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  • Author: Yehuda Shaffer, Stefan D. Cassella
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Georgetown Journal of International Affairs
  • Abstract: In the past few years, a number of European banks have been implicated in money laundering scandals in countries such as Cyprus, Malta, Latvia, and, most recently, Scandinavia. Although European and international voices are putting pressure to take further action by all including the banks against this, the issue continues to emerge in the continent. In this short article, we attempt to explain this trend and how might it be resolved.
  • Topic: Crime, Economics, Finance, Business , Financial Crimes, Banks, Currency
  • Political Geography: Russia, Soviet Union, Latvia, Scandinavia, Cyprus, Malta
  • Author: David Smith
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Georgetown Journal of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Civilian governance in Pakistan has never lasted longer than eleven years. 2019 is the eleventh year since General Pervez Musharraf resigned the presidency and fears of a coup may exist, but one is not probable—at least not in the near-term future. In fact, two recent Chiefs of Army Staff (COAS)—Generals Kayani and Raheel in 2009 and 2014, respectively—considered taking, but decided not to take, direct control of the government. These decisions demonstrate that military rule is no longer necessary because the Army has already attained its major goals of de facto control of the country’s nuclear and missile programs, key foreign relationships, the military budget, and national security decision-making. In effect, the military has achieved what I have previously termed a “coup-less coup.” Instead of the traditionally fraught civil-military relationship, it seems that, for the first time in Pakistan’s turbulent history, the government and military agree on the three major issues facing Pakistan: domestic politics, the economy, and India. However, key variables, such as economic stability, could quickly change the course of this relationship.
  • Topic: Security, Economics, Governance, Conflict, Civilians, Military Government
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, South Asia, India
  • Author: Michael A. Carrier
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Georgetown Journal of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Big Tech is in the news. At the center of our political and economic dialogue is the effect that Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google have on our lives and what, if anything, governments should do about it. In this article, I explain how Big Tech has come under scrutiny, the antitrust implications of the industry’s behavior, and the potential remedy of breaking up the companies.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, Science and Technology, Regulation, Internet, Social Media, Business
  • Political Geography: Global Focus, United States of America
  • Author: Oula A. Alrifai
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Besides highlighting Assad’s financial mismanagement, the recent unrest gives the international community a genuine opportunity to push for transition while bolstering the more prosperous local administration in the northeast. Since mid-January, shop owners, government employees, students, and even children have been gathering in the streets of various Syrian communities to express their frustration with the Assad regime’s economic policies and untruths. Although the protests remain small for now, the fact that they have persistently carried on in the middle of regime-controlled territory highlights Bashar al-Assad’s potential vulnerability on these issues. In Suwayda, a Druze-majority province in the south, residents have protested the sharp drop in the value of the Syrian pound/lira and the deteriorating economic situation in general. In the central-western town of Salamiya, protestors were seen chanting “we want to live.” And in the Suwayda town of Shahba, demonstrators raised loaves of bread in the air while openly criticizing Bouthaina Shaaban, Assad’s political and media advisor. The latter protest was partly spurred by a recent interview on the pro-Assad television network al-Mayadeen, where Shaaban not only claimed that the country’s current economy is “fifty times better than what it was in 2011,” but also declared that “Syrians are self-sufficient in everything.” In response, protestors sarcastically noted that her comments referred to her own household’s economy, not Syria’s. Elsewhere, former agriculture minister Nour al-Din Manna described Shaaban’s remarks about the war-torn country as “hard to believe,” and a closer look at the country’s finances supports this disbelief.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Economics, Syrian War, Currency
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Lebanon, Syria, United States of America
  • Author: Judit Fabian
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Urban Institute
  • Abstract: International trade is often framed in starkly divergent terms: either countries choose multilateral trade agreements (MTAs) and advance the cause of global economic liberalization, or they choose preferred trade agreements (PTAs) and put the entire system at risk. Canada has a long track record of pursuing PTAs and with the Trump administration’s opposition to multilateralism, and longstanding opposition in elements of the Republican and Democratic parties, this trend will likely continue. The question is whether progress will come at the expense of the global trade system. Some economists believe PTAs to be trade-diverting, reducing trade with more efficient producers outside the agreement. Others insist that PTAs can create trade by shifting production to lower-cost producers in one of the participating countries. One prominent contrary argument holds that PTAs lead to discontinuities in tariff regimes between countries and regions, increasing transaction costs, disrupting supply chains, creating opportunities for corruption and harming global welfare, especially in developing nations. While debate continues about the effects of PTAs, a closer examination suggests that worries are overblown about their negative impacts on global trade flows. Evidence indicates that they support rather than harm the international trading system. Countries shut out of PTAs are more motivated to seek out agreements in new markets, increasing liberalization overall. They may also seek a reduction in most-favoured nation (MFN) tariffs, which would deprive PTAs of their major tariff benefits. Studies have found complementarity between preferential and MFN tariffs, revealing that PTAs promote external trade liberalization. Even if a PTA reduces a given country’s incentive to push for multilateral liberalization, it raises the odds of that country liberalizing its trade to avoid getting left behind. PTAs are a response to the difficulties of securing sweeping multilateral agreements. The World Trade Organization (WTO) Agreements authorize them under GATT Article XXIV, GATS Article V, and the enabling clause, and the WTO facilitates a degree of governance over PTAs through its dispute settlement process. Over the past 25 years, countries have adopted these deals at a rapid pace. Between 1994 and 2005, the number of PTAs increased from 50 to 200. By April 2018, 336 were in effect. At the same time, global trade has increased significantly. Between 1994 and 2010, the volume of world merchandise exports more than doubled. The proliferation of PTAs has resulted in a rise in international trade governance, because the countries involved shape their relationships in line with the WTO agreements. This juridification makes PTAs subordinate to the international system rather than giving them room to dissolve it. Canada should therefore have no fear of pursuing PTAs within the larger framework of the effort to achieve multilateral trade liberalization.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Governance, Trade, Donald Trump
  • Political Geography: Canada, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Sujata Ashwarya
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Georgetown University Press
  • Abstract: Despite substantial efforts and investments in rebuilding Iraq’s infrastructure since the overthrow of Saddam Hussein in 2003, the country is still struggling to deliver on public services. Years of destruction in conflict, as well as alleged mismanagement and neglect, have taken a heavy toll on the country’s power infrastructure. Severe power cuts and rolling blackouts are endemic in Iraq today. Between 2014 and 2018, Islamic State terrorism inflicted billions of dollars in damage on the already dilapidated electricity infrastructure, causing a cumulative potential and actual loss of a whopping 7GW in generation and transmission capacities.
  • Topic: Economics, Energy Policy, Infrastructure, Business , Conflict, Services, Electricity
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Iran, Middle East
  • Author: Rawi Abdelal, Aurélie Bros
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Institut français des relations internationales (IFRI)
  • Abstract: Sanctions have become the dominant tool of statecraft of the United States and other Western states, especially the European Union, since the end of the Cold War. But the systematic use of this instrument may produce unintended and somewhat paradoxical geopolitical consequences. The sanctions imposed on the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Russian Federation in the field of energy are particularly illustrative of this phenomenon.
  • Topic: Economics, Energy Policy, Sanctions, Geopolitics, Secondary Sanctions, Transatlantic Relations
  • Political Geography: Russia, Iran, Middle East, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Trevon Logan, Peter Temin
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute for New Economic Thinking (INET)
  • Abstract: This paper records the path by which African Americans were transformed from enslaved persons in the American economy to partial participants in the progress of the economy. The path was not monotonic, and we organize our tale by periods in which inclusiveness rose and fell. The history we recount demonstrates the staying power of the myth of black inferiority held by a changing white majority as the economy expanded dramatically. Slavery was outlawed after the Civil War, and blacks began to participate in American politics en masse for the first time during Reconstruction. This process met with white resistance, and black inclusion in the growing economy fell as the Gilded Age followed and white political will for black political participation faded. The Second World War also was followed by prosperity in which blacks were included more fully into the white economy, but still not completely. The Civil Rights Movement proved no more durable than Reconstruction, and blacks lost ground as the 20th century ended in the growth of a New Gilded Age. Resources that could be used to improve the welfare of whites and blacks continue to be spent on the continued repressions of blacks.
  • Topic: Economics, Race, History, Capitalism, Slavery
  • Political Geography: United States, Global Focus
  • Author: Tchinda Kamdem Eric Joel, Kamdem Cyrille Bergaly
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: African Economic Research Consortium (AERC)
  • Abstract: Cameroonian farmers face two tenure systems: a modern regime and a customary regime. These two regimes are perpetually confronting each other, putting farmers in a total uncertainty as to the regime to adopt to ensure the sustainability of their ventures. This study aims to assess the influence of land tenure security on agricultural productivity through credit access. To achieve this goal, a two-stage sampling technique was applied to data from the third Cameroon Household Survey (ECAM 3). The number of farmers selected for the analysis was 602. These data were analysed using descriptive and three-step recursive regression models. The results of the analysis reveal that land tenure security improves agricultural productivity through the credit access it allows. A proof of the robustness of this result has been provided through discussion of the effects of land tenure security in different agro-ecological zones and through a distinction between cash crops and food crops. The overall results confirm that land tenure security positively and significantly influences agricultural productivity. The regression has also shown that the size of the farm defined in one way or another, the perception of farmers on their level of land tenure security and therefore indicates the intensity with which land tenure security influences agricultural productivity. The recorded productivity differential indicates that smallholder farmers, because they keep small farms, feel safer and produce more than those who keep medium-sized farms. The results also show that land tenure security significantly improves the value of production per hectare of food products that are globally imported into Cameroon. Therefore, we recommend that the public authorities promote land tenure security by reinforcing the unassailable and irrevocable nature of land title, but also by easing the conditions of access to it.
  • Topic: Agriculture, Development, Economics, International Political Economy, Economic structure, Economic Policy
  • Political Geography: Africa, Cameroon
  • Author: Lewis Landry Gakpa
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: African Economic Research Consortium (AERC)
  • Abstract: The aim of this study is to examine the consequences of interaction between political instability and foreign direct investment (FDI) on economic growth of 31 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa in order to analyse one of the channels through which political instability affects economic growth. To achieve this objective, the study relies on a dynamic panel procedure and the Three Stage Least Squares Method to estimate a model of simultaneous equations over the period 1984-2015. The empirical results indicate that political instability affects economic growth directly and indirectly through its impact on foreign direct investment. We also highlight the simultaneous character of the relationship between political instability and the level of economic development in Sub-Saharan African countries. The results of the study then corroborate the idea that political instability hinders growth and thus calls for measures to improve the quality of political climate, which is one of the conditions necessary for a country’s economy to benefit from foreign direct investment.
  • Topic: Economics, Foreign Direct Investment, Political stability, Economic Policy, Macroeconomics
  • Political Geography: Africa, South Africa, Angola, Namibia, Botswana
  • Author: Kouassi Yeboua
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: African Economic Research Consortium (AERC)
  • Abstract: For a long time, the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU) countries have been experiencing persistently high budget and current deficits. This study was undertaken to empirically test the “Twin Deficits Hypothesis” in these countries. The analysis was conducted within the framework of the Panel Vector autoregressive (VAR) approach over the period 1975–2013. In contrast to the conventional view which claims a one-way relationship between budget and current account deficits, the results show that budget deficits lead to a deterioration in the current account balance, and vice versa (bilateral relationship). We also found that budget deficits have an impact on current account balance mainly through imports.
  • Topic: Economics, Monetary Policy, Budget, Economic Policy, Macroeconomics
  • Political Geography: Africa, West Africa
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: African Economic Research Consortium (AERC)
  • Abstract: This study sets out to estimate the determinants of household economic wellbeing and to evaluate the relative contributions of regressed-income sources in explaining measured inequality. In particular, a regression-based decomposition approach informed by the Shapley value, the instrumental variables econometric method, and the 2007 Cameroon household consumption survey, was used. This approach provides a flexible way to accommodate variables in a multivariate context. The results indicate that the household stock of education, age, credit, being bilingual, radio and electricity influence wellbeing positively, while rural, land and dependency had a negative impact on wellbeing. Results also show that rural, credit, bilingualism, education, age, dependency and land, in that order, are the main contributors to measured income inequality, meanwhile, the constant term, media and electricity are inequality reducing. These findings have policy implications for the ongoing drive to scale down both inequality and poverty in Cameroon.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Poverty, Inequality, Economic Inequality, Economic Policy
  • Political Geography: Africa, Cameroon
  • Author: Ebaidalla M. Ebaidalla
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: African Economic Research Consortium (AERC)
  • Abstract: Despite the importance of non-farm income in the livelihood of the rural population in Sudan, information available on its size and determinants is scanty. This study examined the patterns and determinants of decisions to participate in non-farm activities in rural Sudan. It also investigates whether the determinants of participation in non-farm activities vary across agriculture sub-sectors and income groups as well as among males and females. The data for this study was sourced from the Sudanese National Baseline Household Survey (NBHS) conducted by Sudan’s Central Bureau of Statistics in 2009. The results show that non-farm income is a crucial source of livelihood, contributing about 43% to household income in rural Sudan. The results of multinomial logit and probit estimation methods indicate that educational level, mean of transportation, lack of land and lack of access to formal credit are the most significant factors that push rural farmers to participate in non-farm activities. Surprisingly, the effect of household income was positive and significant, implying that individuals from rich households have higher opportunity to engage in non-farm activities compared to their poor counterparts. Moreover, the analysis revealed some symptoms of gender and location disparities in the effect of factors that influence participation in non-farm activities. The study concluded with some recommendations that aim to enhance the engagement in non-farm activities as an important diversification strategy to complement the role of the agriculture sector in improving rural economy in Sudan.
  • Topic: Agriculture, Development, Economics, Rural
  • Political Geography: Sudan
  • Author: Reuben Adeolu Alabi, Oshobugie Ojor Adams
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: African Economic Research Consortium (AERC)
  • Abstract: This study examined the impacts of the e-wallet fertilizer subsidy scheme on quantity of fertilizer use, crop output and yield in Nigeria. The study made use of the Nigeria General Household Survey (GHS)-Panel Datasets of 2010/2011 and 2012/2013 which contain 5,000 farming households in each of the panel. We applied relevant evaluation techniques to analyse the data. The results of the impact analysis demonstrate that the scheme has generally increased the yield, crop output and quantity of fertilizer purchase of the participating farmers by 38%, 47%, and 16%, respectively. The study concludes that increased productivity, which the scheme engenders, can help to reduce food insecurity in Nigeria. Provision of rural infrastructure, such as good road network, accessibility to mobile phones, radio, etc., will increase accessibility of the small-scale farmers to the scheme or any other similar agricultural schemes in Nigeria.
  • Topic: Agriculture, Development, Economics, Income Inequality, Economic growth, Rural
  • Political Geography: Africa, Niger
  • Author: Dongue Ndongo Patrick Revelli
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: African Economic Research Consortium (AERC)
  • Abstract: Understanding how domestic prices adjust to the exchange rate enables us to anticipate the effects on inflation and monetary policy responses. This study examines the extent of the exchange rate pass-through to the Consumer Price Index in Cameroon and Kenya over the 1991-2013 period. The results of its econometric analysis shows that the degree of the exchange rate pass-through is incomplete and varied between 0.18 and 0.58 over one year in Kenya, while it varied between 0.53 and 0.89 over the same period in Cameroon. For the long term, it was found to be equal to 1.06 in Kenya and to 0.28 in Cameroon. A structural VAR analysis using impulse-response functions supported the results for the short term but found a lower degree of pass-through for the exchange rate shocks: 0.3125 for Kenya and 0.4510 for Cameroon. It follows from these results that the exchange rate movements remain a potentially important source of inflation in the two countries. Variance decomposition shows that the contribution of the exchange rate shocks is modest in the case of Kenya but significant in that of Cameroon.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Monetary Policy, Exchange Rate Policy, Economic Policy, Inflation
  • Political Geography: Kenya, Africa, Cameroon
  • Author: Albert Makochekanwa
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: African Economic Research Consortium (AERC)
  • Abstract: The main objective of the study was to investigate the impact of policy regulations on investments in mobile telecommunications network infrastructure in all the 15 member countries of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region. The research employed panel data econometrics to achieve its stated objective. Estimated results shows that the coefficient of gross domestic product (GDP) per capita is positive and statistically significant, implying that an increase in this variable results in increase in demand and this in turn motivates infrastructure investment in mobile telephone. The coefficient on the previous level of mobile telephone infrastructure investment variable (Invkt-1) was found to be positive and statistically significant. This means that there is a systematic positive association between the previous level of mobile telephone infrastructure investment and the current. The coefficient of the main variable of interest representing mandatory unbundling (Regkt) was found to be positive and statistically significant. This implies that, overall, mandatory unbundling access regulation boost infrastructure investment in mobile telecommunication. Regression estimates shows that the coefficient on one of the variable of interest, political constraint (POLCON) has a negative and statistically significant impact on determining the level of mobile telephone infrastructure investment in SADC countries. Whilst this result is against expectations, one possible explanation may be presence of high level of rent seeking behaviour.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Regulation, Economic growth, Economic Policy
  • Political Geography: Africa, South Africa
  • Author: Negou Kamga Vincent de Paul, Nda’chi Deffo Rodrigue
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: African Economic Research Consortium (AERC)
  • Abstract: Despite free basic vaccines administered by the Expanded Programme on Immunization (EPI), there is still a fairly high death rate of children aged 0-5 worldwide due to vaccine-preventable diseases. Sub-Saharan Africa is the most affected region due to low levels of vaccination. This study analyses the effect of birth order on the immunization status of children in Cameroon, considering the contribution of cultural, economic and community factors. To do this, it uses data from the Demographic and Health Surveys of 1991, 1998, 2004 and 2011 produced by the National Institute of Statistics with the support of UNFPA, UNICEF, the World Bank and USAID. The EPI module was administered to 3,350, 2,317, 8,125 and 25,524 children under five in 1991, 1998, 2004 and 2011, respectively. The multinomial probit model makes it possible to find that birth order has a negative and highly significant effect on the full and timely immunization of children under five and the impact increases with birth order. Moreover, the impact of birth order increases after adjusting for cultural factors. This increase indicates that, beyond the effect of birth order, cultural factors are at the root of prejudices leading to the abandonment of children. Considering children under two years of age, and vaccines taken during the first four months, the corresponding birth order effect points to the benefits of routine immunization and response campaigns in promoting immunization of children under five.
  • Topic: Economics, Health, Health Care Policy, Children
  • Political Geography: Africa, Cameroon
  • 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: Julia Pomares, María Belén Abdala
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for the Implementation of Public Policies for Equity and Growth (CIPPEC)
  • Abstract: We are living in an era of unprecedented changes. Mature democracies, emerging polities and the least electorally competitive countries are now facing new challenges in a globalized world. They are all dealing with technological breakthroughs, changes in global economic power, ageing populations and urbanization of their territories. Today’s picture shows that social inclusion seems to be an unfulfilled promise, and social cohesion is weakening. Some citizens are disenchanted, and political systems are having trouble adapting and responding to new demands. According to Edelman’s Trust Barometer (2017), one in every two countries does not have faith in the system, and we still do not know how this picture is going to evolve. In democracies, pro-democracy attitudes coexist with openness to nondemocratic forms of governance, such as rule by experts (49 per cent), strong leaders (26 per cent) or the military (24 per cent). This picture might be part of a transition period or indicating that polities are not being able to cope with some of the new challenges. It is why we need to think about the future of politics and how these trends will shape global governance in the next 10 to 20 years. Are political systems ready to govern a digital economy? How should political leaders evolve to address radical changes in an automated world? What will the consequences be for global governance and for the role of G20? This paper analyzes current global trends in domestic politics and the prospective scenarios on the future of politics. To do so, the paper presents a brief description on three forces we know will forge the future: technological breakthroughs, demographic changes and shifts in global economic power. Later, it turns to the uncertainty of the future. We live in nation states, so we first attempt to devise how these forces will shape domestic politics. We then look at global governance and the way these trends will impact upon it. The final stop of this journey is an analysis of the implications of these scenarios for the role of the G20.
  • Topic: Economics, International Cooperation, Governance, Democracy, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Bradley O. Babson
  • Publication Date: 04-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Georgetown Journal of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Since his first-annual New Year’s speech in 2012 setting North Korea’s policy priorities, Kim Jong Un has emphasized his commitment to economic development, notably promising his people that they will never have to tighten their belts again. The Byunjin policy of equally prioritizing economic development and security through nuclear and missile programs reflects Kim’s desire to assure regime stability by delivering broad-based economic development while establishing a security environment that deters external threats and potential domestic unrest. While United States policy has used sanctions and other pressures to stymie Kim’s ambitions, the Kim regime has nonetheless modestly furthered economic development and significantly advanced security through its nuclear and missile testing programs.
  • Topic: Security, Development, Economics, Human Rights, Sanctions
  • Political Geography: Asia, North Korea, North America, United States of America