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  • Author: Peter Warr
  • Publication Date: 01-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Thailand's development strategy has been strongly market-oriented and open to trade and investment flows with the rest of the world. Since the late 1950s, its growth performance has been outstanding. Poverty incidence has declined dramatically, but economic inequality has increased. Economic progress has been reflected in very significant improvement in non-economic indicators of well-being such as life expectancy, infant and maternal morality, and literacy. Nevertheless, the performance of the education system is chronically poor. Environmental problems and institutional failures in resource management are ongoing. Reform is needed in several areas, including political and corporate governance, regulation of industry, and in the education and health systems.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Education, Emerging Markets, Poverty, Foreign Direct Investment
  • Political Geography: Asia, Southeast Asia
  • Author: Philip Abbott, Finn Tarp
  • Publication Date: 03-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Vietnam has been among the most successful East Asian economies, especially in weathering the external shocks of recent globalization crises—the 1997-98 Asian financial crisis and the 2008-09 great recession, financial crisis and collapse of global trade. Its success contradicts its characterization as an example of export-led growth and highlights the role of the state, particularly in maintaining and influencing investment. Examination of economic performance and policy responses shows rising dependence on foreign finance around each crisis, and actions by the government to counteract that dependence and bolster the domestic economy while continuing to restructure the economy toward greater emphasis on the private sector. Growth, employment and poverty alleviation have been maintained at the expense of renewed inflation, larger budget deficits, and currency depreciation. The 'stop-go' nature of present …
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Globalization, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Asia
  • Author: Fang Cai
  • Publication Date: 02-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: With the aid of an analytical framework of the Lewis model revised to reflect the experience of China, this paper examines the country's dualistic economic development and its unique characteristics. The paper outlines the major effects of China's growth as achieved during the course of economic reform and the opening-up of the country: the exploitation of the demographic dividend, the realization of comparative advantage, the improvement of total factor productivity, and participation in economic globalization. By predicting the long-term relationship between the labour force demand and supply, the paper reviews the approaching turning point in China's economic development and examines a host of challenges facing the country in sustaining growth.
  • Topic: Development, Economics
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Oleksiy Ivaschenko, Cem Mete
  • Publication Date: 03-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Tajikistan's rural sector has witnessed substantial development since the country began to emerge from civil conflict in 1999. Gross agricultural output increased 64 per cent from 1999 to 2003, and there were significant developments in the agricultural reform agenda. This paper uses the panel component of two surveys conducted in Tajikistan at one-year interval (2003 and 2004) to explore the major determinants of the transition out of/into poverty of rural households. Poverty status is measured in the asset space, thus indicating structural rather than transitory poverty movements. The empirical analysis reveals several interesting findings that are also important from a policy perspective: first, cotton farming seems to have no positive impact on poverty levels, nor on mobility out of poverty. Second, the rate of increase in the share of private farming at the district level had little impact on poverty levels and poverty mobility.
  • Topic: Demographics, Development, Poverty
  • Political Geography: Asia, Tajikistan
  • Author: Peter Sheehan
  • Publication Date: 05-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Industrialization occupies a central place in the rich tapestry of development theory and practice. Although that place has varied over time, many have agreed with Nicholas Kaldor that the kind of economic growth that leads to high real income per capita can only occur through industrialization. This paper argues that it is becoming increasingly difficult for most developing countries to achieve rapid growth through industrialization, and especially through export oriented activities. But the key mechanisms seen as driving the industrial take-off in much of the literature (internal increasing returns, transfer of labour into higher value activities and pecuniary externalities) are alive and well, and are evident in services as well as in industry. Furthermore, China is actively trying to move from a strategy based on industrialization to one based much more on agriculture and services, as the costs of the current pattern of industrialization become prohibitive, and India has demonstrated that rapid growth based primarily on the services sector is possible. Thus more attention needs to be given to strategies based on the expansion of the agricultural and services sectors, and to the ways in which better services in rural areas and higher rural output can combine to achieve rapid growth and improved human welfare in poor countries.
  • Topic: Development
  • Political Geography: China, India, Asia
  • Author: Jeffrey Henderson
  • Publication Date: 05-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: The rise of China as an economic and political 'driver' of the global economy is likely to be one of the defining moments of world history. Its dynamism and international expansion are on the verge of creating a 'critical disruption' in the global order that has held sway for over 60 years. As such, China is beginning to reshape the world, presaging a new phase of globalization: a 'global-Asian era'. This new era is likely to be distinct from any of the earlier phases of globalization and China's global footprint, in terms of its business, economic and political actions and their geopolitical implications, is likely to be markedly different from what has gone before. This paper offers a framework by which we can begin to understand the coming global-Asian era (GAE) and some of its consequences, particularly as the latter are surfacing in the developing world. Having discussed the nature and dynamics of the GAE, the paper turns to sketch a series of vectors (trade, aid and energy security) along which the GAE is beginning to impact on developing countries. The paper argues that, at least for these vectors, the Chinese-driven GAE is providing opportunities as well as dangers for national development projects. It concludes by briefly speculating on the viability of the GAE.
  • Topic: Development, Globalization, International Political Economy, International Trade and Finance, Oil
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Haider A. Khan
  • Publication Date: 05-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This paper analyses both global and regional approaches to solving problems of energy security and ecological imbalance by addressing specifically the problems of China's energy security. China's growing energy dependence has become a major concern for both economic and national security policymakers in that country. The ambitious goal of modernization of the economy along the lines of the other newly industrialized economies (NIEs) of Asia has succeeded only too well, and it is difficult to reorient economic priorities. If examined rigorously, such an economic strategic assumption can be seen to entail the goal of creating further technological capabilities. In particular, China seems to be firmly committed to the creation of a largely self-sustaining innovation system as part of a knowledge-based economy of the future. Such innovation systems, called positive feedback loop innovation systems or POLIS have been created by advanced countries, and NIEs such as South Korea and Taiwan are proceeding to create these as well. But this will add to its energy burden and further dependence on the US as the power which controls the key sea lanes. Only a strategic reorientation to building a self-sustaining POLIS and appropriate regional cooperation institutions can lead to the way out of the current dilemma for China. Fortunately, such a model of POLIS which is distributionally and ecologically sensitive can be built for China and applied strategically to lead towards a sustainable development trajectory.
  • Topic: Development, Energy Policy, Environment, Regional Cooperation
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Taiwan, Asia, South Korea
  • Author: Yanrui Wu
  • Publication Date: 02-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Economic growth in China and India has attracted many headlines recently. As a result, the literature comparing the two Asian giants has expanded substantially. This paper adds to the literature by comparing regional growth, disparity and convergence in the two economies. This is the first of its kind. The paper presents a detailed examination of economic growth in the regions of China and India over the past twenty years. It also provides an assessment of regional disparity in the two countries and investigates whether there is any evidence of regional convergence during the period of rapid economic growth. It attempts to identify the sources of regional disparity and hence draw policy implications for economic development in the two countries in the near future.
  • Topic: Development
  • Political Geography: China, India, Asia
  • Author: Harsha Aturupane, Anil B. Deolalikar, Dileni Gunewardena
  • Publication Date: 05-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Reducing child malnutrition is a key goal of most developing countries. To combat child malnutrition with the right set of interventions, policymakers need to have a better understanding of its economic, social and policy determinants. While there is a large literature that investigates the determinants of child malnutrition, it focuses almost exclusively on mean effects of these determinants. However, socioeconomic background variables and policy interventions may affect child nutrition differently at different points of the conditional nutritional distribution. Using quantile regressions, this paper explores the effect s of variables such as a child's age, sex and birth order; household expenditure per capita; parental schooling; and infrastructure on child weight and height at different points of the conditional distributions of weight and height using data from Sri Lanka's Demographic and Health Survey. Results indicate that OLS estimates can be misleading in predicting the effects of determinants at the lower end of the distributions of weight and height. For example, even though on average Sri Lankan girls are not nutritionally-disadvantaged relative to boys, among children at the highest risk of malnutrition girls are disadvantaged relative to boys. Likewise, although expenditure per capita is associated with strong nutritional improvement on average, it is not a significant determinant of child height or weight at the lower end of the distribution. Similarly, parental education, electricity access, and the availability of piped water have larger effect son child weight and height at the upper quantiles than at the lower quantiles. The policy implication is that general interventions—parental schooling, infrastructure and income growth—are not as effective for children in the lower tail of the conditional weight and height distributions. These children, who are at the highest risk of malnutrition, are likely to need specialized nutritional interventions.
  • Topic: Development, Education, Health
  • Political Geography: Asia, Sri Lanka
  • Author: Yuefen Li, Bin Zhang
  • Publication Date: 04-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: The segmentation of global manufacturing and services provided China and subsequently India with a golden opportunity to make full use of their absolute advantage—low cost yet educated labour—to integrate into the world economy within a comparatively shorter period of time than some earlier industrialisers. Though international trade functioned as a vent of surplus in view of the narrowness of their domestic markets at the beginning of their economic catch-up, the label of export-led model may not reflect the real picture as imports underwent dramatic increases during their respective growth periods, in particular for China. Foreign direct investment has played a pivotal role in their economic growth and has major presence in international trade and investment in leading sectors of both countries, giving rise to certain special features and weak links for their economic expansion and sustainability of fast economic growth. To maintain more broad-based, fast and balanced growth, it seems that both countries have to redress sectoral imbalances, encourage technology upgrading and cope with future changes in demographic profiles which constituted a trigger to fast economic growth at the time of their respective economic reform.
  • Topic: Development, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: China, India, Asia
  • Author: Dominique van der Mensbrugghe, Maurizio Bussolo, Rafael E. De Hoyos, Denis Medvedev
  • Publication Date: 03-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Over the past 20 years, aggregate measures of global inequality have changed little even if significant structural changes have been observed. High growth rates of China and India lifted millions out of poverty, while the stagnation in many African countries caused them to fall behind. Using the World Bank's LINKAGE global general equilibrium model and the newly developed Global Income Distribution Dynamics (GIDD) tool, this paper assesses the distribution and poverty effects of a scenario where these trends continue in the future. Even by anticipating a deceleration, growth in China and India is a key force behind the expected convergence of per capita incomes at the global level. Millions of Chinese and Indian consumers will enter into a rapidly emerging global middle class—a group of people who can afford, and demand access to, the standards of living previously reserved mainly for the residents of developed countries. Notwithstanding these positive developments, fast growth is often characterized by high urbanization and growing demand for skills, both of which result in a widening of income distribution within countries. These opposing distributional effects highlight the importance of analysing global disparities by taking into account—as the GIDD does—income dynamics between and within countries.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Poverty
  • Political Geography: Africa, China, India, Asia
  • Author: Anis Chowdhury
  • Publication Date: 04-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Most small island economies or 'microstates' have distinctly different characteristics from larger developing economies. They are more open and vulnerable to external and environmental shocks, resulting in high output volatility. Most of them also suffer from locational disadvantages. Although a few small island economies have succeeded in generating sustained rapid growth and reducing poverty, most have dismal growth performance, resulting in high unemployment and poverty. Although macroeconomic policies play an important role in growth and poverty reduction, there has been very little work on the issue for small island economies or microstates. Most work follows the conventional framework and finds no or very little effectiveness of macroeconomic policies in stabilization. They also concentrate on short-run macroeconomic management with a focus almost entirely on either price stability or external balance. The presumption is that price stability and external balance are prerequisite for sustained rapid growth. This paper aims to provide a critical survey of the extant literature on macroeconomic policies for small island economies in light of the available evidence on their growth performance. Given the high output volatility and its impact on poverty, this paper will argue for a balance between price and output stabilization goals of macroeconomic policy mix. Drawing on the highly successful experience of Singapore, it will also outline a framework for growth promoting, pro-poor macroeconomic policies for small island economies/microstates.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: Asia, Australia/Pacific, Caribbean, Singapore
  • Author: Thomas Gries, Margarete Redlin
  • Publication Date: 07-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Concerns about the duration of China's growth and hence the question of a permanent significant contribution of China to world economic growth relate, amongst other things, to the problem of reducing regional disparity in China. While China's high average growth is driven by a small number of rapidly developing provinces, the majority of provinces have experienced more moderate development. To obtain broad continous growth it is important to identify the determinants of provincial growth. Therefore, we introduce a stylized model of regional development which is characterized by two pillars: (i) International integration indicated by FDI and/or trade lead to imitation of international technologies, technology spill overs and temporary dynamic scale economies, and (ii) domestic factors indicated by human and real capital available through interregional factor mobility. Using panel data analysis and GMM estimates our empirical analysis supports the predictions from our theoretical model of regional development. Positive and significant coefficients for FDI and trade support the importance of international integration and technology imitation. A negative and significant lagged GDP per capita indicates a catching up, non steady state process across China's provinces. Highly significant human and real capital identifies the importance of these domestic growth restricting factors. However, other potentially important factors like labor or government expenditures are (surprisingly) insignificant or even negative. Further, in contrast to implications from NEG models indicators for urbanization and agglomeration do not contribute significantly.
  • Topic: Development
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Raghav Gaiha, Katsushi Imai
  • Publication Date: 04-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This paper measures the vulnerability of households in rural India, based upon the ICRISAT panel survey. We employ both ex ante and ex post measures of vulnerability. The latter are decomposed into aggregate and idiosyncratic risks and poverty components. Our decomposition shows that idiosyncratic risks account for the largest share, followed by poverty and aggregate risks. Despite some degree of risk-sharing, the landless or small farmers are vulnerable to idiosyncratic risks, forcing them to reduce consumption. Income-augmenting policies therefore must be combined with those that not only reduce aggregate and idiosyncratic risks but also build resilience against them.
  • Topic: Demographics, Development, Economics, Poverty
  • Political Geography: India, Asia
  • Author: Renwei Zhao, Shi Li
  • Publication Date: 01-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This paper investigates some major changes in the wealth distribution in China using the data from two national household surveys conducted in 1995 and 2002. The surveys collected rich information on household wealth and its components, enabling a detailed analysis of changes in wealth distribution among Chinese households. Our analysis indicates that the wealth distribution in China as a whole became much more unequal in 2002 than it was in 1995. The housing reform, in which public apartments were sold to urban households at extremely low prices, has accelerated the accumulation of wealth among urban households on the one hand, and widened the wealth gap between urban and rural areas on the other.
  • Topic: Demographics, Development, Economics
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Guanghua Wan
  • Publication Date: 01-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This paper depicts the trend of regional inequality in rural China for the period 1985- 2002. The total inequality is decomposed into the so-called within- and between components when China is divided into three regional belts (east, central and west). A regression-based accounting framework is then used to explore root sources of the rising inequality. Policy implications are discussed.
  • Topic: Demographics, Development, Economics
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Basudeb Guha-Khasnobis, S. Vivek
  • Publication Date: 01-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: In April 2001 the People's Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) approached the Supreme Court of India arguing that the government has a duty to provide greater relief in the context of mass hunger. The litigation has now become the best known precedent on the right to food internationally. This paper reviews the litigation with a view to understand various strategies used by the litigants to create and enforce far-reaching entitlements in a near legal vacuum on the right to food. This is followed by a discussion on the lessons from this case for a rights-based approach to development at large.
  • Topic: Development, Human Rights, Politics
  • Political Geography: India, Asia
  • Author: Guanghua Wan, Yin Zhang
  • Publication Date: 12-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This paper proposes a framework for incorporating longitudinal distributional changes into poverty decomposition. It is shown that changes in the Sen-Shorrocks-Thon index over time can be decomposed into two components—one component reflects the progressivity of income growth among the original poor, the other measures the extent of downward mobility experienced by the incumbent poor. The decomposition is applied to appraising poverty trends in China between 1988 and 1996. The results indicate that the proposed decomposition can complement the widely-used growthdistribution decomposition in providing insights into poverty dynamics.
  • Topic: Development, Poverty
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Guanghua Wan, Yin Zhang
  • Publication Date: 12-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Applying the Shapley decomposition to unit-record household survey data, this paper investigates the trends and causes of poverty in China in the 1990s. The changes in poverty trends are attributed to two proximate causes; income growth and shifts in relative income distribution. The Foster-Greer-Thorbecke measures are computed and decomposed, with different datasets and alternative assumptions about poverty lines and equivalence. Among the robust results are: (i) both income growth and favourable distributional changes can explain China's remarkable achievement in combating poverty in rural areas in the first half of the 1990s; (2) in the second half of the 1990s, both rural and urban China suffered from rapidly rising inequality and stagnant income growth, leading to a slow-down in poverty reduction, even reversal of poverty trend.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Poverty
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Fang Cai, Meiyan Wang
  • Publication Date: 11-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This paper describes and decomposes wage differences between female and male workers. The results indicate that females receive low wages because of unequal pay within sectors, and that the wage gap caused by the difference in sectoral attainment is small. The results also reveal that a lion's share of the wage differential between females and males is attributable to discrimination rather than to the human capital difference between the genders. Eliminating discriminations against females with a focus on intra-sectoral inequality is crucial for reducing female/male wage differentials.
  • Topic: International Relations, Development, Political Economy
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Ying Chu Ng
  • Publication Date: 11-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Gender earnings differentials in urban China by region and their changes during the first decade of economic reform are examined. It is found that the female–male earnings ratio increased during the early stage of reform. The male earnings premium, overall, showed an increasing trend in the later stage of reform. Decomposition of the gender earnings differential reveals that a relatively lower percentage of the differential could be explained by gender differences in productive characteristics in the fast growing regions and in regions with a rapid pace of reform. The cross-sectional results highlight the possible existence of gender discrimination, particularly in the later stages of economic reform and development. Both market competition and the effects of wage decentralization play a role in shaping the gender earnings differentials. Gender earnings differentials varied by region and over time, generally in tandem with the pace of economic reform and development. The decomposition of the overtime changes in the earnings gap indicated that improvement in females' productive characteristics during the reform period constantly enhanced the earnings of females relative to those of males. The overtime changes in the returns to females' characteristics, however, work to counter any narrowing of the gender earnings gap.
  • Topic: International Relations, Development, Gender Issues
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Shi Li, Ximing Yue, Terry Sicular, Björn Gustafsson
  • Publication Date: 11-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Using new household survey data for 1995 and 2002, we investigate the size of China's urban-rural income gap, the gap's contribution to overall inequality in China, and the factors underlying the gap. Our analysis improves on past estimates by using a fuller measure of income, adjusting for spatial price differences and including migrants. Our methods include inequality decomposition by population subgroup and the Oaxaca-Blinder decomposition. Several key findings emerge. First, the adjustments substantially reduce China's urban-rural income gap and its contribution to inequality. Nevertheless, the gap remains large and has increased somewhat over time. Second, after controlling for household characteristics, location of residence remains the most important factor underlying the urban-rural income gap. The only household characteristic that contributes substantially to the gap is education. Differences in the endowments of, and returns to, other household characteristics such as family size and composition, landholdings, and communist party membership are relatively unimportant.
  • Topic: International Relations, Development, Human Rights
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: George Cheriyan
  • Publication Date: 11-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Over the past decade, a series of events in India have brought the question of food security into sharp focus. Vast famine-affected areas versus surplus production and stocks of grains, the impact of globalization and World Trade Organization laws on agriculture and farmers, the media's spotlight on starvation deaths and, finally, the Supreme Court of India's strong reaction to the plight of the hungry—all make a case for recognizing the right to food.
  • Topic: International Relations, Development, Human Rights
  • Political Geography: India, Asia
  • Author: D. Jayaraj, S. Subramanian
  • Publication Date: 10-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This paper reviews the principal source of India's wealth distribution statistics, which is constituted by the five decennial Reserve Bank of India National Sample Survey Organization Surveys on Debt and Investment of 1961-62, 1971-72, 1981-82, 1991-92, and 2002-03. The data available are described, critically appraised, and analyzed to present some salient findings in terms of the levels of debt, the levels of asset-holdings across the states of the Indian Union and over time, wealth composition, and aspects of vertical and horizontal inequality in the distribution of wealth. The centrality of land and real estate in the wealth status of India is underlined, and some broad aspects of redistributive anti-poverty policy are spelt out.
  • Topic: International Relations, Development, International Political Economy
  • Political Geography: India, Asia
  • Author: Xavier Giné, Stefan Klonner
  • Publication Date: 09-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: We study the diffusion of a capital intensive technology among a fishing community in south India and analyze the dynamics of income inequality during this process. We find that lack of asset wealth is an important predictor of delayed technology adoption. During the diffusion process, inequality follows Kuznets' well-known inverted U-shaped curve. The empirical results imply that redistributive policies favouring the poor result in accelerated economic growth and a shorter duration of sharpened inequality.
  • Topic: Development, Poverty, Science and Technology
  • Political Geography: India, Asia
  • Author: Zhicheng Liang
  • Publication Date: 09-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Financial development can exert a significant influence on the distribution of income. In this paper, using Chinese provincial data over the period of 1991-2000 and applying the generalized method of moment (GMM) techniques, we investigate the relationship between finance and inequality in rural China by testing alternative existing theories concerning the finance-inequality nexus. A negative and linear relationship between finance and inequality is found in our estimations. The empirical results show that financial development significantly reduces income inequality in post-reform rural China.
  • Topic: Demographics, Development, Economics
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Xiaobo Zhang
  • Publication Date: 09-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: China's current fiscal system is largely decentralized while its governance structure is rather centralized with strong top-down mandates and a homogenous governance structure. Due to large differences in initial economic structures and revenue bases, the implicit tax rate and fiscal burdens to support the functioning of local government vary significantly across jurisdictions. Regions initially endowed with a broader nonfarm tax base do not need to rely heavily on preexisting or new firms to finance public goods provision, thereby creating a healthy investment environment for the nonfarm sector to grow. In contrast, regions with agriculture as the major economic activity have little resources left for public investment after paying the expenses of bureaucracy. Consequently, differences in economic structures and fiscal burdens may translate into a widening regional gap.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Politics
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Guanghua Wan, Yin Zhang
  • Publication Date: 08-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This paper analyzes the evolution of poverty in China from the late 1980s to the late 1990s, employing a version of Shapley decomposition tailored to unit-record household survey data. The changes in poverty trends are attributed to two proximate causes— income growth and shifts in income distribution. Different datasets, poverty lines, poverty measures, and equivalence scales are used to examine the robustness of the results. Potential biases arising from ignoring differential regional prices and inflation are also investigated. Notwithstanding some ambiguities in the results, it is consistently found that rural poverty increased in the second half of the 1990s and adverse distributional changes are the main cause.
  • Topic: Demographics, Development, Poverty
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Guanghua Wan, Zhao Chen, Ming Lu
  • Publication Date: 08-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This paper argues that the conventional approach of data averaging is problematic for exploring the growth—inequality nexus. It introduces the polynomial inverse lag (PIL) framework so that the impacts of inequality on investment, education, and ultimately on growth can be measured at precisely defined time lags. Combining PIL with simultaneous systems of equations, we analyze the growth—inequality relationship in postreform China, finding that this relationship is nonlinear and is negative irrespective of time horizons.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Development, Education
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Zhicheng Liang
  • Publication Date: 08-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Deepening financial development and rapid economic growth in China have been accompanied by widening income disparity between the coastal and inland regions. In this paper, by employing panel dataset for 29 Chinese provinces over the period of 1990-2001 and applying the generalized method of moment (GMM) techniques, we examine the impacts of financial development on China's growth performance. Our empirical results show that financial development significantly promotes economic growth in coastal regions but not in the inland regions; the weak finance-growth nexus in inland provinces may aggravate China's regional disparities.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Development, Economics
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Geoffrey J.D. Hewings, Dong Guo, Patricio Aroca
  • Publication Date: 08-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: The purpose of this paper is to examine the convergence process in China by taking into account the spatial interaction between factors. The paper shows that there has been a dramatic increase in the spatial dependence of China's per capita GDP in the last 20 years. The consequence of space plays an important role, which is reflected in the influence of a neighbour's condition on the mobility of a province's income distribution from one category to another. The dynamics of the process showed evidence that China's distribution has gone from one of convergence to stratification, and from stratification to polarization.
  • Topic: Demographics, Development, Economics
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Mingming Zhou, Iftekhar Hasan
  • Publication Date: 08-2006
  • 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, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Bernarda Zamora, Sonia Bhalotra
  • Publication Date: 07-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This paper uses two large repeated cross-sections, one for the early 1990s, and one for the late 1990s, to describe growth in school enrolment and completion rates for boys and girls in India, and to explore the extent to which enrolment and completion rates have grown over time. It decomposes this growth into a component due to changes in the characteristics that determine schooling, and another associated with changes in the responsiveness of schooling to given characteristics. Our results caution against the common practice of using current data to make future projections on the assumption that the model parameters are stable. The analysis nevertheless performs illustrative simulations relevant to the question of whether India will be able to achieve the Millennium Development Goal of realising universal primary education by the year 2015. The simulations suggest that India will achieve universal attendance, but that primary school completion rates will not exhibit much progress.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Development, Education
  • Political Geography: India, Asia
  • Author: M. Sajjad Hassan
  • Publication Date: 07-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: The northeast region of India remains fraught with severe violence, poor growth and acute frustration among its youth. Success of policies to resolve the region's crisis has proved less than encouraging. What could be the way out of the violence–poor growth trap? This paper argues that a key determinant of the instability in the region is the absence of the effective role of the state: to provide security and opportunities for social and economic wellbeing equitably to all sections of society; and to uphold the rule of law. For reconstruction to work the state must act to provide key political goods to all its citizens, and restore its legitimate authority by implementing policies and enforcing laws cleanly and transparently. Political leaders can contribute to this endeavour by organizing politics inclusively.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Development, Government
  • Political Geography: India, Asia
  • Author: Tianbiao Zhu
  • Publication Date: 07-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Conventional explanations of Taiwan and China's economic success point to the shift from an import-substituting industrialization (ISI) strategy to an export-oriented industrialization (EOI) strategy. This paper argues that the development strategies in Taiwan and China have always been a combination of ISI and EOI strategies during their entire miracle-creating period; far from the shift from ISI to EOI strategies, export promotion was used in both cases to sustain ISI, which has always been the central focus of development. Behind this strategy there is a set of institutions in both Taiwan and China, which has played a key role in supporting ISI, in particular, the government, the bank sector, public enterprises, and their relationship.
  • Topic: Development, Industrial Policy
  • Political Geography: China, Israel, Taiwan, East Asia, Asia
  • Author: Vasco Molini
  • Publication Date: 06-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Analysing the performance of ten developing countries, Hoddinot and Yohannes (2002) find a strong association between two measures of food security (calorie intake and mostly dietary diversity) and the increase in expenditures per capita. Using various indicators of food security, we describe the changes in food balances in Vietnam and find evidence of a substitution of poor micronutrients items (rice and cereals) with rich ones like fruit, vegetables fish and meat. Poor households, while increasing the amount of calories consumed, still lack vitamins, iron, calcium, etc. A preliminary assessment of the food security variation showed that improvements were, as expected, more concentrated among the richer Vietnamese households than the poor ones, although there was some improvement among poorer strata as well. We also focus on the calorie/expenditure elasticity and compare results for the years 1993 and 1998. Our findings confirm that this link is strong, and show that calorie income elasticity changed in the expected direction. We conclude that in general food security improved in Vietnam during 1990s although considerable differences still remain among expenditure deciles and among regions due to the accentuated spatial difference.
  • Topic: Security, Development, Human Welfare
  • Political Geography: Asia, Vietnam
  • Author: Qi Zhang, Mingxing Liu, Yiu Por Chen
  • Publication Date: 06-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Using China as a test case, this paper empirically investigates how the development of financial intermediation affects rural-urban income disparity (RUID). Using 20-year province level panel data, we find that the level of financial development is positively correlated with RUID. Examining two subperiods, 1978-88 and 1989-98, we test several competing hypotheses that may affect RUID. We find that the increase of RUID may be explained by fiscal policy during the first period and financial intermediates during the second period. In addition, we show that the direction of the Kuznets effect on RUID is sensitive to changes in government development policies. The rural development policies during the first period may have enhanced the rural development and reduced RUID. However, the financial intermediary policy during the second period focused on urban development and increased both urban growth and intra-urban inequalities, thus leading to an increase in RUID. Finally, we show that RUID is insensitive to the provincial industrial structure (the share of primary industry in GDP). These results are consistent with the traditional urban-bias hypothesis and are robust to the inclusion of controls for endogeneity issues. This study adds to the economic inequality literature by clarifying the effects of government policies on the underlying dynamics on convergent and divergent effects on rural-urban inequality.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Kuan Xu, Lars Osberg
  • Publication Date: 06-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Before effective anti-poverty policy can be designed and implemented, the extent, trend and distribution of poverty must be identified. In this sense, poverty measurement is a crucial intermediate step in public policymaking and development planning. This paper asks whether the estimated proportion of the world's population with income below US$1 (adjusted according to purchasing power parity) per day is a good measure of trends in global poverty. We argue that the answer depends on two important issues in the measurement of poverty—the definition of the poverty line, and how best to summarize the level of poverty In this paper, we survey the literature on poverty measurement, demonstrate the importance of considering poverty incidence, depth and inequality jointly, present a simple but powerful graphical representation of the Sen and SST indices of poverty intensity (the poverty box) which is the FGT index of order 1 and extend our empirical work to China using the commonly accepted international poverty line definition of one half median equivalent income.
  • Topic: International Relations, Development, Poverty
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Guanghua Wan
  • Publication Date: 06-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: The purpose of this paper is to develop two poverty decomposition frameworks and to illustrate their applicability. A given level of poverty is broadly decomposed into an overall inequality component and an overall endowment component in terms of income or consumption determinants or input factors. These components are further decomposed into finer components associated with individual inputs. Also, a change in poverty is decomposed into components attributable to the growth and redistributions of factor inputs. An empirical illustration using Chinese data highlights the importance of factor redistributions in determining poverty levels and poverty changes in rural China.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Poverty
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Terutomo Ozawa
  • Publication Date: 06-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: The notion of 'shared growth' was introduced by the World Bank in recognition of East Asia's rapid growth accompanied by poverty reduction. It emphasizes the criticality of pro-poor policies and institutional setups in the fast-developing East Asian economies. The efforts of these individual countries are, however, a necessary but not sufficient condition (explanation). There is a more essential, underlying region-wide mechanism that simultaneously promotes regionalized growth and specifically favours Asia's working mass of unskilled labour. Such an efficacious mechanism is posited in the 'flying-geese paradigm of comparative advantage recycling in labour-intensive goods'. The paper argues that a number of favourable factors have fortuitously coalesced to engender a considerably favourable condition for Asia's rapid catch-up growth in which unskilled labour (the poor) can participate as their countries' most vital input in labour-driven development.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Poverty
  • Political Geography: East Asia, Asia
  • Author: Hyun H. Son, Nanak Kakwani
  • Publication Date: 06-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This paper looks into the interrelation between economic growth, inequality, and poverty. Using the notion of pro-poor growth, this study examines to what extent the poor benefit from economic growth. First, various approaches to defining and measuring pro-poor growth are scrutinized using a variety of criteria. It is argued that the satisfaction of a monotonicity axiom is a key criterion for measuring pro-poor growth. The monotonicity axiom sets out a condition that the proportional reduction in poverty is monotonically an increasing function of the pro-poor growth measure. This paper proposes a pro-poor growth measure that satisfies the monotonicity criterion. This measure is called the 'poverty equivalent growth rate', which takes into account both the magnitude of growth and how the benefits of the growth are distributed to the poor and the non-poor. As the new measure satisfies the criterion of monotonicity, it is indicative that to achieve a rapid poverty reduction, the poverty equivalent growth rate ought to be maximized rather than the actual growth rate. The methodology developed in the paper is then applied to Asian countries, including the Republic of Korea, Thailand, and Vietnam.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Poverty
  • Political Geography: Asia, Vietnam, Korea, Thailand
  • Author: Mingxing Liu, Pengfei Zhang, Shiyuan Pan, Justin Yifu Lin
  • Publication Date: 05-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This paper explores the politically determined development objectives and the intrinsic logic of government intervention policies in east developed countries. It is argued that the distorted institutional structure in China and in many least developed countries, after the Second World War, can be largely explained by government adoption of inappropriate development strategies. Motivated by nation building, most least-developed countries, including the socialist countries, adopted a comparative advantage defying strategy to accelerate the growth of capital-intensive, advanced sectors in their countries. In the paper we also statistically measure the evolution of government development strategies and the economic institutions in China from 1950s to 1980s to show the co-existence and coevolution of government adoption of comparative advantage defying strategy and the trinity system.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: M.S. Quresh
  • Publication Date: 04-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This paper revisits the pollution haven hypothesis in the context of Pakistan by offering a systematic analysis of its trade and production patterns. Using bilateral trade statistics from 1975-2003, we test the hypotheses that Pakistan's net exports of pollutionintensive products have increased to the OECD countries. We also investigate if the stringency of environmental governance in the importing countries plays a role in determining Pakistan's exports of pollution-intensive products. The results reveal that there has been a change in the composition of output and exports towards pollutionintensive manufacturing that parallels the opening of the economy. Overall, the findings appear to be in favour of the pollution haven hypothesis and call for effective environmental policy response for poverty alleviation and sustainable development.
  • Topic: Development, International Trade and Finance, Poverty
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Asia
  • Author: Justin Yifu Lin, Peilin Liu
  • Publication Date: 04-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This paper argues that both openness and poverty in a country are endogenously determined by the country's long-term economic development strategy. Development strategies can be broadly divided into two mutually exclusive groups: (i) the comparative advantage-defying (CAD) strategy, which attempts to encourage firms to deviate from the economy's existing comparative advantages in their entry into an industry or choice of technology; and (ii) the comparative advantage-following (CAF) strategy, which attempts to facilitate the firms' entry into an industry or choice of technology according to the economy's existing comparative advantages.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Poverty
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Arup Mirtra, N.R. Bhanumurthy
  • Publication Date: 04-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: In this paper an attempt is made to assess the impact of economic reforms on the incidence of poverty by decomposing the change in poverty ratio between two time points into growth/mean effect, inequality effect and the population shift effect. Based on the National Sample Survey data an analysis has been carried out for two time periods: (i) 1983 to 1993-94 and (ii) 1993-94 to 1999-2000, broadly representing the pre-reform and reform-period respectively, for the rural and urban areas of the fifteen major states, and also for the all-India level. The growth/mean effect, which determines the extent of fall (rise) in poverty incidence due to rise (fall) in mean per capita consumption expenditure, dominates in both the periods over the inequality effect, that estimates the rise (fall) in poverty due to rise (fall) in inequality. It also dominates over the population shift effect, which assesses the net impact on all-areas combined poverty, of a decline (rise) in rural (urban) poverty caused possibly by rural-urban migration. The growth effect, which is beneficial for poverty reduction, seems to have gone up in the reform period. The adverse inequality effect also fell in magnitude in the second period compared to the first. States with a greater beneficial growth effect in the second period relative to the first, also show a fall in the magnitude of an adverse population shift effect in the urban areas, i.e., a relatively less rise in the incidence of urban poverty caused by rural-urban migration.
  • Topic: Development, Globalization, Poverty
  • Political Geography: India, Asia
  • Author: Brinda Viswanathan, S. Kavi Kumar
  • Publication Date: 04-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: The net impact of globalization on developing countries, and more specifically on the poorer sections of population in these countries, is complex and context dependent, and hence needs to be analysed empirically. This study in the context of globalization attempts to develop regional level indices of vulnerability with respect to welfare loss in India using a methodology based on fuzzy inference systems. The vulnerability of an entity is conceptualized (following the practice in global climate change literature) as a function of its exposure, sensitivity and adaptive capacity. Empirical analysis based on such multidimensional conceptualization demands use of indicator-based approach which is attempted in this study and uses fuzzy models that adequately capture vagueness inherent in such approaches.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Globalization
  • Political Geography: India, Asia
  • Author: Annelies Zoomers
  • Publication Date: 03-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This article aims to contribute to the discussion about how to make development interventions more effective by analyzing the factors contributing to the success or failure of rural development projects. We made an aggregate level analysis of 46 projects in the field of agricultural research (AR), water management (WM), natural resource management (NRM), and integrated rural development (IRD), financed by the Netherlands' Directorate-General for International Cooperation (DGIS) and carried out between 1975-2005 in Asia, Africa and Latin America. Making a distinction between the successful projects and failures, we showed the possibilities and limitations of evaluating projects on the basis of the official criteria (relevance, efficiency, effectiveness, sustainability and impact and/or using criteria such as poverty, gender, institutional development, governance and environment). We learned that project performance very much depends on whether interventions 'keep track' with local priorities and trends. This is much more important than 'measuring output' (are results in line with the project goal?) which is wrongly presented as a priority in monitoring and evaluation practices.
  • Topic: Development
  • Political Geography: Africa, Asia, Central America
  • Author: Tony Addison
  • Publication Date: 02-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Much has changed in international finance in the twenty years since UNU-WIDER was founded. This paper identifies five broad contours of what we might expect in the next twenty years: the flow of capital from ageing societies to the more youthful economies of the South; the growth in the financial services industry in emerging economies and the consequences for their capital flows; the current strength in emerging market debt, and whether this represents a change in fundamentals or merely the effect of low global interest rates; the impact of globalization in goods markets in lowering inflation expectations, and therefore global bond yields; and the implications of the adjustment in global imbalances between Asia (in particular China) and the United States for emerging bond markets as a whole. The paper ends by noting the paradox that today we see ever larger amounts of capital flowing across the globe in search of superior investment returns, and yet the financing needs of the poorer countries are still largely unmet.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Asia
  • Author: John Knight, Li Shi, Zhao Renwei
  • Publication Date: 08-2004
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Two precisely comparable national household surveys relating to 1988 and 1995 are used to analyse changes in the inequality of income in urban China. Over those seven years province mean income per capita grew rapidly but diverged across provinces, whereas intra-province income inequality grew rapidly but converged across provinces. The reasons for these trends are explored by means of various forms of decomposition analysis. Comparisons are also made between the coastal provinces and the inland provinces. The decompositions show the central role of wages, and within wages profitrelated bonuses, together with the immobility of labour across provinces, in explaining mean income divergence. The timing of economic reforms helps to explain the convergence of intra-province income inequality. Policy conclusions are drawn.
  • Topic: Demographics, Development, Economics
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Guanghua Wan, Zhangyue Zhou
  • Publication Date: 08-2004
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: A considerable literature exists on the measurement of income inequality in China and its increasing trend. Much less is known, however, about the driving forces of this trend and their quantitative contributions. Conventional decompositions, by factor components or by population subgroups, only provide limited information on the determinants of income inequality. This paper represents an early attempt to apply the regression-based decomposition framework to the study of inequality accounting in rural China, using household level data. It is found that geography has been the dominant factor but is becoming less important in explaining total inequality. Capital input emerges as a most significant determinant of income inequality. Farming structure is more important than labour and other inputs in contributing to income inequality across households.
  • Topic: Demographics, Development, Economics
  • Political Geography: China, Asia