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  • Author: Joshua Meltzer
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: This paper is about the potential of the Internet as a platform for international trade. A traditional understanding of the impact of the Internet on commerce is derived from the dot.com experience of the 1990s, where Internet companies such as Pets.com and Amazon sold goods online. Since then, the impact of the Internet on commerce has grown and changed. Certainly, the ability to sell goods online remains important. However, the key development is that the Internet is no longer only a digital storefront. Instead, the Internet as described in this working paper is a platform for businesses to sell to customers domestically and overseas, and is a business input that increases productivity and the ability of businesses to compete. Understanding the Internet as a platform for trade highlights its broad economic potential. It emphasizes how the commercial opportunities are no longer limited to Internet companies, but are now available for businesses in all sectors of the economy, from manufacturing to services. Moreover, the global nature of the Internet means that these opportunities are no longer limited to domestic markets, but are embraced wherever Internet access is available.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Science and Technology, Communications
  • Political Geography: Africa, United States, Europe
  • Author: Carol Graham
  • Publication Date: 01-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: The United States has long been viewed as the "land of opportunity," where those who work hard get ahead. Belief in this feature of American national identity has persisted even though inequality has been rising for de¬cades. In recent years, the trend toward extremes of income and wealth has accelerated significantly, owing to demographic shifts, the skills bias of the economy and fiscal policy. From 1997 to 2007, the share of income accru¬ing to the top 1 percent of U.S. households increased by 13.5 percentage points, which is equivalent to shifting $1.1 trillion in total annual income to this group - more than the total income of the bottom 40 percent of households. The precise impact of inequality on individual well-being remains controversial, partly because of the complex nature of the metrics needed to gauge it accurately, but also because why it matters depends on what it signals. If inequality is perceived to be the result of just reward for individual effort, then it can be a constructive signal of future opportunities. However, if it is perceived to be the result of an unfair system that rewards a privileged few, inequality can undermine incentives to work hard and invest in the future. In this sense, current U.S. trends have been largely destructive. Economic mobility, for example, has declined in recent decades and is now lower than in many other industrialized countries. There is also a strong intergenerational income correlation (about 0.5) in the U.S.; children of parents who earn 50 percent more than the average are likely to earn 25 percent above the average of their generation. In a world in which individuals' fates are increasingly linked and effective gover¬nance depends on some kind of consensus on social and distributive justice norms, growing income differentials in one country - especially one that has long served as a beacon of economic opportunity - can affect behavior elsewhere, both in terms of investments in education and the labor market and the propensity to protest. More generally, declining economic mobility in the U.S. could undermine confidence in the principles of market econo¬mies and democratic governance that America has espoused for decades - principles that are fundamental to many countries' development strategies.
  • Topic: Economics, Poverty, Social Stratification, Labor Issues
  • Political Geography: United States, Germany
  • Author: Homi Kharas, Raj M. Desai
  • Publication Date: 01-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: The rapid growth in crowd-funded private development aid allows an examination of the preferences of philanthropic individuals with respect to international causes. Using survival analysis, we analyze the rate at which loan requests are funded through an internet-based nonprofit organization that bundles contributions from individuals and transfers them as loans to borrowers in developing countries. We find little evidence for the view that crowd-funders behave as either official aid donors or as selfish aid-givers. Rather, our results show that private aid contributions are motivated by associational communities that link citizens in donor countries to those in recipient countries - in particular, through migrant and diaspora networks - and that, as a result, their giving may be considered a complement to official aid.
  • Topic: Development, Non-Governmental Organization, Foreign Aid, Foreign Direct Investment
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Carla Shapreau
  • Publication Date: 01-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for German and European Studies, University of California, Berkeley
  • Abstract: The purpose of this study is to evaluate the nature and scope of French music-related losses during the Nazi era, the status of post-war recoveries, and what remains missing today. The first phase of this research project has involved archival research, analysis, and documentation of selected evidence in the U.S. and France pertaining to musical manuscripts, printed music,musical instruments, books, and other musical materials.
  • Topic: History, Culture
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe
  • Author: James M. Boughton
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: Canadians have long harboured a desire to "punch above their weight" in international diplomacy, an aspiration justified by Canada's position in the world both geographically and culturally. This paper examines one aspect of that effort: Canada's role in international financial governance, particularly within the International Monetary Fund. The key issue for the future is whether Canada will continue to have the capacity and the will to take leading positions and actions in the face of increasing competition from the rapidly growing emerging market countries.
  • Topic: Economics, Emerging Markets, International Trade and Finance, International Monetary Fund, Governance
  • Political Geography: United States, Canada
  • Author: Nona Mikhelidze
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The rapid succession of events in Ukraine is impressive but the story is far from over: the state faces an economic crisis and the risk of default; pro-Russian separatism in Crimea threatens the territorial integrity of the country. How should the new government deal with these old challenges and what role could be envisaged for the EU and the US to assist Ukraine in this difficult moment of its statehood? The main objective of the Ukrainian government should be to stand united to overcome the monumental economic, social and political crisis. The EU and the US should encourage coalition-building initiatives to achieve this end. As for the separatist claims, Kiev needs to be more proactive in accommodating minority rights, while the EU should boost people-to-people contacts and promote cooperation between western and eastern Ukrainian civil society. In order to encourage long-lasting political and social reforms, the EU should begin to talk about Ukraine's membership perspective. On the international level, the West should acknowledge that Russia is part of the problem, but also an indispensable part of the solution. Securing Ukraine's integration within the EU, but maintaining the neutrality of its security posture may be a possible way out.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Political Violence, Economics, Sovereignty
  • Political Geography: United States, Ukraine
  • Author: Rajesh Basrur
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: S.Rajaratnam School of International Studies
  • Abstract: The Cold War debate between Albert Wohlstetter and Patrick Blackett over the requirements of effective deterrence is of profound relevance half a century later. The two thinkers offered systematic arguments for their maximalist (Wohlstetter) and minimalist (Blackett) positions. How we conceive of these requirements shapes the kinds of nuclear weapons doctrines, forces and postures we adopt. Whereas the Wohlstetter-Blackett debate was based largely on deductive logic, the opposing arguments can today be assessed on the basis of evidence drawing from nearly seven decades of strategic behaviour between nuclear rivals. An analysis of major confrontations in five nuclear dyads – United States-Soviet Union, United States-China, Soviet Union-China, India-Pakistan, and United States-North Korea – clearly offers much stronger support for Blackett?s minimalist case than for Wohlstetter?s maximalist one. Effective deterrence does not require second-strike capability as defined by Wohlstetter and the nuclear balance has no effect on a state?s capacity to deter. Consequently, the central tenets of orthodox nuclear deterrence theory and doctrine are shown to be without foundation. For policymakers, the optimal forces and postures required for effective deterrence are therefore less demanding and the hurdles in the path of arms control and at least partial disarmament less difficult to cross.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Cold War, Nuclear Weapons, Weapons of Mass Destruction, Power Politics
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, United States, China, India, North Korea
  • Author: Nora Lustig, Timothy Smeeding, Sean Higgins, Whitney Ruble
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: We perform the first comprehensive fiscal incidence analyses in Brazil and the US, including direct cash and food transfers, targeted housing and heating subsidies, public spending on education and health, and personal income, payroll, corporate income, property, and expenditure taxes. In both countries, primary spending is close to 40 percent of GDP. The US achieves higher redistribution through direct taxes and transfers, primarily due to underutilization of the personal income tax in Brazil and the fact that Brazil's highly progressive cash and food transfer programs are small while larger transfer programs are less progressive. However, when health and non-tertiary education spending are added to income using the government cost approach, the two countries achieve similar levels of redistribution. This result may be a reflection of better-off households in Brazil opting out of public services due to quality concerns rather than a result of government effort to make spending more equitable.
  • Topic: Economics, Political Economy, Monetary Policy, Food
  • Political Geography: United States, Brazil
  • Author: Michael Clemens
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: The most basic economic theory suggests that rising incomes in developing countries will deter emigration from those countries, an idea that captivates policymakers in international aid and trade diplomacy. A lengthy literature and recent data suggest something quite different: that over the course of a "mobility transition", emigration generally rises with economic development until countries reach upper-middle income, and only thereafter falls. This note quantifies the shape of the mobility transition in every decade since 1960. It then briefly surveys 45 years of research, which has yielded six classes of theory to explain the mobility transition and numerous tests of its existence and characteristics in both macro- and micro-level data. The note concludes by suggesting five questions that require further study.
  • Topic: Economics, Migration, Social Stratification, Social Movement, Developing World
  • Political Geography: United States, Canada, Mexico
  • Author: William Savedoff, Victoria Fan
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: Almost every country exhibits two important health financing trends: health spending per person rises and the share of out-of-pocket spending on health services declines. We describe these trends as a "health financing transition" to provide a conceptual framework for understanding health markets and public policy. Using data over 1995-2009 from 126 countries, we examine the various explanations for changes in health spending and its composition with regressions in levels and first differences. We estimate that the income elasticity of health spending is about 0.7, consistent with recent comparable studies. Our analysis also shows a significant trend in health spending - rising about 1 percent annually - which is associated with a combination of changing technology and medical practices, cost pressures and institutions that finance and manage healthcare. The out-of-pocket share of total health spending is not related to income, but is influenced by a country's capacity to raise general revenues. These results support the existence of a health financing transition and characterize how public policy influences these trends.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Health, Governance
  • Political Geography: United States