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  • Author: Jörn Birkmann
  • Publication Date: 05-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Current approaches of measuring vulnerability to natural hazards generally use a rather static perspective that focuses on a single point in time—often before a hazardous event occurs. In contrast, the paper argues that vulnerability assessment should also take into account the changing dynamics during and after a disaster. This paper provides a comparative analysis of the situation in Sri Lanka and Indonesia within the context of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami. The author presents concepts for measuring revealed vulnerabilities and methods of assessing the recovery process, and highlights the differing ways in which the tsunami affected the ongoing civil conflicts in both regions.
  • Topic: Demographics, Disaster Relief, Environment, Natural Disasters
  • Political Geography: Indonesia, Asia, Sri Lanka
  • 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: Raghav Gaiha, Katsushi Imai
  • Publication Date: 04-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This paper measures the vulnerability of households in rural India, based upon the ICRISAT panel survey. We employ both ex ante and ex post measures of vulnerability. The latter are decomposed into aggregate and idiosyncratic risks and poverty components. Our decomposition shows that idiosyncratic risks account for the largest share, followed by poverty and aggregate risks. Despite some degree of risk-sharing, the landless or small farmers are vulnerable to idiosyncratic risks, forcing them to reduce consumption. Income-augmenting policies therefore must be combined with those that not only reduce aggregate and idiosyncratic risks but also build resilience against them.
  • Topic: Demographics, Development, Economics, Poverty
  • Political Geography: India, Asia
  • Author: Renwei Zhao, Shi Li
  • Publication Date: 01-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This paper investigates some major changes in the wealth distribution in China using the data from two national household surveys conducted in 1995 and 2002. The surveys collected rich information on household wealth and its components, enabling a detailed analysis of changes in wealth distribution among Chinese households. Our analysis indicates that the wealth distribution in China as a whole became much more unequal in 2002 than it was in 1995. The housing reform, in which public apartments were sold to urban households at extremely low prices, has accelerated the accumulation of wealth among urban households on the one hand, and widened the wealth gap between urban and rural areas on the other.
  • Topic: Demographics, Development, Economics
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Guanghua Wan
  • Publication Date: 01-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This paper depicts the trend of regional inequality in rural China for the period 1985- 2002. The total inequality is decomposed into the so-called within- and between components when China is divided into three regional belts (east, central and west). A regression-based accounting framework is then used to explore root sources of the rising inequality. Policy implications are discussed.
  • Topic: Demographics, Development, Economics
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Guanghua Wan, Peilei Fan
  • Publication Date: 12-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Relying on a recently developed decomposition framework, this paper explores spatial distribution of innovation capability in China. It is found that at the regional level, China's inequality in innovation capability increased from 1995 to 2004. At the provincial level, the inequality decreased from1995 to 2000, but increased from 2000 to 2004. Location, industrialization and urbanization, human capital, and openness (foreign direct investment) are significant contributors to the inequality in innovation capability. Unbalanced development in high-tech parks exerts a growing explanatory power in driving innovation disparity, which implies that institutional factor plays a direct role.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Demographics
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Zhicheng Liang
  • Publication Date: 09-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Financial development can exert a significant influence on the distribution of income. In this paper, using Chinese provincial data over the period of 1991-2000 and applying the generalized method of moment (GMM) techniques, we investigate the relationship between finance and inequality in rural China by testing alternative existing theories concerning the finance-inequality nexus. A negative and linear relationship between finance and inequality is found in our estimations. The empirical results show that financial development significantly reduces income inequality in post-reform rural China.
  • Topic: Demographics, Development, Economics
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Guanghua Wan, Yin Zhang
  • Publication Date: 08-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This paper analyzes the evolution of poverty in China from the late 1980s to the late 1990s, employing a version of Shapley decomposition tailored to unit-record household survey data. The changes in poverty trends are attributed to two proximate causes— income growth and shifts in income distribution. Different datasets, poverty lines, poverty measures, and equivalence scales are used to examine the robustness of the results. Potential biases arising from ignoring differential regional prices and inflation are also investigated. Notwithstanding some ambiguities in the results, it is consistently found that rural poverty increased in the second half of the 1990s and adverse distributional changes are the main cause.
  • Topic: Demographics, Development, Poverty
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Geoffrey J.D. Hewings, Dong Guo, Patricio Aroca
  • Publication Date: 08-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: The purpose of this paper is to examine the convergence process in China by taking into account the spatial interaction between factors. The paper shows that there has been a dramatic increase in the spatial dependence of China's per capita GDP in the last 20 years. The consequence of space plays an important role, which is reflected in the influence of a neighbour's condition on the mobility of a province's income distribution from one category to another. The dynamics of the process showed evidence that China's distribution has gone from one of convergence to stratification, and from stratification to polarization.
  • Topic: Demographics, Development, Economics
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Guanghua Wan, Yin Zhang
  • Publication Date: 08-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This paper proposes a semi-parametric method for poverty decomposition, which combines the data-generating procedure of Shorrocks and Wan (2004) with the Shapley value framework of Shorrocks (1999). Compared with the popular method of Datt and Ravallion (1992), our method is more robust to misspecification errors, does not require the predetermination of functional forms, provides better fit to the underlying Lorenz curve and incorporates the residual term in a rigorous way. The method is applied to decomposing variations of urban poverty across the Chinese provinces into three components – contributions by the differences in average nominal income, inequality and poverty line. The results foreground average income as the key determinant of poverty incidence, but also attach importance to the influence of distribution. The regional pattern of the decomposition suggests provincial groupings based not entirely on geographical locations.
  • Topic: Demographics, Economics, Poverty
  • Political Geography: China, Asia