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  • Author: David M. Malone, Rohinton P. Medhora
  • Publication Date: 11-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Notions of development have varied over time, and so an account of the international organizations concerned with its advancement must be accordingly elastic. The roots of international organizations concerned with development lie in two aspects of global inter-connectedness. The first is the propagation and management of a nascent technology for the global good. Thus were born the International Telegraph Union (ITU, now the International Telecommunication Union) in 1865 and the General Postal Union (GPU, now the Universal Postal Union) in 1874.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Emerging Markets, International Cooperation, International Organization, Post Colonialism
  • Author: Augustin Kwasi Fosu
  • Publication Date: 01-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: The study presents recent global evidence on the transformation of economic growth to poverty reduction in developing countries, with emphasis on the role of income inequality. The focus is on the period since the early/mid-1990s when growth in these countries as a group has been relatively strong, surpassing that of the advanced economies. Both regional and country-specific data are analysed for the US$1.25 andUS$2.50 level poverty headcount ratios using the most recent World Bank data. The study finds that on average income growth has been the major driving force behind both the declines and increases in poverty. The study, however, documents substantial regional and country differences that are masked by this 'average' dominant growth story. While in the majority of countries growth was the major factor behind falling...
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Poverty, Third World
  • Political Geography: United States
  • 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: Samuel Kobina Annim
  • Publication Date: 01-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This paper examines the combined effect of interest rates and poverty levels of microfinance clients on loan size. Cross section data on 2,691 clients and non-clients households from Ghana is used to test the hypothesis of loan price inelasticity. Quantile regression and variants of least squares methods that explore endogeneity are employed. We find the expected inverse relationship only for the 20th to 40th quantile range. The semi-elasticity of loan amount responsiveness to a unit change in interest rate is more than proportionate and significant for the poorest group only. Market segmentation based on poverty level is suggested in targeting and sustaining microfinance clients.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Markets, Poverty, Foreign Aid
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Konstantin M. Wacker
  • Publication Date: 01-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This paper first shows that important economic arguments in favor of the Prebisch- Singer hypothesis of falling terms of trade of developing countries have implicitly relied on the role of multinational corporations and foreign direct investment. As of yet, the relationship between the latter and terms of trade has not been empirically investigated. In order to start closing this gap in research, data on 111 developing countries between 1980 and 2008 is analyzed using panel data methods. The empirical results suggest that there is no reason to believe multinationals' activities were responsible for a possible decrease of the developing countries' net barter terms of trade. On the contrary, foreign direct investment seems to play a positive role for developing countries' terms of trade.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Foreign Direct Investment
  • Author: Michael Cohen
  • Publication Date: 03-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: International narratives on Argentina's recovery from the crisis of 2001-02 tend to emphasize the role of rising commodity prices and growing demand from China. Argentina is said to have been 'lucky', saved by global demand for its agricultural exports. The international narrative has also been used by local agricultural exporters to justify their objections against higher export taxes during periods of high commodity prices. These narratives are not correct. Data on the country's recovery show that it was not led by agricultural exports but was fuelled by urban demand and production. When the Convertibility period ended and the peso was devalued in 2002, price increases for imports stimulated the production of domestic goods and services for consumers. This production in turn generated multiplier effects which supported small and medium-sized firms and helped to create many new jobs. This later produced a revival of the construction and then the manufacturing sectors as well.
  • Topic: Agriculture, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: China, Argentina, Latin America
  • Author: Lissette Aliaga Linares
  • Publication Date: 03-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Unlike in most Latin American cities, street vendors organized in farmers' markets popularly known as ferias libres in Santiago de Chile, gained legal recognition early in the twentieth century. Since then, comunas, or local municipalities, have provided vendors with individual licenses that stipulate the place and time of operations, and have defined a clear set of rules regarding customer service. However, this early legal recognition has not necessarily overcome the embedded conflict over the economic use of public space. As supermarkets become spatially positioned along the main streets within easy access of the city's transportation system, feriantes, or licensed street vendors, are being relocated in less profitable areas. Moreover, coleros, or unlicensed vendors, are still flourishing despite efforts to restrict their numbers.
  • Topic: Economics, Markets
  • Political Geography: Latin America, Chile
  • Author: Eduardo Lora, Andrew Powell
  • Publication Date: 03-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: A growing number of cities around the world have established systems of monitoring the quality of urban life. Many of those systems combine objective and subjective information and attempt to cover a wide variety of topics. This paper introduces a simple method that takes advantage of both types of information and provides criteria to identify and rank the issues of potential importance for urban dwellers. The method combines the so-called 'hedonic price' and 'life satisfaction' approaches to value public goods. Pilot case results for six Latin American cities are summarized and policy applications are discussed.
  • Topic: Economics, Urbanization
  • Political Geography: Latin America
  • Author: Mahvash Saeed Qureshi, Charalambos G. Tsangarides
  • Publication Date: 03-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This paper revisits the link between exchange rate regimes and trade in the context of Africa's exchange rate arrangements. Applying an augmented gravity model that includes measures of currency unions and pegged regimes, the paper compares Africa's experience with that of the world. Our results suggest that both currency unions and direct pegs promote bilateral trade in Africa vis-à-vis more flexible exchange rate regimes,and that their effect is almost double for the region than that for an average country in the world sample. Further, we find evidence that the effect of conventional pegs is at least as large as that of currency unions in Africa, and that the benefits of fixed exchange rate regimes stem through channels in addition to reduced exchange rate volatility.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Bilateral Relations, Monetary Policy
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Markus Brückner
  • Publication Date: 03-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: A common finding in the empirical civil war literature is that population size and per capita income are highly significant predictors of civil war incidence and onset. This paper shows that the common finding of population size and per capita income having a significant average effect on civil war risk in a world sample breaks down once country- and year-specific unobservables are accounted for. However, for Sub-Saharan Africa there continues to be a highly significant average effect of population size and per capita income on civil war risk that is robust to the use of country- and year-fixed effects and instrumental variable techniques.
  • Topic: Civil War, Demographics, Economics
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Steve Onyeiwu
  • Publication Date: 03-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This paper reviews the innovative capabilities and absorptive capacities of African countries, and investigates whether they have played significant roles in the region's slow and episodic economic growth. Results from cross-country regressions covering 31 Sub-Saharan African countries suggest that growth in Africa is not simply a question of capital accumulation, fertility rates, aid dependency, and stable macroeconomic environment. It is also about strengthening the capacity of African countries to assimilate and effectively use knowledge and technology. Contrary to the views held by many analysts, the growth of African economies does not depend so much on their ability to innovate, but rather on their capacity to absorb and effectively use new technologies. Beyond technological issues, the paper confirms the stylized facts that the size of the government and political stability are important for the growth performance of African countries.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Science and Technology
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • 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: Gary S. Fields, María Laura Sánchez Puerta
  • Publication Date: 01-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: In recent years, the economy of Argentina has experienced both rapid economic growth and severe economic decline. In this paper, we use a series of one -year long panels to study who gained the most in pesos when the economy grew and who lost the most in pesos when the economy contracted. To answer these questions, we test two hypotheses both unconditionally and conditionally. The 'divergence of earnings' hypothesis holds that in any given year, the highest earning individuals are those who experienced the largest earnings gains or the smallest earnings losses in pesos. The 'symmetry of gains and losses' hypothesis holds that those groups that gained the most in pesos when the economy grew are those that lost the most in pesos when the economy contracted. Both hypotheses are decisively rejected in the data.
  • Topic: Development, Economics
  • Political Geography: Argentina, South America
  • Author: Lino Briguglio, Gordon Cordina, Stephanie Vella, Nadia Farrugia
  • Publication Date: 05-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: In this paper, economic vulnerability is defined as the exposure of an economy to exogenous shocks, arising out of economic openness, while economic resilience is defined as the policy-induced ability of an economy to withstand or recover from the effects of such shocks. The paper briefly reviews the work already carried out on economic vulnerability and extends the research towards the development of a conceptual and methodological framework for the definition and measurement of economic resilience. Towards this end, the paper proposes an index of economic resilience gauging the adequacy of policy in four broad areas, namely macroeconomic stability, microeconomic market efficiency, good governance and social development.
  • Topic: Development, Economics
  • Author: S. Mansoob Murshed, Philip Verwimp
  • Publication Date: 04-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This paper models the instability of peace agreements, motivated by the empirical regularity with which peace agreements tend to break down following civil war. When war provides opportunities for profit to one side, or when other difficulties such as historical grievances exist, peace may become incentive incompatible. The party that has something to gain from surprise warfare may agree to peace, but will later renege on it. It is shown that the levels of conflict chosen by this group are an increasing function of both grievance and greed, but decreasing in the direct costs of war. Peace is achievable via externally devised mechanisms that enhance commitment to peace. Aid and direct military peacekeeping intervention (sanctions) can reduce or eliminate conflict. These sanctions, however, need to be credible. Finally, the independent provision and finance of international sanctions are considered. When these arrangements yield little benefit to financial sponsors, or are very costly to them, the bite of the sanctions can become ineffective.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Economics, Peace Studies, Treaties and Agreements
  • Author: Sanjeev Gupta
  • Publication Date: 02-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This paper explores the macroeconomic implications of aid flows in countries with weak institutions. It argues that these countries should take into account their overall macroeconomic position, their capacity to absorb aid at the sectoral and subnational levels, and the strength of their fiscal institutions in deciding how much and how fast to spend aid. These considerations may warrant a gradual use of aid, except when aid is provided for humanitarian purposes. There is some basis for frontloading spending for countries emerging from a conflict, otherwise fragile states should seek to smoothen their spending against the background of aid volatility and uncertainty.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Economics
  • Author: Thomas Gries, Wim Naudé
  • Publication Date: 06-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: A stylized fact of economic development is the structural transformation of countries from traditional, mainly agricultural societies to modern economies dominated by manufacturing and services. In this paper we provide an endogenous growth model to illuminate the role of entrepreneurial start-up firms in structural economic transformation. We follow the Lewis-model's distinction between a traditional and modern sector, and underpin this with micro-foundations. We specify mature and start- up entrepreneurs and make a distinction between survivalist self-employment activities in the traditional sector, and opportunity-driven entrepreneurship in the modern sector. The model shows how opportunity-driven entrepreneurship can drive structural transformation through innovation, provision of intermediate inputs and services (which permits greater specialization in manufacturing), and by increasing employment and productivity in both the modern and traditional sectors.
  • Topic: Development, Economics