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  • 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: Harry Flam, Per Jansson
  • Publication Date: 04-2000
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: The partial effect of nominal exchange rate volatility on exports from each EMU member to the rest of the EMU is estimated on annual data for 1967-97, using modern time-series methods. The long-run relations between exchange rate volatility and exports are mostly negative and in several cases insignificantly different from zero. Thus, these estimates do not provide much support for the hypothesis that the elimination of nominal exchange rate volatility will significantly increase trade within the EMU. However, the EMU will presumably lead to geographical concentration of production and therefore indirectly to increased trade within the EMU and, during a transitional stage, to increased foreign direct investment, both within the EMU and between the EMU and the rest of the world.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, International Political Economy, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: David Begg
  • Publication Date: 04-2000
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: An interesting theory of transition must give a convincing account of structural adjustment and supply side improvement. In this paper, I discuss the incentives for government to undertake costly supply side improvement and how these relate to incentives governing the design of monetary and fiscal policy during transition. The government cares about deviations of inflation, output and government spending from their ideal levels, is subject to a budget constraint in which inflation yields some real revenue, and recognizes the distortionary effects of excess levels of taxation. Costly structural adjustment enhances future output by reducing supply side distortions.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, International Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Matti Pohjola
  • Publication Date: 01-2000
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This paper explores the impacts of information technology investment on economic growth in a cross-section of 39 countries in the period 1980-95 by applying an explicit model of economic growth, the augmented version of the neoclassical (Solow) growth model. The results based on the full sample of 39 countries indicate that physical capital is a key factor in economic growth in both developed and developing countries. Its influence is even bigger than what is implied by the income share of capital in national income accounts. But neither human capital nor information technology seems to have a significant impact on GDP growth. However, investment in information technology has a strong influence on economic growth in the smaller sample of 23 developed (OECD) countries. Its impact is almost as large as that of the rest of the capital stock. But since the share of IT investment in GDP, although growing, is still much lower than the share of non-IT investment, the net social return to IT capital is much larger than the return to non-IT capital: 60-80 per cent versus 4 per cent, respectively. The estimated return is very high; about twice the return to equipment investment and 10-12 times the return to R obtained in similar models as the one applied here.
  • Topic: Economics, Emerging Markets, Science and Technology
  • Author: Thorvaldur Gylfason
  • Publication Date: 10-1999
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: The paper begins by offering a quick glance of the Nordic economies and of some aspects of their economic growth performance and natural resource dependence since 1970. Thereafter, it reviews some of the main symptoms of the Dutch disease, and then considers whether these symptoms are observable in some of the Nordic countries in view of their abundant natural resources. The experience of Iceland and its fish seems an obvious point of departure. The paper then discusses the less obvious case of Norway and its oil (and fish!) and, at last, also reviews some possible linkages between forest resources and economic growth in Finland.
  • Topic: Economics, Environment, Government
  • Political Geography: Europe, Finland, Norway, Dutch
  • Author: Tito Bianchi
  • Publication Date: 10-1999
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: The development literature considers associations an important economic development tool that allows producers to pursue their economic welfare collectively and through participatory means. This paper comparatively analyses the experience of three associations of agricultural producers in the underdeveloped regions of Brazil and Italy that were successful in this economic development task. Their experience, however, challenges a commonly held view about the participatory nature of associations.
  • Topic: Development, Economics
  • Political Geography: Europe, Brazil, South America, Latin America
  • Author: 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: Frances Stewart, Judith Heyer, Rosemary Thorp
  • Publication Date: 06-1999
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: A very large amount of activity occurs within groups (that is within families, firms, co-operatives, communities or governments). Yet most economic analysis focuses on market transactions between these agents. The purpose of the study is to analyse within group behaviour. Evidence suggests some groups perform well from the perspective of efficiency, equity and well-being, while others perform poorly. The study aims to identify the main causes for these different outcomes, developing a preliminary analysis of modes of group behaviour, and influences on them.
  • Topic: Economics, Education, Emerging Markets
  • Author: Päivi Mattila-Wiro
  • Publication Date: 04-1999
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: The aim of this paper is to review the principal assumptions and aspects of the unitary household model and collective models of household behaviour. Empirical studies are presented to assess whether the theories can offer adequate descriptions of household behaviour and to examine the types of policy implications that can be drawn from these. The paper concludes that the models reviewed lack the analytical tools to provide an understanding of the reality of households. Theories are unrealistic and therefore are of little use in the design of policies or projects which endeavour to help people
  • Topic: Economics, Education, Emerging Markets
  • Author: Daniele Checchi
  • Publication Date: 04-1999
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: In the current debate on the relationship between inequality in income distribution and growth one of the possible link works through the access to education. After reviewing this debate, a formal model shows how the imperfection of financial markets makes educational choices dependent on the distribution of family incomes. This leads to two testable predictions in the analysis of aggregate data on school enrolments: a negative (linear) relation with the Gini coefficient on incomes distribution; and a positive dependence on public resources invested in education and/or on skill premium in the labour market. These predictions are then tested on a (unbalanced) panel of 102 countries for the period 1960-90. The main findings of this analysis are that, once we control for the degree of development with the (log of) per capita output, financial constraints seem mainly relevant in limiting the access to secondary education. However, when considering gender differences, there is evidence that female participation in education is more strongly conditioned by family wealth, starting from primary education. On the contrary there is no clear evidence of a relevant impact of invested resources, but at the tertiary level.
  • Topic: Economics, Education, Emerging Markets