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  • Author: Channing Arndt, M. Azhar Hussain, E. Samuel Jones, Virgulino Nhate, Finn Tarp1, James Thurlow
  • Publication Date: 03-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Measuring poverty remains a complex and contentious issue. This is particularly true in sub-Saharan Africa where poverty rates are higher, information bases typically weaker, and the underlying determinants of welfare relatively volatile. This paper employs recently collected data on household consumption in Mozambique to examine the evolution of consumption poverty with focus on the period 2002/03 to 2008/09. The paper contributes in four areas. First, the period in question was characterized by major movements in international commodity prices. Mozambique provides an illuminating case study of the implications of these world commodity price changes for living standards of poor people. Second, a novel 'backcasting' approach using a computable general equilibrium model of Mozambique, linked to a poverty module.
  • Topic: Human Welfare, Poverty
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Mehmet Arda
  • Publication Date: 09-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: The importance of supermarkets in the world food economy has increased radically since the early 1990s. They are now major sellers and buyers of food items not only in developed but also in developing countries. Urbanization and the liberalization of the services sector have been important facilitators of this process.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Human Welfare
  • Political Geography: Latin America, Central America
  • Author: Guanghua Wan, Zhang-Yue Zhou
  • Publication Date: 09-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: A comparative study of the public distribution systems of foodgrains in India and China is expected to reveal lessons and experiences that are valuable to policymakers. This is particularly important for developing countries in their endeavour to ensure food security. This paper undertakes such an exercise. The main features and developments of the two public distribution systems are first highlighted. This is followed by a comparative analysis of their similarities and differences. The role of public foodgrain distribution systems in ensuring food security is then evaluated. Finally, policy implications are drawn.
  • Topic: Human Welfare, Poverty
  • Political Geography: China, India, Asia
  • Author: Prasanta K. Pattanaik, Craig Gundersen, Indranil Dutta
  • Publication Date: 08-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Food insecurity and hunger have traditionally been measured by aggregate food supplies or by variables correlated with food insecurity. Because these measures often poorly reflect individuals' true deprivation, economists have turned to surveys with direct questions about food insecurity. Using these surveys, households have then been classified into broad categories, a classification system which ignores the richness of the multiple questions. In this paper, we propose food insecurity measures, along the lines of the well established poverty measures, which incorporates this richness and allow us to reflect the depth and severity, in addition to the incidence, of food insecurity. Using these indices, we calculate the extent of food insecurity and hunger in the United States. Along with giving a richer picture of food insecurity in the US, these food insecurity measures demonstrates that the ordering of various demographic categories differs depends on the choice of measure.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Economics, Human Welfare, Poverty
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Benjamin Davis, Kathleen Beegle, Gero Caretto, Mauro Migotto
  • Publication Date: 08-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Food security is a complex and multi-dimensional phenomenon. As such, its measurement may entail and benefit from the combination of both 'qualitative-subjective' and 'quantitative-objective' indicators. Yet, the evidence on the external validity of subjective-type information is scarce, especially using representative household surveys. The aim of this paper is to compare information on self-perceived food consumption adequacy from the subjective modules of household surveys with standard quantitative indicators, namely calorie consumption, dietary diversity and anthropometry. Datasets from four countries are analysed: Albania, Indonesia, Madagascar and Nepal. Simple descriptive statistics, correlation coefficients, contingency tables and multivariate regression show that the 'subjective' indicator is at best poorly correlated with standard quantitative indicators. The paper concludes that while subjective food adequacy indicators may provide insight on the vulnerability dimension of food insecurity, they are too blunt an indicator for food insecurity targeting. An effort towards developing improved subjective food security modules that are contextually sensitive should go hand in hand with research into how to improve household survey data for food security measurement along other dimensions of the phenomenon, particularly calorie consumption.
  • Topic: Human Welfare
  • Political Geography: Africa, Europe, Indonesia, Asia, Nepal, Albania, Madagascar
  • Author: Stephen Bach
  • Publication Date: 08-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: The consequences of health professional mobility have become a prominent public policy concern. This paper considers trends in mobility amongst doctors and nurses and the consequences for health systems. Policy responses are shifting from a reactive agenda that focuses on stemming migration towards a more active agenda of managed migration that benefits source and destination countries. Improved working conditions and effective human resource practice are required to encourage retention of health professionals in both source and destination countries.
  • Topic: International Relations, Health, Human Welfare, Migration
  • Author: Sonia Bhalotra
  • Publication Date: 07-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This paper investigates the extent to which the decline in child mortality over the last three decades can be attributed to economic growth. In doing this, it exploits the considerable variation in growth over this period, across states and over time. The analysis is able to condition upon a number of economic and demographic variables. The estimates are used to produce a crude estimate of the rate of economic growth that would be necessary to achieve the Millennium Development Goal of reducing the under-5 mortality by two-thirds, from its level in 1990, by the year 2015. The main conclusion is that, while growth does have a significant impact on mortality risk, growth alone cannot be relied upon to achieve the goal.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Economics, Human Welfare
  • Political Geography: India
  • Author: S.S. Acharya
  • Publication Date: 07-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: India accounts for 16.7 per cent of the world's food consumers. With the exception of China, India's size in terms of food consumers is many times larger than the average size of the rest of the countries. At the time of independence in 1947, India was in the grip of a serious food crisis, which was accentuated by the partition of the country. The demand for food far exceeded supply, food prices were high and more than half of the population living below the poverty line with inadequate purchasing power. With high rates of population growth, the dependence on imported food increased further. However, the situation improved considerably after the mid-1960s, when new agricultural development strategy and food policies were adopted. The production of staple cereals increased substantially, mainly contributed by productivity improvements. The dependence on food imports decreased and the country became a marginal net exporter of cereals. There was also an improvement in physical and economic access of households to cereals and other nutritive food products. The proportion of households reporting hunger went down and the incidence of economic poverty reduced. This paper reviews the Indian approach to tackling the severe problem of food insecurity, which India faced immediately after independence. It reviews the evolution of food policy, the major policy instruments deployed, intervention in food marketing system, and the current status of food security/insecurity. The paper also identifies the lessons emerging from the experience of India. In developing countries characterized by large segments of the rural population dependent on food production for livelihood and by the high incidence of poverty, food insecurity and malnutrition, the strategy to improve food security must encompass programmes to increase food production that combine improved technology transfer, price support to food producers and supply of inputs at reasonable prices to farmers, improvements in food marketing system, employment generation, direct food assistance programmes, and improvement in the access to education and primary health care.
  • Topic: Health, Human Welfare
  • Political Geography: China, India, Asia
  • Author: K.L. Sharma
  • Publication Date: 06-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This paper analyses the status of food security in selected South Pacific Island countries, namely Cook Islands, Fiji Islands, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, and Vanuatu at the national and household levels during the period 1991-2002. Due to narrow resource base and production conditions, Pacific Islands concentrate on a few primary commodities for production and exports. During recent years import dependency for food items has increased mainly due to a decline in per capita food production and a rapid rate of rural-urban migration. Currently, export earnings can finance food imports but earnings could fall short of the requirements needed after the expiry of some commodity preferential price agreements with importing countries. National food security is dependent on the continuation of subsistence farming and tapping ocean resources in conjunction with the on-going commercial farming of those crops in which Pacific Islands have a comparative advantage. Increased productivity is crucial for improving agricultural performance through government investment in rural infrastructure, agricultural research and extension, irrigation and appropriate price incentives. This would also help alleviate poverty for improvement in economic accessibility of food by households. There is also a need to design appropriate disaster risk management programmes to minimize any adverse effects on the food supply.
  • Topic: Economics, Human Welfare, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Australia/Pacific, Solomon Islands, Papua, Guinea, Cook Islands, Samoa, Tonga, Vanuatu, Fiji
  • Author: Vasco Molini
  • Publication Date: 06-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Analysing the performance of ten developing countries, Hoddinot and Yohannes (2002) find a strong association between two measures of food security (calorie intake and mostly dietary diversity) and the increase in expenditures per capita. Using various indicators of food security, we describe the changes in food balances in Vietnam and find evidence of a substitution of poor micronutrients items (rice and cereals) with rich ones like fruit, vegetables fish and meat. Poor households, while increasing the amount of calories consumed, still lack vitamins, iron, calcium, etc. A preliminary assessment of the food security variation showed that improvements were, as expected, more concentrated among the richer Vietnamese households than the poor ones, although there was some improvement among poorer strata as well. We also focus on the calorie/expenditure elasticity and compare results for the years 1993 and 1998. Our findings confirm that this link is strong, and show that calorie income elasticity changed in the expected direction. We conclude that in general food security improved in Vietnam during 1990s although considerable differences still remain among expenditure deciles and among regions due to the accentuated spatial difference.
  • Topic: Security, Development, Human Welfare
  • Political Geography: Asia, Vietnam