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  • Author: Andreas Antoniades, Ugo Panizza
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Global Political Economy, University of Sussex
  • Abstract: The recurrence of ever more destructive economic crises and patterns of pervasive indebtedness and inequality threaten the social fabric of our societies. Our main responses to these trends have been partial, focusing on symptoms rather than causes, often exacerbating rather than improving the underlying socio-economic dynamics. To reflect on these conditions and on ‘what needs to be done’ this paper turns to a similar socio-economic malaise faced by the city-state of Athens in the 6th century BC. Most historical studies dealing with this crisis focus on the comprehensive debt relief policy (seisachteia) implemented by Solon. We argue that this debt relief, although necessary, was the least important of Solon’s reforms. Solon read the problem of debt as a problem of money so he went on to reform the monetary and exchange system. But he did not think that these reforms alone could restore socioeconomic sustainability. For this, a redefinition of what was counted as valuable economic activity and as income had also to take place. And for all these to work, citizens had to be involved more in the commons. Far from only achieving socioeconomic sustainability, these reforms gave rise gradually to the demos that we meet in the golden age of Democracy. It is indeed interesting that Democracy, in its ideal type of the 5th century BC, finds its origin in the way in which a society responded to a major socioeconomic crisis, characterised by pervasive indebtedness and destabilising inequalities. Such a broader historical horizon may help us grasp better the problems, stakes and challenges of our times.
  • Topic: Debt, Political Economy, History, Democracy, Global Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Greece, Global Focus
  • Author: Trevon Logan, Peter Temin
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute for New Economic Thinking (INET)
  • Abstract: This paper records the path by which African Americans were transformed from enslaved persons in the American economy to partial participants in the progress of the economy. The path was not monotonic, and we organize our tale by periods in which inclusiveness rose and fell. The history we recount demonstrates the staying power of the myth of black inferiority held by a changing white majority as the economy expanded dramatically. Slavery was outlawed after the Civil War, and blacks began to participate in American politics en masse for the first time during Reconstruction. This process met with white resistance, and black inclusion in the growing economy fell as the Gilded Age followed and white political will for black political participation faded. The Second World War also was followed by prosperity in which blacks were included more fully into the white economy, but still not completely. The Civil Rights Movement proved no more durable than Reconstruction, and blacks lost ground as the 20th century ended in the growth of a New Gilded Age. Resources that could be used to improve the welfare of whites and blacks continue to be spent on the continued repressions of blacks.
  • Topic: Economics, Race, History, Capitalism, Slavery
  • Political Geography: United States, Global Focus
  • Author: Amat Adarov, Robert Stehrer
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Vienna Institute for International Economic Studies (WIIW)
  • Abstract: The paper studies the drivers of productivity at country and sectoral levels over the period 2000-2017 with the focus on the impact of capital accumulation and structure. The analysis confirms an especially important role of ICT and intangible digital capital for productivity growth, particularly in the manufacturing sectors. While backward global value chain participation and EU integration are also found to be instrumental for accelerating productivity growth, the impact of inward foreign direct investment is not robustly detected when the data is purged from the effects of special purpose entities and outlier countries.
  • Topic: Economics, Foreign Direct Investment, European Union, Digital Economy, Capital Flows, Trade
  • Political Geography: Europe, Global Focus
  • Author: Mahdi Ghodsi, Oliver Reiter, Robert Stehrer, Roman Stöllinger
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Vienna Institute for International Economic Studies (WIIW)
  • Abstract: The global economy is currently experiencing a new wave of technological change involving new technologies, especially in the realm of artificial intelligence and robotics, but not limited to it. One key concern in this context is the consequences of these new technologies on the labour market. This paper provides a comprehensive analysis of the direct and indirect effects of the rise of industrial robots and productivity via international value chains on various industrial indicators, including employment and real value added. The paper thereby adds to the existing empirical work on the relationship between technological change, employment and industrial growth by adding data on industrial robots while controlling for other technological advancements measured by total factor productivity (TFP). The results indicate that the overall impact of the installation of new robots did not statistically affect the growth of industrial employment during the period 2000–2014 significantly, while the overall impact on the real value added growth of industries in the world was positive and significant. The methodology also allows for a differentiation between the impact of robots across various industries and countries based on two different perspectives of source and destination industries across global value chains.
  • Topic: Economics, Science and Technology, Digital Economy, Economic growth, Industry, Robotics
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Philipp Heimberger
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Vienna Institute for International Economic Studies (WIIW)
  • Abstract: Despite extensive research efforts, the magnitude of the effect of employment protection legislation (EPL) on unemployment remains unclear. Existing econometric estimates exhibit substantial variation, and it is therefore difficult to draw valid conclusions. This paper applies meta-analysis and meta-regression methods to a unique data set consisting of 881 observations on the effect of EPL on unemployment from 75 studies. Once we control for publication selection bias, we cannot reject the hypothesis that the average effect of EPL on unemployment is zero. The meta-regression analysis, which investigates sources of heterogeneity in the reported effect sizes, reveals the following main results. First, the choice of the EPL variable matters: estimates that build on survey-based EPL variables report a significantly stronger unemployment-increasing impact of EPL than estimates developed using EPL indices based on the OECD’s methodology, where the latter relies on coding information from legal provisions. Second, we find that employment protection has a small unemployment-increasing effect on female unemployment, compared with a zero impact on total unemployment. Third, using multi-year averages of the underlying data tends to dampen the unemployment effects of EPL. Fourth, product market regulation is found to moderate the effect of EPL on unemployment.
  • Topic: Labor Issues, European Union, Employment, Unemployment, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
  • Political Geography: Europe, Global Focus
  • Author: Camino Kavanagh
  • Publication Date: 08-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: Significant technological advances are being made across a range of fields, including information communications technology (ICT); artificial intelligence (AI), particularly in terms of machine learning and robotics; nanotechnology; space technology; biotechnology; and quantum computing to name but a few. These breakthroughs are expected to be highly disruptive and bring about major transformative shifts in how societies function. The technological advances in question are driven by a digital revolution that commenced more than four decades ago. These innovations are centered on the gathering, processing, and analyzing of enormous reams of data emerging from the information sciences with implications for countless areas of research and development. These advances promise significant social and economic benefits, increased efficiency, and enhanced productivity across a host of sectors.
  • Topic: Science and Technology, Governance, Economy, Artificial Intelligence
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Publication Date: 09-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: Strong data encryption thwarts criminals and preserves privacy. At the same time, it complicates law enforcement investigations. A Carnegie working group looks to move the debate forward.
  • Topic: Security, Science and Technology, Law Enforcement, Privacy
  • Political Geography: Global Focus, United States of America
  • Author: Steven Feldstein
  • Publication Date: 09-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: Artificial intelligence (AI) technology is rapidly proliferating around the world. Startling developments keep emerging, from the onset of deepfake videos that blur the line between truth and falsehood, to advanced algorithms that can beat the best players in the world in multiplayer poker. Businesses harness AI capabilities to improve analytic processing; city officials tap AI to monitor traffic congestion and oversee smart energy metering. Yet a growing number of states are deploying advanced AI surveillance tools to monitor, track, and surveil citizens to accomplish a range of policy objectives—some lawful, others that violate human rights, and many of which fall into a murky middle ground. In order to appropriately address the effects of this technology, it is important to first understand where these tools are being deployed and how they are being used. Unfortunately, such information is scarce. To provide greater clarity, this paper presents an AI Global Surveillance (AIGS) Index—representing one of the first research efforts of its kind. The index compiles empirical data on AI surveillance use for 176 countries around the world. It does not distinguish between legitimate and unlawful uses of AI surveillance. Rather, the purpose of the research is to show how new surveillance capabilities are transforming the ability of governments to monitor and track individuals or systems. It specifically asks: Which countries are adopting AI surveillance technology? What specific types of AI surveillance are governments deploying? Which countries and companies are supplying this technology?
  • Topic: Science and Technology, Privacy, Surveillance, Artificial Intelligence
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, Global Focus
  • Author: Lincoln Kaffenberger, Emanuel Kopp
  • Publication Date: 09-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: Cyber risk has become a key issue for stakeholders in the financial system. But its properties are still not precisely characterized and well understood. To help develop a better understanding, we discuss the properties of cyber risk and categorize various cyber risk scenarios. Furthermore, we present a conceptual framework for assessing systemic cyber risk to individual countries. This involves analyzing cyber risk exposures, assessing cybersecurity and preparedness capabilities, and identifying buffers available to absorb cyber risk–induced shocks.
  • Topic: Science and Technology, Cybersecurity, Finance, Internet, Risk
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Ariel Levite
  • Publication Date: 10-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: In an increasingly digitized world, information and communication technologies (ICTs), and especially operational technologies (OTs), have assumed critical importance for governments, industry, and the general public worldwide. Yet trust in the integrity of these products and services is declining because of mounting concerns over inadvertent vulnerabilities in the supply chain and intentional backdoor interventions by state and corporate actors. Compounding the problem, these legitimate security concerns are sometimes exaggerated for political and commercial reasons—a counterproductive dynamic that fuels rivalries, fragments the marketplace, increases anxiety, stifles innovation, and drives up costs. Inarguably, some governments have been intervening in the ICT/OT supply chain or at least laying the groundwork for such interventions. They believe the pursuit to be justifiable and legal, citing objectives related to intelligence, law enforcement, and military operations. Whether valid or not, the concern is that certain corporations are actively or passively weakening the security of the supply chain and final products either at the behest of governments or for questionable purposes. Another concern is that both state and corporate interventions could leverage or mask what are purely lax security standards or flaws in products and services. And this further reduces trust in ICT/OT.
  • Topic: Security, Government, Science and Technology, Private Sector
  • Political Geography: Global Focus