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  • Author: Augustin K. Fosu
  • Publication Date: 03-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: What can the less well-off developing countries learn from the “successes” of other developing countries? This Policy Brief highlights successful development strategies and lessons from in-depth case studies of select countries from the developing world. The coverage includes East Asia and the Pacific, the emerging Asian giants, sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, and the Middle East and North Africa, along with respective regional syntheses. Although countries' experiences are not necessarily replicable, the recurrent themes across countries and regions provide the appropriate connectedness for a comprehensive global perspective on development strategies and lessons.
  • Topic: Development, Emerging Markets, Poverty
  • Political Geography: Africa, Middle East, Israel, Latin America
  • 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: 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: Wim Naudé, Augustin Kwasi Fosu
  • Publication Date: 08-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: THE GLOBAL ECONOMIC CRISIS OF 2008 HAS INDUCED two negative external shocks in African countries. The first is a financial shock with the availability of credit declining and the cost of international credit increasing (a financial crisis); and the second is a shock relating to the demand for and price of exports, as most of Africa's important markets went into recession and commodity prices tumbled (an economic crisis).
  • Topic: Globalization, Poverty, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Dominique van der Mensbrugghe, Maurizio Bussolo, Rafael E. De Hoyos, Denis Medvedev
  • Publication Date: 03-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Over the past 20 years, aggregate measures of global inequality have changed little even if significant structural changes have been observed. High growth rates of China and India lifted millions out of poverty, while the stagnation in many African countries caused them to fall behind. Using the World Bank's LINKAGE global general equilibrium model and the newly developed Global Income Distribution Dynamics (GIDD) tool, this paper assesses the distribution and poverty effects of a scenario where these trends continue in the future. Even by anticipating a deceleration, growth in China and India is a key force behind the expected convergence of per capita incomes at the global level. Millions of Chinese and Indian consumers will enter into a rapidly emerging global middle class—a group of people who can afford, and demand access to, the standards of living previously reserved mainly for the residents of developed countries. Notwithstanding these positive developments, fast growth is often characterized by high urbanization and growing demand for skills, both of which result in a widening of income distribution within countries. These opposing distributional effects highlight the importance of analysing global disparities by taking into account—as the GIDD does—income dynamics between and within countries.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Poverty
  • Political Geography: Africa, China, India, Asia
  • Author: Marie-Claude Martin
  • Publication Date: 03-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: The interaction between available individual and collective resources in the determination of health is largely ignored in the literature on the relationship between poverty and health in developing countries. We analyse the role public resources play in the perception that rural women in Morocco have of their health. These resources are taken to contribute directly and indirectly to the improvement of individual health by, on the one hand, providing a health-promoting environment and, on the other, improving the individual's ability to produce health. The empirical results of multilevel models confirm the expected associations between socioeconomic status, individual vulnerability factors and health. Furthermore, the random part of the model suggests that variation in state of health is also associated with the presence of collective resources. However, the higher the level of women's individual wealth, the less the characteristics of the community in which they live seem to be associated with their health, and the less the potential vulnerability factors seem to constrain their ability to maintain or improve health. Our results suggest that collective investments derived from various areas of activity will be more favourable to improving health, insofar as they are adapted to the initial capacity of women to benefit from them.
  • Topic: Gender Issues, Health, Poverty
  • Political Geography: Africa, Morocco
  • 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: Alemayehu Geda, Daniel Zerfu, Abebe Shimeles
  • Publication Date: 05-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: In this paper, using the rich household panel data of urban and rural Ethiopia that covers the period from 1994 to 2000, we attempted to establish the link between finance and poverty in Ethiopia. Our results show that access to finance is an important factor in consumption smoothing and hence poverty reduction. We also found evidence for a poverty trap due to liquidity constraints that limits the ability of the rural households from consumption smoothing. The empirical findings from this study could inform finance policies aimed at addressing issues of poverty reduction.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Poverty
  • Political Geography: Africa, Ethiopia
  • Author: Matthew Smith, Alan Roe, Tony Addison
  • Publication Date: 06-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: An effective state is able to mobilize revenue and spend it on infrastructure, services, and public goods that both enhance human capital and the well-being of communities (especially the poor), as well as stimulating investment and employment creation by the private sector. An effective state also manages public finance to ensure that macroeconomic balance is maintained—with policy neither too restrictive to discourage private investment and growth, nor too accommodative to create high inflation and crowd out private investment. Fiscal issues are therefore at the heart of the state's role in the development process and failure in this policy area—whether it is in taxation, public expenditures, or in managing the fiscal deficit and public debt—can quickly undermine growth and poverty reduction. Fiscal weakness can also be fatal to social peace when one or more ethnic, religious, or regional groups are taxed unfairly—or receives too little in the allocation of public spending.
  • Topic: Debt, Development, Economics, Poverty
  • Political Geography: Africa, Asia
  • Author: Peter Quartey
  • Publication Date: 12-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: The paper primarily investigates the interrelationship between financial sector development and poverty reduction in Ghana. This is done using time-series data from the World Development Indicators from 1970-2001. The main findings are, first, that even though financial sector development does not Granger-cause savings mobilization in Ghana, it induces poverty reduction; and second, that savings do Granger-cause poverty reduction in Ghana. Also, the effect of financial sector development on poverty reduction is positive but insignificant. This is due to the fact that financial intermediaries in Ghana have not adequately channelled savings to the pro-poor sectors of the economy because of government deficit financing, high default rate, lack of collateral and lack of proper business proposals. Another interesting finding is that there is a long-run co integration relationship between financial sector development and poverty reduction.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Poverty
  • Political Geography: Africa, Ghana
  • Author: Justine Nannyonjo
  • Publication Date: 08-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: The long-running conflict in northern Uganda has led to major violations of human rights against civilians, destruction of infrastructure, reduced access to social services, and paralysed economic activity. Creating peace and fostering reconciliation in the region have not been successful either, thereby hindering development and relief activities, which are further constrained by in sufficient funding, and lack of capacity at the district and community levels. The main challenges for reconstruction in northern Uganda are therefore to: (i) achieve peace and reconciliation (ii) provide basic social services to the affected areas (iii) strengthen government capacity to coordinate development and relief activities and (iv) harmonize interventions by the various stakeholders to achieve increased flexibility and transparency.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Economics, Poverty
  • Political Geography: Uganda, Africa
  • Author: Abebe Shimeles, Arne Bigsten
  • Publication Date: 07-2004
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This paper examines trends in income distribution and its linkages to economic growth and poverty reduction in order to understand the prospects for achieving poverty reduction in Africa. We examine the levels and trends in income distribution in some African countries and calculate pro-poor growth indices. Different growth patterns are simulated for Ethiopia, Uganda, Mozambique, and South Africa. We conclude that the balance between policies aimed at growth and measures aimed at redistribution should depend on the elasticity of the growth-equity tradeoff. We also discuss what the appropriate ingredients of a pro-poor strategy would be in the African setting.
  • Topic: Economics, Human Welfare, Poverty
  • Political Geography: Uganda, Africa, South Africa, Mozambique, Ethiopia
  • Author: Abebe Shimeles, Arne Bigsten
  • Publication Date: 06-2004
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This paper addresses issues related to the dynamics of income poverty using unique household panel data for urban and rural areas of Ethiopia covering the period 1994-97. The percentage of households that remained in poverty was twice as large in urban areas as in rural areas. This suggests that income variability is a serious problem in rural areas, while the persistence is a key feature of urban poverty. The paper also discusses household characteristics that are correlated with the incidence of chronic poverty as well as vulnerability to poverty. A strategy that promotes consumption smoothing through say access to credit can work well in rural areas, while income or employment generation are required for poverty alleviation in urban areas.
  • Topic: Economics, Human Welfare, Poverty
  • Political Geography: Africa, Ethiopia
  • Author: Mozaffar Qizilbash
  • Publication Date: 06-2004
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: It is often argued that multi-dimensional measures of well-being and poverty—such as those based on the capability approach and related views—are ad hoc. Rankings based on them are not, for this reason, robust to changes in the selection of weights used. In this paper, it is argued that the extent of potential arbitrariness and the range of issues relating to robustness have been underestimated in this context. Several issues relating to both the identification of the poor and the use of dimension-specific data are distinguished. These issues are then discussed in the context of the inter-provincial ranking of poverty in South Africa in 1995-6. It turns out that this ranking is fairly robust, and that some important policy-relevant results about the distinction between 'income'/'expenditure' and 'human' poverty for the South African context are reinforced rather than undermined by checking for robustness. In particular, while KwaZulu Natal is in the best three in terms of the standard expenditure measures for various choices of poverty line, it is third worst in terms of all the multi-dimensional rankings presented here.
  • Topic: Economics, Human Welfare, Poverty
  • Political Geography: Africa, South Africa
  • Author: Simon Appleton
  • Publication Date: 12-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Absolute poverty lines are often derived from the cost of obtaining sufficient calories. Where staples vary across regions, such poverty lines may differ depending on whether they are set using national or regional food baskets. Regional poverty lines are open to the objection that they may be contaminated by income effects. This paper explores this issue by focussing on Uganda, a country where widening spatial inequalities in the 1990s have caused concern. Conflicting results from earlier studies have suggested that the spatial pattern of poverty in Uganda is very sensitive to whether national or regional food baskets are used in setting poverty lines. We confirm this suggestion by comparing the spatial profile of poverty in 1993 using national and regional poverty lines. However, since the regions consuming the more expensive staple sources of calories are also those with higher incomes, using simple regional poverty lines is problematic. Instead, a method of setting regional poverty lines is considered that adjusts for income differentials between regions. Even with this adjustment, the use of regional food baskets implies a markedly different.
  • Topic: Development, International Trade and Finance, Poverty
  • Political Geography: Uganda, Africa
  • Author: George Mavrotas
  • Publication Date: 12-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: The paper uses an aid disaggregation approach to examine the impact of different types of aid on the fiscal sector of the aid-recipient country. It uses time-series data on different types of aid (project aid, programme aid, technical assistance and food aid) for Uganda, an important aid recipient in recent years, to estimate a model of fiscal response in the presence of aid which combines aid disaggregation and endogenous aid. The empirical findings clearly suggest the importance of the above approach for delving deeper into aid effectiveness issues since different aid categories have different effects on key fiscal variables—an impact that could not be revealed if a single figure for aid was employed. More precisely, project aid and food aid appear to cause a reduction in public investment whereas programme aid and technical assistance are positively related to public investment. The same applies for government consumption. A negligible impact on government tax and non-tax revenues, and a strong displacement of government borrowing are also found.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Poverty
  • Political Geography: Uganda, Africa
  • Author: Luc Christiaensen, Lionel Demery, Stefano Paternostro
  • Publication Date: 09-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This study traces the interactions between economic growth, income inequality and consumption poverty in a sample of African countries during the 1990s. It draws on the much-improved household data sets now available in the region. It finds that experiences have varied: some countries have seen sharp falls in income poverty; others have witnessed marked increases. Economic growth has been 'pro-poor' in that the incomes of poor households have typically grown at similar or faster rates than average income. But the aggregate numbers hide significant and systematic distributional effects which have caused some groups and regions to be left behind. The paper explores the contours of these effects, and draws three key conclusions. First, agricultural market liberalization has been conducive to reductions in rural poverty. Second, market connectedness is crucial for poor producers to take advantage of the opportunities offered by economic growth. Some regions and households by virtue of their sheer remoteness have been left behind when growth picks up. The availability of infrastructure (especially roads) and proximity to markets are crucial. And finally risks, such as rainfall variations and ill health are found to have profound effects on poverty outcomes, underscoring the significance of social protection in poverty reduction strategies in Africa.
  • Topic: Economics, Poverty
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Kym Anderson
  • Publication Date: 03-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This paper offers an economic assessment of the opportunities and challenges provided by the WTO's Doha Development Agenda, particularly through agricultural trade liberalization, for low-income countries seeking to trade their way out of poverty. After discussing links between poverty, economic growth and trade, it reports modelling results showing that farm product markets remain the most costly of all goods market distortions in world trade. It focuses on what such reform might mean for countries of South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa in particular, both without and with their involvement in the MTN reform process. What becomes clear is that if those countries want to maximize their benefits from the Doha round, they need also to free up their own domestic product and factor markets so their farmers are better able to take advantage of new market-opening opportunities abroad. Other concerns of low-income countries about farm trade reform also are addressed: whether there would be losses associated with tariff preference erosion, whether food-importing countries would suffer from higher food prices in international markets, whether China's WTO accession will provide an example of trade reform aggravating poverty via cuts to prices received by Chinese farmers, and the impact on food security and poverty alleviation. The paper concludes with lessons of relevance for low-income countries for their own domestic and trade policies.
  • Topic: Agriculture, Economics, Emerging Markets, International Trade and Finance, Poverty
  • Political Geography: Africa, China
  • Author: George Mavrotas, Roger Kelly
  • Publication Date: 02-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: The paper uses different measures of financial sector development for a dynamic heterogeneous panel of 17 African countries to examine the impact of financial sector development on private savings. An innovative econometric methodology is also employed related to a series of cointegration tests within a panel. This is an important contribution since traditional panel data analysis adopted in previous studies suffers from serious heterogeneity bias problems. The empirical results obtained vary considerably among countries in the panel, thus highlighting the importance of using different measures of financial sector development rather than a single indicator. The evidence is rather inconclusive, although in most of the countries in the sample a positive relationship between financial sector development and private savings seems to hold. The empirical analysis also suggests that a change in government savings is offset by an opposite change in private savings in most of the countries in the panel, thus confirming the Ricardian equivalence hypothesis. Liquidity constraints do not seem to play a vital role in most of the African countries in the group, since the relevant coefficient is negative and significant in only a small group of countries
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Emerging Markets, Poverty
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Stefan Dercon, Pramila Krishnan
  • Publication Date: 01-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Households in developing countries use a variety of informal mechanisms to cope with risk, including mutual support and risk-sharing. These mechanisms cannot avoid that they remain vulnerable to shocks. Public programs in the form of food aid distribution and food-for-work programs are meant to protect vulnerable households from consumption and nutrition downturns by providing a safety net. In this paper we look into the extent to which food aid helps to smooth consumption by reducing the impact of negative shocks, taking into account informal risk-sharing arrangements. Using panel data from Ethiopia, we find that despite relatively poor targeting of the food aid, the programs contribute to better consumption outcomes, largely via intra-village risk sharing.
  • Topic: Development, Non-Governmental Organization, Poverty, Third World
  • Political Geography: Africa, Ethiopia
  • Author: Stefan Dercon, John Hoddinott
  • Publication Date: 01-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: In this paper we review the evidence on the impact of large shocks, such as drought, on child and adult health, with particular emphasis on Zimbabwe and Ethiopia. Our focus is on the impact of shocks on long-term outcomes, and we ask whether there are intrahousehold differences in these effects. The evidence suggests substantial fluctuations in body weight and growth retardation in response to shocks. While there appears to be no differential impact between boys and girls, adult women are often worse affected by these shocks. For children, there is no full recovery from these losses, affecting adult health and education outcomes, as well as lifetime earnings. For adults, there is no evidence of persistent effects from transitory shocks in our data.
  • Topic: Development, Poverty, Science and Technology, Third World
  • Political Geography: Africa, Zimbabwe, Ethiopia
  • Author: Tony Addison
  • Publication Date: 03-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: The period 1990-2000 saw 19 major armed-conflicts in Africa, ranging from civil wars to the 1998-2000 war between Eritrea and Ethiopia. Peace has been elusive, and the term 'post-conflict' is often a sad misnomer.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Economics, Poverty
  • Political Geography: Africa, Ethiopia, Eritrea