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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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: Guanghua Wan, Zhang-Yue Zhou
  • Publication Date: 09-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: A comparative study of the public distribution systems of foodgrains in India and China is expected to reveal lessons and experiences that are valuable to policymakers. This is particularly important for developing countries in their endeavour to ensure food security. This paper undertakes such an exercise. The main features and developments of the two public distribution systems are first highlighted. This is followed by a comparative analysis of their similarities and differences. The role of public foodgrain distribution systems in ensuring food security is then evaluated. Finally, policy implications are drawn.
  • Topic: Human Welfare, Poverty
  • Political Geography: China, India, Asia
  • Author: Rimjhim M. Aggarwal
  • Publication Date: 09-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: It is often argued that an important reason why globalization may lead to GDP growth but fail to reduce poverty is because the poor are unable to participate in the new market opportunities and are marginalized. In this paper we examine the experience of resource-poor farmers in south India, who participated aggressively in the new market opportunities that opened up with trade reforms. However, these expanded market opportunities failed to improve their welfare. The paper examines why and how this happened.
  • Topic: Agriculture, Globalization, Poverty
  • Political Geography: India, 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: Min-Dong Paul Lee
  • Publication Date: 06-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This study attempts to convey an accurate and dynamic account of educational inequality in China during the last decade. The study finds that there is clear evidence of rapid expansion of education, and younger students all over China are benefiting from the expansion. One of the most notable achievements is the virtual elimination of gender bias against girls in educational attainment. However, analysis of province-level school enrolment data over the last decade shows evidence of persistent regional inequality of educational attainment. Students from inland provinces continue to face strong structural inequality in educational opportunity, and this structural inequality becomes more pronounced as they progress to higher grades. Moreover, inter-cohort analysis reveals that the inter-provincial inequality in upper grades is increasing for younger cohort of students, meaning that educational inequality in China is deteriorating further. Lastly, a decomposition analysis shows that the causes of inter-provincial educational inequality are quite complex and cannot simply be explained by the urban-bias hypothesis that is often suggested as the main source of income inequality.
  • Topic: Education, Human Rights, Poverty
  • 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: Zhicheng Liang
  • Publication Date: 06-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: China has experienced rapid integration into the global economy and achieved remarkable progress in poverty reduction over the last two decades. In this paper, by employing panel data covering twenty-five Chinese provinces over the period of 1986- 2002, and applying the endogenous threshold regression techniques, we empirically investigate the globalization-poverty nexus in China, paying particular attention to the nonlinearity of the impact of globalization on the poor. Estimation results provide strong evidence to suggest that there exists a threshold in the relationship between globalization and poverty: globalization is good for the poor only after the economy has reached a certain threshold level of globalization.
  • Topic: Economics, Globalization, Poverty
  • Political Geography: China, 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: 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: Guanghua Wan, Yin Zhang
  • Publication Date: 04-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This paper examines the distributional impact of globalization on the poor in urban China. Employing the kernel density estimation technique, we recovered from irregularly grouped household survey data the income distribution for 29 Chinese provinces for 1988-2001. Panels of the income shares of the poorest 20, 10 and 5 per cent of the urban residents were then compiled. In a fixed-effect model, two of the central conclusions of Dollar and Kraay (2002)—that 'the incomes of the poor rise equi-proportionately with average income' and that trade openness has little distributional effect on poverty—were revisited. Our results lend little support to either of the Dollar-Kraay conclusions, but instead indicate that average income growth is associated with worsening income distribution while globalization in general, and trade openness in particular, raises the income shares of the poor. It is also found that openness to trade and openness to FDI have differential distributional effects. The beneficial effect of trade was not restricted to the coastal provinces only, but also weakened significantly after 1992. These findings are robust to allow for nonlinearity in the effect of globalization and to control for the influence of several other variables.
  • Topic: Economics, Globalization, Poverty
  • Political Geography: China, Asia