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  • Author: Claudia Tazreiter
  • Publication Date: 02-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: During the last decade measures of overt and covert surveillance, information sharing and deterrence of the illegal movement of people has increased within and between states. Border security has come to dominate international relations, and increasingly to deflect the needs of asylum-seekers who search for a state that will offer them substantive protection under the Refugee Convention. Measures of internal and external deterrence diminish the reality of protection to genuine refugees as some of the most vulnerable individuals in the world today. Australia, as a country of relative geographic isolation, has not experienced the large-scale influxes of asylum-seekers seen in many parts of the world. Notwithstanding this, the Australian Government has in recent years implemented harsh policy and administrative measures directed at asylum-seekers with a substantial measure of public support. In August 2001, an incident involving 433 asylum-seekers was branded in popular discourse an 'asylum crisis'. This incident involved a Norwegian freighter, the Tampa, which picked up survivors from a sinking boat who were making their way to Australian waters in order seek protection under the Refugee Convention. The Tampa was repelled by Australian security forces from disembarking the people they had picked up in distress on Australian soil. In this article, I explore the Tampa incident against the backdrop of refugee policy development from 1999. I argue that rather than responding to a crisis, the Australian government has generated the perception of a crisis in the Australian community. Implications of the Australian response to asylum-seekers are significant not only in the Asia/Pacific region, but further afield, as policy responses toward asylum-seekers by receiving states have converged in the recent past.
  • Topic: International Relations, Government, Human Welfare, Migration
  • Political Geography: Australia/Pacific
  • 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: Robbie Mochrie
  • Publication Date: 02-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Differences in economic and theological approaches to debt cancellation result from differences in disciplinary assumptions in respect of purpose, method, and argument. We argue that they provide alternative commentaries upon the need for debt cancellation, but that it is not possible to demonstrate the superiority of one over the other, so practitioners in one are likely to continue to find it difficult to respond meaningfully to arguments from the other.
  • Topic: Debt, Economics, Non-Governmental Organization, Religion
  • Author: George Mavrotas, Bazoumana Ouattara
  • Publication Date: 02-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: The present paper examines the impact of different aid types, namely project aid, programme aid, technical assistance and food aid on the fiscal sector of the aid-recipient economy by using time-series data for Côte d'Ivoire over the period 1975–99. Empirical results obtained by estimating correctly the solution of the theoretical model show that when a single value (or aggregated) for aid is used, foreign aid is fully consumed in the case of Côte d'Ivoire. However, results obtained under the assumption of aid heterogeneity clearly suggest that the government responds differently according to the nature of the aid inflows. Our approach sheds plenty of light on how the aid-recipient government reacts to different categories of foreign aid inflows and the empirical findings clearly demonstrate the importance of the aid disaggregation approach for delving deeper into aid effectiveness issues.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Emerging Markets, Non-Governmental Organization
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: George Mavrotas, Roger Kelly
  • Publication Date: 02-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This paper documents the financial and institutional developments of China during the past two decades, when China was successfully transformed from a rigid centralplanning economy to a dynamic market economy following its unique path. We empirically examine the relationship between financial development and economic growth in China by employing a panel sample covering 31 Chinese provinces during the important transition period 1986-2002. Our evidence suggests that the development of financial markets, institutions, and instruments have been robustly associated with economic growth in China.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Emerging Markets, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: South Asia
  • Author: George Mavrotas, Samuel Manzele Maimbo
  • Publication Date: 02-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: The paper explores the relationship between financial sector reforms and savings mobilization in Zambia. Although there exists an extensive literature on financial sector development and savings levels in developing countries, there does not seem to exist satisfactory work on the above nexus for sub-Saharan African countries, particularly Zambia. Along these lines, the paper examines the linkages between the financial reforms of the early 1990s and savings mobilization. It considers the characteristics of banks and non-bank financial institutions, especially micro finance institutions, and savings levels and identifies problems associated with the relatively poor performance of savings in recent years and concludes with a set of policy guidelines for strengthening savings mobilization, highlighting the expected effect on povertyreducing growth.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Emerging Markets, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Africa, Nordic Nations
  • Author: George Mavrotas, Roger Kelly
  • Publication Date: 02-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: The paper uses different measures of financial sector development for a dynamic heterogeneous panel of 17 African countries to examine the impact of financial sector development on private savings. An innovative econometric methodology is also employed related to a series of cointegration tests within a panel. This is an important contribution since traditional panel data analysis adopted in previous studies suffers from serious heterogeneity bias problems. The empirical results obtained vary considerably among countries in the panel, thus highlighting the importance of using different measures of financial sector development rather than a single indicator. The evidence is rather inconclusive, although in most of the countries in the sample a positive relationship between financial sector development and private savings seems to hold. The empirical analysis also suggests that a change in government savings is offset by an opposite change in private savings in most of the countries in the panel, thus confirming the Ricardian equivalence hypothesis. Liquidity constraints do not seem to play a vital role in most of the African countries in the group, since the relevant coefficient is negative and significant in only a small group of countries
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Emerging Markets, Poverty
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: George Mavrotas, Bazoumana Ouattara
  • Publication Date: 02-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Building on recent work in the fiscal response literature, the present paper develops a new fiscal response model, which, for the first time in the relevant literature, combines the ideas of both endogenous and disaggregated aid. We endogenized aid on the grounds that the recipient government has some influence over aid disbursements. Regarding aid disaggregation, it is argued that each of the main four categories of aid, namely project aid, programme aid, technical assistance and food aid may exert different effects on the recipient economy. Furthermore, in case the preferences of the aid-recipient government are higher for some of these types of aid, neglecting aid disaggregation would lead to aggregation bias in the results and conclusions. The model adds an important new dimension to the vast aid effectiveness literature and calls for further modelling as well as empirical work in this promising research area so that significant policy implications can be derived.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Emerging Markets, Non-Governmental Organization, Poverty
  • Author: Timothy Shaw
  • Publication Date: 02-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Contemporary Africa reveals a range of causes, consequences and responses to conflicts which are increasingly interrelated as well as regional in character, as around the Great Lakes/Horn. Their economic and non-state features are undeniable, leading to some promising possibilities in terms of 'track-two' diplomacy both on and off the continent, such as the 'Kimberley Process' around 'blood' diamonds. Development corridors and trans-frontier peace-parks may also constitute innovative ways to moderate and contain conflict. As often, changeable African cases challenge established assumptions, analyses and policies, such as those around civil society, governance, regional and security studies.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Development, Peace Studies, Regional Cooperation
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Stefan Dercon, Pramila Krishnan
  • Publication Date: 01-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Households in developing countries use a variety of informal mechanisms to cope with risk, including mutual support and risk-sharing. These mechanisms cannot avoid that they remain vulnerable to shocks. Public programs in the form of food aid distribution and food-for-work programs are meant to protect vulnerable households from consumption and nutrition downturns by providing a safety net. In this paper we look into the extent to which food aid helps to smooth consumption by reducing the impact of negative shocks, taking into account informal risk-sharing arrangements. Using panel data from Ethiopia, we find that despite relatively poor targeting of the food aid, the programs contribute to better consumption outcomes, largely via intra-village risk sharing.
  • Topic: Development, Non-Governmental Organization, Poverty, Third World
  • Political Geography: Africa, Ethiopia
  • Author: Stefan Dercon, John Hoddinott
  • Publication Date: 01-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: In this paper we review the evidence on the impact of large shocks, such as drought, on child and adult health, with particular emphasis on Zimbabwe and Ethiopia. Our focus is on the impact of shocks on long-term outcomes, and we ask whether there are intrahousehold differences in these effects. The evidence suggests substantial fluctuations in body weight and growth retardation in response to shocks. While there appears to be no differential impact between boys and girls, adult women are often worse affected by these shocks. For children, there is no full recovery from these losses, affecting adult health and education outcomes, as well as lifetime earnings. For adults, there is no evidence of persistent effects from transitory shocks in our data.
  • Topic: Development, Poverty, Science and Technology, Third World
  • Political Geography: Africa, Zimbabwe, Ethiopia
  • Author: Matthew Odedokun
  • Publication Date: 03-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: The study seeks to identify donor-specific factors that cause donors to delay aid disbursement, and to apply a double standard in dealing with the non-compliance of a recipient with regard to aid conditionalities, a practice that promotes uncertainty in the receipt of aid. Annual panel data over 1970-2000 for the 22 members of OECD's DAC donor group are employed in the empirical study. Our findings suggest that the proportion of pledged aid being disbursed, which shows an increasing trend, is positively affected by the extent to which aid is procurement-tied and by the size of the donor government's expenditure in relation to GDP. On the other hand, the proportion of aid commitments being disbursed, which appears lower for the G7 countries, is negatively influenced by factors such as abundant donor generosity, the predominance of grants in total aid, the specific targeting of aid to lower-income recipients, high growth in donor economy, as well as high level of checks and balances, and polarization between the executive and legislative branches of government in the donor country.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Emerging Markets, International Trade and Finance, Non-Governmental Organization
  • Author: Grzegorz W. Kolodko
  • Publication Date: 05-2002
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: The study discusses conditions and prospects for fast and durable growth in emerging market economies. In the course of history less than 30 nations have become rich and still more than 80 per cent of the world population lives in the middle and low-income countries, some of them in extreme poverty. It is true not only for the majority of economies traditionally considered as 'developing countries', but also for the new, post-socialist emerging markets. Thus the questions arise: what is the influence of globalization process on economic growth and how real are the prospects for these emerging markets to catch up with more advanced countries? What factors may contribute to sustained and rapid growth over the long term? The paper examines strategies that can help taking the contemporary wave of globalization to the advantage of fast growth of less advanced countries and hence containing the existing development gaps.
  • Topic: Economics, Emerging Markets, Globalization, International Trade and Finance
  • Author: Nancy Birdsall, Stijn Claessens, Ishac Diwan
  • Publication Date: 05-2002
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: In this paper we focus on the question: will the HIPC debt reduction programme help in the transformation of the development assistance business and change the rules of the 'debt game' in Africa? We concentrate on the donor and official creditor side, by exploring how the growing debt of African countries, over the last two decades, has affected the provision of new resources by the donor community. Our results indicate that if debt levels are reduced sufficiently in high debt countries, donors can shift from the current pattern of non-selectivity and defensive lending to a low debt regime, a regime that has in the past allowed selectivity in lending in relation to levels of poverty and quality of policy.
  • Topic: Development, International Organization
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: S. Mansoob Murshed, Tony Addison, Abdur R. Chowdhury
  • Publication Date: 05-2002
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Financial development is vulnerable to social conflict. Conflict reduces the demand for domestic currency as a medium of exchange and a store of value. Conflict also leads to poor quality governance, including weak regulation of the financial system, thereby undermining the sustainability of financial institutions. Conflict therefore reduces the social return to financial liberalization and other financial-sector reforms. This paper presents a theoretical model integrating the effects of conflict and financial liberalization, and then tests the model on data for 79 countries. Using an explanatory variable that measures the intensity of conflict (from low to high) the results show that conflict significantly reduces financial development, and that this negative effect increases as conflict intensifies. The paper concludes that conflict reduction is essential if financial reform is to have its full benefit for development.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Development, Government, Political Economy
  • Author: Stijn Claessens, Joseph P.H. Fan, Larry H.P. Lang
  • Publication Date: 05-2002
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This paper investigates the benefits and associated agency costs of using internal capital markets through affiliating with groups using data of two thousand firms from nine East Asian economies between 1994-6. We find that mature and slow-growing firms with ownership structures more likely to create agency problems gain more from group affiliation, while young and high-growth firms more likely lose. Agency problems are important explanatory factors of firm value in economies outside Japan, but less so in Japan. Consistent with the literature, financially constrained firms benefit from group affiliation. Our results are robust to different time periods and estimation techniques.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Israel, East Asia
  • Author: Paul Collier
  • Publication Date: 04-2002
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: The paper considers the macroeconomic impact of shocks to agricultural output and of negative and positive price shocks. It is shown that negative price shocks have particularly large externalities: it is estimated that the overall impact of these negative shocks on GDP may well be double their direct impact. In terms of policy, the presence of externalities justifies subsidising the provision of insurance. If insurance is not feasible, then foreign aid may be helpful. Turning to other systemic shocks, it is argued that the macroeconomic consequences of negative output shocks are far less important. Positive price shocks also have substantial macroeconomic externalities via their effect on asset demand. Appropriate central bank policy is crucial and requires a detailed understanding of asset demand changes in response to price shocks. Since this may well be unlikely, dollarization may be a better strategy.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, International Trade and Finance
  • Author: Barbara Stallings, Rogerio Studart
  • Publication Date: 04-2002
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: The paper deals with changes in the regulation and supervision of the Latin American financial sector in the aftermath of the 'Tequila Crisis' of 1994–95. While it finds that both have improved, regulation and supervision cannot resolve all problems; good macroeconomic policy and performance are essential complements. This is especially true because of the procyclical nature of financial activity. The paper presents both regional data for Latin America, contrasting it with other emerging markets, and four country case studies (Argentina, Brazil, Chile, and Mexico). The latter show how individual country characteristics and experiences affect the operation of the financial systems. We close with some policy recommendations.
  • Topic: Economics, Emerging Markets, Government
  • Political Geography: Brazil, Argentina, South America, Latin America, North America, Mexico, Chile
  • Author: Lisandro Abrego, Doris C. Ross
  • Publication Date: 04-2002
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This paper analyses debt relief efforts by creditors to alleviate the debt burden of low- income countries. The Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Initiative builds on traditional debt relief, and for the first time involves relief on multilateral debt. It seeks to reduce debt to sustainable levels and eliminate any debt overhang that might hinder growth and investment. It provides substantial debt relief to eligible countries by reducing their overall debt stocks by about one-half, or, together with traditional relief over time, by some 80 per cent. It lowers debt service payments of HIPCs substantially, provides room for increased social spending, and provides a solid basis for debt sustainability. The latter requires efforts by both debtors and creditors. To find poverty reduction efforts, HIPC relief is important, but much broader international support is needed as external transfers to HIPCs in the past far exceeded debt service paid. Experience has shown that external support can only be effective if it reinforces sound policies implemented by HIPCs themselves. Thus debt relief and ODA are most important not in isolation, but as help for self-help.
  • Topic: Economics, International Organization, International Trade and Finance
  • Author: Andrew McKay
  • Publication Date: 04-2002
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Fiscal policy measures are a key means by which governments can influence distribution and poverty, but in fact the relationships between fiscal policy and poverty are not well understood. The most commonly used technique for assessing the distributional impact, benefit incidence analysis, is straightforward, but applied by itself it suffers from a number of serious limitations. Assessment of the impact of fiscal policy needs to be developed in various directions, including allowing for behavioural responses and incorporating a broader range of information. In parallel with this careful attention needs to be paid to more effective monitoring of the poverty impsact of fiscal policy.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, International Trade and Finance
  • Author: John Hawkins
  • Publication Date: 04-2002
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: International bank lending is a major component of capital flows between advanced and emerging economies. However, in recent years these flows have been going the wrong way, like water flowing uphill. Even four years after the Asian crisis, there is a net flow of funds from emerging economies to banks in advanced economies. This paper looks at this phenomenon, starting by setting out the relevant data, and then looking at factors influencing these flows. These include both cyclical influences (both 'push' and 'pull') and structural changes within the banking industry. There is some evidence that international lenders are now discriminating more between the various emerging economies.
  • Topic: Economics, Emerging Markets, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Asia
  • Author: Carlos Budnevich L.
  • Publication Date: 04-2002
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: For many emerging market economies, over reliance on monetary policy may bring worse macro results, when compared to a more balanced framework of countercyclical fiscal and monetary policy. The use of countercyclical fiscal policy requires as a precondition solvent and sustainable fiscal accounts and the re-engineering of fiscal institutions to increase the timeliness and flexibility of fiscal policy. A higher degree of tax or pension fund and/or unemployment insurance contribution flexibility may help in economies subject to significant external shocks. Automatic indexing rules to terms of trade or country risk spreads for pension contributions and interest payments on public debt may also contribute to the stabilization effort. If fiscal revenues are highly volatile, structural budget rules and commodity stabilization funds may provide the necessary framework to achieve saving (dissaving) during expansions (contractions).
  • Topic: Economics, Government, International Trade and Finance
  • Author: Mark McGillivray, Simon Feeny
  • Publication Date: 04-2002
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This paper looks at public sector debt in developing countries, being concerned specifically with the relationship between aid inflows and the public sector borrowing requirement net of aid loans. After examining the public sector budget constraint and various conditions under which aid might lead to an increase in this borrowing, the paper surveys the empirical results of literature on aid and public sector fiscal behaviour. It finds that the results of a number of studies are consistent with aid leading to increases in this borrowing. Further investigation, in the form of econometric analysis of panel data, also points to this outcome. The paper then looks at a number of theoretical scenarios in which aid leads to increases in borrowing net of aid loans.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, International Trade and Finance
  • Author: Chris Elbers, Peter Lanjouw, Johan Mistiaen, Gabriel Demombynes, Jenny Lanjouw, Berk Özler
  • Publication Date: 03-2002
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This paper implements a methodology for estimating poverty in Ecuador, Madagascar and South Africa, at levels of disaggregation that to date have not generally been available. The methodology is based on a statistical procedure to combine household survey data with population census data, imputing into the latter a measure of per capita consumption from the former. The countries are very unlike each other—with different geographies, stages of development, quality and types of data, and so on. Yet the paper demonstrates that in all three countries the poverty estimates produced from census data are both plausible (in that they match well stratum-level estimates calculated directly from the household surveys) and satisfactorily precise (at a level of disaggregation far below that allowed by household surveys).
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Government, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: South Africa
  • Author: Danny Quah
  • Publication Date: 03-2002
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This paper studies growth and inequality in China and India—two economies that account for a third of the world's population. By modelling growth and inequality as components in a joint stochastic process, the paper calibrates the impact each has on different welfare indicators and on the personal income distribution across the joint population of the two countries. For personal income inequalities in a China-India universe, the forces assuming first-order importance are macroeconomic: Growing average incomes dominate all else. The relation between aggregate economic growth and within-country in- equality is insignificant for inequality dynamics.
  • Topic: Development, Economics
  • Political Geography: China, South Asia, India, Asia
  • Author: Christiana E.E. Okojie
  • Publication Date: 03-2002
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: The paper examines the linkages between gender of household heads, education and household poverty in Nigeria between 1980 and 1996. Data analyzed were obtained from four national consumer expenditure surveys conducted in Nigeria in 1980, 1985, 1992 and 1996 by the Federal Office of Statistics. Adjustments were made for price differentials over time and across regions of the country. However, only aggregated data for households were available. Per capita expenditure was used as the indicator of poverty, while the unit of analysis was the household. Two poverty lines were set: a moderate poverty line equal to two-thirds of mean per capita household expenditure, and a core poverty line equal to one-third of mean per capita expenditure. The Pa index proposed by Foster, Greer and Thorbecke was used to generate the headcount ratio as well as the depth and severity of poverty. Trends in inequality were analyzed using Gini coefficients and the Theil's index. Multivariate analysis was used to examine the relationships between gender, poverty and other household variables, including education, for all households as well as for subgroups of male-headed and female-headed households respectively.
  • Topic: Education, Gender Issues
  • Political Geography: Africa, Nigeria
  • Author: Stephany Griffith-Jones, Stephen Spratt
  • Publication Date: 03-2002
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This paper argues that, if implemented in its current form, the new Basle Capital Accord will adversely effect developing sovereigns, corporates and banks wishing to borrow in international markets. This impact will result from the major banks' lending patterns being altered by the adoption of internal ratings based approaches, leading to a significant reduction of bank, and/or a sharp increase in the cost of international borrowing for many developing countries. Greater use of banks' internal risk management systems is also inherently pro-cyclical and therefore likely to amplify the economic cycle, thus increasing both the frequency and scale of crises.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Development, Treaties and Agreements
  • Author: Alemayehu Geda
  • Publication Date: 03-2002
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This paper attempts to answer the following question: If the HIPC Initiative is fully successful and managed to write-off all debt that is owed by Africa, will the debt problem be over? The answer is 'no'. This pessimist answer is arrived at by examining the historical origin of African debt and the structural problems the continent is confronted with. The literature about the origins of the African debt crisis lists a number of factors as its cause. The oil price shocks of 1973-74 and 1978-79, the expansion of the Eurodollar, a rise in public expenditure by African governments following rising commodity prices in early 1970s, the recession in industrial countries and the subsequent commodity price fall, and a rise in real world interest rate are usually mentioned as major factors. Surprisingly, almost all the literature starts its analysis either in the early 1970s or, at best, after independence in 1960s. The main argument in this paper is that one has to go beyond this period not only to adequately explain the current debt crisis but also to propose its possible solution. The conclusion that emerges from such analysis is that the African debt problem is essentially a trade problem. Thus, long-run solution to debt points to the importance of addressing trade and trade related structural problems in the continent.
  • Topic: Development, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Günther Rehme
  • Publication Date: 03-2002
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: In many OECD countries income inequality has risen, but surprisingly redistribution as well. The theory attributes this partly to the redistributive effect of education spending. In the model income inequality and growth depend in an inverted U-shaped way on education. To maintain a given level of human capital it is shown that a less efficient schooling technology requires more resources, which lowers pre-tax and post-tax income inequality as well as growth. Using consistently defined income data from the Luxembourg Income Study suggests that there is a negative relationship between growth and income inequality in rich countries. It is argued that using some unadjusted inequality measures in growth regressions may yield estimates that are biased upwards. The evidence suggests that a rich country would raise growth with lower pre-tax and post-tax inequality if it spent more on education.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Education
  • Author: Steve Kayizzi-Mugerwa
  • Publication Date: 03-2002
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: After more than a decade of economic decline and civil war, Uganda was able to return to economic growth thanks to the policies pursued by Museveni's National Resistance Movement which elicited considerable donor support. They include macroeconomic reforms, public sector restructuring, privatisation and decentralization, all with emphasis on poverty reduction. The government recognises that fiscal policy is the key to success and much effort has, in the past decade, gone towards fiscal reforms and the improvement of institutional capacities. Still, in a country with limited finances and a thin tax base the competition for resources has been stiff. While the government has been able to embark on initiatives such as universal primary education, thanks to an improved revenue base and donor support, the decentralization drive is hindered by serious fiscal constraints at the local level.
  • Topic: Development, Government, Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Uganda, Africa
  • Author: Sonia Bhalotra
  • Publication Date: 03-2002
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This paper investigates the effect of a food subsidy programme in India on child malnutrition by addressing the following linked questions using household survey data that includes information on usage of the public distribution system. First, does the food subsidy induce higher expenditures on food? Second, are there gender inequalities in the distribution of food within the household, and in the gains from the food subsidy? Third, does food spending impact on child health? Is this effect similar for boys and girls and in the short and the medium term? These questions are of interest with respect to the unusually high incidence of malnutrition in India, and they are topical in the context of current and controversial reform of the public distribution system through which the food subsidy operates.
  • Topic: Development, Government
  • Political Geography: South Asia, India
  • Author: Avinash Persaud
  • Publication Date: 03-2002
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Modern financial regulation has been about the spread of market-sensitive riskmanagement systems for banks, the spill-over of this approach to other financial institutions and the retreat of regulatory ambition. There is evidence that these trends are leading to a more fragile financial system, more prone to concentration and 'liquidity black holes'. The most glaring effects of these trends are felt in the pro-cyclicality and volatility of capital flows to risky markets. The root of the problem is that the liquidity of financial markets requires diversity, but all these trends are serving to reduce the diversity of behaviour of market participants.
  • Topic: Development, Emerging Markets, International Trade and Finance
  • Author: Graciela Moguillansky
  • Publication Date: 03-2002
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This article studies the currency risk management of multinational companies with investments in Latin American countries. The analysis is centred on episodes of currency or financial shocks, searching into the behaviour of the financial management of a firm expecting a significant devaluation. This allowed us to explore the interaction and transmission mechanisms between the microeconomic behaviour and the macroeconomic impact on the foreign exchange market. The analysis was carried out interviewing financial managers of multinational companies from different sectors with headquarters in the United Kingdom and Spain, by reviewing literature on business and currency risk management, and by analysing some surveys on financial risk management in developed countries.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: United Kingdom, South America, Latin America, Spain
  • 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: Jonathan Conning, Michael Kevane
  • Publication Date: 02-2002
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This paper proposes to organize thinking about the opportunities for improving and extending financial markets and safety nets for the poor, by focusing on factors that may explain why the linkage of local financial networks and safety nets with the larger economy often fails or is incomplete. Understanding the nature of these impediments is the first step in proposing policies to help promote more effective linkage and intermediation. We propose four explanations for the slowness of adoption of intermediation (high costs of delegated monitoring aggravated by limited intermediary capital; lock-in and crowding out effects from local insurance arrangements, social norms against cooperation with intermediaries; and political resistance to new institutions that shift the balance of power in local polities). Of course, financial repression and weak legal systems remains important as cause of lack of intermediation. We conclude with a review of public policy for more effective intermediation.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Government
  • Author: Clas Wihlborg
  • Publication Date: 02-2002
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Insolvency and debt recovery procedures are as crucial to a well-performing financial sector as credit provision itself. They are even more important in Africa, where attempts are underway to create fully-fledged financial markets. For the financial system to be credible, creditors must be ensured that lenders will meet their obligations and that cases against them will be brought to closure. A good legal framework for insolvency also ensures distressed firms a form of orderly exit, thereby enabling their owners to start afresh. However, institutions of this nature take time to take effect, and need to be supported politically and by reforms in other sectors of the economy.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Jean-Philippe Platteau
  • Publication Date: 02-2002
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Customary rules governing access to land and other natural resources in village societies have characteristics that allow them to fulfil social security functions and achieve equity objectives. This is true of both common-property resources and land parcels held under individualized tenure. However, when land pressure increases under the combined influences of population growth and market integration, a shift occurs from extensive to intensive resource use patterns. As a result, the efficiency costs of erstwhile equity-and insurance-oriented arrangements rise, thus forcing them to evolve significantly. In particular, land tenure arrangements undergo a major transformation towards more individualized forms with the consequence that property rights in land are increasingly defined without regard for equity and insurance concerns.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Government
  • Author: Rasmus Heltberg
  • Publication Date: 02-2002
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: How much does economic growth contribute to poverty reduction? I discuss analytical and empirical approaches to assess the growth elasticity of poverty, and emphasize that the relationship between growth and poverty change is non-constant. For a given poverty measure, it depends on initial inequality and on the location of the poverty line relative to mean income. In most cases, growth is more important for poverty reduction than changes in inequality, but this does not render inequality unimportant. Reduction in inequality may be triple effective: (1) it will reduce poverty for a given level of income, (2) it will accelerate the poverty reducing impact of economic growth, and (3) according to cross-country growth regressions, it may contribute to a larger rate of growth.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, International Trade and Finance
  • Author: Peter G. Warr
  • Publication Date: 02-2002
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: In recent decades, absolute poverty incidence declined in most countries of Southeast Asia, even though in some of these countries inequality increased at the same time. This paper examines the relationship between these outcomes and the rate of economic growth in the agricultural, industrial and services sectors. It develops a time series of available data on the headcount measure of poverty incidence for Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines over the period from the 1960s to 1999, in aggregate and in both rural and urban areas. It then uses this pooled data set to analyze the economic determinants of changes in poverty incidence.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand, Southeast Asia
  • Author: Peter G. Warr, George Fane
  • Publication Date: 02-2002
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Do changes in poverty and inequality depend directly on the rate of economic growth, or does the source of the growth also matter? This paper uses a computable general equilibrium model of the Indonesian economy to explore this question by simulating increases in GDP arising from (i) technical progress in each of seven broad sectors, and (ii) the accumulation of each of six types of physical and human capital. The more a given amount of growth raises the returns to the factors that are more important sources of income for the poor than for the non-poor, the more it reduces poverty and inequality. Different sources of growth affect poverty and inequality differently because they affect factor returns differently, and because the poor and the non-poor own factors in different proportions.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Indonesia, Southeast Asia
  • Author: Ricardo Ffrench-Davis, Guillermo Larraín
  • Publication Date: 01-2002
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: During the Asian crisis, intermediate exchange rate regimes vanished. It has been argued that those regimes were no longer useful and only the extremes remained valid. The paper analyses three foreign exchange regimes: Argentina (pegged), Chile (band) and Mexico (float). The Argentinean currency board delivered low financial volatility while it was credible, but even then it displayed high real volatility. Mexican float performed well in periods of instability isolating the real sector. The Chilean band delivered a mixed outcome as compared to Argentina and Mexico. This is linked apparently to a loss in the band's credibility, associated to policy mismanagement and an over-appreciation in the biennium before the crisis. Optimal exchange rate regimes vary across time and the conjuncture. Exit strategies are part of the election of the optimal system, including a flexible policy package rather than a single rigid policy tool.
  • Topic: Development, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Asia, Argentina, South America, Latin America, Mexico, Chile
  • Author: Tilat Anwar
  • Publication Date: 01-2002
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: While globalization is viewed as a key to future economic development, it is also argued that it increases poverty, threatens employment and living standards of the poor. Like many other developing countries, Pakistan also attempted to integrate its economy in the global economy through liberalizing its investment and trade regime within the framework of the IMF and the World Bank. A review of literature indicates that although a number of cross-country studies have shown a positive association between trade openness and economic growth, the recent work suggests that openness has no robust link with long-term growth. Thus, positive effects of liberalization on growth remain controversial. Evidence shows that despite numerous highly attractive incentives offered to foreign investors, Pakistan's performance in attracting the foreign investment has been poor. Similarly, despite the intensive trade liberalization, the trade performance has been dismal. The stabilization initially achieved proved to be short-lived due to the slippages in reform process occurred in the form of spread of tax exemption and concession leading to implementation of further stabilization measures. The repeated attempts to stabilize the economy together with liberalization and persistent devaluation of domestic currency pushed the economy in a vicious circle. The lowering of tariff rates led to a considerable loss of revenue and resulted in stagnant tax GDP ratio, resulting in reductio development expenditure to reduce the budget deficit. The government sought to restrain aggregate demand not only by granting wage increases below the inflation rate but also by freezing employment in the public sector. These developments together with liberalization led to lower GDP growth, increased indebtedness, higher unemployment and thus higher poverty incidence during the period of liberalization. This adverse outcome is reflection of the fact that the country was asked by the IMF to cut its tariff rates swiftly before adopting to a new system of domestic taxation. The structural adjustment programmes designed by the IMF/World Bank take the poverty as a residual issue. Hence, earlier anti-poverty programmes in Pakistan reached a small fraction of the poor, partly because their total size was limited and partly because of poor targeting. Hostility of globalization process suggests a broader approach and allocation of more funds for poverty reduction. For future growth and poverty reduction strategies, the issue of achieving higher growth must be combined with overall pattern of social progress and distribution.
  • Topic: Democratization, Development, Globalization
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, South Asia
  • 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: M.H. Suryanarayana
  • Publication Date: 01-2002
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Specification counts in the formulation of any economic problem, estimation of its magnitude and its assessment. This is particularly so for problems in the context of economic development. Solutions for poverty alleviation in developing countries like India are often formulated under misspecified premises. This results in wrong choice and design of strategies and policies. Faulty evaluation due to specification errors in estimates of poverty only compounds the error. This paper discusses such an in issue in the context of strategies for and estimates of poverty reduction in the developing countries. The results are general. They are illustrated with reference to India.
  • Topic: Development, Government
  • Political Geography: South Asia, India
  • Author: Jiahua Che
  • Publication Date: 01-2002
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: I present a study of ownership of firms under government rent seeking. Using its control of regulated inputs, a government agency extracts rents from a manager who undertakes an investment. Such a government rent seeking activity leads to a typical hold-up problem. Government ownership is shown to serve as a second best commitment mechanism through which the government agency will restrain itself from the rent seeking activity and even offer the manager support and favor such as tax breaks and subsidies. This mechanism works at a cost as government ownership compromises ex post managerial incentives and creates distortion in resource allocation. Nevertheless, government ownership may Pareto dominate private ownership under certain conditions. These conditions correspond to a host of stylized empirical observations concerning local government-owned firms (township-village enterprises) during China's transition to a market economy.
  • Topic: Development, Emerging Markets, Government
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Steve Kayizzi-Mugerwa
  • Publication Date: 01-2002
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Although privatization has been a key feature of economic policy in Africa since the early 1990s its sequencing and intensity have varied from country to country, with donor leverage being an important determinant of the pace of implementation. However, although many privatization schemes were undertaken in response to donor demands for reduced government participation in business, the process soon achieved its own dynamics. The positive view of privatization suggests that it went ahead, in spite of domestic opposition, because politicians and bureaucrats perceived real benefits to themselves and their supporters. They could influence the sales to their own benefit, while, on the other hand, a more focused public sector improved service delivery.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Masahiko Aoki, Hirokazu Takizawa
  • Publication Date: 01-2002
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This paper analyzes the "Silicon Valley model" as a novel economic institution in the domain of technological product system innovation such as computers. We focus on the information structural relationship as well as governance relationships between venture capitalists and a cluster of entrepreneurial firms. The informational conditions under which the Silicon Valley model is efficient are identified, leading to understanding the significance of standardization of interfaces, modularization and information encapsulation. We then examine the governance/incentive aspect of the model by integrating the models by Aoki (2001) and Baldwin and Clark (2000) to give comparative statics results regarding the optimal number of entrepreneurial firms competing in the same component product. The analyses enable us to evaluate the applicability of the model beyond specific localities and industries.
  • Topic: Economics, Industrial Policy
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Martin Ravallion, Jyotsna Jalan
  • Publication Date: 01-2002
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: It is well known in theory that certain forms of non-linear dynamics in household incomes can yield poverty traps and distribution-dependent growth. The potential implications for policy are dramatic: effective social protection from transient poverty will be an investment with lasting benefits, and pro-poor redistribution will promote aggregate economic growth. We test for non-linearity in the dynamics of household expenditures and incomes using panel data for rural south-west China. While we find evidence of non-linearity, there is no sign of a dynamic poverty trap. Existing private and social arrangements in this setting appear to protect vulnerable households from the risk of destitution. However, the concavity we find in the recursion diagram does imply that the speed of recovery from an income shock is lower for the poor, and that current inequality reduces growth in mean incomes.
  • Topic: Development, Economics
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Stuart L. Gillan, Laura T. Starks
  • Publication Date: 01-2002
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: We examine the role of institutional investors in financial markets and in corporate governance. In many countries, institutional investors have become the predominant players in financial markets and their influence worldwide is growing, chiefly due to the privatization and development of pension fund systems. Moreover, foreign institutional investors are becoming a significant presence, bringing their trading habits and corporate governance preferences to international markets. In fact, we argue that the primary actors prompting change in many corporate governance systems are institutional investors, often foreign institutional investors. In other countries the role of institutional investors is limited. Instead, large blockholders, often in the form of individuals, family groups, other corporations, or lending institutions are the dominant players. We present the theoretical arguments for the involvement of investors in shareholder monitoring and a brief history of institutional ownership and activism in the United States and other countries. We also discuss studies of the efficacy of such activism.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Marcel Fafchamps
  • Publication Date: 01-2002
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: There has been a lot of interest in the risk coping strategies of the poor in the recent literature but little work on the relationship between these strategies and inequality (Fafchamps 1999). Some have begun to suspect that certain risk coping strategies further impoverish the poor (e.g. Dasgupta 1993, Sen 1981). Labor bonding and debt peonage are examples that have been discussed in the literature (e.e. Srinivasan 1989, de Janvry 1981). Patronage, that is, the protection of the poor by the rich in exchange for labor and services, is also suspected of perpetuating poverty (e.g. Platteau 1995, Platteau 1995, Fafchamps and Quisumbing 1999).
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Poverty