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  • Author: Alan Heston, Bettina Aten
  • Publication Date: 08-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Accurate regional estimates of output are desired as an indicator of level of development and as a variable used to explain internal migration, demand patterns, fertility and other aspects of behaviour. This chapter explores one often neglected aspect of regional income differences, namely that due to price differences or regional purchasing power parities. When nominal regional income measures are adjusted for these price level differences they are termed real regional incomes. The preferred method of estimating regional purchasing power parities by detailed price comparisons is discussed for Brazil, the United States and the European Union. The empirical thrust of the chapter is an investigation of different methods for estimating regional real incomes based on PPP data for 167 countries and nominal regional incomes and other data for about 870 administrative areas at the subnational level. Even in their present form we believe the real income estimates provided for the geographical units present opportunities for understanding the world economic structure.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Brazil
  • Author: Philip Martin
  • Publication Date: 04-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This paper explains the evolution and effects of Mexico-US migration, and highlights the NAFTA approach to economic integration, viz., free up trade and investment while stepping up efforts to prevent unauthorized migration. The European Union approach is different: provide aid first, and later free up trade and migration in the expectation that moves toward convergence will ensure minimal migration because trade has become a substitute for migration. The paper concludes that NAFTA will reduce unwanted Mexico-US migration in the medium to long term, and that different initial conditions in Europe mean that there will be relatively little east-west migration when nationals of new entrant EU members achieve freedom of movement.
  • Topic: Economics, Migration
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Mexico
  • Author: Svetlana Glinkina, Dorothy Rosenberg
  • Publication Date: 02-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: We argue that the conflicts in the Caucasus are the result of the abrogation by the elite of the earlier, Soviet era, social contract. This process was accompanied by the collapse of the formal economy; evidenced by huge national income compression, falling public goods provision, and growing inequality and poverty. In the absence of state provision of basic amenities and governance, ordinary people are compelled to fall back on kinship ties. Declining standards of governance facilitate state-sponsored corruption and criminality in a setting where the shadow economic activity is increasingly important to individual survival strategies. Oil pipelines and the right to control the transit of goods both legal and illegal also underlie conflict in the region. Criminality has replaced ethnicity as the major motivation for conflict and conflict per se has become a lucrative source of income.
  • Topic: Economics, Ethnic Conflict, Poverty
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Asia, Soviet Union
  • Author: Elisabetta Bertero, Laura Rondi
  • Publication Date: 03-2002
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This study examines the effect of the hardening of the budget constraint on the investment behaviour of Italian state owned enterprises (SOEs). It carries out a natural experiment that exploits the 1987 shift of budget regimes due to the pressure of European Union economic policies on the Italian government.Drawing from the theory of capital market imperfections, we apply the empirical framework for the analysis of investment-cash flow sensitivity to a panel of state-owned manufacturing firms during the period 1977-93. We parallel state firms to Anglo-Saxon public corporations which, under separation of ownership and control, are afflicted by agency problems, managerial discretion, misallocation of free cash-flow and overinvestment. We argue that, under a soft budget constraint, state firms' managerial discretion and, in particular, collusion between managers and vote-seeking politicians, lead to wasteful investment.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Europe, Italy
  • Author: Elisabetta Bertero, Laura Rondi
  • Publication Date: 01-2002
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This paper contributes to the literature on the role of decentralization in hardening the budget constraint of public enterprises. Following Qian and Roland the study adopts a 'federalist' approach. However, it interprets federalism as the upward devolution of domestic economic policies to a supranational authority and examines its role in disciplining public enterprises operating in a soft budget regime. The methodology is a case study of the shift in budget regime in Italy in the late 1980s. The study shows that a determinant role in driving this shift was played by European economic policies. The discipline imposed by participation in the EMS, the Single Market Programme and, later, the requirements to enter the EMU pushed the Italian government toward a much tougher approach to its budget deficit.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Harry Flam, Per Jansson
  • Publication Date: 04-2000
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: The partial effect of nominal exchange rate volatility on exports from each EMU member to the rest of the EMU is estimated on annual data for 1967-97, using modern time-series methods. The long-run relations between exchange rate volatility and exports are mostly negative and in several cases insignificantly different from zero. Thus, these estimates do not provide much support for the hypothesis that the elimination of nominal exchange rate volatility will significantly increase trade within the EMU. However, the EMU will presumably lead to geographical concentration of production and therefore indirectly to increased trade within the EMU and, during a transitional stage, to increased foreign direct investment, both within the EMU and between the EMU and the rest of the world.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, International Political Economy, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: David Begg
  • Publication Date: 04-2000
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: An interesting theory of transition must give a convincing account of structural adjustment and supply side improvement. In this paper, I discuss the incentives for government to undertake costly supply side improvement and how these relate to incentives governing the design of monetary and fiscal policy during transition. The government cares about deviations of inflation, output and government spending from their ideal levels, is subject to a budget constraint in which inflation yields some real revenue, and recognizes the distortionary effects of excess levels of taxation. Costly structural adjustment enhances future output by reducing supply side distortions.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, International Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Thorvaldur Gylfason
  • Publication Date: 10-1999
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: The paper begins by offering a quick glance of the Nordic economies and of some aspects of their economic growth performance and natural resource dependence since 1970. Thereafter, it reviews some of the main symptoms of the Dutch disease, and then considers whether these symptoms are observable in some of the Nordic countries in view of their abundant natural resources. The experience of Iceland and its fish seems an obvious point of departure. The paper then discusses the less obvious case of Norway and its oil (and fish!) and, at last, also reviews some possible linkages between forest resources and economic growth in Finland.
  • Topic: Economics, Environment, Government
  • Political Geography: Europe, Finland, Norway, Dutch
  • Author: Tito Bianchi
  • Publication Date: 10-1999
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: The development literature considers associations an important economic development tool that allows producers to pursue their economic welfare collectively and through participatory means. This paper comparatively analyses the experience of three associations of agricultural producers in the underdeveloped regions of Brazil and Italy that were successful in this economic development task. Their experience, however, challenges a commonly held view about the participatory nature of associations.
  • Topic: Development, Economics
  • Political Geography: Europe, Brazil, South America, Latin America
  • Author: Abdur Chowdhury
  • Publication Date: 02-1999
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: What started in the summer of 1997 as a regional economic and financial crisis in East and Southeast Asia had developed into a global financial crisis within the span of a year. This crisis followed the crisis in the European Monetary System in 1992–3 and the Mexican peso crisis in 1994–5. However, unlike the previous two crises, the scale and depth of the Asian crisis surprised everyone. One obvious reason for this is East and Southeast Asia's track record of economic success. Since the 1960s, no other group of countries in the world has produced more rapid economic growth or such a dramatic reduction in poverty. Given so many years of sustained economic performance the obvious question is: how could events in Asia unfold as they did?
  • Topic: Economics, International Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Europe, Asia, Southeast Asia