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  • Author: Augustin Kwasi Fosu
  • Publication Date: 01-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: The study presents recent global evidence on the transformation of economic growth to poverty reduction in developing countries, with emphasis on the role of income inequality. The focus is on the period since the early/mid-1990s when growth in these countries as a group has been relatively strong, surpassing that of the advanced economies. Both regional and country-specific data are analysed for the US$1.25 andUS$2.50 level poverty headcount ratios using the most recent World Bank data. The study finds that on average income growth has been the major driving force behind both the declines and increases in poverty. The study, however, documents substantial regional and country differences that are masked by this 'average' dominant growth story. While in the majority of countries growth was the major factor behind falling...
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Poverty, Third World
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Sandeep Kapur, Suma Athreye
  • Publication Date: 01-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: The last two decades have seen a significant rise in the internationalization of firms from developing economies. In addition to their growing participation in international trade, a number of leading emerging economies are contributing to growing outflows of foreign direct investment (FDI) and cross-border mergers and acquisitions. According to the 2008 World Investment Report, outward flows of FDI from developing countries rose from about US$6 billion between 1989 and 1991 to US$225 billion in 2007. As a percentage of total global outflows, the share of developing countries grew from 2.7% to nearly 13.0% during this period.
  • Topic: International Relations, Economics, Globalization, International Political Economy, Markets, Foreign Direct Investment, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: United States, China, India
  • Author: Wim Naudé
  • Publication Date: 08-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: T HE ECONOMIC DOWNTURN AND RECESSION, WHICH spread across the globe following the US sub-prime mortgage crisis in September 2008, has become the dominant news topic of the past year. One year into the crisis it has become clear that the paradigm for international development has changed irrevocably. With leadership, moral authority and the capacity of the West diminishing, developing countries' recovery and future growth will critically depend on their own initiatives and solutions.
  • Topic: Economics, Globalization, International Trade and Finance, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Anthony B. Atkinson
  • Publication Date: 12-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: The aim of this paper is to examine the concentration of wealth among the group of top wealth holders, defined as those with wealth in excess of a high cut off. The paper begins by considering the definition of this cut off, analogous to the definition of a poverty line at the other end of the distribution. It then considers what can be learned about the proportion classified as 'rich' and about the concentration among the rich from four non-survey sources: journalists' lists, estate data, wealth tax data, and investment income tax data. It starts off from the world's billionaires in 2006, but is particularly concerned with changes over time within countries, taking France, Germany, the UK, and the USA, to illustrate the different sources.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Demographics, Economics
  • Political Geography: United States, United Kingdom, France, Germany
  • Author: Prasanta K. Pattanaik, Craig Gundersen, Indranil Dutta
  • Publication Date: 08-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Food insecurity and hunger have traditionally been measured by aggregate food supplies or by variables correlated with food insecurity. Because these measures often poorly reflect individuals' true deprivation, economists have turned to surveys with direct questions about food insecurity. Using these surveys, households have then been classified into broad categories, a classification system which ignores the richness of the multiple questions. In this paper, we propose food insecurity measures, along the lines of the well established poverty measures, which incorporates this richness and allow us to reflect the depth and severity, in addition to the incidence, of food insecurity. Using these indices, we calculate the extent of food insecurity and hunger in the United States. Along with giving a richer picture of food insecurity in the US, these food insecurity measures demonstrates that the ordering of various demographic categories differs depends on the choice of measure.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Economics, Human Welfare, Poverty
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Gerald Epstein
  • Publication Date: 05-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: In the last two decades, there has been a global sea change in the theory and practice of central banking. The currently dominant 'best practice' approach to central banking consists of the following: (1) central bank independence (2) a focus on inflation fighting (including adopting formal 'inflation targeting') and (3) the use of indirect methods of monetary policy (that is, short-term interest rates as opposed to direct methods such as credit ceilings). This paper argues that this neo-liberal approach to central banking is highly idiosyncratic in that, as a package, it is dramatically different from the historically dominant theory and practice of central banking, not only in the developing world, but, notably, in the now developed countries themselves. Throughout the early and recent history of central banking in the US, England, Europe, and elsewhere, financing governments, managing exchange rates, and supporting economic sectors by using 'direct methods' of intervention have been among the most important tasks of central banking and, indeed, in many cases, were among the reasons for their existence. The neo-liberal central bank policy package, then, is drastically out of step with the history and dominant practice of central banking throughout most of its history.
  • Topic: Development, Economics
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, England
  • Author: Tony Addison
  • Publication Date: 02-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Much has changed in international finance in the twenty years since UNU-WIDER was founded. This paper identifies five broad contours of what we might expect in the next twenty years: the flow of capital from ageing societies to the more youthful economies of the South; the growth in the financial services industry in emerging economies and the consequences for their capital flows; the current strength in emerging market debt, and whether this represents a change in fundamentals or merely the effect of low global interest rates; the impact of globalization in goods markets in lowering inflation expectations, and therefore global bond yields; and the implications of the adjustment in global imbalances between Asia (in particular China) and the United States for emerging bond markets as a whole. The paper ends by noting the paradox that today we see ever larger amounts of capital flowing across the globe in search of superior investment returns, and yet the financing needs of the poorer countries are still largely unmet.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Asia
  • Author: Andrs Solimano
  • Publication Date: 08-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: The generation of new ideas and their application for productive uses is an important engine for growth and development. This is an area in which developing countries usually lag behind developed countries and is where development gaps are more evident. Behind the generation of ideas, innovations, and new technologies there is 'human talent': an inner capacity of individuals to develop ideas and objects, some of them with a high economic value. The 'human factor' is critical to the success or failure of many endeavours. Several countries, particularly China and India, followed by Russia, Poland, and some Latin American countries, are becoming an important source of talented people with PhDs and degrees in science, engineering, and other areas that can lead to change in the international patterns of comparative advantages and reduce development gaps. Part of the new talent formed in developing countries goes to live and work to developed countries, typically the USA, UK, and other OECD nations. At the same time multinational corporations are outsourcing several of their productive and service activities, including research and development, to developing countries (China and India are main destinations) to take advantage of the (less expensive) talent being developed there. Today, therefore, we see a double movement of talent and capital around the globe: on the one hand talent from developing countries is moving north seeking better opportunities where people are equipped with more capital, technologies, and effective organizations. On the hand capital from the north pursues talent in the south; a process largely led by multinational corporations.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Human Welfare, Migration
  • Political Geography: United States, China, United Kingdom, India
  • Author: Philip Schmidt, Rishab Aiyer Ghosh
  • Publication Date: 03-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Free software (also called open source software or libre software) has become one of the most talked about phenomena in the ICT world in recent years. This is remarkable, not only for the usual reasons—that open source has been around for many years as a volunteer driven success story before being discovered by big business and now government— but also because it has largely developed quietly on its own without the headline coverage and glare of international attention that it now receives.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Science and Technology, Third World
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Tony Addison
  • Publication Date: 10-2004
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This paper discusses development policy objectives, noting how these have changed over the years, with a more explicit focus on poverty reduction coming recently to the fore. It also examines the relationship between economic growth and poverty reduction. The paper then discusses how to achieve economic growth, starting with the caveat that growth must be environmentally sustainable, and moves on to the big question of the respective roles for the market mechanism and the state in allocating society's productive resources. The paper next discusses how economic reform has been implemented, and the political difficulties that arise. It concludes that getting development policy right has the potential to lift millions out of poverty.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Politics
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Anthony B. Atkinson
  • Publication Date: 09-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: In order to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), substantial additional external funding needs to be mobilized. Estimates differ, but a 'ballpark' figure is an annual increase of US$50 billion. This could be achieved by a doubling of official development assistance (ODA). Welcome steps have been made in that direction, but this takes time, and time is of the essence. For this reason alone, it is necessary to consider new sources.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, International Cooperation, United Nations
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: George J. Borjas
  • Publication Date: 12-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: The most important economic feature of immigration to the United States in the post-1965 period has been a significant deterioration in the economic performance of successive immigrant waves. The policy reaction to this trend would obviously differ if the entry wage disadvantage disappeared quickly, as the immigrants assimilated in the American economy and acquired skills and information valuable in the American labour market. This paper examines the determinants of economic assimilation, and discusses how the experience of earlier immigrant waves can provide valuable information about the assimilation process the new immigrants will likely experience.
  • Topic: Economics, Migration
  • Political Geography: United States, America
  • 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: Jon D. Haveman, Howard J. Shatz
  • Publication Date: 06-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: The Doha Ministerial Declaration emphasized that priority should be given to improving market access for products originating in the Least Developed Countries (LDCs). In this paper, we analyze the importance of this proposition with respect to market access in the Triad economies. We first present a brief history of non-reciprocal preferences granted by the Triad. This covers Generalized System of Preference (GSP) programmes in each, and further preferences granted to African, Caribbean and Pacific countries by the EU and preferences granted to Caribbean Basin, Andean, and African countries by the US. This history is followed by an assessment of trade generated by these preferences in the year 2000, and of the extent to which LDC exports might be expected to increase should the preferences be made comprehensive. Preferences in 2000 are shown to have led to an increase of US$3.5 billion in LDC exports, while a complete duty-free treatment could expand LDC exports by as much as US$7.6 billion, 90 per cent of which will be absorbed by the US. As this represents a doubling of LDC exports to these countries, we interpret these results as an endorsement of this priority in the Doha Round of negotiations.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Africa, United States, Caribbean
  • 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: Masahiko Aoki, Hirokazu Takizawa
  • Publication Date: 01-2002
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This paper analyzes the "Silicon Valley model" as a novel economic institution in the domain of technological product system innovation such as computers. We focus on the information structural relationship as well as governance relationships between venture capitalists and a cluster of entrepreneurial firms. The informational conditions under which the Silicon Valley model is efficient are identified, leading to understanding the significance of standardization of interfaces, modularization and information encapsulation. We then examine the governance/incentive aspect of the model by integrating the models by Aoki (2001) and Baldwin and Clark (2000) to give comparative statics results regarding the optimal number of entrepreneurial firms competing in the same component product. The analyses enable us to evaluate the applicability of the model beyond specific localities and industries.
  • Topic: Economics, Industrial Policy
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Stuart L. Gillan, Laura T. Starks
  • Publication Date: 01-2002
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: We examine the role of institutional investors in financial markets and in corporate governance. In many countries, institutional investors have become the predominant players in financial markets and their influence worldwide is growing, chiefly due to the privatization and development of pension fund systems. Moreover, foreign institutional investors are becoming a significant presence, bringing their trading habits and corporate governance preferences to international markets. In fact, we argue that the primary actors prompting change in many corporate governance systems are institutional investors, often foreign institutional investors. In other countries the role of institutional investors is limited. Instead, large blockholders, often in the form of individuals, family groups, other corporations, or lending institutions are the dominant players. We present the theoretical arguments for the involvement of investors in shareholder monitoring and a brief history of institutional ownership and activism in the United States and other countries. We also discuss studies of the efficacy of such activism.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Alaine de Janvry, Elisabeth Sadoulet
  • Publication Date: 04-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Who should have access to land? What is the optimum definition of property rights and use rights in each particular context? Is government intervention justified to influence who has access to land and under what conditions? These questions remain, in most developing countries, highly contentious. It is indeed the case that land is all too often misallocated among potential users and worked under conditions of property or user rights that create perverse incentives. As a consequence, investments to enhance productivity are postponed, and responses to market incentives are weakened; many poor rural households are unable to gain sufficient (or any) access to land when this could be their best option out of poverty; land remains under-used and often idle side-by-side with unsatisfied demands for access to land; land is frequently abused by current users, jeopardizing sustainability; and violence over land rights and land use is all too frequent. With population growth and increasing market integration for the products of the land, these problems tend to become more acute rather than the reverse. As a result, rising pressures to correct these situations have led many countries to reopen the question of access to land and land policy reforms. While large scale expropriative and redistributive land reforms are generally no longer compatible with current political realities, there exist many alternative forms of property and use rights that offer policy instruments to alter the conditions of access to land and land use. A rich agenda of land policy interventions thus exists to alter who has access to land and under what conditions for the purposes of increasing efficiency, reducing poverty, enhancing sustainability, and achieving political stability.Historically, the most glamorous path of access to land has been through statemanaged coercive land reform. In most situations, however, this is not the dominant way land was accessed by current users and, in the future, this will increasingly be the case. Most of the land in use has been accessed through private transfers, community membership, direct appropriation, and market transactions. There are also new types of state-managed programmes of access to land that do not rely on coercion. For governments and development agents (NGOs, bi-lateral and international development agencies), the rapid decline in opportunities to access land through coercive land reform should thus not be seen as the end of the role of the state and development agents in promoting and altering access to land. The following paths of access to land in formal or informal, and in collective or individualized ownership can, in particular, be explored (Figure 1): (1) Intra-family transfers such as inheritances, inter-vivo transfers, and allocation of plots to specific family members; (2) access through community membership and informal land markets; (3) access through land sales markets; and (4) access through specific non-coercive policy interventions such colonization schemes, decollectivization and devolution, and land market-assisted land reform. Access to land in use can also be achieved through land rental markets (informal loans, land rental contracts) originating in any of these forms of land ownership. Each of these paths of access to land has, in turn, implications for the way land is used. Each can also be the object of policy interventions to alter these implications of land use. The focus of this policy brief is to explore each of these paths and analyse how to enhance their roles in helping increase efficiency, reduce poverty, increase equality, enhance sustainability, and achieve political stability.
  • Topic: Demographics, Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Ronald Findlay, Mats Lundahl
  • Publication Date: 07-1999
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Resource-Led Growth – A Long-Term Perspective surveys the 1870-1914 experience of growth in resource-rich economies: the so-called regions of recent settlement, some tropical countries and some mineral-based export economies. First, three contrasting stylized views of resource-led development are presented. Thereafter the picture of international trade in primary products and the migration of production factors between 1870 and 1914 is sketched. The third section presents some models that may be used to analyse trade and factor movements in the context of resource-rich (staples) economies and provides some details of the experience of fifteen countries: Canada, the United States, Australia and Argentina among the regions of recent settlement, Brazil, Costa Rica, Colombia, Ceylon, Malaya, Burma, Siam and the Gold Coast in the tropical group, and Bolivia, Chile and South Africa among the mineral exporters.
  • Topic: Economics, Environment, International Political Economy
  • Political Geography: United States, Canada, South Africa, Burma, Chile, Bolivia
  • Author: Matti Pohjola
  • Publication Date: 11-1998
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: There is substantial evidence that new information technologies are in many ways transforming the operations of modern economies. More than half of employees use a computer at work in the most advanced industrial countries. About 10 per cent of the value of all private investment in fixed non-residential capital is devoted to computers and peripheral equipment in the United States and some other economies. This share goes up to 25 per cent when investment in information processing equipment is included. Nevertheless, all spending on information technology, including hardware, software and services, does not amount to more than 3-4 per cent of nominal GDP in these countries. The share is, however, increasing rapidly, indicating that a steady state has not yet been reached.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, Science and Technology
  • Political Geography: United States