Ray Vernon was a great intellect, an iconoclast for whom scholarly fashions never held much attraction. That is of course what made him a visionary: his pioneering studies of the multinational enterprise, comparative political economy, and what we today call globalization anticipated the flourishing academic work in these areas by a decade or two. And his intellect and scholarly curiosity were matched by a distinguished career in the real world, spanning both the private and public sectors.
Whatever the ultimate verdict on that issue, the Malaysian experience with capital controls (not just the 1998 controls, but also the earlier restrictions on inflows in 1994) demonstrate two things: (a) capital controls can be made effective (in the sense of driving a wedge between onshore and offshore interest rates) with minimal corruption and rent-seeking; (b) capital controls on short-term flows can be implemented with minimal disruption to direct foreign investment (i.e., without scaring away the investors that one really cares about). This experience, I think, puts to rest several counter-arguments about controls: that markets can easily evade controls; that controls have to be so heavy-handed that they come with great costs to the real economy; that they are necessarily prone to corruption and rent-seeking; that it is impossible to segment short-term flows from direct foreign investment.
In response to the widespread consensus on the importance of social capital, and to concerns about the scarcity of institutions giving voice to disadvantaged groups, some donors have begun programs designed to strengthen indigenous community organizations. We use a prospective, randomized evaluation to examine a development program explicitly targeted at building social capital among rural women's groups in western Kenya. The program increased turnover among group members. It increased entry into group membership and leadership by younger, more educated women, by women employed in the formal sector, and by men. The analysis suggests that providing development assistance to indigenous community organizations of the disadvantaged may change the very characteristics of these organizations that made them attractive to outside funders.
The corners hypothesis holds that intermediate exchange rate regimes are vanishing, or should be. Surprisingly for a new conventional wisdom, this hypothesis so far lacks analytic foundations. In part, the generalization is overdone. We nevertheless offer one possible theoretical rationale, a contribution to the list of arguments against intermediate regimes: they lack verifiability, needed for credibility. Central banks announce intermediate targets such as exchange rates, so that the public can judge from observed data whether they are following the policy announced. Our general point is that simple regimes are more verifiable by market participants than complicated ones. Of the various intermediate regimes (managed float, peg with escape clause, etc.), we focus on basket pegs, with bands. Statistically, it takes a surprisingly long span of data to distinguish such a regime from a floating exchange rate. We apply the econometrics, first, to the example of Chile and, second, by performing Monte Carlo simulations. The amount of data required to verify the declared regime may exceed the length of time during which the regime is maintained. The amount of information necessary increases with the complexity of the regime, including the width of the band and the number of currencies in the basket.
This paper introduces various sources of consumer heterogeneity in one-sector representative-consumer growth models and develops tools to study the evolution of the distribution of consumptions, assets and incomes. These tools are applied to the Ramsey-Cass-Koopmans model of optimal savings and the Arrow-Romer model of productive spillovers. The RC property per se places very few restrictions on the nature of observed distributions, and a wide range of distributive dynamics and income mobility patterns can arise as the equilibrium outcome. An example illustates how to use these tools to generate quantitative predictions and compare them to the data.
What is the optimal number of currencies in the world? Common currencies aspect trading costs and, thereby, the amounts of trade, output, and consumption. From the perspective of monetary policy, the adoption of another country?s currency trades offers the benefits of commitment to price stability against the loss of an independent stabilization policy. The nature of the trade depends on coñmovements of disturbances, on distance, trading costs, and on institutional arrangements such as the willingness of anchor countries to accommodate to the interests of clients.
In Dinah Shelton (ed.) Commitment and Compliance: The Role of Non–binding Norms in the International Legal System. Oxford University Press, 2000, 244–263The explosion of international financial activity over the last decade has been a central fact of international economic life. Balance of payments statistics indicate that cross–border transactions in bonds and equities for the G–9 states rose from less than 10 percent of gross domestic product in 1980 to over 140 percent in 1995. International bond markets have reached staggering proportions: by the end of 1995, some US$2.803 trillion of international debt securities were outstanding worldwide. Capital flows to developing countries and countries in transition grew from US$57 billion in 1990 to over US$211 billion in 1995. Foreign lending in form of international syndicated credit facilities has surged since the 1980s, to over US$320 billion at the end of 1995. Foreign exchange transactions – which represent the world?s largest market – reached an estimated average daily turnover of nearly US$1.2 trillion in 1995 compared to US$590 billion daily turnover in 1989.
The paper poses an interesting and important question: Have post–1980 "globalizers" performed better than "non-globalizers"? The authors answer the question affirmatively, but only by applying a suitably arbitrary set of selection criteria to their sample of countries.
I address the issue principal–agent relationships in the IMF from the perspective of attempting to understand the IMF as an international institution. However, this issue is also vital in current policy debates about reform of the IMF. Participants in these debates seem torn between calling the IMF a "runaway agency" and a "U.S. pawn" (Sanger 1998). The Economist reports that "the institution is widely viewed as the handmaiden of America?s Treasury Department" (Economist, 29 July 2000, 66). The report of the U.S. IFI Advisory Commission argues that if "the G–7 finance ministers can agree on a policy that they wish to pursue, for whatever reason, they can use the IMF as the instrument of that policy." Jeffrey Sachs, one of the members of that commission and a supporter of its conclusions, argues that the IMF is the instrument of a few rich governments (Financial Times, 25 September 2000). But in his statements as part of the IFI Advisory Commission, Sachs repeatedly raised questions about the public scrutiny and democratic accountability of the Fund, implying that the Fund bureaucracy acts without adequate political oversight. Clearly, both viewpoints cannot be correct – the Fund cannot simultaneously be an out–of–control bureaucracy and slave to its political masters. Only careful consideration of actual principal–agent relationships will bring clarity to this debate.
The threat to monetary policy from the electronic revolution in banking is the possibility of a decoupling' of the operations of the central bank from markets in which financial claims are created and transacted in ways that, at some operative margin, affect the decisions of households and firms on such matters as how much to spend (and on what), how much (and what) to produce, and what to pay or charge for ordinary goods and services. The object of this paper is to discuss how this possibility arises and what it implies, to dismiss as unessential to the argument various extreme characterizations that have arisen in the recent debate on this issue (for example, that no one will use money for ordinary economic transactions), and to address the specific arguments on the issue offered by Charles Goodhart, Charles Freedman and Michael Woodford.
Thus there is a discrepancy between the expectation of specialists on terrorism and the policy outcome of the U.S. domestic preparedness program. The most common explanation for such a discrepancy is that policymakers are behaving illogically, either out of ignorance or because they harbor ulterior motives (i.e., personal or institutional interests). Explanations of this sort are particularly favored by terrorism specialists. In this paper I argue that there is another explanation for the discrepancy: The policy outcome resulted from a mode of analysis that the substantive specialists do not perform. Put differently and more generally, a policy prescription that is illogical according to one analytic model of a problem may be perfectly logical according to another. The substantive experts on terrorism adhere to an analytic model known as, for lack of a better term "terrorism studies". Its hallmark is a focus on the practice and especially the practitioners of terrorism. In social–psychological terms, terrorism studies is an internal approach to prediction because it focuses on the constituents of the specific problem rather than on the broad distribution of possible outcomes. Thus, using terrorism studies as one's analytical model, it is hard to find a rational explanation for the origin of the U.S. domestic preparedness program.
We define a country's technology as a triple of eficiencies: one for unskilled labor, one for skilled labor, and one for capital. We find a negative cross–country correlation between the eficiency of unskilled labor and the eficiencies of skilled labor and capital. We interpret this finding as evidence of the existence of a World Technology Frontier. On this frontier, increases in the eficiency of unskilled labor are obtained at the cost of declines in the eficiency of skilled labor and capital. We estimate a model in which firms in each country optimally choose from a menu of technologies, i.e. they choose their technology subject to a Technology Frontier. The optimal choice of technology depends on the country's endowment of skilled and unskilled labor, so that the model is one of appropriate technology. The estimation allows for country–specific technology frontiers, due to barriers to technology adoption. We find that poor countries tend disproportionately to be inside the World Technology Frontier.
In an effort to address this shortcoming, we develop in this article a model of political competition that seeks to capture important characteristics of political competition in underdeveloped polities. These characteristics include: 1. That the state is weak (Evans, Skocpol, and Rueschmeyer (1985); Evans (1995); Myrdal, Kohli, and Shu (1994)). That is, the state lacks a monopoly over the use of violence (Weber (1958)); the use of coercion is controlled by political ?lites. 2. That democratic institutions are weak. Political competition is not governed by the rules of elections. 3. That politicians compete for private rents, extracted from public revenues (Marcouiller and Young (1995)). 4. That politics is "personalistic". Because of charisma (Apter (1963)); a tradition of "big man" politics (Jackson and Rosberg (1982)); or the forces of cultural identity (Geertz (1963)), personal characteristics can be as important as issue stands in determining the appeal of politicians. To analyze political competition in political settings that share these characteristics, we develop a simple model of political competition in which two politicians compete to recruit tax–paying citizens into their respective political camps.
This document is organized around "political" and "economic" institutions. We begin with the former, with a discussion of the role of the judicial system and of the separation of power followed by the electoral law and structure of parliament; and a discussion of crime prevention and criminal justice system. We then move to economic institutions; we focus on those that have to do with the bureaucracy and provision of social services; monetary and fiscal institutions, namely the Central Bank, the budget process and, especially important, the local/central government relationships.
We study the implications of the trade–off between child quality and child quantity for the efficiency of the rate of population growth. We show that if quantity and quality are inversely related then, even in the case of full altruism within the family, population growth is inefficiently high, if the family does not have, or does not choose to use, compensating instruments (for example, bequests or savings are at a corner). In non–altruistic models this trade–off certainly generates a population problem. We therefore prove that the repugnant conclusion is not only repugnant, it may be inefficient. Moreover, we cannot expect intra–family contracting to resolve the inefficiency since it involves contracts which are not credible.
Who will provide for America’s children, elderly, and working families? Not since the 1930s has our nation faced such fundamental choices over how to care for all its citizens. Now, amid economic prosperity, Americans are asking what government, business, and nonprofit organizations can and can’t do—and what they should and shouldn’t be asked to do. As both political parties look to faith-based organizations to meet material and spiritual needs, the center of this historic debate is the changing role of religion. These essays combine a fresh perspective and detailed analysis on these pressing issues. They emerge from a three-year Harvard Seminar sponsored by the Center for the Study of Values in Public Life that brought together scholars in public policy, government, religion, sociology, law, education, and nonprofit leadership. By putting the present moment in broad historical perspective, these essays offer rich insights into the resources of faith-based organizations, while cautioning against viewing their expanded role as an alternative to the government’s responsibility. In Who Will Provide? community leaders, organizational managers, public officials, and scholars will find careful analysis drawing on a number of fields to aid their work of devising better partnerships of social provision locally and nationally. It was named a Choice Outstanding Academic Book of 2001.
During the nineteenth century most Western societies extended voting rights, a decision that led to unprecedented redistributive programs. We argue that these political reforms can be viewed as strategic decisions by the political elite to prevent widespread social unrest and revolution. Political transition, rather than redistribution under existing political institutions, occurs because current transfers do not ensure future transfers, while the extension of the franchise changes future political equilibria and acts as a commitment to redistribution. Our theory also offers a novel explanation for the Kuznets curve in many Western economies during this period, with the fall in inequality following redistribution due to democratization.