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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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.

CGS Director's Roundtable Series

Director: Douglas Holtz-Eakin
January 2006—January 2007

This roundtable series brings together policymakers, scholars, and journalists to explore current policy challenges that have both economic and national security dimensions.

Council Special Report on the U.S. Intellectual Property System in a Global Perspective

Director: Douglas Holtz-Eakin
Author: Keith E. Maskus, Stanford Calderwood Professor of Economics, University of Colorado
March 2006—November 2006

This report evaluates the effectiveness of the U.S. intellectual property regime in encouraging innovation and discusses the U.S. push to harmonize intellectual property standards with its trading partners. Professor Maskus argues that the intellectual property system is so skewed toward patent holders that it actually discourages innovation, and that the aggressive drive toward harmonization with other countries should be replaced by an emphasis on the enforcement of existing standards.

Council Special Report: Living with Hugo

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: Richard Lapper
November 2005—November 2006

CGS Roundtable Series

Director: Benn Steil, Senior Fellow and Director of International Economics
December 1, 2004—January 1, 2006

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.

CFR/Milbank Memorial Fund Roundtable on Health and U.S. Foreign Policy

Director: Jordan S. Kassalow
November 1, 2001—January 1, 2003

The health of the world has expanded from a humanitarian issue to an issue of national security and economic growth. Global health not only has an impact on most of the foreign policy objectives we hope to achieve, but also a direct effect on the health of Americans, especially as globalization frays our national boundaries. A focus on health is part of a foreign policy agenda that aims at building a more secure world, draws all countries into a growing network of interdependence that sustains stability and maintains America’s central role within that network. This roundtable series brings leaders from the foreign policy and health communities together to discuss the recommendations of the CFR-Milbank Memorial Fund report, “Why Health is Important to U.S. Foreign Policy,” and to discuss contemporary topics that form the nexus between global health and U.S. foreign policy

Bio-terrorism is the one of the deadliest threats facing the United States today. This roundtable, in light of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, discusses measures to protect against or mitigate the effects of such a bio-terrorist attack by asking questions such as:

• What is the potential for a significant bioterrorist attack on the United States;

• What public health and related measures can be taken in advance of an attack to reduce their impact;

• Are we currently equipped to deal with the consequences of an attack?

• What type of biological agents can terrorists get their hands on?

• Can they keep them alive and grow enough of them to mount a significant attack?

• Can they weaponize them effectively to mount a massive attack that puts tens to hundreds of thousands at risk;

• How much money is needed to prepare the United States for a large scale biological terrorist attack?

• How the money should be allocated, which programs/agencies should be funded?