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  • Author: Meelis Kitsing
  • Publication Date: 03-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: European Centre for International Political Economy (ECIPE)
  • Abstract: There isn’t one model for success in the digital future; there are many. Europe is now debating what policies that could help to power entrepreneurship and growth in Europe’s economy, and some are arguing that Europe should make itself technologically sovereign – independent from the big platforms from the US. This is not the right approach – partly because there cannot be just one model applied in Europe if it is to become more successful in technology and competitiveness. This briefing paper argues that is far more important for Europe to create a better environment for companies to experiment and discover with new business models, and to learn from the past platform success while they do so. That requires a much greater space for entrepreneurship and that the EU and national governments stay away from excessive regulations that strain new business growth. Europe can be a powerful region that shapes rules and standards globally – “the Brussels effect”. But that isn’t the future for Europe if it ensnares entrepreneurs in red tape – “the Brussels defect”.
  • Topic: International Political Economy, Digital Economy, Entrepreneurship, Economic Growth, Digital Policy
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe
  • Author: Kelsey Davenport, Daryl G. Kimball, Kingston Reif
  • Publication Date: 01-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Arms Control Association
  • Abstract: Upon taking office, the new presidential administration of Joseph Biden will confront a dizzying array of major challenges, not the least of which are related to the risks posed by the world’s most dangerous weapons. Tensions between the world’s nuclear-armed states are rising; the risk of nuclear use is growing; billions of dollars are being spent to replace and upgrade nuclear weapons; and key agreements that have kept nuclear competition in check are gone or are in serious jeopardy. The situation has been complicated by the neglect and poor policy choices of President Donald Trump and his administration. Over the past four years the Trump administration made nearly every nuclear policy challenge facing the United States worse. Fortunately, Biden has a long and distinguished track record when it comes to dealing with nuclear weapons-related security issues. Unlike his predecessor, Biden possesses a strong personal commitment to effective nuclear arms control, nonproliferation, and disarmament that dates back to his early days in the Senate and continued through his last days as vice-president under President Barack Obama. In this analysis we have outlined what we believe to be the five most important sets of nuclear weapons policy challenges and decisions that the new Biden administration will need to address in its first 100 days and beyond, along with recommendations for effectively dealing with each of these policy challenges: Reviving and Advancing the Nuclear Arms Control Enterprise Reducing U.S. Nuclear Weapons Excess Stabilizing the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action Jump-starting Denuclearization and Peace Diplomacy with North Korea Restoring U.S. Leadership on Multilateral Nonproliferation and Disarmament If pursued, these actions and decisions would make the United States and the world safer from the threats posed by nuclear weapons. These initial steps would also put the administration in a better position to pursue more lasting and far-reaching nuclear risk reduction and elimination initiatives over the next four years.
  • Topic: Arms Control and Proliferation, Diplomacy, Nuclear Weapons, Treaties and Agreements, Peace, Denuclearization, Joe Biden
  • Political Geography: United States, Global Focus
  • Author: Trita Parsi
  • Publication Date: 01-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft
  • Abstract: • Abandon dominance. For many of the United States’ security partners, even a dysfunctional Pax Americana is preferable to the compromises that a security architecture would inevitably entail. The preconditions for creating a successful security architecture can emerge only if the United States begins a military withdrawal from the Persian Gulf and credibly signals it no longer seeks to sustain hegemony. • Encourage regional dialogue, but let the region lead. The incoming Biden administration’s hint that it will seek an inclusive security dialogue in the Persian Gulf is a welcome first step toward shifting the burden of security to the regional states themselves. For such an effort to be successful, the United States should play a supporting role while urging regional states to take the lead. • Include other major powers. The regional dialogue should include the permanent members of the United Nations Security Council and major Asian powers with a strong interest in stability in the Persian Gulf. Including them can help dilute Washington’s and Beijing’s roles while protecting the region from inter–Asian rivalries in the future.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, National Security, United Nations, Military Strategy, Hegemony, Military Affairs, Grand Strategy
  • Political Geography: United States, Iran, Persian Gulf
  • Author: Joshua R. Itzkowitz Shifrinson
  • Publication Date: 01-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft
  • Abstract: Despite the Biden administration’s push to revitalize U.S. alliances, U.S. relations with NATO are due for a reset. The United States should incentivize European members of NATO to take on additional responsibilities for their defense. Encouraging the European allies to take initiative will help the United States focus on its other domestic and international priorities and may facilitate improving relations with Russia. This approach will also prove attractive to European states concerned about the future direction of U.S. foreign policy. Recalibrating the U.S. role in Europe would conform with the United States’ post–World War II efforts to stabilize European security — and stand as the fruit of Washington’s success in this regard.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, NATO, International Security, Military Strategy, Military Affairs, Alliance
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Global Focus
  • Author: Gordon Adams
  • Publication Date: 02-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft
  • Abstract: To meet today’s foreign policy challenges, the United States needs to end its overreliance on military superiority and intervention and instead put creative and persistent diplomacy in the lead to promote locally owned solutions to national, bilateral, and regional security issues and to address global challenges not amenable to military force. This rebalancing will not succeed if civilian statecraft is dysfunctional and unprepared. More funding and more diplomats will not solve this problem. What is needed is fundamental reform of structures, processes, and personnel practices, particularly at the State Department. These include strategic planning, resource planning, institutional integration, clear authority over security assistance programs, and moving away from nation-building and toward conflict prevention. Far-reaching changes in the way diplomats are recruited, trained, and promoted are also required. Without such changes, there is substantial risk that our diplomatic tools will be ineffective, resulting in even greater militarization of U.S. foreign policy when diplomacy fails.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Regional Cooperation, International Security, Bilateral Relations, Military Affairs, Grand Strategy, Alliance, Statecraft
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Sarang Shidore
  • Publication Date: 03-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft
  • Abstract: In the wake of a sharp deterioration in U.S.–China and India–China relations, there is an increasing emphasis in U.S. relations with India on military-to-military ties and bloc formation over other forms of relationship-building. Washington is steadily militarizing the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue, or “Quad,” a four-member security group that is intended to counter Beijing, of which New Delhi is a member. This, combined with India’s stalled economy and the outlook for longer-term post-pandemic weakness, is accentuating a risk-prone asymmetry in U.S.–India relations. There also remain key divergences in the specifics of U.S. and Indian interests, even on the question of countering China. Over-militarized U.S.–India relations could help push Asia closer to a paradigm of military blocs, frontline states, and zero-sum games, while also planting seeds for a nationalist backlash against the United States in South Asia as a whole. The United States should therefore reorient its vital partnership with India according to these four recommendations: Limit the relationship’s increasing militarization and instead emphasize nontraditional areas of security cooperation such as climate change and peacekeeping, which lend themselves to inclusion rather than exclusion. The Quad should be returned to its original political-normative focus; Create conditions favorable to India’s comprehensive development, particularly in the energy, environmental, and supply-chain spaces, as a lower-risk path toward catalyzing a multipolar Asia; Drop demands on India to scale back ties with U.S. adversaries such as Russia and Iran; Resist the temptation to use India as a force-multiplier to pressure smaller South Asian states as to their global alignments.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Military Strategy, Alliance
  • Political Geography: United States, India
  • Author: Gavin Wright
  • Publication Date: 03-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Economics for Inclusive Prosperity (EfIP)
  • Abstract: I attended grad school at Yale in the late 1960s, when the New Economic History was on the ascendancy. Although the NEH was mainly in economics, the broader field of economic history clearly included members of both parent disciplines. At Yale, history grad students like Jan de Vries and Fred Carstensen could do an economic history track by taking a few core econ courses. There was also fair amount of common cause with a movement called the New Social History, interested in pursuing quantification to write “history from the bottom up.” Membership and presidents of the Economic History Association were about equally divided between the two disciplines. When I started at Michigan in 1972, there were two card-carrying economic historians in the history department (Sylvia Thrupp and Jacob Price), and similar lineups were not unusual elsewhere. The era of coexistence came to an abrupt end with the publication of Time on the Cross by Fogel and Engerman in 1974. The book was controversial not just because of its claims about slavery in the United States — that slavery was efficient, productive, and not all bad for the slaves — but because these claims were presented as a summation of research by cliometric economic historians over the previous decade or more. Even though some of the most robust critiques came from within economic history — consolidated in Reckoning with Slavery, published in 1976 — many historians felt that any discipline that could generate such an offensive brand of history did not deserve respectful intellectual status. In truth, History was probably going its own way towards the “cultural turn” anyway. To the extent that economic history had something to do with this move, it would have been a reaction to the observation that much of the new work seemed drawn moth-like to the discovery of markets and market processes in history, concluding that “markets worked.” Bill Parker remarked on this tendency in his presidential address to the EHA: “From Old to New to Old in Economic History” (JEH 1971), describing the NEH as “a gigantic test of the hypothesis of economic rationality of a system and of the behavior of individuals within it.” Robert Lucas wrote: “The central lesson of research in economic history is that neoclassical economics applies anytime, anywhere.” This now seems like something of a caricature, but for the NEH roughly through the 1970s, Lucas was largely correct. A case in point that mattered to many historians was the agricultural regime of the postbellum South. Works published in the 1970s by Joseph Reid, Stephen DeCanio and Robert Higgs all concluded that sharecropping was not an exploitive economic form, and that any racial oppression that did occur was rooted in politics rather than markets. Small wonder that historians found little to attract them to this style of research.
  • Topic: Economics, Education, History, Slavery, Ideology, Macroeconomics
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Dani Rodrik, Stefanie Stantcheva
  • Publication Date: 04-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Economics for Inclusive Prosperity (EfIP)
  • Abstract: One of the biggest challenges that countries face today is the very unequal distributions of opportunities, resources, income and wealth across people. Inclusive prosperity – whereby many people from different backgrounds can benefit from economic growth, new technologies, and the fruits of globalization – remains elusive. To address these issues, societies face choices among many different policies and institutional arrangements to try to ensure a proper supply of productive jobs and activities, as well as access to education, financial means, and other endowments that prepare individuals for their participation in the economy. In this paper we offer a simple, organizing framework to think about policies for inclusive prosperity. We provide a comprehensive taxonomy of policies, distinguishing among the types of inequality they address and the stages of the economy where the intervention takes place. The taxonomy clarifies the differences among contending approaches to equity and inclusion and can help analysts assess the impacts and implications of different policies and identify potential gaps.
  • Topic: Economics, Labor Issues, Economic Inequality, Macroeconomics, Job Creation, Polarization, Productivity, Inclusion , Workforce, Production
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Ethan Kaplan
  • Publication Date: 06-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Economics for Inclusive Prosperity (EfIP)
  • Abstract: What kind of voting system should countries have? This policy brief discusses the two main electoral systems in modern political democracies. It makes an argument that majoritarian systems such as what exists in the United States fail to properly represent voters. It suggests replacing the U.S. majoritarian political system with a proportional representation system and shows how this could be done within the context of current U.S. law. Both economists and political scientists have worked on the impact of electoral systems. Empirical methods from economics as well as economic analysis of the incentives created by different political systems have contributed to our understanding of the consequences of electoral systems on representation. Additionally, economists have estimated the impact of electoral system on fiscal expenditures, something we will discuss towards the end of the policy brief. There are two main voting systems in modern democratic societies: majoritarian systems and proportional representation systems. Federal voting in the United States is majoritarian though some states such as Maryland have proportional representation at the state level. In a majoritarian system, also known as a winner-take-all system or a first-past-the-post system, the country is divided up into districts. Politicians then compete for individual district seats. The candidate who receives the highest vote share wins the election and represents the district.
  • Topic: Economics, Democracy, Representation, Macroeconomics, Voting, Electoral Systems
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Jón Steinsson
  • Publication Date: 07-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Economics for Inclusive Prosperity (EfIP)
  • Abstract: There is a narrative within our field that macroeconomics has lost its way. While I have some sympathy with this narrative, I think it is a better description of the field 10 years ago than of the field today. Today, macroeconomics is in the process of regaining its footing. Because of this, in my view, the state of macroeconomics is actually better than it has been for quite some time. The most important problem with macro over the past few decades has been that it has been too theoretical. When I say this, I don‘t at all mean to say that theory is useless. To the contrary, theory is an essential element of a healthy science. But a healthy science needs a balance between theory and empirical work. Macro lost this balance in the 1980s and is only regaining it now. Most narratives about the evolution of macro focus on the evolution of macroeconomic theory and the rational expectations revolution in particular. An under-appreciated part of this story is that the rational expectations revolution shifted the field away from empirical work. This was partly because building models that met the higher standards of rigor set by Lucas and his co-revolutionaries was a challenging and therefore highly absorbing task. But that isn’t the only reason. For reasons that are not entirely clear to me, a very substantial fraction of macroeconomists came to believe that the Lucas critique implied that quasi-experimental empirical methods could not be used in macro. The idea that changes in policy could radically alter empirical regularities (i.e., the Lucas critique) somehow came to be interpreted to mean that the only way to do empirical work in macro was to write down fully specified general equilibrium models of the whole economy and evaluate the entire model (either by full-information inference methods or moment matching). Sargent, for example, placed enormous emphasis on the idea of “cross-equation restrictions.“ It seems that this line of thinking led large numbers of macroeconomists astray in terms of how to think about empirical work in macro for several decades.
  • Topic: Economics, Political Economy, Macroeconomics
  • Political Geography: United States