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  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Economist Intelligence Unit
  • Abstract: Despite Abenomics driving consumer confidence and price inflation, a weaker yen has pushed Osaka and Tokyo away from the top of the cost of living ranking. This has paved the way for Singapore, which has been steadily moving up the ranking over the last decade, to claim the unenviable title of world's most expensive city. Singapore's rising price prominence has been steady rather than spectacular. The city-state was 18th most expensive ten years ago and has actually seen the cost of living compared with New York City decline over the last 12 months. However, over the last decade a 40% currency appreciation, coupled with solid price inflation, has consistently pushed Singapore up the ranking.
  • Topic: Economics, Energy Policy, International Trade and Finance, Natural Resources, Food, Infrastructure
  • Political Geography: New York, Tokyo, Singapore
  • Author: Lars Buur
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: This paper explores linkage creation in Mozambique related to mega-projects in natural resource extraction and development from a political economy perspective. It explores through a focus on linkage development related to extractive industries in Mozambique the 'best practice' attempts between commodity producers and local content providers. The paper argues that a relatively elaborate state organizational and institutional setup based on policies, strategies and units with funding tools has emerged over time in order to begin to reap the benefits of large-scale investments in the extractive sectors. However, despite the formal acknowledgement, very little has been achieved with regard to forward and backward linkages, state institutions are often despite the official government rhetoric of importance simply bypassed not only by foreign investors, but also by the political leadership.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Political Economy, Natural Resources, Foreign Direct Investment
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Stefan Lehne
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: Through its European Neighborhood Policy (ENP), the European Union (EU) aims to support the structural transformation of its Eastern and Southern neighbors, promoting democracy, the rule of law, and successful market economies. Ten years after the ENP's launch, it is clear that the policy is not working. Adjusting the ENP to the changing reality on the ground, sharpening its tools, and rebuilding its credibility should be a top priority for the EU's foreign policy leadership.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Democratization, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Timmons Roberts, Guy Edwards
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: China's rapidly increasing investment, trade and loans in Latin America may be entrenching high-carbon development pathways in the region, a trend scarcely mentioned in policy circles. High-carbon activities include the extraction of fossil fuels and other natural resources, expansion of large-scale agriculture and the energy-intensive stages of processing natural resources into intermediate goods. This paper addresses three examples, including Chinese investments in Venezuela's oil sector and a Costa Rican oil refinery, and Chinese investment in and purchases of Brazilian soybeans. We pose the question of whether there is a tie between China's role in opening up vast resources in Latin America and the way those nations make national climate policy and how they behave at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) negotiations. We focus on the period between the 2009 Copenhagen round of negotiations and the run-up to the Paris negotiations scheduled for 2015, when the UNFCCC will attempt to finalize a successor agreement to the Kyoto Protocol.
  • Topic: Agriculture, Development, International Trade and Finance, Oil, Natural Resources, Foreign Direct Investment
  • Political Geography: China, Latin America
  • 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: Akira Murata
  • Publication Date: 01-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: The paper uses a discrete choice experiment (DCE) to elicit job preferences among youth, and analyzes survey data collected from engineering students at 10 universities in six cities in Egypt during the period of July through October 2013. For a comparative analysis, the survey was also conducted at eight universities in five cities in Indonesia, which is one of the nations in Asia with a Muslim-majority population that faces the same demographic issue. The findings of this research will contribute to building a foundation for designing youth employment policies in Egypt. The most obvious findings to emerge from this study are that: the public-private sector wage differentials must be narrowed; better benefits must accompany private sector employment (particularly support for continuing education, upgrading qualifications, and health insurance); and good IT infrastructure matters. Taken together, these steps could significantly contribute to an increase in the rates of a private sector employment among young Egyptian job seekers, even in the case of continued high public sector wages.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Islam, Labor Issues, Youth Culture
  • Political Geography: Africa, America, Arabia
  • 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: Erkan Erdogdu
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The Southern Gas Corridor (SGC) is a European Commission initiative aimed at facilitating the diversification of the routes and sources of gas imported into Europe. This paper is devoted to the analysis of Turkey's role in this initiative. Following a summary of the current economic and energy situation in Turkey, the paper presents recent developments in the SGC and an analysis of Turkey's role in the EU's SGC vision. It concludes that although the newly-built infrastructure within the SGC framework will probably serve Azerbaijani and Turkish interests first in their future relations with the EU, rather than the other way round, as had been initially hoped by the EU, it still addresses the EU's basic strategic interests, namely, the diversification of gas supply routes and suppliers.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Natural Resources
  • Political Geography: Russia, United Kingdom, Europe, Turkey, Asia, Netherlands
  • Author: Diego Valiante
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: Evidence shows that financial integration in the euro area is retrenching at a quicker pace than outside the union. Home bias persists: Governments compete on funding costs by supporting 'their' banks with massive state aids, which distorts the playing field and feeds the risk-aversion loop. This situation intensifies friction in credit markets, thus hampering the transmission of monetary policies and, potentially, economic growth. This paper discusses the theoretical foundations of a banking union in a common currency area and the legal and economic aspects of EU responses. As a result, two remedies are proposed to deal with moral hazard in a common currency area: a common (unlimited) financial backstop to a privately funded recapitalisation/resolution fund and a blanket prohibition on state aids.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Monetary Policy
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Thomas Barnebeck Andersen, Nikolaj Malchow-Møller, Jens Nordvig
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: Has inflation targeting (IT) conferred benefits in terms of economic growth on countries that followed this particular monetary policy strategy during the crisis period 2007-12? This paper answers this question in the affirmative. Countries with an IT monetary regime with flexible exchange rates weathered the crisis much better than countries with other monetary regimes, predominantly countries with fixed exchange rates. Part of this difference in growth performance reflects differences in export performance during the initial years of the crisis, which in turn can be explained by real exchange rate depreciations. However, IT seems also to confer other benefits on the countries above and beyond the effects from currency depreciation.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Monetary Policy, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Denmark
  • Author: Daniel Gros
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: The EMS crisis of the 1990 s illustrated the importance of a lack of confidence in price or exchange rate stability, whereas the present crisis illustrates the importance of a lack of confidence in fiscal sustainability. Theoretically the difference between the two should be minor since, in terms of the real return to an investor, the loss of purchasing power can be the same when inflation is unexpectedly high, or when the nominal value of government debt is cut in a formal default. Experience has shown, however, that expropriation via a formal default is much more disruptive than via inflation.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Monetary Policy, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Europe, Italy
  • Author: Richard Downie, Jennifer G. Cooke
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Africa's changing economic landscape is prompting a shift in how U.S. policymakers view the continent. High growth rates, new technologies, and a rapidly expanding consumer class are driving greater global competition for investment and access to potential export markets, and the United States is recognizing that it will need to step up its game to remain relevant and influential in an increasingly crowded and competitive environment. This will mean placing a stronger emphasis on strengthening trade and investment ties and encouraging U.S. companies to take fuller advantage of expanding opportunities. Playing up these opportunities will not only serve long-term U.S. commercial interests in Africa but will serve U.S. development and diplomatic objectives as well. U.S. investments, done right, can have long-term development impacts in Africa, through technology and knowledge transfer, training, systems development, and partnerships. And a new, more optimistic engagement with Africa's citizens and entrepreneurs will have strong resonance with the continent's up-and-coming generation, creating links based on enduring mutual interest.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Foreign Direct Investment
  • Political Geography: Africa, United States
  • Author: Daniel F. Runde, Scott Miller
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The link between economic development and state security has been well established but is still too often overlooked. Former secretary of defense Robert Gates argued in support of development efforts as a form of “preventative diplomacy,” preventing the conditions where violent crises occur that may require more aggressive intervention. For example, rising food prices in Egypt have been cited as a major instigator for the protests that overthrew Hosni Mubarak. That does not mean that Mubarak could have stayed in power if only food were more affordable, but higher levels of economic development and the concurrent factors that encourage it could have made the transition more stable and less violent.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, International Cooperation, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Foreign Direct Investment
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: David Pumphrey, Lisa Hyland, Michelle Melton
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: In the last several years, rail has come to play an important role in the transportation of growing U.S. crude oil production. Over the last seven months, a number of serious accidents have resulted in intense review of the safety of shipping large quantities of oil by rail. The focus has been on classification of the oil, the integrity of tank cars, and rail operations. Regulatory processes have been initiated to attempt to deal with these issues in a timely manner. This analysis provides facts that illuminate the players, concerns, current status of regulatory action, as well as the potential issues going forward.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Energy Policy, International Trade and Finance, Markets, National Security, Oil
  • Political Geography: United States, Canada, North America
  • Author: Rasika Gynedi
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Asset quality in India's banks has deteriorated sharply and if not tackled promptly poses a systemic risk to the banking system—and by extension the Indian economy. A high proportion of nonperforming assets (NPAs) steadily erodes the capital base of a bank, impinging on the ability of banks to raise fresh capital and continue lending for investment activities. Indeed, the spillover impact from banking crises to the real economy is all too familiar, evinced by the subprime mortgage crisis in the United States. However, despite this risk, the issue is not garnering sufficient attention outside the banking industry.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: United States, South Asia, India
  • Author: Kristen E. Boon
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Peace Institute
  • Abstract: This report assesses the United Nations Security Council's current approach to drawing down sanctions in intrastate war situations. After examining broader questions surrounding the UN's authority to impose sanctions and the corresponding limits on these powers, this report assesses criteria used by the council to terminate sanctions. It observes that multilateral sanctions under the UN Security Council tend to last substantially longer than sanctions by regional organizations, such as the African Union and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS); and it argues that short sanctions periods are preferable to long sanctions periods.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Relations, International Trade and Finance, Sanctions
  • Political Geography: Africa, United Nations
  • Author: Bruce Jones, David Steven, Emily O'Brien
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center on International Cooperation
  • Abstract: On December 16, 2013, Prince Turki bin Faisal Al Saud, Saudi Arabia's powerful former intelligence chief, gave an interview to the Wall Street Journal. He was speaking out after a turbulent four months in Middle East and Persian Gulf diplomacy, diplomacy that culminated in an interim nuclear deal between Iran and the major powers. Prince Turki, long a close friend to the United States, used the interview to blast American policy. He was critical of U.S. strategy in the region as a whole, but particularly vehement about leaving Saudi Arabia out of the loop as the United States engaged in secret bilateral diplomacy with Iran. "How can you build trust when you keep secrets from what are supposed to be your closest allies?" he fumed.
  • Topic: International Relations, Security, Economics, Energy Policy, International Trade and Finance, Oil
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Asia
  • Author: Neva Goodwin
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Global Development and Environment Institute at Tufts University
  • Abstract: The impetus for this paper is the urgent need to figure out how a non-growing – even a shrinking – economy may be able to provide human well-being while beginning to restore the health of the natural world. Twentieth century economic theory is not well able to conceptualize this problem, especially since it sees growth as necessary for jobs, jobs necessary for income,and income necessary for well-being.
  • Topic: Economics, Human Welfare, International Trade and Finance, Natural Resources
  • Author: Chris Alden
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Norwegian Peacebuilding Resource Centre
  • Abstract: China is on course to becoming more deeply involved in Africa's security landscape. While the motivation behind Chinese involvement remains primarily economic, the growing exposure of its interests to the vagaries of African politics, as well as pressures to demonstrate greater global activism, are bringing about a reconsideration of Beijing's approach to the continent. China faces threats on three fronts to its standing in Africa: reputational risks derived from its assocation with certain governments; risks to its business interests posed by mecurial leaders and weak regulatory regimes; and risks faced by its citizens operating in unstable African environments. Addressing these concerns poses challenges for Beijing, whose desire to play a larger role in security often clashes with the complexities of doing so while preserving Chinese foreign policy principles and economic interests on the continent.
  • Topic: Economics, Human Rights, International Trade and Finance, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: Africa, China, Asia
  • Author: Francesco Duina
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Research Center (SFB) 700
  • Abstract: While NAFTA itself does not contain any provisions for governance transfer, its two side agreements (NAALC, NAAEC) prescribe standards in the realm of human rights (labor, environment), the rule of law, and good governance and create a number of instruments for their (indirect) promotion. Through technical assistance, fora for dialogue and exchange, monitoring, and complaints procedures that can result in monetary sanctions, the side agreements aim at promoting the effective enforcement of national law rather than regional standards. These provisions reflect the same concerns in the United States and Canada that lead to the conclusion of the two side agreements in the first place: creating conditions for fair competition in light of Mexico's failure to effectively enforce national laws, resulting in de facto lower labor and environmental standards and thus lower costs compared to the northern neighbours. Beyond formal governance transfer, NAFTA has had an impact on domestic governance reforms in Mexico since the early 1990s as it was used as leverage in both international negotiations and Mexican domestic politics.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Treaties and Agreements
  • Political Geography: United States, America, Canada, North America, Mexico