This paper focuses on the consequences of financial liberalisation and monetary integration on the two largest economies of Southern Europe, Italy and Spain. As part of the European project of financial liberalisation that was pushed forward with the 1992 agenda and the introduction of the single currency in 1999, these economies found themselves facing new challenges in economic policy-making. Given the dismal economic performance in recent years of the so-called Southern ‘periphery’ unveiled by the financial crisis in 2008, the aim of this case study is to understand why the benefits of liberalised financial systems and monetary union did not fully materialise. By showing how European financial and monetary integration provoked large-scale capital inflows, which led to distortions that were difficult for policymakers to control in Italy and Spain, the paper challenges the dominant narrative that the profligacy of Southern governments was simply to blame for the crisis.
More than a decade since the vicious battle between Gucci and Bernard Arnault’s Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy, this case remains an important case study in the failure of smart men to make measured choices. What led such wise men to fall prey to multiple mistakes and ultimately to the disintegration of negotiations? The work of the Harvard Negotiation Project and Robert Axelrod help elucidate the areas in which the characters involved could have acted differently. The consequences of the case highlighted the new interconnectedness of global financial and corporate markets. Today, luxury goods conglomerates cite this case as one of the most important in the history of fashion.
Ecuador thought they would shock the world into action with their call for international funding to prevent the exploitation of oil reserves under their Yasuní-ITT National Park. The response was silence and inaction. Why? This paper examines Ecuador’s Yasuní-ITT Initiative that sought to share the costs of preserving the Amazon Rainforest and its apparent failure through the lenses of collective action theory and cost-value analyses. While the initiative was unsuccessful this time around, with some adjustments it could prove a useful model for future conservation efforts.
This paper examines why productivity, as measured by output per work hour, has not increased significantly during the current Digital Revolution, despite rapid and intense technological progress and the influx of new inventions. The failure of technological progress to bring immediate increases in productivity and standards of living is paradoxical from an economic view. This paper presents statistical data on productivity and gross domestic product (GDP) growth across a number of economies for the past 40 years. Following that, it reviews several economic and history of science and technology theories about the current lower than expected productivity, including its possible relations to the initial delay in productivity growth during the Industrial Revolution of the late eighteenth century and the Technological Revolution of the early twentieth century. It then presents several explanations for the delay in productivity growth that are specific to the Digital Revolution.
There is no definitive answer as to the impact on a country’s macroeconomic indicators of joining the Eurozone. There is little impact on a country’s trade dependence. Peripheral countries suffered in terms of unemployment, but weakly gained in terms of incomes. However, no doomsday image emerges. While this appears to limit the short-term economic upside of the currency union project, it brings into the forefront the Eurozone’s aforementioned political considerations: eliminating competitive devaluations, having a common European monetary voice and tightening economic and political bonds within Europe. If this appeals to a prospective Eurozone member, they should not hold back for economic fears.
This research sheds light on the U.S. government’s efforts to petition media professionals not to report on U.S. data surveillance and military engagements. After 9/11, warrant court based U.S. surveillance practices morphed into warrantless U.S. surveillance activities, and poor journalistic working standards led to a chilling effect in government-media relations during the Obama administration. This analysis illustrates the influence of media reports on the U.S. government in times of unclear U.S. policies. The findings of this paper underline the fact that journalistic non-compliance with governmental secrecy requests prevents our societies from becoming distopic democracies.
According to the UNHCR, 75,000 people attempted to cross the Mediterranean in the first six months of 2014 with 800 dying before reaching land. Yet people still insist on making the journey. On the other side of the Mediterranean is the European Union, which persecutes some who have survived the journey while providing sanctuary to others. It is high time for European Union member states to work together to find a durable and sustainable solution to the situation in the Mediterranean. This paper briefly discusses the main reasons migrants embark on such a perilous journey and suggests elements of a strategy to address this issue.
A consideration of NASA's asteroid observation mission highlights the possibility that for rare events observation is not unambiguously positive. Although measurement is beneficial in the long run, and is required for eventual risk management or mitigation, it may at first actually increase the expected value of the risk. In the case of the asteroid mission, observation created a substantial risk of false positives that greatly outweighed the initial potential risk reduction from early warning or asteroid diversion, such that the total risk increased. These dynamics are explored with a simple model that can be extrapolated to improve the risk calculation for any rare threat.
This paper portrays the Spanish transition to democracy in the context of selected systems and negotiation theoretical arguments. Transition leaders’ ability to think in systems and to conceive a framework for negotiations centered on shared interests and common goals was crucial for the success and durability of the process. However, the common view of the Spanish transition as a sheer “success story” falls short of recognizing the sacrifices that were made to achieve peaceful transformation of the political system. In fact, the transition compromise engendered severe problems that strain the Spanish State and the political process until the present day.
Ventures selling distributed electricity directly to impoverished consumers achieve affordability by minimizing up-front prices and collecting post-sale revenue. Through interviews with 30 practicing entrepreneurs operating at the base of the pyramid (BoP), we evaluate two pricing methods, micro-finance and pay-as-you-go, that accomplish this task. Each of these methods has implications for other aspects of the venture’s business model. With further research, these models might be adapted to other undeveloped sectors around the world that also lack infrastructure and competition.
Katy Frank was employed as a lead instructor for the Refugee Affairs Division at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS). She is a subject matter expert in U.S. refugee law, policy, and processing having designed and delivered curricula on topics such as refugee law, U.S. immigration law, interviewing skills and cross-cultural communication. The following is the text of a written interview with her conducted by the SAIS Europe Journal Staff.
This article explores the rationale behind the 315 billion euro spending program of the European Union called the ‘Juncker Plan,’ and expands upon the analytical framework of McNamara in her 1998 book, "The currency of ideas." Policy elites believed that, at the member state level, Keynesian counter-cyclical fiscal expansion was an ineffective policy tool. This led directly to the creation of new budget rules for European Union member states under the European Semester and the Macroeconomic Imbalance Procedure (MIP). The Juncker plan is the product of the constraining institutions created before the shift towards Keynesian demand management -- which makes an expansionary fiscal policy at the Union level the logical path out of the crisis.
In the fall of 2014, the United States Secret Service was the subject of much scrutiny in the wake of an embarrassing string of compromises to President Obama’s safety. This article seeks to determine if such criticism was warranted through an analysis of the flawed risk model that lead to the 1995 assassination of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. Even though there was ample evidence portending this risk model’s impotence, it was not put to good use because of the Shin Bet’s (Israel’s equivalent of the Secret Service) focus on a priori experience with little consideration for a posteriori knowledge, most likely caused by Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky’s so called “conjunction fallacy.” Ultimately, I conclude that Rabin’s assassination was the result of a seriously flawed understanding of risk, one thankfully not shared with the contemporary Secret Service.
We are proud to introduce our readers to SAIS Europe’s new director with this interview. Michael Plummer, himself a 1982 SAIS graduate, has been the Eni Chair of International Economics at SAIS since 2008 and has taken on the role of SAIS Europe director as the Bologna campus marks its 60th anniversary this year. He is a distinguished economist, who has served as the head of the development division of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and editor-in-chief of the Journal of Asian Economics. Prior to SAIS, Plummer was an associate professor at Brandeis University, also serving as the Director of M.A. programs at the university’s Graduate School of International Economics and Finance, now known as the International Business School. (Interview transcript has been condensed and edited for publication)
Is the legal maxim of “justice delayed is justice denied,” frequently leveled against the International Criminal Court for its poor track record, an accurate description of the current situation in Darfur? Or, on the contrary, could the imperative of immediate justice, so often heralded as the sine qua non of a durable reconciliation, be temporarily suspended in the interest of peace? With these questions in mind, will explore what impact a temporary deferral of the International Criminal Court’s (ICC) arrest warrant against Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir might have, and whether this “surrender of justice” could expedite the peace process. In short, could deferring the ICC arrest warrant against Omar al-Bashir lead to peace in Sudan?
As the conflict in Syria enters its fourth year, comparatively little is written about the stalemate the crisis has caused in neighboring Lebanon, where the ramifications of the Syrian Civil War go beyond the refugee crisis and spillover violence. The resignation of Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati in March 2013 initiated a ten-month government collapse, paralyzing Lebanon’s political system as the country became further entrenched in Syria’s conflict. Although the Cabinet crisis was resolved in mid-February, Lebanon still faces electoral gridlock and political divisions. Despite formalizing a policy of “disassociation” from the Syrian crisis, the conflict has left Lebanon unable to tackle pressing concerns and fully end the resulting stalemate. This paper will analyze the impact of Syria on Lebanon’s political stalemate, the reasons behind the Cabinet “breakthrough,” and the prospects for ending this prolonged political gridlock.
The conflict between the Turkish government and the Partiya Karkeren Kuridstan or PKK has persisted to varying degrees of intensity since the latter’s founding in 1978. Over this time, tens of thousands have been killed on both sides. This devastating death toll combined with the litany of failed peace processes along the way have culminated to cement a stalemate with deep mistrust on both sides. Though the most recent peace overtures from the Erdogan government and subsequent withdrawal of PKK fighters from eastern Turkey brought hope of a breakthrough, that progress has now stalled as both sides look set to retrench against the perceived insincerity of the other. While the conflict is complex and dynamic, one aspect is often written off to the margins: the nature of the PKK itself. Many governments and analysts simply write the group off as a mere militant group, terrorist organization, or band of freedom fighters. In this paper, I argue that the stalemate currently being experienced is precisely because policymakers have failed to realize the true nature of what the PKK has become. Indeed, rather than conforming neatly to any one label, the PKK has transformed into a symbol of Kurdish ethno-nationalism. Only when the peace process takes this into account will the stalemate truly have a chance to be broken.
The conflict over Kashmir has been going on for more than 60 years with no real end in sight. The Indo-Pakistani Wars of 1947, 1965, and 1999 were explicitly motivated by the Kashmiri conflict. Multiple outside efforts at mediation have failed. What makes the conflict all the more dangerous is that both Pakistan and India are nuclear-armed powers. The author argues in his article that what is needed to break this stalemate is a fundamental rethinking of Pakistan’s concept of national identity. Although India can also take substantive steps to resolve the issue, it is Pakistan that holds the key to breaking the Kashmiri stalemate.
In Sudan’s South Kordofan and Blue Nile states, hundreds of thousands of civilians have been displaced and thousands more killed since June 2011, when the government of Sudan began a campaign to crush an insurgency led by the Sudan Revolutionary Front (SRF), a coalition of groups aiming to overthrow the government of President Omar al-Bashir. Clashes between the rebels and the government have intensified since late 2013, but the conflict remains stuck in a stalemate. This paper analyzes the trajectory of this conflict, focusing primarily on South Kordofan state, and the relationship between current and past conflicts in Sudan, in particular the Second Civil War (1983-2005) and the Darfur conflict (2003-present). The aim of this paper is to conclude whether this armed struggle is a repeat of past conflicts – the same issues manifesting themselves in a different form – or whether it represents something new and different.