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  • Author: C. Fred Bergsten
  • Publication Date: 01-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: A bipartisan majority in both Houses of Congress is insisting that the United States include a provision in future trade agreements that would bar currency manipulation. A letter from 60 senators to Secretary of the Treasury Jacob Lew and United States Trade Representative (USTR) Michael From an on September 23, 2013, called for "strong and enforceable foreign currency manipulation disciplines" in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) while 230 members of the House of Representatives told President Barack Obama on June 6, 2013, that "it is imperative that (the TPP) address currency manipulation.to create a level playing field for American businesses and prevent more US jobs from being shipped overseas." The trade promotion authority (TPA) legislation proposed by congressional trade leaders on January 9, 2014, establishes the avoidance of currency manipulation as a "principal US negotiating objective" in its future trade agreements.
  • Topic: Economics, Emerging Markets, International Trade and Finance, Monetary Policy
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Jacob Funk Kirkegaard
  • Publication Date: 01-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: Mark Twain once wrote an essay about the difficulties of learning what he called "The Awful German Language." Similar barriers to comprehension seem to plague those trying to explain recent German economic performance. By most measures, Germany has the best functioning labor market among large economies in the West, with levels of employment reaching those in the United States at the end of the turbo-charged 1990s. A debate has stirred, however, about whether this success has come with a price—specifically, whether Germany's domestic structural reforms have lowered living standards for Germany's low income workers and worsened income inequality and whether Germany is fortuitously and perhaps selfishly riding a wave of strong foreign demand for German exports.
  • Topic: Economics, Industrial Policy, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Labor Issues
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Germany
  • Author: Edwin M. Truman
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: The vital role played by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in stabilizing the world economy and financial system is in serious jeopardy. The failure in mid-January by the US Congress to approve IMF reform legislation that had been pending for more than three years did not simply bring to a screeching halt a decade of slow progress reforming the governance of the Fund to make it more representative, legitimate, and therefore effective. Congress's balking on this issue also did substantial, actual damage to the US reputation around the world, as the leaders of many countries called into question Washington's ability to deliver on promises made in international economic agreements.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, International Monetary Fund, Reform
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Marcus Noland
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: In recent years, despite a history of enmity and armed conflict that never really ended after the Korean War more than 60 years ago, South Korea has been a major investor in North Korea, and South Korean firms have employed more than 50,000 North Korean workers. South Korea's stated goal has been to encourage sufficient economic progress by North Korea, emboldening it toward establishing a meaningful basis for reconciliation and, ultimately, national unification. The expectation, or at least the hope, has been to use economic engagement to lessen the North's direct state control over the economy and to encourage the development of a middle class that might demand greater internal opening. The goal, as enunciated by former South Korean President Kim Dae-jung, has also been to foster a rise of interest groups with an enhanced stake in peaceable external relations.
  • Topic: Economics, Human Rights, International Trade and Finance, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: Asia, South Korea, North Korea
  • Author: Joseph E. Gagnon
  • Publication Date: 06-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: For the major advanced economies and the world as a whole, insufficient aggregate demand—that is, too little spending—impeded recovery from the Great Recession of 2008-09. By manipulating their currencies to boost their net exports, many countries made a bad situation worse for their trading partners, which saw demand shifted away. The world needs policies that increase total demand rather than policies that fight over the allocation of the existing amount of demand.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, International Monetary Fund
  • Political Geography: Europe, Asia, Switzerland, Singapore
  • Author: Marcus Noland, Cullen S. Hendrix
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: Myanmar is in the midst of a long and difficult multifaceted transition, involving political liberalization, economic reform, and the resolution of multiple long-standing civil conflicts. The country has a history of ethno-religious conflict and separatism. Civil-military relations are muddy, and business-military-state relations are similarly opaque. An ongoing natural resource boom, and the blessings and curses that come with it, further complicates these developments. Given the country's evident institutional weaknesses, external policy anchors could play a critical role in this transition. Hendrix and Noland address the possible role for such international precommitment mechanisms—in particular, the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI)—in Myanmar's growing extractive sector.
  • Topic: Economics, Ethnic Conflict, Governance, Reform
  • Political Geography: Asia, Myanmar
  • Author: Gary Clyde Hufbauer, Cathleen Cimino
  • Publication Date: 07-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: Unconventional extraction methods, namely horizontal drilling and fracking, are transforming global energy production, consumption, and trade. Th e extraction of large amounts of oil and gas from shale formations has led to an unprecedented surge of domestic production in the United States. Th e US Department of Energy (DOE) is now processing more than 40 applications from domestic producers to export liquefi ed natural gas (LNG). While experts still disagree about the magnitude and duration of the energy boom, we are at the "dawn of a US oil and gas renaissance" (Houser and Mohan 2014).
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Monetary Policy
  • Political Geography: United States, North America
  • Author: Caroline Freund, Mélise Jaud
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: The empirical literature on the relationship between democracy and growth has yielded conflicting results. Cross-country studies have failed to identify a significant impact of democracy on growth, while within-country studies have found a strong positive effect of the transition to democracy on growth. We reconcile the conflicting evidence by showing that the positive effect of democratic transitions results from regime change as opposed to democratization. We identify over 100 transitions in the last half-century with various outcomes: to and from democracy, some partial, and some failed. The variety of experiences allows us to compare the growth outcome of democratic transitions with that of other transitions rather than with a no-transition counterfactual. Conditioning on regime change filters out selection effects and shows that transition to democracy yields no growth dividend compared to other types of regime change. We also show that countries that democratize slowly do not gain from regime change. These results suggest that the growth dividend from political transition results from swift regime change rather than from democratization.
  • Topic: International Relations, Democratization, Economics
  • Political Geography: Brazil
  • Author: David G. Blanchflower, David N. F. Bell
  • Publication Date: 07-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: This paper examines the amount of slack in the UK labor market and finds the downward adjustments made by the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) to both unemployment and underemployment invalid. Without evidence to support its assessment of the output gap, the MPC reduces the level of unemployment based on its claim that long-term unemployment does not affect wages. The authors produce evidence to the contrary and present arguments on why the MPC's halving of the level of underemployment in the United Kingdom is inappropriate. Bell and Blanchflower set out arguments on why they believe the level of slack is greater than the MPC calibrates. Consistent with that is the fact that real wages in the United Kingdom continue to fall.
  • Topic: Economics, Markets, Labor Issues
  • Political Geography: United Kingdom, Europe
  • Author: Li-gang Liu
  • Publication Date: 08-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: China's property market has slowed significantly since the first half of 2014, with sharp declines in sales and a buildup in the inventory of new homes. This sharper than expected downturn—which has affected not only second- and third tier smaller cities but also first-tier megacities such as Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen, and Guangzhou—contrasts with last year's buoyant sales and double-digit price surge. Compounded by fears of a default in the shadow banking system and the perception of a highly leveraged Chinese economy, the sudden declines in the property sector are being watched closely. Many commentators believe this could be a turning point for the sector, triggering a hard landing of the Chinese economy and even a financial crisis. Over the last decade, China's property sector has become an important pillar for the country's growth as well as the key source for elevated commodity prices. A property market slump would hurt other sectors, as well as drag down resource-rich economies that rely heavily on China to buy their exports.
  • Topic: Economics, Financial Crisis, Urbanization
  • Political Geography: Japan, China, United Nations
  • Author: Anna Gelpern
  • Publication Date: 08-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: The escalating crisis in Ukraine has prompted the United States and Europe to impose the toughest economic sanctions against Russia since the end of the Cold War. Continued instability and military conflict in eastern Ukraine are straining Ukrainian finances. Despite a generous international support package, the government faces shrinking revenues, rising costs, and a spike in foreign debt payments over the next two years.
  • Topic: Cold War, Debt, Economics
  • Political Geography: Russia, Ukraine, Asia
  • Author: Edwin M. Truman
  • Publication Date: 08-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: This paper traces the evolution of the Federal Reserve and its engagement with the global economy over the last three decades of the 20th century: 1970 to 2000. The paper examines the Federal Reserve's role in international economic and financial policy and analysis covering four areas: the emergence and taming of the great inflation, developments in US external accounts, foreign exchange analysis and activities, and external financial crises. It concludes that during this period the US central bank emerged to become the closest the world has to a global central bank.
  • Topic: Economics, Foreign Exchange, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: William R. Cline, Jared Nolan
  • Publication Date: 07-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: This paper applies time series analysis to distinguish between cyclical and demographic causes of the decline of the labor force participation rate. Some public discussions suggest that the decline of US unemployment from its 2009 peak of 10 percent to about 6 percent by mid-2014 grossly exaggerates recovery because most of the decline reflects the exit of discouraged workers from the labor force. This study finds instead that one-half to two-thirds of the decline in labor force participation by about 3 percentage points from late 2007 to early 2014 is attributable to aging of the population. Although about one-third is found attributable to the lagged influence of high, and especially long-term, unemployment, going forward the potential rebound in the participation rate from recovery is projected to be approximately offset by further aging of the population.
  • Topic: Demographics, Economics, Labor Issues, Population
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Jeffrey J. Schott, Cathleen Cimino
  • Publication Date: 09-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: The negotiation of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a megaregional agreement to lower barriers to trade and investment and promote economic integration in the Asia-Pacific region, has been a dynamic process with a number of countries joining the talks in midstream. Since negotiations began in March 2010, participation in the TPP talks has expanded several times to include Malaysia (October 2010), Vietnam (December 2010), Canada and Mexico (October 2012), and Japan (July 2013). In November 2013, Korea announced its interest in participating in the TPP and began consulting with the countries involved. The TPP now has 12 participants. Korea is still considering whether to become lucky 13.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: Malaysia, Canada, Asia, Vietnam, Korea, Mexico
  • Author: Arvind Subramanian, Kevin Stahler
  • Publication Date: 11-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: Prima facie, competitiveness adjustments in the eurozone, based on unit labor cost developments, appear sensible and in line with what the economic analyst might have predicted and the economic doctor might have ordered. But a broader and arguably better—Balassa-Samuelson-Penn (BSP)—framework for analyzing these adjustments paints a very different picture. Taking advantage of the newly released PPP-based estimates of the International Comparison Program (2011), we identify a causal BSP relationship. We apply this framework to computing more appropriate measures of real competitiveness changes in Europe and other advanced economies in the aftermath of the recent global crises. There has been a deterioration, not improvement, in competitiveness in the periphery countries between 2007 and 2013. Second, the pattern of adjustment within the eurozone has been dramatically perverse, with Germany having improved competitiveness by 9 percent and with Greece's having deteriorated by 9 percent. Third, real competitiveness changes are strongly correlated with nominal exchange rate changes, which suggests the importance of having a flexible (and preferably independent) currency for effecting external adjustments. Fourth, internal devaluation—defined as real competitiveness improvements in excess of nominal exchange rate changes—is possible but seems limited in scope and magnitude. Our results are robust to adjusting the BSP framework to take account of the special circumstances of countries experiencing unemployment. Even if we ignore the BSP effect, the broad pattern of limited and lopsided adjustment in the eurozone remains.
  • Topic: Economics, Industrial Policy, International Trade and Finance, Monetary Policy, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Joseph E. Gagnon, Tamim Bayoumi, Christian Saborowski
  • Publication Date: 10-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: We use a cross-country panel framework to analyze the effect of net official flows (chiefly foreign exchange intervention) on current accounts. We find that net official flows have a large but plausible effect on current account balances. The estimated effects are larger with instrumental variables (42 cents to the dollar on average compared with 24 without instruments), reflecting a possible downward bias in regressions without instruments owing to an endogenous response of net official flows to private financial flows. We consistently find larger impacts of net official flows when international capital flows are restricted and smaller impacts when capital is highly mobile. A further result is that there is an important positive effect of lagged net official flows on current accounts that we believe operates through the portfolio balance channel.
  • Topic: Economics, Foreign Exchange, Monetary Policy
  • Author: Roberto Alvarez, José De Gregorio
  • Publication Date: 11-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: Latin American performance during the global fi nancial crisis was unprecedented. Many developing and emerging countries successfully weathered the worst crisis since the Great Depression. Was it good luck? Was it good policies? In this paper we compare growth during the Asian and global fi nancial crises and fi nd that a looser monetary policy played an important role in mitigating crisis. We also fi nd that higher private credit, more fi nancial openness, less trade openness, and greater exchange rate intervention worsened economic performance. Our analysis of Latin American countries confi rms that eff ective macroeconomic management was key to good economic performance. Finally, we present evidence from a sample of 31 emerging markets that high terms of trade had a positive impact on resilience.
  • Topic: Economics, Global Recession, Monetary Policy, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Asia, Latin America
  • Author: Avinash D. Persaud
  • Publication Date: 11-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: Bailouts and bail-ins of failing financial institutions have been hotly disputed in the global financial crisis of the last five years. At the height of the crisis, several failing banks were bailed out with taxpayer money so they could service their debts, but as public outrage mounts, policymakers are increasingly looking at bailing in these institutions before using taxpayer funds. Bail-ins, also called haircuts, require the troubled institution's creditors to write off some of the debt or agree to a restructuring of the debt, which reduces their holdings. The public has demanded the imposition of these costs on creditors and bond - holders, arguing that if bad lending as well as bad borrowing went unpunished it would be encouraged. Additionally, the yawning fiscal deficits that have followed bailouts have led to unpopular fiscal retrenchment.
  • Topic: Debt, Economics, Markets, Financial Crisis, Reform
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: William R. Cline
  • Publication Date: 11-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: This semiannual review finds that most of the major international currencies, including the US dollar, euro, Japanese yen, UK pound sterling, and Chinese renminbi, remain close to their fundamental equilibrium exchange rates (FEERs). The new estimates find this result despite numerous significant exchange rate movements associated with increased volatility in international financial markets at the beginning of the fourth quarter of 2014, and despite a major reduction in the price of oil. The principal cases of exchange rate misalignment continue to be the undervalued currencies of Singapore, Taiwan, and to a lesser extent Sweden and Switzerland, and the overvalued currencies of Turkey, New Zealand, South Africa, and to a lesser extent Australia and Brazil. Even so, the medium-term current account deficit for the United States is already at the outer limit in the FEERs methodology (3 percent of GDP), and if the combination of intensified quantitative easing in Japan and the euro area with the end to quantitative easing in the United States were to cause sizable further appreciation of the dollar, an excessive US imbalance could begin to emerge.
  • Topic: Economics, Foreign Exchange, International Trade and Finance, Monetary Policy
  • Political Geography: Africa, United States, Japan, Turkey, South Africa, Brazil, New Zealand
  • Author: Anders Åslund
  • Publication Date: 11-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: Ukraine has experienced a year of unprecedented political, economic, and military turmoil. The combination of Russian military aggression in the east and a legacy of destructive policies leading to pervasive corruption has plunged the country into an existential crisis. The West, meanwhile, has been largely paralyzed with uncertainty over how to assist Ukraine without reviving Cold War hostilities. Yet all is not lost for Ukraine. A tenuous ceasefire, along with the successful elections of President Petro Poroshenko in May and a new parliament in October offer an opportunity for economic reform. If the current ceasefire in the east holds, Ukraine has a great opportunity to break out of its vicious circle of economic underperformance. Yet, the window of opportunity is likely to be brief. The new government will have to act fast and hard on many fronts to succeed.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Economics, Politics
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Ukraine
  • Author: Giang Ho, Paolo Mauro
  • Publication Date: 12-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: With economic growth in advanced economies still lackluster or elusive, much hope for world prosperity rests on projections of continued strength in developing and emerging economies. On average, the economic growth rate in these economies was roughly twice as high—on an unweighted per capita basis—as in the advanced economies during the past decade. According to the forecasts analyzed in this Policy Brief, this superior performance is projected to extend into the next two decades.
  • Topic: Debt, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Political Economy
  • Author: Bart Gaens
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: China is challenging the regional balance of power in East Asia through a military buildup and an increasingly assertive foreign policy. The US is forced to find the right balance between cooperating with China while benefiting from its economic rise, and countering China's regional reach by carrying out its self-declared "pivot" to Asia in spite of domestic and budgetary constraints. With just over one year in office, Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has received wide domestic support for his ambitious plans to revive Japan's economy through his threefold policy of Abenomics. At the same time, however, he has implemented a number of significant policies in the defence and security sphere. In response to China's military rise, the Abe administration increased and recalibrated the defence budget. Furthermore, in order to reinforce the alliance with the US, the government approved the creation of a US-style National Security Council, passed a Secrecy Bill, and aims to reverse Japan's self-imposed ban on exercising the right to collective self-defence. Under the banner of "proactive pacifism", the Abe cabinet is seizing the momentum caused by the changing regional power dynamics in order to edge closer towards "breaking away from the postwar regime". A proposed revision of Japan's constitution, unchanged since 1947, symbolizes the ruling Liberal Democratic Party's (LDP) objective to bring about a more autonomous role for Japan both in the security alliance with the US and as an international actor.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Defense Policy, Arms Control and Proliferation, Economics, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Japan, China, Asia
  • Author: Teija Tiilikainen
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Reforms made to the EU's economic and fiscal policies have served to reinforce the fragmentation of the division of competences between the EU and its member states in this field. It has also impacted the way in which these competences are exerted by the European and national institutions. Resulting from a differentiation of responsibilities between the eurozone countries and the rest of the EU, fragmentation is increasingly taking place even inside the EU institutions. The current fragmentation of competences and institutions complicates the democratic scrutiny of economic and fiscal policies. The biggest challenge is to accommodate the differentiated responsibilities of the eurozone countries and the rest of the EU within the framework of existing institutions in a w ay that would ensure the unity of this framework, but also the proper democratic anchoring of the EU's economic and fiscal powers.
  • Topic: Economics, Monetary Policy
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Janne Salminen, Päivi Leino
  • Publication Date: 05-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The actual need for Treaty amendments is open to interpretation, for example in relation to the inclusion of the recent euro crisis-related international agreements in EU law. These questions are partly political in nature, and linked to the wider legitimacy of the EU and the integrity and clarity of its legal system. The full realization of the Commission's vision for the future of the EMU would require Treaty changes in order to revise the nature of competence in the area of economic policy and the general framework of cooperation. The recent discussion on the euro crisis measures has demonstrated that many member states have constitutional 'red lines' relating, for example, to the exercise of budgetary powers or sovereignty. It seems unlikely that these hurdles will be overcome in the short term.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Paul Kriews
  • Publication Date: 07-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute for Development and Peace
  • Abstract: Natural resources play a significant role for a country's development: The beneficial dynamics of a prosperous commodity sector have therefore long been considered as a key factor for a country's positive economic development. Paradoxically, however, one can observe frequently in resource-rich countries that the commodity sector has no positive effect, but rather fatal implications for a country's development. The assumption that resource-rich countries use their wealth for the advancement of sustainable development appears to be incomplete. This paper identifies the basic problems and dangers associated with resource wealth; possible options for action are identified and traced, using the example of Mongolia. The central question is whether Mongolia can escape the so-called resource curse. In this paper, a set of criteria is used, to elaborate whether the necessary conditions for a responsible use of the existing resource wealth in Mongolia are given.
  • Topic: Economics, Environment, Natural Resources, Governance
  • Author: Jan Schablitzki
  • Publication Date: 12-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute for Development and Peace
  • Abstract: The Sixth BRICS Summit, held in July 2014 in Fortaleza, Brazil, resulted in agreements to establish a New Development Bank (NDB) as well as a Contingent Reserve Arrangement (CRA). This Policy Brief discusses the impact of the NDB on the existing architecture of development finance, focusing on the bank’s potential contribution to the BRICS’ South-South cooperation. The first section outlines the BRICS countries’ rational for establishing the NDB. In the following section potential development paradigms that are likely to be adopted by the NDB are addressed. Since no decision has been taken on the bank’s future governance, this section will be based on the experiences from the BRICS’ national development banks. Once the NDB’s governance is agreed upon, it will impact whether and to what extent the new bank will cooperate with the existing international system of development finance. A third section discusses the NDB’s potential appeal for the Global South. The Global South shares with the BRICS a disappointment with the existing system, and connects specific hopes and expectations with the foundation of the NDB. Examining the Banks effect on South-South cooperation, the section includes prospects on the Bank’s capital potential and by that its potential contribution to the prevalent demand for infrastructure financing in developing countries. A final section summarises the points made and aims to put the present perceptions of the NDB in rather cautious perspectives.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Infrastructure, Developing World
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Derek M. Scissors
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: Reactions to the Chinese Communist Party's announcement of major economic reforms in November have ranged from unbridled optimism to skepticism about the party's ability to implement sweeping change. In fact, the reforms themselves are flawed in multiple ways-most are inauthentic, uncredible, or nonviable. However, the areas of land and finance offer more limited prospects for true reform. The primary means of judging reform progress should be progress in reducing excess capacity. The most likely outcome is that the party will claim success but the economy will slowly stagnate, harming China's partners.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Reform
  • Political Geography: China, East Asia
  • Author: Derek M. Scissors
  • Publication Date: 01-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: New data published in the American Enterprise Institute-Heritage Foundation China Global Investment Tracker show that China continues to invest heavily around the world. Outward investment excluding bonds stood at $85 billion in 2013 and is likely to reach $100 billion annually by 2015. Energy, metals, and real estate are the prime targets. The United States in particular received a record of more than $14 billion in Chinese investment in 2013. Although China has shown a pattern of focusing on one region for a time then moving on to the next, the United States could prove to be a viable long-term investment location. The economic benefits of this investment flow are notable, but US policymakers (and those in other countries) should consider national security, the treatment of state-owned enterprises, and reciprocity when deciding to encourage or limit future Chinese investment.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Development, Economics, Emerging Markets, International Trade and Finance, Foreign Direct Investment, Sovereign Wealth Funds
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Asia
  • Author: Derek M. Scissors
  • Publication Date: 07-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: Chinese foreign investment declined through mid-2014 for the first time since the financial crisis. By sector, energy draws the most investment, but a slump in energy spending means that metals and real estate have been more prominent so far in 2014. The United States has received the most Chinese investment since 2005, followed by Australia, Canada, and Brazil. China invests first in large, resource-rich nations but has also diversified by spending more than $200 billion elsewhere. Chinese investment benefits both China and the recipient nation, but host countries must consider thorny issues like Chinese cyberespionage and subsidies.
  • Topic: Economics, Human Rights, International Trade and Finance, Terrorism, Foreign Direct Investment
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Canada, Asia, Brazil, Australia
  • Author: Jamal Ibrahim Haidar, Takeo Hoshi
  • Publication Date: 06-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Walter H. Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center
  • Abstract: Improving the environment for business is an important part of the growth strategy of Abenomics. As the KPI (Key Performance Indicator) for this effort, the Abe Administration aims to improve Japan's rank in the World Bank Doing Business Ranking from the current #15 among high-income OECD countries to one of the top three. This paper clarifies what it takes for Japan to be among top three countries in terms of ease of doing business. By looking at details of the World Bank Doing Business ranking, we identify various reforms that Japan could implement to improve the ranking. Then, we classify the reforms into four groups depending on whether the reform requires legal changes and whether the reform is likely to face strong political resistance. By just doing the reforms that do not require legal changes and are not likely to face strong political opposition, Japan can improve the ranking to 9th. To be in the top 3, Japan would need to implement all the reforms except for those that require changing the laws and are likely to face strong political resistance, even under the unrealistic assumption that the other countries do not reduce the cost of doing business. Thus, in order to be one of the top three countries among OECD countries in terms of ease of doing business, Japan would most likely need to carry out all the reforms identified in this paper.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Reform
  • Political Geography: Japan
  • 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
  • Publication Date: 06-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center on International Cooperation
  • Abstract: This report examines the increase in drug trafficking and consumption in West Africa and their impact on the state and on society. It concludes with recommendations on how the region can respond humanely, effectively and preemptively to these problems.
  • Topic: Democratization, Economics, War on Drugs, Law Enforcement
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Ilaria Maselli, Miroslav Beblavý
  • Publication Date: 01-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: There is a general consensus that to achieve employment growth, especially for vulnerable groups, it is not enough to kick-start economic growth. It is also essential to improve the s kills among both the high-and low-skilled population.
  • Topic: Economics, Migration, Science and Technology, Labor Issues
  • Political Geography: Europe, Somalia
  • Author: Rym Ayadi, Willem Pieter De Groen
  • Publication Date: 01-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: The Arab Spring, which took root in Tunisia and Egypt in the beginning of 2011 and gradually spread to other countries in the southern Mediterranean, highlighted the importance of private-sector development, job creation, improved governance and a more equitable distribution of economic opportunities. The developments led to domestic and international demands on the governments in the region to implement the reforms needed to enhance business and investment conditions, modernise their economies and support the development of enterprises.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Social Movement, Reform
  • Political Geography: Arabia, Egypt, Tunisia
  • Author: Viral V. Acharya, Sascha Steffen
  • Publication Date: 01-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: The eurozone is mired in a recession. In 2013, the GDP of all 17 eurozone countries fell by 0.5% and the outlook for 2014 shows considerable risks across the region. To stabilise the common currency area and its (partly insolvent) financial system, a eurozone banking union is being established. An important part of the banking union is the Single Supervisory Mechanism (SSM), which will transfer the oversight of Europe's largest banks to the European Central Bank (ECB). Before the ECB takes over this responsibility, it plans to conduct an Asset Quality Review (AQR) in 2014, which will identify the capital shortfalls of these banks.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Regional Cooperation, Monetary Policy
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Steven Blockmans, Luigi Scazzieri
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: On January 20th, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) confirmed that Iran had been implementing its commitments as part of the Joint Plan of Action (JPA) agreed by the E3+3 in Geneva on November 24th of last year. In particular, the Agency confirmed that Iran had not installed new centrifuges, that it had stopped enriching uranium above 5%, that it had disabled connections between cascades being used to enrich up to 20%, and that it had begun the process of diluting half of its stockpile of 20%, while the other half is to be converted to oxide over the next six months. Over the next six months, the IAEA will continue to monitor Iranian enrichment, and activities at Arak, Fordow and Natanz. Immediately following the IAEA announcement, the US and EU suspended some of the sanctions currently imposed on Iran. Sanctions relief, quantified at $7 billion, comprises both the suspension of some sanctions and the repatriation of $4.2 billion of oil revenues in tranches.
  • Topic: Security, Economics, International Cooperation, International Organization, Treaties and Agreements, International Security, Nuclear Power
  • Political Geography: Iran
  • 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: Mikkel Barslund, Søren Arnberg
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: This paper aims to estimate the crowding-out effect of the Danish mandatory labour market pension reforms begun in 1993 on the level of total household savings for renters. The effect is identified via a large panel of individual administrative records utilising the differences in speed, timing and sectoral coverage of the implementation of the reform in the period 1997 to 2005. Little substitutability was found between current mandatory labour market pension savings and private voluntary savings. Each euro paid into mandatory labour market pension accounts results in a reduction in private savings of approximately 0 to 30 cents, depending on age. This low rate of substitution is only, to a minor extent, explained by liquidity constraints. The results point to mandatory pension savings having a large effect on total household savings. Thus, pension reforms that introduce mandatory savings have macroeconomic implications.
  • Topic: Economics, Labor Issues, Reform
  • Political Geography: Denmark
  • Author: Miroslav Beblavý, Marcela Veselkova
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: In this Working Paper, based on nearly 20 papers produced by the Centre for European Policy Studies, Slovak Governance Institute and the Conference Board Europe, we examine whether the current trends in the areas of education and skills are pushing the European Union, towards convergence or polarisation. We cover a wide range of questions related to this main issue. No easy answers, but several cross-cutting messages emerged from the research. We demonstrated that there is increasing complexity in what a 'low-skilled' person is and how well (or poorly) s/he fares in the labour market. There are undoubtedly powerful forces pushing for more polarisation, particularly in the labour market. Our research confirmed that early childhood education plays an important role, and it also appears to be increasingly uncontested as a policy prescription. However, the other frequently emphasised remedy to inequality - less selection in secondary education, particularly later division of children into separate tracks - is more problematic. Its effectiveness depends on the country in question and the target group, while education systems are extremely difficult to shift even on a long-term basis. A different, more-nuanced type of warning to policy-makers is delivered in our research on returns to higher education by field of study, which showed hidden rationality in how students choose their major.
  • Topic: Economics, Education, Labor Issues
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Clara Portela
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: This study analyses the use by the European Union of the novel concept of 'targeted sanctions' in the framework of its Common Foreign and Security Policy. It examines two sets of sanctions regimes featuring different degrees of efficacy: in Myanmar and Zimbabwe, the EU wielded measures in support of human rights and democracy objectives in the absence of a United Nations mandate, while it supplemented UN sanctions to stop nuclear proliferation in Iran and North Korea. The study highlights a number of facilitators of, or hindrances to, the efficacy of sanctions, such as the degree of support by regional powers or the presence of UN legitimation. It concludes that the EU sanctions regimes could be optimised by using more robust measures, designing them on the basis of ex ante assessments, enabling faster upgrades, monitoring their impact and adjusting them regularly and improving outreach efforts.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Economics, Regional Cooperation, Sanctions
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, United Nations, Zimbabwe
  • Author: Arno Behrens, Jonas Teusch, Caroline Coulie
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: This paper assesses the impact of decarbonisation of the energy sector on employment in Europe. Setting the stage for such an assessment, the paper provides an analysis of possible pathways to decarbonise Europe's energy system, taking into account EU greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets for 2020 and 2050. It pays particular attention to various low-carbon technologies that could be deployed in different regions of the EU. It concludes that efficiency and renewables play a major role in any decarbonisation scenario and that the power sector is the main enabler for the transition to a low-carbon economy in Europe, despite rising electricity demand. The extent of the decline in the share of fossil fuels will largely depend on the existence of carbon capture and storage (CCS), which remains a major source of uncertainty.
  • Topic: Economics, Energy Policy, Science and Technology
  • 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: Ansgar Belke, Anne Oeking, Ralph Setzer
  • Publication Date: 05-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: The significant gains in export market shares made in a number of vulnerable euro-area crisis countries have not been accompanied by an appropriate improvement in price competitiveness. This paper argues that, under certain conditions, firms consider export activity as a substitute for serving domestic demand. The strength of the link between domestic demand and exports is dependent on capacity constraints. Our econometric model for six euro-area countries suggests domestic demand pressure and capacity-constraint restrictions as additional variables of a properly specified export equation. As an innovation to the literature, we assess the empirical significance through the logistic and the exponential variant of the non-linear smooth transition regression model. We find that domestic demand developments are relevant for the short-run dynamics of exports in particular during more extreme stages of the business cycle. A strong substitutive relationship between domestic and foreign sales can most clearly be found for Spain, Portugal and Italy, providing evidence of the importance of sunk costs and hysteresis in international trade.
  • Topic: Economics, Human Rights, International Trade and Finance, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Paul De Grauwe, Yuemei Ji
  • Publication Date: 05-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: Since the announcement of the Outright Monetary Transactions (OMT) programme by Mario Draghi, President of the ECB, in 2012, the government bond spreads began a strong decline. This paper finds that most of this decline is due to the positive market sentiments that the OMT programme has triggered and is not related to underlying fundamentals, such as the debt-to-GDP ratios or the external debt position that have continued to increase in most countries. The authors even argue that the market's euphoria may have gone too far in taking into account the same market fundamentals. They conclude with some thoughts about the future governance of the OMT programme.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Stefano Micossi, Ginevra Bruzzone, Miriam Cassella
  • Publication Date: 05-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: In July 2013, the European Commission adopted a new Banking Communication – the seventh since the start of the financial crisis – updating its criteria for the evaluation of state aid in the banking sector in response to the evolving economic and institutional environment. Under this Communication, any credit institution in need of recapitalisation or 'impaired asset' measures will be required, prior to any further action, to submit a plan for restructuring or the orderly winding down the bank. Moreover, whenever there is a capital shortfall, the Commission will require that, prior to any injection of public funds, not only shareholders – as has been the case so far – but also junior creditors write down or convert into equity their claims on the bank, regardless of whether the bank is under resolution, in order to minimise the need for state aid.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Monetary Policy
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Michael Emerson
  • Publication Date: 07-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: This paper looks at the trade policy landscape of the EU and the wider Europe, with a focus on issues arising from the signature on 27 June 2014 of Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreements (DCFTAs) between the EU and three East European countries (Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine), and actual or prospective issues relating to the customs union of Belarus, Russia and Kazakhstan (BRK), and the Eurasian Economic Union whose founding treaty was signed on 29 May 2014.The huge expansion of intercontinental free trade area negotiations currently underway, in which the EU is an active participant alongside much of the Americas and Asia, stands in contrast with Russia's choice to restrict itself to the Eurasian Economic Union, which is only a marginal extension of its own economy. Alone among the major economies in the world, Russia does not seek to integrate economically with any major economic bloc, which should be a matter of serious concern for Moscow. Within the wider Europe, the EU's DCFTAs with Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia are a major new development, but Russia now threatens trade sanctions against Ukraine in particular, the economic case for which seems unfounded and whose unilateral application would also impair the customs union.The Belarus-Russia-Kazakhstan customs union itself poses several issues of compatibility with the rules of the WTO, which in turn are viewed by the EU as an impediment to discussing possible free trade scenarios with the customs union, although currently there are far more fundamental political impediments to any consideration of such ideas. Nonetheless, this paper looks at various long-term scenarios, if only as a reminder that there could be much better alternatives to the present context of conflict around Ukraine.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Treaties and Agreements
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Asia
  • Author: Ana-Maria Fuertes, Elena Kalotychou, Orkun Saka
  • Publication Date: 06-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: Paul De Grauwe ' s fragility hypothesis states that member countries of a monetary union such as the eurozone are highly vulnerable to a self – fulfilling mechanism by which the efforts of investors to avoid losses from default can end up triggering the very default they fear. The authors test this hypothesis by applying an eclectic methodology to a time window around Mario Draghi ' s " whatever it takes " (to keep the eurozone on firm footing) pledge on 26 July 2012 . This pledge was soon followed by the announcement of the Outright Monetary Transactions (OMT) program me (the prospective and conditional purchase by the European Central Bank of sovereign bonds of eurozone countries having difficulty issuing debt) . The principal components of eurozone credit default swap spreads validate this choice of time frame . An event study reveals significant pre – announcement contagion emanating from Spain to Italy, Belgium, France and Austria. Furthermore, time – series regression confirms frequent clusters of large shocks affecting the credit default swap spreads of the four eurozone countries but solely during the pre – announcement period. The findings of this report support the fragility hypothesis for the eurozone and endorse the Outright Monetary Transactions programme.
  • Topic: Economics, Foreign Exchange, International Trade and Finance, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Europe, France, Belgium, Italy
  • Author: Michael Emerson
  • Publication Date: 07-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: This paper looks at the trade policy landscape of the EU and the wider Europe, with a focus on issues arising from the signature on 27 June 2014 of Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreements (DCFTAs) between the EU and three East European countries (Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine), and actual or prospective issues relating to the customs union of Belarus, Russia and Kazakhstan (BRK), and the Eurasian Economic Union whose founding treaty was signed on 29 May 2014. While the contrived collision between these projects has tragically induced Russia to break all the established international security norms by waging war against Ukraine, the present paper deals essentially with trade policy issues. The huge expansion of intercontinental free trade area negotiations currently underway, in which the EU is an active participant alongside much of the Americas and Asia, stands in contrast with Russia's choice to restrict itself to the Eurasian Economic Union, which is only a marginal extension of its own economy. Alone among the major economies in the world, Russia does not seek to integrate economically with any major economic bloc, which should be a matter of serious concern for Moscow. Within the wider Europe, the EU's DCFTAs with Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia are a major new development, but Russia now threatens trade sanctions against Ukraine in particular, the economic case for which seems unfounded and whose unilateral application would also impair the customs union. The Belarus-Russia-Kazakhstan customs union itself poses several issues of compatibility with the rules of the WTO, which in turn are viewed by the EU as an impediment to discussing possible free trade scenarios with the customs union, although currently there are far more fundamental political impediments to any consideration of such ideas. Nonetheless this paper looks at various long-term scenarios, if only as a reminder that there could be much better alternatives to the present context of conflict around Ukraine.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Russia, America, Europe, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Asia, Georgia
  • Author: Stefano Micossi, Fabrizia Peirce
  • Publication Date: 07-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: The policy debate about how best to restore growth in the flagging eurozone economy has been plagued by demands from some highly indebted member countries that the Stability and Growth Pact (SGP) be loosened to leave greater room to support the economy with budgetary instruments. These demands have been met with an instant rebuff from the Commission and other financially solid members who argue that loosening the Pact would do little to restore sound growth. This question has also hindered the broader discussion on the need for and content of a renewed growth strategy for the eurozone and the European Union, no least by fuelling fresh mistrust among their member states.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Reform
  • Political Geography: Europe