Can unofficial, academically based, third–party approaches contribute to the prevention and resolution of international and intercommunal conflicts? The article focuses on one such approach, interactive problem solving, which the author has applied primarily in the Israeli–Palestinian conflict. After describing the central took of the approach, the problem–solving workshop, the article goes on to address the role of interactive problem solving and related approaches to the larger process of conflict resolution. In this context, it discusses the relationship of the microprocess of problem–solving workshops to macroprocess on international conflict resolution; the relationship between official and unofficial diplomacy; the relationship between practice and scholarship in conflict resolution; the role of the university in the process; and the possibilities for institutionalizing this model of conflict resolution.
This paper outlines and tests two agency models of dividends. According to the "outcome" model, dividends are the result of effective pressure by minority shareholders to force corporate insiders to disgorge cash. According to the "substitute" model, insiders interested in issuing equity in the future choose to pay dividends to establish a reputation for decent treatment of minority shareholders. The first model predicts that stronger minority shareholder rights should be associated with higher dividend payouts; the second model predicts the opposite. Tests on a cross–section of 4,000 companies from 33 countries with different levels of minority shareholder rights support the outcome agency model of dividends.
Developing countries with highly unequal income distributions, such as Brazil or South Africa, face an uphill battle in reducing inequality. Educated workers in these countries have a much lower birthrate than uneducated workers. Assuming children of educated workers are more likely to become educated, this tends to increase the proportion of unskilled workers, reducing their wages, and thus their opportunity cost of having children, creating a vicious cycle. A model incorporating this effect generates multiple steady–state levels of inequality, suggesting that in some circumstances, temporarily increasing access to educational opportunities could permanently reduce inequality. Empirical evidence suggests that the fertility differential between the educated and uneducated is greater in less equal countries, consistent with the model.
Monetary rules matter for the equilibrium rate of employment when the number of price–wage setters is small. If the central bank is non–accommodating, sufficiently large unions, bargaining independently, have an incentive to moderate sectoral money wages, and thereby expected real wages. The result is an increase in the real money supply, and hence higher demand and employment. This does not hold, however, with accommodating monetary policy since unions? wage decisions cannot then affect the real money supply. A similar argument holds for large monopolistically–competitive price setters. Rational expectations, complete information, central bank pre–commitment and absence of nominal rigidities are assumed.
The paper examines the role of civil society in democratization processes, drawing on East European, mostly Polish, experiences. It begins with a brief overview of the major types of definitions of civil society. Its bulk is devoted to a detailed analysis of the origins and functions of various sectors of civil society during the three phases of democratization: (a) state"socialism's disintegration; (b) transfer of power; and (c)consolidation of democracy. For each phase and each sector of civil society the impact of international linkages and foreign (external) resources is assessed. The essay closes with a set of generalizations on the relationships between various types of civil society on the one hand and the forms of the domestic"international interaction, on the other.
Ekiert, Grzegorz. "Civil Society From Abroad: the Role of Foreign Assistance in the Democratization of Poland." Working Paper 00–01, Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, Harvard University, February 2000.Download PDF
Why do sovereign governments make international legal commitments, and what effect does international law have on state behavior? Very little empirical research tries to answer these questions in a systematic way. This article examines patterns of commitment to and compliance with international monetary law. I consider the signal governments try to send by committing themselves through international legal commitments, and I argue that reputational concerns explain patterns of compliance. One of the most important findings is that governments commit to and comply with legal obligations if other countries in their region do so. Competitive market forces, rather than overt policy pressure from the International Monetary Fund, are the most likely "enforcement" mechanism. Legal commitment has an extremely positive effect on governments that have recently removed restrictive policies, which indicates a desire to reestablish a reputation for compliance.
The 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–7 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$ 7 billion in 1990 to over US$ 211 billion in 1995. Foreign lending in the 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... Money laundering cannot be handled effectively on a unilateral or bilateral basis. Significantly different rules across jurisdictions invite "forum shopping," the shifting of business to countries with weaker controls. When the United States passed the Bank Secrecy Act of 1970, tightening reporting requirements for cash transactions over US$ 10,000, illicit money moved to Europe... To yield significant benefits, near–global cooperation is a virtual necessity...
Human security is a concept that dates back to the Enlightenment. Various strains of meaning, spanning a focus on individual rights and a preoccupation with territorial integrity of states, have accompanied its use in many settings. In the last 25 years, the term has increasingly been applied to political, social, and economic inputs required to create security for individuals and communities. Most recently there has been growing interest in assessing the usefulness of this concept in the design of policies to provide relief and stabilization in areas emerging from war and conflict. In that transitional context this paper argues for a new definition of human security based on identifying those factors that protect and promote human well being through time. This argument builds on the capabilities analysis of Sen and Dreze, incorporates the vulnerability model described by Webb, and employs the psychosocial needs framework of Amoo. Noting that the provision of basic material supports is essential but not sufficient, the definition of human security advanced here insists on the additional importance, for individuals and communities, of fulfilling three basic psychosocial dimensions: a sense of home and safety; constructive family and social supports; and acceptance of the past and a positive grasp of the future. These three psychosocial dimensions (referred to in shorthand as home, community, and time) are evaluated in a number of settings, primarily in Africa. Suggestions are provided, based upon this concept, for humanitarian efforts in refugee and immediate post–conflict settings. The paper further argues that ways of measuring human security along these three dimensions are more easily approached through the use of negative indices, or threats to human security. The negative indices proposed here are social dislocation (for home), dynamic inequality (for community relationships), and high discount rate (for positive sense of the future). It is noted that further methodological effort is needed to refine the metrics to be used in these indices. Whether this concept and its proposed indices could prove useful in identifying trends in human security (or threats to human security) in the immediate post (or pre) conflict setting will require further empirical work, through retrospective case studies and prospective observation and analysis.
Although majoritarian decision rules are the norm in legislatures, relatively few democracies use simple majority rule at the electoral stage, adopting instead some form of multiparty proportional representation. Moreover, aggregate data suggest that average income tax rates are higher, and distributions of posttax income flatter, in countries with proportional representation than in those with majority rule. While there are other differences between these countries, this paper explores how variations in the political system per se influence equilibrium redistributive tax rates and income distributions. A three–party proportional representation model is developed in which taxes are determined through legislative bargaining among successful electoral parties, and the economic decision for individuals is occupational choice. Political–economic equilibria for this model and for a two–party,winner–take–all, majoritarian system are derived and compared.
From the Journal of Political Economy 108, (December 2000): 1235-1269.Download PDF
Both individual experiences and community characteristics influence how much people trust each other. Using individual–level data drawn from US localities we find that the strongest factors associated with low trust are: i) a recent history of traumatic experiences; ii) belonging to a group that historically felt discriminated against, such as minorities (blacks in particular)and, to a lesser extent, women; iii) being economically unsuccessful in terms of income and education; iv) living in a racially mixed community and/or in one with a high degree of income disparity. Religious beliefs and ethnic origins do not significantly affect trust. The role of racial cleavages leading to low trust is confirmed when we explicitly account for individual preferences on inter–racial relationships: within the same community, individuals who express stronger feelings against racial integration trust relatively less the more racially heterogeneous the community is.
This article discusses this "political economy" side of redesigning the international financial architecture. It draws heavily from our previous work (Fernández–Arias and Hausmann 2000a, 2000b). The next section reviews the problems of international financial markets. We subsequently assess their importance in light of the evidence and discuss for whom they are crucial. The last section reviews the solutions that are being proposed and discusses the distribution of their costs and benefits. Concluding remarks follow.
Monetary policy is one of the two principal means (the other being fiscal policy) by which government authorities in a market economy regularly influence the pace and direction of overall economic activity, importantly including not only the level of aggregate output and employment but also the general rate at which prices rise or fall. The ability of central banks to carry out monetary policy stems from their monopoly position as suppliers of their own liabilities, which banks in turn need (either as legally required reserves or as balances for settling interbank claims) in order to create the money and credit used in everyday economic transactions. Important developments both in research and in the actual conduct of monetary policy in recent decades have revolved around the choice of a short–term interest rate versus a reserve quantity as the central bank's direct operating instrument, whether to use some measure of money as an intermediate target, whether to constrain the central bank to follow some fairly simple policy rule, what degree of political independence a central bank should have, and whether to target inflation. Some key areas of ongoing research in this area, as of the beginning of the 21st century, are whether the behavioral process by which monetary policy affects nonfinancial economic activity centers more on money or on credit, quantitative measurement of whatever is the mechanism at work, the –off between price inflation and real aspects of economic activity like output and employment, and just why it is that the public in most industrialized countries is as averse to inflation as is apparently the case.
Most central banks, including the U.S. Federal Reserve System, implement their monetary policy by setting interest rates. This paper reviews the major changes that have taken place along the way from the Federal Reserve's interest rate–based policy structure of the 1960s to the interest rate–based structure in place today, and then goes on to consider three open questions that this way of conducting monetary policy presents: (1) whether there is a nominal anchor' problem, and if so whether explicit inflation targeting would solve it, (2) whether there is a role in this policymaking process for interest rates other than whatever particular rate the Federal Reserve chooses to set, or equivalently for equity prices, and (3) to what extent the electronic revolution now under way in banking threatens the efficacy of an interest rate–based monetary policy. The paper concludes by considering the implications of the rules–versus–discretion debate for the role of interest rates in monetary policymaking.
The purpose of this paper is to sketch the general contours and rationale of the U.S. domestic preparedness program, and to identify the most significant problems of domestic preparedness.4 The first section discusses the program?s origins and evolution. While the basic motivation of the domestic preparedness program has been the perception of a rising threat, the specifics of the program have been determined not by any guiding strategic concept but by discrete, uncoordinated legislative appropriations and administrative initiatives. The second section elaborates on the basic rationale behind the domestic preparedness program, explaining how these highly specific domestic policy innovations relate to the national security objective of reducing the threat of WMD terrorism to America. The third section describes the major policy and management challenges facing the program.
We seek in our analysis to understand the forces that favor and oppose currency unions, that is, we extend the classic analysis of optimum currency areas from Mundell (1961). One consideration, not touched on in Mundell?s economic analysis, is that individual currencies are sometimes valued simply out of national pride. One would have expected these nationalistic concerns to be more intense for language than for money, yet most countries willingly use the language of another country, typically the one of a former colonial ruler. Given this acceptance of transplanted language, it is surprising how often people reject currency unions–which sometimes involve the use of another country's currency– simply on the grounds that important countries are supposed to have their own money.
Today, the United States government spurs research mainly through direct funding and the granting of patents. Both methods are vitally important, but each causes serious problems–and each has proved inadequate in spurring the research needed to develop effective vaccines against HIV, tuberculosis and malaria.
This paper studies the relationship between international conflict and the size distribution of countries in a model in which both peaceful bargaining and non–peaceful confrontations are possible. We show how the size distribution of countries depends on the likelihood, benefits and costs of conflict and war. We also study the role of international law and show how better defined international "property rights" may lead to country breakup and more numerous local conflicts.
This paper is about trade liberalization, not globalization. It considers whether the significant steps that have been taken in this direction since the formation of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) in 1948, have resulted not only in the freer movement of goods and services across borders, but also in a fairer, more open international trading system.
In recent years, many countries have instituted monetary reforms aimed at improving anti–inflation credibility. Is it a problem, however, that international welfare spillover effects seldom receive much consideration in the design of monetary reforms? Surprisingly, the answer may be no. Under plausible conditions, as domestic rules improve and international financial markets become more complete, the Nash and cooperative monetary rule setting games converge. We base our analysis on a utility–theoretic sticky–wage (new open economy macroeconomics) model; the question we pose simply could not have been adequately formulated using earlier models of monetary cooperation.