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Asian Perspectives on Financial Sector Reforms and Regulation Cover

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Asian Perspectives on Financial Sector Reforms and Regulation

edited by Masahiro Kawai and Eswar S. Prasad

Although emerging economies as a group performed well during the global recession, weathering the recession better than advanced economies, there were sharp differences among them and across regions. The emerging economies of Asia had the most favorable outcomes, surviving the ravages of the global financial crisis with relatively modest declines in growth rates in most cases. China and India maintained strong growth during the crisis and played an important role in facilitating global economic recovery.

In this informative volume, the second in a series on emerging markets, editors Masahiro Kawai and Eswar Prasad and the contributors analyze the major domestic macroeconomic and financial policy issues that could limit the growth potential of Asian emerging markets, such as rising inflation and surging capital inflows, with the accompanying risks of asset and credit market bubbles and of rapid currency appreciation. The book examines strategies to promote financial stability, including reforms for financial market development and macroprudential supervision and regulation.

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.

Aspiration and Ambivalence Cover

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Aspiration and Ambivalence

Strategies and Realities of Counterinsurgency and State-Building in Afghanistan

foreword by Bruce O. Riedel. Vanda Felbab-Brown

After more than a decade of great effort and sacrifice by America and its allies, the Taliban still has not been defeated, and many Afghans believe that a civil war is coming. Aspiration and Ambivalence analyzes the U.S. and international efforts in Afghanistan and offers detailed recommendations for dealing with the precarious situation leading up to the 2014 transition to Afghan control and beyond. Vanda Felbab-Brown argues that allied efforts in Afghanistan have put far too little emphasis on good governance, concentrating too much on short-term military goals to the detriment of long-term peace and stability. The Western tendency to ally with bullies, warlords, smugglers, and other shady characters in pursuit of short-term military advantage actually empowers the forces working against good governance and long-term political stability. Rampant corruption and mafia rule thus persist, making it impossible for Afghans to believe in the institutional reforms and rule of law that are clearly necessary. This must change — otherwise, the chances of building responsive and sustainable governmental structures are slim, indeed.

Felbab-Brown combines thorough research and analysis with vivid personal accounts of her time spent in the war-torn nation —powerful vignettes illustrating the Afghan aspirations for peace, stability, and sovereignty and the stubborn obstacles to securing them.

"The year 2014 will mark a critical juncture in Afghanistan's odyssey. After more than a decade of arduous fighting and political involvement, the U.S. and international presence there will be significantly reduced and circumscribed. Although the international community has committed itself not to abandon Afghanistan as it did in the 1990s, the onus will be on the Afghan government to provide for the security of the country, its economic development, and governance that attempts to meet the needs of the Afghan people. Difficult challenges, major unresolved questions, and worrisome trends surround all three sets of processes. The biggest hole in the U.S. strategy and international efforts to stabilize the country is the failure to adequately address the country's fractured and brittle political system and very poor governance." —from Aspiration and Ambivalence

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Battling Terrorism in the Horn of Africa

edited by Robert I. Rotberg

With so much attention paid to America's war on terror in Afghanistan and Iraq, the world has all but forgotten the spread of terrorism in other regions. From South Asia to South America, terrorist groups are on the rise. One of the most dangerous regions is the greater Horn of Africa along with Yemen, its volatile neighbor. This book offers authoritative insight into the struggle against terrorism in the Horn—what has been done and what work remains. Robert Rotberg and his colleagues analyze the situation in Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, Sudan, and Yemen. The esteemed contributors are prominent scholars and practitioners, including several former U.S. ambassadors. Their contributions reveal how each country's government —with or without U.S. help—is (or is not) working to combat terrorism within its own borders and to prevent its spread. Rotberg provides an overview of the entire region, drawing lessons particularly for U.S. policy. Ba ttling Terror in the Horn of Africa is a handbook on what needs to be done at the tension-filled crossroads of Arabia and Africa. It is important reading for all those with an interest in African or Middle Eastern affairs or the need to learn more about international terrorism. Contributors include Robert D. Burrowes (University of Washington), Timothy Carney (former U.S. ambassador to Sudan), Johnnie Carson (former ambassador to Kenya), Dan Connell (Grassroots International), Kenneth J. Menkhaus (Davidson College), Robert I. Rotberg (Harvard University), and Lange Schemerhorn (former ambassador to Djibouti).

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.

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