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    China's geoeconomic strategy: China as a trading superpower

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    Just over three decades ago, when Deng Xiaoping announced the policy of reform and openingup in 1978, China’s total imports and exports of 20.6billionranked32ndamongallnationsandaccountedforlessthanonepercentofglobaltrade.In2010,Chinastotalmerchandisetradeexceeded20.6 billion ranked 32nd among all nations and accounted for less than one percent of global trade. In 2010, China’s total merchandise trade exceeded 3 trillion, 143 times the level of 1978. With an annual growth of 17.2 percent in exports and 16.4 percent in imports, China now account for 10.4 percent and 9.1 percent of global exports and imports, making it the world’s largest commodity exporter and second largest commodity importer.1 China’s meteoric rise to trading superpower status have raised concerns from foreign policymakers as they evaluate how China’s increased economic clout will affect their economies and the global trade regime as a whole. In this context, this article assesses China’s evolving trade policies in the reform era, the sustainability of its export-led growth amidst the global economic downturn, and the implications for global trading governance

    Assessing the sustainability of pension reforms in Europe

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    Spurred by the ageing transition, many governments have made wide-ranging reforms, dramatically changing Europe's pensions landscape. Nevertheless there remain concerns about future costs, while unease about adequacy is growing. This study develops a comprehensive framework to assess pension system sustainability. It captures the effects of reforms on the ability of systems to alleviate poverty and maintain living standards, while setting out how reforms change future costs and relative entitlements for different generations. This framework differs from others, which just look at generosity at the point of retirement, as it uses pension wealth - the value of all transfers during retirement. This captures the impact of both longevity and changes in the value of pensions during retirement. Moreover, rather than focusing only on average earners with full careers, this framework examines individuals at different wage levels, taking account of actual labour market participation. The countries analysed cover 70% of the EU’s population and include examples of all system types. Our estimates indicate that while reforms have decreased generosity significantly, in most, but not all, countries the poverty alleviation function remains strong, particularly where minimum pensions have improved. However, moves to link benefits to contributions have made some systems less progressive, raising adequacy concerns for women and those on low incomes. The consumption smoothing function of state pensions has declined noticeably, suggesting the need for longer working lives or additional private saving for individuals to maintain pre-reform living standards. Despite the reforms, the size of entitlements of future generations should remain similar to that of current generations, in most cases, as the effect of lower annual benefits should be offset by longer retirement. Though reforms have helped address the financial challenge faced by pension systems, in many countries pressures remain strong and further reforms are likely

    The growing proportion of non-native English speakers in the classroom is not damaging for the educational outcomes of native English speakers

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    The number of primary school pupils in England who do not speak English as a first language has been growing in recent years. Sandra McNally examines whether this is damaging the educational outcomes of native English speakers, concluding that this should not in fact be a cause for concern

    Why did Greece block the Euro-Atlantic integration of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia?: an analysis of Greek foreign policy behaviour shifts

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    This essay analyses shifts in Greek foreign policy behaviour with regard to the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia from the early 1990s to the late 2000s, with a particular emphasis on the 2008 NATO Bucharest Summit. In this paper, I attempt to provide an understanding of foreign policy decisions that examines the interplay of all the international, domestic and individual levels of analysis. Two parallel analyses take place: first, a historical analysis, showing how international threats/opportunities and domestic variables shape the strategic adjustments of the Greek Foreign Policy Executives (FPE); secondly, an intuitive analysis of the rationale behind the ‘Greek blocking’ based on the role of ‘permeable’ perceptions of Greeks on security, (negotiating) power and national interest

    Prospects for reform?: the Iranian elections: the women’s movement: an emerging power

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    Social identity and redistributive preferences: a survey

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    Social identity is increasingly accepted as a key concept underpin- ning the endogeneity of economic behaviour and preferences. This feature is especially important in explaining redistribution preferences as well as attitudes towards redistribution and pro-social behaviour. This paper carries out a review of the literature on the question and ex- amines how economic theory conceptualises and empirically measures social identity and its effects on preferences towards redistribution, so- cial solidarity and redistributive institutions. Findings indicate that social identity does carries a weight in explaining the presence of social preferences and attitudes towards redistributive institutions

    Book review: how much impact are protests across Europe really having on re-setting the political agenda?

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    2011 was a year of protests around the globe. In Europe and its wider neighbourhood, citizens took to the streets and squares to protest against austerity, inequality, and financial mismanagement and to call for greater accountability from political leaders. In Citizens’ Initiatives in Europe: Procedures and Consequences of Agenda-Setting by Citizens, Armine Ishkanian finds an informative and timely publication about how citizens across Europe attempt to influence agenda-setting and policy making processes. Citizens’ Initiatives in Europe: Procedures and Consequences of Agenda-Setting by Citizens. Maija Setälä and Theo Schiller (eds). Palgrave Macmillan. March 2012. 280 pages

    Identifying vulnerable children online and what strategies can help them

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    This new report from UKCCIS’s Evidence Group, Identifying vulnerable children online and what strategies can help them, reveals the latest findings from researchers, clinicians and child protection experts on what makes some children vulnerable on the internet

    Book review: the army and the crowd in mid-Georgian England. by Tony Hayter

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    CentrePiece Vol. 9 No. 3

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