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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
  • Author: Giovanni Andrea Cornia
  • Publication Date: 03-1999
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Recent mainstream analyses of changes in income distribution over the post World War II period have concluded that income inequality within countries tends to be stable, that there is no strong association between growth and inequality and that, therefore, poverty is best reduced through growth-oriented, rather than distributive, policies.
  • Topic: Economics, Globalization, International Political Economy
  • Author: Jian Sun
  • Publication Date: 02-1999
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Since the beginning of the Chinese economic reforms in 1978, there has been a series of effort to reform the labour compensation practice in state-owned enterprises to strengthen the link between pay and productivity. Despite the reforms, however, rapid increases in wage rates occurred in state-owned enterprises. Moreover, although state-owned enterprises have much lower productivity gains than non-state enterprises, they pay substantially higher wages and have faster wage growth.
  • Topic: Economics, Globalization, Industrial Policy, International Political Economy
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Abdur Chowdhury
  • Publication Date: 02-1999
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: What started in the summer of 1997 as a regional economic and financial crisis in East and Southeast Asia had developed into a global financial crisis within the span of a year. This crisis followed the crisis in the European Monetary System in 1992–3 and the Mexican peso crisis in 1994–5. However, unlike the previous two crises, the scale and depth of the Asian crisis surprised everyone. One obvious reason for this is East and Southeast Asia's track record of economic success. Since the 1960s, no other group of countries in the world has produced more rapid economic growth or such a dramatic reduction in poverty. Given so many years of sustained economic performance the obvious question is: how could events in Asia unfold as they did?
  • Topic: Economics, International Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Europe, Asia, Southeast Asia
  • Author: Danny Quah
  • Publication Date: 01-1999
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Can the increasing significance of knowledge-products in national income—the growing weightless economy—influence economic development? Those technologies reduce "distance" between consumers and knowledge production. This paper analyzes a model embodying such a reduction. The model shows how demand-side attributes—consumer attitudes on complex goods; training, education, and skills for consumption (rather than production)—can importantly affect patterns of economic growth and development. Evidence from the failed Industrial Revolution in 14th-century China illustrates the empirical relevance of the analysis.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Science and Technology
  • Political Geography: China
  • Author: Jeni Klugman
  • Publication Date: 01-1999
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Complex humanitarian emergencies have caused widespread death and suffering over the last two decades. While recent tragedies in Bosnia, Rwanda and Angola have made the world more aware of the terrible human toll involved, the international community has yet to develop effective policy responses to stem such crises.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Development, Economics, Genocide, Human Rights, Migration, Politics
  • Political Geography: Bosnia, Rwanda, Angola
  • Author: Matti Pohjola
  • Publication Date: 11-1998
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: There is substantial evidence that new information technologies are in many ways transforming the operations of modern economies. More than half of employees use a computer at work in the most advanced industrial countries. About 10 per cent of the value of all private investment in fixed non-residential capital is devoted to computers and peripheral equipment in the United States and some other economies. This share goes up to 25 per cent when investment in information processing equipment is included. Nevertheless, all spending on information technology, including hardware, software and services, does not amount to more than 3-4 per cent of nominal GDP in these countries. The share is, however, increasing rapidly, indicating that a steady state has not yet been reached.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, Science and Technology
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Francis Kramarz
  • Publication Date: 10-1998
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: The rapid diffusion of computers has widely changed the consequences of computer use on the labour market. While at the beginning of the eighties knowledge of computers was an obvious advantage in a career, this same knowledge is now so commonplace that the inability to use these tools is widely seen in many industries as a professional handicap. In relation to such drastic transformations, changes in the North American wage structure during the eighties in favour of the better educated have been interpreted by many analysts as evidence of skill-biased technical change. Evidence outside the US, and in particular in Europe, seems to support the idea that similar transformations affected most other labour markets.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, Science and Technology
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe
  • Author: Tony Addison
  • Publication Date: 10-1998
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Reconstructing Africa's war damaged economies is an urgent task. This is especially so in a group of countries - Angola, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Guinea-Bissau, and Mozambique - which must also complete their economic and political transition from state socialism. Somalia, which shares their common history, must eventually be rebuilt. All of these countries must address their deep problems of underdevelopment and poverty. The challenges are therefore three-fold: to overcome underdevelopment, to make the transition from state socialism, and to reconstruct economies and societies.
  • Topic: Democratization, Development, Economics, Emerging Markets
  • Political Geography: Africa, Mozambique, Ethiopia, Somalia, Angola, Eritrea, Guinea-Bissau
  • Author: Richard M. Auty
  • Publication Date: 09-1998
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Since the 1960s the resource-rich developing economies have under-performed compared with the resource-deficient economies. This paper explains why and outlines the reforms that are required in order to achieve environmentally and socially sustainable resource-rich development. It argues that structural change in the resource-rich countries causes the tradeable sector to shrink vis-à-vis the nontradeables sector (that includes protected manufacturing) in a manner that is not sustainable. This adverse trend in the production structure is associated with policies to close the economy and create discretionary rents behind protective barriers that result in the cumulative misallocation of resources. The build-up of produced capital and skills is slower than in the successful resource-deficient countries. Overall, the inherently slower and less egalitarian economic growth trajectory of the resource-rich countries is intensified and the end result is usually a growth collapse. The collapse causes all forms of capital, including institutional, social and natural capital, to run down. Economic reform is therefore protracted and it may take in excess of one generation to restore sustainable rapid growth. The adverse features of resource-rich development tend to be more pronounced in the smaller countries. They are also heightened where the resource rents accrue mainly to the central government, as in the mineral economies and in the slow-reforming transition economies. Successful reform requires not only appropriate macro and micro policies, but also the construction of institutions to limit the scope for governments to misallocate resources. Part of the explanation for the superior performance of the resource-deficient countries is that their spartan endowment of natural capital acts as a constraint on government failure by placing a premium on the need to nurture scarce resources, including skills, institutions and social capital, and to achieve an efficient allocation of capital.
  • Topic: Economics, Environment, Government, International Political Economy
  • Author: Sergio Rebelo
  • Publication Date: 09-1998
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Starting from the celebrated neoclassical (Solow) model of economic growth, this paper discusses new ideas in growth theory focussing on how to make sustained growth feasible. It first reviews models that broadened the notion of capital to include human capital and the state of technology. These extensions of the neoclassical theory are not very satisfying at a descriptive level because productivity growth is associated with either human or physical capital accumulation in a way that does not interact with the invention of new technologies.
  • Topic: Economics, Science and Technology