Research Projects

Below you will find a chronological list of research projects in the Studies Program. You can search by issue or region by selecting the appropriate category. In addition to this sorting control, you can search for specific subjects within the alphabetical, regional, and issue categories by choosing from the selections in the drop-down menu below.

Each project page contains the name of the project director, a description of the project, a list of meetings it has held, and any related publications, transcripts, or videos.

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CGS Roundtable Series

Director: Douglas Holtz-Eakin
December 1, 2004—Present

This meeting series is designed to bring Council members together in a small seminar environment to discuss new and innovative thinking at the intersection of economics and foreign policy.

CGS Seminar Series in International Finance

Staff: Peter B. Kenen, Adjunct Senior Fellow for International Economics
December 1, 2004—Present

This roundtable series examines the prospects for regional monetary integration and other developments likely to affect the organization and functioning of the international monetary system.

Conflict Assessment Forum

Director: Uffe Ellemann-Jensen
April 1, 2003—Present

The Conflict Assessment Forum is an analytic tool for evaluating pre-conflict or conflict conditions and highlighting countries or regions to be targeted by CPA’s preventive action commissions.

Congress and U.S. Foreign Policy Study Group

Director: Alton Frye, Presidential Senior Fellow Emeritus
Chairs: Thomas E. Donilon, and Kenneth M. Duberstein, Chairman and CEO, The Duberstein Group, Inc.
September 1, 1997—Present

While many able and dedicated public servants work in the legislative branch, their hectic schedules often deprive them of the chance to engage in reflective, nonpartisan discussion about essential policy issues outside their professional duties. An informed Congress is essential to an effective American foreign policy, and an informed congressional staff is essential to an effective Congress. The Council’s congressional staff roundtables provide a forum for discussion of essential issues under the Council tradition of nonattribution.

This Council project engages key congressional staff in a neutral setting outside the political arena to discuss international issues of concern to them. To date the program has enlisted some one hundred staff members of both parties and both houses in three roundtable discussion groups, focused respectively on Asian politics and security, national security, and international trade and economics. These groups are chaired by R. James Woolsey (Asian politics and security), Stephen J. Hadley (national security), and Thomas E. Donilon and Robert B. Zoellick (international trade and economics).

For topics and speakers, the project draws upon the Council’s ongoing studies in the general topic areas, as well as on proposals of legislative staffers participating in the program. A Congressional Staff Advisory Committee of senior staff members helps to guide the program and ensure the quality of its participants and programs. Four Council members with long experience as leaders in the House and Senate—Howard H. Baker Jr., Thomas S. Foley, George J. Mitchell, and Vin Weber—serve as conveners for the project.

Civil Society, Democracy, and Countering Radicalism Roundtable

Director: Ed Husain, Adjunct Senior Fellow for Middle Eastern Studies
April 25, 2011—June 30, 2015

This roundtable series examines the impact of Islamist movements in the Middle East and Pakistan, with special attention to innovative efforts by civil society groups to counter radicalization.

Cuba in the Twenty-First Century

Director: Julia E. Sweig, Nelson and David Rockefeller Senior Fellow for Latin America Studies and Director for Latin America Studies
January 1, 2010—January 9, 2015

January 1, 2010—January 9, 2015

Director: Julia E. Sweig, Nelson and David Rockefeller Senior Fellow for Latin America Studies and Director for Latin America Studies

The Latin America Program's Cuba in the Twenty-First Century project follows Cuba's evolution as political turnover and economic reforms transform the social, economic, and political contract that has been in place over the last century in Cuba. The program also follows the evolution of foreign engagement with Cuba, and of Cuban foreign policy, while tracking key issues in the U.S.-Cuba relationship and exploring common environmental and scientific challenges and opportunities. Cuba in the Twenty-First Century carries out research, outreach, and publication—including Julia Sweig's book Cuba: What Everyone Needs to Know—as well as the ongoing Cuba in the Twenty-First Century roundtable series.

Council Special Report on Small Arms and Light Weapons

Staff: Major General William L. Nash, U.S. Army (Ret.)
Author: Reuben E. Brigety
December 12, 2006—November 29, 2007

A major task of early warning of violent conflict is to understand the linkage between political, economic, and social sources and triggers of violence and larger, systemic issues that consistently contribute to unrest. One such dynamic is the international proliferation and trade, licit and illicit, in small arms and light weapons (SALW). This forthcoming report will review the current state of the global SALW problem, examine the U.S. policies for tackling the problem, and then propose tangible, realistic steps for the United States to address SALW proliferation and misuse as a form of systemic conflict prevention.

Council Special Report on the Case for Wage Insurance

Staff: Sebastian Mallaby, Paul A. Volcker Senior Fellow for International Economics
Author: Robert J. LaLonde, Professor, Harris School of Public Policy, University of Chicago
May 2006—September 2007

Professor Robert J. Lalonde, professor of economics at the Harris School of Public Policy at the University of Chicago, is writing a Council Special Report on job displacement and the experienced worker. In this report, Professor LaLonde examines evidence on the causes of job loss, both through trade, technological change, and other factors, and suggests policies for aiding workers most harmed by job displacement—long-tenured, displaced workers. The report outlines the merits of a wage insurance program that would supplement the earnings of long-tenured workers displaced by international trade and other factors. The report contends that without policies to aid the workers most adversely affected by job loss, public support for further economic liberalization will likely diminish.

Council Special Report on International Monetary Fund Reform

Author: Peter B. Kenen, Adjunct Senior Fellow for International Economics
June 2006—May 2007

In April 2006, the managing director of the International Monetary Fund made a set of proposals aimed at enhancing the legitimacy and efficiency of the Fund and involving it more directly in the resolution of large imbalances involving the major economies. Some of his proposals were endorsed at the 2006 Annual Meetings of the Fund, and others are being implemented by the Fund's Executive Board. The most important reforms involve a redistribution of IMF quotas, which determine, among other things, voting power in the Fund. This Council Special Report provides a brief history of the Fund, stressing the changes that have occurred as a great many developing countries, large and small, have joined the Fund. It strongly endorses most of the managing director's proposals, although it criticizes others, including the way that the managing director would have the Fund involve itself in resolving major international financial imbalances. It argues that the United States should strongly support measures to enhance the legitimacy of the IMF because the United States cannot readily accomplish unilaterally what the Fund can accomplish multilaterally.

Council Special Report on Immigration

Staff: Sebastian Mallaby, Paul A. Volcker Senior Fellow for International Economics
Author: Gordon H. Hanson, Professor of Economics, University of California, San Diego
January 2006—April 2007

Immigration is a toxic political issue in the United States. This report by University of California, San Diego, professor Gordon Hanson indicates that the economic costs of illegal immigration roughly match the economic benefits. That is, the net economic impact of illegal immigration is close to zero. Thus, the political debate must revolve around how other sources of costs, or efforts to curb illegal immigration, such as increased border enforcement, would result in a net loss to the U.S.economy. He also finds that illegal immigration provides a labor supply that more closely tracks shifts in the need for labor across time and geography, while legal immigration—even when temporary—cannot keep up with these cyclical shifts.  Any policy aimed at addressing the demand for low-skilled labor must also address the need for flexibility.

Council Special Report: The United States and the WTO Dispute Settlement System

Staff: Sebastian Mallaby, Paul A. Volcker Senior Fellow for International Economics
Author: Robert Z. Lawrence, Williams Professor of International Trade and Investment, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University
May 2006—March 2007

The Doha negotiations have stalled since last summer, and, as the November elections in the United States highlighted, American advocates of economic nationalism are growing in strength. Nevertheless, Robert Lawrence makes a case for the effectiveness of the World Trade Organization (WTO), particularly its dispute settlement system, and the benefits that would accrue to the United States and others from improving its effectiveness. These benefits include expanding world trade and increasing support for an often beleaguered organization that is central to the conduct of world trade.

In this Council Special Report, Professor Lawrence addresses the critics of the dispute settlement mechanism—both those who think it should be tougher on countries that violate trade rules and those who think it is already so tough as to violate sovereignty. He points out the successes of the WTO since its creation in 1995 and argues that radical changes to the system are ill-advised. Lawrence nonetheless suggests several areas for reform, from steps that require multilateral negotiations, such as improving opportunities for nonstate actor participation in and enhancing transparency of the process, to changes the United States could make in its own behavior.

Part of the Bernard and Irene Schwartz Series on American Competitiveness.

Council Special Report: Bolivia on the Brink

Fellows: Major General William L. Nash, U.S. Army (Ret.), and Julia E. Sweig, Nelson and David Rockefeller Senior Fellow for Latin America Studies and Director for Latin America Studies
Author: Eduardo A. Gamarra
April 2006—February 2007