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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: Jarko Fidrmuc, Ivana Bátorová
  • Publication Date: 01-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: We analyse the business cycles in China and in selected OECD countries between 1992 and 2006. We show that, although negative correlation dominate s for nearly all countries, we can also see large differences for various frequencies of cyclical developments. On the one hand, nearly all OE CD countries show positive correlations of the very short-run developments that may correspond to intensive supplier linkages. On the other hand, business cycle frequencies (cycles with periods between 1.5 and 8 years) are typically negative. Nevertheless, countries facing a comparably longer history of intensive trading links tend to show also slightly higher correlations of business cycles with China.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Jun Zhang
  • Publication Date: 04-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This paper investigates the institutional reason underlying the change in the trajectory of economic growth in post-reform China, and argues that the trajectory of growth was much more normal during the period of 1978-89 than in the post-1989 era. In the former period, growth was largely induced by equality-generating institutional change in agriculture and the emergence of non-state industrial sector. In the latter period, growth was triggered by the acceleration of capital investments under authoritarian decentralized hierarchy within self-contained regions. Such a growth trajectory accelerates capital deepening, deteriorating total factor productivity and leads to rising regional imbalance. This paper further argues that the change in the trajectory of growth is the outcome of changes in political and inter-governmental fiscal institutions following the 1989 political crisis.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, Industrial Policy, Political Economy
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Amelia U. Santos-Paulino
  • Publication Date: 03-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This paper analyses the patterns of export productivity and trade specialization profiles in the China, Brazil, India and South Africa, and in other regional groupings. In doing so, the investigation calculates a time varying export productivity measure using highly disaggregated product categories. The findings indicate that export productivity is mainly determined by real income and human capital endowments. Importantly, the study reveals significant differences in the export productivity and specialization patterns of countries with comparable per capita income levels. For instance, China's export productivity and implied export sophistication is in line with that of countries with higher per capita incomes, including some OECD industrial economies.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Africa, China, India, Asia, South Africa, Brazil, South America
  • Author: Anushree Sinha, Haider Khan
  • Publication Date: 06-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: The main purpose of this paper is to look at the incorporation of gender and the informal sector within a general equilibrium framework for India. Moreover, we clarify some important links between a gender aware informal sector based social accounting matrix (SAM) and general equilibrium models such as the computable general equilibrium (CGE) models including as a special case the fixed price multiplier (FPM) models. In particular, economy wide modelling of gender and the informal sector is facilitated by the use of national level data and constructing the base data set as an SAM. Another important strategy is to conceptualize the economy within gender structures, entailing the recognition of gender relations as an intervening variable in all economic activities.
  • Topic: Economics, Gender Issues
  • Political Geography: 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: Sudhir K. Thakur
  • Publication Date: 05-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This study provides an understanding of the Indian regional economy utilizing the fundamental economic structure (FES) approach. The FES construct implies that selected characteristics of an economy will vary predictably with region size, as measured by net state domestic product, population, and total gross output. The big question addressed in this study is if identifiable patterns of relations between various macro aggregates and economic transactions can be revealed via regional input-output tables. Jensen et al. (1988) discuss the tiered, partitioned, and temporal approaches to the identification of FES using input-output tables. This research addresses the following four questions: (1) Does a regional FES exist for the Indian economy during the period 1965? (2) What proportions of the cells are predictable? (3) Can the 1965 regional FES predict 1983-84 table for Punjab economy? (4) Does regional FES manifest an enhanced understanding of the Indian regional structure? Regression analyses are used to identify the FES and non-FES cells for the Indian regional economy. The regional input-output tables for 21 States and Union Territories provide data for the analysis. Analysis reveals regional FES includes primary and secondary sectors as components of FES. This research has extended the notion of FES to include: weak, moderate and strong FES cells.
  • Topic: Economics
  • Political Geography: India, Asia, Punjab
  • Author: Ligang Song, Yu Sheng
  • Publication Date: 02-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: The study decomposes the sources of Chinese growth by first making a distinction between technological progress and technical efficiency in the growth accounting framework, and then identifying a series of reform programmes, such as urbanization, structural change, privatization, liberalization, banking and fiscal system reforms as the key components in institutional innovation which facilitate the improvement of technical efficiency and through which economic growth. These components are then incorporated into the model specification, which is estimated based on a panel dataset by applying the principal component analysis (PCA) to eliminate the multicollinearity problem. The results show that urbanization, liberalization and structural change in the form of industrialization are the most important components in contributing to the improvement of technical efficiency and hence growth, highlighting the importance of government policies aimed at enhancing further urbanization, openness to trade and industrial structural adjustments to sustain the growth momentum in China. The study also found that the potential for further enhancing growth through technical efficiency in China is considerable, which can be realized by deepening state-owned enterprises (SOEs) restructuring, and banking and fiscal system reform.
  • Topic: Economics
  • 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: Shujie Yao, Zhongwei Han, Genfu Feng
  • Publication Date: 04-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Since China joined the WTO in 2001, the pressure for bank reforms has mounted as China ought to fully open up its financial market to foreign competition by 2006. Efficiency is key for domestic banks to survive in a liberalised environment, but it appears that the last hope for raising bank efficiency is through ownership reform. Whether ownership reform and foreign competition can solve China's banking problem remains to be tested. This paper aims to answer this question through using a non-parametric approach to analyse the efficiency changes of 15 large commercial banks during 1998-2005. We find that ownership reform and foreign competition have forced the Chinese commercial banks to improve performance, as their total factor productivity rose by 5.6 per cent per annum. This coincides with the recent bullish Chinese stock markets led by three listed state-owned commercial banks. Despite such encouraging results, we remain cautious about the future of the Chinese banks, as the good results may have been artificially created with massive government support and the fundamentals of the banks may be still weak.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Calum G. Turvey, Rong Kong
  • Publication Date: 05-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This paper investigates the economic conditions of rural households in China. Historical survey data indicate that over 80 per cent of rural households earn less than 4,500 yuan in net disposable income each year, that for the vast majority of rural households disposable income is insufficient to meet food consumption needs, and that in terms of economic growth rural households are receiving an ever decreasing percentage of China's growing economy with rural household incomes being only 31 per cent of urban household income in 2004.
  • Topic: Economics, Poverty
  • Political Geography: China, 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: 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: Yin Ge
  • Publication Date: 09-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: How do foreign trade and foreign direct investment affect regional inequality? Foreign trade and investment may affect internal economic geography, and the resulting industry agglomeration may contribute to regional inequality. This paper provides empirical evidence supporting this linkage. The results indicate that the increasing regional inequality in China has been accompanied by an increase in the degree of regional specialization and industry agglomeration. Foreign trade and foreign investment are closely related to industry agglomeration in China. Industries dependent on foreign trade and FDI are more likely to locate in regions with easy access to foreign markets, and exporting industries have a higher degree of agglomeration.
  • Topic: Economics, Industrial Policy, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: China, 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