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  • Author: Hyun H. Son, Nanak Kakwani
  • Publication Date: 06-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This paper looks into the interrelation between economic growth, inequality, and poverty. Using the notion of pro-poor growth, this study examines to what extent the poor benefit from economic growth. First, various approaches to defining and measuring pro-poor growth are scrutinized using a variety of criteria. It is argued that the satisfaction of a monotonicity axiom is a key criterion for measuring pro-poor growth. The monotonicity axiom sets out a condition that the proportional reduction in poverty is monotonically an increasing function of the pro-poor growth measure. This paper proposes a pro-poor growth measure that satisfies the monotonicity criterion. This measure is called the 'poverty equivalent growth rate', which takes into account both the magnitude of growth and how the benefits of the growth are distributed to the poor and the non-poor. As the new measure satisfies the criterion of monotonicity, it is indicative that to achieve a rapid poverty reduction, the poverty equivalent growth rate ought to be maximized rather than the actual growth rate. The methodology developed in the paper is then applied to Asian countries, including the Republic of Korea, Thailand, and Vietnam.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Poverty
  • Political Geography: Asia, Vietnam, Korea, Thailand
  • Author: Wayne Nafziger
  • Publication Date: 01-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: The paper compares perspectives on the meaning of development in the late 1970s and early 1980s to the contemporary period, with a focus on the works of Dudley Seers and Amartya Sen. Both men were critical of the development literature of their times. Seers was especially critical of neoclassicism's universal claims and economic growth as the prime objective. For Sen, development involves reducing deprivation or broadening choice. One challenge for future work is for development economists, similar to Seers and Sen, to be more holistic, integrating economic development, human rights, and conflict reduction.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Poverty
  • Author: Hyun H. Son, Nanak Kakwani
  • Publication Date: 05-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This paper suggests how the targeting efficiency of government programmes may be better assessed. Using the 'pro-poor policy' (PPP) index developed by authors, the study investigates the pro-poorness of not only government programmes geared to the poorest segment of the population, but also basic service delivery in education, health and infrastructure. This paper also shows that the targeting efficiency for a particular socioeconomic group should be judged on the basis of a 'total-group PPP index', to capture the impact of operating a programme within the group. Using micro-unit data from household surveys, the paper presents a comparative analysis for Thailand, Russia, Vietnam and 15 African countries.
  • Topic: International Relations, Economics, Government, Poverty
  • Political Geography: Africa, Russia, Vietnam, Thailand
  • Author: Gerald Epstein
  • Publication Date: 05-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: In the last two decades, there has been a global sea change in the theory and practice of central banking. The currently dominant 'best practice' approach to central banking consists of the following: (1) central bank independence (2) a focus on inflation fighting (including adopting formal 'inflation targeting') and (3) the use of indirect methods of monetary policy (that is, short-term interest rates as opposed to direct methods such as credit ceilings). This paper argues that this neo-liberal approach to central banking is highly idiosyncratic in that, as a package, it is dramatically different from the historically dominant theory and practice of central banking, not only in the developing world, but, notably, in the now developed countries themselves. Throughout the early and recent history of central banking in the US, England, Europe, and elsewhere, financing governments, managing exchange rates, and supporting economic sectors by using 'direct methods' of intervention have been among the most important tasks of central banking and, indeed, in many cases, were among the reasons for their existence. The neo-liberal central bank policy package, then, is drastically out of step with the history and dominant practice of central banking throughout most of its history.
  • Topic: Development, Economics
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, England
  • Author: Meredith Woo-Cumings
  • Publication Date: 05-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This paper examines the literature on the rule of law and economic development, and in particular the influential argument by La Porta et al., on the superiority of the Anglo-American common law system in fostering financial development. In this paper I show that however compelling their argument might be, legal traditions and institutions do not determine the nature of the state, nor its likely role in the economy—nor do they critically determine the course of economic development. I build my case by examining the real and informal mechanisms of state intervention in the economy in East Asia.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, International Law
  • Political Geography: America, Israel, East Asia
  • Author: Joseph Toye, John Toye
  • Publication Date: 05-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Max Weber believed that bureaucracy could be understood by analysing its ideal-typical characteristics, and that these characteristics would become more pervasive as the modern age advanced. Weber's horizontal account of bureaucracy can be criticised on various grounds, including its unrealistic notion of bureaucratic rationality. An alternative view is proposed, namely, that the development of state bureaucracies is driven by the trajectory of the highpower politics in which they are nested.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Politics
  • Author: Alemayehu Geda, Daniel Zerfu, Abebe Shimeles
  • Publication Date: 05-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: In this paper, using the rich household panel data of urban and rural Ethiopia that covers the period from 1994 to 2000, we attempted to establish the link between finance and poverty in Ethiopia. Our results show that access to finance is an important factor in consumption smoothing and hence poverty reduction. We also found evidence for a poverty trap due to liquidity constraints that limits the ability of the rural households from consumption smoothing. The empirical findings from this study could inform finance policies aimed at addressing issues of poverty reduction.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Poverty
  • Political Geography: Africa, Ethiopia
  • Author: Basudeb Guha-Khasnobis, Saibal Kar
  • Publication Date: 05-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Traditionally, firms in India have shown a low preference towards debt financing, despite its advantages. Using panel data from 450 firms during 1992-93 and 2003-04, we attempt to identify factors which could explain the pattern of financing of manufacturing firms in India and the key determinants of their debt structure. We examine the roles of age of the firm, long term borrowing and net sales in affecting its debt structure.
  • Topic: Economics, Markets
  • Political Geography: India, Asia
  • Author: Ajit Singh, Sukti Dasgupta
  • Publication Date: 05-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This paper uses a Kaldorian framework to examine the evidence of deindustrialization in developing countries at low levels of income, the jobless growth in these economies and the fast expansion of the informal sector. The questions are specifically examined for the Indian economy, using state level data but the analysis has a wider application for economic policy in developing countries.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Industrial Policy, Third World
  • Political Geography: India
  • Author: Mingxing Liu, Pengfei Zhang, Shiyuan Pan, Justin Yifu Lin
  • Publication Date: 05-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This paper explores the politically determined development objectives and the intrinsic logic of government intervention policies in east developed countries. It is argued that the distorted institutional structure in China and in many least developed countries, after the Second World War, can be largely explained by government adoption of inappropriate development strategies. Motivated by nation building, most least-developed countries, including the socialist countries, adopted a comparative advantage defying strategy to accelerate the growth of capital-intensive, advanced sectors in their countries. In the paper we also statistically measure the evolution of government development strategies and the economic institutions in China from 1950s to 1980s to show the co-existence and coevolution of government adoption of comparative advantage defying strategy and the trinity system.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: China, Asia