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  • Author: Nathan Nunn
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Economics for Inclusive Prosperity (EfIP)
  • Abstract: In this brief, I discuss the current state of economic development policy, which tends to focus on interventions, usually funded with foreign aid, that are aimed at fixing deficiencies in developing countries. The general perception is that there are inherent problems with less-developed countries that can be fixed by with the help of the Western world. I discuss evidence that shows that the effects of such ‘help’ can be mixed. While foreign aid can improve things, it can also make things worse. In addition, at the same time that this ‘help’ is being offered, the developed West regularly undertakes actions that are harmful to developing countries. Examples include tariffs, antidumping duties, restrictions on international labor mobility, the use of international power and coercion, and tied-aid used for export promotion. Overall, it is unclear whether interactions with the West are, on the whole, helpful or detrimental to developing countries. We may have our largest and most positive effects on alleviating global poverty if we focus on restraining ourselves from actively harming less-developed countries rather than focusing our efforts on fixing them.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, International Political Economy, Developing World, Economic Development
  • Political Geography: United States, Global Focus
  • Author: Michael Kende1, Nivedita Sen
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Trade and Economic Integration, The Graduate Institute (IHEID)
  • Abstract: E-commerce has long been recognized as a driver of growth of the digital economy, with the potential to promote economic development. The benefits come from lower transaction costs online, increased efficiency, and access to new markets. The smallest of vendors can join online marketplaces to increase their sales, while larger companies can use the Internet to join global value chains (GVCs), and the largest e-commerce providers are now among the most valuable companies in the world.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Science and Technology, World Trade Organization, Digital Economy, Economic growth, Free Trade
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Switzerland, Global Focus
  • Author: Daniel F. Runde, Romina Bandura
  • Publication Date: 01-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The U.S. Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) is a small independent federal agency whose mission is to help American “companies create U.S. jobs through the export of U.S. goods and services for priority development projects in emerging economies.” USTDA links American businesses to export opportunities in emerging markets by funding activities such as project preparation and partnership building in sectors including transportation, energy, and telecommunications. Since it was established 25 years ago, the agency has generated a total of $61 billion in U.S. exports and supported over 500,000 American jobs. In connecting American business to such opportunities, USTDA also links American technology’s best practices and ingenuity with U.S. trade and development policy priorities. USTDA is an instrument to enable American-led infrastructure development in emerging economies and, therefore, frequently sees increasing competition from government-backed Chinese firms and the challenge they can pose to American commercial engagement under the flag of One Belt, One Road (OBOR). OBOR is paving the way for Chinese engineering, procurement, and construction companies to prepare and develop infrastructure projects in OBOR countries in a way that favors Chinese standards, thereby exerting significant pressure to select Chinese suppliers. This creates a potentially vicious cycle—the more China builds, the faster their standards become the international norm, and, ultimately, this cycle could foreclose export opportunities for U.S. businesses and harm American competitiveness in global infrastructure development. U.S. exporters are increasingly requesting USTDA intervention at the pivotal, early stages of a project’s development, to compete in markets, such as the OBOR countries, where they frequently face Chinese competition. Of note, 40 percent of USTDA’s activities in 2016 were in OBOR countries across South and Southeast Asia, Central Asia, the Middle East, and Africa. Although there are other agencies that may seem to do work similar to USTDA, there are various aspects that make it a unique agency. This paper provides a brief description of USTDA, its origin and evolution, the impact on the U.S. economy and its proactive collaboration across U.S agencies. Finally, it offers a set of recommendations for USTDA on how to improve its operations and strengthen its role in the developing world.
  • Topic: Development, Energy Policy, Communications, Infrastructure, Trade, Transportation
  • Political Geography: Africa, United States, Middle East, Asia, North America
  • Author: James Michel
  • Publication Date: 01-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: “Fragility”—the combination of poor governance, limited institutional capability, low social cohesion, and weak legitimacy—leads to erosion of the social contract and diminished resilience, with significant implications for peace, security, and sustainable development. This study reviews how the international community has responded to this challenge and offers new ideas on how that response can be improved. Based on that examination, the author seeks to convey the importance of addressing this phenomenon as a high priority for the international community. Chapters explore the nature of these obstacles to sustainable development, peace, and security; how the international community has defined, measured, and responded to the phenomenon of fragility; how the international response might be made more effective; and implications for the United States.
  • Topic: Development, Governance, Fragile States, Social Cohesion
  • Political Geography: United States, Global Focus
  • Author: Reid Hamel
  • Publication Date: 02-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Social protection programming, such as cash transfers and vouchers provided at the individual or household level, has become increasingly prominent as a tool to combat food insecurity worldwide. Advantages of a social protection approach include the ability to target and reach the most vulnerable segments of society and to provide direct support for basic needs without reliance on complex causal pathways.The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) invests relatively little in social protection despite its flagship initiative, Feed the Future, which seeks to mitigate food insecurity and to reduce the prevalence of stunting in 12 countries (formerly in 19). Ghana’s LEAP (Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty) program represents an exception to the U.S. investment pattern. In partnership with UNICEF, USAID/Ghana has made noteworthy investments in the expansion of the LEAP cash transfer program to add a new eligible group of beneficiaries: pregnant women and children under one year old. The intention to intervene during pregnancy and the first year of life is motivated by a growing understanding that good nutrition during this window is critical to physical and cognitive health and human development outcomes that last a lifetime. This report explores the development of Ghana’s LEAP program since 2008; its current coverage, successes, and challenges; and opportunities for both the government of Ghana and donor partners to spearhead continuous improvements for program outcomes and resource efficiency.
  • Topic: Development, Poverty, Social Policy, Development Aid
  • Political Geography: Africa, United States, North America, Ghana
  • Author: Edward M. Gabriel
  • Publication Date: 03-2018
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Ambassador's Review
  • Institution: Council of American Ambassadors
  • Abstract: Twenty years ago, I arrived in Morocco as the new U.S. Ambassador. It was the beginning of a close-up view of the changes going on in Morocco for the next two decades. During my first meeting with King Hassan II, shortly after my arrival, he wasted no time in addressing Morocco’s agenda with the United States, challenging me on our nation’s positions, especially in regard to his Kingdom’s existential issue regarding sovereignty over the Sahara. This unexpected candid and warm exchange set the tone for regular meetings throughout my tenure during which concerns and grievances were voiced in private, rather than aired publicly. King Mohammed VI would continue this practice with me after his father’s death. My first few months in the country also coincided with the beginning of the first government of Alternance, led by opposition leader Abderrahmane El Youssoufi—a watershed moment for Morocco that many political analysts mark as the beginning of significant democratic reform and economic liberalization in Morocco after years of a strong-armed approach to governing and limited civil rights. Abderrahmane El Youssoufi, whose political activities had previously resulted in two years in jail and then 15 years of exile, became Prime Minister after his party, the Socialist Union of Popular Forces (USFP), won the most seats in the November 1997 elections. Since then, the international community has confirmed Moroccan elections as occurring in a fair and transparent manner. In 1998, the unemployment rate in the country was 17 percent and growing, with youths making up a disproportionate percentage of the population. Women lacked equal rights with men. The percentage of the population living at or below the poverty line for lower middle-income countries was around 28 percent, and more than half of the entire adult population was illiterate, with rates among rural women much higher. Electricity in the country reached only around 60 percent of the population, and almost a quarter did not have access to potable water. Infant mortality rates were 23 percent higher than the regional average, and maternal mortality ratios were nearly double the regional average. Overall, the micro-economic picture was in dire shape. The economy was too dependent on agriculture, accounting for 20 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) and heavily reliant on rainfall. Infrastructure was lacking throughout the country, and environmental degradation was widely apparent throughout the cities and the countryside, presenting a challenge to the growth of tourism. Of particular note, the northern part of Morocco was completely neglected after a series of militant actions created an irreparable rift between King Hassan and his citizens there. In contrast to the micro-economic indicators, by 1998 King Hassan had established a strong macro-economic climate: a low ratio of debt to GDP, a low budget deficit and an open, competitive economic system. He adopted International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank reforms that, had Morocco been a member of the European Union, would have qualified it for inclusion in the Monetary Union. Upon his death in 1999, King Hassan left the country unified, with a very strong nationalistic belief in country and King, a reasonably performing economy and, most important, with a solid commitment in its support for U.S. objectives regarding counterterrorism and economic openness, and in promoting peace in the Middle East. Twenty years later, where is Morocco today? Where is it headed tomorrow?
  • Topic: Agriculture, Development, Diplomacy, Education, Democracy, Decentralization , IMF
  • Political Geography: Africa, United States, North Africa, Morocco
  • Author: Benjamin Selwyn
  • Publication Date: 06-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Global Political Economy, University of Sussex
  • Abstract: Global Value Chain (GVC) analysis is part and parcel of mainstream development discourse and policy. Supplier firms are encouraged, with state support, to ‘link-up’ with trans-national lead firms. Such arrangements, it is argued, will reduce poverty and contribute to meaningful socio-economic development. This portrayal of global political economic relations represents a ‘problem-solving’ interpretation of reality. This article proposes an alternative analytical approach rooted in ‘critical theory’ which reformulates the GVC approach to better investigate and explain the reproduction of global poverty, inequality and divergent forms of national development. It suggests re-labelling GVC as Global Poverty Chain (GPC) analysis. GPC’s are examined in the textiles, food, and high-tech sectors. The article details how workers in these chains are systematically paid less than their subsistence costs, how trans-national corporations use their global monopoly power to capture the lion’s share of value created within these chains, and how these relations generate processes of immiserating growth. The article concludes by considering how to extend GPC analysis.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, International Political Economy, Labor Issues, Inequality, Global Political Economy
  • Political Geography: United States, Eastern Europe, Asia
  • Author: Samuel Appleton
  • Publication Date: 10-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Global Political Economy, University of Sussex
  • Abstract: The Bretton Woods conference is conventionally understood as a radical break between the laissez faire order and its ‘embedded liberal’ successor, in which finance was suppressed in the interest of trade and productive growth. The new institutions, particularly the IBRD are often considered emblematic of this. In response to this, the paper argues that the Bretton Woods order required the enlistment, not repression, of private American finance. Firstly, laissez-faire era proposals for international financial institutions provided important precedents for the Bretton Woods institutions. Second, these were predicated on the uniquely deep liquidity of American financial markets following upon Progressive-era reforms, in the legacy of which the Roosevelt administration sought to locate the New Deal. Thirdly, they found new relevance in the 1940s as the IBRD turned by necessity to American financial markets for operating capital. Negotiating the imperative of commercial creditworthiness had two important consequences. First, it entailed the structural and procedural transformation of the IBRD, and allowed management to carve out a proprietary terrain in which its agency was decisive. Second, this suggests that US agendas were mediated by the Bank’s institutional imperatives – and that finance was no more ‘embedded’ during the Bretton Woods era than its predecessor.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, World Bank, Global Markets, International Development, Global Political Economy
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Latin America
  • Author: Andrew Shaver
  • Publication Date: 05-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Empirical Studies of Conflict Project (ESOC)
  • Abstract: The unemployed are often inculpated in the production of violence during conflict. A simple yet common argument describes these individuals as disaffected and inclined to perpetrate affectively motivated violence. A second holds that they are drawn to violent political organizations for lack of better outside options. Yet, evidence in support of a general positive relationship between unemployment and violence during conflict is not established. Drawing from a large body of psychological research, I argue that a basic but important relationship has been overlooked: Loss of employment, rather than rendering individuals angry, increases feelings of depression, anxiety, helplessness, and belief in the power of others. Members of this segment of society are more likely than most to reject the use of violence. Drawing on previously unreleased data from a major, multi-million dollar survey effort carried out during the Iraq war, I uncover evidence that psychological findings carry to conflict settings: unemployed Iraqis were consistently less optimistic than other citizens; displayed diminished perceptions of efficacy; and were much less likely to support the use of violence against Coalition forces.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Development, Labor Issues, Conflict, Violence, War on Terror, Quantitative
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Middle East
  • Author: Sara Z. Poggio
  • Publication Date: 01-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Political Science Quarterly
  • Institution: Academy of Political Science
  • Abstract: In this insightful study, Rebecca M. Callahan and Chandra Muller show the importance of the national educational system of the United States in the social and civic integration of children of immigrants—one of the fastest­ growing segments of the U.S. population. The relevance of education, and public education in particular, has been highlighted, as mentioned by the authors, in the education program “No Child Left Behind,” initiated by President George W. Bush in 2001 and in “Race to the Top.” one of several programs initiated by the administration of Barack Obama. - See more at: http://www.psqonline.org/article.cfm?IDArticle=19338#sthash.ik0TWfYQ.dpuf
  • Topic: Development, Education, Politics, Immigration
  • Political Geography: United States, America