Economics & Global Affairs

2445 Items

Analysis & Opinions - Project Syndicate

Europe’s Carbon Border Tax Advances the Fight Against Climate Change

| May 24, 2024

At first glance, the European Union’s Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism may look like a potential source of international discord. But a closer look suggests that the EU’s strict carbon-pricing regime may be the best chance the world has to achieve the Paris climate agreement’s ambitious emissions-reduction goals.

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Blog Post - views-on-the-economy-and-the-world

Elections and Devaluations

| May 02, 2024

Lots of countries are voting.  Recent elections in a number of Emerging Market and Developing Economies (EMDEs) have demonstrated anew the proposition that major currency devaluations are more likely to come immediately after an election, rather than before one. Nigeria, Turkey, Argentina, Egypt, and Indonesia are five countries that have experienced post-election devaluations within the last year.

  1. The election-devaluation cycle

Economists will recall a 50-year-old paper by Nobel Prize winning professor Bill Nordhaus as essentially initiating research on the Political Business Cycle (PBC).  The PBC refers to governments’ general inclination towards fiscal and monetary expansion in the year leading up to an election, in hopes of re-electing the incumbent president or at least the incumbent party.  The idea is that growth in output and employment will accelerate before the election, boosting the government’s popularity, whereas the major costs in terms of debt troubles and inflation will come after the election.

A computer screen showing a table of currency exchange rates.

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Analysis & Opinions - Project Syndicate

The Election-Devaluation Cycle

| Apr. 29, 2024

In 1975, the Nobel laureate economist William D. Nordhaus suggested that developing economies might seek to prop up the value of their currencies before an election, only to undergo a devaluation soon after. Recent experiences in Nigeria, Turkey, Argentina, Egypt, and Indonesia seem to bear this out.

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Analysis & Opinions - Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School

Climate Change: Political Implications and Policy Response in Africa

| Apr. 18, 2024

The fourth session addressed the pressing issue of climate change and its political implications in Africa. This session highlighted the disproportionate impact of climate change effects on African nations and how governments are responding through policy measures. A significant focus of the discussion was placed on current climate financial models and the challenges to accessing funding for renewable energy and electrification projects in Africa. The study group counted with the presence of external expert speaker Ely Sandler, Fellow at the Belfer Center. Ely has worked as a senior consultant at the World Bank and previously at Morgan Stanley for nearly a decade. Policy proposals that Ely developed at Harvard were presented at COP27 and are now being adopted by the World Bank and UAE COP28 Presidency, with the hope of catalyzing trillions of dollars of green investment, in part through Article 6 of the Paris Agreement.

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Analysis & Opinions - Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School

Politics and Prosperity: Examining Economic Development in Africa

| Apr. 11, 2024

On April 9, the study group met for the third time to examine economic development in Africa. The group explored connections between politics and economic growth trajectories across the continent, and analyzed the role of political instability and policy decisions in fostering development. Discussions covered the impact of factors like commodity markets, foreign aid, trade deals, and regional integration initiatives on development indicators. The study group counted with the presence of external expert guest H.E. Patrick Achi, former Prime Minister of Côte d’Ivoire. Prime Minister Achi shared about his experience at the highest level of government and presented the story of Côte d’Ivoire’s post-independence development as a microcosm of the broader challenges and opportunities facing African nations.

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Analysis & Opinions - Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School

Global Players: The Role of International Humanitarian Organizations in Africa

| Apr. 09, 2024

On April 2, the study group met for the second time to evaluate the role of international humanitarian groups in shaping political and social outcomes in Africa. The group examined how these organizations deal with emergencies, crises, and conflict situations across the continent, and scrutinized their influence on policy decisions and discuss the potential benefits and drawbacks of their involvement. Discussions covered the expanding influence of organizations like the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders), and the International Rescue Committee (ICR). The study group counted with the presence of external expert guest Professor Sabs K. Quereshi, a senior-level leader with 17+ years of experience in global health, gender equality, health policy and equity, national security, humanitarian response, and government and multilateral affairs sectors in the U.S., with the UN, and worldwide.

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Analysis & Opinions - Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School

Democratic Transitions and Conflict Zones: The Impact on Policy-Making in Africa

| Mar. 28, 2024

On March 26, the study group met for the first time to examine recent democratic progress and backsliding in African countries. The session focused on ongoing conflicts in different regions of Africa and examined their political underpinnings. Participants also discussed the role of third-party actors in supporting and facilitating conflict mediation and peacebuilding efforts in the continent. The study group counted with the presence of external expert guest Dr. Antje Herrberg, Chief of Staff of the European Union Capacity Building Mission in Niger (EUCAP Sahel Niger). Dr. Herrberg brings more than two decades of professional and personal experience in transition and conflict resolution, intractable conflict, and terrorism with a deep interest to alleviate the suffering of people. Furthermore, Florian Dirmayer, Master in Public Policy Candidate at Harvard Kennedy School, delivered a memo briefing on European Union Security Cooperation with Niger After the 2023 Military Coup.

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Blog Post - views-on-the-economy-and-the-world

The Historical Puzzle of US Economic Performance under Democrats vs. Republicans

| Mar. 28, 2024

We have heard much about the puzzle that US economic performance under President Joe Biden has been much stronger than voters perceive it to be.  But the current episode is just one instance of a bigger historical puzzle:  the US economy has since World War II consistently done better under Democratic presidents than under Republican presidents.  This fact is even less widely known, including among Democratic voters, than the truth about Biden’s term.  Indeed, some poll results suggest that more Americans believe the reverse, that Republican presidents are better stewards of the economy than Democrats.