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  • Publication Date: 02-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: We face a critical juncture in Ukraine. There is no real ceasefire; indeed, there was a significant increase in fighting along the line of contact in eastern Ukraine in mid-January, with Russian/separatist forces launching attacks on the Donetsk airport and other areas. Instead of a political settlement, Moscow currently seeks to create a frozen conflict in eastern Ukraine as a means to pressure and destabilize the Ukrainian government. Russians continue to be present in the Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts in substantial numbers and have introduced significant amounts of heavy weapons. This could be preparation for another major Russian/ separatist offensive.
  • Topic: NATO, Government
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Ukraine, Moscow
  • Author: Emily Taylor
  • Publication Date: 04-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: This paper addresses the proposed transfer of Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) oversight away from the US government. The background section explores how the technical architecture of critical Internet resources has certain governance implications, introduces the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) and its relationship with the US government through the IANA function and the Affirmation of Commitments. After discussing why the relationship has caused controversy, the paper describes the work underway within ICANN to find a successor oversight mechanism and provides a short critique of the proposals so far. The majority of the paper is taken up with more general issues relating to ICANN's accountability. It explains how the IANA transition was recognized to be dependent on ICANN's wider accountability, and the trust issues between community and leadership that this exposed. There follows an analysis of ICANN's strengths and weaknesses in relation to accountability and transparency, followed by conclusions and recommendations.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Ming Zhang
  • Publication Date: 03-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: Due to the 2008-2009 global financial crisis, the Chinese government began to promote renminbi (RMB) internationalization in order to raise its international status, decrease reliance on the US dollar (USD) and advance domestic structural reform. RMB internationalization has achieved progress not only in cross-border trade settlement, but also in the offshore RMB markets. However, the rampant cross-border arbitrage and the relatively slow development of RMB invoicing compared to RMB settlement are becoming increasingly problematic. RMB internationalization has exerted significant influence on not only the Chinese economy but also other emerging market economies. RMB internationalization complicates domestic monetary policy, exacerbates the currency mismatch on China's international balance sheet and increases both the scale and volatility of short-term capital flows. It offers emerging economies another alternative for pricing domestic currency and investing foreign exchange reserves. Its overall impact on the international monetary system's stability will depend on how the capital account is liberalized and the consistency and transparency of Chinese monetary policy. This paper concludes with five recommendations for Chinese policy makers to promote RMB internationalization in a sustainable way that is conducive to international stability.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: United States, China
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Carter Center
  • Abstract: This report outlines constitutional and legislative options for a political transition in Syria under the umbrella of the Final Geneva Communiqué, issued by the Action Group on Syria on 30 June 2012, and revived in early May 2013 at a meeting in Moscow between the U.S. and Russia. The Communiqué embodies the greatest degree of consensus that the international community has been able to achieve regarding the Syrian conflict, detailing a potentially viable path to a negotiated end to the civil war. Since May 2013, efforts by UN and Arab League Joint Special Envoy Lakhdar Brahimi and others to host a peace conference on Syria (dubbed "Geneva II"), have reinforced the importance of developing possible constitutional and legislative modalities for a transition.
  • Topic: Civil War, Government, International Cooperation, Armed Struggle
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Middle East, Syria
  • Author: Sheila A. Smith
  • Publication Date: 07-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Electoral reform in the early 1990s ended single-party dominance in Japan and promised an era of new politics in which political parties would alternate control of the government. In the two decades that followed, Japan's foreign and domestic policy priorities were subjected to greater scrutiny and debate as Japan, like so many other nations around the globe, sought to reorient itself in a new post-Cold War world. The U.S.-Japan alliance that anchored Japan's postwar foreign policy was not immune to these domestic political reforms. For half a century, the conservative Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) prided itself on managing the relationship with Washington. But its ouster in 2009 by the reformist Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) led many to expect that even Japan's alliance with the United States would be subject to serious review.
  • Topic: Government, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan, Asia
  • Author: Peter Haynes
  • Publication Date: 10-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: In a world of near-infinite computing power, ubiquitous connectivity, cloud-based services, and big data, the fact that the vast majority of countries holds elections using paper ballots appears an anomaly.
  • Topic: Government, Science and Technology, Reform
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Stephanie Sanok Kostro, Garrett Riba
  • Publication Date: 11-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The increased frequency and intensity of natural disasters, the rising amount of economic losses, and the mounting costs of providing relief indicate the growing importance of disaster resilience. Disasters have far- reaching consequences, ranging from the most basic physical injuries and property losses to long- term psychological, economic, and cultural damage. Merely supplementing resources to address the aftermath of disasters— rather than mitigating risks and putting in place key elements in advance of a disaster— is not a sustainable model for community resilience. Additionally, failure to utilize the resources of all public- and private- sector stakeholders to develop long- term planning mechanisms leaves communities vulnerable to repeated, high levels of damage and destruction.
  • Topic: Disaster Relief, Government, Terrorism, Natural Disasters
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Peter Cary
  • Publication Date: 03-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: National Endowment for Democracy
  • Abstract: U.S. government support for international media development is declining. Spending by the Department of State and USAID for media freedom and freedom of information programs has dropped 43.5 percent in the past five years–from $135 million in Fiscal Year 2008 to approximately $76.3 million in FY 2012, according to figures supplied by the State Department. This trend and others related to U.S. government support for media development are the subject of this report, which analyzes how U.S. government grant making for media assistance has changed over time and looks at possible reasons those changes have occurred. The data underpinning the report is drawn from two main sources: the State Department's Office of Foreign Assistance Resources, which tracks allocations for foreign aid, and from an in-depth examination and analysis of grant proposals solicited by the U.S. government over the past five years containing at least one media development component.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Development, Government, Mass Media, Foreign Aid
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Michael B. Rappaport
  • Publication Date: 01-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: The constitutional amendment procedure of Article V is defective because the national convention amendment method does not work. Because no amendment can be enacted without Congress's approval, limitations on the federal government that Congress opposes are virtually impossible to pass. This defect may have prevented the enactment of several constitutional amendments that would have constrained Congress, such as amendments establishing a balanced budget limitation, a line-item veto, or congressional term limits. The increasingly nationalist character of our constitutional charter may not be the result of modern values or circumstances, but an artifact of a distorted amendment procedure. Article V should be reformed to allow two-thirds of the state legislatures to propose a constitutional amendment which would then be ratified or rejected by the states, acting through state conventions or state ballot measures. Such a return of power to the states would militate against our overly centralized government by helping to restore the federalist character of our Constitution. Moreover, a strategy exists that would allow this reform to be enacted.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Government, Law Enforcement, Law
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Liesbet Hooghe, Gary Marks
  • Publication Date: 04-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Kolleg-Forschergruppe "The Transformative Power of Europe"
  • Abstract: This paper suggests that the basic distinction between federal and unitary government has limited as well as served our understanding of government. The notion that variation in the structure of government is a difference of kind rather than degree has straight-jacketed attempts to estimate the authority of intermediate government. One result has been the claim that a country\'s footprint, not its population, is decisive for government. Analyzing data for 39 countries since 1950, and comparing our own findings with those of alternative measurements, we find evidence for the causal effect of population. This can be theorized in terms of a trade-off between responsiveness to soft information and per capita economies in public good provision.
  • Topic: Demographics, Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Anne Nelson
  • Publication Date: 06-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: National Endowment for Democracy
  • Abstract: Digital media are disrupting every aspect of modern society, rebooting traditional practices and jumpstarting new disciplines ranging from telemedicine to robotic assembly lines. Along the way, they are rattling hierarchies, making blunders, and fomenting miracles.
  • Topic: Development, Government, Science and Technology, Mass Media
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Michael F. Cannon, Diane Cohen
  • Publication Date: 06-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: When a member of Congress introduces legislation, the Constitution requires that legislative proposal to secure the approval of the House of Representatives, the Senate, and the president (unless Congress overrides a presidential veto) before it can become law. In all cases, either chamber of Congress may block it.
  • Topic: Government, Politics, Governance, Law
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Randal O'Toole
  • Publication Date: 06-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: Streetcars are the latest urban planning fad, stimulated partly by the Obama administration's preference for funding transportation projects that promote "livability" (meaning living without automobiles) rather than mobility or cost-effective transportation. Toward that end, the administration wants to eliminate cost-effectiveness requirements for federal transportation grants, instead allowing non-cost-effective grants for projects promoting so-called livability. In anticipation of this change, numerous cities are preparing to apply for federal funds to build streetcar lines.
  • Topic: Economics, Environment, Government, Political Economy, Infrastructure
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Thomas L. Hogan
  • Publication Date: 06-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: Privately issued money can benefit consumers in many ways, particularly in the areas of value stability and product variety. Decentralized currency production can benefit consumers by reducing inflation and increasing economic stability. Unlike a central bank, competing private banks must attract customers by providing innovative products, restricting the quantity of notes issued, and limiting the riskiness of their investing activities. Although the Federal Reserve currently has a de facto monopoly on the provision of currency in the United States, this was not always the case. Throughout most of U.S. history, private banks issued their own banknotes as currency. This practice continues today in a few countries and could be reinstituted in the United States with minimal changes to the banking system.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, Markets, Monetary Policy
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Trevor Burrus
  • Publication Date: 05-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: Public broadcasting has been in critics' crosshairs since its creation in 1967. Assailed from all sides with allegations of bias, charges of political influence, and threats to defund their operations, public broadcasters have responded with everything from outright denial to personnel changes, but never have they squarely faced the fundamental problem: government-funded media companies are inherently problematic and impossible to reconcile with either the First Amendment or a government of constitutionally limited powers.
  • Topic: Government, Communications, Mass Media, Law
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Morris A. Davis
  • Publication Date: 05-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: For decades U.S. housing policy has focused on promoting homeownership. In this study, I show that the set of policies designed to further homeownership has been ineffective and expensive and that homeownership as a public policy goal is not well supported.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, Markets, Urbanization
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Randal O'Toole
  • Publication Date: 05-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: Although gasoline taxes have long been the main source of funding for building, maintaining, and operating America's network of highways, roads, and streets, the tax is at best an imperfect user fee. As such, Congress and the states should take action to transition from gas taxes to more efficient vehicle-mile fees.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, Communications, Infrastructure
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Michael Tanner
  • Publication Date: 04-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: News that the poverty rate has risen to 15.1 percent of Americans, the highest level in nearly a decade, has set off a predictable round of calls for increased government spending on social welfare programs. Yet this year the federal government will spend more than $668 billion on at least 126 different programs to fight poverty. And that does not even begin to count welfare spending by state and local governments, which adds $284 billion to that figure. In total, the United States spends nearly $1 trillion every year to fight poverty. That amounts to $20,610 for every poor person in America, or $61,830 per poor family of three.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, Poverty
  • Political Geography: United States, America
  • Author: Patric H. Hendershott, Kevin Villani
  • Publication Date: 03-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: The current narrative regarding the 2008 systemic financial system collapse is that numerous seemingly unrelated events occurred in unregulated or underregulated markets, requiring widespread bailouts of actors across the financial spectrum, from mortgage borrowers to investors in money market funds. The Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, created by the U.S. Congress to investigate the causes of the crisis, promotes this politically convenient narrative, and the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act operationalizes it by completing the progressive extension of federal protection and regulation of banking and finance that began in the 1930s so that it now covers virtually all financial activities, including hedge funds and proprietary trading. The Dodd-Frank Act further charges the newly created Financial Stability Oversight Council, made up of politicians, bureaucrats, and university professors, with preventing a subsequent systemic crisis.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, Markets, Global Recession, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Hilde Eliassen Restad
  • Publication Date: 04-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Norwegian Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: James Madison famously stated in 1793: “War is in fact the true nurse of executive aggrandizement.” By this, Madison meant that, when confronted with a grave threat to national security, the instinct of a state is to concentrate power at the very top. This can lead – and has led – to abuse of power. For instance, President Franklin D. Roosevelt's signing of Executive Order 9066 on February 19, 1942 resulted in the forcible internment of Japanese Americans (two thirds of whom were U.S. citizens), an episode widely seen as regrettable later, after history had removed Americans from the anxiety of war. But by no means do we have to look as far back as to World War II. We can note Cold War incidents such as the Iran-Contra scandal (1985–87), when the Reagan administration took it upon itself to bypass Congress – and specific laws – in order to support the controversial Nicaraguan Contras with money acquired by selling arms to Iran.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Defense Policy, Government, Terrorism, Counterinsurgency
  • Political Geography: United States, Iran