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  • Author: André Mach, Thomas David
  • Publication Date: 09-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This research paper discusses the role of institutions in the rapid growth and successful international integration of Switzerland during the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. In analysing the emergence and consolidation of the institutions whose existence was crucial, the paper looks both at the political institutions that managed conflicts and promoted cooperation between private and public actors and the economic institutions that, on the one hand, compensated the groups that fell behind in the developmental process (e.g., agricultural subsidies, high tolerance for domestic cartels, tariffs for some industries, institutions for labour representation) and, on the other hand, enhanced productivity. In addition, the absence of some institutions such as a patent law and an independent central bank was also crucial in the Swiss case, even though these two institutions are regarded as pre-requisites of development by today's economic orthodoxy. The paper concludes by drawing lessons for today's developing countries.
  • Topic: International Relations, Development, Economics
  • Political Geography: Europe, Switzerland
  • Author: Patrick Karl O'Brien
  • Publication Date: 07-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: New institutional economics lacks a theory of state formation which could help us to deal with the mega question of why some states became more efficient than others at establishing and and sustaining institutions. Some kind of middle range theory could be formulated based upon historical case studies. This paper considers the case of Britain and as its title suggests degrades the myth of the United Kingdom as the paradigmn example of liberalism and laisser faire. In making its precocious transition to and industrial market economy the kingom's history is best represented as a case of successful mercantilism.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Sovereignty
  • Political Geography: Britain, United Kingdom, Europe
  • Author: Gerald Epstein
  • Publication Date: 05-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: In the last two decades, there has been a global sea change in the theory and practice of central banking. The currently dominant 'best practice' approach to central banking consists of the following: (1) central bank independence (2) a focus on inflation fighting (including adopting formal 'inflation targeting') and (3) the use of indirect methods of monetary policy (that is, short-term interest rates as opposed to direct methods such as credit ceilings). This paper argues that this neo-liberal approach to central banking is highly idiosyncratic in that, as a package, it is dramatically different from the historically dominant theory and practice of central banking, not only in the developing world, but, notably, in the now developed countries themselves. Throughout the early and recent history of central banking in the US, England, Europe, and elsewhere, financing governments, managing exchange rates, and supporting economic sectors by using 'direct methods' of intervention have been among the most important tasks of central banking and, indeed, in many cases, were among the reasons for their existence. The neo-liberal central bank policy package, then, is drastically out of step with the history and dominant practice of central banking throughout most of its history.
  • Topic: Development, Economics
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, England
  • Author: Stephen Klasen, Kenneth Harttgen, Melanie Grosse
  • Publication Date: 04-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: In order to track progress in MDG1 and explicitly link growth, inequality, and poverty reduction, several measures of 'pro-poor growth' have been proposed in the literature and used in applied academic and policy work. These measures, particularly the ones derived from the growth incidence curve, allow a much more detailed assessment of the distributional impact of growth and its link to poverty reduction. However, there are no corresponding measures for tracking the distribution of progress in non-income dimensions of poverty, and thus the distribution of progress towards MDGs 2-7. In this paper, we propose to extend the pro-poor growth measurement to non-income dimensions of poverty (particularly health and education). We empirically illustrate the approach for Bolivia and show that it allows a much more detailed assessment of progress towards MDGs 2-7 by focusing on the distribution of progress. Furthermore, this extension also allows an explicit assessment of the linkage between progress in MDG1 and MDGs 2-7 as well as extends traditional incidence analysis by quantifying outcomes in non-income dimensions of poverty along the income distribution.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Poverty
  • Political Geography: Europe, Bolivia
  • Author: Frances Stewart
  • Publication Date: 04-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Karl Polanyi wrote The Great Transformation in 1944 which analysed the double movement Europe experienced, from a situation where the market was heavily regulated and controlled in the eighteenth century to a virtually unregulated market in the nineteenth century, and the huge transformation in which the market was once more brought under control as a reaction to the poverty, unemployment and insecurity brought about by the unregulated market. Yet in both developed and developing countries there has since been a reaction with a new move towards the market. This paper analyses such processes in contemporary developing countries, and considers whether, in the light of the consequences of the unregulated market, a new Great Transformation is needed. It also considers whether such a transformation is likely, reviewing moves towards increased regulation of the market, and also the challenges faced by any contemporary great transformation arising from globalization and the nature of politics.
  • Topic: Development, Markets, Poverty
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Giovanni Andrea Cornia, Leonardo Menchini
  • Publication Date: 02-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This paper juxtaposes changes over the last forty years in income growth and distribution with the mortality changes recorded at the aggregate level in about 170 countries and at the individual level in 26 countries with at least two demographic and health surveys covering the last twenty years. Over the 1980s and 1990s, the infant mortality rate, under-5 mortality rate, and life expectancy at birth mostly continued the favourable trends that characterized the 1960s and 1970s. Yet, especially in the 1990s, the pace of health improvement was slower than that recorded during the prior decades. In addition, the distribution between countries of aggregate health improvements became markedly more skewed. These trends are in part explained by the negative changes recorded in sub-Saharan Africa and Eastern Europe, but are robust to the removal of the two regions from the sample. This tendency is observed also at the intraregional level, with the exception of Western Europe. Thirdly, demographic and health survey data for 26 developing countries point to a frequent divergence over time in the within-country distribution of gains in the infant mortality and under-5 mortality rates among children living in urban versus rural areas and belonging to families part of different quantiles of the asset distribution. The paper concludes by underscoring the similarities and linkages between changes in income inequality and health inequality and suggests some tentative explanations of these trends without, however, formally testing them.
  • Topic: Development, Health, Human Welfare
  • Political Geography: Europe, Eastern Europe
  • Author: Fabrizio Carmignani, Abdur Chowdhury
  • Publication Date: 12-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: We study whether financial openness facilitates the economic integration of formerly centrally planned economies with the EU- 15. Two dimensions of economic integration are considered: cross-country convergence of per-capita incomes and bilateral trade in goods and services. We find that more financially open economies effectively catch-up faster and trade more with the EU-15. These integration-enhancing effects occur over and above any effect stemming from domestic financial deepening and other factors determining growth and trade.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Iftekhar Hasan, Leonardo Becchetti
  • Publication Date: 12-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: We analyse two potential effects arising from regional (and with EU) integration—increased quality of institutions (including the quality of financial institutions) and, economic policies and reduced multilateral exchange rate volatility— in a conditional convergence growth framework for MENA countries. To this purpose we outline an ad hoc methodology which implements the traditional bilateral exchange rate measures to test effects of multilateral exchange rate volatility on growth of per capita GDP. Our estimates show that both factors (quality of institutions and reduction of multilateral volatility) significantly and positively affect growth and conditional convergence. We observe that MENA countries are not far from EU and OECD countries in terms of exchange rate volatility, but much below in terms of institutional quality. We finally simulate the potential effects of an improvement in institutional quality in MENA countries on their process of growth and conditional convergence. We conclude arguing that regional integration may be highly beneficial for such countries, mainly because of its effects on institutional quality.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Regional Cooperation
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: George Mavrotas
  • Publication Date: 12-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: The paper discusses the International Finance Facility (IFF), a joint HM Treasury-DFID proposal to increase development aid substantially for the Millennium Development Goals to be achieved by 2015. The main conclusion of the paper is that the proposed IFF is a promising, forward-looking and creative proposal for it implies a substantial increase in fresh, predictable and stable aid as well as a robust financial structure. However, there are a number of concerns about potential shortcomings of the proposal, namely its underlying assumptions about continuous commitment on behalf of the donor community towards the implementation of the IFF during the life of the Facility and most importantly its heavy reliance on political coordination among donor countries participating in the proposed scheme. Potential absorptive capacity constraints in IFF aid-recipient countries may be also relevant. Achieving its huge political task as well as alleviating the crucial constraints regarding its successful implementation seem to be the main challenges this innovative proposal needs to deal with in the near future.
  • Topic: Development, International Cooperation, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: United Kingdom, Europe
  • Author: Michael Förster, David Jesuit, Timothy Smeeding
  • Publication Date: 09-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This paper reports levels of income inequality and poverty in four Central and Eastern European countries: the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Russia. Unlike many previous researchers who examine transition economies, we aggregate the detailed individual-level income surveys made available through the efforts of the Luxembourg Income Study at the regional level of analysis. Although national-level investigations have contributed much to our understanding of the income distribution dynamics, these studies mask intracountry variance in levels of income inequality and thus may not capture the true distribution of household income and accurately reflect individual wellbeing. Accordingly, we compute summary measures of inequality and relative poverty rates, using both local and national relative poverty lines, for the most recent waves of data available. We offer comparisons between regional and national median incomes and assess levels of inter- and intraregional income inequality. In addition, we make comparisons to regions within Western European countries and find that, contrary to what is often asserted, interregional disparities in Central and Eastern Europe countries are not as large as those found in some Western European countries.
  • Topic: Development, Poverty
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Eastern Europe, Poland, Hungary, Czech Republic, Luxembourg
  • Author: Alan Heston, Bettina Aten
  • Publication Date: 08-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Accurate regional estimates of output are desired as an indicator of level of development and as a variable used to explain internal migration, demand patterns, fertility and other aspects of behaviour. This chapter explores one often neglected aspect of regional income differences, namely that due to price differences or regional purchasing power parities. When nominal regional income measures are adjusted for these price level differences they are termed real regional incomes. The preferred method of estimating regional purchasing power parities by detailed price comparisons is discussed for Brazil, the United States and the European Union. The empirical thrust of the chapter is an investigation of different methods for estimating regional real incomes based on PPP data for 167 countries and nominal regional incomes and other data for about 870 administrative areas at the subnational level. Even in their present form we believe the real income estimates provided for the geographical units present opportunities for understanding the world economic structure.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Brazil
  • Author: Lucian Cernat, Sam Laird, Luca Monge-Roffarello, Alessandro Turrini
  • Publication Date: 06-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Using a computable general equilibrium simulation model and partial equilibrium simulations, based on the SMART model, the paper attempts to assess the aggregate worldwide distribution of gains and losses of the EU's Everything But Arms (EBA) initiative for both LDCs and third developing countries under different scenarios.
  • Topic: Development, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Andrés Solimano
  • Publication Date: 04-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: At the turn of the twentieth century, a large number of Europeans, mostly from Italy and Spain, left their homelands and headed to the distant shores of Argentina in response to the good economic opportunities, fertile land and hopes for a better future that were to be found there. At the time, Argentina was one of the most vibrant world economies. Between 1870 and 1930, around seven million people migrated from Europe to Argentina, although nearly three million returned at some different point during those years. Also foreign capital responded to the opportunities offered by Argentina, and British financial institutions funded an important part of the construction of national infrastructure needed to support growth. In contrast, European migration to Argentina virtually stopped in the 1950s, and in the next 30 years or so the country become a net exporter of professionals who were fleeing economic decline, poor opportunities and authoritarian regimes. Moreover, during this period, financial capital steadily left Argentina looking for safer places. Nowadays, and in contrary to the flow of people a century ago, Argentineans are leaving in large numbers to Spain, Italy and other destinations. Emigration this time is associated with the collapse of the country's currency experiment of the 1990s which left a legacy of massive output decline, high unemployment, financial crisis and lost hopes.
  • Topic: Development, Emerging Markets, International Political Economy, Migration, Poverty
  • Political Geography: Europe, Argentina, Spain, Italy
  • Author: Tito Bianchi
  • Publication Date: 10-1999
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: The development literature considers associations an important economic development tool that allows producers to pursue their economic welfare collectively and through participatory means. This paper comparatively analyses the experience of three associations of agricultural producers in the underdeveloped regions of Brazil and Italy that were successful in this economic development task. Their experience, however, challenges a commonly held view about the participatory nature of associations.
  • Topic: Development, Economics
  • Political Geography: Europe, Brazil, South America, Latin America