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  • 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: 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