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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