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  • Author: Oliver Morrissey, Karuna Gomanee, Sourafel Girma
  • Publication Date: 09-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This paper is a contribution to the literature on aid and growth. Despite an extensive empirical literature in this area, existing studies have not addressed directly the mechanisms via which aid should affect growth. We identify investment as the most significant transmission mechanism, and also consider effects through financing imports and government consumption spending. With the use of residual generated regressors, we achieve a measure of the total effect of aid on growth, accounting for the effect via investment. Pooled panel results for a sample of 25 Sub-Saharan African countries over the period 1970 to 1997 point to a significant positive effect of foreign aid on growth, ceteris paribus. On average, each one percentage point increase in the aid/GNP ratio contributes one-quarter of one percentage point to the growth rate. Africa's poor growth record should not therefore be attributed to aid ineffectiveness.
  • Topic: International Relations, Development, Economics
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: S. Subramanian
  • Publication Date: 09-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: In a heterogeneous population which can be partitioned into well-defined subgroups, it is plausible that the extent of measured aggregate poverty should depend upon the distribution of poverty across the subgroups. A judgment in favour of an equal inter-group distribution of poverty could arise in two ways. In the first approach, equality is upheld as an intrinsic social virtue, and the aggregate measure of poverty, in line with this view, is 'adjusted' to reflect the extent of inter-group disparity in the distribution of poverty that obtains. In the present paper, this approach is examined, with specific reference to the advancement of a diagrammatic aid to analysis called the group poverty profile. In the second approach, equality is upheld for instrumental reasons which arise from the observed fact that any individual's level of deprivation is a function not only of one's own income, but of the general level of prosperity of the group to which one is affiliated. Individual deprivation functions are specialized to a form which reflects this 'group-affiliation' externality, and the resulting poverty measure is studied with respect to its properties, and its implications for inter-group equity. The analysis is briefly extended to a review of the measurement of literacy, along externality-motivated lines suggested elsewhere by Basu and Foster. The paper concludes that social realism in the measurement of deprivation is often compromised by mainstream approaches to economic theorizing in which both heterogeniety and group-related externalities are generally de-emphasized.
  • Topic: Demographics, Economics, Human Welfare, Poverty
  • Author: Peter Quartey
  • Publication Date: 09-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: There has been significant amount of aid inflow s to developing countries including Ghana, but these have been very volatile. Aid flows have been associated with low domestic resource mobilization and have reduced Ghana to a country heavily dependent on aid. The amount of official development assistance (ODA) inflow s has fallen in recent years and has become unpredictable. It is general knowledge that aid has not yielded the desired benefit. In an attempt to improve aid effectiveness donors have used tie d aid not just to promote commercial interests but also to target aid to particular projects that have direct links with poverty. However, this has not yielded the maximum benefits required. Recently, the government of Ghana and its development partners agreed on an aid package dubbed the multi-donor budgetary support (MDBS), which would ensure continuous flow of aid to finance the government's poverty related expenditures.
  • Topic: International Relations, Development, Economics
  • Political Geography: Africa, Ghana
  • Author: Guanghua Wan, Yin Zhang
  • Publication Date: 08-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This paper proposes a semi-parametric method for poverty decomposition, which combines the data-generating procedure of Shorrocks and Wan (2004) with the Shapley value framework of Shorrocks (1999). Compared with the popular method of Datt and Ravallion (1992), our method is more robust to misspecification errors, does not require the predetermination of functional forms, provides better fit to the underlying Lorenz curve and incorporates the residual term in a rigorous way. The method is applied to decomposing variations of urban poverty across the Chinese provinces into three components – contributions by the differences in average nominal income, inequality and poverty line. The results foreground average income as the key determinant of poverty incidence, but also attach importance to the influence of distribution. The regional pattern of the decomposition suggests provincial groupings based not entirely on geographical locations.
  • Topic: Demographics, Economics, Poverty
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Mark McGillivray, Simon Feeny, Robert Lensink, Niels Hermes
  • Publication Date: 08-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This paper surveys 50 years of empirical research on the macroeconomic impact of aid, looking mainly at studies examining the link between aid and growth. It argues that studies dating until the late 1990s produced either contradictory or inconclusive results. Aid either worked, or it didn't, according to this research. The paper then highlights a major shift in the literature that coincided with the release of the World Bank's Assessing Aid: What Works, What Doesn't and Why. Practically all research published since that report agrees with its general finding that aid works, to the extent that in its absence growth would be lower. One controversy may therefore have been settled. Yet, we show, the report has set-off an intense de bate over the context in which aid works. That debate centres on whether the effectiveness of these inflows depends on the policy regime of recipient countries. Some possible avenues through which the heat might be taken out of this debate are considered.
  • Topic: International Relations, Debt, Development, Economics
  • Author: Alice Sindzingre
  • Publication Date: 08-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: The paper focuses on the non-linearity of the transmission of the impact of globalization on poverty and the existence of threshold effects. Institutions constitute a critical factor for the creation of threshold effects in the impact of globalization on poverty. Institutions—their credibility, ability to be transformed by globalization, and the ways they give the poor access to the beneficial effects of globalization—determine whether the benefits of globalization are spread to the poor or are locked in by particular groups. They also determine whether or not the negative shocks associated with globalization are transmitted in an unfettered manner. The paper presents a theory of institutions that distinguishes several components, which evolve differently and explain the threshold effects that institutions generate upon the impact of globalization on the poor. The paper then shows that social institutions and norms have a critical role in the generation of these threshold effects. It finally examines the interactions between social institutions and state policies institutions, which may contribute to the formation of poverty traps.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Globalization, Poverty
  • Author: Saman Kelegama
  • Publication Date: 08-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Peace can generate an economic dividend, which can be further increased by appropriate economic reform. This dividend can in turn be used to raise popular support for conflict resolution measures along the road to achieving a final political settlement, a strategy that characterizes the recent period in Sri Lanka. However, despite an increase in economic growth following the cessation of hostilities between the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and the government, no substantial dividend materialized for either government supporters in the South or LTTE supporters in the war-torn Northeast. The causes of this failure include delays in disbursing aid which would have eased adjustment to economic reforms—resulting in cuts to public spending that affected Southern households—and weak institutions that impeded the effective use of aid in the Northeast. The Sri Lankan experience highlights some important lessons for both government and donors on making use of an economic lever for consolidating a peace process and conflict resolution. It also highlights some of the dangers in relying too much on economic levers to consolidate a peace process when levels of mistrust are very high.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Economics, Peace Studies
  • Political Geography: Asia, Sri Lanka
  • Author: Justine Nannyonjo
  • Publication Date: 08-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: The long-running conflict in northern Uganda has led to major violations of human rights against civilians, destruction of infrastructure, reduced access to social services, and paralysed economic activity. Creating peace and fostering reconciliation in the region have not been successful either, thereby hindering development and relief activities, which are further constrained by in sufficient funding, and lack of capacity at the district and community levels. The main challenges for reconstruction in northern Uganda are therefore to: (i) achieve peace and reconciliation (ii) provide basic social services to the affected areas (iii) strengthen government capacity to coordinate development and relief activities and (iv) harmonize interventions by the various stakeholders to achieve increased flexibility and transparency.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Economics, Poverty
  • Political Geography: Uganda, Africa
  • Author: Indranil Dutta, Ajit Mishra
  • Publication Date: 08-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: We analyze the relation between inequality, corruption and competition in a developing economy context where markets are imperfect. We consider an economy where different types of households (efficient and inefficient) choose to undertake production activities. For production, households borrow capital from the credit market. They also incur non-input costs which they could avoid by bribing inspectors. Due to information asymmetry and wealth inequality, the credit market fails to screen out the inefficient types. In addition to the imperfect screening, the inefficient type's entry is further facilitated by corruption. We analyze the market equilibrium and look at some of the implications. We show that a rise in inequality can lead to an increase in corruption along with greater competition.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Emerging Markets, Human Welfare
  • Author: Léonce Ndikumana
  • Publication Date: 08-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This paper examines the causes of conflict in Burundi and discusses strategies for building peace. The analysis of the complex relationships between distribution and group dynamics reveals that these relationships are reciprocal, implying that distribution and group dynamics are endogenous. The nature of endogenously generated group dynamics determines the type of preferences (altruistic or exclusionist), which in turn determines the type of allocative institutions and policies that prevail in the political and economic system. While unequal distribution of resources may be socially inefficient, it nonetheless can be rational from the perspective of the ruling elite, especially because inequality perpetuates dominance. However, as the unequal distribution of resources generates conflict, maintaining a system based on inequality is difficult because it requires ever increasing investments in repression. It is therefore clear that if the new Burundian leadership is serious about building peace, it must engineer institutions that uproot the legacy of discrimination and promote equal opportunity for social mobility for all members of ethnic groups and regions.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Economics, Peace Studies
  • Political Geography: Africa, Burundi
  • Author: Pierluigi Montalbano, Alessandro Federici, Umberto Triulzi, Carlo Pietrobelli
  • Publication Date: 06-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This paper offers a substantive contribution to the debate on the role of international trade on the development of emerging countries. The aim is to detect empirically the phenomenon of vulnerability induced by trade openness. The methodology adopts a forward-looking approach and tries to fill a missing link in the theory between trade shocks, volatility, and the wellbeing of countries, distinguishing between 'normal' and 'extreme' volatility.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Globalization, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Eastern Europe
  • Author: George Mavrotas, Dmitri Vinogradov
  • Publication Date: 06-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: We consider an overlapping generations model with two production factors and two types of agents in the presence of financial intermediation and its application to the Russian default of August 1998. The paper focuses on the analysis of the consequences of a sudden negative repayments shock on financial intermediation capacity and consequently on the economy as a whole. The model exhibits a 'chain reaction' property, when a single macroeconomic shock can lead to the exhaustion of credit resources and to the subsequent collapse of the whole banking system. To maintain the capability of the system to recover, regulatory intervention is needed even in the presence of the state guarantees on agents' deposits in the banks (workout incentives). We compare the results for an intermediated economy with those derived under the assumption of a market economy, and draw some broad conclusions on the consequences of the crises, which are contingent on the financial sector structure.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Emerging Markets, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Russia
  • Author: Erik Thorbecke, Machiko Nissanke
  • Publication Date: 06-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: The paper offers a critical literature review of the debate surrounding the globalization-poverty nexus, focusing on channels and linkages through which globalization affects the poor. After introducing four different concepts used to measure trends in world income inequality, it examines first the 'growth' conduit through which globalization affects poverty. Treating inequality as the explicit filter between growth and poverty reduction, the causal chain of openness-growth-inequality-poverty is scrutinized, link by link. The paper then moves on to examine other channels in the globalization-poverty nexus that operate through changes in relative factor and good prices, factor movements, the nature of technological change and diffusion, the impact of globalization on volatility and vulnerability, the worldwide flow of information, global disinflation, and institutions, respectively. The paper concludes with a discussion of strategic policy issues within the context of the globalization debate.
  • Topic: International Relations, Economics, Globalization, Poverty
  • Author: Heiko Nitzschke, David M. Malone
  • Publication Date: 07-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: The political economy of civil wars has acquired unprecedented scholarly and policy attention. Among others, the International Peace Academy's programme on Economic Agendas in Civil Wars (EACW) has aimed to contribute to a better understanding of the complex dynamics of civil war economies and has identified areas for policy development critical for improved conflict prevention, conflict resolution, and postconflict peacebuilding. While much of the earlier debate on the economic dimensions has been polarized around the 'greed versus grievance' dichotomy, there is now a better understanding of how economic dynamics can influence the onset, character, and duration of armed conflicts. This paper discusses key research findings and their policy relevance, provides a preliminary assessment of policy efforts to address the economic dimensions of conflict and conflict transformation, and offers some issues for further research and policy action.
  • Topic: Civil War, Development, Economics, Political Economy
  • Author: George Mavrotas, David Fielding
  • Publication Date: 06-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Issues related to the volatility of aid flows are now becoming crucial in view of their relevance to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals. The paper examines aid volatility using data for 66 aid recipients over the period 1973-2002. We improve upon earlier work in this important area by disaggregating total aid inflows into sector and programme aid. In this way we avoid focussing on a single aggregate, unlike most previous studies on aid volatility. We also adopt a different methodology to capture aid volatility. The institutional quality of the aid recipient affects the stability of sector aid but not that of programme assistance. Moreover, more open economies, which tend to be smaller and richer, ceteris paribus, are associated with more volatile sector aid flows.
  • Topic: International Relations, Economics, International Cooperation, Poverty
  • Author: Tony Addison
  • Publication Date: 06-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Countries as diverse as Afghanistan, Angola, and Sierra Leone are now attempting to recover from major wars, often amidst continuing insecurity. The challenge is to achieve a broad-based recovery that benefits the majority of people. The economic and social recovery of conflict-affected countries cannot be separated from their interaction with the rest of the world through flows of finance, goods, and people. Unfortunately, the global economy is not working well for peace. Trade reform, in particular, must take account of the need to create better, and non-violent, livelihoods for the world's poor: rich-country protectionism in agriculture hinders broad-based recovery and thereby harms the new international security agenda. Post-conflict economies also need more external finance to support early institutional development and reform, thereby increasing the effectiveness of longer-term aid inflows.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Economics, Globalization
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Middle East, Sierra Leone, Angola
  • Author: Anne Trebilcock
  • Publication Date: 04-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: The ILO was founded for social justice, a mandate expressed today in terms of decent work as a global goal, for all who work, whether in formal or informal contexts. In June 2002, the delegates to the International Labour Conference from governments, workers' and employers' organizations adopted a resolution incorporating conclusions on decent work and the informal economy. The four components of decent work – opportunities for employment and income, respect for rights at work, social protection and stronger social dialogue – form the backbone of the ILO's approach to the informal economy. These elements can also be seen through a development lens, and necessarily feature a strong gender dimension. To make the action foreseen by the ILC conclusions more easily operational in a cross-disciplinary way, the issues they address can be cast in terms of macro policy, governance, enhancement of productivity, markets and employment, social protection/addressing vulnerabilities, and representation and voice. All play key roles in poverty reduction. Moreover, recognizing the importance of measuring progress towards decent work, developments in relation to indicators are briefly described. This paper includes annexes reproducing the ILC conclusions along with two relevant resolutions adopted by the International Conference of Labour Statisticians and a list of ILO websites that address various aspects of decent work and the informal economy.
  • Topic: International Relations, Civil Society, Economics, Government
  • Author: Rehman Sobhan
  • Publication Date: 03-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This paper argues that poverty originates in the structural injustices of a social order which incapacitates the poor from participating in the growth generating sectors of the economy and leaves them captives in the so called informal sector, characterized by low productivity and low earning capacity. In such a system the poor remain individualized and hence disempowered which compels them to interface with the market economy on highly inequitable terms which relegates them to the lowest tiers of the value addition chain. The need for a macro-policy designed to eliminate poverty is premised on the argument that poverty originates in the structural features of society which can only be addressed at the macro-level. Policy interventions, to redesign the structural sources of poverty, bring into consideration issues of social, political as well as economic reform.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Development, Economics, Poverty
  • Author: Reema Nanavaty
  • Publication Date: 02-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This is a brief sketch of the Self Employed Women's Association's (SEWA) three-decade-long journey from the local to global and informal to formal sector in search of finding work and income for now 720,000 women workers. Though SEWA remains a local and an informal economy workers' organization, its aim has always been to mainstream its issues, hopes, and achievements.
  • Topic: International Relations, Economics, Emerging Markets, International Trade and Finance
  • Author: Elinor Ostrom
  • Publication Date: 01-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Unlocking human potential requires a rich network of institutional arrangements in both private and public spheres. Opening the private sphere to entrepreneurship and complex market organization is well understood as a key to increasing the level and quality of private goods available to consumers. Opening the public sphere to entrepreneurship and innovation at local, regional, and international levels is also a key to increasing the level and quality of public goods – e.g., peace, safety, and health – available to citizens. This paper reviews studies of urban service delivery that have repeatedly found communities of individuals who have self-organized to provide and co-produce surprisingly good local services. In addition to unlocking individual freedom, we need to unlock the public sector from rigid, top-down, hierarchical organization.
  • Topic: International Relations, Economics, Emerging Markets, International Trade and Finance