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Global telecommunications markets have traditionally been closed to foreign trade and investment. Recent World Trade Organization negotiations resulted in a Basic Telecommunications agreement that sought to construct a multilateral framework to reverse that trend and begin opening telecom markets worldwide. Regrettably, this new WTO framework is quite ambiguous and open to pro-regulatory interpretations by member states.
In fact, during recent bilateral trade negotiations with Japan, U.S. government officials adopted the position that the new framework allowed them to demand that the Japanese government adopt very specific regulatory provisions regarding telecom network interconnection and pricing policies. The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative argued that Japanese officials should require their domestic telecom providers to share their networks with rivals at a generously discounted price to encourage greater resale competition.
Those interconnection and line-sharing rules were borrowed directly from the U.S. Telecommunications Act of 1996, a piece of legislation that remains the subject of intense debate within the United States. Good evidence now exists that those rules generally retard net-work investment and innovation by encouraging infrastructure sharing over facilities-based investment. Consequently, the USTR has generated resentment on the part of Japan and other trading partners as it has attempted to force them to adopt heavy-handed telecommunications mandates that have very little to do with legitimate free-trade policy.
The USTR must discontinue efforts to impose American telecommunications regulations on other countries as part of free-trade negotiations and should instead focus on reforming or eliminating the most serious barriers to foreign direct investment both here and abroad.
District of Columbia mayor Anthony Williams has convinced Major League Baseball to move the Montreal Expos to D.C. in exchange for the city's building a new ballpark. Williams has claimed that the new stadium will create thousands of jobs and spur economic development in a depressed area of the city.
Williams also claims that this can be accomplished without tax dollars from D.C. residents. Yet the proposed plan to pay for the stadium relies on some kind of tax increase that will likely be felt by D.C. residents.
Our conclusion, and that of nearly all academic economists studying this issue, is that professional sports generally have little, if any, positive effect on a city's economy. The net economic impact of professional sports in Washington, D.C., and the 36 other cities that hosted professional sports teams over nearly 30 years, was a reduction in real per capita income over the entire metropolitan area.
A baseball team in D.C. might produce intangible benefits. Rooting for the team might provide satisfaction to many local baseball fans. That is hardly a reason for the city government to subsidize the team. D.C. policymakers should not be mesmerized by faulty impact studies that claim that a baseball team and a new stadium can be an engine of economic growth.
Economic Opportunity Institute;
Over 3 budget years from 2009 to 2011, Washington State has grappled with a $12 billion shortfall between the projected need for public services and state revenues -- which have plunged because of the recession. Federal stimulus money and the rainy day fund made up some of the difference, and the state raised $918 million with tighter standards and new taxes. Still, Washington's legislature has cut $5.2 billion, impacting schools, childcare centers, health clinics, assisted living facilities, families, and individuals across the state.
Despite continued population growth, inflation, and increased needs caused by the recession, Washington's 2-year General Fund budget for 2009-11 is barely above the 2005-07 level and $2.7 billion below the amount originally budgeted for 2007-09 -- an 8% drop.
American Human Development Project;
Our national conversation about race tends to take place in black and white, yet the greatest disparities in human well-being to be found in the U.S. are between Asian Americans in New Jersey and Native Americans in South Dakota. An entire century of human progress separates the worst-off from the best-off groups within the U.S., according to the latest update of the American Human Development (HD) Index.
What's new in this report?
American HD Index scores for racial and ethnic group in each state, using the most recent government data to create a composite measure of progress on health, education, and income indicators. Previous reports have presented scores for racial and ethnic groups for the entire country and within specific states. This is the first time that American HD Index scores have been computed for racial and ethnic groups in each state. Rankings by state, for each major racial and ethnic group, on the American HD Index. The index reveals that the starkest disparities in well-being fall not between blacks and whites, but between Native Americans and Asian Americans. Asian Americans as a group top the rankings, with Asian Americans in New Jersey coming in at number one. If current trends continue, it will take Native Americans in South Dakota an entire century to catch up with where New Jersey Asian Americans are now in terms of life expectancy, educational enrollment and attainment, and median earnings. Analysis of what's driving the differences in human development outcomes for different groups. Disaggregated data on life expectancy, educational enrollment, educational degree attainment, and median personal earnings, all from the latest official government releases. Although the numbers tell a sobering tale, this data can be the start of a conversation about where in the country different groups of Americans are thriving -- and where others are falling behind -- and why. A holistic approach using official statistics paints a picture of today and helps us monitor change for a better tomorrow; as such, the American HD Index can serve as a tool for action.
Center for Economic and Policy Research;
this paper shows that the U.S.' biggest trading partners in the Americas will likely see a significant loss in exports and GDP as the U.S. economy slows. Countries less reliant on the U.S. market will not be as negatively impacted. The paper makes two sets of projections for the decline in exports countries in the Americas may experience. The low-adjustment scenario assumes that the U.S. trade deficit falls from 5.2 percent of GDP in 2007 to 3.0 percent of GDP in 2010. The high adjustment scenario assumes that the U.S. trade deficit falls back to 1.0 percent of GDP by 2010. The paper finds that the countries that will likely suffer most as the result of a reduction in U.S. imports are the same countries with which the United States has implemented "free trade" agreements in recent decades, including the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) between the United States, Canada, and Mexico, and the Dominican Republic-Central America Free Trade Agreement (DR-CAFTA), which includes the United States along with Guatemala, El Salvador, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras, and the Dominican Republic. Meanwhile, countries that are less dependent on the United States, or more reliant on domestic demand, will see smaller impacts of the U.S. recession on their exports and national GDP.
The expansion of international trade has provided considerable benefits to the United States and its trading partners. Yet the growth of trade also raises concerns about its impact on domestic firms and their workers. This study surveys the economic research on the causes of expanded international trade, the benefits of trade, the impact of trade on employment and wages, and the cost of international trade restrictions. The findings include the following: Income growth accounts for two-thirds of the growth in global trade in recent decades, trade liberalization accounts for one-quarter, and lower transportation costs make up the remainder. Trade expansion has fueled faster growth and raised incomes in countries that have liberalized. A 1-percentage point gain in trade as a share of the economy raises per capita income by 1 percent. Global elimination of all barriers to trade in goods and services would raise global income by $2 trillion and U.S. income by almost $500 billion. Competition from trade delivers lower prices and more product variety to consumers. Americans are $300 billion better off today because of the greater product variety from imports. International trade directly affects only 15 percent of the U.S. workforce. Most job displacement occurs in sectors that are not engaged in global competition. Net payroll employment in the United States has grown by 36 million in the past two decades, alongside a dramatic increase in imports of goods and services. Expanding trade does not explain most of the growing gap between wages earned by skilled and unskilled workers. The relative decline in unskilled wages is mainly caused by technological changes that reward greater skills. Trade barriers impose large, net costs on the U.S. economy. The cost to the economy per job saved in protected industries far exceeds the wages paid to workers in those jobs
Center for Economic and Policy Research;
This paper forecasts that weakness in the housing market is likely to push the economy into a recession in 2007. Economist Dean Baker provides predictions for GDP, job and wage growth; inflation (CPI); investment; exports and imports; and more.
There are frequent complaints that U.S. income inequality has increased in recent decades. Estimates of rising inequality that are widely cited in the media are often based on federal income tax return data. Those data appear to show that the share of U.S. income going to the top 1 percent (those people with the highest incomes) has increased substantially since the 1970s.
However, there have been large changes in U.S. tax rules over time that have made a dramatic difference on what is reported as income on individual tax returns. Tax changes induced thousands of businesses to switch from filing under the corporate tax system to filing under the individual tax system. Corporate executives switched from accepting stock options taxed as capital gains to nonqualified stock options taxed as salaries. The huge growth in tax-favored savings plans, such as 401(k)s, has resulted in billions of dollars of investment income disappearing from tax returns. Meanwhile, studies of inequality that are based on tax return data usually exclude transfer payments, which results in exaggerating the shares of income received by those at the top by ignoring growing amounts of income at the bottom.
Measurements of inequality have also been affected by large reductions in income tax rates, particularly in 1986. Estimates by many economists indicate that the reported income of highincome taxpayers is very responsive to tax rates. When top tax rates on wages or capital gains fall, reported incomes rise, and a larger fraction of the incomes of those at the top show up on tax returns. International comparisons show that reported income shares of those at the top have risen the most where top tax rates have been cut the most (the United States, the United Kingdom, and India) and have risen the least where top tax rates have remained very high (France and Japan).
In sum, studies based on tax return data provide highly misleading comparisons of changes to the U.S. income distribution because of dramatic changes in tax rules and tax reporting in recent decades. Aside from stock option windfalls during the late-1990s stock-market boom, there is little evidence of a significant or sustained increase in the inequality of U.S. incomes, wages, consumption, or wealth over the past 20 years.
Virtual Worlds, immersive and collaborative environments on the Internet, also referred to as Web 3D, are likely to transform the global business environment. Developed out of online games, social networking, and Web services, Virtual Worlds benefit from several technologies that enhance their usefulness, including massively scaled games, avatars, cloud/on-demand/grid computing, on-demand storage, and next-generation networks.
What this paper describes is how corporations in this century will begin to use new technologies to transform the methods of production, the generation of services, and the management of people and processes. To make our case, this paper: Explains Virtual Worlds and how on-demand/utility/grid computing, on-demand storage, and next-generation networks support their commercialization.Explores how Virtual Worlds and the technologies that support them can change the nature of the firm and influence collaboration in business.Describes the changes that give rise to collaborative enterprise, including the two likely main forms of organization: the multi-industry conglomerate and the modern guild system. We also explore how enhanced collaboration has the power to extend and alter the ways in which today's firms create products and services and redefine relationships with suppliers and customers.Discusses how Virtual Worlds and supporting technologies will affect U.S. industrial competitiveness and provides policy recommendations in a number of areas, including deployment and adoption of Virtual Worlds, collaboration, skills development, and the ideal business environment needed for full and rapid adoption of these new technologies.
International Studies Program of the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies;
Existing evidence suggests that U.S. Government budget receipts forecasts are unbiased and efficient. Our study is an attempt to examine the veracity of these findings. The time series framework employed in this study is distinguished from previous work in three ways. First, we build a model that explicitly admits serial correlation in the residuals by allowing for autoregressive, moving-average, serial correlation. Second, we employ the nonparametric Monte-Carlo bootstrap to free ourselves from reliance on asymptotic distribution theory which is suspect given the short data series available for this study. Third, we control for errors in the macroeconomic and financial assumptions used to produce the U.S. Government's budget forecasts. We find that the U.S. Government's annual, one-year ahead, budget receipts forecasts for fiscal years 1963 through 2003 are biased and inefficient. In addition, we find that these forecasts exhibit serial correlation in their errors and thus do not efficiently exploit all available information. Finally, we find evidence that is consistent with strategic bias that may reflect the political goals of the Administration in power. Working Paper 07-22
Global Impact Investing Network (GIIN);
"Community investing" is investment that seeks to deliver social benefits to low-income or marginalized communities while also generating a financial return. This report provides an overview of the U.S. Community Investing (USCI) field: the types of intermediary organizations raising investments and deploying them in underserved communities, the range of investment products that are available, and the types of investors active in the space. In so doing, this study surfaces several key barriers and opportunities for scaling private investment in the USCI space.
Greater Ohio Policy Center;
Like many cities in the Midwest, Akron, Ohio has weathered a long-term decline in its traditional economic base and has had to reimagine its role in the twenty-first century economy. The city was long believed to have navigated this transition more successfully than many of its peers, but recent data analysis shows many troubling economic and demographic trends that could negatively affect the city's long-term trajectory.
Based on analysis of city-level data and interviews with local stakeholders, the "62.4 Report", titled to refer to the city's square mileage, details the city of Akron's current condition in terms of economic strength, individual and family economic health, neighborhood stability, and demographic trends. The Report focuses on Akron's assets and challenges to make recommendations for how the city can regain a competitive edge.