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  • Author: Nora Lustig
  • Publication Date: 01-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: Current policy discussion focuses primarily on the power of fiscal policy to reduce inequality. Yet, comparable fiscal incidence analysis for 28 low and middle income countries reveals that, although fiscal systems are always equalizing, that is not always true for poverty. In Ethiopia, Tanzania, Ghana, Nicaragua, and Guatemala the extreme poverty headcount ratio is higher after taxes and transfers (excluding in-kind transfers) than before. In addition, to varying degrees, in all countries a portion of the poor are net payers into the fiscal system and are thus impoverished by the fiscal system. Consumption taxes are the main culprits of fiscally-induced impoverishment. Net direct taxes are always equalizing and indirect taxes net of subsidies are equalizing in nineteen countries of the 28. While spending on pre-school and primary school is pro-poor (i.e., the per capita transfer declines with income) in almost all countries, pro-poor secondary school spending is less prevalent, and tertiary education spending tends to be progressive only in relative terms (i.e., equalizing but not pro-poor). Health spending is always equalizing but not always pro-poor. More unequal countries devote more resources to redistributive spending and appear to redistribute more. The latter, however, is not a robust result across specifications.
  • Topic: International Trade and Finance, Global Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Ali Enami, Nora Lustig, Rodrigo Aranda
  • Publication Date: 01-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: This paper provides a theoretical foundation for analyzing the redistributive effect of taxes and transfers for the case in which the ranking of individuals by pre-fiscal income remains unchanged. We show that in a world with more than a single fiscal instrument, the simple rule that progressive taxes or transfers are always equalizing not necessarily holds, and offer alternative rules that survive a theoretical scrutiny. In particular, we show that the sign of the marginal contribution unambiguously predicts whether a tax or a transfer is equalizing or not.
  • Topic: International Political Economy, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Art Carden
  • Publication Date: 07-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Independent Institute
  • Abstract: First-user appropriation of private property is defensible on several grounds, and it meets Locke’s “enough, and as good” proviso by actually providing “more, and better” and by creating an institutional context in which objects can be defined as goods. This essay considers Locke’s prohibition against waste and argues that private property and exchange also allow us to define what it means for something to be “wasted” by conveying useful knowledge about alternative uses of resources to their owners.
  • Topic: Privacy, Political and institutional effectiveness
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Art Carden
  • Publication Date: 05-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Independent Institute
  • Abstract: Whether something is a “resource” emerges from its ability to satisfy wants, which in turn emerges from appropriation and exchange. Without taking an object out of the commons, assuming a right over it, and experimenting, we can’t know how much is “enough, and as good.” Appropriation brings objects into a knowledge-generating process that helps us know what “enough, and as good” means. Egalitarian objections to appropriation are also overstated in that the latecomers rather than the original appropriators are the ones who get to enjoy the cornucopia that a society based on private property and exchange has produced. I am grateful to my colleague William Collins and our students in a Jan Term 2016 special topics course at Samford University for conversations and discussions that motivated this paper and to Michael Munger, James Otteson, David Schmidtz, and participants in the “Future of Classical Liberalism” conference at the University of Chicago Law School in May 2016 for comments and suggestions. Seminar participants at Hampden-Sydney College, Geoffrey Lea in particular, also provided useful comments, and students in the 2017 version of the aforementioned Jan Term course provided useful comments as the final version of the paper neared completion. All errors are mine.
  • Topic: Political Theory
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Daniele Fattibene, Margherita Bianchi
  • Publication Date: 06-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The extremely unequal distribution of food worldwide has generated a paradox: while almost a billion citizens do not have access to healthy food, a part of the global population can afford to buy food in excess and – more importantly – generate enormous food losses and waste (FLW), with high economic, environmental and social costs. The EU has been working to find a comprehensive solution to this problem, with the aim of changing the current paradigm that tolerates good food being allowed to rot away. This paper explores the opportunities deriving from the latest EU efforts against FLW and, in particular, the Circular Economy Package, which includes waste legislation that is in line with UN goals on sustainable development. Several gaps have yet to be filled, but the mix of ambitious European and domestic laws, virtuous practices on the part of private companies, and a radical change in consumers’ habits are key to giving back to food the value it deserves.
  • Topic: Food Security
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Andrea Cofelice, Stelios Stavridis
  • Publication Date: 04-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: This study offers a preliminary mapping of the parliamentary scene that prevails in the Mediterranean, with a view to answering whether such a proliferation of parliamentary actors hinders or promotes (inter-)regional cooperation. The paper takes a quantitative approach because it is not possible to evaluate qualitatively such a complex parliamentary scene without first knowing how many actors are actually involved. Such an approach does not claim to be fully exhaustive but it tries to be as comprehensive as possible. Even if it only covers formal arrangements, this is not meant to downplay the importance of less formal arrangements – just that this is a first step in setting up a wider research agenda on the subject. The paper’s objectives are to find out how many parliamentary actors there are, or at least to give a general indication of their overall numbers; and to identify possible trends explaining the causes and consequences of the proliferation of Mediterranean parliamentary institutions. The paper concludes that the proliferation of parliamentary actors tends to be an obstacle for a better cooperation due to a number of reasons that include limited resources, duplication and high personnel and management costs.
  • Topic: Political and institutional effectiveness
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Anne-Laure Delatte, Sebastien Jean
  • Publication Date: 04-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: This paper discusses what useful form international economic co-ordination might take, notwithstanding the tense climate witnessed in recent months. On international trade, we argue that aiming at wide-ranging negotiations or more-of-the-same trade liberalizations would be pointless under present circumstances. Priority should instead be given to preventing the doom loop of protectionism and retaliation, and to addressing the political concerns about globalization. On fiscal competition, we point to the risk of a potential race to the bottom despite the progress achieved thanks to the OECD BEPS initiative. We finally emphasize the need for coordinated policies on the demand side. Paper presented at the international conference on “Major Challenges for Global Macroeconomic Stability. The Role of the G7”, organized in Rome on 27-28 March 2017 by the Istituto Affari Internazionali (IAI) with the support of the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation and the Bank of Italy.
  • Topic: International Cooperation, International Security
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: C. Fred Bergsten, Edwin M. Truman, Jeromin Zettelmeyer
  • Publication Date: 04-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: This paper examines how G7 cooperation can be maintained in the Trump era. Its working assumption is that the US administration will remain open to international cooperation in principle and yet be constrained by Trump’s economic nationalism and specific campaign promises, such as reducing trade imbalances. The main finding is that useful areas for G7 macroeconomic, trade and financial cooperation continue to exist even after taking US constraints into account. At the same time, other G7 leaders need to be prepared to proceed on their own if attempts to convince the US administration that G7 economic cooperation is in the interests of all members fail. Paper presented at the international conference on “Major Challenges for Global Macroeconomic Stability. The Role of the G7”, organized in Rome on 27-28 March 2017 by the Istituto Affari Internazionali (IAI) with the support of the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation and the Bank of Italy.
  • Topic: International Cooperation, International Security, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Malcolm D. Knight
  • Publication Date: 04-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: This paper is premised on the fact that the most important macroeconomic policy issue confronting global leaders at this time is the need to restore, modernize and expand the international network of basic infrastructure that underpins global economic activity. This would help foster stronger long-term productivity growth and per capita output. This paper first outlines key policy elements that are needed within each country to design and implement a successful National Infrastructure Investment Programme (NIIP). It then describes how these NIIPs could be integrated into an Internationally Coordinated Infrastructure Investment Programme (iCIIP), and the complementary roles that the G7 and G20 summit leaders could play in carrying out this vast programme of infrastructure renewal and expansion. The G7, as a tightly knit group of advanced countries, can be instrumental in giving a clear impetus to key elements of the iCIIP strategy. The G20 instead is the appropriate body to set the course of modernization and expansion of a renewed, internationally-integrated network of basic productive infrastructure, and to guide the iCIIP as it is implemented over the next decade.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Cooperation, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Rolf Langhammer
  • Publication Date: 04-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: While Germany continues to defend an open trading system it is not prepared to play a proactive role in pushing for liberalization of global trade. Preventing further disintegration in Europe has a higher priority for the German government than further integration in the world economy. Such priority does not only match with widespread skepticism in the German electorate on the gains from globalization. It also complies with an implicit understanding in the government that further globalization should be subject to stricter public surveillance. On nancial stability, German authorities emphasize the need to minimize the role of taxpayers in future bail-outs and giving regulators the power to force troubled banks to restructure or liquidate. Germany is also keen for the imposition of a nancial transactions tax at the global level. On macroeconomic policy, the increased reliance on domestic demand to spur growth in Germany will contribute towards global rebalancing. Given its scal space, boosting Germany’s public investment could be part of a collective e ort to address global demand weakness while addressing long-term growth challenges through structural reforms.
  • Topic: International Cooperation, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus