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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
  • Author: David J. Berteau, Guy Ben-Ari, Gregory Sanders, Priscilla Hermann, David Morrow
  • Publication Date: 07-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: This report examines the budgetary trends and trends in contract spending in the Department of State (DoS) and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). The report is divided into six sections, including the introduction and an appendix. Unless Otherwise noted, all dollar figures are in constant 2010 dollars and all years are fiscal years.
  • Topic: Development, Government, Foreign Aid
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Pieter Fourie
  • Publication Date: 06-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: When the Group of Eight (G-8) industrialized countries decided at their 2001 meeting in Genoa to establish the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria to increase international funding for interventions against the three diseases, the United States was a leading supporter. The fund was a public-private partnership set up in 2002 with formal status as a foundation under Swiss law. In the fund's first two years, the United States accounted for nearly half the total amount pledged and challenged other donors to increase their contributions. By 2008 the Global Fund had committed $15.6 billion to AIDS activities in 140 country.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Government, Health, Health Care Policy
  • Political Geography: United States, South Africa
  • Author: Anthony H. Cordesman, Robert M. Shelala II
  • Publication Date: 06-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The US may not face peer threats in the near to mid term, but it faces a wide variety of lesser threats that make maintaining effective military forces, foreign aid, and other national security programs a vital national security interest. The US does need to reshape its national security planning and strategy to do a far better job of allocating resources to meet these threats. It needs to abandon theoretical and conceptual exercises in strategy that do not focus on detailed force plans, manpower plans, procurement plans, and budgets; and use its resources more wisely. The US still dominates world military spending, but it must recognize that maintaining the US economy is a vital national security interest in a world where the growth and development of other nations and regions means that the relative share the US has in the global economy will decline steadily over time, even under the best circumstances. At the same time, US dependence on the security and stability of the global economy will continue to grow indefinitely in the future. Talk of any form of "independence," including freedom from energy imports, is a dangerous myth. The US cannot maintain and grow its economy without strong military forces and effective diplomatic and aid efforts. US military and national security spending already places a far lower burden on the US economy than during the peaceful periods of the Cold War, and existing spending plans will lower that burden in the future. National security spending is now averaging between 4% and 5% of the GDP -- in spite of the fact the US has been fighting two wars in Iraq and Afghanistan -- versus 6-7% during the Cold War.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, Economics, Government, Monetary Policy
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, Iraq
  • Author: David J. Berteau, Guy Ben-Ari, Gregory Sanders, Jesse Ellman, David Morrow
  • Publication Date: 05-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Spending by the Department of Defense (DoD) on services contracts, which range from clerical and administrative work to vehicle maintenance to research and development (R), has been largely neglected by past studies of DoD spending trends. Yet DoD spending on services contract actions amounted to just under $200 billion in 2011, more than 50 percent of total DoD contract spending and nearly a third of the entire DoD budget. Both the executive branch and Congress have implemented policies to improve acquisitions of services, but the impacts of their efforts remain uncertain without a clear, concise analysis of past spending. And the then Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics, Dr. Ashton Carter, has stated that: “Most of our services acquires, unlike weapons-system acquires, are amateurs… I intend to help them get better at it” (Speech at the Heritage Foundation, April 20, 2011).
  • Topic: Defense Policy, Economics, Government, Monetary Policy
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Patrick Clawson
  • Publication Date: 02-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute for National Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: U.S. policy toward the continued rule of Syrian President Bashar al- Asad is partly based on the impact his rule has had in Syria. Asad's fall might not bring improvement for the Syrian people. But the argument that Asad, odious as he may be, provides stability now looks less and less convincing. Whether Asad stays or falls, the current Syrian unrest could have profound implications on the Middle East in at least four ways: the impact on Iran, Asad's closest strategic partner; the perception of the power of the United States and its allies; the stability of neighboring states; and the impact on Israel. The more Asad falls on hard times, the more Tehran has to scramble to prevent damage to its image with the “Arab street” and to its close ally, Lebanese Hizballah. Asad's overthrow is by no means assured, and U.S. instruments to advance that objective are limited. The U.S. Government decision to call for his overthrow seems to have rested on a judgment that the prospects for success were good and the payoff in the event of success would be high.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Civil War, Government, Insurgency
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Arabia, Syria
  • Author: Jagadeesh Gokhale
  • Publication Date: 11-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: Official federal budget accounts are constructed exclusively in terms of current cash flows – receipts from taxes and fees and outlays on purchases and transfers. But cash-flows do not reveal economically relevant information about who benefits and who loses from government policies. Cash flows also do not reveal how changes in government's policies redistribute resources within and across generations, including reducing the tax burden on today's generations and increasing it on future ones. Because most government transact ions are targeted by age and gender, the federal government can bring about large resource transfers across generations. Intergenerational resource transfers will grow larger as the composition of budget receipts and expenditures changes with relatively faster growth of age-and-gender-related social insurance program. Intergenerational redistributions across generations through federal government operations could substantially affect different generations' economic expectations and choices and exert powerful long-term effects on economic outcomes.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, Health, Human Welfare, Markets, Monetary Policy
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Alan Reynolds
  • Publication Date: 10-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: This paper confirms recent studies which find little or no sustained increase in the inequality of disposable income for the U.S. population as a whole over the past 20 years, even though estimates of the top 1 percent's share of pretax, pretransfer (market) income spiked upward in 1986-88, 1997-2000 and 2003-2007.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, Markets, Social Stratification
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Franklin S. Reeder, Daniel Chenok, Karen S. Evans, James Andrew Lewis, Alan Paller
  • Publication Date: 10-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: As the threat to the cyber infrastructure on which the federal government and the nation relies grows, the urgency of investing wisely in protection against, detecting, mitigating, and recovering from cyber events takes on increasing urgency. Our adversaries are well equipped and agile. Our defenses must be equal to the threat, and they are not.
  • Topic: Security, Crime, Government, Science and Technology, Infrastructure
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Marcus E. Ethridge
  • Publication Date: 01-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: In the wake of the 2010 elections, President Obama declared that voters did not give a mandate to gridlock. His statement reflects over a century of Progressive hostility to the inefficient and slow system of government created by the American Framers. Convinced that the government created by the Constitution frustrates their goals, Progressives have long sought ways around its checks and balances. Perhaps the most important of their methods is delegating power to administrative agencies, an arrangement that greatly transformed U.S. government during and after the New Deal. For generations, Progressives have supported the false premise that administrative action in the hands of experts will realize the public interest more effectively than the constitutional system and its multiple vetoes over policy changes. The political effect of empowering the administrative state has been quite different: it fosters policies that reflect the interests of those with well organized power. A large and growing body of evidence makes it clear that the public interest is most secure when governmental institutions are inefficient decisionmakers. An arrangement that brings diverse interests into a complex, sluggish decisionmaking process is generally unattractive to special interests. Gridlock also neutralizes some political benefits that producer groups and other well-heeled interests inherently enjoy. By fostering gridlock, the U.S. Constitution increases the likelihood that policies will reflect broad, unorganized interests instead of the interests of narrow, organized groups.
  • Topic: Democratization, Government, Politics, Power Politics, Governance
  • Political Geography: United States, America
  • Author: Jagadeesh Gokhale
  • Publication Date: 01-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: Unless repeal attempts succeed, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (ObamaCare) promises to increase state government obligations on account of Medicaid by expanding Medicaid eligibility and introducing an individual health insurance mandate for all US citizens and legal permanent residents. Once ObamaCare becomes fully effective in 2014, the cost of newly eligible Medicaid enrollees will be almost fully covered by the federal government through 2019, with federal financial support expected to be extended thereafter. But ObamaCare provides states with zero additional federal financial support for new enrollees among those eligible for Medicaid under the old laws. That makes increased state Medicaid costs from higher enrollments by "old-eligibles" virtually certain as they enroll into Medicaid to comply with the mandate to purchase health insurance. This study estimates and compares potential increases in Medicaid costs from ObamaCare for the five most populous states: California, Florida, Illinois, New York, and Texas.
  • Topic: Government, Health, Markets, Health Care Policy
  • Political Geography: United States, New York, California, Florida
  • Author: David J. Berteau, Guy Ben-Ari, Joachim Hofbauer, Gregory Kiley, Jesse Ellman
  • Publication Date: 05-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Over the past decade, federal spending on service contracts more than doubled in constant terms, from $164 billion in 2000 to $343 billion in 2010. Policymakers have recently attempted to reduce or even reverse this increase, emphasizing instead what is now called the “insourcing” of services contracts. Conversions from contractors to government civilians, as well as other actions to expand the federal workforce, are being undertaken for political and cost savings reasons. In this study, CSIS looks into recent developments of these insourcing efforts within one executive department: the Department of Defense (DoD). DoD is the largest government department in terms of demand for services. In 2010, it awarded $161 billion worth of service contracts, up from $67 billion in 2000. This report reviews the analytical validity of the current policy and practices and proposes an alternative methodology for conducting better sourcing decisions between private and public providers.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, Government, Labor Issues
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Matthew Kirk, Julie Steele, Christele Delbe, Laura Crow, Justin Keeble, Caroline Fricke, Richard Myerscough, Gib Bulloch
  • Publication Date: 09-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Oxfam Publishing
  • Abstract: Mobile communications can help to meet the challenge of feeding an estimated 9.2 billion people by 2050. The 12 specific opportunities explored in this study could increase agricultural income by around US$138 billion across 26 of Vodafone's markets in 2020.
  • Topic: Agriculture, Government, Non-Governmental Organization, Science and Technology, Communications
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Tessa Bold, Mwangi Kimenyi, Germano Mwabu, Justin Sandefur
  • Publication Date: 12-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: Existing studies from the United States, Latin America, and Asia provide scant evidence that private schools dramatically improve academic performance relative to public schools. Using data from Kenya—a poor country with weak public institutions—we find a large effect of private schooling on test scores, equivalent to one full standard deviation. This finding is robust to endogenous sorting of more able pupils into private schools. The magnitude of the effect dwarfs the impact of any rigorously tested intervention to raise performance within public schools. Furthermore, nearly two thirds of private schools operate at lower cost than the median government school.
  • Topic: Development, Education, Government, Poverty
  • Political Geography: Kenya, United States, Asia, Latin America
  • Author: Dean Karlan, John A. List
  • Publication Date: 04-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: We develop a simple theory which formally describes how charities can resolve the information asymmetry problems faced by small donors by working with large donors to generate quality signals. To test the model, we conducted two large-scale natural field experiments. In the first experiment, a charity focusing on poverty reduction solicited donations from prior donors and either announced a matching grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, or made no mention of a match. In the second field experiment, the same charity sent direct mail solicitations to individuals who had not previously donated to the charity, and tested whether naming the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation as the matching donor was more effective than not identifying the name of the matching donor. The first experiment demonstrates that the matching grant condition generates more and larger donations relative to no match. The second experiment shows that providing a credible quality signal by identifying the matching donor generates even more and larger donations than not naming the matching donor. Importantly, the treatment effects persist long after the matching period, and the quality signal is quite heterogeneous—the Gates\' effect is much larger for prospective donors who had a record of giving to "poverty-oriented" charities. These two pieces of evidence support our model of quality signals as a key mechanism through which matching gifts inspire donors to give.
  • Topic: Development, Government, Humanitarian Aid, Markets, Foreign Aid
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Jon Gant, Nicol Turner-Lee
  • Publication Date: 03-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Aspen Institute
  • Abstract: Over the last several decades, local, state and federal government entities in the United States have steadily moved toward more openness and transparency.By definition, openness and transparency allow stakeholders to gather information that may be critical to their interests and offer channels of communication between stakeholders and elected officials. Aided by legislative mandates and public policy decisions, most government entities are now required to make a minimum amount of information available to citizens, operate in the “sunlight” and not behind closed doors, and actively engage citizens in the policy-making process.
  • Topic: Corruption, Education, Government, Science and Technology
  • Political Geography: United States, America
  • Author: Barack Obama
  • Publication Date: 01-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: THE PRESIDENT: Madam Speaker, Vice President Biden, members of Congress, distinguished guests, and fellow Americans: Our Constitution declares that from time to time, the President shall give to Congress information about the state of our union. For 220 years, our leaders have fulfilled this duty. They've done so during periods of prosperity and tranquility. And they've done so in the midst of war and depression; at moments of great strife and great struggle.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Government, War, Labor Issues, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Michael F. Cannon, Aaron Yelowitz
  • Publication Date: 01-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: In 2006, Massachusetts enacted a sweeping health insurance law that mirrors the legislation currently before Congress. After signing the measure, Gov. Mitt Romney (R) wrote, "Every uninsured citizen in Massachusetts will soon have affordable health insurance and the costs of health care will be reduced." But did the legislation achieve these goals? And what other effects has it had? This paper is the first to use Current Population Survey data for 2008 to evaluate the Massachusetts law, and the first to examine its effects on the accuracy of the CPS's uninsured estimates, self-reported health, the extent of "crowd-out" of private insurance for both children and adults, and in-migration of new Massachusetts residents.
  • Topic: Government, Health, Privatization
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Michael F. Cannon
  • Publication Date: 01-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: House and Senate Democrats have produced health care legislation whose mandates, subsidies, tax penalties, and health insurance regulations would penalize work and reward Americans who refuse to purchase health insurance. As a result, the legislation could trap many Americans in low-wage jobs and cause even higher health-insurance premiums, government spending, and taxes than are envisioned in the legislation.
  • Topic: Government, Health, Privatization
  • Political Geography: United States, America
  • Author: Lisa Wedeen
  • Publication Date: 03-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Norwegian Peacebuilding Resource Centre
  • Abstract: The issue of state fragility and the presence of radical religious movements in Yemen have occasioned misperceptions and confusions in recent debates about the country. This report argues that the language of “failed states” arises nearly exclusively in relation to countries deemed threatening to US security interests. Moreover, this language obscures rather than reveals how regime incentives to build state institutions can be incompatible with regime interests in survival. The result is that a seemingly neutral analytical category misrepresents local realities even while it is used as a warrant for policy initiatives that are likely to be counterproductive.
  • Topic: Government, Islam, Terrorism, Fragile/Failed State
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Yemen, Arabia
  • Author: David Ekbladh
  • Publication Date: 05-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: Development is back. U.S. President Barack Obama has put it high on his strategic agenda. It is at the center of the State Department's much ballyhooed “Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review.” These aspirations come with real backing—Obama's fiscal year 2010 budget promises to double foreign aid to nearly $50 billion. Perhaps more importantly for supporters of development, across official Washington accord is growing that development must play a greater role not just in conflict zones but in general U.S. global strategy. It is not only the typical aid constituencies calling for greater attention. Even Secretary of Defense Robert Gates has urged a continuation of the emphasis on development that characterized policies of his last boss, former President George W. Bush. Almost assuredly, a pattern of bigger budgets, needed policy focus, and reform to the disjointed aid mechanisms within the U.S. government will emerge. Complementing (although not always supporting) this U.S. activity internationally is a collection of groups ranging from nongovernmental organizations (NGO)s to the United Nations (UN) and the World Bank. Overall, the place of aid U.S. foreign policy has not been so prominent or secure since the end of the Cold War. Development is once again, as Secretary of State Hillary Clinton characterizes it, “a core pillar of American power.”
  • Topic: Development, Government, Non-Governmental Organization, United Nations, Foreign Aid, World Bank
  • Political Geography: United States, Washington
  • Author: Anthony H. Cordesman
  • Publication Date: 04-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Saudi Arabia posted its first budget deficit in 2009 in eight years as government revenues fell by over 54% to SAR505bn. Despite increased spending, the actual deficit of SAR45bn fell short of the budgeted SAR65bn, thanks to a rebound in crude oil prices. The average YTD OPEC basket oil price was significantly higher than the USD44 assumed in the 2009 budget. Driven by higher government spending, the Kingdom's economy expanded by a real 0.15% in 2009. In the face of a sharp oil sector contraction due to restricted quotas and lower prices, growth was largely driven by the non-oil sector which expanded by 3.0%. The government sector with 4.0% growth was a particularly important source of resilience while the private sector expanded by 2.5%. For 2010, the government projects revenues of SAR470bn, 14.6% higher than the SAR410bn budgeted in 2009. Spending is set to expand by 13.7% to SAR540bn from SAR475bn. The deficit is set to broadly match this year's figure at SAR70bn, or $18.7 billion) as the Arab world's largest economy focuses on development and job creation. The oil price remains the key risk for the Saudi economic outlook in 2010. OPEC now expects a 0.8% increase in total crude oil consumption to 84.93 mb/d in 2010.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: United States, Saudi Arabia
  • Author: Christopher J. Conover
  • Publication Date: 10-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: A well-established principle of public finance holds that taxes impose costs on society beyond the amount of revenue government collects. Estimates vary depending on the type of tax, but the “marginal excess burden” of federal taxes most likely ranges from 14 to 52 cents per dollar of tax revenue, averaging about 44 cents for all federal taxes.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, Markets
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Bernard Gwertzman (interviewer)
  • Publication Date: 12-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: After nine months of political wrangling, Iraq's parliament confirmed Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's new coalition government December 21. Though the government is "a good basis for setting out," says Iraq expert Joost Hiltermann, there's much uncertainty about how cohesive it will be and whether the inclusive government formed can govern. Hiltermann says there are questions about who will head the three major security ministries, whether a new National Council for Strategic Policy--designed as a "real check" against Maliki's power--will be approved by parliament, and whether Ayad Allawi, who headed the Iraqiya bloc that won the most seats in the election, will want to head that council. The United States pushed a power-sharing agreement "that went beyond the sharing of ministerial positions," says Hiltermann, but it remains to be seen whether various factions, including the prime minister and his allies, will allow that to happen.
  • Topic: Political Violence, Democratization, Government, Politics, Governance, Sectarianism
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Clark Kent Ervin
  • Publication Date: 12-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Aspen Institute
  • Abstract: This is the fourth in a series of reports, underwritten principally by the Ford Foundation, and, in this particular case, additionally, the Houston Endowment, as to various cities' (namely, New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, New Orleans, and Houston) preparedness for terrorism and catastrophic natural disasters. Our goal in each city was to identify best practices that can be replicated in other cities around the nation; to identify any gaps in preparedness; and to make recommendations to close any such gaps. We conducted these assessments primarily through roundtable discussions in each city in 2007-2009 with key local, state, and federal government officials, corporate and non-profit stakeholders, and academic and think tank experts, with some supplemental research and follow-up interviews. The audience for each roundtable consisted of representatives of funding organizations, congressional staff, policy experts, and students, all of whom were helpful in engaging the speakers in dialogue following their formal presentations.
  • Topic: Security, Government, Terrorism, Natural Disasters, Counterinsurgency
  • Political Geography: United States, New York, Chicago
  • Author: George A. Selgin, Lawrence H. White, William D. Lastrapes
  • Publication Date: 11-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: As the one-hundredth anniversary of the 1913 Federal Reserve Act approaches, we assess whether the nation's experiment with the Federal Reserve has been a success or a failure. Drawing on a wide range of recent empirical research, we find the following: (1) The Fed's full history (1914 to present) has been characterized by more rather than fewer symptoms of monetary and macroeconomic instability than the decades leading to the Fed's establishment. (2) While the Fed's performance has undoubtedly improved since World War II, even its postwar performance has not clearly surpassed that of its undoubtedly flawed predecessor, the National Banking system, before World War I. (3) Some proposed alternative arrangements might plausibly do better than the Fed as presently constituted. We conclude that the need for a systematic exploration of alternatives to the established monetary system is as pressing today as it was a century ago.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Government, Markets
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Andrew J. Coulson
  • Publication Date: 10-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: School voucher and education tax credit programs have proliferated in the United States over the past two decades. Advocates have argued that they will enable families to become active consumers in a free and competitive education marketplace, but some fear that these programs may in fact bring with them a heavy regulatory burden that could stifle market forces. Until now, there has been no systematic, empirical investigation of that concern. The present paper aims to shed light on the issue by quantifying the regulations imposed on private schools both within and outside school choice programs, and then analyzing them with descriptive statistics and regression analyses. The results are tested for robustness to alternative ways of quantifying private school regulation, and to alternative regression models, and the question of causality is addressed. The study concludes that vouchers, but not tax credits, impose a substantial and statistically significant additional regulatory burden on participating private schools.
  • Topic: Education, Government, Markets
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Publication Date: 02-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Information about prices and quantities of assets lies at the heart of well-functioning capital markets. In the current financial crisis, it has become clear that many important actors-both firms and regulatory agencies-have not had sufficient information. Distributed by the Center for Geoeconomic Studies, this Working Paper proposes a new regulatory regime for gathering and disseminating financial market information. The authors argue that government regulators need a new infrastructure to collect and analyze adequate information from large (systemically important) financial institutions. This new information framework would bolster the government's ability to foresee, contain, and, ideally, prevent disruptions to the overall financial services industry.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, Industrial Policy, International Trade and Finance, Markets
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Gerald LeMelle
  • Publication Date: 01-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Africa Policy Information Center
  • Abstract: Welcome to International Affairs Forum's fourth special publication. We are once again delighted to be able to offer our readers a diverse collection of views, and I hope everyone will find something of interest. I think this publication stands out not only because of the quality of contributors, who have been generous enough to give up their valuable time over such a busy period, but also the range of subjects and geographical reach—we have contributors based on four continents and from nine countries covering everything from defense policy through Brand America and U.S.-India relations. I don't wish to add anything to the enormous amount of ink spilled over the historic nature of the recent election, except to say that whatever one's views of the past eight years—and this publication contains a full range of them—living in Tokyo has demonstrated to me time and again that although this is the Asian century, the world's eyes have been, and still are, very much on the United States of America and what Barack Obama will do in office.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Government
  • Political Geography: United States, America, India, Asia, Tokyo
  • Author: Michael F. Cannon
  • Publication Date: 02-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: President Barack Obama, former U.S. Senate majority leader Tom Daschle, and others propose a new government agency that would evaluate the relative effectiveness of medical treatments. The need for “comparative-effectiveness research” is great. Evidence suggests Americans spend $700 billion annually on medical care that provides no value. Yet patients, providers, and purchasers typically lack the necessary information to distinguish between high- and low-value services.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, Health, Privatization
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Vern McKinley, Gary Gegenheimer
  • Publication Date: 04-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: A financial-institution bailout involves government intervention through a transaction or forbearance targeted to a financial institution or group of financial institutions. The action is preemptive as the financial institution does not fail and go out of business, but remains a going concern, benefiting creditors, shareholders, or counterparties. In the absence of a bailout, the financial institution would either be forced to go through receivership or bankruptcy in the prescribed legal form, or have its role in financial intermediation disrupted.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, Political Economy, Privatization
  • Political Geography: United States