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Noel Maurer
Interests: My current research asks whether foreign governments or international institutions can improve economic governance. Is it possible to alter a country’s property rights system from the outside? This research has two prongs. The first is a historical work, tentatively entitled Imperial Experiments: Intervention, Economic Growth, and Property Rights, which tests various hypotheses about the success and failure of American attempts to improve economic governance outside the United States and protect the property rights of U.S. investors before World War II. The second is a series of contemporary case studies about attempts to alter nations’ internal economic governance from the outside: bilateral investment treaties, investor protection clauses in trade agreements, conditional loans, the “mortgaging” of export revenues, vulture funds, and military intervention. I also watch a lot of baseball, enjoy very bad music, and do a lot of travelling. The travel tends to be either in total luxury, or to places where I need to wear body armor and live in constant fear of, well, death.
Recent Activity
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Front page headline in the Sunday T&T Newsday? “Easter backpay for 16,000 health workers: $636M blessing.” Short version: 16,000 government employees are going to receive US$5,923 per person in unpaid salaries. This in a country where average annual government expenditure... Continue reading
Posted 5 days ago at The Power and the Money
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I am finishing Chris Hayes’ A Colony in a Nation. It’s quite good, but the parts that really resonated were his descriptions of growing up in the New York City in the 1980s and 1990s. It turns out he grew... Continue reading
Posted 5 days ago at The Power and the Money
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More Trini posts coming. But right now, behold the failure of the Calexit nonsense. And as California resident (but not native, as he will angrily point out) Will Baird (hat tip!) pointed out, you cannot help but relish the way... Continue reading
Posted 6 days ago at The Power and the Money
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There is nothing remotely unusual about going back to Trinidad! But for reasons that have nothing to do with this blog, I noticed that I stopped travel blogging around 2012. Which is too bad, since I made some fascinating work-related... Continue reading
Posted 6 days ago at The Power and the Money
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Florida is a bizarre state. Not only is it different in extreme from the rest of the country; different parts of Florida are different in the extreme from each other. It just should not work. But somehow it does. Every... Continue reading
Posted 6 days ago at The Power and the Money
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In a future post I may recount the recent strange power grab in the Bolivarian Republic. The latest twist has been banning Henrique Capriles from running for office for the next 15 years. Right now, I want to flag a... Continue reading
Posted Apr 11, 2017 at The Power and the Money
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OK, time for me to vent. President Obama did wrong by suspending the wet-foot Cuba policy. The United States and the Cuban Republic have a special relationship. Seriously, we do. Our histories have been intertwined more than any random pair... Continue reading
Posted Apr 11, 2017 at The Power and the Money
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A long time ago, I had a debate with my friend (and sometimes co-blogger) Doug Muir about Puerto Rico. Was it really that much better off as a territory of the United States? He mentioned that Costa Rica was not... Continue reading
Posted Apr 10, 2017 at The Power and the Money
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There is a long debate over colonialism, particularly the late-19th-century variant. Most of the literature focuses on long-term effects. So it often loses sight of a simple question: did imperial institutions function basically the same as capitalist institutions in non-colonized... Continue reading
Posted Apr 10, 2017 at The Power and the Money
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Over on the Twitter, Noah Smith wrote: "We're going to lose to North Korea??", people who have obviously never read the history of the Korean War are asking me — Noah Smith (@Noahpinion) April 5, 2017 The context is a... Continue reading
Posted Apr 5, 2017 at The Power and the Money
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The “blue market” was the name for the Argentine black market for dollars under President Cristina Fernández. It was called that because the blue marketeers used a blue marker to test whether U.S. $100-bills were counterfeit. On December 15, 2016,... Continue reading
Posted Apr 1, 2017 at The Power and the Money
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Politico reports that President Trump “has come through on three big asks” for California. That was an interesting headline! So I read the story. And it turns out that the “three big asks” are disaster declarations. Think about that. It... Continue reading
Posted Mar 26, 2017 at The Power and the Money
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Man, at first the Trump Wall was 60-feet high. That was a wall! A tenement-high wall. You could be impressed by that. But now the specs are calling for prototypes between 18 and 30 feet tall. Dude. That is not... Continue reading
Posted Mar 22, 2017 at The Power and the Money
There are a lot of papers in the “history only happened once” genre, where somebody examines an event that happened hundreds of years ago and proclaims that the effects persist today. Some are truly excellent and tell us things we... Continue reading
Posted Mar 20, 2017 at The Power and the Money
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There was some interest in this topic but not a whole lot. So I will put up a short post, which will be pretty straightforward. I will discuss U.S. exports today. The key thing to keep in mind is that... Continue reading
Posted Mar 19, 2017 at The Power and the Money
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As if poor Prime Minister May didn’t have enough on her plate, here comes another possible complication. (“Poor” may be the wrong adjective, as she is bringing most of the problems upon herself.) Could the U.K. be sued by foreign... Continue reading
Posted Mar 13, 2017 at The Power and the Money
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Today the Financial Times published a mysterious map purporting to show Mexican-American border disputes, according to Senator Patricio Martínez. I am more than slightly surprised that the newspaper is giving such credence to the Senator’s bizarro-world claims with no further... Continue reading
Posted Mar 10, 2017 at The Power and the Money
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OK, the President claims that the wall will be 60 feet high. If I had to bet, I would bet that it is not going to be built, but who knows? If I were in Congress, I would vote for... Continue reading
Posted Feb 28, 2017 at The Power and the Money
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A Mexican senator has called for Mexico to reopen all its border disputes with the United States in order to oppose the Trump administration. (Hat tip: Mexfiles.) According to Senator Patricio Martínez — who formerly served as governor of Chihuahua,... Continue reading
Posted Feb 27, 2017 at The Power and the Money
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Kevin Drum announces with much certainty that Donald Trump has nothing to do with the peso’s fall! Is he right? No. He’s not. It is true that the Mexican peso weakened in November 2014, when oil prices dropped from around... Continue reading
Posted Feb 22, 2017 at The Power and the Money
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With the U.K. on its way out of the European Union, now seems like the time to ask! I am not talking about 1989. Rather, I am talking about 1871. Did the emergence of a unified German nation state owe... Continue reading
Posted Feb 21, 2017 at The Power and the Money
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The 25th amendment has been getting a lot of attention lately. Most of that attention is undeserved, unless you expect President Trump to suffer a debilitating stroke. The amendment was written to avoid, in the words of Doug Muir, “The... Continue reading
Posted Feb 21, 2017 at The Power and the Money
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In April of 2016, I posted about a European initiative to reform investment tribunals. I thought it an excellent idea. The idea would be to make the tribunals more like real honest-to-goodness courts, with due process and precedent and all.... Continue reading
Posted Feb 20, 2017 at The Power and the Money
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Market access can have a big impact even when the numbers are small. For example, extending normal trading relations to China did not dramatically increase access to the U.S. market. But it did increase certainty: previously, China’s access was subject... Continue reading
Posted Feb 20, 2017 at The Power and the Money
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The Trump administration may or may not be seriously considering mobilizing the National Guard to deport illegal immigrants. (The link goes to the draft memo, not a secondary source.) The reason why the administration would need state governors to agree... Continue reading
Posted Feb 17, 2017 at The Power and the Money