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  • Author: Danielle Resnick
  • Publication Date: 10-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: When, why and how has foreign aid facilitated, or hindered, democracy in recipient countries? Focusing on sub-Saharan Africa, this policy brief examines the impact of foreign aid on supporting transitions from one-party to multi-party regimes, preventing democratic breakdown and the erosion of civil liberties, enhancing vertical and horizontal accountability, and enabling competitive political party systems. Particular attention is given to the trade-offs and complementarities between different types of foreign aid, namely democracy assistance and economic development aid. Select policy recommendations are offered to improve aid effectiveness at bolstering democratic trajectories within the region.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Democratization, Development, Economics, Human Rights, Political Economy, Foreign Aid
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Philip Verwimp, Wim Naudé, Tilman Brück
  • Publication Date: 04-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Although the impacts of violent conflict on investment, production, incomes and inequality have been widely studied on an aggregate level, comparatively less is known about the more diverse impacts of such conflict at the micro (particularly firm) level. Understanding such impacts can improve policies to mitigate the human and financial costs of violent conflict in developing countries. This policy brief discusses lessons from recent studies to address this gap.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Political Violence, Economics, International Trade and Finance, War
  • Author: Wim Naudé, Adam Szirmai, Micheline Goedhuys
  • Publication Date: 01-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Nobody can be left in any doubt as to the importance of innovation for prosperity upon reading that “people living in the first decade of the twentieth century did not know modern dental and medical equipment, penicillin, bypass operations, safe births, control of genetically transmitted diseases, personal computers, compact discs, television sets, automobiles, opportunities for fast and cheap worldwide travel, affordable universities, central heating, air conditioning . . . technological change has transformed the quality of our lives.”
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Globalization, Markets
  • Author: Luc Soete, Alexis Habiyaremye
  • Publication Date: 01-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Before the current global recession, many resource-rich African countries were recording unprecedented levels of growth due to a raw material price boom. However, the collapse in raw material prices and the ensuing severe economic difficulties have again exposed the vulnerability of these countries' natural resource export-focussed economic structures. In this research brief, we describe how Africa's abundance of natural resources attracted disruptive and predatory foreign forces that have hindered innovation-based growth and economic diversification by delaying the accumulation of sufficient stocks of human capital. We suggest that for their long-term prosperity, resource-rich African countries shift their strategic emphasis from natural to human resources and technological capabilities needed to transform those natural resources into valuable goods and services to compete in the global market.
  • Topic: Economics, Emerging Markets, Industrial Policy, Global Recession, Natural Resources, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Africa, China, India
  • Author: Wim Naudé
  • Publication Date: 04-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This policy brief provides some fresh perspectives on the relationship between entrepreneurship and development, and considers policy design issues. It reports on the UNU-WIDER two-year research project “Promoting Entrepreneurial Capacity”, which aimed to understand whether and how entrepreneurship matters for development, how it could derail development, how entrepreneurs function in high growth as well as in conflict environments, and how female entrepreneurship differs across countries at various stages of development.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Emerging Markets, Third World
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Iraq, Burundi
  • Author: Sandeep Kapur, Suma Athreye
  • Publication Date: 01-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: The last two decades have seen a significant rise in the internationalization of firms from developing economies. In addition to their growing participation in international trade, a number of leading emerging economies are contributing to growing outflows of foreign direct investment (FDI) and cross-border mergers and acquisitions. According to the 2008 World Investment Report, outward flows of FDI from developing countries rose from about US$6 billion between 1989 and 1991 to US$225 billion in 2007. As a percentage of total global outflows, the share of developing countries grew from 2.7% to nearly 13.0% during this period.
  • Topic: International Relations, Economics, Globalization, International Political Economy, Markets, Foreign Direct Investment, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: United States, China, India
  • Author: Wim Naudé
  • Publication Date: 08-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: T HE ECONOMIC DOWNTURN AND RECESSION, WHICH spread across the globe following the US sub-prime mortgage crisis in September 2008, has become the dominant news topic of the past year. One year into the crisis it has become clear that the paradigm for international development has changed irrevocably. With leadership, moral authority and the capacity of the West diminishing, developing countries' recovery and future growth will critically depend on their own initiatives and solutions.
  • Topic: Economics, Globalization, International Trade and Finance, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Wim Naudé, Marianne Matthee
  • Publication Date: 08-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: The success of Africa's exports, as well as its spatial development, depends on lowering transport costs. In this Policy Brief, we address a number of pertinent questions on transport costs in Africa, such as 'what are transport costs?', 'do transport costs matter for trade?', 'how important are transport costs in practice?', and 'why are Africa's transport costs so high?' We present a case study of the firm location decisions of exporters in South Africa to illustrate the significance in particular of domestic transport costs for manufactured exports. The message from this Policy Brief is that Africa's international transport costs are significantly higher than that of other regions, and its domestic transport costs could be just as significant. Moreover we show how domestic transport costs influence the location, the quantity, and the diversity of manufactured exports. Various policy options to reduce transport costs in Africa are discussed.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Ha-Joon Chang
  • Publication Date: 08-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: The volume Institutional Change and Economic Development fills some important gaps in our understanding of the relationship between institutional changes and economic development. It does so by developing new discourses on the 'technology of institution building' and by providing detailed case studies—historical and more recent— of institution building. It is argued that functional multiplicity, the importance of informal institutions, unintended consequences, and intended 'perversion' of institutions all imply that the orthodox recipe of importing 'best practice' formal institutions does not work. While denying the existence of universal formulas, the volume distills some general principles of institutions building from theoretical explorations and case studies.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, International Cooperation, International Trade and Finance
  • Author: Sergey Filippov, Iornara Costa, Mariana Zanatta
  • Publication Date: 10-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: The growing importance attached to attracting foreign direct investment (FDI) is evidenced by the steady rise of investment promotion agencies (IPAs) worldwide, especially from the early 1990s. Since its launch in 1995, the World Association of Investment Promotion Agencies (WAIPA) has registered a growing number of members representing cities, regions, countries and free zones from all over the world: from 112 in 2002, 161 in 2004, rising to 191 members from 149 countries in 2006. According to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) there were around 500 IPAs in more than 160 countries in 2004.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Development, Economics, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: United Nations
  • Author: Andrs Solimano
  • Publication Date: 08-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: The generation of new ideas and their application for productive uses is an important engine for growth and development. This is an area in which developing countries usually lag behind developed countries and is where development gaps are more evident. Behind the generation of ideas, innovations, and new technologies there is 'human talent': an inner capacity of individuals to develop ideas and objects, some of them with a high economic value. The 'human factor' is critical to the success or failure of many endeavours. Several countries, particularly China and India, followed by Russia, Poland, and some Latin American countries, are becoming an important source of talented people with PhDs and degrees in science, engineering, and other areas that can lead to change in the international patterns of comparative advantages and reduce development gaps. Part of the new talent formed in developing countries goes to live and work to developed countries, typically the USA, UK, and other OECD nations. At the same time multinational corporations are outsourcing several of their productive and service activities, including research and development, to developing countries (China and India are main destinations) to take advantage of the (less expensive) talent being developed there. Today, therefore, we see a double movement of talent and capital around the globe: on the one hand talent from developing countries is moving north seeking better opportunities where people are equipped with more capital, technologies, and effective organizations. On the hand capital from the north pursues talent in the south; a process largely led by multinational corporations.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Human Welfare, Migration
  • Political Geography: United States, China, United Kingdom, India
  • Author: Matthew Smith, Alan Roe, Tony Addison
  • Publication Date: 06-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: An effective state is able to mobilize revenue and spend it on infrastructure, services, and public goods that both enhance human capital and the well-being of communities (especially the poor), as well as stimulating investment and employment creation by the private sector. An effective state also manages public finance to ensure that macroeconomic balance is maintained—with policy neither too restrictive to discourage private investment and growth, nor too accommodative to create high inflation and crowd out private investment. Fiscal issues are therefore at the heart of the state's role in the development process and failure in this policy area—whether it is in taxation, public expenditures, or in managing the fiscal deficit and public debt—can quickly undermine growth and poverty reduction. Fiscal weakness can also be fatal to social peace when one or more ethnic, religious, or regional groups are taxed unfairly—or receives too little in the allocation of public spending.
  • Topic: Debt, Development, Economics, Poverty
  • Political Geography: Africa, Asia
  • Author: Philip Schmidt, Rishab Aiyer Ghosh
  • Publication Date: 03-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Free software (also called open source software or libre software) has become one of the most talked about phenomena in the ICT world in recent years. This is remarkable, not only for the usual reasons—that open source has been around for many years as a volunteer driven success story before being discovered by big business and now government— but also because it has largely developed quietly on its own without the headline coverage and glare of international attention that it now receives.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Science and Technology, Third World
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Anthony B. Atkinson
  • Publication Date: 09-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: In order to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), substantial additional external funding needs to be mobilized. Estimates differ, but a 'ballpark' figure is an annual increase of US$50 billion. This could be achieved by a doubling of official development assistance (ODA). Welcome steps have been made in that direction, but this takes time, and time is of the essence. For this reason alone, it is necessary to consider new sources.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, International Cooperation, United Nations
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Matthew Odedokun
  • Publication Date: 03-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: External development finance consists of those foreign sources of funds that promote or at least have the potential to promote development in the destination countries if delivered in the appropriate form. This rather broad definition qualifies all forms of external finance, and the quality and quantity of their inflows to developing countries are thus covered in the studies that form the background to this Policy Brief. These include official bilateral and multilateral, private commercial, and private noncommercial flows. A common characteristic is that all these types of flows are inadequate or becoming inadequate on the one hand and that their distribution is lopsided geographically and/or temporally, on the other.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, International Cooperation, United Nations
  • Author: Christina Boswell, Jeff Crisp
  • Publication Date: 02-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: In recent years, the issues of international migration and asylum have risen to the top of the international agenda. The pressures and opportunities linked to the process of globalization have led to an increase in the number of people moving from one country and continent to another. At the same time, insecurity and armed conflict in many of the world's poorest and economically marginalized states have triggered new waves of displaced people.
  • Topic: Economics, Migration, Poverty, United Nations
  • Author: Matthew Clarke
  • Publication Date: 12-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: The world economy has recently changed. A new world economy has emerged over the last decade as two long-run broad trends, globalization and advances in information and communication technology (ICT) have converged. This 'new economy' is significantly different to the 'old economy', as knowledge has replaced traditional productivity inputs, such as labour and natural resources, as the primary ingredient for economic growth. A new landscape exists and countries must adapt their approaches and policies for development to achieve progress in the future.
  • Topic: Economics, Globalization, International Political Economy, Science and Technology
  • Author: Tony Addison
  • Publication Date: 03-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: The period 1990-2000 saw 19 major armed-conflicts in Africa, ranging from civil wars to the 1998-2000 war between Eritrea and Ethiopia. Peace has been elusive, and the term 'post-conflict' is often a sad misnomer.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Economics, Poverty
  • Political Geography: Africa, Ethiopia, Eritrea
  • Author: Deepak Nayyar, Julius Court
  • Publication Date: 06-2002
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: It is now more than fifty years since the United Nations system and the Bretton Woods institutions were created. However, the world has changed dramatically during the second half of the twentieth century. The technological revolution in transport and communications has eroded the barriers of distance and time. National economies have become ever more closely integrated through cross-border flows of trade, investment and finance. In the political realm, communism has collapsed and capitalism has emerged triumphant. The context has obviously changed. But thinking about development is also very different. And there is now a myriad of new actors—from transnational firms to NGO—participating in the global economy and polity.
  • Topic: Economics, Globalization, Migration, United Nations
  • Author: Julius Court, Giovanni Andrea Cornia
  • Publication Date: 11-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Eradicating poverty has become the international community's number one development objective. The overriding target—endorsed at the recent United Nations Millennium Summit by virtually all world leaders—is to reduce the incidence of income-poverty in developing countries from 30 percent to 15 percent between 1990 and 2015. The problem is that that further progress has stalled and the number of people living in poverty has remained at around 1.2 billion people—a fifth of the world's population.
  • Topic: Economics, Globalization, International Cooperation, Poverty
  • Author: Alaine de Janvry, Elisabeth Sadoulet
  • Publication Date: 04-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Who should have access to land? What is the optimum definition of property rights and use rights in each particular context? Is government intervention justified to influence who has access to land and under what conditions? These questions remain, in most developing countries, highly contentious. It is indeed the case that land is all too often misallocated among potential users and worked under conditions of property or user rights that create perverse incentives. As a consequence, investments to enhance productivity are postponed, and responses to market incentives are weakened; many poor rural households are unable to gain sufficient (or any) access to land when this could be their best option out of poverty; land remains under-used and often idle side-by-side with unsatisfied demands for access to land; land is frequently abused by current users, jeopardizing sustainability; and violence over land rights and land use is all too frequent. With population growth and increasing market integration for the products of the land, these problems tend to become more acute rather than the reverse. As a result, rising pressures to correct these situations have led many countries to reopen the question of access to land and land policy reforms. While large scale expropriative and redistributive land reforms are generally no longer compatible with current political realities, there exist many alternative forms of property and use rights that offer policy instruments to alter the conditions of access to land and land use. A rich agenda of land policy interventions thus exists to alter who has access to land and under what conditions for the purposes of increasing efficiency, reducing poverty, enhancing sustainability, and achieving political stability.Historically, the most glamorous path of access to land has been through statemanaged coercive land reform. In most situations, however, this is not the dominant way land was accessed by current users and, in the future, this will increasingly be the case. Most of the land in use has been accessed through private transfers, community membership, direct appropriation, and market transactions. There are also new types of state-managed programmes of access to land that do not rely on coercion. For governments and development agents (NGOs, bi-lateral and international development agencies), the rapid decline in opportunities to access land through coercive land reform should thus not be seen as the end of the role of the state and development agents in promoting and altering access to land. The following paths of access to land in formal or informal, and in collective or individualized ownership can, in particular, be explored (Figure 1): (1) Intra-family transfers such as inheritances, inter-vivo transfers, and allocation of plots to specific family members; (2) access through community membership and informal land markets; (3) access through land sales markets; and (4) access through specific non-coercive policy interventions such colonization schemes, decollectivization and devolution, and land market-assisted land reform. Access to land in use can also be achieved through land rental markets (informal loans, land rental contracts) originating in any of these forms of land ownership. Each of these paths of access to land has, in turn, implications for the way land is used. Each can also be the object of policy interventions to alter these implications of land use. The focus of this policy brief is to explore each of these paths and analyse how to enhance their roles in helping increase efficiency, reduce poverty, increase equality, enhance sustainability, and achieve political stability.
  • Topic: Demographics, Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Jeni Klugman
  • Publication Date: 01-1999
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Complex humanitarian emergencies have caused widespread death and suffering over the last two decades. While recent tragedies in Bosnia, Rwanda and Angola have made the world more aware of the terrible human toll involved, the international community has yet to develop effective policy responses to stem such crises.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Development, Economics, Genocide, Human Rights, Migration, Politics
  • Political Geography: Bosnia, Rwanda, Angola