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CESifo Seminar Series

The CESifo Seminar Series aims to cover topical policy issues in economics from a largely European perspective. The books in this series are the products of the papers and intensive debates that took place during the seminars hosted by CESifo, an international research network of renowned economists organized jointly by the Center for Economic Studies at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität, Munich, and the Ifo Institute for Economic Research. All publications in this series have been carefully selected and refereed by members of the CESifo research network.

Implications for Education Financing and Economic Policy

The mobility of students in developed countries has dramatically increased over the last fifty years. Students do not necessarily remain in their countries of origin for higher education and work; they might be born in one country, attend university in a second, and find employment in a third.

The global financial crisis has prompted economists to rethink fundamental questions on how governments should intervene in the financial sector. Many countries have already begun to reform the taxation and regulation of the financial sector—in the United States, for example, the Dodd–Frank Act became law in 2010; in Europe, different countries have introduced additional taxes on the sector and made substantial progress toward a banking union for the eurozone. Only recently, however, has a new field in economics emerged to study the interplay between public finance and banking.

The Green Paradox and Beyond

Recent developments suggest that well-intended climate policies--including carbon taxes and subsidies for renewable energy—might not accomplish what policy makers intend. Hans-Werner Sinn has described a “green paradox,” arguing that these policies could hasten global warming by encouraging owners of fossil fuel reserves to increase their extraction rates for fear that their reserves will become worthless. In this volume, economists investigate the empirical and theoretical support for the green paradox.

Theory and Empirical Evidence
Edited by Karl Wärneryd

Modern economics has largely ignored the issue of outright conflict as an alternative way of allocating goods, assuming instead the existence of well-defined property rights enforced by an undefined third party. And yet even in ostensibly peaceful market transactions, conflict exists as an outside option, sometimes constraining the outcomes reached through voluntary agreement. In this volume, economists offer a crucial rational-choice perspective on conflict, using methodological approaches that range from the game theoretic to the experimental.

Firm Heterogeneity Meets International Business

Despite their common roots, international economics (IE) and international business (IB) have developed into two distinct fields of study. Economists have directed their efforts at formalizing the workings of international trade and investment at the macroeconomic level; business scholars have relied more on data-driven conceptual narratives than mathematical tools. But the recent focus of IE literature on firm heterogeneity suggests that IE would benefit from IB analyses of the behavior and organization of the internationalizing firm.

One lens through which to view global economic interdependence and the spillover of shocks is that of decoupling (and then recoupling). Decoupling between developed and developing countries can be seen in the strong economic performance of China and India relative to that of the United States and Europe in the early 2000s. Recoupling then took place as developing countries sank along with the developed world during the deepening financial crisis of 2008.

What Reduces Offending?

Economists who bring the tools of economic analysis to bear on the study of crime and crime prevention contribute to current debates a normative framework and sophisticated quantitative methods for evaluating policy, the idea of criminal behavior as rational choice, and the connection of individual choices to aggregate outcomes. The contributors to this volume draw on all three of these approaches in their investigations and discuss the policy implications of their findings.

Issues, Challenges, and Case Studies

In recent years central bankers have placed new emphasis on communication with financial markets and the general public. They have done this not only through the traditional channel of monetary policy pronouncements but also by increasing the quantity of information they make public. Yet as central banks strive to provide more and clearer information about the outlook for the economy, they must balance their capacity to steer economic expectations with their natural caution about committing to future monetary policy paths.

Many developing countries find it difficult to raise the revenue required to provide such basic public services as education, health care, and infrastructure. Complicating the policy challenges of taxation in developing countries are issues that most developed countries do not face, including widespread corruption, tax evasion and tax avoidance, and ineffective political structures. In this volume, experts investigate crucial challenges confronted by developing countries in raising revenue.

China is now the world’s second largest economy and may soon overtake the United States as the world’s largest. Despite its adoption of some free-market principles, China considers itself a “socialist-market economy,” suggesting that the government still plays a major role in the country’s economic development. This book offers a systematic analysis of four factors in China’s rapid economic growth: exchange rate policy, savings and investment, monetary policy and capital controls, and foreign direct investment (FDI).

The European Union began with efforts in the Cold War era to foster economic integration among a few Western European countries. Today’s EU constitutes an upper tier of government that affects almost every level of policymaking in each of its twenty-seven member states. The recent financial and economic crises have tested this still-evolving institutional framework, and this book surveys key economic challenges faced by the EU.

As international trade has expanded dramatically in the postwar period--an expansion accelerated by the opening of China, Russia, India, and Eastern Europe--illicit international trade has grown in tandem with it. This volume uses the economist’s toolkit to examine the economic, political, and social problems resulting from such illicit activities as illegal drug trade, smuggling, and organized crime.

Governments around the world are deeply divided about the proper role of industrial policy, with some politicians arguing for hands-off governance and others supporting government intervention to promote “national champions”-- firms that receive government support for both political and economic reasons. In this volume, prominent economists present the pros and cons of government support for national champions.

Economists disagree on what ails the economies of continental western Europe, which are widely perceived to be underperforming in terms of productivity and other metrics. Is it some deficiency in their economic system--in economic institutions or cultural attitudes? Is it some effect of their welfare systems of social insurance and assistance? Or are these systems healthy enough but weighed down by adverse market conditions? In this volume, leading economists test the various explanations for Europe’s economic underperformance against real-world data.

How to Reverse the Trend of Declining Birth Rates

In 2050, world population growth is predicted to come almost to a halt. Shortly thereafter it may well start to shrink. A major reason behind this shift is the fertility decline that has taken place in many developed countries. In this book, experts discuss the appropriateness and effectiveness of using public policy to influence fertility decisions.

Laws, Institutions, and Implementation
Edited by Vivek Ghosal

In recent years governments have paid increasing attention to weighing the socioeconomic benefits of regulations against their costs. Rules and regulations governing economic activity are typically formulated with a view to their benefits. Their effects on the costs and inefficiencies, in particular the possible chilling effects on competition and innovation, have received limited attention.

Edited by Paul De Grauwe

Competitiveness among nations is often approached as if it were a sports competition: some countries win medals, others lose out. This view of countries fighting it out in the economic arena is especially popular in business circles and among politicians. Economists, however, take a very different approach to international economic relations, arguing that international trade leads not to winners and losers but to win-win situations in which all countries profit.

The narrative of development economics is now infused with discussions of institutions. Economists debate whether institutions--or other factors altogether (geography, culture, or religion)--are central to development. In this volume, leading scholars in development economics view institutions from a microeconomic perspective, offering both theoretical overviews and empirical analyses spanning three continents.

The Economic Causes and Consequences of Conflict
Edited by Gregory D. Hess

Guns and Butter examines the causes and consequences of war from a political economy perspective, taking as its premise that a consideration of the incentives and constraints faced by individuals and groups is paramount in understanding conflict decision making. The chapter authors--leading economists and political scientists--believe that this perspective offers deeper insights into war and peace choices than the standard state-centric approach. Their contributions offer both theoretical and empirical support for the political economy perspective on conflict.

High inequality in incomes and assets and persistent poverty continue to plague Latin America and remain a central economic policy challenge for Latin American policymakers. At the same time, dramatically improved methods and data allow researchers to analyze these problems and how they are affected by economic policy. In this book, experts on Latin American economic affairs use these new approaches to examine the dynamics of poverty and inequality in Latin America and the ability of policy to address them.

Debates over post-Kyoto Protocol climate change policy often take note of two issues: the feasibility and desirability of international cooperation on climate change policies, given the failure of the United States to ratify Kyoto and the very limited involvement of developing countries, and the optimal timing of climate policies. In this book essays by leading international economists offer insights on both these concerns.

In recent decades, governments have built up substantial public debt, which is often accompanied by a growing public sector and fiscal policies that neglect long-term considerations. The contributors to this CESifo volume consider whether the development of public debt in the United States and six EU countries is sustainable--that is, whether fiscal policies in these countries can be continued without creating the potential for government bankruptcy. The sustainability of public debt presents a challenge not only to public policy design but also to economic theory.

The multinational firm and its main vehicle, foreign direct investment, are key forces in economic globalization. Their importance to the world economy can be seen in the fact that since 1990 foreign direct investment has grown more rapidly than the world GDP and world trade. Despite this, the causes and consequences of multinational firm activity are little understood and until recently relatively unexamined in the theoretical literature.

Demographic realities will soon force developed countries to find ways to pay for longer retirements for more people. In Pension Strategies in Europe and the United States, leading economists analyze topical issues in pension policy, with a focus on raising the retirement age, increasing retirement savings, and the political sustainability of reforms that will accomplish these goals.

Recent decades have seen almost unprecedented economic growth in income per capita around the world. Yet this extraordinary overall performance masks a wide variation in growth rates across different countries, with persistent underdevelopment in some parts of the world. This disparity constitutes “the development puzzle,” and it is exemplified by growth spurts in China and India that contrast markedly with disturbingly low growth rates in sub-Saharan Africa.

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