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  • 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: Tony Addison
  • Publication Date: 10-1998
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Reconstructing Africa's war damaged economies is an urgent task. This is especially so in a group of countries - Angola, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Guinea-Bissau, and Mozambique - which must also complete their economic and political transition from state socialism. Somalia, which shares their common history, must eventually be rebuilt. All of these countries must address their deep problems of underdevelopment and poverty. The challenges are therefore three-fold: to overcome underdevelopment, to make the transition from state socialism, and to reconstruct economies and societies.
  • Topic: Democratization, Development, Economics, Emerging Markets
  • Political Geography: Africa, Mozambique, Ethiopia, Somalia, Angola, Eritrea, Guinea-Bissau
  • 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
  • Author: Sergio Rebelo
  • Publication Date: 09-1998
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Starting from the celebrated neoclassical (Solow) model of economic growth, this paper discusses new ideas in growth theory focussing on how to make sustained growth feasible. It first reviews models that broadened the notion of capital to include human capital and the state of technology. These extensions of the neoclassical theory are not very satisfying at a descriptive level because productivity growth is associated with either human or physical capital accumulation in a way that does not interact with the invention of new technologies.
  • Topic: Economics, Science and Technology