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Political Economy

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Credibility, Transparency, and Centralization

The adoption of the euro in 1999 by 11 member states of the European Union created a single currency area second in economic size only to the United States. The euro zone's monetary policy is now set by the European Central Bank (ECB) and its Governing Council rather than by individual national central banks. This CESifo volume examines issues that have arisen in the first years of ECB monetary policy and analyzes the effect that current ECB policy strategy and structures may have in the future.

Demography and Globalization

In The Decline of the Welfare State, Assaf Razin and Efraim Sadka use a political economy framework to analyze the effects of aging populations, migration, and globalization on the deteriorating system of financing welfare state benefits as we know them. Their timely analysis, supported by a unified theoretical framework and empirical findings, demonstrates how the combined forces of demographic change and globalization will make it impossible for the welfare state to maintain itself on its present scale.

The Case of Colombia
Edited by Alberto Alesina

These studies of Colombian economic, political, and social institutions offer not only theoretically grounded analyses but also practical recommendations for policy reform. Experts from the United States, Europe, and Colombia approach such problems as executive-legislative branch conflict, fragmented political parties, crime prevention, inefficient decentralization, and mistargeted social spending from a political economics perspective. Their findings provide an illuminating example of the way ideas from this relatively new area of research can be applied to real-world problems.

Theory and Evidence

In this book, Yi Feng combines political and economic analyses to study the effects of political institutions on economic performance. Traditionally, political scientists disregard details of economic conditions, while economists may not take into consideration a systematic explanation of political regimes. The growing interest in the interplay of political and economic systems, spurred by the political democratization and economic liberalization evident in many countries over the last twenty years, merits this new perspective.

The authors of this timely and provocative book use the tools of economic analysis to examine the formation and change of political borders. They argue that while these issues have always been at the core of historical analysis, international economists have tended to regard the size of a country as "exogenous," or no more subject to explanation than the location of a mountain range or the course of a river. Alesina and Spolaore consider a country's borders to be subject to the same analysis as any other man-made institution.

The authors of The Economic Effects of Constitutions use econometric tools to study what they call the "missing link" between constitutional systems and economic policy; the book is an uncompromisingly empirical sequel to their previous theoretical analysis of economic policy. Taking recent theoretical work as a point of departure, they ask which theoretical findings are supported and which are contradicted by the facts. The results are based on comparisons of political institutions across countries or time, in a large sample of contemporary democracies.

Evidence from Historical Records of the Federal Open Market Committee

In many countries, monetary policy decisions are made by committees. In the United States, these decisions are made by the Federal Reserve's Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC), which consists of the seven members of the Board of Governors and the presidents of the twelve district banks. This book examines the process by which the preferences of the FOMC's individual members are translated into collective policy choices.

Essays in the Political and Institutional Economics of Development

This wide-ranging review of some of the major issues in development economics focuses on the role of economic and political institutions. Drawing on the latest findings in institutional economics and political economy, Pranab Bardhan, a leader in the field of development economics, offers a relatively nontechnical discussion of current thinking on these issues from the viewpoint of poor countries, synthesizing recent research and reflecting on where we stand today.

The Business of Global Environmental Governance takes a political economy approach to understanding the role of business in global environmental politics. The book's contributors—from a range of disciplines including international political economy, management, and political science—view the evolution of international environmental governance as a dynamic interplay of economic structures, business strategies, and political processes.

Implications for Growth and Inequality

The dominant role played by the state in the financing, regulation, and provision of primary and secondary education reflects the widely-held belief that education is necessary for personal and societal well-being. The economic organization of education depends on political as well as market mechanisms to resolve issues that arise because of contrasting views on such matters as income inequality, social mobility, and diversity.

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