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  • Author: Christian Rogg
  • Publication Date: 11-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This paper considers asset holdings in rural Ethiopia. It shows that households own mostly non-financial assets and that the composition of asset portfolios varies significantly with the household's overall wealth and its exposure to uncertainty. As regards the distribution of assets, inequality is lowest for land holdings and much higher for all other assets. More generally, asset inequality is higher than consumption inequality but, somewhat surprisingly, lower than income inequality. Less surprising is the finding that asset holdings are positively correlated with income and consumption. An analysis of how asset holdings vary with key demographic variables shows that assets increase with the size of the household and the education of the household head. Finally, the paper concludes by exploring the role that assets play in marriage markets in rural Ethiopia.
  • Topic: International Relations, Development, Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Africa, Ethiopia
  • Author: Frikkie Booysen, Ronelle Burger, Servaas van der Berg, Michael von Maltitz
  • Publication Date: 11-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: The study uses an asset index of consumer durables to track changes in household wealth in Ghana during the recent period of strong growth. Using the Ghana Living Standards Survey of 1998 that contains both wealth data and consumer durable data, the authors demonstrate that the asset index approximate marketable wealth adequately. Although asset index estimates of wealth cannot match the precision of wealth surveys, this approach can provide useful information on marketable wealth in countries where more appropriate sources are not available. The asset index analysis with the three demographic and health surveys for 1993, 1998 and 2003 suggests that the solid economic growth seen over this period has been accompanied by a strong rise in the average asset index scores.
  • Topic: International Relations, Development, Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Africa, Ghana
  • Author: Cheryl R. Doss, Carmen Diana Deere
  • Publication Date: 10-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Only recently has it been recognized that women may not share in the wealth of men, even within the same household or family. Moreover, there is growing evidence that the gender distribution of wealth matters. This paper first reviews the available evidence for developing countries on the gender asset gap and finds that it is significant. It then considers the constraints on women's asset ownership with particular attention to the role of legal marital and inheritance regimes. The paper then turns to a more detailed examination of women's land ownership in Latin America and Africa. The final section considers the impact of women's land ownership on household income and welfare.
  • Topic: International Relations, Development, International Political Economy, Third World
  • Political Geography: Africa, Latin America
  • Author: Alemayehu Geda
  • Publication Date: 10-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Since 1992 Ethiopia has been engaged in liberalizing its financial sector. The hallmark of the strategy is gradualism. The approach is not without problems especially from Bretton Woods Institutions that saw the reform as a sluggish process. This study examines this liberalization program by analyzing the performance of the sector before and after the reform. The study notes that given the nascent development of the financial sector in the country, the relatively good shape in which the existing financial institutions find themselves, and given that supervision and regulation capacity of the regulating agency is weak, the government's strategy of gradualism and its over all reform direction is encouraging. However, we argue for charting out clearly defined time frame for liberalization and exploring the possibility of engaging with foreign banks to acquire new technology that enhance the efficiency of the financial sector in general and the banking sector in particular.
  • Topic: International Relations, Development, International Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Africa, Ethiopia
  • 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: Stephen Njuguna Karingi, Bernadette Wanjal
  • Publication Date: 12-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: In evaluating tax reform in the developing countries, one first needs to determine what is the unique role of the tax system in each particular country. One of the key reasons for undertaking tax reforms in Kenya was to ad dress issues of in equality and to create a sustainable tax system that could generate adequate revenue to finance public expenditures. In this respect, the tax modernization programme introduced in the country was to achieve a tax system that was sustainable in the face of changing conditions domestically and internationally. Policy was shifted towards greater reliance on indirect taxes as opposed to direct taxes. Consumption taxes were seen to be more favourable to investments and hence growth. Trade taxes, instead of being used for protection or revenue-maximization purposes, were viewed more as instruments to foster export-led industrialization. Trade taxes were therefore used to create a competitive exports sector rather than protect the import-competing manufacturing sector, as had been done in the past.
  • Topic: International Relations, Development, Economics
  • Political Geography: Kenya, Africa
  • Author: Peter Quartey, Robert Darko Osei
  • Publication Date: 12-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Ghana's tax reforms constitute the major policy instrument needed to accelerate growth and poverty reduction. Over the past two decades, the government has consistently spent more revenue than it is able to generate and the gap is often financed with foreign aid which has perpetuated the country's aid dependency. Two options can be explored to reduce the gap between government revenue and expenditure; generate more revenue or reduce government expenditure. Although the latter sounds reasonable, the government needs to spend more on key sectors like education, health and infrastructure if the country is to significantly reduce poverty. The critical issue has been how to generate the needed resources domestically, using tax instruments that are least harmful to the poor. This will obviously involve reforming the tax system to ensure efficiency by widening the tax net without necessarily increasing the tax rate. This paper provides an assessment of the changing structure of the tax system in Ghana over the last two decades and suggests ways to improve tax administration in the country.
  • Topic: International Relations, Development, Economics
  • Political Geography: Africa, Ghana
  • Author: Oliver Morrissey, Karuna Gomanee, Sourafel Girma
  • Publication Date: 09-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This paper is a contribution to the literature on aid and growth. Despite an extensive empirical literature in this area, existing studies have not addressed directly the mechanisms via which aid should affect growth. We identify investment as the most significant transmission mechanism, and also consider effects through financing imports and government consumption spending. With the use of residual generated regressors, we achieve a measure of the total effect of aid on growth, accounting for the effect via investment. Pooled panel results for a sample of 25 Sub-Saharan African countries over the period 1970 to 1997 point to a significant positive effect of foreign aid on growth, ceteris paribus. On average, each one percentage point increase in the aid/GNP ratio contributes one-quarter of one percentage point to the growth rate. Africa's poor growth record should not therefore be attributed to aid ineffectiveness.
  • Topic: International Relations, Development, Economics
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Peter Quartey
  • Publication Date: 09-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: There has been significant amount of aid inflow s to developing countries including Ghana, but these have been very volatile. Aid flows have been associated with low domestic resource mobilization and have reduced Ghana to a country heavily dependent on aid. The amount of official development assistance (ODA) inflow s has fallen in recent years and has become unpredictable. It is general knowledge that aid has not yielded the desired benefit. In an attempt to improve aid effectiveness donors have used tie d aid not just to promote commercial interests but also to target aid to particular projects that have direct links with poverty. However, this has not yielded the maximum benefits required. Recently, the government of Ghana and its development partners agreed on an aid package dubbed the multi-donor budgetary support (MDBS), which would ensure continuous flow of aid to finance the government's poverty related expenditures.
  • Topic: International Relations, Development, Economics
  • Political Geography: Africa, Ghana
  • Author: Jennifer Widner
  • Publication Date: 08-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Over 1975-2003 nearly 200 new constitutions were drawn up in countries at risk of conflict, as part of peace processes and the adoption of multiparty political systems. The process of writing constitutions is considered to be very important to the chances of sustaining peace, and The Commonwealth and the US Institute for Peace have developed good practice guidelines in this area. These emphasize consultation, openness to diverse points of view and representative ratification procedures. But assessing the impact of constitution-writing processes on violence is methodologically difficult, since there are many channels of influence in the relationship. This paper reports on preliminary findings from an ongoing research project into the effects of processes in constitution-writing. Regression analysis is used to control for important contextual features such as differences in income levels and ethnic diversity across countries. A key finding is that differences in the degree of participation in the drafting of constitutions has no major effect on post-ratification levels of violence in some parts of the world, such as Europe, but does make a difference in Africa, the Americas, and the Pacific together.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Relations, Peace Studies, Politics
  • Political Geography: Africa, United States, America, Europe