Recent Publications

Raluca Csernatoni

Csernatoni, Raluca (2019) Between rhetoric and practice: technological efficiency and defence cooperation in the European drone sector. Critical Military Studies, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/23337486.2019.1585652.

Nils Meyer-Ohlendorf
Sebastian Oberthür

This Thursday, the European Council will meet in Sibiu, Romania. Not long ago, this meeting was expected to be an important milestone in the Process on the Future of the EU. Some even called this process “the Sibiu Process”. This seems to be a long time ago. Now, expectations are much lower; most expect only a vague outcome, at best. Avoiding controversy is the first order of business – only a few weeks before the elections. But – no matter what the outcome of the meeting in Sibiu will be – the core questions of the Process on the Future of the EU will not go away: how to maintain and develop a strong EU that is capable of helping Member States address problems that they cannot solve alone. This question will stick with us, and it will keep the new Parliament and the new Commission busy.

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Plamen Nikolov
Paolo Pasimeni

The debate about the use of fiscal instruments for macroeconomic stabilization has regained prominence in the aftermath of the Great Recession, and the experience of a monetary union equipped with fiscal shock absorbers, such as the United States, has often been a reference. This paper enhances our knowledge about the degree of macroeconomic stabilization achieved in the United States through the federal budget, providing a detailed breakdown of the different channels. In particular, we investigate the relative importance and stabilization impact of the federal system of unemployment benefits and of its extension as a response to the Great Recession. The analysis shows that in the United States, corporate income taxes collected at the federal level are the single most efficient instrument for providing stabilization, given that even with a smaller size than other instruments they can provide important effects, mainly against common shocks. On the other hand, Social Security benefits and personal income taxes have a greater role in stabilizing asymmetric shocks. A federal system of unemployment insurance, then, can play an important stabilization role, in particular when enhanced by a discretionary program of extended benefits in the event of a large shock, like the Great Recession. 

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Tomas Wyns
Gauri Khandekar
Matilda Axelson
Oliver Sartor
Karsten Neuhoff

Wyns et. al., (2019), Industrial Transformation 2050 - Towards an Industrial Strategy for a Climate Neutral Europe, IES, IES. Available at ies.be

 

About Industrial Transformation 2050 

This report has been commissioned by the European Climate Foundation. It is part of the Industrial Transformation 2050 project and the Net-Zero 2050 series, an initiative of the European Climate Foundation with contributions from a consortium of experts and organisations. 

The mission of Industrial Transformation 2050 is to co-develop, together with basic manufacturing and manufacturing industry and other stakeholders, pathways and policy options to enable a net-zero heavy industry in Europe by 2050, in line with the objectives of the Paris Ag-reement, while strengthening industrial competitiveness and the EU’s overall economic development and performance.  

The objective of Net-Zero 2050 is to start building a vision and evidence base for the transition to net zero emission societies in Europe and beyond, by mid-century at the latest. Reports in the series seek to enhance understanding of the implications and opportunities of moving to climate neutrality across the power, industry, buildings, transport, agriculture and forestry sectors; to shed light on some of the near-term choices and actions needed to reach this goal, and to provide a basis for discussion and engagement with stakeholders and policymakers.

Sebastian Oberthür

Sebastian Oberthür (2019), Hard or Soft Governance? The EU’s Climate and Energy Policy Framework for 2030, Politics and Governance, 7: 1, 17-27.

Open access at: https://www.cogitatiopress.com/politicsandgovernance/article/view/1796/1796

Abstract

This article investigates the stringency of EU climate and energy governance along the soft-hard continuum as a key determinant of its ability to achieve its ambitions. It introduces four criteria for a systematic and differentiated assessment of the bindingness/stringency of legislative instruments and governance frameworks, namely: (1) formal legal status, (2) the nature of the obligations (substantive—procedural), (3) their precision and prescriptiveness, and (4) the means for effecting accountability and effective implementation. The application of this assessment framework to the EU’s Climate and Energy Policy Framework for 2030 in comparison with the preceding 2020 Framework and the international Paris Agreement on climate change demonstrates the added value of this approach. The focus is on regulations, adopted in 2018, regarding greenhouse gas emissions, renewable energy (RE), and energy efficiency as well as the surrounding framework for planning, reporting, monitoring, and enforcement. The EU’s 2030 Framework scores high on the four criteria. Despite implementing the comparatively soft Paris Agreement, it does not fall behind the stringency of the 2020 Framework, as the abandoning of binding national targets for RE is balanced by strengthened obligations to prepare national plans, long-term strategies, and regular progress reports, as well as the enhanced monitoring and supervisory powers of the European Commission. While actual delivery will not least depend on how the Commission will use its established and newly acquired powers and tools, the 2030 Framework reinforces EU interest in strengthening international climate governance under the Paris Agreement.

Trisha Meyer

Abstract:

This study examines the consequences of the increasingly prevalent use of artificial intelligence (AI) disinformation initiatives upon freedom of expression, pluralism and the functioning of a democratic polity.
The study examines the trade-offs in using automated technology to limit the spread of disinformation online. It presents options (from self-regulatory to legislative) to regulate automated content recognition (ACR) technologies in this context. Special attention is paid to the opportunities for the European Union as a whole to take the lead in setting the framework for designing these technologies in a way that enhances accountability and transparency and respects free speech. The present project reviews some of the key academic and policy ideas on technology and disinformation and highlights their relevance to European policy.
Chapter 1 introduces the background to the study and presents the definitions used. Chapter 2 scopes the policy boundaries of disinformation from economic, societal and technological perspectives, focusing on the media context, behavioural economics and technological regulation. Chapter 3 maps and evaluates existing regulatory and technological responses to disinformation. In Chapter 4, policy options are presented, paying particular attention to interactions between technological solutions, freedom of expression and media pluralism.

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April 2019
annual report
Leo Van Hove

Abstract

We investigate the impact of the 2005–2007 cross-border bank takeovers in Ukraine – a country with poor institutional quality – on the performance of the target banks. Because acquirers targeted mainly larger, less-capitalised banks, we control for selection bias by combining propensity score matching and a difference-in-difference methodology. We find that the cost efficiency of the acquired banks improved after takeover (because of a decreased reliance on deposits), but that neither their profitability nor their loan market shares increased. Overall, our findings tally only piecemeal with the existing multi-country studies for transition economies. This argues in favour of additional single-country research.

KEYWORDS: Cross-border takeovers, bank performance, weak institutions, selection bias

Ahunov, M., Van Hove, L. and M. Jegers, The impact of cross-border acquisitions on target banks’ performance in an institutionally poor environment: Ukraine’s takeover wave, Post-Communist Economies, Vol. 31, Nr. 3, 396-417

https://doi.org/10.1080/14631377.2018.1537739

Jana Gheuens

Gheuens, J.; Nagabhatla, N.; Perera, E.D.P. Disaster-Risk, Water Security Challenges and Strategies in Small Island Developing States (SIDS). Water 2019, 11, 637.​

 

Abstract

Small island developing states (SIDS) are typically characterized by being environmentally and socio-economically vulnerable to disasters and climate change. Additionally, they often have limited resources for freshwater provisioning services. This article presents an assessment of disaster risk and water security-related challenges in SIDS focusing on three major dimensions: (a) how disaster risks are perceived and addressed in the SIDS context using a case study method, (b) analyzing the current status of water security in these regions using an indicator-based approach and (c) assessing gaps and needs in institutions and policies that can facilitate sustainable development goals (SDGs) and targets, adaptation and resilience building in SIDS. In this regard, information on all SIDS is collected to be able to distinguish trends in and between SIDS based on amongst others geographical location and characteristics. This synthesis noted two key observations: first, that in SIDS, the number of disasters is increasing at a higher rate than the global average, and that the frequency and intensity of the disasters will likely increase because of climate change. These combined factors will impact SIDS on the societal level and on environmental levels, reducing their adaptive capacity, resources, and resilience. Second, most SIDS are already water-scarce with low groundwater volumes. Because of increasing demand (e.g., population growth and tourism) and decreasing supply (e.g., pollution and changes in precipitation patterns) freshwater resources are becoming increasingly limited, often suffering from the spillover effects of competing and conflicting uses. Threatened ecosystems and limited economic resources further influence the adaptive capacities of communities in SIDS. In this light, key solutions to address disaster-risk and water security-related challenges can be found by sharing best practices and lessons learned—from examples of good governance, integrated policies, improved community-resilience, and capacity-building. Added to their fragile situation, SIDS struggle to find enough funding to put their development plans, programs, and policies into action. 

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Keywords: climate change; disaster risk; policy; sustainable development goals (SDGs); small island developing states (SIDS); water security

Elie Perot

A recurring debate in international politics centres on the distinction between peace and war. In recent years, this debate has resurfaced as a result of several developments, such as the Ukraine crisis and Chinese maritime activities in the South China Sea, which seem to blur the distinction. The Cold War confrontation between the United States and the Soviet Union made it clear that international relations could not be seen only through the lens of clearly separable cycles of peace and war. But the growing attention to the post-Cold War phenomenon of ‘hybrid warfare’ suggests that the line between peace and war simply cannot be drawn. This means that what constitutes war is destined to remain a contentious political matter. Yet it may be salutary that the contemporary strategic impulse to exploit this indeterminacy comes from the persistent fear of a general war, as it did during the Cold War. How this fear will evolve is key to envisioning the future of world politics and, in particular, its central uncertainty: whether the United States and China will go to war.

 

Elie Perot (2019) The Blurring of War and Peace, Survival, 61:2, 101-110, DOI: 10.1080/00396338.2019.1589089