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  • 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
  • Author: Stephen Pickford, Paola Subacchi
  • Publication Date: 04-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Most G7 countries are facing political and economic uncertainties, and long-standing structural problems.The short-term outlook is reasonably positive, but longer term prospects are more challenging. These challenges have underlying economic causes stretching back many years, fostered by low productivity growth, stagnating real incomes and living standards, rising inequality and technological change. G7 countries should address short-term weaknesses, reduce political and policy uncertainties, and tackle these longer-term problems as well. Acting together to address these challenges will be more effective: (1) short-term and medium-term measures to boost growth should focus on fiscal actions (including infrastructure spending), normalizing monetary policy, completing financial regulatory reforms, and structural policies; (2) tackling policy uncertainties requires international consensus on consistent policies, starting with greater certainty over the direction of trade policy and over the Brexit negotiations. Sending positive signals on trade cooperation will be difficult, but the G7 could make progress on some specific issues such as a code of practice against competitive exchange rate devaluations; (3) an agenda to emphasize fairness could include: fair trading arrangements, implications of financial regulation for fairness and agreement on international corporate taxation to ensure companies pay their fair share of taxes.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Security, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Alexandr Lagazzi, Michal Vít
  • Publication Date: 10-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Europeum Institute for European Policy
  • Abstract: With the past export-led economic growth that has gradually become a tool of Chinese soft power, China showcased globally a powerful and inviting policy of economic power in action, and investment-seeking countries (especially from the Western Balkans) are willing to show their eagerness towards Chinese loans and capital. On the reverse side, China presents itself as an equally eager investor, and can be counted on in all situations, including when Chinese investors picked up projects declined by the EU.
  • Topic: International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Valeriya Mechkova, Anna Lührmann, Staffan I. Lindberg
  • Publication Date: 11-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Varieties of Democracy Institute (V-Dem)
  • Abstract: Accountability is one of the cornerstones of good governance. Establishing accountable governments is a top priority on the international development agenda. Yet, scholars and democracy practitioners know little about how accountability mechanisms develop and thus can be supported by international and national actors. The present study tackles the questions of how, and in what sequence accountability sub-types develop. We consider not only vertical (elections and political parties) and horizontal accountability (legislature, judiciary and other oversight bodies), but also diagonal accountability (civil society and media) in both their de-jure and the de-facto dimensions. By utilizing novel sequencing methods, we study their sequential relationships in 173 countries from 1900 to the present with data from the new V-Dem dataset. Considering the long-term dimensions of institution building, this study indicates that most aspects of de-facto vertical accountability precede other forms of accountability. Effective institutions of horizontal accountability – such as vigorous parliaments and independent high courts – evolve rather late in the sequence and build on progress in many other areas.
  • Topic: International Affairs, Governance
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Michael Coppedge
  • Publication Date: 11-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Varieties of Democracy Institute (V-Dem)
  • Abstract: The political world lately seems to be filled with unexpected erosions of democracy. What is the most useful way to describe these phenomena? Do they all belong to a common syndrome? Certainly there are different degrees of erosion, but are there also different types? How common are such erosions in the world today? Is this a new phenomenon, or are there close parallels with events in the past? If we detect early warning signs of erosion, how concerned should we be that it will continue and culminate in the breakdown of democracy? This paper argues that there are two distinct erosion paths. First, there is a classic path of growing repression of speech, media, assembly, and civil liberties, combined with deteriorating political discourse. The second path involves the concentration of power in the executive at the expense of the courts and the legislature, similar to what Guillermo O’Donnell called “delegative democracy,” which entails the erosion of horizontal accountability. Venezuela emerges as the most extreme and most fully articulated instance of erosion along this second path
  • Topic: International Affairs, Regime Change
  • Political Geography: Global Focus