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Noel Maurer
I'm a university professor.
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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I think I should use that quote from Macri for all my Argentine posts. So what explains the high electricity prices from the new generation tendered in 2017 and 2018? Short version: these were peaker plants intended to provide capacity... Continue reading
Posted Jun 1, 2019 at The Power and the Money
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Given that the name of this blog is “The Power and the Money,” I have to write the following post. I am sympathetic to President Macri, I really am. He got hit with a crisis not of his making. But... Continue reading
Posted Jun 1, 2019 at The Power and the Money
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I am union-bound to say this, I suppose. The Mexican tariffs are stupid. First, they will not achieve their stated goal, which is to get Mexico to stop Central Americans from arriving at the U.S. border. Consider what the Mexican... Continue reading
Posted May 31, 2019 at The Power and the Money
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What would I fear if I were an investor in Mexico? (Oh, wait, I am!) It is plausible to say, “Not much.” For all the ups-and-downs of AMLO’s first six months, country risk remains low. In fact, it remains as... Continue reading
Posted May 30, 2019 at The Power and the Money
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Back when she was president, Cristina Fernández (CFK), her chief of staff, Aníbal Fernández, claimed that Argentina had less poverty than Germany. A popular Argentine joke is that he forgot to say “east.” In 2015, it was obvious that Argentina... Continue reading
Posted May 15, 2019 at The Power and the Money
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Another Argentine election is upon us. Which means old friends from New Jersey asking me what I think! And so, after telling them, I go to a conference where other people reinforce my preconceived notions. And what better thing to... Continue reading
Posted May 15, 2019 at The Power and the Money
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Many judicial conservatives decry the use of international law, treaties, and precedent to make decisions. They fear that allowing such inputs into decisions will weaken American constitutional norms. I think they are almost certainly wrong, at least in the case... Continue reading
Posted Apr 25, 2019 at The Power and the Money
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Bloomberg reports that President Trump is moving towards making good on at least one of his campaign promises: making a profit off American overseas deployments. The story is that he plans to introduce “Cost plus 50” as the standard: i.e.,... Continue reading
Posted Mar 8, 2019 at The Power and the Money
In the Western Hemisphere, birthright citizenship is close to universal. I thought that this included the Republic of Colombia, as did the author of this article in the Harvard Human Rights Journal. But it turns out that Colombia is an... Continue reading
Posted Dec 20, 2018 at The Power and the Money
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The Venezuelan crisis is massive. Millions of people are fleeing the country. Brookings scholars project that a third of the population may leave before the end of next year. The outflow could surpass Syria’s. But why? Yes, there is a... Continue reading
Posted Dec 18, 2018 at The Power and the Money
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Obamacare is back in the news because of this insane ruling by this judge in Texas. I am not going to talk about that. What I am going to talk about, however, is the argument between Obama and Clinton over... Continue reading
Posted Dec 17, 2018 at The Power and the Money
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I am on record as being relatively unworried about the AMLO administration. That is not because I do not think that President López Obrador will make capricious and counterproductive decisions. Rather, it is because I do not think that he... Continue reading
Posted Dec 15, 2018 at The Power and the Money
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There is a recurring criticism of President Trump’s trade policy: it is badly designed to obtain its ostensible ends. The tariffs against China are supposed to pressure Beijing into changing its intellectual property policy. But the strategy is poorly designed... Continue reading
Posted Oct 6, 2018 at The Power and the Money
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I am not as worried about the prospect of a conservative Supreme Court for the same reasons as most progressives. Now, I think that lessening the protections of Roe v. Wade will be a disaster for poor women living in... Continue reading
Posted Sep 28, 2018 at The Power and the Money
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To repeat the obvious, Mexico is a big federal country. A gigantic federal country, in fact. Which does not make it an advertisement for federalism. Quite the opposite, actually. For while there are a few success stories about states and... Continue reading
Posted Aug 21, 2018 at The Power and the Money
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First, everybody hates Carlos Menem. The Cronista ran a weird poll asking which Argentine administration since 1983 has been the most democratic. The answers make no sense, as befitting a question which makes no sense. But Carlos Memem managed to... Continue reading
Posted Jul 18, 2018 at The Power and the Money
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There is no doubt that AMLO intends to construct a new political machine. The question is whether doing so will degrade the quality of Mexican democracy or Mexican governance. (These are correlated but not the same.) In a couple of... Continue reading
Posted Jul 16, 2018 at The Power and the Money
So, Donald Trump wants to turn America’s hegemony into a protection racket. Okay, then. How would those negotiations go? First thing to do is estimate how much the U.S. could save by pulling out of Germany, Japan, and South Korea.... Continue reading
Posted Jul 16, 2018 at The Power and the Money
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Literally, “hacer boleta” is just an odd way of saying “design a ballot” or “print out a ticket.” The other expression in the title, “ser boleta” makes no sense at all, unless you happen to be a ticket. In Argentina,... Continue reading
Posted Jul 8, 2018 at The Power and the Money
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In comments, Andrei Gomberg writes that the biggest danger from the new AMLO government is the construction of an effective political machine and the slow subjugation of the independent parts of the Mexican state: I think you miss the real... Continue reading
Posted Jul 7, 2018 at The Power and the Money
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I should and will write more about the Mexican elections and the future of Pemex. Especially given the food for thought Andrei Gomberg presented here! Instead, though, I want to write about swearing in Argentina. In my travels to and... Continue reading
Posted Jul 4, 2018 at The Power and the Money
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Wow. AMLO cleared an outright majority. That was impressive and a sign of just how fed-up Mexicans were with the status quo. I saw some signs of that last summer; now it is confirmed. Seven initial thoughts: AMLO is not... Continue reading
Posted Jul 2, 2018 at The Power and the Money
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Earlier we pointed out that Mexican presidents need an effective legislative majority of two-thirds to get much of anything done, since so much legislation requires constitutional amendments. Did AMLO’s coalition pass that threshold? We won’t know for sure for a... Continue reading
Posted Jul 2, 2018 at The Power and the Money
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Spain, you might have heard, is a sunny place. Strangely, the designers of Spain’s early renewable policies did not realize this. They established a feed-in tariff, in which utilities have to buy all generated renewable electricity at a fixed price.... Continue reading
Posted Jun 14, 2018 at The Power and the Money
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When we left the Catalan secession crisis last October, the secessionists had backed down. They decided that setting up a parallel state would come at too high a cost. But we warned: “There is the possibility that the crisis will... Continue reading
Posted Jun 3, 2018 at The Power and the Money