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  • 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: 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: Peilei Fan
  • Publication Date: 03-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Both China and India, the emerging giants in Asia, have achieved significant economic development in recent years. China has enjoyed a high annual GDP growth rate of 10 per cent and India has achieved an annual GDP growth rate of 6 per cent since 1981. Decomposing China and India's GDP growth from 1981 to 2004 into the three factors' contribution reveals that technology has contributed significantly to both countries' GDP growth, especially in the 1990s. R outputs (high-tech exports, service exports, and certified patents from USPTO) and inputs (R expenditure and human resources) further indicate that both countries have been very committed to R and their output is quite efficient.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: China, 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: William Lazonick
  • Publication Date: 07-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: The notion that good corporate governance means maximizing shareholder value derives from the neoclassical theory of the market economy. I explain why this perspective is highly problematic for understanding the operation and performance of the business corporation and hence the institutions that, for the sake of economic development, should govern it. The main problem is that the market-economy perspective cannot comprehend the process of innovation, including the role of the business corporation. I construct a theory of the innovating firm that, when embedded in comparative-historical analysis, provides a basis for analyzing the relation between corporate governance institutions and economic development.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Government, Markets
  • 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: Hyun H. Son, Nanak Kakwani
  • Publication Date: 05-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This paper suggests how the targeting efficiency of government programmes may be better assessed. Using the 'pro-poor policy' (PPP) index developed by authors, the study investigates the pro-poorness of not only government programmes geared to the poorest segment of the population, but also basic service delivery in education, health and infrastructure. This paper also shows that the targeting efficiency for a particular socioeconomic group should be judged on the basis of a 'total-group PPP index', to capture the impact of operating a programme within the group. Using micro-unit data from household surveys, the paper presents a comparative analysis for Thailand, Russia, Vietnam and 15 African countries.
  • Topic: International Relations, Economics, Government, Poverty
  • Political Geography: Africa, Russia, Vietnam, 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: Indranil Dutta
  • Publication Date: 04-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: In this paper we explore what impact, if any, government debts have on achieving the Millennium Development Goals for the Indian states. To fulfill the goals, national governments, especially in the developing world, have to undertake major investments in the social sector; but how much they will really be able to do so will depend on the conditions of their finances. For the Indian states we find that government investment in the social sector is extremely important to reduce poverty, but the government's debt burden is actually stopping several states from attaining the MDG targets. Although, in the medium term the impact of the debt on poverty is not very harmful, in the longer run it has a significant negative impact. Therefore for policy purposes reduction in debt should be given a priority.
  • Topic: Debt, Government, Poverty
  • Political Geography: India, Asia
  • Author: Eric M. Uslaner
  • Publication Date: 04-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Economic inequality provides a fertile breeding ground for corruption and, in turn, leads to further inequalities. Most corruption models focus on the institutional determinants of government dishonesty. However, such accounts are problematic. Corruption is remarkably sticky over time. There is a very powerful correlation between crossnational measures corruption in 1980 and in 2004. In contrast, measures of democracy such as the Freedom House scores are not so strongly correlated over time, and changes in corruption are unrelated to changes in institutional design. On the other hand, inequality and trust-like corruption are also sticky over time. The connection between inequality and the quality of government is not necessarily so simple. The aggregate relationships between inequality and corruption are not strong. The path from inequality to corruption may be indirect, through generalized trust, but the connection is key to understanding why some societies are more corrupt than others. This study estimates a simultaneous equation model of trust, corruption, perceptions of inequality, confidence in government, and demands for redistribution in Romania, and shows that perceptions of rising inequality and corruption lead to lower levels of trust and demands for redistribution.
  • Topic: Corruption, Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Deepak Nayyar
  • Publication Date: 03-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This paper seeks to analyze the prospects for development in a changed international context, where globalization has diminished the policy space so essential for countries that are latecomers to development. The main theme is that, to use the available policy space for development, it is necessary to redesign strategies by introducing correctives and to rethink development by incorporating different perspectives, if development is to bring about an improvement in the well-being of people. In redesigning strategies, some obvious correctives emerge from an understanding of theory and a study of experience that recognizes not only the diversity but also the complexity of development. In rethinking development, it is imperative to recognize the importance of initial conditions, the significance of institutions, the relevance of politics in economics and the critical role of good governance. Even if difficult, there is also a clear need to create more policy space for national development, by reshaping the rules of the game in the world economy and contemplating some governance of globalization.
  • Topic: International Relations, Development, Globalization, Government
  • Author: Mihly Simai
  • Publication Date: 02-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: At the beginning of the twenty -first century there is a rare coincidence of profound transformations in a number of areas, in population dynamics, in human settlements, in science and technology, economics, social stratification, in the role and functions of the states and in the global power structure and in governance. The systemic transformation of the former socialist countries is an important component of the ongoing changes Political, economic, and social conditions vary immensely throughout the world, influenced by the size, natural endowments, development level, economic structure, political and institutional patterns, and competitiveness of the countries. The new state and non-state actors make the system of interests and values more diverse. All these have a major influence on the future of the global development process. The paper concludes that developing societies do not need old textbook models, neoliberal or other utopias. There is widespread demand for a new scientific thinking on development, with realistic and humanistic alternatives helping collaborative global and national actions.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Globalization, Government
  • Author: Guillermo Rozenwurcel
  • Publication Date: 02-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: After the Great Depression and throughout the rest of the twentieth century, Latin American countries basically approached economic development following two successive and quite opposed strategies. The first one was import substitution industrialization. The second was the so-called Washington Consensus approach. While the two views were founded on quite opposite premises, neither the import substitution industrialization nor the Washington Consensus managed to deliver sustained economic development to Latin American countries. Two domestic elements are crucial to understand this outcome. One is the failure of the state. The second is the inability to achieve mature integration into the world economy.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: Washington, South America, Latin America
  • Author: Alemayehu Geda, Abebe Shimeles
  • Publication Date: 12-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: In 1991 the Ethiopian Revolution Democratic Front (EPRDF) toppled the old 'socialist' regime that had ruled the country for seventeen years. In contrast to the previous policy regime of hard control, EPRDF initiated a wide range of reforms that covered not only the tax system but also the exchange rate, interest rates, trade, domestic production and distribution. This pa per attempts to explore the contribution of the tax reform, the change s in its structure and institutional reform in order to understand its role in raising revenue.
  • Topic: Democratization, Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: Africa, Ethiopia
  • Author: Robert Osei, Oliver Morrissey, Tim Lloyd
  • Publication Date: 09-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: An important feature of aid to developing countries is that it is given to the government. As a result, aid should be expected to affect fiscal behaviour, although theory and existing evidence is ambiguous regarding the nature of these effects. This paper applies techniques developed in the 'macroeconometrics' literature to estimate the dynamic linkages between aid and fiscal aggregates. Vector autoregressive methods are applied to 34 years of annual data in Ghana to model the effect of aid on fiscal behaviour. Results suggest that aid to Ghana has been associated with reduced domestic borrowing and increased tax effort, combining to increase public spending. This constructive use of aid to maintain fiscal balance is evident since the mid-1980s, following Ghana's structural adjustment programme. The pa per provides evidence that aid has been associated with improved fiscal performance in Ghana, implying that the aid has been used sensibly (at least in fiscal terms).
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: Africa, Ghana
  • Author: Anne Trebilcock
  • Publication Date: 04-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: The ILO was founded for social justice, a mandate expressed today in terms of decent work as a global goal, for all who work, whether in formal or informal contexts. In June 2002, the delegates to the International Labour Conference from governments, workers' and employers' organizations adopted a resolution incorporating conclusions on decent work and the informal economy. The four components of decent work – opportunities for employment and income, respect for rights at work, social protection and stronger social dialogue – form the backbone of the ILO's approach to the informal economy. These elements can also be seen through a development lens, and necessarily feature a strong gender dimension. To make the action foreseen by the ILC conclusions more easily operational in a cross-disciplinary way, the issues they address can be cast in terms of macro policy, governance, enhancement of productivity, markets and employment, social protection/addressing vulnerabilities, and representation and voice. All play key roles in poverty reduction. Moreover, recognizing the importance of measuring progress towards decent work, developments in relation to indicators are briefly described. This paper includes annexes reproducing the ILC conclusions along with two relevant resolutions adopted by the International Conference of Labour Statisticians and a list of ILO websites that address various aspects of decent work and the informal economy.
  • Topic: International Relations, Civil Society, Economics, Government
  • Author: Marcel Fafchamps, Christine Moser
  • Publication Date: 01-2004
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This paper investigates the relationship between criminal activity and geographical isolation. Using data from Madagascar, we show that, after we control for population composition and risk factors, crime increases with distance from urban centers and, with few exceptions, decreases with population density. In Madagascar, crime and insecurity are associated with isolation, not urbanization. This relationship is not driven by placement of law enforcement personnel which is shown to track crime, but fails to reduce feelings of insecurity in the population. Other risk factors have effects similar to those discussed in the literature on developed countries. We find a positive association between crime and the presence of law enforcement personnel, probably due to reporting bias. Law enforcement personnel helps solve crime but appears unable to prevent it.
  • Topic: Crime, Demographics, Government
  • Political Geography: Africa, Madagascar
  • Author: Robin Boadway
  • Publication Date: 12-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This paper considers lessons from the practice of fiscal federalism for guidance on new approaches to development finance. Despite the fact that inter-regional redistribution in a federation relies on a central government with strong fiscal powers, the form of that redistribution can be used as a benchmark for international development assistance financing. In a federation, finance for less-developed regions takes the form of equalizing transfers to sub-national governments. The objective of these transfers is to enable sub-national governments to provide comparable levels of public services at comparable tax rates, called fiscal equity, leaving them discretion to implement interpersonal redistribution schemes within their jurisdictions. This same principle of assuming that national governments rather than donor nations are responsible for vertical equity within their borders leads to the view that the ideal form of development assistance is a system of equalizing inter-nation transfers intended to enhance fiscal equity.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Government, International Trade and Finance
  • Author: André Decoster, Inna Verbina
  • Publication Date: 08-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: The interplay of a differentiated indirect tax structure and the variation in expenditure patterns across households, leads to a possibly unequal distribution of indirect tax liabilities across the population. This paper uses the ninth round of the RLMS survey to assess the distributional consequences of the two major components of the indirect tax system: VAT and excise taxes. The global indirect system can be considered to be progressive overall, according to the Kakwani index. Decomposition into constituent terms shows that this is due not only to a progressive VAT structure, but also to progressive excise taxes. This surprising result is mainly explained by the progressivity of the excise tax on car fuel, but might also be sensitive to peculiarities in the data about alcohol consumption.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: Russia
  • Author: Claudia Tazreiter
  • Publication Date: 02-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: During the last decade measures of overt and covert surveillance, information sharing and deterrence of the illegal movement of people has increased within and between states. Border security has come to dominate international relations, and increasingly to deflect the needs of asylum-seekers who search for a state that will offer them substantive protection under the Refugee Convention. Measures of internal and external deterrence diminish the reality of protection to genuine refugees as some of the most vulnerable individuals in the world today. Australia, as a country of relative geographic isolation, has not experienced the large-scale influxes of asylum-seekers seen in many parts of the world. Notwithstanding this, the Australian Government has in recent years implemented harsh policy and administrative measures directed at asylum-seekers with a substantial measure of public support. In August 2001, an incident involving 433 asylum-seekers was branded in popular discourse an 'asylum crisis'. This incident involved a Norwegian freighter, the Tampa, which picked up survivors from a sinking boat who were making their way to Australian waters in order seek protection under the Refugee Convention. The Tampa was repelled by Australian security forces from disembarking the people they had picked up in distress on Australian soil. In this article, I explore the Tampa incident against the backdrop of refugee policy development from 1999. I argue that rather than responding to a crisis, the Australian government has generated the perception of a crisis in the Australian community. Implications of the Australian response to asylum-seekers are significant not only in the Asia/Pacific region, but further afield, as policy responses toward asylum-seekers by receiving states have converged in the recent past.
  • Topic: International Relations, Government, Human Welfare, Migration
  • Political Geography: Australia/Pacific
  • Author: S. Mansoob Murshed, Tony Addison, Abdur R. Chowdhury
  • Publication Date: 05-2002
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Financial development is vulnerable to social conflict. Conflict reduces the demand for domestic currency as a medium of exchange and a store of value. Conflict also leads to poor quality governance, including weak regulation of the financial system, thereby undermining the sustainability of financial institutions. Conflict therefore reduces the social return to financial liberalization and other financial-sector reforms. This paper presents a theoretical model integrating the effects of conflict and financial liberalization, and then tests the model on data for 79 countries. Using an explanatory variable that measures the intensity of conflict (from low to high) the results show that conflict significantly reduces financial development, and that this negative effect increases as conflict intensifies. The paper concludes that conflict reduction is essential if financial reform is to have its full benefit for development.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Development, Government, Political Economy
  • Author: Paul Collier
  • Publication Date: 04-2002
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: The paper considers the macroeconomic impact of shocks to agricultural output and of negative and positive price shocks. It is shown that negative price shocks have particularly large externalities: it is estimated that the overall impact of these negative shocks on GDP may well be double their direct impact. In terms of policy, the presence of externalities justifies subsidising the provision of insurance. If insurance is not feasible, then foreign aid may be helpful. Turning to other systemic shocks, it is argued that the macroeconomic consequences of negative output shocks are far less important. Positive price shocks also have substantial macroeconomic externalities via their effect on asset demand. Appropriate central bank policy is crucial and requires a detailed understanding of asset demand changes in response to price shocks. Since this may well be unlikely, dollarization may be a better strategy.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, International Trade and Finance
  • Author: Barbara Stallings, Rogerio Studart
  • Publication Date: 04-2002
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: The paper deals with changes in the regulation and supervision of the Latin American financial sector in the aftermath of the 'Tequila Crisis' of 1994–95. While it finds that both have improved, regulation and supervision cannot resolve all problems; good macroeconomic policy and performance are essential complements. This is especially true because of the procyclical nature of financial activity. The paper presents both regional data for Latin America, contrasting it with other emerging markets, and four country case studies (Argentina, Brazil, Chile, and Mexico). The latter show how individual country characteristics and experiences affect the operation of the financial systems. We close with some policy recommendations.
  • Topic: Economics, Emerging Markets, Government
  • Political Geography: Brazil, Argentina, South America, Latin America, North America, Mexico, Chile
  • Author: Andrew McKay
  • Publication Date: 04-2002
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Fiscal policy measures are a key means by which governments can influence distribution and poverty, but in fact the relationships between fiscal policy and poverty are not well understood. The most commonly used technique for assessing the distributional impact, benefit incidence analysis, is straightforward, but applied by itself it suffers from a number of serious limitations. Assessment of the impact of fiscal policy needs to be developed in various directions, including allowing for behavioural responses and incorporating a broader range of information. In parallel with this careful attention needs to be paid to more effective monitoring of the poverty impsact of fiscal policy.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, International Trade and Finance
  • Author: Carlos Budnevich L.
  • Publication Date: 04-2002
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: For many emerging market economies, over reliance on monetary policy may bring worse macro results, when compared to a more balanced framework of countercyclical fiscal and monetary policy. The use of countercyclical fiscal policy requires as a precondition solvent and sustainable fiscal accounts and the re-engineering of fiscal institutions to increase the timeliness and flexibility of fiscal policy. A higher degree of tax or pension fund and/or unemployment insurance contribution flexibility may help in economies subject to significant external shocks. Automatic indexing rules to terms of trade or country risk spreads for pension contributions and interest payments on public debt may also contribute to the stabilization effort. If fiscal revenues are highly volatile, structural budget rules and commodity stabilization funds may provide the necessary framework to achieve saving (dissaving) during expansions (contractions).
  • Topic: Economics, Government, International Trade and Finance
  • Author: Mark McGillivray, Simon Feeny
  • Publication Date: 04-2002
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This paper looks at public sector debt in developing countries, being concerned specifically with the relationship between aid inflows and the public sector borrowing requirement net of aid loans. After examining the public sector budget constraint and various conditions under which aid might lead to an increase in this borrowing, the paper surveys the empirical results of literature on aid and public sector fiscal behaviour. It finds that the results of a number of studies are consistent with aid leading to increases in this borrowing. Further investigation, in the form of econometric analysis of panel data, also points to this outcome. The paper then looks at a number of theoretical scenarios in which aid leads to increases in borrowing net of aid loans.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, International Trade and Finance
  • Author: Chris Elbers, Peter Lanjouw, Johan Mistiaen, Gabriel Demombynes, Jenny Lanjouw, Berk Özler
  • Publication Date: 03-2002
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This paper implements a methodology for estimating poverty in Ecuador, Madagascar and South Africa, at levels of disaggregation that to date have not generally been available. The methodology is based on a statistical procedure to combine household survey data with population census data, imputing into the latter a measure of per capita consumption from the former. The countries are very unlike each other—with different geographies, stages of development, quality and types of data, and so on. Yet the paper demonstrates that in all three countries the poverty estimates produced from census data are both plausible (in that they match well stratum-level estimates calculated directly from the household surveys) and satisfactorily precise (at a level of disaggregation far below that allowed by household surveys).
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Government, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: South Africa
  • Author: Steve Kayizzi-Mugerwa
  • Publication Date: 03-2002
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: After more than a decade of economic decline and civil war, Uganda was able to return to economic growth thanks to the policies pursued by Museveni's National Resistance Movement which elicited considerable donor support. They include macroeconomic reforms, public sector restructuring, privatisation and decentralization, all with emphasis on poverty reduction. The government recognises that fiscal policy is the key to success and much effort has, in the past decade, gone towards fiscal reforms and the improvement of institutional capacities. Still, in a country with limited finances and a thin tax base the competition for resources has been stiff. While the government has been able to embark on initiatives such as universal primary education, thanks to an improved revenue base and donor support, the decentralization drive is hindered by serious fiscal constraints at the local level.
  • Topic: Development, Government, Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Uganda, Africa
  • Author: Sonia Bhalotra
  • Publication Date: 03-2002
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This paper investigates the effect of a food subsidy programme in India on child malnutrition by addressing the following linked questions using household survey data that includes information on usage of the public distribution system. First, does the food subsidy induce higher expenditures on food? Second, are there gender inequalities in the distribution of food within the household, and in the gains from the food subsidy? Third, does food spending impact on child health? Is this effect similar for boys and girls and in the short and the medium term? These questions are of interest with respect to the unusually high incidence of malnutrition in India, and they are topical in the context of current and controversial reform of the public distribution system through which the food subsidy operates.
  • Topic: Development, Government
  • Political Geography: South Asia, India
  • Author: Jonathan Conning, Michael Kevane
  • Publication Date: 02-2002
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This paper proposes to organize thinking about the opportunities for improving and extending financial markets and safety nets for the poor, by focusing on factors that may explain why the linkage of local financial networks and safety nets with the larger economy often fails or is incomplete. Understanding the nature of these impediments is the first step in proposing policies to help promote more effective linkage and intermediation. We propose four explanations for the slowness of adoption of intermediation (high costs of delegated monitoring aggravated by limited intermediary capital; lock-in and crowding out effects from local insurance arrangements, social norms against cooperation with intermediaries; and political resistance to new institutions that shift the balance of power in local polities). Of course, financial repression and weak legal systems remains important as cause of lack of intermediation. We conclude with a review of public policy for more effective intermediation.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Government
  • Author: Clas Wihlborg
  • Publication Date: 02-2002
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Insolvency and debt recovery procedures are as crucial to a well-performing financial sector as credit provision itself. They are even more important in Africa, where attempts are underway to create fully-fledged financial markets. For the financial system to be credible, creditors must be ensured that lenders will meet their obligations and that cases against them will be brought to closure. A good legal framework for insolvency also ensures distressed firms a form of orderly exit, thereby enabling their owners to start afresh. However, institutions of this nature take time to take effect, and need to be supported politically and by reforms in other sectors of the economy.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Jean-Philippe Platteau
  • Publication Date: 02-2002
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Customary rules governing access to land and other natural resources in village societies have characteristics that allow them to fulfil social security functions and achieve equity objectives. This is true of both common-property resources and land parcels held under individualized tenure. However, when land pressure increases under the combined influences of population growth and market integration, a shift occurs from extensive to intensive resource use patterns. As a result, the efficiency costs of erstwhile equity-and insurance-oriented arrangements rise, thus forcing them to evolve significantly. In particular, land tenure arrangements undergo a major transformation towards more individualized forms with the consequence that property rights in land are increasingly defined without regard for equity and insurance concerns.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Government
  • Author: Elisabetta Bertero, Laura Rondi
  • Publication Date: 01-2002
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This paper contributes to the literature on the role of decentralization in hardening the budget constraint of public enterprises. Following Qian and Roland the study adopts a 'federalist' approach. However, it interprets federalism as the upward devolution of domestic economic policies to a supranational authority and examines its role in disciplining public enterprises operating in a soft budget regime. The methodology is a case study of the shift in budget regime in Italy in the late 1980s. The study shows that a determinant role in driving this shift was played by European economic policies. The discipline imposed by participation in the EMS, the Single Market Programme and, later, the requirements to enter the EMU pushed the Italian government toward a much tougher approach to its budget deficit.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: M.H. Suryanarayana
  • Publication Date: 01-2002
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Specification counts in the formulation of any economic problem, estimation of its magnitude and its assessment. This is particularly so for problems in the context of economic development. Solutions for poverty alleviation in developing countries like India are often formulated under misspecified premises. This results in wrong choice and design of strategies and policies. Faulty evaluation due to specification errors in estimates of poverty only compounds the error. This paper discusses such an in issue in the context of strategies for and estimates of poverty reduction in the developing countries. The results are general. They are illustrated with reference to India.
  • Topic: Development, Government
  • Political Geography: South Asia, India
  • Author: Jiahua Che
  • Publication Date: 01-2002
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: I present a study of ownership of firms under government rent seeking. Using its control of regulated inputs, a government agency extracts rents from a manager who undertakes an investment. Such a government rent seeking activity leads to a typical hold-up problem. Government ownership is shown to serve as a second best commitment mechanism through which the government agency will restrain itself from the rent seeking activity and even offer the manager support and favor such as tax breaks and subsidies. This mechanism works at a cost as government ownership compromises ex post managerial incentives and creates distortion in resource allocation. Nevertheless, government ownership may Pareto dominate private ownership under certain conditions. These conditions correspond to a host of stylized empirical observations concerning local government-owned firms (township-village enterprises) during China's transition to a market economy.
  • Topic: Development, Emerging Markets, Government
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Steve Kayizzi-Mugerwa
  • Publication Date: 01-2002
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Although privatization has been a key feature of economic policy in Africa since the early 1990s its sequencing and intensity have varied from country to country, with donor leverage being an important determinant of the pace of implementation. However, although many privatization schemes were undertaken in response to donor demands for reduced government participation in business, the process soon achieved its own dynamics. The positive view of privatization suggests that it went ahead, in spite of domestic opposition, because politicians and bureaucrats perceived real benefits to themselves and their supporters. They could influence the sales to their own benefit, while, on the other hand, a more focused public sector improved service delivery.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Stuart L. Gillan, Laura T. Starks
  • Publication Date: 01-2002
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: We examine the role of institutional investors in financial markets and in corporate governance. In many countries, institutional investors have become the predominant players in financial markets and their influence worldwide is growing, chiefly due to the privatization and development of pension fund systems. Moreover, foreign institutional investors are becoming a significant presence, bringing their trading habits and corporate governance preferences to international markets. In fact, we argue that the primary actors prompting change in many corporate governance systems are institutional investors, often foreign institutional investors. In other countries the role of institutional investors is limited. Instead, large blockholders, often in the form of individuals, family groups, other corporations, or lending institutions are the dominant players. We present the theoretical arguments for the involvement of investors in shareholder monitoring and a brief history of institutional ownership and activism in the United States and other countries. We also discuss studies of the efficacy of such activism.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Hulya Dagdeviren, Rolph van der Hoeven, John Weeks
  • Publication Date: 01-2002
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Recent development literature has placed priority on poverty reduction, and on possible growth enhancement from a more equal distribution of assets and income. At the same time, empirical work consistently shows that economic growth is no more than distribution neutral. In that context, this paper explores the relationship among growth, inequality and poverty, and demonstrates the following general conclusions: 1) a redistributive growth path is always likely to be superior to a distribution neutral path ('trickle down') for reducing poverty; 2) a redistributive growth path is always superior if a country's per capita income and inequality are relatively high; and 3) a static redistribution from the rich to the poor is superior to a redistributive growth path in its effect on poverty for most countries, but not for all. The paper then considers policy that might be used to make growth more equitable.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Government, Poverty
  • Author: Ritva Reinikka, Jakob Svensson
  • Publication Date: 12-2001
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Using panel data from an unique survey of public primary schools in Uganda we assess the degree of leakage of public funds in education. The survey data reveal that on average, during the period 1991-95, schools received only 13 percent of what the central government contributed to the schools' non-wage expenditures. The bulk of the allocated spending was either used by public officials for purposes unrelated to education or captured for private gain (leakage). Moreover we find that resource flows and leakages are endogenous to school characteristics. Rather than being passive recipients of flows from government, schools use their bargaining power vis-à-vis other parts of government to secure greater shares of funding. Resources are therefore not necessarily allocated according to the rules underlying government budget decisions, with potential equity and efficiency implications.
  • Topic: Education, Government, Human Welfare
  • Political Geography: Uganda, Africa
  • Author: Harry Flam, Per Jansson
  • Publication Date: 04-2000
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: The partial effect of nominal exchange rate volatility on exports from each EMU member to the rest of the EMU is estimated on annual data for 1967-97, using modern time-series methods. The long-run relations between exchange rate volatility and exports are mostly negative and in several cases insignificantly different from zero. Thus, these estimates do not provide much support for the hypothesis that the elimination of nominal exchange rate volatility will significantly increase trade within the EMU. However, the EMU will presumably lead to geographical concentration of production and therefore indirectly to increased trade within the EMU and, during a transitional stage, to increased foreign direct investment, both within the EMU and between the EMU and the rest of the world.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, International Political Economy, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: David Begg
  • Publication Date: 04-2000
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: An interesting theory of transition must give a convincing account of structural adjustment and supply side improvement. In this paper, I discuss the incentives for government to undertake costly supply side improvement and how these relate to incentives governing the design of monetary and fiscal policy during transition. The government cares about deviations of inflation, output and government spending from their ideal levels, is subject to a budget constraint in which inflation yields some real revenue, and recognizes the distortionary effects of excess levels of taxation. Costly structural adjustment enhances future output by reducing supply side distortions.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, International Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Benjamin J. Cohen
  • Publication Date: 03-2000
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: The purpose of this paper is to explore economic and political implications of Europe's Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) for developing countries. In strictly economics terms, influences will be communicated through both trade and financial channels. Economies in the developing world will be affected by changes in European growth rates as well as by EMU's impact on transaction costs and enterprise competitiveness within Europe; they will also be impacted by changes in the structure and efficiency of Europe's capital markets. Modifications may be anticipated in borrowing and investment practices at the private level as well as in reserve and debt-management policies at the official level. In political terms, developing countries will be most directly influences by the anticipated rivalry between Europe's new single currency, the euro, and the dollar, which will compel developing countries to reconsider their own national currency strategies. Three conclusions stand out. First, except for selected groups of countries with particularly close ties to the EU, most economic linkages appear marginal at best. It is much easier to enumerate possible channels of transmission than to find many that appear quantitatively significant. Second, among economic effects of EMU, financial channels seem to matter more than trade channels. And third, across the full range of possible linkages, the most lasting influences for developing countries may well turn out, notably, to be political rather than either trade or financial. Significant changes are likely in exchange-rates regimes in many parts of the developing world.
  • Topic: Emerging Markets, Government, International Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Giovanni Cornia
  • Publication Date: 04-1999
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Well before the introduction of adjustment-related Social Funds (SFs), many developing countries had developed a variety of safety nets comprising food subsidies, nutrition interventions, employment-based schemes and targeted transfers. Middle-income and a few low-income countries had also achieved extensive coverage in the field of social insurance. In countries committed to fighting poverty, these programmes absorbed considerable resources (2-5 per cent of GDP, excluding social insurance) and had a large impact on job creation, income support and nutrition: for instance, in 1983, Chile's public works programme absorbed 13 per cent of the labour force. Their ability to expand quickly depended on a permanent structure of experienced staff, good portfolios of projects, clear management rules, adequate allocation of domestic resources, supply-driven execution and, with the exception of food subsidies, fairly good targeting.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Development, Government
  • Political Geography: Africa, United States, South Asia, South America, Latin America, Central America, Caribbean, Chile
  • Author: Cecilia Ugaz
  • Publication Date: 12-1999
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: The privatization trend affecting the state involvement in productive sectors is also challenging the role of the state in the provision of social services. And, as private participation in social sectors increases, a regulatory framework is needed to ensure that the market reaches socially efficient outcomes. The regulation of social services carries the problem of conceptualization. What is the aim of regulatory intervention in social sectors? And what is the market structure to which this regulatory constraint will be applied to? These are the questions we discuss in this paper, is devoted to analysing the role of regulation of social services in low-income countries within the so-called mixed economy of care, characterized by multiple providers: the state, the private sector, non-profit organizations.
  • Topic: Emerging Markets, Government, Third World
  • Author: Thorvaldur Gylfason
  • Publication Date: 10-1999
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: The paper begins by offering a quick glance of the Nordic economies and of some aspects of their economic growth performance and natural resource dependence since 1970. Thereafter, it reviews some of the main symptoms of the Dutch disease, and then considers whether these symptoms are observable in some of the Nordic countries in view of their abundant natural resources. The experience of Iceland and its fish seems an obvious point of departure. The paper then discusses the less obvious case of Norway and its oil (and fish!) and, at last, also reviews some possible linkages between forest resources and economic growth in Finland.
  • Topic: Economics, Environment, Government
  • Political Geography: Europe, Finland, Norway, Dutch
  • Author: Matti Pohjola
  • Publication Date: 11-1998
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: There is substantial evidence that new information technologies are in many ways transforming the operations of modern economies. More than half of employees use a computer at work in the most advanced industrial countries. About 10 per cent of the value of all private investment in fixed non-residential capital is devoted to computers and peripheral equipment in the United States and some other economies. This share goes up to 25 per cent when investment in information processing equipment is included. Nevertheless, all spending on information technology, including hardware, software and services, does not amount to more than 3-4 per cent of nominal GDP in these countries. The share is, however, increasing rapidly, indicating that a steady state has not yet been reached.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, Science and Technology
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Francis Kramarz
  • Publication Date: 10-1998
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: The rapid diffusion of computers has widely changed the consequences of computer use on the labour market. While at the beginning of the eighties knowledge of computers was an obvious advantage in a career, this same knowledge is now so commonplace that the inability to use these tools is widely seen in many industries as a professional handicap. In relation to such drastic transformations, changes in the North American wage structure during the eighties in favour of the better educated have been interpreted by many analysts as evidence of skill-biased technical change. Evidence outside the US, and in particular in Europe, seems to support the idea that similar transformations affected most other labour markets.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, Science and Technology
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe
  • Author: Richard M. Auty
  • Publication Date: 09-1998
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Since the 1960s the resource-rich developing economies have under-performed compared with the resource-deficient economies. This paper explains why and outlines the reforms that are required in order to achieve environmentally and socially sustainable resource-rich development. It argues that structural change in the resource-rich countries causes the tradeable sector to shrink vis-à-vis the nontradeables sector (that includes protected manufacturing) in a manner that is not sustainable. This adverse trend in the production structure is associated with policies to close the economy and create discretionary rents behind protective barriers that result in the cumulative misallocation of resources. The build-up of produced capital and skills is slower than in the successful resource-deficient countries. Overall, the inherently slower and less egalitarian economic growth trajectory of the resource-rich countries is intensified and the end result is usually a growth collapse. The collapse causes all forms of capital, including institutional, social and natural capital, to run down. Economic reform is therefore protracted and it may take in excess of one generation to restore sustainable rapid growth. The adverse features of resource-rich development tend to be more pronounced in the smaller countries. They are also heightened where the resource rents accrue mainly to the central government, as in the mineral economies and in the slow-reforming transition economies. Successful reform requires not only appropriate macro and micro policies, but also the construction of institutions to limit the scope for governments to misallocate resources. Part of the explanation for the superior performance of the resource-deficient countries is that their spartan endowment of natural capital acts as a constraint on government failure by placing a premium on the need to nurture scarce resources, including skills, institutions and social capital, and to achieve an efficient allocation of capital.
  • Topic: Economics, Environment, Government, International Political Economy