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  • Author: Heli Virta, Pertti Haaparanta
  • Publication Date: 03-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This paper studies the distribution of output per worker between the years 1980 and 2000 in different country groups. The study uses data envelopment analysis (DEA) to decompose the changes in the distribution of labour productivity into changes in productive efficiency, changes in best practice technology, accumulation of physical capital, and accumulation of human capital. The study focuses on low-income countries and within them on highly indebted poor countries (HIPCs), which has not been possible in earlier studies.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Development, Economics, Science and Technology
  • Author: Stephen Knowles
  • Publication Date: 03-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: There is a growing literature which analyses, using cross-country data, whether institutions or geography is the most important deep determinant of economic development. The empirical proxies for institutions used in this literature focus on the definition of institutions, formal and informal. This study argues that the concept of informal institutions is similar to social capital. However, the social capital and 'institutions as a deep determinant' literatures rarely acknowledge the existence of the other. It is argued that social capital meets the criteria for being a deep determinant of development and that both the cross-country literature on social capital, and the deep determinants of development literature, could be enriched by empirically modelling social capital as a deep determinant of development.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Development, Economics
  • Author: Kostas Stamoulis, Leigh Anderson
  • Publication Date: 03-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Many development policies and programmes are premised on a traditional economic model of rationality to predict how individuals will respond to changes in incentives. Despite the emphasis of these programmes on poverty reduction, economists and the development community in general are still unable to fully understand how the poor make decisions, especially under uncertainty and over time. Individuals avail themselves less than predicted in health programmes, participate less than expected in market opportunities, under or over insure themselves, and make short-run decisions that are inconsistent with their long-run welfare. The rise and fall of different descriptive models and paradigms of poor household behaviour can partly be attributed to this limited understanding. More helpful answers may lay within behavioural economics, that these insights are particularly important for poor populations, and that they can improve the future design, implementation and subsequent effectiveness of development programmes. Behavioural economics is an approach that rigorously combines the insights of psychology and economics to try to better understand and predict human decision making. Empirical evidence is helping us learn, for example, how cognitive limitations, fairness, loss aversion, framing of choices, variable discount rates, and the qualitative dimensions of risk—such as proximity and control—affect decision making. The regularity of many of these anomalies suggests that these behaviours are anomalous only to traditional models, but that they may otherwise be the norm.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Development, Economics, International Cooperation
  • Author: Mark McGillivray, Sebastian Torres, David Fielding
  • Publication Date: 02-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: In this paper we discuss the results of research into the impact of foreign aid on human development. Rather than focussing on per capita income, as is common in the existing literature, we look at how aid impacts on a range of human development indicators, including measures, of health, education and fertility, and allow for the fact that these different dimensions of wellbeing are likely to interact with each other. Overall, aid is found to have a substantial positive impact on many development outcome.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Health, Humanitarian Aid
  • Author: Mihly Simai
  • Publication Date: 02-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: At the beginning of the twenty -first century there is a rare coincidence of profound transformations in a number of areas, in population dynamics, in human settlements, in science and technology, economics, social stratification, in the role and functions of the states and in the global power structure and in governance. The systemic transformation of the former socialist countries is an important component of the ongoing changes Political, economic, and social conditions vary immensely throughout the world, influenced by the size, natural endowments, development level, economic structure, political and institutional patterns, and competitiveness of the countries. The new state and non-state actors make the system of interests and values more diverse. All these have a major influence on the future of the global development process. The paper concludes that developing societies do not need old textbook models, neoliberal or other utopias. There is widespread demand for a new scientific thinking on development, with realistic and humanistic alternatives helping collaborative global and national actions.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Globalization, Government
  • Author: Grzegorz W. Kolodko
  • Publication Date: 02-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Institutions are not only created and built, but al so, and especially, need to be learnt. It is a process which takes place in all economies, but acquires a special importance in less advanced countries. Not only theoretical arguments, but also the practical experience over the past 15 years demonstrates that faster economic growth, and hence also more broadly, socioeconomic development, is attained by those countries which take greater care to foster the institutional reinforcement of market economy. However, progress in market-economy institution building is not in itself sufficient to ensure sustained growth. Another indispensable component is an appropriately designed and implemented economic policy which must not confuse the means with the aims.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Globalization, International Trade and Finance
  • Author: Arjan de Hann
  • Publication Date: 02-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This paper explores the role migration has played in development studies, and in debates on economic growth and poverty. It argues that, despite a recent surge of interest in international migration and remittances, research on human mobility particularly for labour within poor countries does not have the place it deserves, and that it used to have in the classical development literature. Review of the empirical literature suggests that in fact much is known about the migration–development relationship, provided we are careful with definitions, and allow for context-specificity to be a key component of analyses. Against this richness of empirical detail, the paper reviews theoretical models of migration, finding significant differences in understandings of migration and its role in shaping wellbeing, but also complementarities. This highlights the importance of interdisciplinarity, and institutional understanding of processes of economic growth. In particular, it stresses that development economics need to draw more strongly on the insights by and approaches of non-economist social sciences.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Education, Migration
  • Author: Robert J. McIntyre
  • Publication Date: 02-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: In most transitional and many developing countries institutions capable of supporting economic development with localized saving-investment cycles have not developed. This crucial gap is in no way addressed by either country-level macro programmes dealing with 'development finance' or by donor-driven 'micro credit' schemes of Grameen and other types operating at a lower (local) level. The latter seldom evolve into financial institutions able to sustain themselves on the basis of local resources, do not operate on a sufficient scale to trigger dynamic local-level economic growth, and are ultimately artificial manifestations of concessional or charitable aid. The advantages of credit co-operatives in mobilizing and financing local economic development a contrasted with the disadvantages of both conventional micro credit and the most recent neoliberal fashion of so-called 'new wave financial institutions'. Both precedent and the structural logic suggest that this is a promising space for the development of a localized financial system based on credit co-operatives, which elsewhere have overcome the SME credit famine and stimulated local saving-investment cycles. Recent Russian developments are placed in the context of earlier experience in structurally similar conditions. These lessons apply to all other former Soviet Union states, as well as other countries.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Humanitarian Aid, Third World
  • Political Geography: Russia
  • Author: Richard M. Auty
  • Publication Date: 02-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Rents tend to be relatively high in developing countries and also very fungible, so that differences in the scale of the rent and in its distribution among economic agents profoundly affect the nature of the political state and the development trajectory. This paper identifies two basic trajectories to a high-income democracy linked to the scale and deployment of rents. Low-rent countries tend to engender developmental political states that competitively diversify the economy and sustain rapid per capita GDP (PCGDP) growth, which strengthens three key sanctions against anti-social governance (political accountability, social capital and the rule of law) to achieve endogenous democratization that is incremental. In contrast, rent-rich countries are likely to experience a slower and more erratic transition. This is because high rents tend to nurture non-developmental (predatory) politic al states whose deployment of the rent locks the economy into a staple trap, which carries a high risk of a growth collapse. The events presaging a growth collapse weaken sanctions against anti-social governance. However, a growth collapse may abruptly trigger democracy if exogenous factors are favourable, although such a change is likely to prove unstable and prone to regression. Very preliminary tests of the link between PCGDP growth and sanctions against anti- social governance suggest that social capital and law strengthen as predicted by the models for low-rent countries, but political accountability lags. Rent-rich countries exhibit the expected weaker link between PCGDP growth and democratization, an outcome consistent with a more erratic transition towards a high-income democracy.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Politics, Third World
  • Author: lvaro Garca Hurtado
  • Publication Date: 02-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Chile, in the last 15 years, has shown remarkable results in terms of growth, poverty reduction and democratic governance. This pa per reviews the structural changes that were behind these positive outcomes, as well as the pending challenges for Chile's development. Also shows that Chile did better in terms of growth than social integration and that this is related to the weak representation and participation of a wide majority in the national debate and decision making process. It also draws conclusions valid for other Latin American countries' development.
  • Topic: International Relations, Development, Economics
  • Political Geography: South America, Chile
  • Author: Guillermo Rozenwurcel
  • Publication Date: 02-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: After the Great Depression and throughout the rest of the twentieth century, Latin American countries basically approached economic development following two successive and quite opposed strategies. The first one was import substitution industrialization. The second was the so-called Washington Consensus approach. While the two views were founded on quite opposite premises, neither the import substitution industrialization nor the Washington Consensus managed to deliver sustained economic development to Latin American countries. Two domestic elements are crucial to understand this outcome. One is the failure of the state. The second is the inability to achieve mature integration into the world economy.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: Washington, South America, Latin America
  • Author: Laura Sabani, Silvia Marchesi
  • Publication Date: 02-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Since the 1970s, prolonged use of resources by the IMF has consistently expanded, among both low- and middle-income countries. Overall, this phenomenon suggests a lack of effectiveness of Fund supported programmes. In the literature conditional lending failure has been explained by looking both at the characteristics of the borrowing countries (demand-side factors) and at the possible influence of IMF specific interests (supply-side factors). Among the latter it has been suggested that non- compliance with conditionality might be attributed to the lack of credibility of the IMF threat of interrupting financial assistance in case of policy slippages. In this paper we critically review this literature and we propose a novel explanation, according to which it is the repeated nature of the IMF involvement, together with the fact that the Fund acts simultaneously as a lender and as a monitor (and as an advisor) of economic reforms, that weakens the credibility of the IMF threat. Specifically, we argue that Since the 1970s, prolonged use of resources by the IMF has consistently expanded, among both low- and middle-income countries. Overall, this phenomenon suggests a lack of effectiveness of Fund supported programmes. In the literature conditional lending failure has been explained by looking both at the characteristics of the borrowing countries (demand-side factors) and at the possible influence of IMF specific interests (supply-side factors). Among the latter it has been suggested that non- compliance with conditionality might be attributed to the lack of credibility of the IMF threat of interrupting financial assistance in case of policy slippages. In this paper we critically review this literature and we propose a novel explanation, according to which it is the repeated nature of the IMF involvement, together with the fact that the Fund acts simultaneously as a lender and as a monitor (and as an advisor) of economic reforms, that weakens the credibility of the IMF threat. Specifically, we argue that the IMF desire to preserve its reputation as a good monitor/advisor may distort its lending decisions towards some laxity, which may be exacerbated by the length of the relationship between a country and the Fund. Therefore, we claim that prolonged use of IMF resources is not only a consequence of a lack of effectiveness of conditional lending but it might itself be a determinant of conditionality failure.
  • Topic: Economics, International Organization, International Trade and Finance, Markets
  • 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: Louis Emmerij
  • Publication Date: 02-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Why and when do turning points occur? How are they prepared? What are the choices before us when it comes to economic and social development policies? What is the role of culture in development? Do ideas play a role? What are the interests behind the ideas? The present paper tries to answer these and other questions and compares the advantages and disadvantages of global development theories with regional and local development policies that put more emphasis on the role of culture in economic development.
  • Topic: International Relations, Development, Economics, United Nations
  • Author: George Mavrotas, Alessia Isopi
  • Publication Date: 01-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: The paper performs aid allocation analysis using OECD-DAC data covering 20 aid donors and 176 recipients over the period 1980-2003. We improve upon earlier work in this area by employing inter alia the variable 'past outcome' measuring aid effectiveness in order to link together aid allocation and aid effectiveness. In line with previous work, we also account for both altruistic and selfish donor motives in the empirical analysis. As expected, empirical results based on To bit estimates of aid allocation for individual donors vary quite significantly among donors. We also test the robustness of our results by estimating individual regressions for the major donors over the period 1990-2003 in view of major events in the aid arena during that time that could potentially have an impact on the aid allocation process. Our results seem to be similar to those derived over the 1980-2003 period, thus implying that this was not the case. Overall, both altruistic and selfish donor motives seem to motivate aid allocation for most donors over the two periods under examination. However, when we further restrict our time dimension to the 1999-2003 period, some important policy changes with regard to selectivity seem to emerge for a small group of donor countries.
  • Topic: International Relations, Development, Economics, Humanitarian Aid
  • Author: Ira N. Gang, Gil S. Epstein
  • Publication Date: 01-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This paper analyses the decentralization of decisionmaking in aid-giving in a theoretical rent-seeking framework. In this analysis the root donor establishes a necessary criterion for potential recipients: good governance. The potential recipients compete in hierarchal contests for funds. The paper investigates whether, under certain reasonable conditions, fashionable aid procedures will lead to the development of a poverty trap.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Humanitarian Aid, Politics
  • Author: George Mavrotas, Jan-Erik Antipin
  • Publication Date: 01-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: The paper contributes to the empirics of aid and growth by taking a fresh look at the aid-policies-growth nexus emanating from the very influential but also debatable paper on the subject by Burnside and Dollar: 'Aid, Policies and Growth'. We employ three different datasets (including the one used in the Burnside and Dollar paper) and Bayesian instrumental variable methods to test the robustness of the central finding of the Burnside and Dollar paper related to the aid and policy interaction coefficient. In doing so, we applied Bayesian instrumental variable technique s to find the most probable parameter values in the growth equation. We also test for the exogeneity of the instrumental variables used. We find that the marginal effect of the disputed (Aid/GDP) x Policy variable on real per capita GDP growth is substantially smaller than in Burnside and Dollar, thus casting serious doubts on the robustness of their findings, and most importantly, on the validity of the policy lessons emerged from the Burnside- Dollar study.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Humanitarian Aid
  • Author: David Roodman
  • Publication Date: 01-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Much public discussion about foreign aid has focused on whether and how to increase its quantity. But recently aid quality has come to the fore, by which is meant the efficiency of the aid delivery process. This paper focuses on one process problem, the proliferation of aid projects and the associated administrative burden for recipients. It models aid delivery as a set of production activities (projects) with two inputs—the donor's aid and a recipient-side resource—and two outputs—development and 'throughput', which represents the private benefits of implementing projects, from kickback s to career rewards for disbursing. The donor's allocation of aid across projects is taken as exogenous while the recipient's allocation of its resource is modelled and subject to a budget constraint. Unless the recipient cares purely about development, an aid increase can reduce development in some circumstances. Sunk costs, representing for the recipient the administrative burden of donor meetings and reports, are introduced. Using data on the distribution of projects by size and country, simulations of aid increases are run in order to examine how the project distribution evolves, how the recipient's resource allocation responds, and how this affects development if the recipient is not a pure development optimizer. A threshold is revealed beyond which marginal aid effectiveness drops sharply. It occurs when development maximization calls for the recipient to withdraw from some donor-backed projects, but the recipient does not, for the sake of throughput. Donors can push back this threshold by moving to larger projects if there are scale economies in aid projects.
  • Topic: International Relations, Debt, Economics, Humanitarian Aid
  • Author: Ayodele Odusola
  • Publication Date: 01-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Nigeria is governed by a federal system, hence its fiscal operations also adhere to the same principle, a fact which has serious implications on how the tax system is managed. The country's tax system is lopsided, and dominated by oil revenue. It is also characterized by unnecessarily complex, distortionary and largely inequitable taxation laws that have limited application in the informal sector that dominates the economy. The primary objective of this paper is to prepare a case study on tax policy reforms in Nigeria, with the specific objectives of examining the main tax reforms in the country; highlighting tax revenue profile and composition; analysing possible distributional impacts on the poor; discussing major problems that could prevent effective tax implementation in the country; and offering suggestions for reforms.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Africa, Nigeria
  • Author: Samuel Fambon
  • Publication Date: 01-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: In the beginning of the 1980s, Cameroon witnessed a sustained rate of growth, associated essentially with the boom in the oil sector. Increased budgetary and extra-budgetary resources generated by this sector helped to raise the investment rate in the economy, and to maintain a reasonable level of external indebtedness. But after this period of expansion, the country experienced unfavourable economic development caused by a successive decline in the terms of trade, leading to profound imbalances, notably in public finance and the external account. The government subsequently initiated a series of measures to reform its tax system and to adapt it to national economic realities. An efficient and equitable taxation encourages production and the accumulation of national wealth stimulates saving and investments and hence job creation. Such a tax system could, therefore, ensure sustainable growth and development in Cameroon.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Political Economy, Third World
  • Author: Sergey Filippov, Iornara Costa, Mariana Zanatta
  • Publication Date: 10-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: The growing importance attached to attracting foreign direct investment (FDI) is evidenced by the steady rise of investment promotion agencies (IPAs) worldwide, especially from the early 1990s. Since its launch in 1995, the World Association of Investment Promotion Agencies (WAIPA) has registered a growing number of members representing cities, regions, countries and free zones from all over the world: from 112 in 2002, 161 in 2004, rising to 191 members from 149 countries in 2006. According to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) there were around 500 IPAs in more than 160 countries in 2004.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Development, Economics, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: United Nations
  • 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: Matthew Smith, Alan Roe, Tony Addison
  • Publication Date: 06-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: An effective state is able to mobilize revenue and spend it on infrastructure, services, and public goods that both enhance human capital and the well-being of communities (especially the poor), as well as stimulating investment and employment creation by the private sector. An effective state also manages public finance to ensure that macroeconomic balance is maintained—with policy neither too restrictive to discourage private investment and growth, nor too accommodative to create high inflation and crowd out private investment. Fiscal issues are therefore at the heart of the state's role in the development process and failure in this policy area—whether it is in taxation, public expenditures, or in managing the fiscal deficit and public debt—can quickly undermine growth and poverty reduction. Fiscal weakness can also be fatal to social peace when one or more ethnic, religious, or regional groups are taxed unfairly—or receives too little in the allocation of public spending.
  • Topic: Debt, Development, Economics, Poverty
  • Political Geography: Africa, Asia
  • 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: Panicos O. Demetriades, Svetlana Andrianova
  • Publication Date: 12-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Drawing on recent literature, the paper argue s that institutions and political economy factors hold the key to understanding why some countries have succeeded in developing their financial systems while others have not. The paper also reviews new evidence which suggests that institutional quality may influence the effectiveness of financial development in delivering economic growth. These new findings highlight the possibility that poor countries may be stuck in a bad equilibrium, in which weak institutions inhibit growth both directly and indirectly, through under-developed, low- quality finance. In addition, the paper identifies a number of unanswered questions in the financial development literature, including the precise role of important institutions like law in finance, and the influence of geographical factors.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Political Economy, Third World
  • Author: George Mavrotas, S. Mansoob Murshed
  • Publication Date: 12-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: The present paper utilises a short-run theoretical macroeconomic model of a small open economy to look at the impact of macroeconomic policies and financial deepening upon poverty through sectoral changes. This is because an expansion in certain sectors may cause greater poverty reduction. The model involves a non-traded and a traded sector on the formal side of the economy. The former is more capital intensive and the latter more unskilled labour intensive. Increased employment in the traded sector is more pro-poor compared to a similar rise in the non-traded sector as the former draws workers out of poverty in the informal sector. The model in our paper analyses short-run effects of devaluation, a rise in the money supply induced by financial deepening, and taxation to discourage non-traded goods consumption. Financial deepening can induce greater output and reduce poverty. Other results are mixed and taxonomic. We also attempt to differentiate between the stylised experiences of East Asia and Latin America. East Asian economies have relied more heavily on labour-intensive manufactured exports, whereas Latin America has had a relatively greater share of capital intensive and natural resource based exports. In recent decades countries in these two regions have had differing experiences in poverty reduction, with poverty arguably declining more in East Asia.
  • Topic: International Relations, Development, Economics, Poverty
  • Political Geography: East Asia, Latin America
  • Author: Fabrizio Carmignani, Abdur Chowdhury
  • Publication Date: 12-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: We study whether financial openness facilitates the economic integration of formerly centrally planned economies with the EU- 15. Two dimensions of economic integration are considered: cross-country convergence of per-capita incomes and bilateral trade in goods and services. We find that more financially open economies effectively catch-up faster and trade more with the EU-15. These integration-enhancing effects occur over and above any effect stemming from domestic financial deepening and other factors determining growth and trade.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Iftekhar Hasan, Leonardo Becchetti
  • Publication Date: 12-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: We analyse two potential effects arising from regional (and with EU) integration—increased quality of institutions (including the quality of financial institutions) and, economic policies and reduced multilateral exchange rate volatility— in a conditional convergence growth framework for MENA countries. To this purpose we outline an ad hoc methodology which implements the traditional bilateral exchange rate measures to test effects of multilateral exchange rate volatility on growth of per capita GDP. Our estimates show that both factors (quality of institutions and reduction of multilateral volatility) significantly and positively affect growth and conditional convergence. We observe that MENA countries are not far from EU and OECD countries in terms of exchange rate volatility, but much below in terms of institutional quality. We finally simulate the potential effects of an improvement in institutional quality in MENA countries on their process of growth and conditional convergence. We conclude arguing that regional integration may be highly beneficial for such countries, mainly because of its effects on institutional quality.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Regional Cooperation
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Iftekhar Hasan, Leonardo Becchetti, George Mavrotas
  • Publication Date: 12-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Our paper investigates the unexplored impact of education on inflation and of this relationship on economic growth. By using a sample of 102 countries observed on non-overlapping five-year data spells over the period 1963-2001, we find that average schooling years of the working population have a significant negative impact on inflation rates after controlling for the effects of the stance of domestic monetary policy. We also show that the negative impact of inflation on growth in conditional convergence estimates is significantly increased when the former is instrumented by educational variables. Our findings outline a third potential role of human capital on conditional convergence. They show that education is not only a production factor or a variable which may reduce demographic pressures, but also an important antidote against inflationary pressures which, in turn, negatively affect economic growth and conditional convergence. We interpret our findings by identifying three potential rationales for the education-inflation nexus: (i) education raises consumers' awareness of their power in contrasting producers' inflationary pressures; (ii) more educated individuals have lower inflationary expectations when they are also wealthier and their consumption bundle is relatively less (more) intensive in inferior (superior) goods with higher (lower) inflation potential; (iii) more (less) educated and wealthier (less wealthy) individuals tend to be net creditors (debtors) in their maturity, thereby contributing to increase (reduce) the power of anti-inflationary lobbies.
  • Topic: International Relations, Development, Economics, Education
  • Author: Peter Quartey
  • Publication Date: 12-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: The paper primarily investigates the interrelationship between financial sector development and poverty reduction in Ghana. This is done using time-series data from the World Development Indicators from 1970-2001. The main findings are, first, that even though financial sector development does not Granger-cause savings mobilization in Ghana, it induces poverty reduction; and second, that savings do Granger-cause poverty reduction in Ghana. Also, the effect of financial sector development on poverty reduction is positive but insignificant. This is due to the fact that financial intermediaries in Ghana have not adequately channelled savings to the pro-poor sectors of the economy because of government deficit financing, high default rate, lack of collateral and lack of proper business proposals. Another interesting finding is that there is a long-run co integration relationship between financial sector development and poverty reduction.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Poverty
  • Political Geography: Africa, Ghana
  • Author: Marco Mazzoli
  • Publication Date: 12-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This paper introduces a discrete-time intertemporal investment model in which the flow of profits affects the risk premium on the cost of finance, and, as a consequence, the rate of discount of future profits. While public investments, according to a consolidated literature, constitute the main bulk of innovation policies, this model is used to comment and interpret the potential use of another, secondary, public policy, consisting of tax incentives for firms performing R expenditures and issuing securities in the stock market. Linking public policies for innovation to the stock market might help to reduce the problems of discretionality and the monitoring of public expenditure used to finance R and technical innovation.
  • Topic: Security, Development, Economics, Emerging Markets
  • Author: Robert Lensink, Niels Hermes
  • Publication Date: 12-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This paper aims to investigate the relationship between financial liberalization on the one hand and saving, investment and economic growth on the other hand, using a new dataset for measuring financial liberalization for a sample of 25 developing economies over the period 1973-96. We find no evidence that financial liberalization affects domestic saving and total investment (although there are some signs to believe that liberalization may actually reduce rather than increase domestic saving), whereas it is positively associated with private investment, as well as with per capita GDP growth. We find a negative relationship between financial liberalization and public investment. These results suggest that financial liberalization leads to a substitution from public to private investment, which may contribute to higher economic growth.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Emerging Markets, International Trade and Finance
  • Author: George Mavrotas, Subal C. Kumbhakar
  • Publication Date: 12-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Recent years have witnessed important structural changes around the world as a result of the globalization process, the creation of new economic blocks and the liberalization of financial sector in many countries. Responding to these changes many sectors of the industrialized countries have gone through major deregulatory changes to acclimate themselves to new environments. At the same time, many countries have undertaken institutional reforms to build a market-orientated financial system in the hope that transition towards market economy will improve productivity. In the face of uncertainty resulting from changes in regulatory structure and the development of financial institutions to foster market economy, many countries may not be able to achieve their maximum growth potential. In other words, productivity growth is likely to depend on the development of financial institutions and the stage of economic development That is, a less developed country is likely to benefit more (in terms of output growth rate) from the development of financial institutions than a developed economy with well-developed financial system. In this paper we document this by using data covering 65 countries, varying substantially in term s of level of development and geographic location, and spanning the period 1960-1999. Empirical results obtained from the estimation of two different empirical models regarding the measurement of total factor productivity growth seem to confirm a priori expectations about the overall positive influence of financial systems on productivity in line with previous work on this front. Our results remain robust with respect to alternative definitions of financial sector development we tried.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Globalization, International Trade and Finance
  • 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: Alemayehu Geda, Abebe Shimeles
  • Publication Date: 12-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: In 1991 the Ethiopian Revolution Democratic Front (EPRDF) toppled the old 'socialist' regime that had ruled the country for seventeen years. In contrast to the previous policy regime of hard control, EPRDF initiated a wide range of reforms that covered not only the tax system but also the exchange rate, interest rates, trade, domestic production and distribution. This pa per attempts to explore the contribution of the tax reform, the change s in its structure and institutional reform in order to understand its role in raising revenue.
  • Topic: Democratization, Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: Africa, Ethiopia
  • Author: Bram Thuysbaert, Ricardas Zitikis
  • Publication Date: 12-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: If uncertainty exists over the exact location of the poverty line or over which measure to use to compare poverty between distributions, one may want to check whether poverty dominance holds. We develop a consistent statistical test to test the null of poverty dominance against the alternative of nondominance. Dominance criteria corresponding to absolute and relative poverty measures are dealt with. The poverty line is allowed to depend on the income distribution. A bootstrap procedure is proposed to estimate critical values for the test. Our results cover both independent and paired samples.
  • Topic: Demographics, Development, Economics, Poverty
  • Author: Rafael E. De Hoyos
  • Publication Date: 11-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This paper illustrates how the use of microeconometric techniques can be used to uncover the micro dynamics behind macro shocks. Using Mexican micro data we find out that—controlling for everything else—between 1994 and 1998 returns to personal characteristics in the tradable sector increase d particularly those of skilled labourers. By the year 2000 the positive shock upon the tradeable sector vanishes with returns to personal characteristics converging to the levels observed in the non-tradable sector. We use our model's results to simulate a scenario where the Mexican economy experienced the negative shock of the peso crises in the absence of trade liberalization (NAFTA) and find out that under such a scenario the poverty headcount ratio would have increased more than 2 percentage points above the one observed in 1996. The simulated second- order effect of these changes shows that the skill mixed changed in a way that favoured relatively skilled men and relatively unskilled women. These changes in labour participation and occupation had an overall positive income effect though adverse in distributive terms.
  • Topic: Demographics, Development, Economics
  • Political Geography: Central America
  • Author: S. Subramanian
  • Publication Date: 10-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This note points to certain similarities of orientation and outcome between Derek Parfit's quest for a theory of beneficence and Amartya Sen's quest for a suitable real-valued representation of poverty. It suggests th at both projects, in a certain sense, have been instructive failures. Using Sen's own work, the note also suggests a logically natural way of dealing with some of the problems in poverty measurement reviewed in it—but only to reject this way out on other compelling grounds.
  • Topic: Demographics, Development, Economics, Poverty
  • Author: Robert Osei, Oliver Morrissey, Tim Lloyd
  • Publication Date: 09-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: An important feature of aid to developing countries is that it is given to the government. As a result, aid should be expected to affect fiscal behaviour, although theory and existing evidence is ambiguous regarding the nature of these effects. This paper applies techniques developed in the 'macroeconometrics' literature to estimate the dynamic linkages between aid and fiscal aggregates. Vector autoregressive methods are applied to 34 years of annual data in Ghana to model the effect of aid on fiscal behaviour. Results suggest that aid to Ghana has been associated with reduced domestic borrowing and increased tax effort, combining to increase public spending. This constructive use of aid to maintain fiscal balance is evident since the mid-1980s, following Ghana's structural adjustment programme. The pa per provides evidence that aid has been associated with improved fiscal performance in Ghana, implying that the aid has been used sensibly (at least in fiscal terms).
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Government
  • 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: S. Subramanian
  • Publication Date: 09-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: In a heterogeneous population which can be partitioned into well-defined subgroups, it is plausible that the extent of measured aggregate poverty should depend upon the distribution of poverty across the subgroups. A judgment in favour of an equal inter-group distribution of poverty could arise in two ways. In the first approach, equality is upheld as an intrinsic social virtue, and the aggregate measure of poverty, in line with this view, is 'adjusted' to reflect the extent of inter-group disparity in the distribution of poverty that obtains. In the present paper, this approach is examined, with specific reference to the advancement of a diagrammatic aid to analysis called the group poverty profile. In the second approach, equality is upheld for instrumental reasons which arise from the observed fact that any individual's level of deprivation is a function not only of one's own income, but of the general level of prosperity of the group to which one is affiliated. Individual deprivation functions are specialized to a form which reflects this 'group-affiliation' externality, and the resulting poverty measure is studied with respect to its properties, and its implications for inter-group equity. The analysis is briefly extended to a review of the measurement of literacy, along externality-motivated lines suggested elsewhere by Basu and Foster. The paper concludes that social realism in the measurement of deprivation is often compromised by mainstream approaches to economic theorizing in which both heterogeniety and group-related externalities are generally de-emphasized.
  • Topic: Demographics, Economics, Human Welfare, Poverty
  • 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: 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
  • Author: Mark McGillivray, Simon Feeny, Robert Lensink, Niels Hermes
  • Publication Date: 08-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This paper surveys 50 years of empirical research on the macroeconomic impact of aid, looking mainly at studies examining the link between aid and growth. It argues that studies dating until the late 1990s produced either contradictory or inconclusive results. Aid either worked, or it didn't, according to this research. The paper then highlights a major shift in the literature that coincided with the release of the World Bank's Assessing Aid: What Works, What Doesn't and Why. Practically all research published since that report agrees with its general finding that aid works, to the extent that in its absence growth would be lower. One controversy may therefore have been settled. Yet, we show, the report has set-off an intense de bate over the context in which aid works. That debate centres on whether the effectiveness of these inflows depends on the policy regime of recipient countries. Some possible avenues through which the heat might be taken out of this debate are considered.
  • Topic: International Relations, Debt, Development, Economics
  • Author: Alice Sindzingre
  • Publication Date: 08-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: The paper focuses on the non-linearity of the transmission of the impact of globalization on poverty and the existence of threshold effects. Institutions constitute a critical factor for the creation of threshold effects in the impact of globalization on poverty. Institutions—their credibility, ability to be transformed by globalization, and the ways they give the poor access to the beneficial effects of globalization—determine whether the benefits of globalization are spread to the poor or are locked in by particular groups. They also determine whether or not the negative shocks associated with globalization are transmitted in an unfettered manner. The paper presents a theory of institutions that distinguishes several components, which evolve differently and explain the threshold effects that institutions generate upon the impact of globalization on the poor. The paper then shows that social institutions and norms have a critical role in the generation of these threshold effects. It finally examines the interactions between social institutions and state policies institutions, which may contribute to the formation of poverty traps.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Globalization, Poverty
  • Author: Saman Kelegama
  • Publication Date: 08-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Peace can generate an economic dividend, which can be further increased by appropriate economic reform. This dividend can in turn be used to raise popular support for conflict resolution measures along the road to achieving a final political settlement, a strategy that characterizes the recent period in Sri Lanka. However, despite an increase in economic growth following the cessation of hostilities between the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and the government, no substantial dividend materialized for either government supporters in the South or LTTE supporters in the war-torn Northeast. The causes of this failure include delays in disbursing aid which would have eased adjustment to economic reforms—resulting in cuts to public spending that affected Southern households—and weak institutions that impeded the effective use of aid in the Northeast. The Sri Lankan experience highlights some important lessons for both government and donors on making use of an economic lever for consolidating a peace process and conflict resolution. It also highlights some of the dangers in relying too much on economic levers to consolidate a peace process when levels of mistrust are very high.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Economics, Peace Studies
  • Political Geography: Asia, Sri Lanka
  • Author: Justine Nannyonjo
  • Publication Date: 08-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: The long-running conflict in northern Uganda has led to major violations of human rights against civilians, destruction of infrastructure, reduced access to social services, and paralysed economic activity. Creating peace and fostering reconciliation in the region have not been successful either, thereby hindering development and relief activities, which are further constrained by in sufficient funding, and lack of capacity at the district and community levels. The main challenges for reconstruction in northern Uganda are therefore to: (i) achieve peace and reconciliation (ii) provide basic social services to the affected areas (iii) strengthen government capacity to coordinate development and relief activities and (iv) harmonize interventions by the various stakeholders to achieve increased flexibility and transparency.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Economics, Poverty
  • Political Geography: Uganda, Africa
  • Author: Indranil Dutta, Ajit Mishra
  • Publication Date: 08-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: We analyze the relation between inequality, corruption and competition in a developing economy context where markets are imperfect. We consider an economy where different types of households (efficient and inefficient) choose to undertake production activities. For production, households borrow capital from the credit market. They also incur non-input costs which they could avoid by bribing inspectors. Due to information asymmetry and wealth inequality, the credit market fails to screen out the inefficient types. In addition to the imperfect screening, the inefficient type's entry is further facilitated by corruption. We analyze the market equilibrium and look at some of the implications. We show that a rise in inequality can lead to an increase in corruption along with greater competition.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Emerging Markets, Human Welfare
  • Author: Léonce Ndikumana
  • Publication Date: 08-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This paper examines the causes of conflict in Burundi and discusses strategies for building peace. The analysis of the complex relationships between distribution and group dynamics reveals that these relationships are reciprocal, implying that distribution and group dynamics are endogenous. The nature of endogenously generated group dynamics determines the type of preferences (altruistic or exclusionist), which in turn determines the type of allocative institutions and policies that prevail in the political and economic system. While unequal distribution of resources may be socially inefficient, it nonetheless can be rational from the perspective of the ruling elite, especially because inequality perpetuates dominance. However, as the unequal distribution of resources generates conflict, maintaining a system based on inequality is difficult because it requires ever increasing investments in repression. It is therefore clear that if the new Burundian leadership is serious about building peace, it must engineer institutions that uproot the legacy of discrimination and promote equal opportunity for social mobility for all members of ethnic groups and regions.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Economics, Peace Studies
  • Political Geography: Africa, Burundi