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  • Publication Date: 11-2000
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Agency for International Development
  • Abstract: The Second International Conference on Legislative Strengthening took place in Wintergreen, Virginia from June 5-8, 2000. Some 165 people participated in the conference. USAID democracy officers, implementing partners, and host-country legislators and staff each accounted for about a quarter of those attending, with the remaining quarter consisting of representatives from other international donors, academics, and other interested parties. The participants hailed from some 30 nations, including many from Africa. Approximately 65 speakers, panelists, and moderators participated in the conference sessions. The conference agenda is included as an appendix of this report.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Democratization, Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Publication Date: 01-2000
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: U.S. Economic Statistics Briefing Room
  • Abstract: The Division of Science Resources Studies (SRS) of the National Science Foundation publishes the biennial report, National Patterns of R Resources. This report describes and analyzes current patterns of research and development (R) in the United States, in relation to the historical record and the reported R levels of other industrialized countries. For years in which the full report is not produced, current, annual statistics on national and international R trends are released in data updates like this one.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, Science and Technology
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: William D. Hartung
  • Publication Date: 08-1999
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: The defense and foreign aid budgets are the largest single source of government funding for private corporations. More than half of U.S. weapons sales are now being financed by taxpayers instead of foreign arms purchasers. During fiscal year 1996 (the last year for which full statistics are available), the government spent more than $7.9 billion to help U.S. companies secure just over $12 billion in agreements for new international arms sales. The annual $7.9 billion in subsidies includes taxpayer-backed loans, grants, and government promotional activities that help U.S. weapons makers sell their products to foreign customers. Also, the provision of low-cost facilities and extensive subsidies for research and development and mergers and acquisitions to major contractors fosters a “risk-free” environment in which weapons makers have little economic incentive to produce effective systems at affordable prices. Furthermore, a portion of the $120 billion the Pentagon spends each year on contracts with U.S. defense contractors is being wasted on defense pork—that is, redundant or unneeded weapons systems. Such subsidies and spending for defense pork can interfere with the fulfillment of legitimate security needs.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, Arms Control and Proliferation, Climate Change, Government, Industrial Policy
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Kurt Schuler, George A. Selgin
  • Publication Date: 06-1999
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: On August 17, 1998, Russia devalued the ruble and stopped payment on its government debt, creating a financial crisis that continues today. Some observers have blamed the financial crisis, and the poor performance of the Russian economy generally, on government policies that they claim are rigidly laissez faire. However, a closer look at the Russian financial system reveals that it remains fundamentally socialist, though it has superficial capitalist features.
  • Topic: Debt, Economics, Government, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Asia
  • Author: L. Jacobo Rodriguez
  • Publication Date: 04-1999
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: The privatization of Mexico's government-run pay-as-you-go social security system, which went into effect in July 1997, is the Ernesto Zedillo administration's most important structural reform. It is a measure that, if successful, will help bring much-needed social and economic stability. The Mexican peso crisis of 1994–95 underscore d the fragility of Mexico's economy, its need for independent institutions, and its need for a large pool of long-term domestic savings. An increase in the rate of private savings in Mexico, which this reform will promote, would make the Mexican economy less dependent on short-term fluctuations of international capital flows and, thus, more stable. More important still, the privatization of social security will erect one of the basic pillars of a free society by turning Mexico into a country of property-owning workers.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, International Political Economy, Privatization
  • Political Geography: Latin America, Mexico
  • Author: Ann M. Florini, Jessica Tuchman Mathews, Vipin Gupta, William Stoney, Robert Osterhout, Ray A. Williamson, John Pike, Allen Hammond, Anthony Janetos, John Baker, Adam Bernstein, Sarah A. Mullen, Kevin M. O'Connell, Daniel Dubno, Steven Livingston, Karen DeYoung, Barbara Cochran, John Barker, Daniel Schorr, Jan M. Lodal
  • Publication Date: 05-1999
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: We at Carnegie believe that it is beyond question that we are living in a world of very fundamental change in the meaning and the relevance of national borders; in the relationship of governments, not so much to each other, but to other entities that are capable of governance, particularly internationally and especially private business and non–governmental organizations; and even to the meaning of national sovereignty. All that is the premise that underlies a major thrust of our work here in the Global Policy Program. It is also pretty clear to us that a principal, if not the principal, driving force of this change is the information and communication revolution and the accompanying mass of information, in its new form, that we are coming to call transparency as a political phenomenon. We also think that there are pretty good reasons to believe that the advent of high resolution commercial imagery is going to be another quantum leap in this revolution. And so it was natural for us to think that it would be useful to try to organize a meeting where we could examine the possibilities and the consequence of this emerging technology in some detail, both with respect to the implications for particular sectors? national security, environment, human rights, et cetera? but equally with respect to the effects on governance on political relationships, on difficulties or advantages that will be posed on the relationships between governments and media as well as other non–governmental actors. All of these issues, as you can see from the program, are on the agenda today.
  • Topic: International Relations, Security, Government, Science and Technology
  • Political Geography: America
  • Author: Joel Peters, Becky Kook
  • Publication Date: 08-1999
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: On 17 May 1999 Ehud Barak secured a stunning victory in the Israeli elections, defeating incumbent Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu with a majority of almost 400,000 and gaining slightly over 56 per cent of all the votes cast. While polls in the days immediately prior to the election had signalled Netanyahu\'s defeat, no one had anticipated such a landslide victory. After three turbulent years of Likud government, Barak\'s election slogan \'Israel wants a change\' clearly captured Israeli public disillusion with Netanyahu, who lost the trust and support of voters throughout the country.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Government, Peace Studies, Politics
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel
  • Author: Walt Patterson
  • Publication Date: 08-1999
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: As governments around the world liberalize their electricity systems, they are overturning the guiding principles that have shaped electricity for the past century. Yet they continue to regard electricity as a public service. The consequent inconsistencies and contradictions are already evident, and intensifying. This Briefing Paper outlines the implications. It is based on a research project now under way in the Energy and Environmental Programme, entitled Keeping the Lights On: Public Service in Liberalized Electricity. For details please see the back page.
  • Topic: Energy Policy, Government
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: David Bright
  • Publication Date: 06-1999
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: One of the most interesting consequences of the development of the European Union has been the stimulus it has given in recent years to the rediscovery of region within European states. As the supra-state functions of the European institutions in Brussels have burgeoned and the intrinsic sovereignty of the state in Europe has declined, so regions have acquired an ever greater social and political significance. Of course, in some cases, the state was traditionally federal in nature—as with Germany\'s Länder system—and, politically at least, regional aspirations have been satisfied. In the past two decades, however, regional aspirations have expanded into social and cultural spheres that require a new, defined political context. Even in such long-established states as the United Kingdom, such pressures now have to be acknowledged as sub-state factors enter into the complex array of political elements that go to make up the contemporary Union. In this context the Spanish experience is illuminating, both in the way it demonstrates how such tendencies should be accommodated and in the way in which regional populations respond. It is, in fact, a paradigm for a development that will become inevitable and universal as the power of the state declines within the wider structures of contemporary \'Euroland\'.
  • Topic: Government, Religion
  • Political Geography: Europe, Germany
  • Author: Giovanni Cornia
  • Publication Date: 04-1999
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Well before the introduction of adjustment-related Social Funds (SFs), many developing countries had developed a variety of safety nets comprising food subsidies, nutrition interventions, employment-based schemes and targeted transfers. Middle-income and a few low-income countries had also achieved extensive coverage in the field of social insurance. In countries committed to fighting poverty, these programmes absorbed considerable resources (2-5 per cent of GDP, excluding social insurance) and had a large impact on job creation, income support and nutrition: for instance, in 1983, Chile's public works programme absorbed 13 per cent of the labour force. Their ability to expand quickly depended on a permanent structure of experienced staff, good portfolios of projects, clear management rules, adequate allocation of domestic resources, supply-driven execution and, with the exception of food subsidies, fairly good targeting.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Development, Government
  • Political Geography: Africa, United States, South Asia, South America, Latin America, Central America, Caribbean, Chile