INTERNATIONAL BANKING: COMMITTEE ON THE GLOBAL FINANCIAL SYSTEM (CGFS) REPORT

July 31, 2010 at 1:16 pm | Posted in Economics, Financial, Globalization, Research | Leave a comment

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Released today:

Long-term issues in international banking: new report

from the Committee on the Global Financial System

Press, Service (press@bis.org)

Publications, Service (Publications@bis.org)

Thu 7/29/10

The CGFS report “Long-term issues in international banking” has been released today and is now available on the BIS website.

Regards,

Communications

Bank for International Settlements

Thank you for your cooperation.

The Bank for International Settlements (BIS)

Released today:

Long-term issues in international banking: new report from the Committee on the Global Financial System

Press, Service (press@bis.org)

Publications, Service (Publications@bis.org)

Bank for International Settlements

Thu 7/29/10

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“FOUR REIGNS”: KUKRIT PRAMOJ NOVEL FROM 1953 ON THAI HISTORY

July 30, 2010 at 8:22 pm | Posted in Art, Asia, Books, Globalization, History, Philosophy, Third World | Leave a comment

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Four Reigns

Kukrit Pramoj (Author) Tulachandra (Translator)

Product Details:

· Paperback: 663 pages

· Publisher: University of Washington Press

· March 1999

· Language: English

· ISBN-10: 9747100665

· ISBN-13: 978-9747100662

The Four Reigns (Thai Si Phaendin), a novel by Kukrit Pramoj, shows how individuals in Thai society adjust to change in the face of historic events. The story first develops under the palace life of minor courtiers during a time of absolute monarchy and explicit observance of traditional Buddhist mores. The traditional values of the times are experienced by the main character and are enhanced by her surroundings. Throughout the evolving years the country experiences disturbances of World War I; the Palace Revolution of 1932 and World War II respectively. The book focuses primarily on the lives of the minor nobility and the necessary modes of adapting to unpreventable events that come by way of foreign and domestic conflicts.

The author of the Four Reigns, Kukrit Pramoj, explains that he was able to delve so deeply into the lives of the nobility because it was a life he observed from a personal standpoint. Similar to a character in the book, Pramoj received his education abroad and like another character, he had his days in the political arena. Although the 663 page book is portrayed in a fictional concept, the reader gets a chance to experience how the author wanted to capture the feelings of a traditional era and a bygone age in order to bring it to life for a modern society.

Plot summary

The Four Reigns starts out with a young girl named Phloi whose mother leaves her husband of the lower aristocratic status to be free from the restraints of being one of his minor wives. Although being one of a few minor wives to a man was the norm, Phloi’s mother was not content in that domestic order. Consequently, this provoked Phloi’s mother, Mae Chaem, along with Phloi to move out and make a change which involved a trip to the royal palace to offer Phloi up to a better life as a minor courtier. Mae Chaem is there to assist Phloi on her trip to the palace and often visits her there to be sure of her well-being. Mae Chaem suddenly dies and Phloi is deeply saddened by her loss and spends the rest of her time coping and adapting to the palace life.

Phloi’s life, however, truly begins in the palace, where she humbly serves and befriends the royalty and their servants. Phloi lives through time periods of four reigns as the title suggests, involving four different kings. The king well-renowned in history, King Chulalongkorn, was the monarch at Phloi’s birth and King Ananda Mahidol is the ruler reigning at Phloi’s death. During her time at the palace Phloi lives the life of a minor courtier engaging in youthful diversions with her friend Choi and occasionally doing menial tasks as a court attendant. She really doesn’t have a worry, except for selecting the correct outfit for the next leisurely excursion. On these trips everyone from the Grand Palace would attend religious ceremonies such as the Kathin festival at the end of the Buddhist Lent.

As time goes by, Phloi’s life is altered, when she is compelled to marry Khun Prem, a man on a personal level, she knows very little about. This engagement is influenced by her elders’ and their traditional values. They believed that it was safest to marry someone of good financial grade rather than solely for love. Although Phloi did not quite know Prem at first, they eventually did grow to love one another. He is of the minor nobility but still all the same could be ranked among the aristocratic people in Thai society with good financial standing. Khun Prem is also of military standing and well respected by his peers. This is evident as he receives promotions and is involved with the highly regarded Wild Tiger Calvory Corps. Khun Prem starts out as a tradionalist but as society changes, Khun Prem inherits military discipline and Western idealism. This is shown forth as he begins to smoke Western cigarettes and drink Western wine. His first son enters military school while his and Phloi’s other two sons are sent to study abroad. Their only daughter, Praphai, stays with Phloi and is her mother’s companion until she branches out on her own.

One of Phloi’s sons Ot, who went to Europe to study abroad, comes back with new intellectual ideas and continually ponders with his uncle, Phloi’s brother, the new fascination of politics. In the novel he states: “What else have we to talk about? The air is thick with political news. So-and-so is going to be arrested, so-and-so may have to be got out of the way, and there’ll be an armed clash between such-and-such factions, and so on.” (P. 483 of Four Reigns) Politics became something of more interest in Thai culture as it existed before but was more available to the general public when ideas about how the government should be run was appropriated among the people. This became the new way of life in Thailand that was capturing the minds of the evolving individual.

When Ot’s brother An returns from France he breaks with tradition by bringing back a French wife. This is much to the dismay of his father and a shock to his mother. An introduces his French wife to the family circle and she displays as expected, her Western influences. These include French clothing styles; make up and personal mannerisms. An’s French wife, Lucille, in her short stay, influenced Phloi’s youngest daughter, Praphai with her ways as well. This is evident as Praphai unlike her mother decided to marry a man of her choosing. Praphai and her husband Khun Sewi even changed their wedding to follow a more modern format. They didn’t have the chanting monks and Khun Sewi even carried Praphai inside the house the way the “farangs” (Westerners) do. “They haven’t abandoned the old custom but have adopted it to suit the prevailing conditions, you see”

(P. 534 of Four Reigns).

An for his part became an intellectual with Westernized influences from France. Once he became stable in the political circuit of Thailand he aligned himself with the rebel group called the People’s Party who staged the Palace Revolution of 1932.

Phloi experiences World War I, and its economic impact on Thailand. Prices for imported goods begin to make a noticeable rise. This is also the time that Phloi’s husband,Prem, dies in a horse riding accident. Phloi is left to fend for herself but her children by then are home and all grown up and able to offer her much needed emotional support. Sometime later, Thailand suffers an economic depression and a rebel group called the People’s Party in which An allies himself with, begins to form. They eventually organize a coup that forces the king to agree to relinquish absolute authority and cede full power to a Constitutional Monarchy. World War II succeeds the first and has a stronger impact Thailand. The Japanese invade, and then occupy Bangkok until the Allied bombings force them to give in. All of Phloi’s children survive the war except for one of her sons who died of malaria while in southern Thailand on a work assignment. When the war ends Phloi’s house is destroyed and she returns to her ancestral home at Khlong Bang Luang where she spends the last of her days.

Maj. Gen. Mom Rajawongse (M.R.) Kukrit Pramoj (Thai Khuek-rit Pramot) (April 20, 1911 – October 9, 1995) was a Thai politician and scholar. He was Speaker of the House of Representatives of Thailand 1973-1974 and was the thirteenth Prime Minister of Thailand, serving in office from 1975-1976.

Early years

Of royal descent, M.R. Kukrit Pramoj was born into an aristocratic family. Like all upper class Thais of his generation, his parents sent him and his siblings to boarding schools in England. He finished his Bachelor’s degree in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics (PPE) from Queen’s College, University of Oxford. Upon arriving back to Thailand, his very first job was in banking. However, his true reputation lies in his mastery in many forms of arts, including politics and journalism.

He was a leading authority on traditional Thai culture and had a polymathic range of interests from Thailand‘s classical dance to literature. Most famous for his literary works, he was named a “National Artist” for literature in 1985, the inaugural year for the honor. And he received The Special Commemorative Prize of The Fukuoka Asian Culture Prizes in 1990, the inaugural year for the prizes again. His works encompass many subjects from humour to drama. He wrote passionately for Siam Rath (สยาม รัฐ), the newspaper that he founded. He also wrote the famous historical novel Four Reigns , and many more. His unique sense of humour offered a satirical view of his age and he was often arrested for offending the powerful.

As a scholar, he also wrote many non-fiction works ranging from history, astrology and religion. Most notable, however, are his epics and many short stories portraying various aspects of life and documenting contemporary history. Two of his works that have been translated into English are Four Reigns (ISBN 974-7100-66-5) and Many Lives (ISBN 974-7100-19-3).

He was also known as a staunch loyalist and served the monarchy for his whole life. He is considered by many to be one of the great statesmen of Thailand. But most of all, he is known as a veritable ‘Thai public intellectual’ and ‘a great Thai writer’.

His former home is now a heritage museum which is preserved paying homage to his life and Thai traditions.

Biography

· Born on April 20, 1911 at Sing Buri Province

· Great-grandmother Ampha, was of Chinese descent and was a consort of Rama II[1]

· Son of Brigadier General HH Prince Khamrob and Mom Daeng (Bunnag) and younger brother of M.R. Seni Pramoj[2]

· Served as a corporal during the Indo-China War with France in 1940.

· Married to M.R. Pakpring Thongyai

· Two Children, a son and daughter

· Died October 9, 1995

· Established the conservative Social Action Party

Education

· Suankularb Wittayalai School

· Trent College, Nottinghamshire

· Studied at The Queen’s College, Oxford University with B.A(Hons) in Philosophy, Politics and Economics in 1933 and M.A.(Oxon) in 1982.

Achievements

· M.R. Kukrit founded the Progress Party, the first political party in Thailand in 1945-1946.

· Appeared on screen with Marlon Brando in the movie The Ugly American (1963), in which he played Prime Minister Kwen Sai and spoke both Thai and English.

· Established diplomatic ties with China in 1975.

· Named National Artist in Literature 1985.

· Received the Fukuoka Asian Culture Prize in 1990.

· Founded the Khon Thammasat Troupe at Thammasat University, Khon being the highest form of dance drama in Thai classical dramatic arts.

Acting career

When George Englund decided to use Thailand as the location for the fictional country portrayed in his film The Ugly American, Pramoj was appointed as cultural advisor to make sure the film accurately portrayed monarchy in a Buddhist country. Englund had difficulty casting the part of the fictional Prime Minister, but he was so impressed by Pramoj’s cultural refinement and mastery of English that he offered him the part, saying, “I can’t think of anyone who could play it better.” Pramoj accepted, saying, according to Englund, “We are all actors anyway, and I think you’re right that I could play it better than anyone.”

M.R. Kukrit Heritage Home

The home that M.R. Kukrit built for himself in Bangkok has been registered by the Department of Fine Arts as ‘Home of an Important Person’. It is open to the public on Saturdays, Sundays and official Thai holidays between 10am and 5pm.

Standing in 2 acres (8,100 m2) of land, surrounded by landscaped gardens, the house is a similar concept to the Jim Thompson House in Bangkok. Five small traditional Thai houses were dismantled and reassembled at the present site to make one house. The house is filled with artefacts and books collected by the owner.

Additions to the original house include air conditioning, a modern bathroom, and a lift was installed when the owner became too frail to climb up and down stairs.

The M.R. Kukrit Heritage Home is situated at 19 Soi Phra Pinit, South Sathorn Road, Sathon District, Bangkok 10120. Tel. +66 (0)2 286 8185. The nearest BTS Skytrain station is Chong Nonsi. English speaking guides are available to show visitors around. Photography is not allowed inside the house. The entrance fee is Bt50 for adults and Bt20 for children and students.

Works

Novels

· Sam Kok Chabap Nai Thun (1951) ISBN 9749906160

· Phai Daeng (1954) ISBN 9749906187

o Based on Giovanni Guareschi‘s 1950 novel The Little World of Don Camillo. Translated into English as Red Bamboo in 1961

· Su Si Thai Hao (1957) ISBN 9749906152

· Jew (1967) ISBN 9749906225

· Si Phaendin ISBN 9749906209

o Translated into English as Four Reigns in 1981 by Tulachandra; ISBN 9747100665

· Kawao Thi Bang Phleng (1989) ISBN 9749906195

o Based on John Wyndham‘s 1957 science fiction novel The Midwich Cuckoos. Adapted into a film of the same name in 1994.

· Lai Chiwit ISBN 9746901192

o Translated in English as Many Lives in 1996; ISBN 9747100673

· Khun Chang Khun Phaen (1989) ISBN 9746901664

· Farang Sakdina ISBN 9749906233

Plays

· Rashomon ISBN 9749906330

o Based on Akira Kurosawa‘s 1950 crime mystery film of the same name.

Collected short stories and essays

· Phuean Non (short stories, 1952) ISBN 9749906314

· Sapphere Khadi ISBN 974923216X

Non-fiction

· Phama Sia Mueang (1967) ISBN 9749906276, 9746900307

· Huang Mahannop (1959) ISBN 9746900609

· Chak Yipun (1962) ISBN 9749906284

· Mueang Maya (1965) ISBN 9746903527

· Khon Rak Ma (1967) ISBN 9746901028

· Wai Run (1980) ISBN 9749906322

· Thamma Khadi (1983) ISBN 9749906306

· Khrong Kraduk Nai Tu ISBN 9746901311

· Chao Lok ISBN 9749906268

· Kritsadaphinihan An Bot Bang Mi Dai ISBN 9746901893, 9749906357

· Chang Nai Chiwit Khong Phom ISBN 9746905147

· Phra Phutthasatsana Kap Khuekrit ISBN 9749336410

· Kho Khit Rueang Koet Kae Chep Tai ISBN 9746903829

· Songkhram Phio ISBN 974990625X

· Thok Khamen ISBN 9746901052

· Banthoeng Roeng Rom ISBN 9749906292

· Rueang Kham Khan ISBN 9746905074

· Kep Lek Phasom Noi ISBN 9746904892

· Klai Rok ISBN 9746904795

· Khon Khong Lok ISBN 9749906241

· Chom Suan ISBN 9749906349

· Talat Nad ISBN 9746904825

· Tham Haeng Ariya ISBN 9746904736

· Nam Phrik (น้ำพริก) ISBN 9746904833

· Beng Hek Phuu Thuk Kluen Thang Pen (2001 [Revised]) ISBN 9749906179

· Arokya ISBN 9746903357

· Sapphasat ISBN 9746904442

· Khon Khong Lok (1967) ISBN 9749906241

· The King of Siam speaks, by Seni Pramoj and Kukrit Pramoj ISBN 9748298124

Most Thai were shocked by the portrayal of their revered nineteenth-century king, Mongkut, in the musical The King and I. The stage and screen versions were based on Margaret Landon’s 1944 book entitled Anna and the King of Siam. To correct the record, well-known Thai intellectuals Seni and Kukrit Pramoj wrote this account in 1948. The Pramoj brothers sent their manuscript to the American politician and diplomat Abbot Low Moffat 1901-1996), who drew on it for his biography entitled Mongkut the King of Siam (1961) ISBN 9748298124. Moffat donated the Pramoj manuscript to the Library in 1961. (Southeast Asian Collection, Asian Division, Library of Congress)

Translations

· Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach, translated as Jonathan Livingston Nang Nuan 1973)

References

1. Elliott Kulick, Dick Wilson. Thailand‘s Turn: Profile of a New Dragon (Thailand‘s Turn) (Paperback). Palgrave Macmillan. pp. 84. ISBN 0312121881.

2. An Impressive Day at M.R. Kukrit’s Home; Thailand Bibliography

This is an English translation of the “Four Reigns”. It is a very good translation and very loyal to the Thai.

It is a good way to access and understand better the history of Thailand/Siam.

The novel Si phaen din (Four Reigns), first published in serial form in the newspaper Siam Rath in 1953, is probably the best-selling Thai novel of all time. The author, Kukrit Pramoj…

Four Reigns

Kukrit Pramoj (Author) Tulachandra (Translator)

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“CROSS-BORDER BANK FLOWS TO EMERGING MARKETS”: BUNDESBANK DISCUSSION PAPER

July 30, 2010 at 8:59 am | Posted in Economics, Financial, Germany, Globalization, History, Research | Leave a comment

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Bundesbank Discussion Paper

Newsletter Forschungszentrum Bundesbank

Fri 7/30/10

The Bundesbank Research Centre has released a new

Discussion Paper (No 17/2010 Series 1).

Author/s:

Sabine Herrmann
Dubravko Mihaljek

Title:

The determinants of cross-border bank flows to emerging markets – new empirical evidence on the spread of financial crises

Abstract:

This paper studies the nature of spillover effects in bank lending flows from advanced to the emerging market economies and identifies specific channels through which such effects occur. Based on a gravity model we examine a panel data set on cross-border bank flows from 17 advanced to 28 emerging market economies in Asia, Latin America and central and eastern Europe from 1993 to 2008. The empirical analysis suggests that global as well as country specific factors are significant determinants of cross-border bank flows.

Greater global risk aversion and expected financial market volatility seem to have been the most important factors behind the decrease in cross-border bank flows during the crisis of 2007-08. The withdraw of cross-border loans from central and eastern Europe was more limited compared to Asia and Latin America, in large measure because of the higher degree of financial and monetary integration in Europe, and relatively sound banking systems in the region. These results are robust to various specification, sub-samples and econometric methodologies.

http://vo5555.newsletter.bundesbank.de/servlet/rd?l=Diskussionspapiere-JOKA-PJN1-M7DJ-ONL3-NWSL144

Deutsche Bundesbank
Forschungszentrum
Research Centre
Wilhelm-Epstein-Strasse 14
60431 Frankfurt am Main
Germany

Contact:
presse-information@bundesbank.de

Bundesbank Discussion Paper

The determinants of cross-border bank flows to emerging markets – new empirical evidence on the spread of financial crises

Newsletter Forschungszentrum Bundesbank

http://vo5555.newsletter.bundesbank.de/servlet/rd?l=Diskussionspapiere-JOKA-PJN1-M7DJ-ONL3-NWSL144

Deutsche Bundesbank

Forschungszentrum

Research Centre

Wilhelm-Epstein-Strasse 14

60431 Frankfurt am Main

Germany

presse-information@bundesbank.de

Fri 7/30/10

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ECONOMIC HISTORY: “FAVORITES OF FORTUNE” BOOK FROM 1998

July 30, 2010 at 1:49 am | Posted in Books, Development, Economics, Globalization, History, Research, Science & Technology | Leave a comment

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Favorites of Fortune: Technology Growth and

Economic Development since the Industrial Revolution

Patrice Higonnet (Editor)

David S. Landes (Editor)

Henry Rosovsky (Editor)

Editorial Reviews

Review

A stimulating and fascinating volume that should be in the library of anyone interested in economic history or technology.
–John Vincent Nye (Journal of Evolutionary Economics )

A most important book…[It] contains a conspectus of the variety of work that goes into our studies nowadays: biometrics and cliometrics; theory and a review of theory; broad sweeps of generalizations, detailed research on a micro scale, and international comparison; some sociology; and some institutional politics…A rich offering.
–Sidney Pollard (Journal of Economic History )

Product Description

A galaxy of distinguished international economists and historians pit economic history against the shaky assumptions of the classical economic theory of natural growth. Their explanations consider the factors of technology, entrepreneurialism, and paths to economic growth, but each reflects an ideological wave of explanation that has marked the last two hundred years.

Product Details:

· Paperback: 576 pages

· Publisher: Harvard University Press First Edition

· August 11 1998

· Language: English

· ISBN-10: 0674295218

· ISBN-13: 978-0674295216

Favorites of Fortune: Technology Growth and Economic

Development since the Industrial Revolution

Patrice Higonnet (Editor)

David S. Landes (Editor)

Henry Rosovsky (Editor)

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BANK FOR INTERNATIONAL SETTLEMENTS “BIS REVIEW NO. 101″: TURKISH ECONOMY

July 29, 2010 at 6:35 pm | Posted in Development, Economics, Euro, Financial, Globalization, Research, Third World, World-system | Leave a comment

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BIS Review

Bank for International Settlements

BIS Review No 101 available

Press, Service (press@bis.org)

Publications, Service (Publications@bis.org)

Thu 7/29/10

Please find BIS Review No 101 attached as an Adobe Acrobat (PDF) file. Alternatively, you can access this BIS Review on the Bank for International Settlements’ website by clicking on http://www.bis.org/review/index.htm.

What’s included?

BIS Review No 101 (29 July 2010)

Durmuş Yılmaz: Overview of the Turkish economy in the light of new global realities

Amando M Tetangco, Jr: Empowering the banking industry through continuing education, innovation and research

Njuguna Ndung’u: Talking notes on the state of Kenya’s economy

Choongsoo Kim: Time for a new central banking paradigm

Hu Xiaolian: Three characteristics of the managed floating exchange rate regime

Bandid Nijathaworn: Thailand’s economic outlook – an update

Gertrude Tumpel-Gugerell: Policy challenges facing the euro area

e-mail press@bis.org

BIS Review

Bank for International Settlements

BIS Review No 101 available

http://www.bis.org/review/index.htm
Press, Service (press@bis.org)

Publications, Service (Publications@bis.org)

Thu 7/29/10

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“A HOUSE FOR MR. BISWAS”: V. S. NAIPAUL NOVEL FROM 1961

July 29, 2010 at 1:46 pm | Posted in Books, Financial, Globalization, History, India, Literary, Third World, World-system | Leave a comment

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A House for Mr. Biswas

V.S. Naipaul (Author)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“Naipaul has constructed a marvelous prose epic that matches the best nineteenth-century novels for richness of comic insight and final, tragic power.” NewsweekReview

Product Description

The early masterpiece of V. S. Naipaul’s brilliant career, A House for Mr. Biswas is an unforgettable story inspired by Naipaul’s father that has been hailed as one of the twentieth century’s finest novels.

In his forty-six short years, Mr. Mohun Biswas has been fighting against destiny to achieve some semblance of independence, only to face a lifetime of calamity. Shuttled from one residence to another after the drowning death of his father, for which he is inadvertently responsible, Mr. Biswas yearns for a place he can call home. But when he marries into the domineering Tulsi family on whom he indignantly becomes dependent, Mr. Biswas embarks on an arduous–and endless–struggle to weaken their hold over him and purchase a house of his own.

A heartrending, dark comedy of manners, A House for Mr. Biswas masterfully evokes a man’s quest for autonomy against an emblematic post-colonial canvas.

Product Details:

· Paperback: 576 pages

· Publisher: Vintage

· March 13 2001

· Language: English

· ISBN-10: 0375707166

· ISBN-13: 978-0375707162

“The Tulsi family (and the big decaying house they live in) represents the traditional communal world, the way life is lived, not only among the Hindu immigrants of Trinidad but throughout Africa and Asia as well.

Mr Biswas is offered a place in it, a subordinate place to be sure, but a place that’s guaranteed and from which advancement is possible. But Mr Biswas rejects that. He is, without realizing it or thinking it through but through deep and indelible instinct, a modern man. He wants to BE, to exist as something in his own right, to build something he can call his own.

That is something the Tulsis cannot deal with, and that is why their world—though that traditional world, like the old Tulsi house which is its synecdoche, is collapsing—conspires to drag him down.

A House for Mr Biswas is a 1961 novel by V. S. Naipaul, significant as Naipaul’s first work to achieve acclaim worldwide. It is the story of Mr Mohun Biswas, an Indo-Trinidadian who continually strives for success and mostly fails, who marries into the Tulsi family only to find himself dominated by it, and who finally sets the goal of owning his own house. Drawing some elements from the life of Naipaul’s father[1][2], the work is primarily a sharply-drawn look at life that uses postcolonial perspectives to view a vanished colonial world.

Plot

Mohun Biswas (Mr Biswas) is born in rural Trinidad to parents of Indian origin. His birth is considered inauspicious as he is born “in the wrong way” and with an extra finger. A pundit prophesies that the newly born Mr Biswas “will be a lecher and a spendthrift. Possibly a liar as well”, and that he will “eat up his mother and father.” The pundit further advises that the boy be kept “away from trees and water. Particularly water”. A few years later, Mohun leads a neighbour’s calf, which he is tending, to a stream. The boy, who has never seen water “in its natural form”, becomes distracted watching the fish and allows the calf to wander off. Mohun hides in fear of punishment. His father, believing his son to be in the water, drowns in an attempt to save him, thus in part fulfilling the pundit’s prophecy. This leads to the dissolution of Mr Biswas’s family. His sister is sent to live with a wealthy aunt and uncle, Tara and Ajodha, while Mr Biswas, his mother, and two older brothers go to live with other relatives.

Mr Biswas is withdrawn prematurely from school and apprenticed to a pundit, but is cast out on bad terms. Ajodha then puts him in the care of his alcoholic and abusive brother Bhandat which also comes to a bad result. Finally, Mr Biswas now becoming a young man decides to set out to make his own fortune. He encounters a friend from his days of attending school who helps him get into the business of sign-writing. While on the job, Mr Biswas attempts to romance a client’s daughter and his advances are misinterpreted as a wedding proposal. He is drawn into a marriage which he does not have the nerve to stop and becomes a member of the Tulsi household.

With the Tulsis, Mr Biswas becomes very unhappy with his wife Shama and her overbearing family, which bears a slight resemblance to the Capildeo family into which Naipaul’s father married.

He is usually at odds with the Tulsis and his struggle for economic independence from the oppressive household drives the plot. The Tulsi family (and the big decaying house they live in) represents the traditional communal world, the way life is lived, not only among the Hindu immigrants of Trinidad but throughout Africa and Asia as well. Mr Biswas is offered a place in it, a subordinate place to be sure, but a place that’s guaranteed and from which advancement is possible. But Mr Biswas rejects that. He is, without realizing it or thinking it through but through deep and indelible instinct, a modern man. He wants to BE, to exist as something in his own right, to build something he can call his own. That is something the Tulsis cannot deal with, and that is why their world—though that traditional world, like the old Tulsi house which is its synecdoche, is collapsing—conspires to drag him down.[3]

Nevertheless, despite his poor education, Mr Biswas becomes a journalist, has four children with Shama, and attempts (more than once, with varying levels of success) to build a house that he can call his own. He becomes obsessed with the notion of owning his own house and it becomes a symbol of his independence and merit.

Significance

This novel is generally regarded as Naipaul’s most significant work and is credited with launching him into international fame and renown. The prose is often cited as some of the best writing in contemporary English studies and cemented Naipaul’s

reputation as one of the finest writers in the language..

Time magazine included the novel in its “TIME 100 Best English-language Novels from 1923 to 2005″.[4]

Adaptations

The novel was later adapted as a stage musical, with compositions by Monty Norman. One of the songs written for the play, “Good Sign, Bad Sign”, was later rewritten as “The James Bond Theme“, according to the documentary Inside Dr. No.

A two-part radio dramatisation, featuring Rudolph Walker, Nitin Ganatra, Nina Wadia, and Angela Wynter ran on BBC Radio Four on March 26 and April 2, 2006.

References

1. Kumar, Bombay London New York, p.111

2. Hayward, The Enigma of V.S.Naipaul, p.6

3. S.R. Cudjoe, V.S. Naipaul: A Materialist Reading, p.71 See also Ramchand, The West Indies, p. 206

4. http://www.time.com/time/2005/100books/the_complete_list.html

“The Tulsi family (and the big decaying house they live in) represents the traditional communal world, the way life is lived, not only among the Hindu immigrants of Trinidad but throughout Africa and Asia as well.

That is something the Tulsis cannot deal with, and that is why their world—though that traditional world, like the old Tulsi house which is its synecdoche, is collapsing—conspires to drag him down.

A House for Mr Biswas

V.S. Naipaul

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DERIVATIVES CLEARING SERVICE: GOLDMAN

July 29, 2010 at 12:41 am | Posted in Financial, Globalization, Research, USA, World-system | Leave a comment

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Goldman Launches Centralized Clearing Service; Morgan To Follow
Goldman Sachs has launched a centralized derivatives clearing service for interest rate, credit, foreign exchange, equities and commodities derivatives.

The announcement comes one week after U.S. President Obama signed legislation that will force more derivatives through central clearing houses…

Read more

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July 28 2010

BREAKING NEWS:

Goldman Launches Centralized Clearing Service

Morgan To Follow

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Wed 7/28/10

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ECONOMICS OF ADAPTATION TO CLIMATE CHANGE: BONN CONFERENCE AUGUST 3 2010

July 28, 2010 at 10:16 pm | Posted in Earth, Ecology, Economics, Financial, Germany, Research | Leave a comment

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INVITATION:

Economics of Adaptation to Climate Change (EACC):

Final study launch

Bonn Germany August 3 2010

THE ECONOMICS OF ADAPTATION TO CLIMATE CHANGE –

EACC

Final Study Launch

on behalf of Smargulis@worldbank.org

Climate Change

Wed 7/28/10

You are cordially invited to join the launch of the EACC study at the notable Gustav-Stresemann Institute, in Bonn. The EACC was a large study estimating the costs to developing countries of adapting to climate change, as well as aiming to help them identify, cost and prioritize adaptation initiatives and projects.

The study was a joint initiative from the governments of the Netherlands, The UK, Switzerland and The World Bank in partnership with the governments of Bangladesh, Plurinational State of Bolivia, Ethiopia, Ghana, Mozambique, Samoa, and Vietnam.

The presentation will be made by Warren Evans – Director, Environment Department – and Sergio Margulis – EACC study leader.

Discussants will consist of representatives from both participant and donor countries. A light lunch will be offered to participants.

Date: Tuesday, August 3, 2010 Time: 1:00pm to 3:00pm

Location: The Gustav-Stresemann Institute

The Institute is located less than a mile from the UNFCCC meetings at the Maritim Conference Hall.

Address: Langer Grabenweg 68 D-53175 Bonn – Bad Godesberg.

INVITATION:

Economics of Adaptation to Climate Change (EACC):

Final study launch

Bonn Germany August 3 2010

THE ECONOMICS OF ADAPTATION TO CLIMATE CHANGE

EACC

Final Study Launch

on behalf of Smargulis@worldbank.org

Climate Change

Wed 7/28/10

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“INTEREST BEARING NOTES”: WORLD BANK RESEARCH

July 28, 2010 at 2:04 pm | Posted in Development, Economics, Eurozone, Financial, Globalization, History, Research, World-system | Leave a comment

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World Bank research

Interest Bearing Notes July 2010

Interest Bearing Notes

No. 4 Vol. 13

Interest Bearing Notes (ibnnewsletter@worldbank.org)

Tue 7/27/10

Contents

I What’s new on our website
IMF unveils its online database on Financial Access

II World Bank research
Can banks be too big to save?
Deals versus rules: The plight of African firms
The impact of the business environment on young firm financing
Liquidity clienteles: Transaction costs and investment decisions of individual investors
Is there a distress risk anomaly? Corporate bond spreads as a proxy for default risk

III “FYI”: Our eclectic guide to recent research of interest
On the effectiveness of Asian banking reform
China‘s high saving rate: myth and reality
The impact of bank accounts on migrant savings and remittances
Savings accounts for migrants and remittance recipients: does control matter?
A behavioral explanation for the success of microcredit

IV Upcoming events and miscellanea
The evolution of banking in the industrialized world since 1800
Save the date for the thirteenth annual International Banking Conference

The next issue of Interest Bearing Notes will appear in September 2010 so please send comments, suggestions (such as your own or others’ interesting research), and requests to be added to our distribution list, to Agnes Yaptenco (mailto:ayaptenco@worldbank.org) by September10th.

IBN is a product of the Finance and Private Sector Development Team in the World Bank’s Development Research Group. Our working papers and descriptions of research projects in progress can be found, along with a list of forthcoming seminars and conferences, on our web page (http://econ.worldbank.org/programs/finance).

I What’s new on our website

IMF unveils its online database on Financial Access
Building on our research, the IMF recently launched a new online database on financial access, which should start measuring access to and use of financial services systematically. The database measures the reach of financial services by bank branch network, availability of automated teller machines, and by four key financial instruments: deposits, loans, debt securities issued, and insurance. The website contains annual data from about 140 respondents for the six-year period, including data for all G-20 countries. Read more here.

II World Bank research

Can banks be too big to save?
Our own Asli Demirguc-Kunt and co-author Harry Huizinga investigate the link between government finances and potential bail-outs of systemically large banks. Variation in the share prices of 717 publicly-listed banks in 34 countries from 1991 to 2008 and the spreads on the credit default swaps (CDS) of 59 banks in 20 countries from 2001 to 2008 tell a similar story. Increased government indebtedness was associated with declining share prices and widening spreads at the time of the 2008 financial crisis, and the effects were more pronounced for systemically large banks, consistent with the notion that investors had doubts about the willingness and/or ability of governments to assist them because they had become too big to save. At the same time, the volatility of weekly bank stock returns, a measure of bank risk, was positively linked to share prices and negatively linked to CDS spreads for all banks, but especially so for systemically large ones, findings consistent with the more traditional view that banks can become too big to fail. Asli and Harry interpret these results as indicating that low-risk banks in high-deficit countries have grown beyond the size that maximizes their implicit subsidy from the financial safety net. Such banks should find it in their interest to downsize or split up and, in fact, the share of systemically important banks (relative to GDP) declined in 2008 relative to the previous two years, perhaps reflecting these incentives. Probably closer to the first word than the last on this topic, but certainly a useful and highly timely analysis linking the recent deterioration in government finances to the potential for future bail-outs of systemically large banks.
http://go.worldbank.org/EUUZXSW6P0

Deals versus rules: The plight of African firms
A recent paper by Mary Hallward-Driemeier, Gita Khun-Jush, and Lant Pritchett shows that the within-country variation in many of the variables from the World Bank Investment Climate Surveys, including the need to make informal payments (bribes) to government officials and the extent of political connections, is greater than the cross-national differences in the average values of these variables. The wide variation in those variables is surprising in that firms in the same country notionally face the same government policy. Mary et al. then show that variation in those measures of policy implementation “uncertainty” within location-sector-size cells is correlated with firm growth rates. They conclude that African firms don’t simply comply with policy rules but are forced to craft their own highly specific deals, making bribes and using their personal connections to get things done. As further evidence in support of that proposition, they show that the policy actions taken by individual firms explain much more variation in employment growth than either the average measures of policy actions in a country or the “Doing Business” indicators. The evidence also indicates that firms’ need to take these policy actions grows with the formal regulatory burden, which suggests that more burdensome processes provide more opportunity for crafting such deals. Focusing on within-country variation and the deals firms create marks an important shift away from discussions of a general policy environment based on comparisons across countries.
http://go.worldbank.org/JQ4X4VUJC1

The impact of the business environment on young firm financing
It has been often noted that new firms without a proven track record experience more severe financing constraints relative to older, more mature firms. However, comparable cross-country data on young firm financing have not been available until recently. In this paper, Larry Chavis, Leora Klapper, and Inessa Love use data from Enterprise Surveys on over 70,000 firms in over 100 countries collected by the World Bank to study the financing patterns of young firms. The authors confirm that in all countries younger firms rely less on bank financing and more on informal financing. Moving beyond simple cross-country analysis the authors explore whether the institutional environment affects young firms differently from older, more mature firms. They find that younger firms use more bank finance in countries with a stronger rule of law and better credit information, and that the reliance of young firms on informal finance decreases with the availability of credit information. Overall, the results suggest that improvements in the legal environment and availability of credit information are disproportionately beneficial for promoting access to formal finance by young firms.
http://go.worldbank.org/5F3ASOI000

Liquidity clienteles: Transaction costs and investment decisions of individual investors
In this paper, a new member of our team, Deniz Anginer explores the asset pricing phenomenon known as the “clientele effect” that arises because of differences in the transaction costs of different securities. Because security trading costs have to be amortized over the expected holding period of a security, investors with longer holding periods choose to hold stocks with higher transaction costs in equilibrium. Using a unique dataset, Deniz investigates the liquidity decisions of 66,000 households that made over two million trades using a large discount brokerage over a six-year time period. He finds that more sophisticated investors tend to pay more attention to liquidity than less sophisticated investors. In addition, more sophisticated investors have holding periods that are positively correlated with measures of transaction costs, while the same correlation is negative for less sophisticated investors. In addition, he finds that households with longer holding periods earn returns net of amortized transaction costs that are greater than the net returns of households with shorter holding periods. In other words, households that do not pay attention to liquidity earn lower returns on both a gross and net basis. One implication of this result is that investors should consider the expected holding period together with transaction costs, remembering that longer holding periods are needed to amortize higher transaction costs. These results have an implication for the security trading tax that has been proposed to minimize speculative trading. While the tax is likely to reduce trading, it will have unequal consequences for more versus less sophisticated investors and will likely be more harmful for the latter group. http://go.worldbank.org/J1O6H9M4P0

Is there a distress risk anomaly? Corporate bond spreads as a proxy for default risk
Another recent paper from Deniz Anginer with co-author Celim Yildizhan explores whether corporate default risk is priced into stock returns. Unlike previous papers that documented low stock returns for companies with higher default risk bonds (a relationship that should at best go in the opposite direction – i.e. higher risk – higher return), this new work, which uses market-based measures of credit spreads as a proxy for the likelihood of default, does not find such an anomaly. Unlike the previously used measures that proxy for a firm’s real-world probability of default, credit spreads proxy for a risk-adjusted (or a risk-neutral) probability of default and thereby explicitly account for the systematic component of distress risk. The authors show that credit spreads predict corporate defaults better than previously used measures, such as bond ratings, accounting variables and structural model parameters. They do not find default risk to be significantly priced into the cross-section of equity returns, but they also find no evidence that firms with high default risk deliver anomalously low returns. Besides adding a solid piece of evidence to the debate of whether default risk is priced in or not, this paper underscores the importance of properly measuring default risk, which plays an important role in many other applications.
http://go.worldbank.org/969H8NRZD0

III “FYI”: Our eclectic guide to recent research of interest

On the effectiveness of Asian banking reform
Madhusudan Mohanty and Philip Turner provide an excellent summary of banking sector development in Asia since the 1997-8 crisis and explain why those sectors have weathered the current crisis rather well. The share of non-performing loans has dropped substantially, in part because of restrictions on credit exposures to single borrowers and to groups of borrowers in most countries and prohibitions on lending to bank shareholders in some countries. In turn, capitalization ratios and profitability have climbed. At the same time, the authors caution that this progress must be viewed against the backdrop of some highly favorable macroeconomic circumstances. First, the marginal propensity to save in developing Asian economies increased substantially, led by China and India. In the wake of the Asian financial crisis, risk-averse households searched for less risky assets, and guarantees to bank liabilities served to channel surplus savings into bank deposits. Rapid growth in local deposits and a substantial increase in the share of lending in local currency reduced Asian vulnerability in the current crisis (as reported on in the Kamil and Rai paper in the May IBN issue). At the same time, sterilized interventions by Asian central banks to resist currency appreciation resulted in a proliferation of government debt instruments. Given the relative under-development of Asian bond markets, a large share of those instruments has come to be held by the dominant financial intermediaries, banks. These developments have left Asian banks with high shares of liquid assets. Well-capitalized, highly liquid banks should be a boon to the Asian economies, but the authors point out that strong liquidity positions allow increases in market and credit risk to go undetected for some time, and banking crises tend to materialize only after favorable macroeconomic and liquidity conditions have turned for the worse. And there are lingering underlying deficiencies in the banking environment: a lack of solid statistics on default rates, inadequate protection of lenders’ rights, large implicit guarantees that mask banks’ true ratings, and persistently high cost ratios. So while some progress has been made, this is no time for Asia’s bank supervisors to become complacent. http://www.bis.org/publ/work313.htm

China‘s high saving rate: myth and reality
While savings rates in Asia are high, China’s stands out. By international or historical standards, Guonan Ma and Wang Yi point out that a national savings rate above 50% of GDP is remarkable. Yet, China’s corporate savings rate is close to Japan’s, its household savings rate is below India’s, and its government savings rate is less than Korea’s. What sets China apart from other countries, however, is that it ranks among the leaders on all three components of savings. While no single theory can account for China’s savings rate, the authors point to a number of structural changes as contributing factors. Large-scale rural to urban labor migration and the declining share of employment in agriculture (from 70% to 40% over the past thirty years) has raised incomes. While the same phenomenon has occurred in other countries, effects could be more pronounced in China due to a rapid demographic transition. Owing in part to the one-child policy, the dependency ratio fell from 68% to 38% within a generation, resulting in a surge in the working-age population. Deep corporate restructuring brought about a steep reduction in employment in state-owned enterprises. By boosting corporate efficiency and reducing job security, the authors argue that restructuring lifted both corporate and household savings. Similarly, less generous pension benefits and doing away with state provision of housing have given households further reasons to save. They find much less support for explanations rooted in government distortions and subsidies (state-run monopolies, financial repression, restrictions on rural labor migration, subsidies for energy inputs, below-market prices for land), in large part because the private sector, which benefits less if at all from these distortions, has fueled China’s growth while the state sector’s market share has been declining. http://www.bis.org/publ/work312.htm

The impact of bank accounts on migrant savings and remittances
A new paper by Aimee Chin, Léonie Karkoviata, and Nathaniel Wilcox examines the causal effect of having a bank account on the savings, remittances, and income of Mexican migrants in the U.S. The authors conducted a field experiment where they offered a randomly selected treatment group of previously unbanked migrants assistance with obtaining a consular ID card that banks accept as a form of identification for opening an account. This intervention generated exogenous variation in having a U.S. bank account: migrants in the treatment group were 38 percent more likely to open a bank account than migrants in the control group. The authors note that, in the city where their experiment took place, the consular ID card has little other use besides enabling holders to open U.S. bank accounts, implying that any differences between treatment and control groups at follow-up can be attributed to obtaining a U.S. bank account. The follow-up survey shows that, five months after the start of the experiment, treated migrants increased their savings as a share of income by 9 percentage points and decreased their remittances to Mexico as a share of income by 6 percentage points. These effects are even larger for migrants who report that they have “no control” over how their remittances are allocated in Mexico. The authors attribute these findings to the fact that a U.S. bank account provides a safe store of money for migrants who would otherwise have to hold cash (running the risk that cash may be stolen) or send the money to Mexico (where they may have little control over whether their family saves the money or not). In fact, for migrants with “no control” over how their remittances are allocated, the authors find that income increases as a result of obtaining a U.S. bank account, suggesting that having a safe store of money increases their incentives to work.
http://www.uh.edu/~achin/research/ckw_banking_june2010.pdf

Savings accounts for migrants and remittance recipients: does control matter?
In a related and contemporaneous study, Nava Ashraf, Diego Aycinena, Claudia Martinez, and Dean Yang investigate in more detail how important migrants’ control over their remittances is for savings accumulation. The authors conducted a survey among El Salvadorian migrants in the US and their families in El Salvador. In the survey, migrants report that they would like recipient households to save 21% of remittance receipts, whereas recipient households prefer to save only 2.6% of receipts. The authors then designed a field experiment that gave migrants different options for opening savings accounts in El Salvador that they could deposit money into from the US. Migrants in the study were randomly divided into one control and three treatment groups. The first treatment group was offered the option of opening a savings account in El Salvador in the name of a remittance recipient in El Salvador. The second treatment group additionally had the option of opening a joint account in El Salvador for the migrant and remittance recipient. The third treatment group could open either an account in somebody else’s name, a joint account, or an individual account only in the migrant’s name. Follow-up results show that the migrants who only had the opportunity to open and remit into bank accounts in the name of remittance recipients or into joint accounts do not save more than the control group. However, migrants who had the opportunity to open individual accounts in addition to joint accounts save significantly more than the control group. This suggests that new financial products can encourage migrant savings (which in turn could have positive impacts on investment in education, health, and microenterprises). However, savings may not increase if recipients rather than migrants have control over the funds.
http://www-personal.umich.edu/~deanyang/papers/aamy_remittancecontrol.pdf

A behavioral explanation for the success of microcredit
It is often argued that microcredit is successful in lending to traditionally un-bankable individuals since its group lending structure mitigates moral hazard and adverse selection. Moreover, microcredit group meetings can reduce transaction costs since they allow loan officers to interact with many customers in one place. In “Behavioral Foundations of Microcredit: Experimental and Survey Evidence from Rural India,” Michal Bauer, Julie Chytilová, and Jonathan Morduch uncover another potential reason why microcredit has been on the rise. Based on behavioral economics, they argue that group-based lending, as well as the requirement to repay loans in regular, frequent, and fixed installments can act as a disciplining device for individuals with self-control problems, i.e. individuals with present-biased preferences. The authors conduct a survey in rural India to measure time preferences and find that almost one third of individuals have present-biased time presences. These preferences do not appear to be correlated with education, age, income, or wealth. The authors then examine the relationship between time preferences and financial behavior and find that women with present-biased preferences are more likely to have a loan. Moreover, conditional on having any loan, women with present-biased preferences are more likely than others to borrow through microcredit institutions. This finding is supportive of microcredit as a disciplining device, and the authors argue that it can explain why microcredit institutions that drop joint liability from their contracts nevertheless have maintained regular repayment schedules and group meetings.
http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1598959

IV Upcoming event and miscellanea

The evolution of banking in the industrialized world since 1800
For readers interested in a comparative historical analysis of the evolution of commercial banking in the developed world focusing on crises, bailouts, mergers, and regulation, Princeton University Press has just released Unsettled Account: The Evolution of Banking in the Industrialized World since 1800, by Richard Grossman. For more information see http://press.princeton.edu/titles/9219.html

Save the date for the thirteenth annual International Banking Conference
In conjunction with the IMF, the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago will hold its thirteenth annual International Banking Conference on September 23–24, 2010. The topic of this year’s conference is “Macroprudential Regulatory Policies: The New Road to Financial Stability?” Additional information, including the full agenda and conference and hotel registration details, is available at http://www.chicagofed.org/webpages/events/2010/international_conference.cfm#

Happy reading!
Your editors Miriam Bruhn (mbruhn@worldbank.org), Bob Cull (rcull@worldbank.org), and Inessa Love (ilove@worldbank.org)

World Bank research

Interest Bearing Notes July 2010

Interest Bearing Notes

No. 4 Vol. 13

Interest Bearing Notes (ibnnewsletter@worldbank.org)

Tue 7/27/10

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CREDIT CONDITIONS GERMANY: IFO

July 28, 2010 at 8:04 am | Posted in Economics, Eurozone, Financial, Germany, History, Research | Leave a comment

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Ifo Institute:

Further Easing of Credit Constraints

Credit Constraint Indicator

From the Ifo Business Survey for July 2010

Further Easing of Credit Constraints

ifo PRESSEABTEILUNG@ifo.de

Wed 7/28/10

Credit constraints for German industry and trade continued to ease for the seventh month in succession. Currently 31.6% of the surveyed firms complain of restrictive bank lending policies, compared with 34.0% in June. In July 2009 the credit hurdle was at its highest point during the economic and financial crisis at 45.1%. Within one year it has thus fallen by 13.5 percentage points. The recovery in Germany is currently not being constrained much at all by banks’ lending practices.

The whole article with graphs and tables is attached.

Press contact:
Annette Marquardt
Ifo Institute for Economic Research
at the University of Munich
Press and Public Relations
Poschingerstrasse 5
81679 Munich
Telefon ++49 (0) 89 92 24-1604
Telefax ++49 (0) 89 92 24-1267
marquardt@ifo.de
www.cesifo-group.de

ifo Institut fuer Wirtschaftsforschung

Ifo Institute: Further Easing of Credit Constraints

Credit Constraint Indicator

From the Ifo Business Survey for July 2010

Further Easing of Credit Constraints

ifo PRESSEABTEILUNG@ifo.de

Annette Marquardt
Ifo Institute for Economic Research
at the University of Munich
Press and Public Relations
Poschingerstrasse 5
81679 Munich Germany
Telefon ++49 (0) 89 92 24-1604
Telefax ++49 (0) 89 92 24-1267
marquardt@ifo.de
www.cesifo-group.de

Wed 7/28/10

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