Einaudi Center: Working Paper Series

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    The Macro- and Socioeconomic Impact of the Syrian Crisis on Lebanon
    Charafeddine, Raed H. (Mario Einaudi Center for International Studies, 2018-04)
    Because the blazing Syrian territories are the longest and only accessible borders to Lebanon, the Syrian crisis has had a direct and significant impact on Lebanon’s macro- and socioeconomic conditions. It has undermined vital economic sectors, weakened economic growth, and positioned Lebanon as the country with the highest per capita concentration of refugees in the world. The crisis has augmented fiscal deficits, intensified poverty and humanitarian crises, and aggravated existing developmental constraints. Current international and regional support initiatives still fall short of meeting Lebanon’s urgent need to face current critical challenges and capitalize on any potential opportunities. Raed H. Charafeddine, the First Vice-Governor of Banque Du Liban, Lebanon’s Central Bank, explores these dimensions and highlights the role of the Central Bank in mitigating the impact of the Syrian crisis on Lebanon through monetary and financial stability, sustained social development, and economic growth.
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    Challenges Confronting Central Bankers Today
    Hayes, Adam (Mario Einaudi Center for International Studies, 2016-07)
    The role of central banks in today’s global economy cannot be understated. These institutions hold great influence over important pieces of the economic engine, which in turn impact financial flows, access to credit, prices and global trade. Since the financial crisis of 2008-2009, the influence of central bank policymakers has only grown greater. Unprecedented actions and emergency measures have been taken to stabilize what otherwise could have been a global economic depression to rival the 1930’s. This paper reviews five questions that today’s central bankers face: whether to adhere to a rules-based monetary policy; if central banks should step into stabilize markets (e.g. QE); the importance of inflation targeting; the role of central bank independence; and the use of negative interest rates. Each of these issues is presented with arguments both in favor and against, empirical evidence to their effectiveness, as well as their possible unintended consequences and interconnectedness.
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    The Changing Politics of Central Banking: A Legal Perspective
    Prates, Marcelo (Mario Einaudi Center for International Studies, 2016-06)
    Central banks around the world emerged from the financial crisis in a curious situation. On the one hand, central banks were criticized because they had not been able to anticipate or prevent the crisis. On the other hand, central banks were called on to lead the way to economic recovery, using unprecedented means if necessary. We can, thus, tell two different, even opposite tales of central banks after the financial crisis. One of losing prominence, and the other of becoming the most powerful institution of our times. And both accounts are very true. How is that possible? This white paper reviews the legal literature in search of answers to this question. It starts by revisiting the issue of central-bank independence and looking at how the different branches of government now interact with central banks. The paper also explores the legal questions associated with central banks making use of unconventional tools.
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    The Global Politics of Central Banking: A View From Political Science
    Lockwood, Erin (Mario Einaudi Center for International Studies, 2016-07)
    This paper reviews the political science literature on central banking from the early 1990s through the present, paying particular attention to the explicit or implicit conception of politics in the works reviewed. I begin by reviewing rationalist approaches to central bank independence from both the policy supply and demand sides. In the second section, I review literature that challenges and critiques this rationalist/institutionalist paradigm and its assumptions. The third section reviews studies that locate politics within central banks themselves and that analyze decision-making processes therein. The final section builds on the strengths of the existing literature to outline a future trajectory for political science scholarship on the global politics of central banking, one that incorporates a more sophisticated conception of politics and that is attentive to the post-crisis world in which transnational forces, governing ideas and worldviews, unconventional monetary policy, and non-monetary policy central bank functions are of paramount importance.
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    Going Global In Academia: International Ranking Systems and Their Implication for Economic Research Variety
    Palea, Vera (Mario Einaudi Center for International Studies, 2015-07)
    There is nowadays a growing sense of unease about the current state and the direction of financial academic research. A number of critical studies have highlighted the failure of academia in anticipating the recent financial crisis and criticizing economic models used by financial market practitioners. Too much intellectual inquiry has operated within the parameters set by academic practice rather than questioning and challenging them. This paper argues that the current state of research is strictly linked to the adoption of international journal ranking lists as university management tools, which has led to a hegemony of the U.S. elite in research. Affected by a genuine ethnocentrism, U.S. research is very much capital market-oriented and optimized for liberal stock market economies, while completely ignoring different approaches and critical studies. The strength of economics and, more generally, social sciences instead lies in their rich, reflexive research analyses, carried out within their specific contexts, so essential to the social and economic advancement of society. Knowledge would therefore be better served by alternative research agendas tailored to the needs of different forms of capitalism. It is at times of great uncertainty and changes, such as the ones in which we are living, that advantages of variety in research can be appreciated. According to this view, this paper focuses on the European Union and presents a view of research that is strongly embedded in the EU constitutional framework and its ideal of social market economy.
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    Constructing and Maintaining Legitimacy: Sociological Perspectives of the Politics of Central Banking
    Bea, Megan Doherty (Mario Einaudi Center for International Studies, 2016-06)
    This working paper reviews central banking research produced in sociology and anthropology, most of which has been published in the last five to ten years. These studies focus on institutional structures and social and cultural processes that shape central bank activity, with significant attention to the ways in which central banks seek to legitimate their actions. I outline key themes that have emerged, including central banks’ internal decision-making and analysis of the international pressures they face. I review research examining the ways in which central bankers are influenced by one another, use performative rhetoric to manage the market, and engage in relational work with a variety of actors as they seek to maintain their legitimacy. This research is an important complement to traditional central banking research published in the fields of economics, political science, and law, and underscores the complexity involved in the day-to-day operations of central banks.
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    After Crimea: Disarmament, Frozen Conflicts, And Illicit Trafficking Through Eastern Europe
    Gheorge, Eliza (Mario Einaudi Center for International Studies, 2015-07)
    This paper examines the principal-agent problem in the case of Russia and breakaway republics in its near abroad, with a specific focus on nuclear smuggling. These spaces have been a haven for nuclear traffickers, posing important challenges for international efforts aimed at stemming proliferation. Given that secessionist regimes in this area owe their existence to Moscow’s military presence, scholars have blamed Russia for nuclear smuggling incidents in frozen conflict areas, arguing that Moscow has never been cooperative on nuclear matters. However, the historical record reveals that Russia does not take the dangers posed by nuclear smuggling lightly, as insurgent groups in the region have repeatedly threatened to use dirty bombs against it. A closer look at both the theory and the empirical evidence around the illicit trade with nuclear materials, drawing on examples of nuclear trafficking through Transnistria, shows that it is the state of lawlessness in these breakaway republics that makes these territories a fertile ground for smuggling networks. As organized crime engulfs these quasi-states, professional traffickers take over smuggling rings from amateurs. This paper shows that the increasing frequency of nuclear smuggling incidents in breakaway republics is better explained by the growing sophistication of trafficking networks rather than by Russia’s involvement in these frozen conflict zones.
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    Africanizing Apartheid: Identity, Ideology, and State-Building in Post-Independence Africa
    Miller, Jamie (Mario Einaudi Center for International Studies, 2015-04)
    Between 1968 and 1975, the leaders of white South Africa reached out to independent African leaders. Scholars have alternately seen these counterintuitive campaigns as driven by a quest for regional economic hegemony, divide-and-lure realpolitik, or a desire to ingratiate the regime with the West. This article instead argues that the South African government’s outreach was intended as a top-down recalibration of the ideology of Afrikaner nationalism, as the regime endeavored to detach its apartheid program from notions of colonialist racial supremacy, and instead reach across the color line and lay an equal claim to the power and protection of African nationalism. These diplomatic maneuverings, therefore, serve as a prism through which to understand important shifts in state identity, ideological renewal, and the adoption of new state-building models.
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    Mapping the Contours of Identity Contestation: Hybridization, Polarization, and Self-Marginalization
    Hintz, Lisel (Mario Einaudi Center for International Studies, 2016-05)
    This paper is part of a larger project that forays into the murky waters of sub-national identity contestation, understood here as struggles among members of a state’s population who support competing various proposals for the content of that state’s national identity. The paper attempts to capture these contours, map their shifts, and parse out the mechanisms by which these changes occur in Turkey, a state with multiple, politically salient identity cleavages. To do so, the paper analyzes these three key episodes that each constitute major challenges to the ruling party’s pursuit of identity hegemony for its own proposal of Ottoman Islamism. Each of these challenges shaping the contours of Turkey’s identity debates over the course of just two years (May 2013 – May 2015) represents a different dynamic of identity contestation: hybridization of opposition demonstrators during the Gezi Protests, polarization among supporters of the AKP and the Gülen Movement, and self-marginalization of the AKP through its increasingly radical rhetoric. Drawing from a wide array of popular culture and social media sources as well as interviews, surveys, and participant observation, the analysis provides new insight into the vernacular politics of identity in contemporary Turkey, while contributing to wider studies of social movements and contentious politics through its examination of various mechanisms of change.
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    Georgia in His Mind: A Cognitive Explanation for George W. Bush’s Decision-Making in the 2008 August War
    Hintz, Lisel (Mario Einaudi Center for International Studies, 2016-05)
    This paper explores the case of US President George W. Bush’s unwavering support for the Republic of Georgia in its aggressive engagement with Russia during the 2008 August War, a nearly universally acknowledged judgment error that puzzled Bush’s own team as much as it did foreign policy analysts. Finding explanations grounded in alliance behavior, audience costs, and resource security inadequate, the paper offers a cognitive heuristics account that focuses on the fundamental attribution error (FAE). Examining how the FAE can function in terms of assessing the actions of perceived friends reveals Bush’s failure to update his beliefs about the increasingly erratic behavior of Georgian President and Bush confidante Mikhail Saakashvili. In presenting an explanation for this empirical puzzle, the paper contributes a new perspective on the FAE of use in the burgeoning literature employing psychological approaches to foreign policy outcomes.