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  • Author: Tony Addison, Giovanni Andrea Cornia, Sampsa Kiiski
  • Publication Date: 03-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This paper analyses the trends in within-country inequality during the post- World War II period, with particular attention to the last 20 years, on the basis of a review of the relevant literature and of an econometric analysis of inequality trends in 73 countries accounting for 80 per cent of the world's population and 91 per cent of world GDP-PPP. The paper suggests that the last two decades have been characterized by a surge in within-country inequality in about two-thirds of the developing, developed and transitional nations analysed. It also suggests that in those countries where the upsurge in inequality was sizeable or where inequality rose from already high levels, growth and poverty alleviation slowed down perceptibly. While this trend towards higher inequality differs substantially across countries in its extent, timing and specific causes, it marks a clear departure from that observed during the first 30 years of the post-World War II period during which, with the exception of Latin America and parts of Sub-Saharan Africa, a widespread move towards greater egalitarianism was noted in the majority of the socialist, developing and industrialized economies.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Emerging Markets, International Political Economy, Poverty
  • Political Geography: Latin America
  • Author: Matthew Odedokun
  • Publication Date: 03-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: The study seeks to identify donor-specific factors that cause donors to delay aid disbursement, and to apply a double standard in dealing with the non-compliance of a recipient with regard to aid conditionalities, a practice that promotes uncertainty in the receipt of aid. Annual panel data over 1970-2000 for the 22 members of OECD's DAC donor group are employed in the empirical study. Our findings suggest that the proportion of pledged aid being disbursed, which shows an increasing trend, is positively affected by the extent to which aid is procurement-tied and by the size of the donor government's expenditure in relation to GDP. On the other hand, the proportion of aid commitments being disbursed, which appears lower for the G7 countries, is negatively influenced by factors such as abundant donor generosity, the predominance of grants in total aid, the specific targeting of aid to lower-income recipients, high growth in donor economy, as well as high level of checks and balances, and polarization between the executive and legislative branches of government in the donor country.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Emerging Markets, International Trade and Finance, Non-Governmental Organization
  • Author: Kym Anderson
  • Publication Date: 03-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This paper offers an economic assessment of the opportunities and challenges provided by the WTO's Doha Development Agenda, particularly through agricultural trade liberalization, for low-income countries seeking to trade their way out of poverty. After discussing links between poverty, economic growth and trade, it reports modelling results showing that farm product markets remain the most costly of all goods market distortions in world trade. It focuses on what such reform might mean for countries of South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa in particular, both without and with their involvement in the MTN reform process. What becomes clear is that if those countries want to maximize their benefits from the Doha round, they need also to free up their own domestic product and factor markets so their farmers are better able to take advantage of new market-opening opportunities abroad. Other concerns of low-income countries about farm trade reform also are addressed: whether there would be losses associated with tariff preference erosion, whether food-importing countries would suffer from higher food prices in international markets, whether China's WTO accession will provide an example of trade reform aggravating poverty via cuts to prices received by Chinese farmers, and the impact on food security and poverty alleviation. The paper concludes with lessons of relevance for low-income countries for their own domestic and trade policies.
  • Topic: Agriculture, Economics, Emerging Markets, International Trade and Finance, Poverty
  • Political Geography: Africa, China
  • Author: Susan Martin, Andrew Schoenholtz, David Fisher
  • Publication Date: 03-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Whereas asylum seekers and the systems for adjudicating their claims to refugee status in developed countries have garnished considerable attention and, often, have been at the centre of political controversy, there has been relatively little research on their actual impact on receiving countries. This article discusses the factors that determine the impact of asylum, as distinct from other forms of migration, concluding that the number of asylum seekers, government policies and socioeconomic characteristics all determine the impact of asylum. Hence, the impacts of asylum can differ significantly from country to country. Even within the same country, one could expect to see varied impacts depending on the age, education and skill level of individual asylum seekers. The paper then examines the fiscal, economic, and social impacts of asylum, as well as its impact on foreign policy and national security. It concludes with an examination of the impact of developed countries' asylum policies on the protection of refugees in developing countries. When refugee protection has been weakened in economically strong states and asylum restrictions are perceived as burden shifting, international protection in the developing world where most refugees try to survive has been undercut.
  • Topic: Economics, International Political Economy, Migration, National Security
  • Author: Jeffrey Williamson, Timothy Hatton
  • Publication Date: 03-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Governments in the OECD note rising immigration with alarm and grapple with policies aimed at selecting certain migrants and keeping out others. Economists appear to be well armed to advise governments since they are responsible for an impressive literature that examines the characteristics of individual immigrants, their absorption and the consequences of their migration on both sending and receiving regions. Economists are, however, much less well armed to speak to the determinants of the world migrations that give rise to public alarm.
  • Topic: Economics, International Political Economy, Migration, Poverty
  • Author: Birgitte Andersen, Marva Corley
  • Publication Date: 03-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This paper offers a critical review of the conventional economic classification, measurement and valuation of output, and related performance indicators, for the service sector. The paper also explores and contrasts long-standing views on the service knowledge base and service innovations, as well as the global aspects of many services. A problem arises when historical industrial classification schemes treat services as being 'immaterial' (i.e. everything that is not manufacturing and agriculture), while ignoring that the activities of services in the economy, as well as the corporate structures of firms, transcend such classification schemes at any level of aggregation. Other problems arise when associated traditional analytical methods measure services input and output and related performance indicators using the same conceptual framework and indicators as those that are applied for problem solving for agriculture and manufacturing. Such entanglements have other and wider consequences for understanding the impact of the new economy and for designing appropriate policy.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Political Economy
  • Author: Mark McGillivray
  • Publication Date: 03-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Studies of the inter-recipient allocation of aid may be categorized threefold. First, there are those which attempt to explain the observed allocation of aid. Second, there are those which seek to describe or evaluate the allocation of aid against normative criteria. Third, there are those which seek to prescribe the inter-recipient allocation of aid by calculating the amounts of aid each country should receive, also based on normative criteria. This paper looks at the second and third categories of studies. It commences by looking at the different approaches or descriptive measures used, and then repeats this exercise for the prescriptive literature. It then compares the prescribed allocations of the different approaches used in the literature. These allocations are compared to actual allocations and then evaluated against various normative criteria. This reveals significant differences, both between prescribed and actual allocations and the evaluations of the different prescriptive approaches.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Non-Governmental Organization, Poverty
  • Author: Svetlana Glinkina, Dorothy Rosenberg
  • Publication Date: 02-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: We argue that the conflicts in the Caucasus are the result of the abrogation by the elite of the earlier, Soviet era, social contract. This process was accompanied by the collapse of the formal economy; evidenced by huge national income compression, falling public goods provision, and growing inequality and poverty. In the absence of state provision of basic amenities and governance, ordinary people are compelled to fall back on kinship ties. Declining standards of governance facilitate state-sponsored corruption and criminality in a setting where the shadow economic activity is increasingly important to individual survival strategies. Oil pipelines and the right to control the transit of goods both legal and illegal also underlie conflict in the region. Criminality has replaced ethnicity as the major motivation for conflict and conflict per se has become a lucrative source of income.
  • Topic: Economics, Ethnic Conflict, Poverty
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Asia, Soviet Union
  • Author: Robbie Mochrie
  • Publication Date: 02-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Differences in economic and theological approaches to debt cancellation result from differences in disciplinary assumptions in respect of purpose, method, and argument. We argue that they provide alternative commentaries upon the need for debt cancellation, but that it is not possible to demonstrate the superiority of one over the other, so practitioners in one are likely to continue to find it difficult to respond meaningfully to arguments from the other.
  • Topic: Debt, Economics, Non-Governmental Organization, Religion
  • Author: George Mavrotas, Bazoumana Ouattara
  • Publication Date: 02-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: The present paper examines the impact of different aid types, namely project aid, programme aid, technical assistance and food aid on the fiscal sector of the aid-recipient economy by using time-series data for Côte d'Ivoire over the period 1975–99. Empirical results obtained by estimating correctly the solution of the theoretical model show that when a single value (or aggregated) for aid is used, foreign aid is fully consumed in the case of Côte d'Ivoire. However, results obtained under the assumption of aid heterogeneity clearly suggest that the government responds differently according to the nature of the aid inflows. Our approach sheds plenty of light on how the aid-recipient government reacts to different categories of foreign aid inflows and the empirical findings clearly demonstrate the importance of the aid disaggregation approach for delving deeper into aid effectiveness issues.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Emerging Markets, Non-Governmental Organization
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: George Mavrotas, Roger Kelly
  • Publication Date: 02-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This paper documents the financial and institutional developments of China during the past two decades, when China was successfully transformed from a rigid centralplanning economy to a dynamic market economy following its unique path. We empirically examine the relationship between financial development and economic growth in China by employing a panel sample covering 31 Chinese provinces during the important transition period 1986-2002. Our evidence suggests that the development of financial markets, institutions, and instruments have been robustly associated with economic growth in China.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Emerging Markets, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: South Asia
  • Author: George Mavrotas, Samuel Manzele Maimbo
  • Publication Date: 02-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: The paper explores the relationship between financial sector reforms and savings mobilization in Zambia. Although there exists an extensive literature on financial sector development and savings levels in developing countries, there does not seem to exist satisfactory work on the above nexus for sub-Saharan African countries, particularly Zambia. Along these lines, the paper examines the linkages between the financial reforms of the early 1990s and savings mobilization. It considers the characteristics of banks and non-bank financial institutions, especially micro finance institutions, and savings levels and identifies problems associated with the relatively poor performance of savings in recent years and concludes with a set of policy guidelines for strengthening savings mobilization, highlighting the expected effect on povertyreducing growth.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Emerging Markets, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Africa, Nordic Nations
  • Author: George Mavrotas, Roger Kelly
  • Publication Date: 02-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: The paper uses different measures of financial sector development for a dynamic heterogeneous panel of 17 African countries to examine the impact of financial sector development on private savings. An innovative econometric methodology is also employed related to a series of cointegration tests within a panel. This is an important contribution since traditional panel data analysis adopted in previous studies suffers from serious heterogeneity bias problems. The empirical results obtained vary considerably among countries in the panel, thus highlighting the importance of using different measures of financial sector development rather than a single indicator. The evidence is rather inconclusive, although in most of the countries in the sample a positive relationship between financial sector development and private savings seems to hold. The empirical analysis also suggests that a change in government savings is offset by an opposite change in private savings in most of the countries in the panel, thus confirming the Ricardian equivalence hypothesis. Liquidity constraints do not seem to play a vital role in most of the African countries in the group, since the relevant coefficient is negative and significant in only a small group of countries
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Emerging Markets, Poverty
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: George Mavrotas, Bazoumana Ouattara
  • Publication Date: 02-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Building on recent work in the fiscal response literature, the present paper develops a new fiscal response model, which, for the first time in the relevant literature, combines the ideas of both endogenous and disaggregated aid. We endogenized aid on the grounds that the recipient government has some influence over aid disbursements. Regarding aid disaggregation, it is argued that each of the main four categories of aid, namely project aid, programme aid, technical assistance and food aid may exert different effects on the recipient economy. Furthermore, in case the preferences of the aid-recipient government are higher for some of these types of aid, neglecting aid disaggregation would lead to aggregation bias in the results and conclusions. The model adds an important new dimension to the vast aid effectiveness literature and calls for further modelling as well as empirical work in this promising research area so that significant policy implications can be derived.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Emerging Markets, Non-Governmental Organization, Poverty
  • Author: Matthew Odedokun
  • Publication Date: 03-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: The study seeks to identify donor-specific factors that cause donors to delay aid disbursement, and to apply a double standard in dealing with the non-compliance of a recipient with regard to aid conditionalities, a practice that promotes uncertainty in the receipt of aid. Annual panel data over 1970-2000 for the 22 members of OECD's DAC donor group are employed in the empirical study. Our findings suggest that the proportion of pledged aid being disbursed, which shows an increasing trend, is positively affected by the extent to which aid is procurement-tied and by the size of the donor government's expenditure in relation to GDP. On the other hand, the proportion of aid commitments being disbursed, which appears lower for the G7 countries, is negatively influenced by factors such as abundant donor generosity, the predominance of grants in total aid, the specific targeting of aid to lower-income recipients, high growth in donor economy, as well as high level of checks and balances, and polarization between the executive and legislative branches of government in the donor country.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Emerging Markets, International Trade and Finance, Non-Governmental Organization
  • Author: Matthew Clarke
  • Publication Date: 12-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: The world economy has recently changed. A new world economy has emerged over the last decade as two long-run broad trends, globalization and advances in information and communication technology (ICT) have converged. This 'new economy' is significantly different to the 'old economy', as knowledge has replaced traditional productivity inputs, such as labour and natural resources, as the primary ingredient for economic growth. A new landscape exists and countries must adapt their approaches and policies for development to achieve progress in the future.
  • Topic: Economics, Globalization, International Political Economy, Science and Technology
  • Author: Tony Addison
  • Publication Date: 03-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: The period 1990-2000 saw 19 major armed-conflicts in Africa, ranging from civil wars to the 1998-2000 war between Eritrea and Ethiopia. Peace has been elusive, and the term 'post-conflict' is often a sad misnomer.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Economics, Poverty
  • Political Geography: Africa, Ethiopia, Eritrea
  • Author: Grzegorz W. Kolodko
  • Publication Date: 05-2002
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: The study discusses conditions and prospects for fast and durable growth in emerging market economies. In the course of history less than 30 nations have become rich and still more than 80 per cent of the world population lives in the middle and low-income countries, some of them in extreme poverty. It is true not only for the majority of economies traditionally considered as 'developing countries', but also for the new, post-socialist emerging markets. Thus the questions arise: what is the influence of globalization process on economic growth and how real are the prospects for these emerging markets to catch up with more advanced countries? What factors may contribute to sustained and rapid growth over the long term? The paper examines strategies that can help taking the contemporary wave of globalization to the advantage of fast growth of less advanced countries and hence containing the existing development gaps.
  • Topic: Economics, Emerging Markets, Globalization, International Trade and Finance
  • Author: Stijn Claessens, Joseph P.H. Fan, Larry H.P. Lang
  • Publication Date: 05-2002
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This paper investigates the benefits and associated agency costs of using internal capital markets through affiliating with groups using data of two thousand firms from nine East Asian economies between 1994-6. We find that mature and slow-growing firms with ownership structures more likely to create agency problems gain more from group affiliation, while young and high-growth firms more likely lose. Agency problems are important explanatory factors of firm value in economies outside Japan, but less so in Japan. Consistent with the literature, financially constrained firms benefit from group affiliation. Our results are robust to different time periods and estimation techniques.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Israel, East Asia
  • Author: Paul Collier
  • Publication Date: 04-2002
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: The paper considers the macroeconomic impact of shocks to agricultural output and of negative and positive price shocks. It is shown that negative price shocks have particularly large externalities: it is estimated that the overall impact of these negative shocks on GDP may well be double their direct impact. In terms of policy, the presence of externalities justifies subsidising the provision of insurance. If insurance is not feasible, then foreign aid may be helpful. Turning to other systemic shocks, it is argued that the macroeconomic consequences of negative output shocks are far less important. Positive price shocks also have substantial macroeconomic externalities via their effect on asset demand. Appropriate central bank policy is crucial and requires a detailed understanding of asset demand changes in response to price shocks. Since this may well be unlikely, dollarization may be a better strategy.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, International Trade and Finance
  • Author: Barbara Stallings, Rogerio Studart
  • Publication Date: 04-2002
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: The paper deals with changes in the regulation and supervision of the Latin American financial sector in the aftermath of the 'Tequila Crisis' of 1994–95. While it finds that both have improved, regulation and supervision cannot resolve all problems; good macroeconomic policy and performance are essential complements. This is especially true because of the procyclical nature of financial activity. The paper presents both regional data for Latin America, contrasting it with other emerging markets, and four country case studies (Argentina, Brazil, Chile, and Mexico). The latter show how individual country characteristics and experiences affect the operation of the financial systems. We close with some policy recommendations.
  • Topic: Economics, Emerging Markets, Government
  • Political Geography: Brazil, Argentina, South America, Latin America, North America, Mexico, Chile
  • Author: Lisandro Abrego, Doris C. Ross
  • Publication Date: 04-2002
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This paper analyses debt relief efforts by creditors to alleviate the debt burden of low- income countries. The Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Initiative builds on traditional debt relief, and for the first time involves relief on multilateral debt. It seeks to reduce debt to sustainable levels and eliminate any debt overhang that might hinder growth and investment. It provides substantial debt relief to eligible countries by reducing their overall debt stocks by about one-half, or, together with traditional relief over time, by some 80 per cent. It lowers debt service payments of HIPCs substantially, provides room for increased social spending, and provides a solid basis for debt sustainability. The latter requires efforts by both debtors and creditors. To find poverty reduction efforts, HIPC relief is important, but much broader international support is needed as external transfers to HIPCs in the past far exceeded debt service paid. Experience has shown that external support can only be effective if it reinforces sound policies implemented by HIPCs themselves. Thus debt relief and ODA are most important not in isolation, but as help for self-help.
  • Topic: Economics, International Organization, International Trade and Finance
  • Author: Andrew McKay
  • Publication Date: 04-2002
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Fiscal policy measures are a key means by which governments can influence distribution and poverty, but in fact the relationships between fiscal policy and poverty are not well understood. The most commonly used technique for assessing the distributional impact, benefit incidence analysis, is straightforward, but applied by itself it suffers from a number of serious limitations. Assessment of the impact of fiscal policy needs to be developed in various directions, including allowing for behavioural responses and incorporating a broader range of information. In parallel with this careful attention needs to be paid to more effective monitoring of the poverty impsact of fiscal policy.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, International Trade and Finance
  • Author: John Hawkins
  • Publication Date: 04-2002
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: International bank lending is a major component of capital flows between advanced and emerging economies. However, in recent years these flows have been going the wrong way, like water flowing uphill. Even four years after the Asian crisis, there is a net flow of funds from emerging economies to banks in advanced economies. This paper looks at this phenomenon, starting by setting out the relevant data, and then looking at factors influencing these flows. These include both cyclical influences (both 'push' and 'pull') and structural changes within the banking industry. There is some evidence that international lenders are now discriminating more between the various emerging economies.
  • Topic: Economics, Emerging Markets, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Asia
  • Author: Carlos Budnevich L.
  • Publication Date: 04-2002
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: For many emerging market economies, over reliance on monetary policy may bring worse macro results, when compared to a more balanced framework of countercyclical fiscal and monetary policy. The use of countercyclical fiscal policy requires as a precondition solvent and sustainable fiscal accounts and the re-engineering of fiscal institutions to increase the timeliness and flexibility of fiscal policy. A higher degree of tax or pension fund and/or unemployment insurance contribution flexibility may help in economies subject to significant external shocks. Automatic indexing rules to terms of trade or country risk spreads for pension contributions and interest payments on public debt may also contribute to the stabilization effort. If fiscal revenues are highly volatile, structural budget rules and commodity stabilization funds may provide the necessary framework to achieve saving (dissaving) during expansions (contractions).
  • Topic: Economics, Government, International Trade and Finance
  • Author: Mark McGillivray, Simon Feeny
  • Publication Date: 04-2002
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This paper looks at public sector debt in developing countries, being concerned specifically with the relationship between aid inflows and the public sector borrowing requirement net of aid loans. After examining the public sector budget constraint and various conditions under which aid might lead to an increase in this borrowing, the paper surveys the empirical results of literature on aid and public sector fiscal behaviour. It finds that the results of a number of studies are consistent with aid leading to increases in this borrowing. Further investigation, in the form of econometric analysis of panel data, also points to this outcome. The paper then looks at a number of theoretical scenarios in which aid leads to increases in borrowing net of aid loans.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, International Trade and Finance
  • Author: Chris Elbers, Peter Lanjouw, Johan Mistiaen, Gabriel Demombynes, Jenny Lanjouw, Berk Özler
  • Publication Date: 03-2002
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This paper implements a methodology for estimating poverty in Ecuador, Madagascar and South Africa, at levels of disaggregation that to date have not generally been available. The methodology is based on a statistical procedure to combine household survey data with population census data, imputing into the latter a measure of per capita consumption from the former. The countries are very unlike each other—with different geographies, stages of development, quality and types of data, and so on. Yet the paper demonstrates that in all three countries the poverty estimates produced from census data are both plausible (in that they match well stratum-level estimates calculated directly from the household surveys) and satisfactorily precise (at a level of disaggregation far below that allowed by household surveys).
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Government, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: South Africa
  • Author: Danny Quah
  • Publication Date: 03-2002
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This paper studies growth and inequality in China and India—two economies that account for a third of the world's population. By modelling growth and inequality as components in a joint stochastic process, the paper calibrates the impact each has on different welfare indicators and on the personal income distribution across the joint population of the two countries. For personal income inequalities in a China-India universe, the forces assuming first-order importance are macroeconomic: Growing average incomes dominate all else. The relation between aggregate economic growth and within-country in- equality is insignificant for inequality dynamics.
  • Topic: Development, Economics
  • Political Geography: China, South Asia, India, Asia
  • Author: Günther Rehme
  • Publication Date: 03-2002
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: In many OECD countries income inequality has risen, but surprisingly redistribution as well. The theory attributes this partly to the redistributive effect of education spending. In the model income inequality and growth depend in an inverted U-shaped way on education. To maintain a given level of human capital it is shown that a less efficient schooling technology requires more resources, which lowers pre-tax and post-tax income inequality as well as growth. Using consistently defined income data from the Luxembourg Income Study suggests that there is a negative relationship between growth and income inequality in rich countries. It is argued that using some unadjusted inequality measures in growth regressions may yield estimates that are biased upwards. The evidence suggests that a rich country would raise growth with lower pre-tax and post-tax inequality if it spent more on education.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Education
  • Author: Graciela Moguillansky
  • Publication Date: 03-2002
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This article studies the currency risk management of multinational companies with investments in Latin American countries. The analysis is centred on episodes of currency or financial shocks, searching into the behaviour of the financial management of a firm expecting a significant devaluation. This allowed us to explore the interaction and transmission mechanisms between the microeconomic behaviour and the macroeconomic impact on the foreign exchange market. The analysis was carried out interviewing financial managers of multinational companies from different sectors with headquarters in the United Kingdom and Spain, by reviewing literature on business and currency risk management, and by analysing some surveys on financial risk management in developed countries.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: United Kingdom, South America, Latin America, Spain
  • Author: Elisabetta Bertero, Laura Rondi
  • Publication Date: 03-2002
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This study examines the effect of the hardening of the budget constraint on the investment behaviour of Italian state owned enterprises (SOEs). It carries out a natural experiment that exploits the 1987 shift of budget regimes due to the pressure of European Union economic policies on the Italian government.Drawing from the theory of capital market imperfections, we apply the empirical framework for the analysis of investment-cash flow sensitivity to a panel of state-owned manufacturing firms during the period 1977-93. We parallel state firms to Anglo-Saxon public corporations which, under separation of ownership and control, are afflicted by agency problems, managerial discretion, misallocation of free cash-flow and overinvestment. We argue that, under a soft budget constraint, state firms' managerial discretion and, in particular, collusion between managers and vote-seeking politicians, lead to wasteful investment.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Europe, Italy
  • Author: Jonathan Conning, Michael Kevane
  • Publication Date: 02-2002
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This paper proposes to organize thinking about the opportunities for improving and extending financial markets and safety nets for the poor, by focusing on factors that may explain why the linkage of local financial networks and safety nets with the larger economy often fails or is incomplete. Understanding the nature of these impediments is the first step in proposing policies to help promote more effective linkage and intermediation. We propose four explanations for the slowness of adoption of intermediation (high costs of delegated monitoring aggravated by limited intermediary capital; lock-in and crowding out effects from local insurance arrangements, social norms against cooperation with intermediaries; and political resistance to new institutions that shift the balance of power in local polities). Of course, financial repression and weak legal systems remains important as cause of lack of intermediation. We conclude with a review of public policy for more effective intermediation.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Government
  • Author: Clas Wihlborg
  • Publication Date: 02-2002
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Insolvency and debt recovery procedures are as crucial to a well-performing financial sector as credit provision itself. They are even more important in Africa, where attempts are underway to create fully-fledged financial markets. For the financial system to be credible, creditors must be ensured that lenders will meet their obligations and that cases against them will be brought to closure. A good legal framework for insolvency also ensures distressed firms a form of orderly exit, thereby enabling their owners to start afresh. However, institutions of this nature take time to take effect, and need to be supported politically and by reforms in other sectors of the economy.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Jean-Philippe Platteau
  • Publication Date: 02-2002
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Customary rules governing access to land and other natural resources in village societies have characteristics that allow them to fulfil social security functions and achieve equity objectives. This is true of both common-property resources and land parcels held under individualized tenure. However, when land pressure increases under the combined influences of population growth and market integration, a shift occurs from extensive to intensive resource use patterns. As a result, the efficiency costs of erstwhile equity-and insurance-oriented arrangements rise, thus forcing them to evolve significantly. In particular, land tenure arrangements undergo a major transformation towards more individualized forms with the consequence that property rights in land are increasingly defined without regard for equity and insurance concerns.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Government
  • Author: Rasmus Heltberg
  • Publication Date: 02-2002
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: How much does economic growth contribute to poverty reduction? I discuss analytical and empirical approaches to assess the growth elasticity of poverty, and emphasize that the relationship between growth and poverty change is non-constant. For a given poverty measure, it depends on initial inequality and on the location of the poverty line relative to mean income. In most cases, growth is more important for poverty reduction than changes in inequality, but this does not render inequality unimportant. Reduction in inequality may be triple effective: (1) it will reduce poverty for a given level of income, (2) it will accelerate the poverty reducing impact of economic growth, and (3) according to cross-country growth regressions, it may contribute to a larger rate of growth.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, International Trade and Finance
  • Author: Peter G. Warr
  • Publication Date: 02-2002
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: In recent decades, absolute poverty incidence declined in most countries of Southeast Asia, even though in some of these countries inequality increased at the same time. This paper examines the relationship between these outcomes and the rate of economic growth in the agricultural, industrial and services sectors. It develops a time series of available data on the headcount measure of poverty incidence for Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines over the period from the 1960s to 1999, in aggregate and in both rural and urban areas. It then uses this pooled data set to analyze the economic determinants of changes in poverty incidence.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand, Southeast Asia
  • Author: Peter G. Warr, George Fane
  • Publication Date: 02-2002
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Do changes in poverty and inequality depend directly on the rate of economic growth, or does the source of the growth also matter? This paper uses a computable general equilibrium model of the Indonesian economy to explore this question by simulating increases in GDP arising from (i) technical progress in each of seven broad sectors, and (ii) the accumulation of each of six types of physical and human capital. The more a given amount of growth raises the returns to the factors that are more important sources of income for the poor than for the non-poor, the more it reduces poverty and inequality. Different sources of growth affect poverty and inequality differently because they affect factor returns differently, and because the poor and the non-poor own factors in different proportions.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Indonesia, Southeast Asia
  • Author: Elisabetta Bertero, Laura Rondi
  • Publication Date: 01-2002
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This paper contributes to the literature on the role of decentralization in hardening the budget constraint of public enterprises. Following Qian and Roland the study adopts a 'federalist' approach. However, it interprets federalism as the upward devolution of domestic economic policies to a supranational authority and examines its role in disciplining public enterprises operating in a soft budget regime. The methodology is a case study of the shift in budget regime in Italy in the late 1980s. The study shows that a determinant role in driving this shift was played by European economic policies. The discipline imposed by participation in the EMS, the Single Market Programme and, later, the requirements to enter the EMU pushed the Italian government toward a much tougher approach to its budget deficit.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Steve Kayizzi-Mugerwa
  • Publication Date: 01-2002
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Although privatization has been a key feature of economic policy in Africa since the early 1990s its sequencing and intensity have varied from country to country, with donor leverage being an important determinant of the pace of implementation. However, although many privatization schemes were undertaken in response to donor demands for reduced government participation in business, the process soon achieved its own dynamics. The positive view of privatization suggests that it went ahead, in spite of domestic opposition, because politicians and bureaucrats perceived real benefits to themselves and their supporters. They could influence the sales to their own benefit, while, on the other hand, a more focused public sector improved service delivery.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • 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: Martin Ravallion, Jyotsna Jalan
  • Publication Date: 01-2002
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: It is well known in theory that certain forms of non-linear dynamics in household incomes can yield poverty traps and distribution-dependent growth. The potential implications for policy are dramatic: effective social protection from transient poverty will be an investment with lasting benefits, and pro-poor redistribution will promote aggregate economic growth. We test for non-linearity in the dynamics of household expenditures and incomes using panel data for rural south-west China. While we find evidence of non-linearity, there is no sign of a dynamic poverty trap. Existing private and social arrangements in this setting appear to protect vulnerable households from the risk of destitution. However, the concavity we find in the recursion diagram does imply that the speed of recovery from an income shock is lower for the poor, and that current inequality reduces growth in mean incomes.
  • Topic: Development, Economics
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • 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: Marcel Fafchamps
  • Publication Date: 01-2002
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: There has been a lot of interest in the risk coping strategies of the poor in the recent literature but little work on the relationship between these strategies and inequality (Fafchamps 1999). Some have begun to suspect that certain risk coping strategies further impoverish the poor (e.g. Dasgupta 1993, Sen 1981). Labor bonding and debt peonage are examples that have been discussed in the literature (e.e. Srinivasan 1989, de Janvry 1981). Patronage, that is, the protection of the poor by the rich in exchange for labor and services, is also suspected of perpetuating poverty (e.g. Platteau 1995, Platteau 1995, Fafchamps and Quisumbing 1999).
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Poverty
  • Author: Pedro Albarran, Orazio P. Attanasio
  • Publication Date: 01-2002
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: The paper will use the data from the PROGRESA evaluation to show the extent to which such a programme crowds out private transfers. An interesting aspect of the paper is the fact that it can use the randomization (one-third of the villages in the sample were randomized in the programme for evaluation purposes).
  • Topic: Development, Economics
  • Political Geography: Latin America, North America, Mexico
  • Author: Hulya Dagdeviren, Rolph van der Hoeven, John Weeks
  • Publication Date: 01-2002
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Recent development literature has placed priority on poverty reduction, and on possible growth enhancement from a more equal distribution of assets and income. At the same time, empirical work consistently shows that economic growth is no more than distribution neutral. In that context, this paper explores the relationship among growth, inequality and poverty, and demonstrates the following general conclusions: 1) a redistributive growth path is always likely to be superior to a distribution neutral path ('trickle down') for reducing poverty; 2) a redistributive growth path is always superior if a country's per capita income and inequality are relatively high; and 3) a static redistribution from the rich to the poor is superior to a redistributive growth path in its effect on poverty for most countries, but not for all. The paper then considers policy that might be used to make growth more equitable.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Government, Poverty
  • Author: John Williamson
  • Publication Date: 01-2002
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This paper examines what might be done to limit the boom-bust cycle in the flow of capital to emerging markets. Although the paper accepts that some types of capital flow (notably foreign direct investment) are much less problematic in this respect than others (notably short-term bank loans), it argues that influencing the mix would have to be done by capital controls by capital-importing countries rather than supply-side policies. Where supply-side reforms might help is in making some types of flow less unstable: for example, the Buiter/Sibert proposal for a Universal Debt Rollover Option (which needs amendment to alter the term for which rollover might apply); allowing investors with fiduciary responsibilities to hold (though not to buy) bonds of sub-investment grade; penalizing put options in bond contracts and inserting collective action clauses; requiring foreign loans to be denominated in domestic currency; and modifying the remuneration practices of portfolio managers.
  • Topic: Economics, Emerging Markets, International Trade and Finance
  • Author: Helmut Reisen
  • Publication Date: 01-2002
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: The increased importance of rating agencies for emerging-market finance has brought their work to the attention of a wider group of observers - and under criticism. This paper evaluates whether the importance of ratings for developing-country finance has changed since the Asian Crisis and whether rating agencies have modified the determinants for their rating decisions. It also provides an analysis on recent suggestions by the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision, as these are very important for gauging the future role of sovereign ratings for foreign debt finance in developing countries. While the explanatory power of conventional rating determinants has declined since the Asian crisis, recent rating performance for Argentina and Turkey can still be qualified as lagging the markets, as variables of financial-sector strength and the endogenous effects of capital flows on macroeconomic variables seem to remain underemphasized in rating assessments. The market impact of sovereign ratings is predicted to decline as agencies have started to modify their country ceiling policy and as market participants try to exploit bond trading opportunities arising from the lagged nature of ratings. The paper presents theory and evidence to suggest that the Basel II Accord will destabilise private capital flows to the developing countries, if the current proposal to link regulatory bank capital to sovereign ratings is maintained: Assigning fixed minimum capital to bank assets whose risk weights are in turn determined by market-lagging cyclically determined ratings will reinforce the tendency of the capital ratio to work in a pro-cyclical way.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Asia, Argentina
  • Author: Youssoufou Congo
  • Publication Date: 01-2002
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This study tests the performance of microfinance institutions (MFIs) in Burkina Faso using indicators such as the sustainable interest rate and the subsidy dependence index. The results indicate that MFIs outreach performance remains very low compared with potential demand, and the factors responsible appear to be both the refusal of most MFIs to mobilize local savings and the high costs of supply of microfinancial services. The results also show that MFIs are not viable and sustainable. Their interest rates are kept low and do not allow them to cover all the costs. In addition, the results indicate that MFIs are dependent on subsidies. However, the oldest MFIs and/or institutions providing deposit services have the lowest subsidy dependence index. It is suggested that more attention should be placed on savings mobilization and ceilings on interest rates should be removed in order to allow MFIs to charge sustainable interest rates.
  • Topic: Development, Economics
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Deepak Nayyar, Julius Court
  • Publication Date: 06-2002
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: It is now more than fifty years since the United Nations system and the Bretton Woods institutions were created. However, the world has changed dramatically during the second half of the twentieth century. The technological revolution in transport and communications has eroded the barriers of distance and time. National economies have become ever more closely integrated through cross-border flows of trade, investment and finance. In the political realm, communism has collapsed and capitalism has emerged triumphant. The context has obviously changed. But thinking about development is also very different. And there is now a myriad of new actors—from transnational firms to NGO—participating in the global economy and polity.
  • Topic: Economics, Globalization, Migration, United Nations
  • Author: Julius Court, Giovanni Andrea Cornia
  • Publication Date: 11-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Eradicating poverty has become the international community's number one development objective. The overriding target—endorsed at the recent United Nations Millennium Summit by virtually all world leaders—is to reduce the incidence of income-poverty in developing countries from 30 percent to 15 percent between 1990 and 2015. The problem is that that further progress has stalled and the number of people living in poverty has remained at around 1.2 billion people—a fifth of the world's population.
  • Topic: Economics, Globalization, International Cooperation, Poverty