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  • Author: Guanghua Wan, Mahvash Saeed Qureshi
  • Publication Date: 02-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: By exploring the export performances and specialization patterns of China and India, we assess their trade competitiveness and complementarity vis-à-vis each other as well as with the rest of the world. Our analysis indicates that (i) India faces tough competition from China in the third markets especially in clothing, textile and leather products; (ii) there is a moderate potential for expanding trade between the two countries; (iii) China poses a challenge for the East Asian economies, the US, and most of the European countries especially in medium-technology industries; (iv) India appears to be a competitor mainly for its neighbouring South Asian countries; and (v) complementarity exists between the imports of China and India, and the exports of the US, some European states and East Asian countries, especially Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand, implying opportunities for trade expansion; and finally (vi) the export structure of China is changing with the exports of skill intensive and high-technology products increasing and those of labour-intensive products decreasing gradually. This suggests that challenges created by China in traditional labour-intensive products might reduce in the long run.
  • Topic: International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan, China, Europe, South Asia, Malaysia, India, Asia, Korea, Singapore, Thailand
  • Author: Daniel Waldenström, Jesper Roine, Henry Ohlsson
  • Publication Date: 09-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: The objective of this paper is to study the dynamics of the wealth distribution over the path of economic development. More specifically, we are interested in distinguishing between changes which seem to be country specific and characteristics shared by all countries. A historical account of the evolution of the wealth distribution in developed countries is interesting in itself, but it can also hold implications for countries that are currently in an early stage of development or in transition. The data used originates from the taxation of wealth and estates.
  • Topic: International Relations, Demographics, Economics
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: André Mach, Thomas David
  • Publication Date: 09-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This research paper discusses the role of institutions in the rapid growth and successful international integration of Switzerland during the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. In analysing the emergence and consolidation of the institutions whose existence was crucial, the paper looks both at the political institutions that managed conflicts and promoted cooperation between private and public actors and the economic institutions that, on the one hand, compensated the groups that fell behind in the developmental process (e.g., agricultural subsidies, high tolerance for domestic cartels, tariffs for some industries, institutions for labour representation) and, on the other hand, enhanced productivity. In addition, the absence of some institutions such as a patent law and an independent central bank was also crucial in the Swiss case, even though these two institutions are regarded as pre-requisites of development by today's economic orthodoxy. The paper concludes by drawing lessons for today's developing countries.
  • Topic: International Relations, Development, Economics
  • Political Geography: Europe, Switzerland
  • Author: Benjamin Davis, Kathleen Beegle, Gero Caretto, Mauro Migotto
  • Publication Date: 08-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Food security is a complex and multi-dimensional phenomenon. As such, its measurement may entail and benefit from the combination of both 'qualitative-subjective' and 'quantitative-objective' indicators. Yet, the evidence on the external validity of subjective-type information is scarce, especially using representative household surveys. The aim of this paper is to compare information on self-perceived food consumption adequacy from the subjective modules of household surveys with standard quantitative indicators, namely calorie consumption, dietary diversity and anthropometry. Datasets from four countries are analysed: Albania, Indonesia, Madagascar and Nepal. Simple descriptive statistics, correlation coefficients, contingency tables and multivariate regression show that the 'subjective' indicator is at best poorly correlated with standard quantitative indicators. The paper concludes that while subjective food adequacy indicators may provide insight on the vulnerability dimension of food insecurity, they are too blunt an indicator for food insecurity targeting. An effort towards developing improved subjective food security modules that are contextually sensitive should go hand in hand with research into how to improve household survey data for food security measurement along other dimensions of the phenomenon, particularly calorie consumption.
  • Topic: Human Welfare
  • Political Geography: Africa, Europe, Indonesia, Asia, Nepal, Albania, Madagascar
  • Author: Patrick Karl O'Brien
  • Publication Date: 07-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: New institutional economics lacks a theory of state formation which could help us to deal with the mega question of why some states became more efficient than others at establishing and and sustaining institutions. Some kind of middle range theory could be formulated based upon historical case studies. This paper considers the case of Britain and as its title suggests degrades the myth of the United Kingdom as the paradigmn example of liberalism and laisser faire. In making its precocious transition to and industrial market economy the kingom's history is best represented as a case of successful mercantilism.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Sovereignty
  • Political Geography: Britain, United Kingdom, Europe
  • Author: Margaret Vidar
  • Publication Date: 06-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This paper considers to what extent the human right to food has been recognized by countries in the world, by analysing international obligations and constitutional provisions, bearing in mind that the right to food may be either explicitly or implicitly protected at the constitutional level. It considers constitutional examples from Switzerland, South Africa and India.
  • Topic: Human Rights
  • Political Geography: Africa, Europe, India, Asia, South Africa, Switzerland
  • Author: Gerald Epstein
  • Publication Date: 05-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: In the last two decades, there has been a global sea change in the theory and practice of central banking. The currently dominant 'best practice' approach to central banking consists of the following: (1) central bank independence (2) a focus on inflation fighting (including adopting formal 'inflation targeting') and (3) the use of indirect methods of monetary policy (that is, short-term interest rates as opposed to direct methods such as credit ceilings). This paper argues that this neo-liberal approach to central banking is highly idiosyncratic in that, as a package, it is dramatically different from the historically dominant theory and practice of central banking, not only in the developing world, but, notably, in the now developed countries themselves. Throughout the early and recent history of central banking in the US, England, Europe, and elsewhere, financing governments, managing exchange rates, and supporting economic sectors by using 'direct methods' of intervention have been among the most important tasks of central banking and, indeed, in many cases, were among the reasons for their existence. The neo-liberal central bank policy package, then, is drastically out of step with the history and dominant practice of central banking throughout most of its history.
  • Topic: Development, Economics
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, England
  • Author: Stephen Klasen, Kenneth Harttgen, Melanie Grosse
  • Publication Date: 04-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: In order to track progress in MDG1 and explicitly link growth, inequality, and poverty reduction, several measures of 'pro-poor growth' have been proposed in the literature and used in applied academic and policy work. These measures, particularly the ones derived from the growth incidence curve, allow a much more detailed assessment of the distributional impact of growth and its link to poverty reduction. However, there are no corresponding measures for tracking the distribution of progress in non-income dimensions of poverty, and thus the distribution of progress towards MDGs 2-7. In this paper, we propose to extend the pro-poor growth measurement to non-income dimensions of poverty (particularly health and education). We empirically illustrate the approach for Bolivia and show that it allows a much more detailed assessment of progress towards MDGs 2-7 by focusing on the distribution of progress. Furthermore, this extension also allows an explicit assessment of the linkage between progress in MDG1 and MDGs 2-7 as well as extends traditional incidence analysis by quantifying outcomes in non-income dimensions of poverty along the income distribution.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Poverty
  • Political Geography: Europe, Bolivia
  • Author: Frances Stewart
  • Publication Date: 04-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Karl Polanyi wrote The Great Transformation in 1944 which analysed the double movement Europe experienced, from a situation where the market was heavily regulated and controlled in the eighteenth century to a virtually unregulated market in the nineteenth century, and the huge transformation in which the market was once more brought under control as a reaction to the poverty, unemployment and insecurity brought about by the unregulated market. Yet in both developed and developing countries there has since been a reaction with a new move towards the market. This paper analyses such processes in contemporary developing countries, and considers whether, in the light of the consequences of the unregulated market, a new Great Transformation is needed. It also considers whether such a transformation is likely, reviewing moves towards increased regulation of the market, and also the challenges faced by any contemporary great transformation arising from globalization and the nature of politics.
  • Topic: Development, Markets, Poverty
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Eric M. Uslaner
  • Publication Date: 04-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Economic inequality provides a fertile breeding ground for corruption and, in turn, leads to further inequalities. Most corruption models focus on the institutional determinants of government dishonesty. However, such accounts are problematic. Corruption is remarkably sticky over time. There is a very powerful correlation between crossnational measures corruption in 1980 and in 2004. In contrast, measures of democracy such as the Freedom House scores are not so strongly correlated over time, and changes in corruption are unrelated to changes in institutional design. On the other hand, inequality and trust-like corruption are also sticky over time. The connection between inequality and the quality of government is not necessarily so simple. The aggregate relationships between inequality and corruption are not strong. The path from inequality to corruption may be indirect, through generalized trust, but the connection is key to understanding why some societies are more corrupt than others. This study estimates a simultaneous equation model of trust, corruption, perceptions of inequality, confidence in government, and demands for redistribution in Romania, and shows that perceptions of rising inequality and corruption lead to lower levels of trust and demands for redistribution.
  • Topic: Corruption, Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Giovanni Andrea Cornia, Leonardo Menchini
  • Publication Date: 02-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This paper juxtaposes changes over the last forty years in income growth and distribution with the mortality changes recorded at the aggregate level in about 170 countries and at the individual level in 26 countries with at least two demographic and health surveys covering the last twenty years. Over the 1980s and 1990s, the infant mortality rate, under-5 mortality rate, and life expectancy at birth mostly continued the favourable trends that characterized the 1960s and 1970s. Yet, especially in the 1990s, the pace of health improvement was slower than that recorded during the prior decades. In addition, the distribution between countries of aggregate health improvements became markedly more skewed. These trends are in part explained by the negative changes recorded in sub-Saharan Africa and Eastern Europe, but are robust to the removal of the two regions from the sample. This tendency is observed also at the intraregional level, with the exception of Western Europe. Thirdly, demographic and health survey data for 26 developing countries point to a frequent divergence over time in the within-country distribution of gains in the infant mortality and under-5 mortality rates among children living in urban versus rural areas and belonging to families part of different quantiles of the asset distribution. The paper concludes by underscoring the similarities and linkages between changes in income inequality and health inequality and suggests some tentative explanations of these trends without, however, formally testing them.
  • Topic: Development, Health, Human Welfare
  • Political Geography: Europe, Eastern Europe
  • Author: Fabrizio Carmignani, Abdur Chowdhury
  • Publication Date: 12-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: We study whether financial openness facilitates the economic integration of formerly centrally planned economies with the EU- 15. Two dimensions of economic integration are considered: cross-country convergence of per-capita incomes and bilateral trade in goods and services. We find that more financially open economies effectively catch-up faster and trade more with the EU-15. These integration-enhancing effects occur over and above any effect stemming from domestic financial deepening and other factors determining growth and trade.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Iftekhar Hasan, Leonardo Becchetti
  • Publication Date: 12-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: We analyse two potential effects arising from regional (and with EU) integration—increased quality of institutions (including the quality of financial institutions) and, economic policies and reduced multilateral exchange rate volatility— in a conditional convergence growth framework for MENA countries. To this purpose we outline an ad hoc methodology which implements the traditional bilateral exchange rate measures to test effects of multilateral exchange rate volatility on growth of per capita GDP. Our estimates show that both factors (quality of institutions and reduction of multilateral volatility) significantly and positively affect growth and conditional convergence. We observe that MENA countries are not far from EU and OECD countries in terms of exchange rate volatility, but much below in terms of institutional quality. We finally simulate the potential effects of an improvement in institutional quality in MENA countries on their process of growth and conditional convergence. We conclude arguing that regional integration may be highly beneficial for such countries, mainly because of its effects on institutional quality.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Regional Cooperation
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Jennifer Widner
  • Publication Date: 08-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Over 1975-2003 nearly 200 new constitutions were drawn up in countries at risk of conflict, as part of peace processes and the adoption of multiparty political systems. The process of writing constitutions is considered to be very important to the chances of sustaining peace, and The Commonwealth and the US Institute for Peace have developed good practice guidelines in this area. These emphasize consultation, openness to diverse points of view and representative ratification procedures. But assessing the impact of constitution-writing processes on violence is methodologically difficult, since there are many channels of influence in the relationship. This paper reports on preliminary findings from an ongoing research project into the effects of processes in constitution-writing. Regression analysis is used to control for important contextual features such as differences in income levels and ethnic diversity across countries. A key finding is that differences in the degree of participation in the drafting of constitutions has no major effect on post-ratification levels of violence in some parts of the world, such as Europe, but does make a difference in Africa, the Americas, and the Pacific together.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Relations, Peace Studies, Politics
  • Political Geography: Africa, United States, America, Europe
  • Author: Oleksiy Ivaschenko
  • Publication Date: 06-2004
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This paper examines the impact of changes in poverty and public health spending on inter-temporal variations in longevity using a unique regional-level dataset that covers 77 regions of Russia over the period 1994-2000. The dynamic panel data model is used as a tool for the empirical analysis. The model is estimated using the Arellano-Bond dynamic panel data estimator. The changes in regional levels of poverty and real per capita public health expenditure are identified to be significant determinants of the variations observed in longevity over time. The empirical results indicate that while male life expectancy responds more strongly than female life expectancy to economic circumstances, the latter appears to be more predisposed to the influence of public health spending. The results support the idea that the (positive) effect of public health spending on life expectancy is larger for those regions that experience higher incidences of poverty. The paper also finds that the financial crisis which hit Russia at the end of 1998 had a significant negative effect on longevity independently of the factors directly related to poverty and public health spending.
  • Topic: Human Welfare, Political Economy, Poverty
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Asia
  • Author: George Mavrotas
  • Publication Date: 12-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: The paper discusses the International Finance Facility (IFF), a joint HM Treasury-DFID proposal to increase development aid substantially for the Millennium Development Goals to be achieved by 2015. The main conclusion of the paper is that the proposed IFF is a promising, forward-looking and creative proposal for it implies a substantial increase in fresh, predictable and stable aid as well as a robust financial structure. However, there are a number of concerns about potential shortcomings of the proposal, namely its underlying assumptions about continuous commitment on behalf of the donor community towards the implementation of the IFF during the life of the Facility and most importantly its heavy reliance on political coordination among donor countries participating in the proposed scheme. Potential absorptive capacity constraints in IFF aid-recipient countries may be also relevant. Achieving its huge political task as well as alleviating the crucial constraints regarding its successful implementation seem to be the main challenges this innovative proposal needs to deal with in the near future.
  • Topic: Development, International Cooperation, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: United Kingdom, Europe
  • Author: Anthony Shorrocks, Stanislav Kolenikov
  • Publication Date: 10-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This paper applies a new decomposition technique to the study of variations in poverty across the regions of Russia. The procedure, which is based on the Shapley value in cooperative game theory, allows the deviation in regional poverty levels from the all- Russia average to be attributed to three proximate sources; mean income per capita, inequality, and local prices. Contrary to expectation, regional poverty variations turn out to be due more to differences in inequality across regions than to differences in real income per capita. However, when real income per capita is split into nominal income and price components, differences in nominal incomes emerge as more important than either inequality or price effects for the majority of regions.
  • Topic: Economics, Poverty
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Asia
  • Author: Raimo Väyrynen
  • Publication Date: 10-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: It is important to make a careful distinction between illegal immigration, human smuggling, and human trafficking which are nested, but yet different concepts. This distinction is relevant because these different categories of the illegal movement of people across borders have quite different legal and political consequences. Human smuggling and trafficking have become a world-wide industry that 'employs' every year millions of people and leads to the annual turnover of billions of dollars. Many of the routes and enclaves used by the smugglers have become institutionalized; for instance, from Mexico and Central America to the United States, from West Asia through Greece and Turkey to Western Europe, and within East and Southeast Asia. More often than not flourishing smuggling routes are made possible by weak legislation, lax border controls, corrupted police officers, and the power of the organized crime. Naturally, poverty and warfare contribute to the rising tide of migration, both legal and illegal.
  • Topic: Environment, Human Welfare
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Turkey, East Asia, Greece, Asia, Latin America, Central America, North America, Mexico, Southeast Asia, Western Europe, West Asia
  • Author: Matthew J. Gibney, Randall Hansen
  • Publication Date: 09-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This article examines the policy responses of Western countries in the realm of asylum. We begin by explaining the reasons why the asylum issue has made its way up the political agendas of liberal democratic countries in recent years. While applications for asylum have risen in the last two decades, we also highlight the way rights-based constraints and financial costs have contributed to controversy around the issue. We then examine in detail the major policy responses of states to asylum, grouping them into four main categories: measures aiming to prevent access to state territory, measures to deter arrivals, measures to limit stay, and measures to manage arrival. Moving then to explore the efficacy of these measures, we consider the utility of policy making from the viewpoints of states, asylum seekers and refugees, and international society. The article concludes with the presentation of four new directions in which policies could move in order better to square the professed interests of Western states with the needs of refugees for protection.
  • Topic: Human Rights, Migration
  • Political Geography: Europe, North America
  • Author: Ruslan Yemtsov
  • Publication Date: 09-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This paper analyses regional data on inequality and poverty in Russia during 1994-2000 using published series from the regionally representative Household Budget Survey. The paper finds that the share of inequality in Russia coming from the between-regions component is large (close to a third of the total inequality), growing, and accounts for most of the increase in national inequality over 1994-2000. The paper demonstrates an absence of interregional convergence in incomes across Russian regions using various techniques. On the other hand, the paper finds evidence of convergence in inequality within regions, trended towards an internationally high level. Based on these two findings, the paper projects dynamics of inequality and poverty in Russia over a ten-year time horizon. The projections show that if the observed trend continues, by 2010 the absolute majority of Russia's poor will be concentrated in a few permanently impoverished regions, while relatively more affluent regions will become virtually free of poverty. Finally, the paper relates fluctuations in inequality within regions to a set of factors classified into four broad categories: endowments and initial conditions, preferences, policies, and shocks. Among these factors short-run fluctuations of the unemployment rate are revealed as significant and strong signals of inequality.
  • Topic: Demographics, Economics, Poverty
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Asia
  • Author: Michael Förster, David Jesuit, Timothy Smeeding
  • Publication Date: 09-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This paper reports levels of income inequality and poverty in four Central and Eastern European countries: the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Russia. Unlike many previous researchers who examine transition economies, we aggregate the detailed individual-level income surveys made available through the efforts of the Luxembourg Income Study at the regional level of analysis. Although national-level investigations have contributed much to our understanding of the income distribution dynamics, these studies mask intracountry variance in levels of income inequality and thus may not capture the true distribution of household income and accurately reflect individual wellbeing. Accordingly, we compute summary measures of inequality and relative poverty rates, using both local and national relative poverty lines, for the most recent waves of data available. We offer comparisons between regional and national median incomes and assess levels of inter- and intraregional income inequality. In addition, we make comparisons to regions within Western European countries and find that, contrary to what is often asserted, interregional disparities in Central and Eastern Europe countries are not as large as those found in some Western European countries.
  • Topic: Development, Poverty
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Eastern Europe, Poland, Hungary, Czech Republic, Luxembourg
  • Author: Catherine Phuong
  • Publication Date: 08-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: We examine the ways in which candidate countries which are to join the EU in 2004 are responding to increasing asylum migration from the East and assess the impact of accession on their asylum and immigration laws and policies. It will be argued that recent changes in asylum and immigration laws in candidate countries have been largely affected by current EU efforts to devise a common immigration policy and a possible common asylum system. Instead of devising their own response to asylum migration, candidate countries are merely aligning their asylum policies with EU practice and expectations.
  • Topic: Migration
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Alan Heston, Bettina Aten
  • Publication Date: 08-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Accurate regional estimates of output are desired as an indicator of level of development and as a variable used to explain internal migration, demand patterns, fertility and other aspects of behaviour. This chapter explores one often neglected aspect of regional income differences, namely that due to price differences or regional purchasing power parities. When nominal regional income measures are adjusted for these price level differences they are termed real regional incomes. The preferred method of estimating regional purchasing power parities by detailed price comparisons is discussed for Brazil, the United States and the European Union. The empirical thrust of the chapter is an investigation of different methods for estimating regional real incomes based on PPP data for 167 countries and nominal regional incomes and other data for about 870 administrative areas at the subnational level. Even in their present form we believe the real income estimates provided for the geographical units present opportunities for understanding the world economic structure.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Brazil
  • Author: Lucian Cernat, Sam Laird, Luca Monge-Roffarello, Alessandro Turrini
  • Publication Date: 06-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Using a computable general equilibrium simulation model and partial equilibrium simulations, based on the SMART model, the paper attempts to assess the aggregate worldwide distribution of gains and losses of the EU's Everything But Arms (EBA) initiative for both LDCs and third developing countries under different scenarios.
  • Topic: Development, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Philip Martin
  • Publication Date: 04-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This paper explains the evolution and effects of Mexico-US migration, and highlights the NAFTA approach to economic integration, viz., free up trade and investment while stepping up efforts to prevent unauthorized migration. The European Union approach is different: provide aid first, and later free up trade and migration in the expectation that moves toward convergence will ensure minimal migration because trade has become a substitute for migration. The paper concludes that NAFTA will reduce unwanted Mexico-US migration in the medium to long term, and that different initial conditions in Europe mean that there will be relatively little east-west migration when nationals of new entrant EU members achieve freedom of movement.
  • Topic: Economics, Migration
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Mexico
  • Author: Andrés Solimano
  • Publication Date: 04-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: At the turn of the twentieth century, a large number of Europeans, mostly from Italy and Spain, left their homelands and headed to the distant shores of Argentina in response to the good economic opportunities, fertile land and hopes for a better future that were to be found there. At the time, Argentina was one of the most vibrant world economies. Between 1870 and 1930, around seven million people migrated from Europe to Argentina, although nearly three million returned at some different point during those years. Also foreign capital responded to the opportunities offered by Argentina, and British financial institutions funded an important part of the construction of national infrastructure needed to support growth. In contrast, European migration to Argentina virtually stopped in the 1950s, and in the next 30 years or so the country become a net exporter of professionals who were fleeing economic decline, poor opportunities and authoritarian regimes. Moreover, during this period, financial capital steadily left Argentina looking for safer places. Nowadays, and in contrary to the flow of people a century ago, Argentineans are leaving in large numbers to Spain, Italy and other destinations. Emigration this time is associated with the collapse of the country's currency experiment of the 1990s which left a legacy of massive output decline, high unemployment, financial crisis and lost hopes.
  • Topic: Development, Emerging Markets, International Political Economy, Migration, Poverty
  • Political Geography: Europe, Argentina, Spain, Italy
  • Author: Svetlana Glinkina, Dorothy Rosenberg
  • Publication Date: 02-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: We argue that the conflicts in the Caucasus are the result of the abrogation by the elite of the earlier, Soviet era, social contract. This process was accompanied by the collapse of the formal economy; evidenced by huge national income compression, falling public goods provision, and growing inequality and poverty. In the absence of state provision of basic amenities and governance, ordinary people are compelled to fall back on kinship ties. Declining standards of governance facilitate state-sponsored corruption and criminality in a setting where the shadow economic activity is increasingly important to individual survival strategies. Oil pipelines and the right to control the transit of goods both legal and illegal also underlie conflict in the region. Criminality has replaced ethnicity as the major motivation for conflict and conflict per se has become a lucrative source of income.
  • Topic: Economics, Ethnic Conflict, Poverty
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Asia, Soviet Union
  • Author: Elisabetta Bertero, Laura Rondi
  • Publication Date: 03-2002
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This study examines the effect of the hardening of the budget constraint on the investment behaviour of Italian state owned enterprises (SOEs). It carries out a natural experiment that exploits the 1987 shift of budget regimes due to the pressure of European Union economic policies on the Italian government.Drawing from the theory of capital market imperfections, we apply the empirical framework for the analysis of investment-cash flow sensitivity to a panel of state-owned manufacturing firms during the period 1977-93. We parallel state firms to Anglo-Saxon public corporations which, under separation of ownership and control, are afflicted by agency problems, managerial discretion, misallocation of free cash-flow and overinvestment. We argue that, under a soft budget constraint, state firms' managerial discretion and, in particular, collusion between managers and vote-seeking politicians, lead to wasteful investment.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Europe, Italy
  • Author: Elisabetta Bertero, Laura Rondi
  • Publication Date: 01-2002
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This paper contributes to the literature on the role of decentralization in hardening the budget constraint of public enterprises. Following Qian and Roland the study adopts a 'federalist' approach. However, it interprets federalism as the upward devolution of domestic economic policies to a supranational authority and examines its role in disciplining public enterprises operating in a soft budget regime. The methodology is a case study of the shift in budget regime in Italy in the late 1980s. The study shows that a determinant role in driving this shift was played by European economic policies. The discipline imposed by participation in the EMS, the Single Market Programme and, later, the requirements to enter the EMU pushed the Italian government toward a much tougher approach to its budget deficit.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Harry Flam, Per Jansson
  • Publication Date: 04-2000
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: The partial effect of nominal exchange rate volatility on exports from each EMU member to the rest of the EMU is estimated on annual data for 1967-97, using modern time-series methods. The long-run relations between exchange rate volatility and exports are mostly negative and in several cases insignificantly different from zero. Thus, these estimates do not provide much support for the hypothesis that the elimination of nominal exchange rate volatility will significantly increase trade within the EMU. However, the EMU will presumably lead to geographical concentration of production and therefore indirectly to increased trade within the EMU and, during a transitional stage, to increased foreign direct investment, both within the EMU and between the EMU and the rest of the world.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, International Political Economy, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: David Begg
  • Publication Date: 04-2000
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: An interesting theory of transition must give a convincing account of structural adjustment and supply side improvement. In this paper, I discuss the incentives for government to undertake costly supply side improvement and how these relate to incentives governing the design of monetary and fiscal policy during transition. The government cares about deviations of inflation, output and government spending from their ideal levels, is subject to a budget constraint in which inflation yields some real revenue, and recognizes the distortionary effects of excess levels of taxation. Costly structural adjustment enhances future output by reducing supply side distortions.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, International Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Benjamin J. Cohen
  • Publication Date: 03-2000
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: The purpose of this paper is to explore economic and political implications of Europe's Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) for developing countries. In strictly economics terms, influences will be communicated through both trade and financial channels. Economies in the developing world will be affected by changes in European growth rates as well as by EMU's impact on transaction costs and enterprise competitiveness within Europe; they will also be impacted by changes in the structure and efficiency of Europe's capital markets. Modifications may be anticipated in borrowing and investment practices at the private level as well as in reserve and debt-management policies at the official level. In political terms, developing countries will be most directly influences by the anticipated rivalry between Europe's new single currency, the euro, and the dollar, which will compel developing countries to reconsider their own national currency strategies. Three conclusions stand out. First, except for selected groups of countries with particularly close ties to the EU, most economic linkages appear marginal at best. It is much easier to enumerate possible channels of transmission than to find many that appear quantitatively significant. Second, among economic effects of EMU, financial channels seem to matter more than trade channels. And third, across the full range of possible linkages, the most lasting influences for developing countries may well turn out, notably, to be political rather than either trade or financial. Significant changes are likely in exchange-rates regimes in many parts of the developing world.
  • Topic: Emerging Markets, Government, International Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Patrick Honohan, Philip R. Lane
  • Publication Date: 03-2000
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: We analyse the prospects for greater monetary integration in Africa, in the wake of EMU. We argue that the structural characteristics of African economies are quite different to the EMU members but that much can be gained from monetary cooperation, as an external agency of restraint and in promoting stability in the financial sector. EMU has only a marginal impact on the net benefits of monetary cooperation but the euro would be a natural anchor for any African monetary unions. Indeed, the most likely route to new monetary cooperation in Africa is via a common peg to the euro.
  • Topic: Emerging Markets, International Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Africa, Europe
  • Author: Thorvaldur Gylfason
  • Publication Date: 10-1999
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: The paper begins by offering a quick glance of the Nordic economies and of some aspects of their economic growth performance and natural resource dependence since 1970. Thereafter, it reviews some of the main symptoms of the Dutch disease, and then considers whether these symptoms are observable in some of the Nordic countries in view of their abundant natural resources. The experience of Iceland and its fish seems an obvious point of departure. The paper then discusses the less obvious case of Norway and its oil (and fish!) and, at last, also reviews some possible linkages between forest resources and economic growth in Finland.
  • Topic: Economics, Environment, Government
  • Political Geography: Europe, Finland, Norway, Dutch
  • Author: Tito Bianchi
  • Publication Date: 10-1999
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: The development literature considers associations an important economic development tool that allows producers to pursue their economic welfare collectively and through participatory means. This paper comparatively analyses the experience of three associations of agricultural producers in the underdeveloped regions of Brazil and Italy that were successful in this economic development task. Their experience, however, challenges a commonly held view about the participatory nature of associations.
  • Topic: Development, Economics
  • Political Geography: Europe, Brazil, South America, Latin America
  • Author: Manfred J. Holler
  • Publication Date: 08-1999
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This paper discusses the theoretical concepts underlying recent developments in the regulation of telecommunications in Europe, the USA and developing countries with respect to efficiency and welfare. It focuses on analysing standardization problems, pricing rules and entry condition related to networks and network effects and derives preliminary policy recommendations for the telecommunications industry through a discussion of network models and related empirical evidence.
  • Topic: Emerging Markets, International Political Economy, Science and Technology
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe
  • Author: Abdur Chowdhury
  • Publication Date: 02-1999
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: What started in the summer of 1997 as a regional economic and financial crisis in East and Southeast Asia had developed into a global financial crisis within the span of a year. This crisis followed the crisis in the European Monetary System in 1992–3 and the Mexican peso crisis in 1994–5. However, unlike the previous two crises, the scale and depth of the Asian crisis surprised everyone. One obvious reason for this is East and Southeast Asia's track record of economic success. Since the 1960s, no other group of countries in the world has produced more rapid economic growth or such a dramatic reduction in poverty. Given so many years of sustained economic performance the obvious question is: how could events in Asia unfold as they did?
  • Topic: Economics, International Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Europe, Asia, Southeast Asia
  • Author: Francis Kramarz
  • Publication Date: 10-1998
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: The rapid diffusion of computers has widely changed the consequences of computer use on the labour market. While at the beginning of the eighties knowledge of computers was an obvious advantage in a career, this same knowledge is now so commonplace that the inability to use these tools is widely seen in many industries as a professional handicap. In relation to such drastic transformations, changes in the North American wage structure during the eighties in favour of the better educated have been interpreted by many analysts as evidence of skill-biased technical change. Evidence outside the US, and in particular in Europe, seems to support the idea that similar transformations affected most other labour markets.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, Science and Technology
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe