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  • Author: Mark A. Calabria
  • Publication Date: 01-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: There was perhaps no issue of greater importance to the financial regulatory reforms of 2010 than the resolution, without taxpayer assistance, of large financial institutions. The rescue of firms such as AIG shocked the public conscience and provided the political force behind the passage of the Dodd-Frank Act. Such is reflected in the fact that Titles I and II of Dodd-Frank relate to the identification and resolution of large financial entities. How the tools established in Titles I and II are implemented are paramount to the success of Dodd-Frank. This paper attempts to gauge the likely success of these tools via the lens of similar tools created for the resolution of the housing government sponsored enterprises (GSEs), Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Financial Crisis, Reform
  • Author: Therese M. Vaughan, Mark A. Calabria
  • Publication Date: 05-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: International activity related to the regulation and supervision of financial services has exploded since the global financial crisis. The crisis exposed weaknesses in the structure for regulating internationally active banks, and motivated a number of work streams aimed at strengthening standards (most notably, significant revisions to the Basel capital standard for internationally active banks, now known as Basel III). The insurance sector was also stressed by the meltdown in financial markets that occurred in 2007-2008, albeit far less than the banking sector, and, with the exception of AIG, it is generally recognized that insurers played little role in the financial crisis, and that traditional insurance activities do not pose a systemic risk to the financial system.1,2 Nonetheless, the insurance sector has also been targeted for a new stream of regulatory initiatives at the international level. The most important organizations with respect to these activities are the International Association of Insurance Supervisors (IAIS) and the Financial Stability Board (FSB), both based in Basel, Switzerland. The purpose of this paper is to review these developments and to highlight potential concerns for U.S. insurance markets.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Benjamin Powell, Alex Nowrasteh, J. R. Clark, Robert A. Lawson, Ryan H. Murphy
  • Publication Date: 05-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: The economics literature generally finds a positive, but small, gain in income to native-born populations from immigrants and potentially large gains in world incomes. But immigrants can also impact a recipient nation's institutions. A growing empirical literature supports the importance of strong private property rights, a rule of law, and an environment of economic freedom for promoting long run prosperity. Although the literature on the impact of economic freedom on various social and economic outcomes is quite large, comparatively little work has tried to explain economic freedom as a dependent variable. This paper empirically examines how immigration impacts a region's policies and institutions. We find small but positive increases in institutional quality as a result of immigration.
  • Topic: Economics, Human Welfare, International Trade and Finance, Immigration
  • Author: William F. Shughart II, Diana W. Thomas
  • Publication Date: 10-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: During his presidential campaign, Sen. Barack Obama criticized sharply the lax anti-trust law enforcement record of the George W. Bush administration. Subsequently, his first assistant attorney general for antitrust even went so far as to suggest that the Great Recession was, at least in part, caused by federal antitrust policy failures during the previous eight years. This paper sets out to investigate how and in what ways antitrust enforcement has changed since President Obama took office in 2009. We review four recent antitrust cases and the behavioral remedies that were imposed on the defendants in those matters in detail. We find that the Obama administration has been significantly more active in enforcing the antitrust laws with respect to proposed mergers than his two predecessors in the White House had been. In addition, the Federal Trade Commission, together with the Department of Justice, withdrew a thoughtful report on the enforcement of Section 2 of the Sherman Act and issued new merger guidelines and a new merger policy remedy guide, all of which have moved antitrust law enforcement away from traditional structural remedies in favor of very intrusive behavioral remedies in an unprecedented fashion. That policy shift has further transformed antitrust law enforcers into regulatory agencies, a mission for which they are not well-suited, resulting in the Department of Justice and Federal Trade Commission being more vulnerable to rent seeking.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Governance, Law Enforcement
  • Author: Brink Lindsey
  • Publication Date: 10-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: For over a century, the trend line for the long-term growth of the U.S. economy has held remarkably steady. Notwithstanding huge changes over time in economic, social, and political conditions, growth in real gross domestic product (GDP) per capita has fluctuated fairly closely around an average annual rate of approximately 2 percent. Looking ahead, however, there are strong reasons for doubting that this historic norm can be maintained.
  • Topic: Economics, Globalization, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Financial Crisis, Governance
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Michael Tanner
  • Publication Date: 02-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: Opponents of allowing younger workers to privately invest a portion of their Social Security taxes through personal accounts have long pointed to the supposed riskiness of private investment. The volatility of private capital markets over the past several years, and especially recent declines in the stock market, have seemed to bolster their argument.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Steve H. Hanke, Nicholas Krus
  • Publication Date: 08-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: This chapter supplies, for the first time, a table that contains all 56 episodes of hyperinflation, including several which had previously gone unreported. The Hyperinflation Table is compiled in a systematic and uniform way. Most importantly, it meets the replicability test. It utilizes clean and consistent inflation metrics, indicates the start and end dates of each episode, identifies the month of peak hyperinflation, and signifies the currency that was in circulation, as well as the method used to calculate inflation rates.
  • Topic: Economics, Globalization, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Monetary Policy, Financial Crisis
  • Author: K. William Watson
  • Publication Date: 09-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: Section 337 of the Tariff Act of 1930 gives the United States International Trade Commis¬sion (ITC) the power to exclude products from the United States that are imported pursuant to “unfair methods of competition.” The range of potential activities covered by the law is broad, but the most common claim brought before the ITC is patent infringement. In addition to fil¬ing a lawsuit in federal district court, U.S. pat¬ent holders can often use Section 337 to bring a second case over the same subject matter as long as the defendant imports the impugned product from abroad. This tactic has become increasing¬ly popular because the ITC renders its decisions relatively quickly and has the authority to order a very powerful remedy—total exclusion of the product from the U.S. market.
  • Topic: International Organization, International Trade and Finance, World Trade Organization, Labor Issues
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Gerald P. O'Driscoll Jr.
  • Publication Date: 10-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: Advocates of central bank reform must examine why central banks emerged and what forces sustain them. They did not arise in an institutional vacuum, and will not be reformed in an institutional vacuum. The historical origins of central banks explain how they came into existence. The forces sustaining and feeding their growth may differ from those explaining their origin.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Monetary Policy, Governance
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Kevin Dowd, Martin Hutchinson, Jimi Hinchliffe, Simon Ashby
  • Publication Date: 07-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: The Basel regime is an international system of capital adequacy regulation designed to strengthen banks' financial health and the safety and soundness of the financial system as a whole. It originated with the 1988 Basel Accord, now known as Basel I, and was then overhauled. Basel II had still not been implemented in the United States when the financial crisis struck, and in the wake of the banking system collapse, regulators rushed out Basel III.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Monetary Policy, Governance
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Jagadeesh Gokhale
  • Publication Date: 02-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: Globalization holds tremendous promise to improve human welfare but can also cause conflicts and crises as witnessed during 2007–09. How will competition for resources, employment, and growth shape economic policies among developed nations as they attempt to maintain productivity growth, social protections, and extensive political and cultural freedoms?
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Globalization, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Craig Pirrong
  • Publication Date: 07-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: In the aftermath of the financial crisis, attention has turned to reducing systemic risk in the derivatives markets. Much of this attention has focused on counterparty risk in the over-the counter market, where trades are bilaterally executed between dealers and derivative purchasers. One proposal for addressing such counterparty risk is to mandate the trading of derivatives over a centralized clearinghouse. This paper lays out the advantages and risks to a mandated clearing requirement, showing how, in some instances, such a mandate can actually increase systemic risk and result in more financial bailouts.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Financial Crisis
  • Author: Jagadeesh Gokhale
  • Publication Date: 03-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: This Policy Analysis explains the antecedents of the current global financial crisis and critically examines the reasoning behind the U.S. Treasury and Federal Reserve's actions to prop up the financial sector. It argues that recovery from the financial crisis is likely to be slow with or without the government's bailout actions. An oil price spike and a wealth shock in housing initiated the financial crisis. Declines in stock values are intensifying that shock, threatening to deepen the current recession as U.S. consumers and investors cut their expenditures. An offsetting wealth injection from additional risk-bearing investors could initiate a quicker recovery. Thus, supporters of government intervention justify the bailout's debt-financed fund injections—in essence, they want to compel future taxpayers to join the group of today's risk bearing investors.
  • Topic: Economics, Globalization, International Trade and Finance, Markets
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Jeffrey A. Miron
  • Publication Date: 01-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Cato Journal
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: At the end of September 2007, the U.S. economy had experienced 24 consecutive quarters of positive GDP growth, at an average annual rate of 2.73 percent. The S 500 Index stood at roughly 1,500, having rebounded over 600 points from its low point in 2003. Unemployment was below 5 percent, and inflation was low and stable.
  • Topic: Democratization, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Privatization
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Anna J. Schwartz
  • Publication Date: 01-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Cato Journal
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: I begin by describing the factors that contributed to the financial market crisis of 2008. I end by proposing policies that could have prevented the baleful effects that produced the crisis.
  • Topic: Democratization, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Privatization, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Allan H. Meltzer
  • Publication Date: 01-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Cato Journal
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: I am going to make several unrelated points, and then I am going to discuss how we got into this financial crisis and some needed changes to reduce the risk of future crises.
  • Topic: Democratization, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Privatization, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Donald L. Kohn
  • Publication Date: 01-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Cato Journal
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: We are in the midst of a global financial crisis that is now weighing heavily on economies around the world. Although the outlook remains extremely uncertain, both the fragility of the financial system and the weakness in real activity seem likely to persist for a while. To promote maximum sustainable economic growth and price stability, the Federal Reserve has responded to this crisis by easing monetary policy markedly, and we have greatly expanded our liquidity facilities to keep credit flowing when private lenders have become reluctant or unable to do so. Other central banks have also cut policy rates significantly and expanded their lending. In addition, the federal government and governments around the world have taken extraordinary actions to strengthen financial systems to preserve the ability of households and businesses to borrow and spend.
  • Topic: Democratization, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Privatization
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Otmar Issing
  • Publication Date: 01-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Cato Journal
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: Beyond dealing with the immediate problems, any crisis raises questions of why and how we got there and what lessons should be drawn to avoid a repetition of past developments—without laying the ground for a new disaster. This line of inquiry also applies to the current crisis in financial markets. Even during the heaviest turbulence a discussion has started on obvious deficits in the system of regulation and supervision and on badly needed improvements. In this article, I concentrate on monetary policy but that does not mean regulatory measures are irrelevant in this context, quite the opposite.
  • Topic: Democratization, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Privatization
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Jeffrey M. Lacker
  • Publication Date: 01-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Cato Journal
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: The current financial crisis undoubtedly will inspire a great deal of research in the years ahead, and it may take some time before anything like a professional consensus emerges on causes and consequences. After all, it took several decades to document the causes of the Great Depression, and recent research continues to provide new perspectives. Nonetheless, I believe the central questions that are likely to occupy researchers are plainly in view, and some tentative lessons have emerged already. And in any event, legislators are not likely to await the fruits of future scholarship.
  • Topic: Democratization, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Privatization, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Charles W. Calomiris
  • Publication Date: 01-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Cato Journal
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: Financial innovations often respond to regulation by sidestepping regulatory restrictions that would otherwise limit activities in which people wish to engage. Securitization of loans (e.g., credit card receivables, or subprime residential mortgages) is often portrayed, correctly, as having arisen in part as a means of “arbitraging” regulatory capital requirements by booking assets off the balance sheets of regulated banks. Originators of the loans were able to maintain lower equity capital against those loans than they otherwise would have needed to maintain if the loans had been placed on their balance sheet.
  • Topic: Democratization, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Privatization
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Bert Ely
  • Publication Date: 01-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Cato Journal
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: The current global financial crisis is the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, with no end in sight. Already, much political finger pointing has occurred, with most of those fingers pointed at supposedly greedy bankers, investors, and hedge-fund managers as well as the financial deregulation of recent decades. Governments everywhere are rushing to enact new regulatory protections to pre- vent another crisis of this magnitude. Yet if history is any guide, these new regulations will set up the global economy for yet another financial crisis, perhaps worse than the present one, or create regulatory straitjackets that will greatly impede economic growth.
  • Topic: Democratization, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Privatization
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Lawrence H. White
  • Publication Date: 01-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Cato Journal
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: The U.S. housing bubble and the fallout from its bursting are not the results of a laissez-faire monetary and financial system. They happened in an unanchored government fiat monetary system with a restricted financial system.
  • Topic: Democratization, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Privatization
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Wolfgang Münchau
  • Publication Date: 01-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Cato Journal
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: Should we worry about moral hazard while the house is burning? The discussion about economic policy is full of biblical metaphors, the language of water and floods, and of fire extinction during crises. Metaphors, even when not mixed, are often obstacles to the clarity of thought. That is clearly the case with the metaphor of moral hazard in trying to understand the current financial crisis. Instead of focusing on moral hazard, I prefer to use the concept of policy sustainability to argue that sustainable monetary, fiscal, and regulatory policies are essential for lasting prosperity.
  • Topic: Democratization, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Privatization
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Andrew A. Samwick
  • Publication Date: 01-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Cato Journal
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: The Cato Institute is the ideal place to draw lessons from the sub- prime crisis. The organization's mission focuses on the interaction of public policies with free markets and limited government. Even the most ardent believer in free markets must fully understand that individual liberty implies neither the nonexistence nor the indifference of government to economic affairs. Individuals live in freedom and peace when public policies are crafted in accordance with well-established rules and implemented with an eye toward effectiveness, not expansion. In the halls of government, we need sobriety and vigilance rather than apathy or empire building.
  • Topic: Democratization, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Privatization
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Kevin Dowd
  • Publication Date: 01-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Cato Journal
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: There is no denying that the current financial crisis has delivered a major seismic shock to the policy landscape. In country after country, we see governments panicked into knee-jerk responses and throwing their policy manuals overboard: bailouts and nationalizations on an unprecedented scale, fiscal prudence thrown to the winds, and the return of no-holds-barred Keynesianism. Lurid stories of the excesses of “free” competition—of greedy bankers walking away with hundreds of millions whilst taxpayers bail their institutions out, of competitive pressure to pay stratospheric bonuses and the like—are grist to the mill of those who tell us that “free markets have failed” and that what we need now is bigger government. To quote just one writer out of many others saying much the same, “the pendulum will swing—and should swing—towards an enhanced role for government in saving the market system from its excesses and inadequacies” (Summers 2008). Free markets have been tried and failed, so the argument goes, now we need more regulation and more active macroeconomic management.
  • Topic: Democratization, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Privatization
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Gerald P. O'Driscoll Jr.
  • Publication Date: 01-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Cato Journal
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: We remain in an economic crisis and financial crisis, one that Gary Gorton has named “The Panic of 2007” (Gorton 2008). The thesis of this article is that monetary policy has played a pivotal role. Under Alan Greenspan and now Ben Bernanke, the Fed has conducted monetary policy so as to foster moral hazard among investors, notably in housing (O'Driscoll 2008a). More generally, the crisis is the product of a “perfect storm” of misguided policy. Policies to encourage affordable housing fostered the growth of subprime lending and complex financial products to finance that lending. Regardless of the desirability of the social goal, the financial super- structure depended on housing prices never falling. Housing prices do fall sometimes, and did so decisively beginning in 2007 (Gorton 2008: 50).
  • Topic: Democratization, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Privatization
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, New Zealand
  • Author: Roger W. Garrison
  • Publication Date: 01-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Cato Journal
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: In the era that has come to be known as the “Great Moderation” (dating from the mid-1980s), the Federal Reserve's policy committee (the Federal Open Market Committee or FOMC) pursued what has to be called a “learning-by-doing” strategy. The data that counted as relevant feedback—the unemployment rate and the inflation rate—seemed all along to be suggesting that the Fed was doing the right things. Even when the Fed lowered the Fed funds target to 1 per- cent in June 2003 and held it there for nearly a year, the economy appeared to be on an even keel and U.S. interest rates were in line with those in other countries. The historically low interest rates were attributed not to excessive monetary ease in the United States but to a worldwide increase in savings.
  • Topic: Democratization, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Privatization
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: William Poole
  • Publication Date: 01-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Cato Journal
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: Most of the world today is concentrating not on the way forward after the crisis, but the way out of the crisis. This concentration brings the very real danger that steps taken now will cause problems later. The most obvious danger, perhaps, is that enormous government spending, here and abroad, will increase outstanding debt to a degree that will increase temptation to attempt to finance government budget deficits through inflation. Moral hazard is the less obvious, but perhaps more serious, problem we will face.
  • Topic: Democratization, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Privatization
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Christopher J. Coyne
  • Publication Date: 01-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Cato Journal
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: Christopher Coyne's book seeks to contribute to an understanding of the “precise mechanisms and contexts that contribute to or prevent” successful efforts to “export liberal democracy” by means of “military occupation and reconstruction” (p. 7). Even if this were the only accomplishment of this fine book, it would represent one of the most important contributions to the field of political economy in recent decades. However, Coyne does more. He draws from economics to produce a full-fledged framework for analyzing the economic, political, and social effects of all reconstruction efforts. He also questions the long-standing view that reconstruction requires, or even benefits from, a suspension of the principles of liberty, free association, and free market.
  • Topic: Democratization, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Privatization
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Robert L. Bradley Jr.
  • Publication Date: 01-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Cato Journal
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: Robert L. Bradley Jr., for many years had to balance loyalty to his employer, Enron, with his belief in Austrian economics. With the collapse of Enron came the opportunity to resolve the conflict in favor of Austrian economics. Bradley chose to undertake the slow development that would produce a definitive study rather than an instant bestseller. He ultimately decided to produce a three-volume treatment. The first of these, the book under review here, deals with two overriding conceptual issues relevant to the Enron collapse and their implications to Enron and earlier debacles. The first is what is the essence of free-market economics and whether the Enron experience undermines the case for free markets. The other is the invalidity of resource pessimism. Later volumes will deal with similar problems such as the Insull holding-company collapse in the Great Depression and then a concluding volume on Enron itself.
  • Topic: Democratization, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Privatization
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Tony Leon
  • Publication Date: 01-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Cato Journal
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: On the Contrary is a seamless combination of a memoir of an influential South African politician and a well-researched modern history of his country. The author was the leader of the liberal Democratic Alliance, the leader of the opposition in Parliament.
  • Topic: Democratization, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Privatization
  • Political Geography: United States, South Africa
  • Author: Kurt Schuler
  • Publication Date: 09-2008
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Cato Journal
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: The Swiss franc is the world's best-performing currency over the last century: it has lost only about 87 percent of its value in terms of gold, compared to 97 percent for the U.S. dollar and more than 99 percent for almost all other currencies. Switzerland's avoidance of wars, which is part policy and part lucky geography, has contributed to the relative stability of the franc. So have the conservative financial habits of its citizens, which have been reflected in the country's generally prudent government finances. But some credit undoubtedly belongs to the central bank, the Swiss National Bank. It has consistently pursued monetary policies that have produced low inflation, and has made few consequential errors since it was established in 1907. Its experience therefore should be of interest far beyond the borders of Switzerland. This centennial volume, by a constellation of 40 Swiss and foreign authors, is a history and an examination of issues in monetary policy the central bank has faced. It is typically Swiss in its occasionally ponderous thoroughness, pleasing design, and high quality.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Monetary Policy
  • Political Geography: France, Switzerland
  • Author: Patricia Adams
  • Publication Date: 09-2004
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: Most debts created by Saddam Hussein in the name of the Iraqi people would qualify as “odious” according to the international Doctrine of Odious Debts. This legal doctrine holds that debts not used in the public interest are not legally enforceable.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Middle East
  • Author: Roger Pilon
  • Publication Date: 08-2004
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: As modern "miracle drugs" play a growing role in medical practice, drug prices in America soar far beyond prices in the rest of the world. Yet our law prohibits Americans from buying American-made drugs abroad at those prices and "reimporting" them to the United States. That has led many Americans, and even some state and local officials, to ignore the law and go to Canada and Mexico for their drugs; to the passage in the House last year of a bill lifting the ban on reimportation; and to similar bills now in the Senate—legislation that Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson recently called "inevitable."
  • Topic: Human Welfare, International Trade and Finance, Science and Technology
  • Political Geography: United States, America, Canada, Mexico
  • Author: Andrew Coulson
  • Publication Date: 03-2004
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: This paper describes the threat posed to U.S. national security by militant schools in lessdeveloped nations, evaluates current policies for dealing with that threat, and suggests an alternative set of policies that would likely be more effective and also more consistent with the laws and principles of the United States.
  • Topic: Education, International Trade and Finance, Religion
  • Political Geography: United States, Arabia
  • Author: Steve H. Hanke
  • Publication Date: 07-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: After a decade of rapid economic growth, the Dominican Republic entered a downward spiral in 2003. The economy shrank for the first time since 1990, the inflation rate quadrupled, the Dominican peso collapsed, government debt more than doubled, interest rates soared, and the central bank incurred large losses.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Latin America, Caribbean
  • Author: Motohiro Tsuchiya, Adam Thierer
  • Publication Date: 01-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: Global telecommunications markets have traditionally been closed to foreign trade and investment. Recent World Trade Organization negotiations resulted in a Basic Telecommunications agreement that sought to construct a multilateral framework to reverse that trend and begin opening telecom markets worldwide. Regrettably, this new WTO framework is quite ambiguous and open to pro-regulatory interpretations by member states.
  • Topic: International Trade and Finance, Science and Technology, Treaties and Agreements
  • Political Geography: United States, America, South Asia
  • Author: Ian Vásquez
  • Publication Date: 09-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: The failure of past foreign aid programs has given rise to a new consensus on how to make foreign aid effective. According to the new approach, aid that goes into poor countries that have good policies and institutions is highly effective at promoting growth and reducing poverty. Disbursing aid to countries that have good policies contrasts with the traditional practice of providing aid to countries irrespective of the quality of their policies or providing aid to promote policy reforms. President George Bush's proposed foreign aid initiative, the Millennium Challenge Account, is based on the selective approach to foreign assistance, as are, in large part, the World Bank's calls to double foreign aid flows worldwide.
  • Topic: Debt, Economics, International Political Economy, International Trade and Finance, Third World
  • Author: Ian Vásquez, John Welborn
  • Publication Date: 09-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: The Overseas Private Investment Corporation is a government agency that provides loans and investment insurance to U.S. companies doing business around the world. Its four-year, renewable charter will expire in September 2003. Proponents of OPIC claim that the agency helps the U.S. economy and promotes economic development abroad.
  • Topic: Economics, International Political Economy, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Anna J. Schwartz
  • Publication Date: 03-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: The International Monetary Fund has proposed a universal bankruptcy tribunal to deal with sovereign debt restructuring. But does the international financial system really need such a mechanism? There has been little demand by sovereign borrowers or their creditors for a universal bankruptcy law, and few countries have had to enter into debt restructuring procedures. The absence of such a law does not appear to have created chaotic conditions even in those cases.
  • Topic: Economics, International Organization, International Political Economy, International Trade and Finance
  • Author: Aaron Lukas, Ian Vásquez
  • Publication Date: 03-2002
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: The Export-Import Bank of the United States (Ex-Im Bank) was created in 1934 as an independent federal agency operating under a renewable congressional charter. That charter most recently expired on September 30, 2001. Since then, the Ex-Im Bank has been operating under a series of continuing resolutions set to expire on March 31, 2002.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Jonathan G. Clarke, William Ratliff
  • Publication Date: 10-2001
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: Official U.S. and Cuban depictions of the effects of the U.S. embargo differ notably from Cuban economic reality. This report, based on the authors' recent visits to Havana and interviews with top Cuban officials, dissidents, and other private citizens, shows that the embargo is not responsible for Cuba's poor economic condition—as Havana claims—nor has it been effective at achieving Washington's goal of isolating the Cuban regime.
  • Topic: Economics, International Political Economy, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: United States, Cuba, Latin America, Caribbean, Havana
  • Author: Robert Krol
  • Publication Date: 03-2001
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: Recent financial problems in emerging economies have led to calls for a new international financial architecture. Proposals include restricting short-term capital flows and extending the International Monetary Fund's role to that of an international lender of last resort. Both “reforms” would be mistakes.
  • Topic: Economics, Emerging Markets, International Organization, International Trade and Finance
  • Author: Aaron Lukas
  • Publication Date: 06-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: The “anti-globalization coalition” that paraded through the streets of Seattle in November and stormed police barricades in Washington, D.C., in April contends that international trade and investment are “lose-lose” propositions. On the one hand, organized labor argues that low-wage workers in developing countries will gain employment at the expense of American workers. On the other hand, self-appointed advocates of the developing world claim that trade with and investment from Western countries lead only to exploitation and continued poverty abroad. Given that negative view of globalization, it is not surprising that anti-trade activists are calling to “shrink or sink” the World Trade Organization.
  • Topic: Emerging Markets, Globalization, International Organization, International Trade and Finance, Third World
  • Political Geography: America, Washington
  • Author: Mark A. Groombridge
  • Publication Date: 04-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: The U.S. Congress is in the historic position of being able to help pro-reform leaders in China move their country in a market-oriented direction. A vote to grant China permanent normal trade relations (PNTR) status will bolster the position of those leaders in Beijing who are attempting to deepen and broaden the scope of China's two-decade experiment with economic reform. Granting PNTR and China's subsequent accession to the World Trade Organization will benefit, not only the United States and the world trading community, but most directly the citizens of China, millions of whom are still mired in abject poverty.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Beijing, Asia
  • Author: Anna J. Schwartz
  • Publication Date: 08-1998
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: The International Monetary Fund and the U.S. Treasury Department's Exchange Stabilization Fund are undemocratic institutions unaccountable for their actions. Their current functions have little to do with their original missions. The ESF is used by the executive branch to circumvent Congress in the provision of foreign aid. Its foreign exchange interventions have, in any event, always been wasteful and ineffective at controlling the relative price of the U.S. dollar. The IMF has also been used to provide massive bailouts in the cases of Mexico in 1995 and of Asian countries since 1997. Defenders of the IMF as an international lender of last resort are misinformed since the IMF does not and cannot serve that purpose. Both institutions should be abolished, not reformed, because they are not needed to resolve currency crises and they preclude superior solutions.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Political Economy
  • Political Geography: United States, Asia, Mexico