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  • Author: Imtiaz Hussain
  • Publication Date: 01-1998
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centro de Investigación y Docencia Económicas
  • Abstract: How do we reconcile economic competitiveness with trade regionalism? This exploratory investigation first takes stock of how competitiveness has been defined by both economists and political scientists, then extracts an inclusive model from the different literatures, and finally broadly assesses business transactions and trends across North America using that model. Beginning with the Ricardo-Viner and Hecksher-Olin explanations, various types of competitiveness articulated by Michael Porter, Mancur Olson, and David Mares are subsequently brought in. preliminary findings presented as hypotheses for future testing, suggest that: that evaporation of hegemony has resulted in multiple claims to competitiveness across North America, policy convergences are more widespread and common than ever before, regional-level cooperation provides an efficient means for all three countries to offset global competitiveness, and domestic interests, though still a potential veto force, are slowly embracing, rather than opposing, supranational efforts.
  • Topic: International Relations, Economics, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Europe, North America
  • Author: Imtiaz Hussain
  • Publication Date: 01-1998
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centro de Investigación y Docencia Económicas
  • Abstract: The proliferation of regional trading blocs in the 1990s raises a fundamental question: To what extent is policy-making shifting from the national government to a regional entity? The conversion of GATT into the World Trade Organization, also in the 1990s, further complicates the search for an answer since new or revitalized multilateral rules also exert influences upon policy outcomes. I apply that question to a study of farm policy, with the European Union and the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) as my cases. The next two sections profile the importance of agriculture and my rationale in selecting the two cases before pointing gout the organization of the remainder of the study.
  • Topic: Agriculture, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Europe, North America
  • Author: Peter D. Sutherland
  • Publication Date: 10-1998
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Overseas Development Council
  • Abstract: Good afternoon. Thank you, Sir Jeremy, for that kind introduction. I am honored, not merely to have been selected to deliver this year's Per Jacobsson lecture, but by the presence of so many distinguished guests. I am also delighted that two previous Per Jacobsson lecturers could be here this afternoon, and I would like to recognize them: Jacques de Larosiere, the former Managing Director of the IMF and more recently the President of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, and Joseph Yam, the Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Monetary Authority.
  • Topic: Economics, Globalization, Government, International Trade and Finance, Politics
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Peter A. Hall, Robert J. Franzese Jr.
  • Publication Date: 09-1997
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for German and European Studies, University of California, Berkeley
  • Abstract: Plans for European Monetary Union are based on the conventional postulate that increasing the independence of the central bank can reduce inflation without any real economic effects. However, the theoretical and empirical bases for this claim rest on models of the economy that make unrealistic information assumptions and omit institutional variables other than the central bank. When the signaling problems between the central bank or other actors in the political economy are considered, we find that the character of wage bargaining conditions the impact of central bank independence by rendering the signals between the bank and the bargainers more or less effective. Greater independence can reduce inflation without major employment effects where bargaining is coordinated, but it brings higher levels of unemployment where bargaining is uncoordinated. Thus, currency unions like the EMU may require higher levels of unemployment to control inflation than their proponents envisage; they will have costs as well as benefits, costs which will be distributed unevenly among and within the member nations based on the changes induced in the status of the bank and of wage coordination.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, International Trade and Finance, Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Maurice Obstfeld
  • Publication Date: 02-1997
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for German and European Studies, University of California, Berkeley
  • Abstract: This paper studies the constraints placed by the Maastricht Treaty on the rates at which member currencies will exchange against the Euro at the start of stage 3 of economic and monetary union (EMU). The paper shows that the stage 3 bilateral conversion factors for EMU member currencies must correspond to closing market exchange rates as of December 31, 1998; furthermore, currency conversion rates into the Euro cannot be determined until that date. Moreover, official announcements about intended conversion factors will carry no credibility with markets, as market rates must be chosen over any prennounced rates according to the Treaty. Unless there is heavy official intervention in the runup to stage 3, EMU members' bilateral market rates will exhibit excessive volatility and may induce beggar-thy-neighbor policy behavior. On the other, hand, exchange-rate targeting may open the door to speculative currency crises. The only feasible solution appears a widely-publicized institutional reform to subjugate national central banks' policies entirely to the goal of intra-EMU exchange stability in the final months of stage 2.
  • Topic: International Political Economy, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Mark Aspinwall, Imtiaz Hussain
  • Publication Date: 01-1997
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centro de Investigación y Docencia Económicas
  • Abstract: How autonomous is a state in today's highly interdependent international economy to pursue policies that diverge widely from the international norm? does the degree of autonomy vary for different domestic sectors? We adapt and apply Benjamin Cohen's unholy trinity model (1993), to a comparative assessment of how France responded to globalization over agriculture and shipping, focusing on three dimensions—investment, transaction costs, and government policy responses. Although France is reputed to possess a strong state machinery (Katzenstein, 1987; Wilson, 1987; Skocpol, 1985), our analysis raises qualifications. On the one hand, regardless of government policy intentions, we find irreversible forms of disinvestments in both sectors, though different in nature—geographic for shipping, and functional for agriculture; on the other, we also find continued dependence upon the state–for internal and endogenous, as well as external and exogenous, factors influence policy-making, the nature of these factors are different for the two sectors. We conclude by drawing implications of our findings for state-society relations and European integrations.
  • Topic: Agriculture, Globalization, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Europe, France
  • Author: Sofía Gallardo
  • Publication Date: 01-1997
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centro de Investigación y Docencia Económicas
  • Abstract: The concern for the quality of the environment reached significant proportions in the 1960's and 1970's throughout North America and Europe as other new social movements were emerging. Unlike some of the others, environmentalism has endured as a vital and major social phenomenon, one that has reoriented human perceptions, attitudes, and behavior.
  • Topic: Environment, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Europe, Germany, North America
  • Author: Anthony T. Bryan
  • Publication Date: 06-1997
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The North-South Center, University of Miami
  • Abstract: The challenges confronting the Caribbean with respect to trade with Europe and the Americas are essentially similar: the future of existing regimes of significant preferences, the need to plan for the long term without such preferences, and the development of a strategy to meet the transition. Unfortunately, the dialogue on these matters often has been characterized as a protocol for the Caribbean to “choose between friends.” Growth in the economies of the Caribbean will depend to a large extent on participation in or access to global trade arrangements. Ideally, a Caribbean strategy for participation should involve simultaneous access to as many pacts as possible. This paper is an overview of the legacy and the future of trade relations between the Caribbean and Europe, and between the Caribbean and the Americas, as these relationships constitute the Caribbean's most urgent global agenda.
  • Topic: Economics, Emerging Markets, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: United States, America, Europe, Caribbean
  • Author: Jeffrey A. Frankel, Andrew K. Rose
  • Publication Date: 08-1996
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for German and European Studies, University of California, Berkeley
  • Abstract: Everyone studing EMU cites the theory of Optimum Currency Areas: whether a country like Sweden should join the currency union depends on such parameters as the extent of Swedish trade with other EU members and the correlation of Sweden's income with that of other members. Few economists have focused on what we consider one of the most interesting aspects of this issue. Trade patterns and income correlation are endogenous. Sweden could fail the OCA criterion for membership today, and yet, if it goes ahead and joins anyway, could, as the result of joining, pass the Optimum Currency Area (OCA) criterion in the future. (Further, even if Sweden does not enter EMU quickly, it will be more likely to satisfy the OCA criteria in the future as a result of its recent accession to the EU.) The few economists who have identified the importance of the endogeneity of trade patterns and income correlation are divided on the nature of the relationship between the two. This is an important empirical question, which may hold the key to the answer regarding whether it is in Sweden's income interest to join EMU. We review the OCA theory, highlighting the role of trade links and income links. Then we discuss and analyze the endogeneity of these parameters. We present econometric evidence suggesting strongly that if trade links between Sweden and the rest of Europe strengthen in the future, then Sweden's income will become more highly correlated with European income in the future (not less correlated, as some have claimed). This has important implications for the OCA criterion. It means that a naïve examination of historical data gives a biased picture of the effects of EMU entry on Sweden. It also means that EMU membership is more likely to make sense for Sweden in the future than it does today.
  • Topic: International Political Economy, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Europe, Sweden
  • Author: Neil R. Ericsson, Kari H. Eika, Ragnar Nymoen
  • Publication Date: 10-1996
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: U.S. Government
  • Abstract: Some recent studies have suggested constructing a Monetary Conditions Index (or MCI) to serve as an indicator of monetary policy stance. The central banks of Canada, Sweden, and Norway all construct an MCI and (to varying degrees) use it in conducting monetary policy. Empirically, an MCI is calculated as the weighted sum of changes in a short-term interest rate and the exchange rate relative to values in a baseline year. The weights aim to reflect these variables' effects on longer-term focuses of policy — economic activity and inflation. This paper derives analytical and empirical properties of MCIs in an attempt to ascertain their usefulness in monetary policy.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Europe, North America