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  • Author: Andrew Schwartz
  • Publication Date: 02-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: Why did Enron fail? The easy answer is that Enron was a fraud, a Ponzi scheme designed to enrich scoundrels. But beneath the off-balance sheet transactions and partnerships that have drawn such intense scrutiny, Enron's efforts to reduce complex products into tradable commodities represented one of the most promising ideas of the past twenty-five years. Enron's failure was due in part to a business strategy that regarded competitors as ruthless and uncompromising. That mentality led the company to reject the very real possibility that rivals could, working together, create the new markets that in turn would open up profit opportunities for all. Enron's brilliant vision of the New Economy didn't go far enough; it required a New Economy business model that emphasized cooperation among competitors.
  • Topic: Economics, Emerging Markets, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Jay Stowsky
  • Publication Date: 02-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: For a brief period in the early 1990's the U.S. Department of Defense pursued an R policy that was explicitly “dual-use,” funding projects aimed at simultaneously developing both military and civilian applications of the same underlying technologies. The policy emerged from more than a decade of bipartisan agitation in Congress and segments of the military-industrial establishment, spurred by a shared belief that more advanced technologies now “spun on” from civilian to military applications than “spun off” in the other direction (US Department of Defense, Office of the Undersecretary for Acquisition, 1987; Gansler, 1989; Alic et al., 1992; Stowsky 1992, 1999). With the end of the Cold War and mushrooming budget deficits constraining defense spending, Pentagon planners saw dual-use development as a strategy for improving efficiency and lowering costs as well as enhancing quality by enabling the construction of sophisticated weapons systems off a more integrated civil-military technology base (US Congress, Office of Technology Assessment, 1995; US Department of Defense, 1995).
  • Topic: Defense Policy, Economics, Science and Technology
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Ludger Helms
  • Publication Date: 10-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Minda de Gunzburg Center for European Studies, Harvard University
  • Abstract: In recent comparative works on the constitutional structures of contemporary liberal democracies, the United States and Germany have been grouped together as examples of democratic systems with an exceptionally high degree of “institutional pluralism”. In other typologies both countries have even been classified as “semisovereign democracies”. Whereas such classifications are of some use, especially in the field of public policy research, they fail to pay reasonable attention to the fundamental difference between parliamentary and presidential government that dominated the older literature on comparative political systems. As the comparative assessments offered in this paper suggest, the difference between parliamentary government and presidential government does not only constitute very different conditions of executive leadership in the core executive territory and at the level of executive-legislative relations, but has also a strong impact on the role and performance of the various “veto players” that characterize the political systems of the United States and Germany, and which are at the center of this paper.
  • Topic: Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Germany
  • Author: Martin Höpner
  • Publication Date: 08-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Minda de Gunzburg Center for European Studies, Harvard University
  • Abstract: This paper addresses the current discussion on links between party politics and production regimes. Why do German Social Democrats opt for more corporate governance liberalization than the CDU although, in terms of the distributional outcomes of such reforms, one would expect the situation to be reversed? I divide my analysis into three stages. First, I use the European Parliament's crucial vote on the European takeover directive in July 2001 as a test case to show that the left-right dimension does indeed matter in corporate governance reform, beside cross-class and cross-party nation-based interests. In a second step, by analyzing the party positions in the main German corporate governance reforms in the 1990s, I show that the SPD and the CDU behave “paradoxically” in the sense that the SPD favored more corporate governance liberalization than the CDU, which protected the institutions of “Rhenish,” “organized” capitalism. This constellation occurred in the discussions on company disclosure, management accountability, the power of banks, network dissolution, and takeover regulation. Third, I offer two explanations for this paradoxical party behavior. The first explanation concerns the historical conversion of ideas. I show that trade unions and Social Democrats favored a high degree of capital organization in the Weimar Republic, but this ideological position was driven in new directions at two watersheds: one in the late 1940s, the other in the late 1950s. My second explanation lies in the importance of conflicts over managerial control, in which both employees and minority shareholders oppose managers, and in which increased shareholder power strengthens the position of works councils.
  • Topic: Democratization, Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: Europe, Germany
  • Author: Niilo Kauppi
  • Publication Date: 07-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Minda de Gunzburg Center for European Studies, Harvard University
  • Abstract: Pierre Bourdieu's structural constructivist theory of politics offers powerful instruments for a critical analysis of political power. In this paper, I explore structural constructivism as a theory of politics and of European integration. By structural constructivism I refer to a mostly French research tradition that develops some of Bourdieu's theoretical tools. In European studies, social constructivism has provided an alternative to traditional approaches such as intergovernmentalism and neofunctionalism. Structural constructivism remedies some of the weaknesses of most versions of social constructivism, such as their diffuse conception of power and ideational notion of culture. This paper develops a structural constructivist approach that examines the European Union as a multileveled and polycentric emerging political field.
  • Topic: International Organization, Politics
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Iain Begg
  • Publication Date: 07-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Minda de Gunzburg Center for European Studies, Harvard University
  • Abstract: Although the launch of the euro went better than many expected, sluggish growth, persistent unemployment and growing disenchantment with key elements of the economic governance system have led to demands for change, especially in policy coordination. This paper examines the criticisms of economic policy in the EU and the mechanisms through which it is coordinated, and considers how the EMU policy system might be reformed. It points to problems and paradoxes in the way economic governance operates, notably those surrounding its ability to deliver a coherent policy mix that brings together monetary fiscal and supply-side policies. The paper concludes with a discussion of whether gouvernment économique might offer a way forward.
  • Topic: Economics, International Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Paul Magnette
  • Publication Date: 07-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Minda de Gunzburg Center for European Studies, Harvard University
  • Abstract: The European Convention, set up by the Heads of state and governments during the Laeken Summit of December 2001, was presented by its initiators as a means of strengthening the legitimacy of the EU. Is this a rhetorical argument of politicians, which could be explained by the intense electoral cycle of 2002- 2004? Or is there something, in the process of the Convention, that could change the nature of the EU constitution?
  • Topic: International Organization, Politics
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Pedro Tavares de Almeida, António Costa Pinto
  • Publication Date: 05-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Minda de Gunzburg Center for European Studies, Harvard University
  • Abstract: This paper provides an empirical analysis of the impact of regime changes in the composition and patterns of recruitment of the Portuguese ministerial elite throughout the last 150 years. The 'out-of-type', violent nature of most regime transformations accounts for the purges in and the extensive replacements of the political personnel, namely of the uppermost officeholders. In the case of Cabinet members, such discontinuities did not imply, however, radical changes in their social profile. Although there were some significant variations, a series of salient characteristics have persisted over time. The typical Portuguese minister is a male in his midforties, of middle-class origin and predominantly urban-born, highly educated and with a state servant background. The two main occupational contingents have been university professors - except for the First Republic (1910-26) - and the military, the latter having only recently been eclipsed with the consolidation of contemporary democracy. As regards career pathways, the most striking feature is the secular trend for the declining role of parliamentary experience, which the democratic regime did not clearly reverse. In this period, a technocratic background rather than political experience has been indeed the privileged credential for a significant proportion of ministers.
  • Topic: Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Dimitri A. Sotiropoulos, Dimitris Bourikos
  • Publication Date: 05-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Minda de Gunzburg Center for European Studies, Harvard University
  • Abstract: The study of Greek political elites used to be concentrated on parliamentary deputies. Ministerial elites were rarely studied. In this paper, we take a long-term view of the Greek ministerial elites, studying their socio-political profile from the mid-nineteenth century to the present. We find that this profile does not change so much with regime change, but instead follows political developments at certain time points within specific regime periods. At these points, new political leaders were ushered into power. Examples were Eleftherios Venizelos in 1911 and Andreas Papandreou in 1981. Changes in personnel were not accompanied by changes in geographical origin or professional outlook, which took much longer to effect. In the nineteenth century mainly landowners and state officials dominated cabinets. After the beginning of the twentieth century, however, liberal professions, particularly lawyers, were overrepresented among ministers. This pattern continued throughout the twentieth century. Both the predominance of lawyers and the changes in the profile of ministers over time are attributed to the type of state built in modern Greece, a clientelist, overcentralized and legalistic state which only recently has started its transformation, requiring a different, more modern type of politician.
  • Topic: Government, Nationalism, Politics
  • Political Geography: Europe, Greece
  • Author: Dean Baker, John Schmitt, Andrew Glyn
  • Publication Date: 05-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Minda de Gunzburg Center for European Studies, Harvard University
  • Abstract: In the last twenty five years, there has been a sharp divergence in trends in the unemployment rate among OECD countries, with some seeing much larger increases in unemployment than others. This divergence is usually explained by institutions that lead to labor market inflexibility – generous unemployment benefits, employment protections, and strong unions – in countries with high unemployment rates. This paper examines the evidence for this view. It shows that there is no simple bivariate relationship between standard measures of labor market institutions and unemployment rates across countries. It then critically examines several of the most often cited studies that support the labor market inflexibility view. It finds that these studies present relatively weak and to some extent contradictory support for the labor market inflexibility view. Finally, the paper presents the results of a set of tests designed to replicate some of the earlier multivariate analyses with more current data. These tests consistently fail to find robust evidence to support the labor market inflexibility view.
  • Topic: Economics, International Organization
  • Political Geography: Europe