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  • Author: John Higginbotham, Jennifer Spence
  • Publication Date: 02-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: The opening of the Arctic Ocean and the forces of globalization it will unleash pose both pressing challenges and exciting opportunities for the largest and most autonomous of the Arctic regions, the North American Arctic (NAA) — Greenland, Nunavut, the Northwest Territories, Yukon and Alaska. However, a broad pan-Arctic cooperation is not always the best approach to address these issues; neither are international interests always well aligned with the priorities of Northerners.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: North America
  • Author: Alessandro Colombo, Paola Magri
  • Publication Date: 03-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Italian Institute for International Political Studies (ISPI)
  • Abstract: Under the pressure of the new US administration’s aggressive rhetoric, 2017 has revealed that traditional dynamics among great powers are back in the international context of the XXI century. Contrary to the most optimistic predictions and discourses of the early post-Cold War period, the “game of big powers” is regaining centre stage. This is mainly due to three intertwined processes: the growth and renewed assertiveness of potential United States’ global competitors such as Russia and China; the enduring crisis of multilateralism and global co-existence; and even more, the breakdown of the regional order into increasingly autonomous arenas, where regional powers are on the rise. The ISPI 2018 Report reflects upon this change, only partly offset by positive news coming from the global economy over the past year. The first part of the volume focuses on the global context; the second investigates the role Europe can play in a “world of big powers”; the last part addresses Italian foreign policy.
  • Topic: Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: John Mark Shorack
  • Publication Date: 10-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: PalThink For Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: The United States government under President Trump recently announced the withdrawal of monetary aid to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, commonly referred to as UNRWA. This is a major blow to UNRWA’s finances considering the United States’ yearly contribution’s amounted to one-third of their budget. Since UNRWA’s founding it has been a leading force providing support of Palestinian refugees across the Middle East region mainly providing education and emergency medical assistance.
  • Topic: Education, International Affairs, Foreign Aid
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Author: Dimitris Tsarouhas
  • Publication Date: 10-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Relations Council of Turkey (UİK-IRCT)
  • Abstract: This article focuses on the discursive frames used by policy entrepreneurs in Greece as they attempted to deal with the 2009 crisis and analyses the role played by discourse in handling the crisis’ consequences. Adopting a historical institutionalist framework, I argue that ineffective policy outcomes can be attributed to a path- dependent logic enshrined in the country’s political economy structures following the transition to democracy post-1974. Moreover, the reaction of policy entrepreneurs to the crisis was reinforced by their discursive logic of action, itself embedded in the state’s institutional matrix. Procrastination, a refusal to face an uncomfortable reality and politics as usual colours the response of Greek actors to the country’s biggest crisis in recent memory.
  • Topic: International Relations, Political Theory
  • Political Geography: Greece
  • Author: Marilena Koppa
  • Publication Date: 10-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Relations Council of Turkey (UİK-IRCT)
  • Abstract: This article explores the role of Greece in the Balkans since the end of Communism and the impact of the sovereign debt crisis that followed. Since the beginning of the 1990s, while Greece failed to accomplish its vocation at the political level, at the level of the economy the country acted as an important regional actor. The article examines the dynamics of the Greek crisis on the Balkan economies and analyses the major challenges for Greece in this new reality. At the same times, it tries to identify the triple crisis faced currently by Greece: at the level of credibility and status, at the level of mediation between the region and the EU and, finally, at the level of the gradual peripherisation of the country.
  • Topic: International Political Economy, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Greece
  • Author: Stephen L. Magiera
  • Publication Date: 01-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA)
  • Abstract: Foreign investors can lodge a complaint against a host country for alleged treaty violations under the Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) provisions of bilateral investment treaties (BITs). The complaints are arbitrated internationally outside the host country's domestic court, sometimes involve claims exceeding US$1 billion, and give rise to significant financial risk of international arbitration for host countries. Because of this, Indonesia has recently cancelled many of its BITs. But at the same time, Indonesia has agreed to ISDS under the ASEAN Comprehensive Investment Agreement (ACIA) and ASEAN's five agreements with Dialogue Partners. Furthermore, President Joko Widodo has expressed strong interest in joining the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), which contains provisions for ISDS. ASEAN's Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) will also provide for ISDS. This note reviews the status of Indonesia's international obligations with respect to ISDS, evaluates some of the benefits and costs of ISDS, and reviews the extent to which Indonesia would be undertaking new ISDS obligations under TPP. The note concludes with a discussion of ways that Indonesia can reduce the risk of international arbitration through domestic regulatory reforms.
  • Topic: Economics, International Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Southeast Asia
  • Author: William Chislett
  • Publication Date: 01-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Elcano Royal Institute
  • Abstract: Although some Spaniards joke that the country has got along fine with a caretaker government for 315 days, this year has been a lost one. There are some pressing issues that need to be tackled now that there is finally a functioning government. But the new Popular Party (PP) government no longer has an absolute majority. As a minority administration it will have to negotiate its laws and reforms in a deeply fragmented parliament, the result of the upending of the PP and the Socialist Party (PSOE) by two new parties, the far left Unidos Podemos (UP) and the centrist Ciudadanos (C’s). The government has a lot on its plate, including the following: (a) belatedly approving the budget for 2017 and meeting the EU’s threshold for the deficit (3% of GDP) in 2018 (a target imposed by Brussels that the PP persistently missed); (b) deciding what to do about the push for independence in Catalonia (the region’s government says it will hold a referendum on the issue in September 2017 regardless of whether the central government approves it or not); (c) cleaning up corruption in the political class; (d) making the judiciary more independent; (e) possibly deepening the labour market reforms in a bid to reduce the still very high unemployment rate (18.9%); (f) reforming an education system whose early school-leaving rate of 20% is close to double the EU average; (g) bolstering the ailing pension system hit by a sharp fall in the number of social security contributors and a rapidly ageing population; and (h) making its voice heard more in the post-Brexit debate.
  • Topic: International Relations, Brexit
  • Political Geography: Spain, European Union
  • Author: Zsolt Darvas, Dirk Schoenmaker
  • Publication Date: 03-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Bruegel
  • Abstract: Integrated capital markets facilitate risk sharing across countries. Lower home bias in financial investments is an indicator of risk sharing. We highlight that existing indicators of equity home bias in the literature suffer from incomplete coverage because they consider only listed equities. We also consider unlisted equites and show that equity home bias is much higher than previous studies perceived. We also analyse home bias in debt securities holdings, and euro-area bias. We conclude that European Union membership may foster financial integration and reduce information barriers, which sometimes limit cross-country diversification. We calculate home bias indicators for the aggregate of the euro area as if the euro area was a single country and report remarkable similarity between the euro area and the United States in terms of equity home bias, while there is a higher level of debt home bias in the United States than in the euro area as a whole. We develop a new pension fund foreign investment restrictions index to control for the impact of prudential regulations on the ability of institutional investors to diversify geographically across borders. Our panel regression estimates for 25 advanced and emerging countries in 2001-14 provide strong support for the hypothesis that the larger the assets managed by institutional investors (defined as pension funds, insurance companies and investment funds), the smaller the home bias and thereby the greater the scope for risk sharing.
  • Topic: International Political Economy, International Trade and Finance, Economic structure, Europe Union
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Yakov Ben-Haim, Maria Demertzis, Jan Willem Van Den End
  • Publication Date: 02-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Bruegel
  • Abstract: This paper applies the info-gap approach to the unconventional monetary policy of the Eurosystem and so takes into account the fundamental uncertainty on inflation shocks and the transmission mechanism. The outcomes show that a more demanding monetary strategy, in terms of lower tolerance for output and inflation gaps, entails less robustness against uncertainty, particularly if financial variables are taken into account. Augmenting the Taylor rule with a financial variable leads to a smaller loss of robustness than taking into account the effect of financial imbalances on the economy. However, in some situations, the augmented model is more robust than the baseline model. A conclusion from our framework is that including financial imbalances in the monetary policy objective does not necessarily increase policy robustness, and may even decrease it
  • Topic: Economics, International Political Economy, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Georgios Petropoulos
  • Publication Date: 02-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Bruegel
  • Abstract: This Policy Contribution tackles the definition and benefits of collaborative economy, as well as the distinction between professional and non-professional services, recommendations on safety and transparency for users, and the way to approach regulatory concerns.
  • Topic: Development, Economics
  • Political Geography: Global Focus