The 2008 global economic and financial crisis hit hard in Iceland and Latvia. Economic developments prior to the crisis, as well as response to the crisis were, however, different in these two countries, yielding different results. Both countries received assistance from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) during the crisis and the IMF has labeled their reform programs as success stories. This article reviews and evaluates the post crisis situation in Iceland and Latvia, both in terms economic performance, as well as social progress. It also discusses how other countries, as well a multilateral institutions, may have influenced the reform programs in Iceland and Latvia.
The Nordic Baltic region (5+3) is now closely interlinked via trade, investment, mobility of people, and banking. All the countries in this group have pursued some form of integration with the European Union (EU). Six of them are EU member states, four of them are members of the euro area, and all of them are within the European Economic Area (EEA) and are Schengen member states. But can these small countries as a group cooperate more closely and perhaps exercise more collective authority in Europe? The Nordic countries and the Baltic States cooperate in the Bretton Woods institutions, the World Bank and the IMF, and six of them are among European NATO member states. When it comes to European integration the lack of common approach complicates their cooperation. Within this group there are internal divisions between the hardcore EU and euro area member states (the Baltics and Finland), EU members (Denmark and Sweden) and EU outsiders (Iceland and Norway). Common pathways for the future cooperation in Europe may be hard to find. Also, the Nordics are high income welfare states, but the Baltics are neoliberal with minimal governments and low-tax regimes. Additionally, external forces continue to challenge the Nordic Baltic region, including revanchist Russian policies threatening Baltic Sovereignty, unpredictable US policies towards NATO as well as reduced military presence in Europe, and dismal EU and euro area post crisis economic performance. All point to a future of uncertainty including both economic and security risks.
As the global economy grows, so does the demand for energy. Investment in clean energy projects, including geothermal, is increasingly important to help meet these growing energy needs. Clean energy projects are also important for environmental reasons and as part of the battle against climate change. Many clean energy sources in the world are located in developing countries, including emerging market economies. Investors in developing countries are normally faced with higher risks than those investing in high income developed economies. Higher risks in turn reduce capital flows to developing countries. This is particularly true during times of economic and financial crisis. At the same time energy projects tend to be large and capital intensive with long repayment periods. Energy projects also often require partnership between the public and private sectors i.e. public private partnerships (PPPs). Efficient allocation of risks among the different partners in PPPs is important for success, generally results in more profitable projects, and is more likely to benefit all parties involved. This article discusses public private partnerships in the energy sector in developing countries, characteristics of developing countries, the risk faced by investors, the absence of an international regime for investment, and risk mitigation instruments offered by international financial institutions to manage risks.
Vietnam is an emerging market country in South East Asia. Like many countries in the region Vietnam hasadopted a strategy of export lead growth. Recently Vietnam became a lower middle income country but its goal eventually is to reach high income status. Vietnam is a large food producer and exporter. To reach a higher income level Vietnam needs to increase the value added of its products and export more to high income countries. Is it feasible for producers of advanced food processing solutions, including from Europe, to market their products in Vietnam? This article analyses and assesses the seafood and livestock markets. The conclusions show that there are real opportunities for advanced processing solution providers to sell their products in both fisheries and livestock sectors. Growth potential for these providers in the short run seem to be in fisheries sector, while the medium or long term potential, seems to be in the livestock sector.
Geothermal and hydropower projects tend to be capital intensive and with long repayment periods. These projects can be challenging, especially in developing and emerging countries in transition often characterized by changing and unpredictable political and business environments. Developing and emerging countries are eligible for support from international financial institutions (IFIs) such as the World Bank Group and regional development banks and can also receive assistance from bilateral donor institutions. PPPs enable pooling of public, private and donor funds for clean energy investment. A well designed PPP can be a venue for scaling up funding for clean energy investment internationally. However, little point exists in forming PPPs if, for example, the private sector partner captures most or all the benefits, or if the government keeps changing the rules of the game resulting in a non-viable project. The focus of this article is on PPPs, potential benefits and challenges for host governments and various partners, including the private sector, bilateral donors, and multilateral institutions such as IFIs. When disputes occur between the private sector and host governments, IFIs can potentially play an important role in resolving disputes and help ensure the fair sharing of the risks and the rewards of the PPP for all the parties involved. The objective of this article is to review some recent theoretical research recently done on PPP, potential benefits as well as some challenges using this model in developing and emerging countries.
Iceland is a small, resource rich country in Europe that is highly dependent on foreign trade. According to the World Bank classifications, Iceland is a high income economy, but with a population of a little bit more than 300 thousand inhabitants, is the smallest economy within the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). Iceland is highly dependent on foreign trade, especially on trade with the European Union, where economic and political integration is evolving and the question about the most feasible level of participation is a future challenge for the country. Iceland is a member of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA), the European Economic Area (EEA) and the Schengen area, and the European Union (EU) candidate country until recently, when its government decided to withdraw its EU membership application. Currently, the EEA agreement ensures Iceland access to the EU common market. The question remains, what is the most feasible arrangement for Iceland’s prosperity in the long term? Should it continue to rely on the current arrangement? Should it seek the EU membership in the future and, perhaps, subsequently become part of the Euro Area? What are the possible benefits and disadvantages for Iceland joining the EU and the Euro Area?
The 2008 global economic and financial crisis hit hard in Iceland. During the crisis its three largest banks all collapsed in just a few days with severe consequences for the economy and the people. Prior to the crisis, Iceland, a high income OECD country, had experienced strong growth and unprecedented expansion in overseas investments and activities, especially in the financial sector. This article focuses on the actions of the international community when the Icelandic authorities, during a period of great uncertainty, sought assistance to protect the Icelandic economy before the banking system fell. The methodology used in this article is the case study method. Compared to other research methods, a case study enables the researcher to examine the issues involved in greater depth. Arguably, the governments of the Netherlands and the UK tried to fake reality by suggesting that the Icelandic government, i.e. Icelandic taxpayers, should be made responsible for paying the debts of private banks. The EFTA Court ruling confirms that Iceland did not have this responsibility. In retrospect one can argue that the EU showed dishonesty by supporting the Netherlands and the UK in demanding a sovereign guarantee for failed private banks. The Icelandic banking expansion exposed weaknesses in EU integration and may also confirm a certain incompetence within the EU in designing an EU-wide banking system.
Japanese family firms are distinguished by various interesting yet different characteristics from their counterparts in other countries. Among these characteristics are the governing structure of the ‘ie’ system, the influencing role of ‘codes of merchants’, the adoption of non-blood sons to succeed to the business, and the long-lived phenomenon of century-old family firms. Despite numerous important studies explaining these characteristics, our essential knowledge about the rational logic behind them remains limited. Thus, to further aid our understanding of these characteristics and the logical essence, this article reviews a range of literature on institutional embeddedness, including socio-political history, cultural values, and religious influence on Japanese family firms. The article also proposes a research direction to comprehend better the institutional logics behind Japanese family firms and their behaviour.
Export Credit Agencies (ECAs) have played an important role in cushioning the downturn in cross border trade during the current economic and financial crisis. This article discusses the role of ECAs in facilitating cross border trade to emerging markets as well as the economic rationale for the existence of such agencies. It also demonstrates how selected risk mitigation instruments of ECAs, namely: (i) buyer credit guarantee, (ii) supplier credit guarantees and (iii) export loans have been applied in practice. Finally cases are presented that highlight how companies have used the service of ECAs, for example, to obtain better terms, including longer term loans and/or lower interest rates.