Council Special Reports

Council Special Reports (CSRs) are concise policy briefs that provide timely responses to developing crises or contributions to current policy dilemmas.

The Canadian Oil Sands

The Canadian Oil Sands

Author: Michael A. Levi

The Canadian oil sands present an important challenge to policymakers: they promise energy security benefits but present climate change problems. Michael A. Levi assesses the energy security and climate change effects of the oil sands and makes recommendations for U.S. policymakers within the context of broader bilateral relations with Canada.

See more in Canada; Climate Change; Oil

Lessons of the Financial Crisis

Lessons of the Financial Crisis

Author: Benn Steil

In this report, Benn Steil shows that the financial crisis is the inevitable bust of a classic credit boom, and explains how monetary, taxation, and home ownership promotion policy combined with other features of the financial system to fuel an unsustainable buildup in debt. He recommends significant reforms to reverse the debt financing bias and make the system more resilient to falls in asset prices. This report is also available in Arabic.

See more in International Finance; Financial Crises

Global Imbalances and the Financial Crisis

Global Imbalances and the Financial Crisis

Author: Steven Dunaway

As the economic crisis has spread from financial markets to real economies in countries around the world, governments have understandably focused on short-term measures to contain the damage. But in order for policymakers to tackle today’s global economic crisis, this report argues, they must go beyond bailouts and stimulus packages and focus on one of the crisis's root causes: imbalances between savings and investment in major countries. This report is also available in Arabic.

See more in Financial Crises; Global Governance

Sovereign Wealth and Sovereign Power

Sovereign Wealth and Sovereign Power

Author: Brad W. Setser

The rise in China's trade surplus, the increase in oil prices, and a slowdown in demand for U.S. assets from private investors abroad has increased the United States' reliance on foreign governments for financing. This report examines whether the United States' ability to secure large quantities of external financing from foreign governments is a reflection of its political power, a constraint on its ability to exercise power, or a combination of the two.

See more in United States; Financial Crises

Global FDI Policy

Global FDI Policy

Authors: David M. Marchick and Matthew J. Slaughter

In the past three years, many countries have adopted or expanded regimes to review inward foreign direct investment (FDI) for either national or economic security purposes, reducing the quantity and quality of global FDI flows. The policy recommendations in this report aim to correct this protectionist drift by proposing guidelines for how countries can better regulate FDI yet still reap its economic benefits.

See more in Global; Foreign Direct Investment

The Case for Wage Insurance

The Case for Wage Insurance

Author: Robert J. LaLonde

A flexible labor market and an open economy are crucial to economic competitiveness, but can sometimes cause prime-aged and older workers to suffer large, long-term income losses. This report explains why existing government programs, which emphasize retraining and insurance for short-term job loss, don't assuage workers' fears about globalization. It also proposes a shift of resources from existing programs to wage insurance.

See more in Business and Foreign Policy; Trade; United States; Labor

The Economic Logic of Illegal Immigration

The Economic Logic of Illegal Immigration

Author: Gordon H. Hanson

This report examines the economics of illegal immigration and finds that the fiscal benefits of illegal immigration offset its costs. Further, the report finds that the flexibility provided by the illegal immigration system that benefits the U.S. economy cannot be provided by the legal immigration system.

See more in Immigration; United States

Getting Serious About the Twin Deficits

Getting Serious About the Twin Deficits

Author: Menzie D. Chinn

Twenty years ago, the United States was the world’s largest creditor nation, unsurpassed in its ownership of assets outside of its borders, even after deducting what foreigners owned inside its borders. Yet over the past two decades, America has been transformed into the world’s largest debtor nation.

See more in United States; Budget, Debt, and Deficits