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Asia's Uncertain LNG Future Cover

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Asia's Uncertain LNG Future

By Mikkal E. Herberg, Michael Bradshaw, Amy Myers Jaffe, Damien Ma, and Nikos Tsafos

Leading energy experts examine how and to what extent countries in the Asia-Pacific are integrating liquefied natural gas (LNG) into their energy-security strategies and analyze the key geopolitical implications for the United States and Asia.

Asking About Prices Cover

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Asking About Prices

A New Approach to Understanding Price Stickiness

Why do consumer prices and wages adjust so slowly to changes in market conditions? The rigidity or stickiness of price setting in business is central to Keynesian economic theory and a key to understanding how monetary policy works, yet economists have made little headway in determining why it occurs. Asking About Prices offers a groundbreaking empirical approach to a puzzle for which theories abound but facts are scarce. Leading economist Alan Blinder, along with co-authors Elie Canetti, David Lebow, and Jeremy B. Rudd, interviewed a national, multi-industry sample of 200 CEOs, company heads, and other corporate price setters to test the validity of twelve prominent theories of price stickiness. Using everyday language and pertinent scenarios, the carefully designed survey asked decisionmakers how prominently these theoretical concerns entered into their own attitudes and thought processes. Do businesses tend to view the costs of changing prices as prohibitive? Do they worry that lower prices will be equated with poorer quality goods? Are firms more likely to try alternate strategies to changing prices, such as warehousing excess inventory or improving their quality of service? To what extent are prices held in place by contractual agreements, or by invisible handshakes? Asking About Prices offers a gold mine of previously unavailable information. It affirms the widespread presence of price stickiness in American industry, and offers the only available guide to such business details as what fraction of goods are sold by fixed price contract, how often transactions involve repeat customers, and how and when firms review their prices. Some results are surprising: contrary to popular wisdom, prices do not increase more easily than they decrease, and firms do not appear to practice anticipatory pricing, even when they can foresee cost increases. Asking About Prices also offers a chapter-by-chapter review of the survey findings for each of the twelve theories of price stickiness. The authors determine which theories are most popular with actual price setters, how practices vary within different business sectors, across firms of different sizes, and so on. They also direct economists' attention toward a rationale for price stickiness that does not stem from conventional theory, namely a strong reluctance by firms to antagonize or inconvenience their customers. By illuminating how company executives actually think about price setting, Asking About Prices provides an elegant model of a valuable new approach to conducting economic research.

Atlanta Unbound Cover

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Atlanta Unbound

Enabling Sprawl through Policy and Planning

Looking at Atlanta, Georgia, one might conclude that the city’s notorious sprawl, degraded air quality, and tenuous water supply is a result of a lack of planning—particularly an absence of coordination at the regional level. In Atlanta Unbound, Carlton Wade Basmajian shows that Atlanta’s low-density urban form and its associated problems have been both highly coordinated and regionally planned.
 
Basmajian’s shrewd analysis shows how regional policies spanned political boundaries and   framed local debates over several decades. He examines the role of the Atlanta Regional Commission’s planning deliberations that appear to have contributed to the urban sprawl that they were designed to control. Basmajian explores four cases—regional land development plans, water supply strategies, growth management policies, and transportation infrastructure programs—to provide a detailed account of the interactions between citizens, planners, regional commissions, state government, and federal agencies.
 
In the process, Atlanta Unbound answers the question: Toward what end and for whom is Atlanta’s regional planning process working?
 
In the series Urban Life, Landscape, and Policy, edited by Zane L. Miller, David Stradling, and Larry Bennett

Atomic Frontier Days Cover

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Atomic Frontier Days

Hanford and the American West

By John M. Findlay and Bruce Hevly

Takes readers behind the headlines into the Manhattan Project at Hanford and the communities that surround it and offers perspectives on today’s controversies in an area now famous for the monumental effort to clean up decades of nuclear waste.

Avoiding Armageddon Cover

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Avoiding Armageddon

America, India, and Pakistan to the Brink and Back

Bruce O. Riedel

India and Pakistan will be among the most important countries in the twenty-first century. In Avoiding Armageddon, Bruce Riedel clearly explains the challenge and the importance of successfully managing America's affairs with these two emerging powers and their toxic relationship.

Born from the British Raj, the two nations share a common heritage, but they are different in many important ways. India is already the world's largest democracy and will soon become the planet's most populous nation. Pakistan, soon to be the fifth most populous country, has a troubled history of military coups, dictators, and harboring terrorists such as Osama bin Laden.

The longtime rivals are nuclear powers, with tested weapons. They have fought four wars with each other and have gone to the brink of war several times. Meanwhile, U.S. presidents since Franklin Roosevelt have been increasingly involved in the region's affairs. In the past two decades alone, the White House has intervened several times to prevent nuclear confrontation on the subcontinent. South Asia clearly is critical to American national security, and the volatile relationship between India and Pakistan is the crucial factor determining whether the region can ever be safe and stable.

Based on extensive research and Riedel's role in advising four U.S. presidents on the region, Avoiding Armageddon reviews the history of American diplomacy in South Asia, the crises that have flared in recent years, and the prospects for future crisis. Riedel provides an in-depth look at the Mumbai terrorist attack in 2008, the worst terrorist outrage since 9/11, and he concludes with authoritative analysis on what the future is likely to hold for America and the South Asia puzzle as well as recommendations on how Washington should proceed.

The Bachelet Government Cover

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The Bachelet Government

Conflict and Consensus in Post-Pinochet Chile

Silvia Borzutzky and Gregory B. Weeks

Michelle Bachelet was the first elected female president of Chile, and the first women elected president of any South American country. What was just as remarkable, though less noted, was the success and stability of the political coalition that she represented, the Concertacion. Though Bachelet was the fourth consecutive Concertacion president, upon taking office her administration quickly faced a series of crises, including massive student protests, labor unrest, internal governmental divisions, and allegations of ineptitude and wrongdoing as a result of a major reorganization of Santiago's transportation system.

Candidate Bachelet promised not only different policies but also a different policymaking style--a style characterized by a kinder and gentler approach to politics in a country with a long tradition of machismo and strong male rulers. Bachelet promised to listen to the people and to return power to those who had been denied it in the past. Her attitude enhanced the influence of existing social movements and inspired the formation of new ones.

The Bachelet Government is the first book to examine the policies, political issues, and conflicts of Bachelet's administration, and the first to provide analyses of the challenges, successes, and failures experienced by the Concertacion since 1989.

Banking on Reform Cover

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Banking on Reform

Political Parties and Central Bank Independence in the Industrial Democracies

William Bernhard

Banking on Reform examines the political determinants of recent reforms to monetary policy institutions in the industrial democracies. With these reforms, political parties have sought to draw on the political credibility of an independent central bank to cope with electoral consequences of economic internalization and deindustrialization. New Zealand and Italy made the initial efforts to grant their central banks independence. More recently, France, Spain, Britain, and Sweden have reformed their central banks' independence. Additionally, members of the European Union have implemented a single currency, with an independent European central bank to administer monetary policy. Banking on Reform stresses the politics surrounding the choice of these institutions, specifically the motivations of political parties. Where intraparty conflicts have threatened the party's ability to hold office, politicians have adopted an independent central bank. Where political parties have been secluded from the political consequences of economic change, reform has been thwarted or delayed. The drive toward a single currency also reflects these political concerns. By delegating monetary policy to the European level, politicians in the member states removed a potentially divisive issue from the domestic political agenda, allowing parties to rebuild their support constructed on the basis of other issues. William T. Bernhard provides a variety of evidence to support his argument, such as in-depth case accounts of recent central bank reforms in Italy and Britain, the role of the German Bundesbank in the policy process, and the adoption of the single currency in Europe. Additionally, he utilizes quantitative and statistical tests to enhance his argument. This book will appeal to political scientists, economists, and other social scientists interested in the political and institutional consequences of economic globalization. William T. Bernhard is Assistant Professor of Political Science, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.

Becoming Turkish Cover

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Becoming Turkish

Nationalist Reforms and Cultural Negotiations in Early Republican Turkey, 1923-1945

by Hale Yilmaz

“Becoming Turkish” seeks to provide a better understanding of the modernist nation-building processes in post-Ottoman Turkey through a rare perspective in the field that stresses the social and cultural dimensions and everyday negotiations that occurred during the leadership of Mustafa Kemal. Employing an interdisciplinary approach and drawing on a wide range of primary sources, including new archival evidence and oral histories, Yilmaz’s work delineates several specific examples of how individuals become Turkish citizens. She examines how Republican reforms were implemented and how they effected social and cultural change. By focusing on four specific areas of the state’s attempt to produce a new “Turk” and a modern Turkish nation (men’s clothing, women’s dress, language, and celebrations), she shows how individuals and communities received, reacted to, negotiated, and experienced reforms in their everyday lives. While the emphasis of the book is on the Turkish experience specifically, “Becoming Turkish” offers rich insights into similar processes throughout the Middle East and in other Islamic and colonial contexts which will arguably become more relevant every day.

Before Roe Cover

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Before Roe

Abortion Policy in the States

Rosemary Nossiff

Few issues in contemporary U.S> politics have remained on the public agenda so long and so divisively as abortion policy. The landmark Supreme Court decision of Roe v. Waade, which held that laws prohibiting first trimester abortions were illegal because they violated a woman's right to privacy, still generates heated controversy today, a quarter of a century after it was made. The seeds of that controversy were sown in the seven years immediately preceding Roe, when state legislatures tried to reconcile religious opposition to abortion and individuals' civil liberties.

In this groundbreaking book, Rosemary Nossiff examines the force that shaped abortion policy during those years, and the ways in which states responded to them. To provide in-depth analysis while still looking broadly at the picture, she studies New York, which passed the  most permissive abortion bill in the country, and Pennsylvania, which passed one of the most restrictive. That these two states, which share similar demographic, political, and  economic characteristics, should reach two such different outcomes provides a perfect case study for observing political dynamics at the state level.

Nossiff examines the medical, religious, and legal discourses employed on both sides of the debate, as well as the role played by feminist discourse. She looks at the role of the political parties in the campaigns, as well as such interest groups as the National Council of Catholic Bishops, the Clergy Consultation Service, the National Organization for Women, and the National Association for the Repeal of Abortion Laws. In addition, she analyzes the strategies used by both sides, as well as partisan and institutionalized developments that facilitated success or failure. Finally, in the Epilogue, she assesses the Roe decision and its aftermath, including an analysis of the pro-life movement in Pennsylvania.

As the author remarks, "Without question people's positions on abortion are shaped by a myriad of social, moral, and economic factors. But ultimately abortion policy is shaped in the political arena. This book examines how one of the most intimate decisions a woman makes, whether to continue or terminate a pregnancy, has become one of the most politicized issues in contemporary American politics.

Behavioral Public Finance Cover

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Behavioral Public Finance

Behavioral economics questions the basic underpinnings of economic theory, showing that people often do not act consistently in their own self-interest when making economic decisions. While these findings have important theoretical implications, they also provide a new lens for examining public policies, such as taxation, public spending, and the provision of adequate pensions. How can people be encouraged to save adequately for retirement when evidence shows that they tend to spend their money as soon as they can? Would closer monitoring of income tax returns lead to more honest taxpayers or a more distrustful, uncooperative citizenry? Behavioral Public Finance, edited by Edward McCaffery and Joel Slemrod, applies the principles of behavioral economics to government's role in constructing economic and social policies of these kinds and suggests that programs crafted with rational participants in mind may require redesign. Behavioral Public Finance looks at several facets of economic life and asks how behavioral research can increase public welfare. Deborah A. Small, George Loewenstein, and Jeff Strnad note that public support for a tax often depends not only on who bears its burdens, but also on how the tax is framed. For example, people tend to prefer corporate taxes over sales taxes, even though the cost of both is eventually extracted from the consumer. James J. Choi, David Laibson, Brigitte C. Madrian, and Andrew Metrick assess the impact of several different features of 401(k) plans on employee savings behavior. They find that when employees are automatically enrolled in a retirement savings plan, they overwhelmingly accept the status quo and continue participating, while employees without automatic enrollment typically take over a year to join the saving plan. Behavioral Public Finance also looks at taxpayer compliance. While the classic economic model suggests that the low rate of IRS audits means far fewer people should voluntarily pay their taxes than actually do, John Cullis, Philip Jones, and Alan Lewis present new research showing that many people do not underreport their incomes even when the probability of getting caught is a mere one percent. Human beings are not always rational, utility-maximizing economic agents. Behavioral economics has shown how human behavior departs from the assumptions made by generations of economists. Now, Behavioral Public Finance brings the insights of behavioral economics to analysis of policies that affect us all.

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