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  • Author: Marek Dabrowski
  • Publication Date: 04-2018
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for Social and Economic Research - CASE
  • Abstract: In the last decade, advanced economies, including the euro area, experienced deflationary pressures caused by the global financial crisis of 2007-2009 and the anti-crisis policies that followed—in particular, the new financial regulations (which led to a deep decline in the money multiplier). However, there are numerous signs in both the real and financial spheres that these pressures are disappearing. The largest advanced economies are growing up to their potential, unemployment is systematically decreasing, the financial sector is more eager to lend, and its clients—to borrow. Rapidly growing asset prices signal the possibility of similar developments in other segments of the economy. In this new macroeconomic environment, central banks should cease unconventional monetary policies and prepare themselves to head off potential inflationary pressures.
  • Topic: Economics, Monetary Policy, Economic growth, Inflation, Macroeconomics, Unemployment
  • Political Geography: Europe, Global Focus, European Union
  • Author: Grzegorz Poniatowski
  • Publication Date: 03-2018
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for Social and Economic Research - CASE
  • Abstract: The objective of this paper is to derive the characteristics of an effective fiscal governance framework, focusing on the incentives that ensure a commitment to the fiscal rules. We study this problem with the use of econometric tools, complementing this analysis with formal modelling through the lens of a dynamic principal-agent framework. Our study shows that both economic and institutional factors play an important role in incentivising countries’ fiscal efforts. Fiscal balances are affected not only by the economic cycle, but, among others, by the level of public debt and the world economic situation. We find that the existence of numerical fiscal rules, their strong legal entrenchment, surveillance mechanisms, and credible sanctions binding the hands of governments have a significant impact on curbing deficits. The relationship between the Commission and European Union (EU) Member States (MS), where the EU authorities act as a collective principal that designs contracts for MS, has elements in common with the assumptions of the principal-agent framework. These are: asymmetry of information, moral hazard, different objectives, and the ability to reward or punish the principal. We use a dynamic principal-agent model and show that to ensure good fiscal performance, indirect benefits should be envisaged for higher levels of fiscal effort. In order to account for the structural differences of exerting effort by different MS, it is efficient to adjust fiscal effort to the level of indebtedness. To ensure a commitment to the rules, MS with difficulties conducting prudent fiscal policies should be required to exert less effort than the MS with more modest levels of debt. The FIRSTRUN project is a European Union funded multinational research project that investigates the need for fiscal policy coordination in the EU.
  • Topic: Debt, Economics, Regional Cooperation, European Union, Fiscal Policy
  • Political Geography: Europe, European Union
  • Author: Grzegorz Poniatowski, Krzysztof Głowacki
  • Publication Date: 01-2018
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for Social and Economic Research - CASE
  • Abstract: This report, The Significance of the Tobacco Product Manufacturing to Poland’s Economy, presents the results of the first comprehensive analysis of the impact of tobacco product manufacturing on the Polish economy. The comprehensiveness of the study results from the subject range, covering the sector’s entire value chain: from tobacco cultivation, through processing of raw tobacco and manufacturing of tobacco products, to the distribution and sale of ready products. The report includes an in-depth analysis of current conditions, discusses the challenges facing the sector and attempts to estimate the development of the branches of the economy related to manufacturing of tobacco products in the future. The main purpose of this research was to analyze the economic significance of manufacturing of tobacco products. The economic effect of consumption of tobacco products was only a peripheral element of the research. Conducting such complex research was made possible by advanced methodology. The analytical work was built on three pillars: analysis of existing data, expert interviews and a computable general equilibrium (CGE) model expanded to include production and consumption of tobacco products.
  • Topic: Economics, Commodities, Fiscal Policy, Manufacturing, Tobacco
  • Political Geography: Europe, Poland
  • Author: Alicja Domagała, Christoph Sowada, Krzysztof Kuszewski, Marzena Tambor, Stanisława Golinowska
  • Publication Date: 12-2018
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for Social and Economic Research - CASE
  • Abstract: The health protection system is the object of constant pressures and difficulties in mitigating them, and even more so eliminating or at least reducing them. Changes are undertaken under the influence of a one-sided political assessment, the interests of various groups of participants or the protests of successive groups of medical staff. There is no professional and fully documented diagnosis of the system, made by independent experts, which could serve as the basis for a comprehensive health protection reform plan, rather than individual, incidental changes that disrupt the system’s already very fragile balance. A well thought-out reform, properly distributed over time, so that at no point does it cause negative health effects. A reform agreed among stake-holders and adopted with understanding of the need for changes, so that it is supported by society. A reform for which there will be funds, institutions and engaged professionals – leaders in health protection. A reform that won’t be criticized or changed when the government changes. Such a reform is waiting to be presented and debated. We begin this process by pointing out and presenting the system’s main problems. At the top of the list of issues that must be taken up urgently we place the problem of insufficient resources, but associated with other activities that are essential to achieve higher effectiveness in accomplishing health goals. There is no single miraculous way of balancing and fixing the functioning of the health protection system. This requires both greater financing, qualitatively and quantitatively appropriate staffing, and good institutions. Financial resources are a necessary condition but not a sufficient one – if there is no staff or appropriate institutions, and these are shaped over years. In this publication we present four subjects, corresponding to that list of the main issues that must be addressed urgently. We begin with the problem of good governance, meaning achieving a decisive improvement in institutional solutions in health protection. Next we take up the problem of the need for growth in financial outlays, with judicious public and individual responsibility. We strongly accent the need for development in Poland of medical and support staff, presenting the problems of neglect and the deep shortage of professionals, which is currently paralyzing the health service. The final text, though no less important in the group of priority problems in health protection, concerns public health and demands that it be properly valued by treating care for the health of the population as an investment in human capital with a measurable and significant rate of return.
  • Topic: Demographics, Health, Labor Issues, Governance, Health Care Policy, Social Policy, Public Policy
  • Political Geography: Europe, Poland
  • Author: Balazs Romhanyi, Lukasz Janikowski
  • Publication Date: 11-2018
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for Social and Economic Research - CASE
  • Abstract: Unsustainability and procyclicality of fiscal policy are problems that many developed countries face. The public debt crisis revealed that fiscal rules are a useful but insufficient instrument for mitigating them. A large and growing group of economists are calling for the creation of ‘fiscal policy councils’ – independent collegial bodies made up of experts whose role is to act as independent reviewers of government policy and advise the government and parliament on fiscal policy. Such councils currently exist in at least 40 countries. Poland is the only EU country that does not have a fiscal policy council. The aim of this paper is to address the issue of whether a fiscal policy council is needed in Poland and what kind of additional contribution such a council might make to the public debate on fiscal policy.
  • Topic: Debt, Government, Governance, Economy, Fiscal Policy
  • Political Geography: Europe, Poland, European Union
  • Author: Marek Gora
  • Publication Date: 07-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Social and Economic Research - CASE
  • Abstract: The end of 2018 will mark the 20th anniversary of the introduction of Poland’s current pension system. It has been subjected to constant modifications, in general dictated by either ideological or ad hoc goals, but it has resisted destruction, and in essence is working as it was designed. The need for its introduction, misleadingly called a reform, was dictated by a long-term shift in the age structure of the population. In essence, the earlier system was replaced by the current one. The essence of this switch is a shift from the quasi-tax financing suited to the population structure by age of the past, to quasi-savings financing suited to the structure in the 21st century. This text is not an overview of the 20-year history of the current system; it is a critical examination of the functioning of Poland’s pension system against the backdrop of the universal challenges that pension systems are facing in the 21st century. The text barely touches on many fundamental questions. A full discussion of them would require a longer discourse, for which there is no space here. The purpose of introducing the current system was to balance the interests of the working generation and the generation of retirees. The previous system worked only for the interests of retirees, while those of the working generation, expressed in the level of its net income, was treated as an afterthought. This kind of system could operate in the 20th century. But in the 21st, it turned out to be not so much immediately impossible, as socially harmful. A change of system was thus essential. The current system is now quite well suited to the current population structure. The biggest problem in its functioning is citizens’ negligible awareness of how it is actually structured and what that implies – both on the macro level and on the level of individual behaviors. Pension issues are counterintuitive. This results both from their combination of macro- and microeconomic issues and from the fact that their time horizon exceeds any other undertaking. For a pension system to work well, it has to be understood by its participants; meanwhile, pension education practically does not exist. What’s worse, the public debate concerning pensions tends to frighten people rather than helping them. Instead of knowledge, there are chaotic assumptions, often far removed from reality. They are adopted as axiomatic, or as a result of inertia in thinking, or unrealistic expectations. In the first case, the current system is perceived as if it were the previous one. Meanwhile, in reality they are fundamental opposites. In the second case, people expect that the system will miraculously multiply the funds available for pensions. But in reality each system can only divide up what has been created. Discussions partly concern side issues, partly consist of misunderstandings and partly are derivations of general views. Much harm was done by the discussion on changing the proportions of the division of contributions in the universal system (the so-called OFE discussion). Debate on pension questions requires that the issues be laid out in an orderly fashion; we need a critical view of basic concepts and how they are understood. Without that there is no chance to solve the problems of pensions systems, or even to understand what they’re about.
  • Topic: Demographics, Labor Issues, Finance, Social Policy
  • Political Geography: Europe, Poland, European Union
  • Author: Anders Åslund
  • Publication Date: 01-2018
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for Social and Economic Research - CASE
  • Abstract: Over time, the necessary economic reforms have become so obvious that they have become politically possible in most places. The great problem has become the establishment of real property rights. By and large, Central and Eastern Europe have managed to accomplish that not least thanks to support from the European Union. In the former Soviet Union, however, only Georgia succeeded in that endeavor. The big question today is whether Ukraine will manage to do so, or whether it will be caught in a low-economic-growth trap. The three main elements that are needed are independent courts, autonomous prosecutors, and a law-abiding law enforcement, while no old secret police structures should be allowed to sabotage them.
  • Topic: Corruption, Democratization, Economics, Reform, Elections
  • Political Geography: Europe, Ukraine, Eastern Europe
  • Author: Kakha Gogolashvili
  • Publication Date: 11-2018
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Georgian Foundation for Strategic International Studies -GFSIS
  • Abstract: Raising interest in the Black Sea
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Vandana Gyanchandani
  • Publication Date: 08-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Trade and Economic Integration, The Graduate Institute (IHEID)
  • Abstract: Three methodologies are used to enforce labour and environmental commitments in the US and EU trade agreements: cooperative, sanctions and composite. In-depth analysis of the scope of commitments, level of protection, institutional framework as well as types of informal and formal dispute processes elucidates the pros and cons of such methodologies. Sanctions approach weakens cooperation by misjudging the complexity of domestic policy adjustments through transnational governance. Cooperative mechanism within the NAAEC's composite design emerges as the best approach: Submission on Enforcement Matters (SEM). As it provides for an independent secretariat supported by civil society group and factual records as a sunshine remedy to review citizen submissions. However, the process is constrained by political clout, lack of managerial capacity and legal dilemmas around informal lawmaking (IN-LAW) procedures.
  • Topic: Economics, Environment, International Cooperation, International Trade and Finance, Labor Issues, Sustainable Development Goals, Global Political Economy
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Global Focus, European Union
  • Author: Thomas E. McNamara
  • Publication Date: 04-2018
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: American Diplomacy
  • Institution: American Diplomacy
  • Abstract: We persistently promote each major development assistance plan or nation-building project as “a Marshall Plan for _(fill_in_name)_.” Once a plan is underway supporters and opponents play out their different agendas. Supporters of foreign assistance downplay “Marshall Plan” comparisons because expectations cannot be met. Opponents stress the comparison to highlight shortfalls. This happens because none of the nation-building plans ever measures up to the original, successful, real, Marshall Plan. And they never will. Not in Iraq, not in Afghanistan, not in Ukraine, not in Latin America, not in Africa. They won’t because the original Marshall Plan, contrary to popular myth, had nothing to do with development or nation building. It had everything to do with accelerating the reconstruction of already developed nations in Europe after two massively destructive wars.
  • Topic: Development, Diplomacy, History, Foreign Aid, World War II
  • Political Geography: Europe, United States of America