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  • Author: Peter Warr
  • Publication Date: 01-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Thailand's development strategy has been strongly market-oriented and open to trade and investment flows with the rest of the world. Since the late 1950s, its growth performance has been outstanding. Poverty incidence has declined dramatically, but economic inequality has increased. Economic progress has been reflected in very significant improvement in non-economic indicators of well-being such as life expectancy, infant and maternal morality, and literacy. Nevertheless, the performance of the education system is chronically poor. Environmental problems and institutional failures in resource management are ongoing. Reform is needed in several areas, including political and corporate governance, regulation of industry, and in the education and health systems.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Education, Emerging Markets, Poverty, Foreign Direct Investment
  • Political Geography: Asia, Southeast Asia
  • Author: Philip Abbott, Finn Tarp
  • Publication Date: 03-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Vietnam has been among the most successful East Asian economies, especially in weathering the external shocks of recent globalization crises—the 1997-98 Asian financial crisis and the 2008-09 great recession, financial crisis and collapse of global trade. Its success contradicts its characterization as an example of export-led growth and highlights the role of the state, particularly in maintaining and influencing investment. Examination of economic performance and policy responses shows rising dependence on foreign finance around each crisis, and actions by the government to counteract that dependence and bolster the domestic economy while continuing to restructure the economy toward greater emphasis on the private sector. Growth, employment and poverty alleviation have been maintained at the expense of renewed inflation, larger budget deficits, and currency depreciation. The 'stop-go' nature of present …
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Globalization, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Asia
  • Author: Fang Cai
  • Publication Date: 02-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: With the aid of an analytical framework of the Lewis model revised to reflect the experience of China, this paper examines the country's dualistic economic development and its unique characteristics. The paper outlines the major effects of China's growth as achieved during the course of economic reform and the opening-up of the country: the exploitation of the demographic dividend, the realization of comparative advantage, the improvement of total factor productivity, and participation in economic globalization. By predicting the long-term relationship between the labour force demand and supply, the paper reviews the approaching turning point in China's economic development and examines a host of challenges facing the country in sustaining growth.
  • Topic: Development, Economics
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Oleksiy Ivaschenko, Cem Mete
  • Publication Date: 03-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Tajikistan's rural sector has witnessed substantial development since the country began to emerge from civil conflict in 1999. Gross agricultural output increased 64 per cent from 1999 to 2003, and there were significant developments in the agricultural reform agenda. This paper uses the panel component of two surveys conducted in Tajikistan at one-year interval (2003 and 2004) to explore the major determinants of the transition out of/into poverty of rural households. Poverty status is measured in the asset space, thus indicating structural rather than transitory poverty movements. The empirical analysis reveals several interesting findings that are also important from a policy perspective: first, cotton farming seems to have no positive impact on poverty levels, nor on mobility out of poverty. Second, the rate of increase in the share of private farming at the district level had little impact on poverty levels and poverty mobility.
  • Topic: Demographics, Development, Poverty
  • Political Geography: Asia, Tajikistan
  • Author: Peter Sheehan
  • Publication Date: 05-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Industrialization occupies a central place in the rich tapestry of development theory and practice. Although that place has varied over time, many have agreed with Nicholas Kaldor that the kind of economic growth that leads to high real income per capita can only occur through industrialization. This paper argues that it is becoming increasingly difficult for most developing countries to achieve rapid growth through industrialization, and especially through export oriented activities. But the key mechanisms seen as driving the industrial take-off in much of the literature (internal increasing returns, transfer of labour into higher value activities and pecuniary externalities) are alive and well, and are evident in services as well as in industry. Furthermore, China is actively trying to move from a strategy based on industrialization to one based much more on agriculture and services, as the costs of the current pattern of industrialization become prohibitive, and India has demonstrated that rapid growth based primarily on the services sector is possible. Thus more attention needs to be given to strategies based on the expansion of the agricultural and services sectors, and to the ways in which better services in rural areas and higher rural output can combine to achieve rapid growth and improved human welfare in poor countries.
  • Topic: Development
  • Political Geography: China, India, Asia
  • Author: Jeffrey Henderson
  • Publication Date: 05-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: The rise of China as an economic and political 'driver' of the global economy is likely to be one of the defining moments of world history. Its dynamism and international expansion are on the verge of creating a 'critical disruption' in the global order that has held sway for over 60 years. As such, China is beginning to reshape the world, presaging a new phase of globalization: a 'global-Asian era'. This new era is likely to be distinct from any of the earlier phases of globalization and China's global footprint, in terms of its business, economic and political actions and their geopolitical implications, is likely to be markedly different from what has gone before. This paper offers a framework by which we can begin to understand the coming global-Asian era (GAE) and some of its consequences, particularly as the latter are surfacing in the developing world. Having discussed the nature and dynamics of the GAE, the paper turns to sketch a series of vectors (trade, aid and energy security) along which the GAE is beginning to impact on developing countries. The paper argues that, at least for these vectors, the Chinese-driven GAE is providing opportunities as well as dangers for national development projects. It concludes by briefly speculating on the viability of the GAE.
  • Topic: Development, Globalization, International Political Economy, International Trade and Finance, Oil
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Haider A. Khan
  • Publication Date: 05-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This paper analyses both global and regional approaches to solving problems of energy security and ecological imbalance by addressing specifically the problems of China's energy security. China's growing energy dependence has become a major concern for both economic and national security policymakers in that country. The ambitious goal of modernization of the economy along the lines of the other newly industrialized economies (NIEs) of Asia has succeeded only too well, and it is difficult to reorient economic priorities. If examined rigorously, such an economic strategic assumption can be seen to entail the goal of creating further technological capabilities. In particular, China seems to be firmly committed to the creation of a largely self-sustaining innovation system as part of a knowledge-based economy of the future. Such innovation systems, called positive feedback loop innovation systems or POLIS have been created by advanced countries, and NIEs such as South Korea and Taiwan are proceeding to create these as well. But this will add to its energy burden and further dependence on the US as the power which controls the key sea lanes. Only a strategic reorientation to building a self-sustaining POLIS and appropriate regional cooperation institutions can lead to the way out of the current dilemma for China. Fortunately, such a model of POLIS which is distributionally and ecologically sensitive can be built for China and applied strategically to lead towards a sustainable development trajectory.
  • Topic: Development, Energy Policy, Environment, Regional Cooperation
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Taiwan, Asia, South Korea
  • Author: Yanrui Wu
  • Publication Date: 02-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Economic growth in China and India has attracted many headlines recently. As a result, the literature comparing the two Asian giants has expanded substantially. This paper adds to the literature by comparing regional growth, disparity and convergence in the two economies. This is the first of its kind. The paper presents a detailed examination of economic growth in the regions of China and India over the past twenty years. It also provides an assessment of regional disparity in the two countries and investigates whether there is any evidence of regional convergence during the period of rapid economic growth. It attempts to identify the sources of regional disparity and hence draw policy implications for economic development in the two countries in the near future.
  • Topic: Development
  • Political Geography: China, India, Asia
  • Author: Harsha Aturupane, Anil B. Deolalikar, Dileni Gunewardena
  • Publication Date: 05-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Reducing child malnutrition is a key goal of most developing countries. To combat child malnutrition with the right set of interventions, policymakers need to have a better understanding of its economic, social and policy determinants. While there is a large literature that investigates the determinants of child malnutrition, it focuses almost exclusively on mean effects of these determinants. However, socioeconomic background variables and policy interventions may affect child nutrition differently at different points of the conditional nutritional distribution. Using quantile regressions, this paper explores the effect s of variables such as a child's age, sex and birth order; household expenditure per capita; parental schooling; and infrastructure on child weight and height at different points of the conditional distributions of weight and height using data from Sri Lanka's Demographic and Health Survey. Results indicate that OLS estimates can be misleading in predicting the effects of determinants at the lower end of the distributions of weight and height. For example, even though on average Sri Lankan girls are not nutritionally-disadvantaged relative to boys, among children at the highest risk of malnutrition girls are disadvantaged relative to boys. Likewise, although expenditure per capita is associated with strong nutritional improvement on average, it is not a significant determinant of child height or weight at the lower end of the distribution. Similarly, parental education, electricity access, and the availability of piped water have larger effect son child weight and height at the upper quantiles than at the lower quantiles. The policy implication is that general interventions—parental schooling, infrastructure and income growth—are not as effective for children in the lower tail of the conditional weight and height distributions. These children, who are at the highest risk of malnutrition, are likely to need specialized nutritional interventions.
  • Topic: Development, Education, Health
  • Political Geography: Asia, Sri Lanka
  • Author: Yuefen Li, Bin Zhang
  • Publication Date: 04-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: The segmentation of global manufacturing and services provided China and subsequently India with a golden opportunity to make full use of their absolute advantage—low cost yet educated labour—to integrate into the world economy within a comparatively shorter period of time than some earlier industrialisers. Though international trade functioned as a vent of surplus in view of the narrowness of their domestic markets at the beginning of their economic catch-up, the label of export-led model may not reflect the real picture as imports underwent dramatic increases during their respective growth periods, in particular for China. Foreign direct investment has played a pivotal role in their economic growth and has major presence in international trade and investment in leading sectors of both countries, giving rise to certain special features and weak links for their economic expansion and sustainability of fast economic growth. To maintain more broad-based, fast and balanced growth, it seems that both countries have to redress sectoral imbalances, encourage technology upgrading and cope with future changes in demographic profiles which constituted a trigger to fast economic growth at the time of their respective economic reform.
  • Topic: Development, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: China, India, Asia