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Political Economy

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Eight Long-Range Scenarios

This book presents eight varied scenarios of possible global futures, emphasizing the interconnectedness of three drivers of change: energy prices, economic growth, and geopolitics. Other published global future scenarios focus on only one of these factors, viewing, for example, economic growth as unaffected by energy prices or energy prices in isolation from geopolitical conditions. In this book, Evan Hillebrand and Stacy Closson offer a new approach to scenario construction that acknowledges the codependence of these key drivers and integrates qualitative analysis with a quantitative model.

The eight scenarios represent possible combinations of high or low energy prices, strong or weak economic growth, and global harmony or disharmony across three time periods: the 2010s, 2020 to 2040, and 2040 to 2050. The “Regional Mercantilism” scenario, for example, envisions high energy prices, weak economic growth, and global disharmony. To impose numerical consistency across scenarios, Hillebrand and Closson employ the International Futures (IFs) model developed by Barry Hughes. (Interested readers can download this interactive model to alter or build scenarios themselves.) Assessing the probability of each scenario, they conclude that increased U.S. energy supply and the sustainability of the Chinese growth miracle are the most significant drivers over the next forty years.

The Evolution of Legitimacy and Development in Modern States

Liberal internationalism has been the West’s foreign policy agenda since the Cold War, and the West has long occupied the top rung of a hierarchical system. In this book, Hilton Root argues that international relations, like other complex ecosystems, exists in a constantly shifting landscape, in which hierarchical structures are giving way to systems of networked interdependence, changing every facet of global interaction. Accordingly, policymakers will need a new way to understand the process of change. Root suggests that the science of complex systems offers an analytical framework to explain the unforeseen development failures, governance trends, and alliance shifts in today’s global political economy.

Root examines both the networked systems that make up modern states and the larger, interdependent landscapes they share. Using systems analysis—in which institutional change and economic development are understood as self-organizing complexities—he offers an alternative view of institutional resilience and persistence. From this perspective, Root considers the divergence of East and West; the emergence of the European state, its contrast with the rise of China, and the network properties of their respective innovation systems; the trajectory of democracy in developing regions; and the systemic impact of China on the liberal world order. Complexity science, Root argues, will not explain historical change processes with algorithmic precision, but it may offer explanations that match the messy richness of those processes.

Financial Markets and Elections in Emerging Countries

Politics matter for financial markets and financial markets matter for politics, and nowhere is this relationship more apparent than in emerging markets. In Banking on Democracy, Javier Santiso investigates the links between politics and finance in countries that have recently experienced both economic and democratic transitions. He focuses on elections, investigating whether there is a “democratic premium”—whether financial markets and investors tend to react positively to elections in emerging markets.

Santiso devotes special attention to Latin America, where over the last three decades many countries became democracies, with regular elections, just as they also became open economies dependent on foreign capital and dominated bond markets. Santiso’s analysis draws on a unique set of primary databases (developed during his years at the OECD Development Centre) covering an entire decade: more than 5,000 bank and fund manager portfolio recommendations on emerging markets.

Santiso examines the trajectory of Brazil, for example, through its presidential elections of 2002, 2006, and 2010 and finds a decoupling of financial and political cycles that occurred also in many other emerging economies. He charts this evolution through the behavior of brokers, analysts, fund managers, and bankers. Ironically, Santiso points out, while some emerging markets have decoupled politics and finance, in the wake of the 2008–2012 financial crisis many developed economies (Europe and the United States) have experienced a recoupling between finance and politics.

Political-Economy Policy Formation

Nobel laureate economist Milton Friedman once noted that free immigration cannot coexist with a welfare state. A welfare state with open borders might turn into a haven for poor immigrants, which would place such a fiscal burden on the state that native-born voters would support less-generous benefits or restricted immigration, or both. And yet a welfare state with an aging population might welcome young skilled immigrants. The preferences of the native-born population toward migration depend on the skill and age composition of the immigrants, and migration policies in a political-economy framework may be tailored accordingly. This book examines how social benefits-immigrations political economy conflicts are resolved, with an empirical application to data from Europe and the developed countries, integrating elements from population, international, public, and political economics into a unified static and dynamic framework.
Using a static analytical framework to examine intra-generational distribution, the authors first focus on the skill composition of migrants in both free and restricted immigration policy regimes, drawing on empirical research from EU-15 and non-EU-15 states. The authors then offer theoretical analyses of similar issues in dynamic overlapping generations settings, studying not only intragenerational but also intergenerational aspects, including old-young dependency ratios and skilled-unskilled conflicts. Finally, they examine overall gains from or costs of migration in both host and source countries and the race to the bottom argument of tax competition between states in the presence of free migration.

As New York State Attorney General from 1998 to 2006, Eliot Spitzer successfully pursued corporate crime, including stock price inflation, securities fraud, and predatory lending practices. Drawing on those experiences, in this book Spitzer considers when and how the government should intervene in the workings of the market. The 2009 American bank bailout, he argues, was the wrong way: it understandably turned government intervention into a flashpoint for public disgust because it socialized risk, privatized benefit, and left standing institutions too big to fail, incompetent regulators, and deficient corporate governance. That’s unfortunate, because good regulatory policy, he claims, can make markets and firms work efficiently, equitably, and in service of fundamental public values. Spitzer lays out the right reasons for government intervention in the market: to guarantee transparency, to overcome market failures, and to guard our core values against the market’s unfair biases such as racism. With specific proposals to serve those ends--from improving corporate governance to making firms responsible for their own risky behavior--he offers a much-needed blueprint for the proper role of government in the market. Finally, taking account of regulatory changes since the crash of 2008, he suggests how to rebuild public trust in government so real change is possible.Responses to Spitzer by Sarah Binder, Andrew Gelman, and John Sides, Dean Baker, and Robert Johnson, raise issues of politics, ideology, and policy.

The Political Economy of the Global Environment

This comprehensive and accessible book fills the need for a political economy view of global environmental politics, focusing on the ways international economic processes affect environmental outcomes. It examines the main actors and forces shaping global environmental management, particularly in the developing world. Moving beyond the usual emphasis on international agreements and institutions, it strives to capture not only academic theoretical debates but also views on politics, economics, and the environment within the halls of global conferences, on the streets during antiglobalization protests, and in the boardrooms of international agencies, nongovernmental organizations, and industry associations. The book maps out an original typology of four contrasting worldviews of environmental change--those of market liberals, institutionalists, bioenvironmentalists, and social greens--and uses them as a framework to examine the links between the global political economy and ecological change. This typology provides a common language for students, instructors, and scholars to discuss the issues across the classical social science divisions.The second edition of this popular text has been thoroughly revised and updated to reflect recent events, including the food crisis of 2007-2008, the financial meltdown of 2008, and the Copenhagen Climate Conference of 2009. Topics covered include the environmental implications of globalization; wealth, poverty, and consumption; global trade; transnational corporations; and multilateral and private finance.

Private Investment without Public Commitment

Volatility in commodity prices has been accompanied by perpetual renegotiation of contracts between private investors in natural resource production and the governments of states with mineral and energy wealth. When prices skyrocket, governments want a larger share of revenues, sometimes to the point of nationalization or expropriation; when prices fall, larger state participation becomes a burden and the private sector is called back in. Recent and newsworthy changes in the price of oil (which fell from an all-time high of $147 in mid-2008 to $40 by year's end) are notable for their speed and the steepness of their rise and fall, but the up-and-down pattern itself is not unusual. If the unpredictability of commodity prices is so predictable, why do contracts not allow for this with mechanisms that would provide a more stable commercial framework? In The Natural Resources Trap, top scholars address this question in terms of both theory and practice. Theoretical contributions range across a number of fields, from contract theory to public finance, and treat topics that include taxation, royalties, and expropriation cycles. Case studies examine experiences in the U.K., Bolivia, Argentina, Venezuela, and other parts of the world.

Contributors: Philippe Aghion, George-Marios Angeletos, Fernando Candia Castillo, Rafael Di Tella, Juan Dubra, Eduardo Engel, Ramón Espinasa, Ronald Fischer, Jeffrey Frankel, Nicolás Gadano, Dieter Helm, William Hogan, Robert MacCulloch, Osmel Manzano, Francisco Monaldi, Bijan Mossavar-Rahmani, Erich Muehlegger, Fernando H. Navajas, Robert Pindyck, Lucía Quesada, Roberto Rigobon, Eduardo S. Schwartz, Federico Sturzenegger, Lawrence Summers, Laurence Tai, Michael Tomz, Anders B. Trolle, Louis Wells, Nils Wernerfelt, Mark L. J. Wright, Richard Zeckhauser, Jeromin Zettelmeyer

Financial Markets, Social Struggles, and New Political Scenarios

Crisis in the Global Economy is the latest and most innovative collective reflection on the state of global capitalism, developed in the mobile "multiversity" of the UniNomade network of international researchers and activists during the months immediately following the first signals of the current financial and economic crisis. It constitutes the first organic and interdisciplinary attempt to analyze a crisis that is not merely financial in nature but implicates globalization and neoliberal capitalism.

Crisis in the Global Economy begins with the recognition that the current financial crisis is a systemic crisis of the entire capitalistic system as it has been developing since the 1890s. Taking as its premise that today's financial markets are the pulsing heart of cognitive capitalism, financing the activity of accumulation, Crisis in the Global Economy shows how the flow of capital rewards production that exploits knowledge and controls spaces beyond traditional business. The ineffectiveness of the extraordinary economic measures taken by single nation-states over the past few months demonstrates that this crisis is of a completely different order. A financial crisis that affects the "real economy" shows that financialization is one of the most recent and perverse articulations of capitalism.

The contributions to Crisis in the Global Economy invite us to consider exit strategies from the current crisis—strategies that may lead us toward a new horizon of constructing the common.

Active Agents series
Distributed for Semiotext(e)

The Economic Causes and Consequences of Conflict
Edited by Gregory D. Hess

Guns and Butter examines the causes and consequences of war from a political economy perspective, taking as its premise that a consideration of the incentives and constraints faced by individuals and groups is paramount in understanding conflict decision making. The chapter authors--leading economists and political scientists--believe that this perspective offers deeper insights into war and peace choices than the standard state-centric approach. Their contributions offer both theoretical and empirical support for the political economy perspective on conflict. Several broad themes cut across the chapters: war as an equilibrium phenomenon rather than an exogenous process; the interaction of politics, economics, and institutions and its effect on the frequency and severity of conflicts; the cost of fighting; and the often innovative character of conflict. Topics addressed include theoretical aspects of the ways in which domestic politics affects the decision to go to war; globalization and its effect on the net supply of terrorism; open markets and the likelihood of war and domestic insecurity; the costs of going to war in Iraq as compared to the costs of containment; the economic effects of the Rwandan genocide at a household level; and the evolving industrial organization of terrorist groups. ContributorsBrock Blomberg, Bruce Bueno de Mesquita, Ethan Bueno de Mesquita, Steven J. Davis, Michelle R. Garfinkel Edward Glaeser, Gregory D. Hess, Kai Konrad, Kevin M. Murphy, Peter Rosendorff, Stephen Sheppard, Stergios Skaperdas, Constantinos Syropoulos, Robert H. Topel, Marijke Verpoorten

Reform or Decline

Unless Europe takes action soon, its further economic and political decline is almost inevitable, economists Alberto Alesina and Francesco Giavazzi write in this provocative book. Without comprehensive reform, continental Western Europe's overprotected, overregulated economies will continue to slow--and its political influence will become negligible. This doesn't mean that Italy, Germany, France, and other now-prosperous countries will become poor; their standard of living will remain comfortable. But they will become largely irrelevant on the world scene. In The Future of Europe, Alesina and Giavazzi (themselves Europeans) outline the steps that Europe must take to prevent its economic and political eclipse.Europe, the authors say, has much to learn from the market liberalism of America. Europeans work less and vacation more than Americans; they value job stability and security above all. Americans, Alesina and Giavazzi argue, work harder and longer and are more willing to endure the ups and downs of a market economy. Europeans prize their welfare states; Americans abhor government spending. America is a melting pot; European countries--witness the November 2005 unrest in France--have trouble absorbing their immigrant populations. If Europe is to arrest its decline, Alesina and Giavazzi warn, it needs to adopt something closer to the American free-market model for dealing with these issues.Alesina and Giavazzi's prescriptions for how Europe should handle worker productivity, labor market regulation, globalization, support for higher education and technology research, fiscal policy, and its multiethnic societies are sure to stir controversy, as will their eye-opening view of the European Union and the euro. But their wake-up call will ring loud and clear for anyone concerned about the future of Europe and the global economy.

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