness of our nation, the health of our environment and our quality of life. And infrastructure—freight ports, airports, bridges, roads, rail and transit networks, water and sewer systems, web of channel communications—is the connective tissue of our nation. Smart policies and investments can enhance and further national prosperity and the health and vitality of metropolitan areas, where the bulk of our population lives and jobs are located.
  • Topic: Debt, Economics, Political Economy
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Ruy Teixeira
  • Publication Date: 01-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: Political polarization in the United States has a number of causes, ranging from media hype to gerrymandering to hyper- ideological elites to cultural “sorting” between the parties. But there is another key contributor that is frequently overlooked: demographic and geographic changes in the electorate that have altered the sizes of different population groups and even shifted their political orientations over time. These changes have helped produce the current deadlock between coalitions of roughly equal size and opposed outlooks. But these same changes—since they will continue to alter group sizes and political orientations in the future—could also provide the impetus for unlocking this polarization and policy gridlock in the future.
  • Topic: Democratization, Economics, Politics
  • Political Geography: United States, America
  • Author: Ralph C. Bryant
  • Publication Date: 01-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: A prosperous, stable world economy is in the self interest of every nation—large or small, rich or poor. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is a worldwide intergovernmental institution that can facilitate that prosperity and stability. Because every nation has a stake, each should participate in the IMF's governance and operations. The value to each nation of an effective IMF increases as the world economy and financial system become more integrated.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, International Organization, International Political Economy
  • Author: Homi Kharas
  • Publication Date: 07-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: Flows of official development assistance (ODA) to recipient countries have been highly volatile and this reduces their value. At the macro level, empirical evidence suggests that volatile ODA can negatively impact growth through several channels. At the micro level, volatility can affect fiscal planning and the level and composition of investment. This working paper develops a simple financial metric that policy makers can use to estimate (and reduce) the cost of aid volatility. Unlike other estimates, our measure does not depend on parameter estimates from cross-country regressions, nor on country-specific model simulations.
  • Topic: Economics, Humanitarian Aid
  • Author: Lex Rieffel
  • Publication Date: 09-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: The IMF and the World Bank were created in 1944 to be at the center of the international financial system, but they have not adapted well to the far- reaching changes in the global economy over the past twenty years. Their legitimacy has been called into question due to their antiquated governance structures, and as a consequence they are losing relevance and effectiveness.
  • Topic: Economics, International Organization, International Political Economy, International Trade and Finance, International Monetary Fund
  • Author: Lael Brainard, David Lipton
  • Publication Date: 08-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: From the vantage point of 2008, some of the most memorable initiatives of U.S. international economic leadership—the Paris and Louvre Accords, the support for Poland and Russia after the fall of communism, the Uruguay Round, and the Mexican Financing Loan—seem like quaint reminders of a simpler time. In the coming years, the exercise of international economic leadership will surely prove more complex than in the past. The very success of the American vision of a global spread of vibrant and competitive markets has created a huge, rapidly integrating private economy of trade and finance much less amenable to guidance, let alone control, by governments. Unlike in diplomacy and defense, where non state actors are growing in importance but still a side show, in inter- national economics, households, corporations, labor unions, and non-profits are now the dominant players in most parts of the world. While they respond to national laws and policies, their interests are varied and their operations often span borders.
  • Topic: Economics, International Political Economy, International Trade and Finance, Markets
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Paris, Poland, Uruguay, Mexico
  • Author: Warwick J. McKibbin, Adele Morris, Peter J. Wilcoxen
  • Publication Date: 11-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: To estimate the emissions reductions and costs of a climate policy, analysts usually compare a policy scenario with a baseline scenario of future economic conditions without the policy. Both scenarios require assumptions about the future course of numerous factors such as population growth, technical change, and non-climate policies like taxes. The results are only reliable to the extent that the future turns out to be reasonably close to the assumptions that went into the model.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Development, Economics, Energy Policy
  • Author: Bryan K. Mignone
  • Publication Date: 11-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: The overall economic efficiency of a quantity-based approach to greenhouse gas mitigation depends strongly on the extent to which such a program provides opportunities for compliance flexibility, particularly with regard to the timing of emissions abatement. Here I consider a program in which annual targets are determined by choosing the optimal time path of reductions consistent with an exogenously prescribed cumulative reduction target and fixed technology set. I then show that if the availability of low-carbon technology is initially more constrained than anticipated, the optimal reduction path shifts abatement toward later compliance periods. For this reason, a rigid policy in which fixed annual targets are strictly enforced in every year yields a cumulative environmental outcome identical to the optimal policy but an economic outcome worse than the optimal policy. On the other hand, a policy that aligns actual prices (or equivalently, costs) with expected prices by simply imposing an explicit price ceiling (often referred to as a "safety valve") yields the opposite result. Comparison among these multiple scenarios implies that there are significant gains to realizing the optimal path but that further refinement of the actual regulatory instrument will be necessary to achieve that goal in a real cap-and-trade system.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Economics, Environment
  • Author: Bryan K. Mignone
  • Publication Date: 11-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: Of the many regulatory responses to climate change, cap-and-trade is the only one currently endorsed by large segments of the scientific, economic and political establishments. Under this type of system, regulators set the overall path of carbon dioxide (CO2) reductions, allocate or auction the appropriate number of emissions allowances to regulated entities and – through trading – allow the market to converge upon the least expensive set of abatement opportunities. As a result, the trading price of allowances is not set by the regulator as it would be under a tax system, but instead evolves over time to reflect the underlying supply and demand for allowances. In this paper, I develop a simple theory that relates the initial clearing price of CO2 allowances to the marginal cost premium of carbon-free technology, the maximum rate of energy capital replacement and the market interest rate. This theory suggests that the initial clearing price may be lower than the canonical range of CO2 prices found in static technology assessments. Consequently, these results have broad implications for the design of a comprehensive regulatory solution to the climate problem, providing, for example, some intuition about the proper value of a possible CO2 price trigger in a future cap-and-trade system.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Economics, Environment, Markets
  • Author: Eswar Prasad, Marcos Chamon
  • Publication Date: 12-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: From 1995 to 2005, the average urban household saving rate in China rose by 7 percentage points, to about one quarter of disposable income. We use household-level data to explain why households are postponing consumption despite rapid income growth. Tracing cohorts over time indicates a virtual absence of consumption smoothing over the life cycle. Saving rates have increased across all demographic groups although the age profile of savings has an unusual pattern in recent years, with younger and older households having relatively high saving rates. We argue that these patterns are best explained by the rising private burden of expenditures on housing, education, and health care. These effects and precautionary motives may have been amplified by financial underdevelopment, as reflected in constraints on borrowing against future income and low returns on financial assets.
  • Topic: Economics, Education, Emerging Markets, Health
  • Political Geography: China, Israel
  • Author: John Page
  • Publication Date: 12-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: For a growing number of countries in Africa the current commodity boom is a huge opportunity. But if the economic history of resource-rich, poor countries-especially in Africa-is any guide, rather than bringing prosperity, the resource boom may drive them into what Paul Collier (2007) in his influential book The Bottom Billion terms the "Natural Resources Trap." In Africa, countries dependent on oil, gas, and mining have tended to have weaker long-run growth, higher rates of poverty, and higher inequality than Non mineral-dependent economies at similar levels of income.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Political Economy, Poverty
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Harry J. Holzer
  • Publication Date: 12-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: This paper proposes a new federal funding stream to identify, expand, and replicate the most successful state and local initiatives designed to spur the advancement of low-wage workers in the United States. In the Worker Advancement Grants for Employment in States (WAGES) program, the federal government would offer up to $5 billion annually in matching funds for increases in state, local, and private expenditures on worker advancement initiatives. To gain funding, states would have to develop local advancement “systems,” which would provide career-oriented education and training to youth, working poor adults and “hard-to-employ” workers. Partnerships would be developed between local training providers (like community colleges), employer associations, and intermediaries. Additional financial supports for the working poor—including child care, transportation, and stipends for working students—would have to be funded as well. Initially, the WAGES program would require states to compete for federal grants, which would ultimately be renewable. The program would generate a “learning system” in which states would have an incentive to innovate and use information from other initiatives. The federal government would provide substantial technical assistance and oversight. Performance measurement and rigorous evaluation would be required for program renewal; states achieving substantial worker advancement would be awarded major bonuses and more rapid renewal of funding.
  • Topic: Economics, Markets, Political Economy
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Ron Haskins
  • Publication Date: 08-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: The idea of economic mobility in America often evokes a personal story. For many Americans, it is one of immigrant parents or grandparents, or even one's own journey and arrival. In recent decades, immigration has been rising steadily, with nearly one million legal immigrants entering the country per year throughout the 1990s and in the early years of this century, compared to only about 300,000 per year in the 1960s. In addition to legal immigrants, it is estimated that about 500,000 illegal immigrants now arrive each year.
  • Topic: Economics, Human Welfare, Migration
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Sara Burr, Virginia Carlson
  • Publication Date: 03-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: Access to credit is one of the cornerstones of wealth-building in the United States. Yet, between 35 million and 54 million persons are not participating in the credit market. Many individuals outside the credit mainstream are unable to access credit, or credit at competitive rates, because of the lack of traditional information, such as mortgage and credit card payments, available on their credit files. However, there is evidence that the inclusion of alternative data on credit-like payments, such as utility payments, in credit reporting can help bridge this information gap. The first step toward filling this gap requires utility companies to systematically report these data to the major credit bureaus.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Demographics, Development, Economics
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Joel Kotkin, William H. Frey
  • Publication Date: 03-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: For most Americans, California evokes coastal images, the sunny beaches of south or the spectacular urban vistas of San Francisco Bay. Yet within California itself, the state's focus is shifting increasingly beyond the narrow strip of land between the coast- line and its first line of mountain ranges.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Environment
  • Political Geography: United States, America, California
  • Publication Date: 03-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: Pennsylvania is at once the same and different, three years after the release of the 2003 Brookings Institution report “Back to Prosperity,” which proposed a new vision for how Pennsylvania might revitalize its cities, towns, and regions in order to compete more energetically in today's global economy.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: United States, Pennsylvania
  • Author: Alice M. Rivlin, Brooke DeRenzis
  • Publication Date: 04-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: The Washington area is growing and decentralizing. From 1990 to 2000, the District of Columbia's population declined while the number of people living in surrounding suburbs increased. Prince George's County was among the suburban jurisdictions that experienced population growth, increasing by 10 percent from about 729,000 residents in 1990 to over 800,000 in 2000. Prince George's continues to grow, with an estimated 840,000 residents in 2005.
  • Topic: Demographics, Development, Economics, Migration
  • Political Geography: Washington
  • Author: Elizabeth Kneebone
  • Publication Date: 04-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: The first half of this decade brought with it a range of economic challenges, including increased unemployment, stagnant family incomes, and rising poverty.
  • Topic: Demographics, Development, Economics, Government
  • Publication Date: 05-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: On the eve of its second Mardi Gras since Katrina, New Orleans stands poised to gain a larger economic benefit from the event than in did in 2006. Twenty additional hotels have opened since last year's Mardi Gras, and the New Orleans airport is now accommodating 100,000 more arriving passengers each month.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Environment
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Jennifer S. Vey
  • Publication Date: 05-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: The evidence is clear. On the whole, America's central cities are coming back. Employment is up, populations are growing, and many urban real estate markets are hotter than ever, with increasing numbers of young people, empty-nesters, and others choosing city life over the suburbs.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Globalization, Government
  • Political Geography: America
  • Author: Caroline Cecot, Robert Hahn, Andrea Renda
  • Publication Date: 05-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: In 2002, the European Union required that an impact assessment be done for all major initiatives, including many regulations, directives, decisions, and communications. This paper is the first paper to statistically analyze these impact assessments using the largest available dataset. As a benchmark, we compare our results in the EU with recent results on the quality of regulatory analysis in the U.S. We score impact assessments using a number of objective measures of quality, such as whether a particular assessment provides any quantitative information on costs or benefits, and use the scores to develop two indices of quality.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Philip Osafo-Kwaako
  • Publication Date: 03-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: Following years of economic stagnation, Nigeria embarked on a comprehensive reform program during the second term of the Obasanjo administration. The program was based on the National Economic Empowerment and Development Strategy (NEEDS) and focused on four main areas: improving the macroeconomic environment, pursuing structural reforms, strengthening public expenditure management, and implementing institutional and governance reforms. This paper reviews Nigeria's recent experience with economic reforms and outlines major policy measures that have been implemented. Although there have been notable achievements under the program, significant challenges exist, particularly in translating the benefits of reforms into welfare improvements for citizens, in improving the domestic business environment, and in extending reform policies to states and local governments. Consequently, we argue that the recent reform program must be viewed as the initial steps of a much longer journey of economic recovery and sustained growth. This paper concludes by outlining a number of outstanding issues that future Nigerian administrations must address.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: Africa, Nigeria
  • Author: Bernard Hoekman, Chad Brown
  • Publication Date: 02-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: Poor countries are rarely challenged in formal WTO trade disputes for failing to live up to commitments, reducing the benefits of their participation in international trade agreements. This paper examines the political-economic causes of the failure to challenge poor countries and discusses the static and dynamic costs and externality implications of this failure. Given the weak incentives to enforce WTO rules and disciplines against small and poor members, bolstering the transparency function of the WTO is important to make trade agreements more relevant to trade constituencies in developing countries. While our focus is on the WTO system, our arguments also apply to reciprocal North-South trade agreements.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Government, International Trade and Finance
  • Author: Brooke DeRenzis, Martha Ross
  • Publication Date: 03-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: Washington's future as a vibrant, inclusive city depends on its commitment to rebuilding the middle class from within. The District has experienced job growth, big increases in city revenues, and remarkable commercial and residential development over the past several years. Still, one out of every three DC residents is low-income, and many residents live in areas of concentrated poverty. More than most cities, Washington is a city of high and low incomes, with a small and declining middle class.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Development, Economics
  • Political Geography: United States, Washington
  • Author: Benjamin Forman, Rebecca Sohmer, Eric McLean-Shinaman, David Warren, John Schneider, Mark Muro
  • Publication Date: 02-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: Could it be? Could it be that at least some of Massachusetts' long-suffering “Gateway Cities”—the state's once-humming mill and manufacturing towns—are ready to rejoin the state's economic mainstream? Yes, it could. Despite the latest blows of deindustrialization, signs of life are animating parts of the state's faded urban hubs beyond Boston.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Markets
  • Publication Date: 02-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: The beginning of 2007 offers a conflicting picture of the global economy for those trying to discern trends, challenges and opportunities. Concerns about energy security and climate sustainability are converging — finally bringing consensus in sight on the need for action in the United States. But prospects for breaking the global stalemate are still years away. Though some developing countries are succeeding in bringing hundreds of millions out of poverty, too many are still mired in a doom spiral of conflict, poverty and disease— despite the entry of new philanthropists, advocates and global corporations into the field of development. China's projected 9.6 percent growth rate is sending ripples to the farthest reaches of the planet—creating opportunities but also significant risks. The United States remains in the “goldilocks” zone, but this is premised on continued borrowing from abroad at historically unprecedented rates while many Americans fret about widening inequality and narrowing opportunity. While the United States concentrates on civil war in the Middle East, most leaders in the region are preoccupied with putting an outsized cohort of young people to work and on the road to becoming productive citizens.
  • Topic: International Relations, Security, Economics, Energy Policy
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Middle East
  • Author: Howard Wial, Robert Atkinson
  • Publication Date: 02-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: In the months running up to the 2004 election the issue of off- shoring—the movement of jobs from the United States to other nations—seemed to be on the front pages of newspapers every day. Some of the concern was about the loss of manufacturing jobs to lower-wage countries such as China and Mexico, a process that had been going on for decades. The offshoring of service jobs, though, was something new. Service workers—including college- educated professionals—who previously thought their jobs immune to foreign competition began to worry about this new source of job in security. Policymakers concerned about the American standard of living wondered whether service offshoring would eliminate the United States' advantage in high technology industries.
  • Topic: Demographics, Economics, Government, Poverty
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Mexico
  • Author: Christopher B. Leinberger
  • Publication Date: 01-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: Over the past decade, the real estate field has begun applying many of the development strategies employed by a number of iconic developers active before 1940. J.C. Nichols (Country Club Plaza in Kansas City), George Merrick (Coral Gables, Florida), the Rockefeller family (Rockefeller Center), and others have become role models, their major developments emulated in recently revived downtowns, suburban town centers, New Urbanism projects, and transit oriented developments. But while nearly all of the attention today has been on the urban design lessons of these developers and their projects, there are financing lessons they can teach us as well.
  • Topic: Demographics, Development, Economics, Markets
  • Political Geography: United States, Florida
  • Author: Barry Bosworth, Gabriel Chodorow-Reich
  • Publication Date: 11-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: This paper uses a panel data set of 85 countries covering 1960-2005 to investigate the macroeconomic linkages between national rates of saving and investment and population aging. The issue takes on added significance because of the recent suggestion that the decline in global interest rates has been driven by demographic changes in the industrial economies. We do find a significant correlation between the age composition of the population and nations' rates of saving and investment, but the effects vary substantially by region. They are very strong for the non-industrial economies of Asia, but weak in the high-income countries. We also find evidence demographic effects on both the public and private components of national saving. Furthermore, we conclude that the demographic effects on saving will be less disruptive than sometimes believed because of offsetting declines in investment. However, the effects on saving are stronger than those for investment, implying that most aging economies will ultimately be pushed in the direction of current account deficits.
  • Topic: International Relations, Demographics, Economics
  • Political Geography: Asia
  • Author: Patrick D. Walker, Robin Varghese, Ann Schnare, Alyssa Stewart Lee, Michael A. Turner
  • Publication Date: 12-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: Despite the vast accomplishments of the American credit system, approximately 35 million to 54 million Americans remain outside the credit system. For a variety of reasons, mainstream lenders have too little information on them to evaluate risk and thereby extend credit. As a result, those in most need of credit often turn to check cashing services and payday loan providers, with effective interest rates as high as 500 percent. The lack of reliable credit places them at a great disadvantage in building assets (such as homes, small businesses, or loans for education) and thereby improving their lives.
  • Topic: Demographics, Economics, Government, Poverty
  • Political Geography: America
  • Author: Elizabeth Kneebone, Alan Berube
  • Publication Date: 12-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: The first half of the current decade brought economic uncertainty and hardship for many Americans. In stark contrast to the late 1990s, when employment and wages were growing at historic rates, the 2000s have been marked by an economic recession, stagnant wages for many workers, and job losses followed by what some have termed a “jobless recovery.”
  • Topic: Civil Society, Demographics, Economics, Poverty
  • Political Geography: America
  • Author: Bruce Katz, Alan Berube
  • Publication Date: 11-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: This summary report provides an overview of The State of American Cities. It addresses four major questions that are explored in further detail in the topic report: What are the current trends and drivers of change in US cities? What factors measure and explain city success in the U.S? What policies have promoted the success of US cities? What can English cities learn from this? The report argues that whilst the US and England are marked by significant cultural and political differences in their views on cities, the two nations are undergoing similar economic and demographic transitions that pave the way for a useful comparative policy dialogue on urban areas.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Economics
  • Political Geography: United States, United Kingdom, America, Europe, England
  • Author: Norman J. Ornstein, Thomas E. Mann
  • Publication Date: 11-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: The Framers of our nation created a political system built upon three vibrant, assertive, and active branches of government, with a series of checks and balances in place to make sure that no single branch or individual could accumulate too much power and threaten the rights and freedoms of citizens, and to create a deliberative process to make good public policy. Congress, the first branch of government, was designed to be the linchpin of this system, the body closest to the people, with the most robust specified powers.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Politics
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Alan Berube
  • Publication Date: 11-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: Over the 30 years of its existence the federal Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) has been described variously as a wage supplement, a program to reduce tax burdens, an antipoverty tool, a welfare-to-work program, and a form of labor market insurance. The program has enjoyed expansions under both Republican and Democratic administrations, and in 2006, the EITC will provide more than $40 billion to low-income working families. The credit lifts nearly 5 million Americans above the poverty line each year. Moreover, because the EITC aids only those families with earnings from work, researchers have credited it with raising labor force participation levels and helping families transition from welfare to work.
  • Topic: Economics, Human Welfare, Markets
  • Political Geography: United States, America
  • Author: Yusef Freeman, John Talmage, Jamie Alderslade
  • Publication Date: 09-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: The study of the urban informal economy has expanded in the last thirty years, challenging researchers to find more accurate methods of quantifying its activity. This paper examines recent works that focused on the urban informal economy in particular, and evaluates different definitions and techniques for measuring it. Methods discussed include indirect estimation methods, such as currency demand, electricity consumption, and labor force statistical profiles, as well as direct estimation measures such as labor force and household surveys. This paper discusses the prospects for applying these largely macro-level methods to more micro-market analysis and speculates on the avail ability and usefulness of existing data sources in the United States. It concludes by suggesting that there is much room for further research on the size, determinants and implications of the informal economy in American cities and calls for new efforts to align different methods of measuring the inform al economy so they can be increasingly used to support decision-making processes in the public and private sectors.
  • Topic: Demographics, Economics, Markets
  • Political Geography: United States, America
  • Author: Royce Hanson, Hal Wolman, David Connolly, Katherine Pearson
  • Publication Date: 09-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: Business-led civic organizations have historically played an important role in urban policymaking, planning, and renewal. These elite organizations of CEOs of the area's largest employers could quickly mobilize their members' personal devotion to the community, their deal making talent, and their ability to commit corporate financial resources to their city's emerging needs.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Emerging Markets, Industrial Policy
  • Political Geography: America
  • Author: Sean Fremstad, Margy Waller
  • Publication Date: 08-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: State officials are spending Temporary Assistance funds quite differently from the early years after welfare reform. States now spend a majority of Temporary Assistance funds on benefits and services other than cash assistance, and the beneficiaries of these benefits and services include a substantial number of families who do not receive cash assistance.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Humanitarian Aid
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: David Rusk
  • Publication Date: 08-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: An analysis of the relationship between the annexation patterns and fiscal health of the nation's largest cities shows that: A city's ability to annex land from its surrounding county is a primary determinant of its fiscal health. Cities with greater abilities to annex have much higher bond rating scores. Of cities in large metropolitan areas, every city that expanded its boundaries by as little as 15 percent between 1950 and 2000 had a high bond rating in 2002. Conversely, all cities with low bond ratings are those that had been unable to expand their boundaries. The ability to annex land varies widely by region and state. Most high- bond-rated cities are located in “big box” states (primarily in the South and West) where land is more easily annexed. Most low-bond-rated cities are in “little box” states (primarily in the Northeast and Midwest) where land is more difficult, or impossible, to annex. Annexation is far from an outmoded, dying practice. During the 1990s, about 90 percent of the central cities that could annex additional land did so. Collectively, in just one decade they expanded their municipal territory by more than 3,000 square miles.
  • Topic: Demographics, Economics, Poverty
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Amy Liu, Matt Fellowes, Mia Mabanta
  • Publication Date: 08-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: A review of dozens of key social and economic indicators on the progress of recovery in the New Orleans region since the impact of Hurricane Katrina finds that: Housing rehabilitation, and demolition, are well underway while the housing market tightens, raising rent and home prices. Across the most hard-hit parishes in the New Orleans area, the pace of demolitions has accelerated in the last six months while the number of permits issued for rehab has nearly doubled in the city. Yet, housing is less affordable as rent prices in the region have increased by 39 percent over the year and home sale prices have spiked in suburban parishes. Across the city, public services and infrastructure remain thin and slow to rebound. Approximately half of all bus and streetcar routes are back up and running, while only 17 percent of buses are in use, a level of service that has not changed since January. Gas and electricity service is reaching only 41 and 60 percent of the pre-Katrina customer base, respectively. The labor force in the New Orleans region is 30 percent smaller today than one year ago and has grown slowly over the last six months; meanwhile, the unemployment rate remains higher than pre-Katrina. The New Orleans metro area lost 190,000 workers over the past year, with the health and education services industries suffering the largest percentage declines. In the past six months, the region has seen 3.4 percent more jobs but much of that may reflect the rise in new job seekers. The unemployment rate is now 7.2 percent, higher than last August. Since last August, over $100 billion in federal aid has been dedicated to serving families and communities impacted by hurricanes Katrina, Rita, and Wilma. In the meantime, the number of displaced and unemployed workers remains high. To date, the federal government has approved approximately $109 billion in federal aid to the Gulf Coast states most impacted by the storms. Of these funds, nearly half has been dedicated to emergency and longer-term housing. In the meantime, an estimated 278,000 workers are still displaced by the storm, 23 percent of whom remain unemployed.
  • Topic: Development, Disaster Relief, Economics, Environment
  • Author: Michael J. Rich, Robert P. Stoker
  • Publication Date: 08-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: In the wake of the devastation wrought by Hurricane Katrina, Congress enacted legislation creating Gulf Opportunity Zones (GO Zones) in localities in Alabama, Louisiana, and Missis- sippi that suffered the most extensive storm damage. Special tax incentives created in these areas are designed to encourage investment, job creation, and economic growth. While many studies have been done to evaluate the effectiveness of federal and state tax-based efforts to redevelop distressed areas, none of the learning has been reflected in policy debates about the Katrina recovery effort. The evidence suggests that tax incentives alone are not enough—they work better when combined with good planning, local capacity-building, and good governance across sectors. This paper will summarize the purpose of the Gulf Opportunity Zone tax program and explain how this latest endeavor reflects the 25-year evolution of federal efforts to use tax incentives as a core tool for revitalizing distressed areas.
  • Topic: Development, Disaster Relief, Economics, Environment
  • Political Geography: Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi
  • Author: Howard Wial, Alec Friedhoff
  • Publication Date: 07-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: Analysis of manufacturing employment and production in seven Great Lakes states and their metropolitan areas from 1995 through 2005 finds that: More than one-third of the nation's loss of manufacturing jobs between 2000 and 2005 occurred in seven Great Lakes states: Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. Between 1995 and 2005, the United States lost more than 3 million manufacturing jobs. Nearly all of this job loss occurred during the last five years, and 37.5 percent of the loss occurred in the seven Great Lakes states. Michigan lost the most manufacturing jobs between 2000 and 2005 (nearly 218,000), followed by Ohio, Illinois, and Pennsylvania. Despite these job losses, manufacturing remains a major driver of the nation's economy and the economy of the Great Lakes region. Because productivity was higher in manufacturing than in other sectors of the economy, in 2004, manufacturing accounted for a higher share of gross state product than its share of employment, both nationwide and in six of the seven states in the Great Lakes manufacturing belt. In addition, productivity in the manufacturing sector increased by 38 percent between 1997 and 2004, a much higher increase than the 24.4 percent growth in productivity for all non-farm businesses during that same time period. Manufacturing job losses were pervasive in Great Lakes metropolitan areas. All but one of the 25 largest manufacturing-dependent metropolitan areas in the Great Lakes region lost manufacturing jobs during the last decade (1995–2005), often at a faster rate than the United States as a whole. Chicago and Detroit lost the most manufacturing jobs in the last five years (over 100,000 jobs each), while Canton, OH, and Flint, MI, lost the greatest shares of manufacturing employment. The metropolitan areas in which manufacturing employment peaked between 1995 and 1997 tended to experience more severe manufacturing job losses between 1995 and 2005 than those in which manufacturing peaked later. The 13 metropolitan areas where manufacturing employment peaked between 1995 and 1997 saw an average 26.8 percent decline in manufacturing employment between 1995 and 2005. In the other 11 metropolitan areas where manufacturing employment peaked later, between 1998 and 2000, the average metropolitan area lost 18.9 percent of its manufacturing jobs during the decade. Manufacturing job losses were a major reason for slow overall job growth, and sometimes overall job losses, in Great Lakes metropolitan areas. Furthermore, employment gains in high-wage advanced service industries, which occurred in all but one of the 25 metropolitan areas studied, were not large enough to offset the loss of manufacturing jobs in most areas.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Demographics, Economics, Human Welfare
  • Political Geography: United States, New York, Pennsylvania, Chicago, Ohio, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan
  • Author: Matt Fellowes
  • Publication Date: 07-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: Public and private leaders have a substantial, and widely overlooked, opportunity today to help lower income families get ahead by bringing down the inflated prices they pay for basic necessities, such as food and housing.
  • Topic: Demographics, Economics, Markets, Poverty
  • Author: Cynthia Taeuber
  • Publication Date: 06-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: Statistical agencies walk a fine line to meet the needs of two sets of customers: those who demand more detailed data to better understand complex policy questions, and those who demand that their responses to surveys or their use of public services be kept confidential.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Government, Science and Technology
  • Author: George Galster, Jackie Cutsinger, Jason C. Booza
  • Publication Date: 06-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: Middle-income families, the icon of the American Dream, have become a somewhat less prominent part of the American demographic profile over the last quartercentury. Numerous researchers have documented how growing economic inequality in the U.S., characterized by an increasing bifurcation of the income distribution, has slowed the growth of a once-broad American middle class.
  • Topic: Demographics, Economics, Human Welfare
  • Political Geography: United States, America
  • Author: William H. Frey, Audrey Singer
  • Publication Date: 06-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: In the late summer of 2005, Hurricanes Katrina and Rita wrought severe damage along much of the Gulf Coast, stretching from Alabama west - ward to Texas, with perhaps the most devastating consequences for the greater New Orleans area.
  • Topic: Demographics, Development, Economics, Environment
  • Author: Tiana Wertheim, Tim Flacke
  • Publication Date: 05-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: For families struggling to make ends meet on earnings from low-wage jobs, the federal Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) has become an essential form of support, boosting the size of annual tax refunds by as much as several thousand dollars. The program is widely recognized for its accessibility (working through the tax code and tax filing system), administrative efficiency and simplicity, and its effectiveness in lifting working poor house- holds out of poverty. Why then shouldn't the EITC serve as a model for other programs for working families, particularly in parts of the country where high costs of living create added difficulties for lower-income residents?
  • Topic: Demographics, Economics, Poverty
  • Political Geography: United States, San Francisco
  • Author: Pari Sabety
  • Publication Date: 05-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: While some neighborhoods in American cities are resurgent, many others remain stubbornly entrenched in a cycle of underinvestment. A contributing factor is that—despite thriving immigrant populations, high volumes of cash transactions, and relatively stable housing markets—these neighborhoods are victims of an urban information gap which undervalues their commercial potential. The importance of good information for private and public investments is widely acknowledged, but fragmented funding, lack of standards, and spotty data has impeded either effective or universal use of these tools. This paper sets forth seven steps for practitioners and investors to follow in investing in local community information initiatives and, in turn, close the urban information gap and accelerate investment in these markets.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Poverty
  • Political Geography: United States, America
  • Author: Audrey Singer, Jeremy Smith, Robin Newberger, Anna Paulson
  • Publication Date: 05-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: The United States has long benefited from the aspirations, talents, and hard work of the many immigrants who have settled here. Each generation has debated the costs of immigration and its benefits and grappled with how best to incorporate immigrants into U.S. society. The unparalleled size and growth of the contemporary immigrant population means that these conversations and debates continue today in communities throughout the country. The well-being of the nation increasingly depends on whether immigrants' economic progress keeps up with their demographic growth.
  • Topic: Economics, Markets, Migration
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Matt Fellowes
  • Publication Date: 05-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: Everyday, more than 27,000 employees in the credit bureau industry walk into over 1,000 locations around the country and process over 66 million items of information. Out of this massive churning of activity, credit bureaus produce consumer credit reports and scores, two of the most powerful determinants of modern American consumer life.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Economics, Markets
  • Political Geography: United States, America
  • Author: William Fulton, Linda E. Hollis, Chris Williamson, Erik Kancler
  • Publication Date: 04-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: Land use, infrastructure, and open space policy play an important role in shaping metropolitan growth, and whether or not they are coordinated on the policy level, they do interact with each other in shaping those patterns. However, the exact interplay of these policies is not well understood. This paper uses two metropolitan areas—Orlando and Seattle—with differing growth management regimes to explore the effects of conscious growth policy on metropolitan form.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Development, Economics, Industrial Policy
  • Author: Amy Liu, Matthew Fellowes
  • Publication Date: 03-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: Federal allocations in response to hurricanes Katrina, Rita, and Wilma now total over $88 billion. Additionally, over $8 billion in tax relief is available, and another $19.8 billion in spending has been proposed by the Bush administration in February 2006. While these numbers appear quite large, widespread uncertainty exists over how much of this money has actually been spent and where.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Environment, Government
  • Author: Joseph Cortright
  • Publication Date: 03-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: In recent years, "cluster strategies" have become a popular economic development approach among state and local policymakers and economic development practitioners. An industry cluster is a group of firms, and related economic actors and institutions, that are located near one another and that draw productive advantage from their mutual proximity and connections. Cluster analysis can help diagnose a region's economic strengths and challenges and identify realistic ways to shape the region's economic future. Yet many policymakers and practitioners have only a limited understanding of what clusters are and how to build economic development strategies around them.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: David Warren, Robert Puentes
  • Publication Date: 02-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: One of the more encouraging metropolitan policy trends over the last several years is the increased attention on America's older, inner-ring, “first” suburbs. Beginning generally with Myron Orfield's Metropolitics in 1997, a slow but steady stream of research has started to shine a bright light on these places and begun to establish the notion that first suburbs have their own unique set of characteristics and challenges that set them apart from the rest of metropolitan America. Since then first suburbs in a few regions have assumed a small, but significant, role in advancing research and policy discussions about metropolitan growth and development.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Migration
  • Political Geography: United States, America
  • Author: Alan Berube
  • Publication Date: 02-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: The early years of the twenty- first century marked a period of change in both the labor market and in public policy for the nation's low-income working families. Most prominently, employment conditions deteriorated after 2000. The nation's unemployment rate climbed from 4 percent in 2000 to 6 percent in 2003. The unemployment rate for workers with less than a high school education rose to nearly 9 percent in 2003. Real hourly wages continued to increase slightly for most workers during this period, but the weak labor market reduced the number of hours worked, along with overall earnings and family incomes. The steady rise in labor force participation among low-income families during the 1990s, spurred in part by the 1996 welfare reform law and other policies to “make work pay,” gave way to a decline after 2000.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Government, Human Welfare
  • Political Geography: New York
  • Author: Steve Holt
  • Publication Date: 02-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), the nation's largest antipoverty program for working families, plays an important role in the economic life of America's low- income households and communities. It increases the ability of workers in lower paying jobs to support themselves and their families. It represents a large inflow of resources into local economies. It magnifies the importance of the annual tax filing process. The federal EITC turned 30 years old in 2005. During the past 20 years, many states and localities have enacted versions of the federal credit to benefit their own residents. Meanwhile, a new generation of local leaders has emerged to publicize the availability of the EITC and related tax credits for lower-income families and neighborhoods, and to argue for progressive federal tax policies.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: America
  • Author: Robert L. Axtell
  • Publication Date: 02-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: Recently discovered facts concerning the size distribution of U.S. firms are recapitulated—in short, these sizes are closely approximated by the Zipf distribution, a Pareto (power law) distribution with exponent of unity. Interesting consequences of this result are then developed, having primarily to do with formulae for the distribution's moments, and difficulties of reasonably characterizing a 'typical' firm. Then, a leading candidate explanation for these data—the Kesten random growth process—is assessed in terms of its realism vis-á-vis actual firm growth. Insofar as it has fluctuations that are quite different in character from actual firm size variability, the Kesten and related stochastic growth processes qualify more as fables of firm growth than as credible explanations. Finally, new explanations of the facts are proposed by considering firms to be partitions of the set of all workers. Assuming all partitions to be equally likely, the observed distribution of firm sizes is hypothesized to be the distribution of block sizes in the most likely partitions. An alternative derivation of this distribution as a constrained optimization problem is also described. Given that these calculations involve unimaginably vast magnitudes, it seems just short of fantastic to consider them relevant empirically.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Industrial Policy
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Publication Date: 01-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: This brief describes a new information tool developed by the Urban Markets Initiative to quantify, for the first time, the impact of transportation costs on the affordability of housing choices. This brief explains the background, creation, and purpose of this new tool. The first section provides a project overview and a short summary of the method used to create the Affordability Index. The next section highlights the results from testing the index in a seven-county area in and around Minneapolis-St. Paul, MN. To demonstrate the usefulness of this tool at a neighborhood level, the third section projects the effect of transportation and housing choices on three hypothetical low- and moderate-income families in each of four different neighborhoods in the Twin Cities. The brief concludes with suggested policy recommendations and applications of the new tool for various actors in the housing market, and for regulators, planners, and funders in the transportation and land use arenas at all levels of government.
  • Topic: Economics, Emerging Markets, Government
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Thomas W. Sanchez
  • Publication Date: 01-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: Among the most important transportation reforms initiated by the federal government in recent decades was the increased focus on metropolitan areas and the devolution of greater responsibility for planning and implementation to metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs). 2 By empowering MPOs to play a more active and authoritative role in transportation planning and programming, these reforms created a policy framework for increased local and regional decisionmaking. By requiring sustained and meaningful public involvement, they also demanded increased sensitivity to the community effects of large-scale public investments.
  • Topic: Demographics, Economics, Government, Migration
  • Author: Martin E. Robins, Anne Strauss-Weider
  • Publication Date: 01-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: All the products consumers use and all the products businesses use get to market via America's freight system. And though Americans are utterly dependent on the freight system and its carriers, there is little understanding of the system's impact on our daily personal and business lives on either the macro level—as the gate- way to the global economy—or the micro level—as deliverer of e-commerce purchases. Freight also affects the nation in other ways. U.S. Department of Transportation (U.S. DOT) statistics show that truck traffic makes up more than 30 percent of the traffic on about 20 percent of Interstate System mileage and is expected to grow substantially over the next 20 years. 2 And the dynamics related to some freight businesses have, in many locations, consumed inexpensive greenfields on the suburban fringe, lengthening trips, and exacerbating existing congestion problems.
  • Topic: Economics, Globalization
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Johannes F. Linn
  • Publication Date: 01-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: Increased cooperation among the Central Asian republics stands to produce big gains for the people of the region. The benefits from reducing trade costs, increasing remittances from migrant workers, and more efficient use of water and energy resources could generate a regional economy twice as large and well off 10 years from now. The price of non-cooperation could also be large, a heavy toll extracted from the spread of disease, lost economic opportunities, natural disasters and environmental destruction, as well as conflict and insecurity. Both costs and benefits will be felt most among the region's poorer populations.
  • Topic: International Relations, Development, Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: Central Asia
  • Author: Jennifer S. Vey
  • Publication Date: 01-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: In 2003, the Brookings Institution released a report on how to enhance Pennsylvania's economic competitiveness. “Back to Prosperity: A Competitive Agenda for Renewing Pennsylvania” called for the state to rejuvenate its many distinctive cities, towns, and older suburbs and to invest in the high quality service industries often located there. The Commonwealth's institutions of higher learning are among those industries.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Education, Government
  • Political Geography: Pennsylvania
  • Author: Ed Lazere, David Garrison
  • Publication Date: 11-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: A 2003 report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) found that the District of Columbia faces a large structural budget imbalance—that is, a persistent gap between its ability to raise revenues and the cost of providing basic services. DC's imbalance stems largely from its being a "city without a state" and from revenue limitations caused by the federal presence. The most logical solution to this problem would be an annual contribution from the federal government to help address the challenges that arise from DC's unique status as the nation's capital.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Development, Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: Colombia
  • Author: Eugenie L. Birch
  • Publication Date: 11-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: Over the past few decades, public and private officials have tried to re-invent their downtowns with a variety of tactics. One of the most popular—and arguably most successful—strategies of recent years has been downtown residential development. In this effort, creating a vibrant, “24-hour” downtown has become the mantra for injecting life into struggling main streets and business districts.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Demographics, Economics, Human Welfare
  • Political Geography: New York, Asia, Los Angeles, Chicago
  • Author: Lael Brainard
  • Publication Date: 08-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: In recent weeks, aging rockers have reclaimed young fans by joining movie stars, faith-based groups, and leaders of developing nations in a global campaign to "Make Poverty History." World leaders have taken note: the push is on for a massive boost in official assistance flows and the cancellation of official debt. But as preparations move forward for the first heads of state stocktaking of the Millennium Development Goals at the United Nations in September, scant attention is being directed at the most powerful engine of growth and poverty alleviation: the private sector. This despite the fact that the past two decades have witnessed an enormous shift in resources away from the public sector to private hands, and private flows to developing countries are now more than twice the level of public flows.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Poverty
  • Political Geography: United Nations
  • Author: Lex Rieffel
  • Publication Date: 08-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: Intense domestic pressure has convinced Nigeria's President, Olusegun Obasanjo, to consider a deal that would eliminate the country's $31 billion of debt owed to the governments of the United Kingdom, France, and other aid-giving countries.
  • Topic: International Relations, Debt, Economics
  • Political Geography: Africa, United Kingdom, Paris, France, Nigeria
  • Author: Gary Burtless
  • Publication Date: 07-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: Observers in many industrialized countries believe population aging represents a serious economic threat. Increases in the percentage of the population past retirement age may impose unsustainable burdens on future workers. Either taxes or government debt will have to rise substantially to pay for old-age income support. This paper considers the extent of these burdens and corrects the widespread impression that the burdens are unsupportable. Population aging means that contributions needed to support the retired elderly must rise. But this extra burden will be at least partly offset by a reduced need to support the dependent young, who will become relatively less numerous. The extra burden of an aging population would be smaller still if labor force participation rates among the working-age and elderly populations increased. Indeed, employment rates among the nonaged have risen in nearly all the industrialized countries as a growing percentage of women has entered the work force. Many countries, including the United States, have adopted policies to encourage work among people past the traditional retirement age.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, International Relations, Economics, Government, Population
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: William G. Gale, Peter R. Orszag
  • Publication Date: 07-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: Under traditional formulations, lower capital income tax rates reduce the user cost of capital and stimulate investment. The traditional approach, however, implictly or explicitly considers a revenue-neutral reduction in capital income taxation. We extend the traditional approach by considering a reduction in taxes that generates an increase in the budget deficit; the expanded budget deficit raises interest rates and the opportunity cost of investment. This provides a mechanism through which tax cuts can raise the cost of capital. Representative calculations show that, even with relatively modest interest rate effects, the net effect of making the Administration's recent tax cuts permanent or a 10-percent reduction in individual income tax rates would be to raise the user cost of capital. Thus, sustained tax cuts can raise the cost of capital and reduce investment.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: James C. Capretta
  • Publication Date: 07-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: President Bush's top first-term objectives—in the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks—were waging and winning the global war on terror, significantly enhancing our homeland security systems, and strengthening economic growth.1 With sluggish economic growth following the 2001 recession persisting in 2002 and 2003—due, in part, to the revelation of several corporate governance scandals and the aftermath of technology stock "bubble burst"—the President placed a high premium on tax relief proposals aimed at accelerating the pace of short and long-term economic growth. In this context, it is not at all surprising that large federal budget deficits emerged.
  • Topic: Security, Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Lex Rieffel, James W. Fox
  • Publication Date: 07-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: The Millennium Challenge Account (MCA) proposed by President George W. Bush in March 2002 is an important step toward smarter US assistance to low-income countries. While it cannot yet be said to represent a revolution in development assistance, it is a welcome experiment and merits substantial funding by the Congress.
  • Topic: International Relations, Development, Economics, Human Welfare
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Rachel McCulloch, Chad P. Bown
  • Publication Date: 06-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: The bilateral relationship with China has become a major focus of U.S. trade policy. This paper examines recent U.S. policy toward imports from China, highlighting important explicitly and implicitly discriminatory elements. Discriminatory restrictions on U.S. trade with China protect competing domestic industries as well as non-Chinese foreign suppliers with an established presence in the U.S. market. Unlike discriminatory U.S. treatment of Japan in the 1980s, in which "gray-area" measures like voluntary export restraints were prominent, most U.S. actions toward China are fully consistent with current WTO rules, including the special terms of China's 2001 WTO accession. However, as with earlier discriminatory actions directed primarily at Japan, U.S. trade policy toward China is likely to have complex effects on global trade flows and may produce outcomes far different from those intended.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Asia
  • Author: Paul A. Jargowsky, Rebecca Yang
  • Publication Date: 05-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: No single metric can capture all the dimensions of as complex a phenomenon as poverty in an affluent society. Several different empirical strategies, each with strengths and weaknesses, may all contribute to a more complete understanding of the experience of living in poverty in a modern urban setting. The standard federal measure of poverty focuses narrowly on the income of families in comparison to a standard meant to reflect the cost of basic necessities (Orshansky 1963, 1965). The concentration of poverty adds a geographic component, by gauging the extent to which poor families are spatially isolated (Jargowsky and Bane 1991; Jargowsky 1997, 2003). Neither of these measures, however, adequately conveys the extent of social disorganization in poor neighborhoods that has figured so prominently in the political debates over public policies that address poverty and urban development.
  • Topic: Demographics, Development, Economics, Poverty
  • Author: Chad P. Bown, Bernard M. Hoekman
  • Publication Date: 05-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: The poorest WTO member countries almost universally fail to engage as either complainants or interested third parties in formal dispute settlement activity related to their market access interests. This paper focuses on costs of the WTO's extended litigation process as an explanation for the potential but "missing" developing country engagement. We provide a positive examination of the current system, and we catalogue and analyze a set of proposals encouraging the private sector to provide DSU-specific legal assistance to poor countries. We investigate the role of legal service centres, non-governmental organizations, development organizations, international trade litigators, economists, consumer organizations, and even law schools to provide poor countries with the missing services needed at critical stages of the WTO's extended litigation process. In the absence of systemic rules reform, the public-private partnership model imposes a substantial cooperation burden on such groups as they organize export interests, estimate the size of improved market access payoffs, prioritize across potential cases, engage domestic governments, prepare legal briefs, assist in evidentiary discovery, and pursue the public relations effort required to induce foreign political compliance.
  • Topic: International Relations, Development, Economics, Third World
  • Author: Alice M. Rivlin, Isabel B. Sawhill
  • Publication Date: 04-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: Sometimes good news poses hard choices. Over the next several decades Americans will be forced to make difficult decisions necessitated by the good news that people are living longer and that medical care has become far more effective (albeit more expensive) than ever in history. These choices will require adjustments by almost everyone—families, communities, employers, and older people themselves—but they will be most starkly evident in the federal budget.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Government, Human Welfare