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Political Economy

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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.

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.

From the New Economy to the War Economy

The Swiss-Italian economist Christian Marazzi is one of the core theorists of the Italian postfordist movement, along with Antonio Negri, Paolo Virno, and Bifo (Franco Berardi). But although his work is often cited by scholars (particularly by those in the field of “Cognitive Capitalism”), his writing has never appeared in English. This translation of his most recent work, Capital and Language (published in Italian in 2002), finally makes Marazzi’s work available to an English-speaking audience.

Doubts about the ability of industrialized countries to continue to provide a sufficient level of retirement benefits to a growing number of retirees has fueled much recent debate and inspired a variety of recommendations for reform. Few major reforms, however, have actually been implemented. In The Political Future of Social Security in Aging Societies, Vincenzo Galasso argues that the success of any reform proposals depends on political factors rather than economic theory.

Using applied general equilibrium methods to analyze recent debates about the conduct of U.S. foreign trade policy, de Melo and Tarr show that in terms of costs to the economy and to consumers, nontariff barriers in textiles, automobiles, and steel have more than reversed the benefits of cumulative tariff liberalization achieved in successive postwar GATT rounds.

Fair Trade, Sustainable Livelihoods and Ecosystems in Mexico and Central America

Our morning cups of coffee connect us to a global industry and an export crisis in the tropics that is destroying livelihoods, undermining the cohesion of families and communities, and threatening ecosystems. Confronting the Coffee Crisis explores small-scale farming, the political economy of the global coffee industry, and initiatives that claim to promote more sustainable rural development in coffee-producing communities.

The Dance of Ideology and Unequal Riches

The idea of America as politically polarized--that there is an unbridgeable divide between right and left, red and blue states--has become a cliché. What commentators miss, however, is that increasing polarization in recent decades has been closely accompanied by fundamental social and economic changes--most notably, a parallel rise in income inequality.

Why the Information Economy Collapsed and How It Will Rise Again

While we were waiting for the Internet to make us rich—back when we thought all we had to do was to buy lottery tickets called dotcom shares—we missed the real story of the information economy. That story, says Bruce Abramson in Digital Phoenix, took place at the intersection of technology, law, and economics. It unfolded through Microsoft's manipulation of software markets, through open source projects like Linux, and through the file-sharing adventures that Napster enabled.

The NBER International Seminar on Macroeconomics brings together leading American and European economists to discuss a broad range of current issues in global macroeconomics. An international companion to the more American-focused NBER Macroeconomics Annual, this particular volume offers cutting-edge research on monetary and fiscal policy responses to macroeconomic fluctuations, with special emphasis on tailoring a single monetary policy for the diverse economies that make up the European Monetary Union.

Interests, Ideas, and Institutions in Historical Perspective

The repeal of Britain's Corn Laws in 1846--one of the most important economic policy decisions of the nineteenth century--has long intrigued and puzzled political scientists, historians, and economists. Why would a Conservative prime minister act against his own party's interests? The Conservatives entered government in 1841 with a strong commitment to protecting agriculture; five years later, the Conservative Prime Minister Sir Robert Peel presided over repeal of the protectionist Corn Laws, violating party principles and undercutting the economic interests of the land-owning aristocracy.

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