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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: George Ingram
  • Publication Date: 07-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: A decade of reform of U.S. development assistance programs has brought significant and important improvement in the nature and delivery of U.S. assistance. But the 21st century world is witnessing constant change in development. More developing countries are ascending to middle income status and gaining the capability, resources, and desire to finance and direct their own development. The rapid expansion of private capital flows, remittances, and domestic resources has significantly reduced the relative role of donor assistance in financing development. Donors are becoming more numerous and varied. There is growing recognition that the private sector, both nationally and internationally, is an indispensable component of sustainable development.
  • Topic: Development, Foreign Aid, Reform
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Michael E. O'Hanlon
  • Publication Date: 02-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: The year 2010 in Afghanistan had some encouraging signs but on balance it was less positive than had been hoped. In 2011, therefore, it is important to do two things: first, look for further improvements in our strategy; and second, develop a backup plan, should the current approach not yield the kind of progress that is necessary and expected.
  • Topic: NATO, War, Counterinsurgency
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, Asia
  • Author: Martin Neil Baily
  • Publication Date: 01-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: During an "exit interview" with the Wall Street Journal, departing National Economic Council Director Lawrence Summers argued that history would judge the United States based on how well we adjust to China's emergence as a great power, economically and politically. In the face of China's progress, America's manufacturing sector faces major challenges in becoming and remaining competitive and our choice of national economic policies will affect how well we meet those challenges. It is essential that the U.S. trade deficit not balloon as the economy recovers. There is scope to expand our exports in services and agriculture, but improving the competitiveness of U.S. manufacturing is vital.
  • Topic: International Trade and Finance, Markets, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: United States, China, America
  • Author: Nathan Hultman
  • Publication Date: 04-2011
  • Content Type: Video
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: As the depth of the disaster at the Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan becomes more clear, a long-expected increase in the global use of nuclear power to replace fossil fuels may slow down. Nonresident Fellow Nathan Hultman says planned nuclear plants in the United States and around the world were already suffering from high costs and questions about effective regulation - now, the safety concerns raised by Fukushima may increase opposition to new nuclear projects.
  • Topic: Energy Policy, Natural Disasters, Nuclear Power
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan
  • Author: Grover J. "Russ" Whitehurst
  • Publication Date: 03-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: The new normal for local, state and federal governments is fiscal austerity. Although President Obama supported education during his State of the Union address and in his budget proposal to Congress, cash-strapped localities and states—which foot most of the bill for educating America's children— may have to balance their budgets with cuts to schools and teachers. The recession exposed a long-developing structural imbalance between public expenditure versus raising the revenue for public services. Especially on education, reality has set in, with a vengeance.
  • Topic: Education, Science and Technology, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: United States, America
  • Author: Mauricio Cá¡rdenas, Joshua Meltzer
  • Publication Date: 07-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: A trio of trade agreements now pending before Congress would benefit the United States both economically and strategically. Carefully developed accords with South Korea, Colombia and Panama will boost U.S. exports significantly, especially in the key automotive, agricultural and commercial services sectors. Among the other benefits are: increased U.S. competitiveness enhancement of U.S. diplomatic and economic postures in East Asia and Latin America new investment opportunities better enforcement of labor regulation and improved transparency in these trading partners' regulatory systems.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Treaties and Agreements, Labor Issues
  • Political Geography: Kenya, United States, Israel, Colombia, Latin America
  • Author: Jens Ludwig, Philip J. Cook
  • Publication Date: 12-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: The unprecedented surge in incarceration since 1980 has stimulated a national debate between those who claim that locking up over 2 million people is necessitated by public safety concerns, and those who say the human and financial burden of imprisoning so many of our citizens is intolerable.
  • Topic: Crime, Human Rights, Law, Prisons/Penal Systems
  • Political Geography: United States