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  • Author: Anthony B. Atkinson
  • Publication Date: 12-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: The aim of this paper is to examine the concentration of wealth among the group of top wealth holders, defined as those with wealth in excess of a high cut off. The paper begins by considering the definition of this cut off, analogous to the definition of a poverty line at the other end of the distribution. It then considers what can be learned about the proportion classified as 'rich' and about the concentration among the rich from four non-survey sources: journalists' lists, estate data, wealth tax data, and investment income tax data. It starts off from the world's billionaires in 2006, but is particularly concerned with changes over time within countries, taking France, Germany, the UK, and the USA, to illustrate the different sources.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Demographics, Economics
  • Political Geography: United States, United Kingdom, France, Germany
  • Author: James C. MacGee
  • Publication Date: 12-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Does the existence of formal title to land and real estate matter for the distribution of wealth? This paper reviews the empirical literature on the economic impact of land and real estate administration systems across countries. This paper argues that a functioning credit market for secured credit is necessary to realize the full benefits of legal title to private real estate. This paper also reviews quantitative economic theory on wealth distribution to assess the likely impact of different land registration systems on wealth inequality. The implication of current theory is that poor land administration systems may sometimes lead to lower levels of wealth inequality than better land registration systems.
  • Topic: International Relations, Demographics, Economics, Markets
  • Author: Tony Addison
  • Publication Date: 09-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Artists, musicians and writers have always been great travellers. Today, their talent circulates in new ways, and takes new forms, as the creative industries expand globally in a marriage of media technology and the traditional arts. The growing international market for cultural talent can do much to help countries diversify their economies, and improve the quality of life more broadly. The creative industries are subject to strong clustering effects, with talent moving swiftly to the most vibrant clusters, not always to the advantage of the poorer countries which can lose talent to the richer world. Countries that protect intellectual property rights, educate and train their talent, and maintain politically open and liberal societies will have a head start in the global creative economy.
  • Topic: International Relations, Economics, Migration, Science and Technology
  • Author: Mehmet Arda
  • Publication Date: 09-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: The importance of supermarkets in the world food economy has increased radically since the early 1990s. They are now major sellers and buyers of food items not only in developed but also in developing countries. Urbanization and the liberalization of the services sector have been important facilitators of this process.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Human Welfare
  • Political Geography: Latin America, Central America
  • Author: Yin Ge
  • Publication Date: 09-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: How do foreign trade and foreign direct investment affect regional inequality? Foreign trade and investment may affect internal economic geography, and the resulting industry agglomeration may contribute to regional inequality. This paper provides empirical evidence supporting this linkage. The results indicate that the increasing regional inequality in China has been accompanied by an increase in the degree of regional specialization and industry agglomeration. Foreign trade and foreign investment are closely related to industry agglomeration in China. Industries dependent on foreign trade and FDI are more likely to locate in regions with easy access to foreign markets, and exporting industries have a higher degree of agglomeration.
  • Topic: Economics, Industrial Policy, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Daniel Waldenström, Jesper Roine, Henry Ohlsson
  • Publication Date: 09-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: The objective of this paper is to study the dynamics of the wealth distribution over the path of economic development. More specifically, we are interested in distinguishing between changes which seem to be country specific and characteristics shared by all countries. A historical account of the evolution of the wealth distribution in developed countries is interesting in itself, but it can also hold implications for countries that are currently in an early stage of development or in transition. The data used originates from the taxation of wealth and estates.
  • Topic: International Relations, Demographics, Economics
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Salvatore Capasso
  • Publication Date: 09-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Since the 1990s economists have devoted considerable attention to the study of the relationship between financial markets development and economic growth. In particular, the emergence of stock markets with economic development is an intriguing and interesting aspect of such a relationship, and yet relatively unexplored. This paper examines the most recent findings in the theoretical and empirical literature trying to determine the rationale behind the development of stock markets along the path of growth and the nature of the interrelationship between real and financial variables.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Emerging Markets, Markets
  • Author: André Mach, Thomas David
  • Publication Date: 09-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This research paper discusses the role of institutions in the rapid growth and successful international integration of Switzerland during the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. In analysing the emergence and consolidation of the institutions whose existence was crucial, the paper looks both at the political institutions that managed conflicts and promoted cooperation between private and public actors and the economic institutions that, on the one hand, compensated the groups that fell behind in the developmental process (e.g., agricultural subsidies, high tolerance for domestic cartels, tariffs for some industries, institutions for labour representation) and, on the other hand, enhanced productivity. In addition, the absence of some institutions such as a patent law and an independent central bank was also crucial in the Swiss case, even though these two institutions are regarded as pre-requisites of development by today's economic orthodoxy. The paper concludes by drawing lessons for today's developing countries.
  • Topic: International Relations, Development, Economics
  • Political Geography: Europe, Switzerland
  • Author: Mina Baliamoune-Lutz
  • Publication Date: 09-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Using a vector error-correction model, I explore the short-run dynamics and long-run linkages between financial reform and the mobilization of domestic saving in Morocco. In the short run, financial depth (volume of intermediation) is shown to have a positive influence on private saving, while increases in real interest rates have a negative impact. The effectiveness of financial intermediation does not seem to have a direct effect on saving but has a significant influence on the volume of intermediation. In the long run, savings have a stable relationship with financial reform but the influence of interest rates remains negative, implying that the income effect dominates in the long run as well.
  • Topic: Development, Economics
  • Political Geography: Africa, Morocco
  • Author: Zhicheng Liang
  • Publication Date: 09-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Financial development can exert a significant influence on the distribution of income. In this paper, using Chinese provincial data over the period of 1991-2000 and applying the generalized method of moment (GMM) techniques, we investigate the relationship between finance and inequality in rural China by testing alternative existing theories concerning the finance-inequality nexus. A negative and linear relationship between finance and inequality is found in our estimations. The empirical results show that financial development significantly reduces income inequality in post-reform rural China.
  • Topic: Demographics, Development, Economics
  • Political Geography: China, Asia