Backgrounders

Current political and economic issues succinctly explained.

Abenomics and the Japanese Economy

Author: Beina Xu

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has focused his second term in office to implementing an audacious set of economic policies designed to spur the country out of its decades-long deflation and sluggish growth, explains this Backgrounder.

See more in Japan; Economics

U.S. Antitrust Policy

Author: Steven J. Markovich

Antitrust law, which has evolved primarily through landmark Supreme Court cases, plays an essential role in the maintenance of efficient markets and promotion of long-term U.S. economic prosperity.

See more in United States; Corporate Regulation

Germany's Central Bank and the Eurozone

Author: Christopher Alessi

Germany's Bundesbank remains an influential actor in eurozone policymaking, and its recent disagreements with the ECB raise concerns about managing the zone's debt crisis. This Backgrounder explains.

See more in EU; Monetary Policy

Mexico's Drug War

Author: Brianna Lee

Since 2006, the Mexican government has been in embroiled in a bloody drug war, which has failed to significantly curb trafficking. This Backgrounder looks at Mexico's eradication efforts, along with U.S. policy options for one of its most important regional allies.

See more in Mexico; Drug Trafficking and Control

Renewing America

Renewing America

Gasoline Prices

Author: Toni Johnson

With the Middle East unrest ongoing and the global economy recovering, gasoline prices are rising considerably. But policies to ease U.S. consumer impact take time and policymakers are divided over the course of action.

See more in United States; Oil; Energy Policy

Poland's Economic Model

Author: Christopher Alessi

Poland has maintained economic growth despite the global financial crisis and eurozone woes, while asserting itself as a leading advocate for greater European integration, explains this Backgrounder.

See more in Economic Development; Poland

Venezuela's Chávez Wins Fourth Term

Author: Brianna Lee

Longtime Venezuelan leader Hugo Chávez's fourth term as president allows for the continuation of his "socialist revolution," but questions over his health remain a wildcard in assessing Venezuela's future.

See more in Venezuela

The Role of the European Central Bank

Author: Christopher Alessi

As Europe's central bank moves aggressively to staunch the continent's crisis, some critics are asking if it has exceeded its mandate by stepping into the breach left open by elected leaders.

See more in Europe; Monetary Policy