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  • Author: David Schenker
  • Publication Date: 01-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: With Syrian-Israeli peace talks underway in Shepherdstown, W.Va., media attention has focused on the shape of a possible peace agreement and the potential for U.S. financial assistance to the parties. Virtually no attention, however, has been paid to the principal legal obstacle in the way of U.S. aid to one of the two putative peacemakers: Syria's place on the State Department's list of countries recognized as "state sponsors of terrorism." It is generally assumed that Syria will "do what it takes" within the context of making peace with Israel to earn its removal from the State Department's list, or that Washington will, in the framework of peace, find enough in Syrian efforts to merit Damascus's decertification as a terrorist-supporting state. In this environment, the potential rises that U.S. antiterrorism efforts will be blurred to fit an emerging Syria-Israel political reality.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Arab Countries, Syria
  • Author: Harry Flam, Per Jansson
  • Publication Date: 04-2000
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: The partial effect of nominal exchange rate volatility on exports from each EMU member to the rest of the EMU is estimated on annual data for 1967-97, using modern time-series methods. The long-run relations between exchange rate volatility and exports are mostly negative and in several cases insignificantly different from zero. Thus, these estimates do not provide much support for the hypothesis that the elimination of nominal exchange rate volatility will significantly increase trade within the EMU. However, the EMU will presumably lead to geographical concentration of production and therefore indirectly to increased trade within the EMU and, during a transitional stage, to increased foreign direct investment, both within the EMU and between the EMU and the rest of the world.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, International Political Economy, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: David Begg
  • Publication Date: 04-2000
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: An interesting theory of transition must give a convincing account of structural adjustment and supply side improvement. In this paper, I discuss the incentives for government to undertake costly supply side improvement and how these relate to incentives governing the design of monetary and fiscal policy during transition. The government cares about deviations of inflation, output and government spending from their ideal levels, is subject to a budget constraint in which inflation yields some real revenue, and recognizes the distortionary effects of excess levels of taxation. Costly structural adjustment enhances future output by reducing supply side distortions.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, International Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: David Carment, Albrecht Schnabel, Abdul-Rasheed Draman
  • Publication Date: 01-2000
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This piece constitutes a report of the workshop “From Rhetoric to Policy: Towards Workable Conflict Prevention at the Regional and Global Level” held at INSTRAW, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic from December 14-16, 1998. Jointly organised by the United Nations University and the Norman Paterson School of International Affairs, Carleton University, the workshop drew participants from the UN system, the academic community and practitioners in the field. The workshop, which represents the second stage of a general project aimed at 'Translating Rhetoric into Policy,' focussed on examining training needs for conflict prevention through the involvement of local actors.
  • Topic: Security, Peace Studies, United Nations
  • Author: Benjamin J. Cohen
  • Publication Date: 03-2000
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: The purpose of this paper is to explore economic and political implications of Europe's Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) for developing countries. In strictly economics terms, influences will be communicated through both trade and financial channels. Economies in the developing world will be affected by changes in European growth rates as well as by EMU's impact on transaction costs and enterprise competitiveness within Europe; they will also be impacted by changes in the structure and efficiency of Europe's capital markets. Modifications may be anticipated in borrowing and investment practices at the private level as well as in reserve and debt-management policies at the official level. In political terms, developing countries will be most directly influences by the anticipated rivalry between Europe's new single currency, the euro, and the dollar, which will compel developing countries to reconsider their own national currency strategies. Three conclusions stand out. First, except for selected groups of countries with particularly close ties to the EU, most economic linkages appear marginal at best. It is much easier to enumerate possible channels of transmission than to find many that appear quantitatively significant. Second, among economic effects of EMU, financial channels seem to matter more than trade channels. And third, across the full range of possible linkages, the most lasting influences for developing countries may well turn out, notably, to be political rather than either trade or financial. Significant changes are likely in exchange-rates regimes in many parts of the developing world.
  • Topic: Emerging Markets, Government, International Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Patrick Honohan, Philip R. Lane
  • Publication Date: 03-2000
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: We analyse the prospects for greater monetary integration in Africa, in the wake of EMU. We argue that the structural characteristics of African economies are quite different to the EMU members but that much can be gained from monetary cooperation, as an external agency of restraint and in promoting stability in the financial sector. EMU has only a marginal impact on the net benefits of monetary cooperation but the euro would be a natural anchor for any African monetary unions. Indeed, the most likely route to new monetary cooperation in Africa is via a common peg to the euro.
  • Topic: Emerging Markets, International Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Africa, Europe
  • Author: S. Mansoob Murshed
  • Publication Date: 02-2000
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This paper surveys issues related to globalization, and the obstacles to the successful integration of vulnerable economies. For many developing countries, the positive benefits of the increased globalization that has been taking place since around 1980 remain distant and elusive. The economies of many countries in the developing world remain extremely vulnerable to domestic and external shocks. They have, effectively, become marginalized from the world system. To a great extent, the obstacles to the successful participation of vulnerable developing economies in the international system are rooted in the causes of their underdevelopment and poor economic performance. Nevertheless, the new rules of the game and the international economic environment prevalent since about 1980 following accelerated globalization, leaves them vulnerable in novel ways. Developing in the arrangements for conducting multilateral trade and technology transfer have left nations in the South more vulnerable than in the past. The ability to conduct independent macroeconomic policy is severely constrained. Nations are more reliant on volatile international capital markets, for finance and investment; many developing countries are completely eschewed by international private capital markets. The problem of poverty in many developing countries seems to have been exacerbated following globalization. When we consider the obstacles to the meaningful participation of vulnerable developing economies in the international system, many are domestic in origin, but external factors beyond the control of these countries play an important part as well. Among the former are poorly designed policies to promote growth on the supply-side, macroeconomic mismanagement on the aggregate demand side and institutional failure. In the latter category protectionist tendencies in the North are the most important factor. Many of these appear in the guise of concerns for environmental and labour standards. Globalization does, however, offer new possibilities to developing countries; particularly because shifts in the international division of labour, as well as technological innovations, could favour the South.
  • Topic: Development, Emerging Markets, Globalization, International Political Economy, Third World
  • Author: Matti Pohjola
  • Publication Date: 01-2000
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This paper explores the impacts of information technology investment on economic growth in a cross-section of 39 countries in the period 1980-95 by applying an explicit model of economic growth, the augmented version of the neoclassical (Solow) growth model. The results based on the full sample of 39 countries indicate that physical capital is a key factor in economic growth in both developed and developing countries. Its influence is even bigger than what is implied by the income share of capital in national income accounts. But neither human capital nor information technology seems to have a significant impact on GDP growth. However, investment in information technology has a strong influence on economic growth in the smaller sample of 23 developed (OECD) countries. Its impact is almost as large as that of the rest of the capital stock. But since the share of IT investment in GDP, although growing, is still much lower than the share of non-IT investment, the net social return to IT capital is much larger than the return to non-IT capital: 60-80 per cent versus 4 per cent, respectively. The estimated return is very high; about twice the return to equipment investment and 10-12 times the return to R obtained in similar models as the one applied here.
  • Topic: Economics, Emerging Markets, Science and Technology
  • Author: Myles Frechette
  • Publication Date: 02-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: More than 80 percent of the cocaine in the United States comes from Colombia. Substantial amounts of the heroin seized in the United States are also from Colombia. For the United States the impact of illegal drugs is devastating, not only in terms of human misery and lives lost, but also the billions it costs to combat this illegal trade; house the prison population of drug offenders; to provide health care to drug users; and sustain the loss of productivity in the economy. One estimate puts the dollar cost at $100 billion a year. This is a staggering amount, even in an $8 trillion economy. The cost to Colombia, however, is disproportionately higher. Consider the corruption and economic distortion $5 billion of illicit profits causes in Colombia, whose GDP is about $90 billion.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Civil Society, Economics
  • Political Geography: United States, Colombia, South America, Latin America
  • Author: Frank Ching, Ron Arculli, Steve Tsang, Sunny Kai-sun Kwong
  • Publication Date: 09-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Since the Hong Kong Update's first issue was published in September 1997, the purpose of the bulletin has been to gauge accurately the continuing evolution of Hong Kong by presenting a broad spectrum of views on developments in the new Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR). The Update has presented views from Washington, Hong Kong, and other areas of the world by inviting authors from both the U.S. Congress and Hong Kong SAR government; Washington and Hong Kong policy community; and U.S., Hong Kong, and international academics.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Economics, Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: United States, Israel, Hong Kong