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  • Author: David M. Malone, Rohinton P. Medhora
  • Publication Date: 11-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Notions of development have varied over time, and so an account of the international organizations concerned with its advancement must be accordingly elastic. The roots of international organizations concerned with development lie in two aspects of global inter-connectedness. The first is the propagation and management of a nascent technology for the global good. Thus were born the International Telegraph Union (ITU, now the International Telecommunication Union) in 1865 and the General Postal Union (GPU, now the Universal Postal Union) in 1874.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Emerging Markets, International Cooperation, International Organization, Post Colonialism
  • Author: Danielle Resnick
  • Publication Date: 10-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: When, why and how has foreign aid facilitated, or hindered, democracy in recipient countries? Focusing on sub-Saharan Africa, this policy brief examines the impact of foreign aid on supporting transitions from one-party to multi-party regimes, preventing democratic breakdown and the erosion of civil liberties, enhancing vertical and horizontal accountability, and enabling competitive political party systems. Particular attention is given to the trade-offs and complementarities between different types of foreign aid, namely democracy assistance and economic development aid. Select policy recommendations are offered to improve aid effectiveness at bolstering democratic trajectories within the region.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Democratization, Development, Economics, Human Rights, Political Economy, Foreign Aid
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Philip Verwimp, Wim Naudé, Tilman Brück
  • Publication Date: 04-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Although the impacts of violent conflict on investment, production, incomes and inequality have been widely studied on an aggregate level, comparatively less is known about the more diverse impacts of such conflict at the micro (particularly firm) level. Understanding such impacts can improve policies to mitigate the human and financial costs of violent conflict in developing countries. This policy brief discusses lessons from recent studies to address this gap.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Political Violence, Economics, International Trade and Finance, War
  • Author: Augustin Kwasi Fosu
  • Publication Date: 01-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: The study presents recent global evidence on the transformation of economic growth to poverty reduction in developing countries, with emphasis on the role of income inequality. The focus is on the period since the early/mid-1990s when growth in these countries as a group has been relatively strong, surpassing that of the advanced economies. Both regional and country-specific data are analysed for the US$1.25 andUS$2.50 level poverty headcount ratios using the most recent World Bank data. The study finds that on average income growth has been the major driving force behind both the declines and increases in poverty. The study, however, documents substantial regional and country differences that are masked by this 'average' dominant growth story. While in the majority of countries growth was the major factor behind falling...
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Poverty, Third World
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Peter Warr
  • Publication Date: 01-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Thailand's development strategy has been strongly market-oriented and open to trade and investment flows with the rest of the world. Since the late 1950s, its growth performance has been outstanding. Poverty incidence has declined dramatically, but economic inequality has increased. Economic progress has been reflected in very significant improvement in non-economic indicators of well-being such as life expectancy, infant and maternal morality, and literacy. Nevertheless, the performance of the education system is chronically poor. Environmental problems and institutional failures in resource management are ongoing. Reform is needed in several areas, including political and corporate governance, regulation of industry, and in the education and health systems.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Education, Emerging Markets, Poverty, Foreign Direct Investment
  • Political Geography: Asia, Southeast Asia
  • Author: Samuel Kobina Annim
  • Publication Date: 01-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This paper examines the combined effect of interest rates and poverty levels of microfinance clients on loan size. Cross section data on 2,691 clients and non-clients households from Ghana is used to test the hypothesis of loan price inelasticity. Quantile regression and variants of least squares methods that explore endogeneity are employed. We find the expected inverse relationship only for the 20th to 40th quantile range. The semi-elasticity of loan amount responsiveness to a unit change in interest rate is more than proportionate and significant for the poorest group only. Market segmentation based on poverty level is suggested in targeting and sustaining microfinance clients.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Markets, Poverty, Foreign Aid
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Konstantin M. Wacker
  • Publication Date: 01-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This paper first shows that important economic arguments in favor of the Prebisch- Singer hypothesis of falling terms of trade of developing countries have implicitly relied on the role of multinational corporations and foreign direct investment. As of yet, the relationship between the latter and terms of trade has not been empirically investigated. In order to start closing this gap in research, data on 111 developing countries between 1980 and 2008 is analyzed using panel data methods. The empirical results suggest that there is no reason to believe multinationals' activities were responsible for a possible decrease of the developing countries' net barter terms of trade. On the contrary, foreign direct investment seems to play a positive role for developing countries' terms of trade.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Foreign Direct Investment
  • Author: Michael Cohen
  • Publication Date: 03-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: International narratives on Argentina's recovery from the crisis of 2001-02 tend to emphasize the role of rising commodity prices and growing demand from China. Argentina is said to have been 'lucky', saved by global demand for its agricultural exports. The international narrative has also been used by local agricultural exporters to justify their objections against higher export taxes during periods of high commodity prices. These narratives are not correct. Data on the country's recovery show that it was not led by agricultural exports but was fuelled by urban demand and production. When the Convertibility period ended and the peso was devalued in 2002, price increases for imports stimulated the production of domestic goods and services for consumers. This production in turn generated multiplier effects which supported small and medium-sized firms and helped to create many new jobs. This later produced a revival of the construction and then the manufacturing sectors as well.
  • Topic: Agriculture, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: China, Argentina, Latin America
  • Author: Lissette Aliaga Linares
  • Publication Date: 03-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Unlike in most Latin American cities, street vendors organized in farmers' markets popularly known as ferias libres in Santiago de Chile, gained legal recognition early in the twentieth century. Since then, comunas, or local municipalities, have provided vendors with individual licenses that stipulate the place and time of operations, and have defined a clear set of rules regarding customer service. However, this early legal recognition has not necessarily overcome the embedded conflict over the economic use of public space. As supermarkets become spatially positioned along the main streets within easy access of the city's transportation system, feriantes, or licensed street vendors, are being relocated in less profitable areas. Moreover, coleros, or unlicensed vendors, are still flourishing despite efforts to restrict their numbers.
  • Topic: Economics, Markets
  • Political Geography: Latin America, Chile
  • Author: Eduardo Lora, Andrew Powell
  • Publication Date: 03-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: A growing number of cities around the world have established systems of monitoring the quality of urban life. Many of those systems combine objective and subjective information and attempt to cover a wide variety of topics. This paper introduces a simple method that takes advantage of both types of information and provides criteria to identify and rank the issues of potential importance for urban dwellers. The method combines the so-called 'hedonic price' and 'life satisfaction' approaches to value public goods. Pilot case results for six Latin American cities are summarized and policy applications are discussed.
  • Topic: Economics, Urbanization
  • Political Geography: Latin America
  • Author: Mahvash Saeed Qureshi, Charalambos G. Tsangarides
  • Publication Date: 03-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This paper revisits the link between exchange rate regimes and trade in the context of Africa's exchange rate arrangements. Applying an augmented gravity model that includes measures of currency unions and pegged regimes, the paper compares Africa's experience with that of the world. Our results suggest that both currency unions and direct pegs promote bilateral trade in Africa vis-à-vis more flexible exchange rate regimes,and that their effect is almost double for the region than that for an average country in the world sample. Further, we find evidence that the effect of conventional pegs is at least as large as that of currency unions in Africa, and that the benefits of fixed exchange rate regimes stem through channels in addition to reduced exchange rate volatility.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Bilateral Relations, Monetary Policy
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Markus Brückner
  • Publication Date: 03-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: A common finding in the empirical civil war literature is that population size and per capita income are highly significant predictors of civil war incidence and onset. This paper shows that the common finding of population size and per capita income having a significant average effect on civil war risk in a world sample breaks down once country- and year-specific unobservables are accounted for. However, for Sub-Saharan Africa there continues to be a highly significant average effect of population size and per capita income on civil war risk that is robust to the use of country- and year-fixed effects and instrumental variable techniques.
  • Topic: Civil War, Demographics, Economics
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Steve Onyeiwu
  • Publication Date: 03-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This paper reviews the innovative capabilities and absorptive capacities of African countries, and investigates whether they have played significant roles in the region's slow and episodic economic growth. Results from cross-country regressions covering 31 Sub-Saharan African countries suggest that growth in Africa is not simply a question of capital accumulation, fertility rates, aid dependency, and stable macroeconomic environment. It is also about strengthening the capacity of African countries to assimilate and effectively use knowledge and technology. Contrary to the views held by many analysts, the growth of African economies does not depend so much on their ability to innovate, but rather on their capacity to absorb and effectively use new technologies. Beyond technological issues, the paper confirms the stylized facts that the size of the government and political stability are important for the growth performance of African countries.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Science and Technology
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Philip Abbott, Finn Tarp
  • Publication Date: 03-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Vietnam has been among the most successful East Asian economies, especially in weathering the external shocks of recent globalization crises—the 1997-98 Asian financial crisis and the 2008-09 great recession, financial crisis and collapse of global trade. Its success contradicts its characterization as an example of export-led growth and highlights the role of the state, particularly in maintaining and influencing investment. Examination of economic performance and policy responses shows rising dependence on foreign finance around each crisis, and actions by the government to counteract that dependence and bolster the domestic economy while continuing to restructure the economy toward greater emphasis on the private sector. Growth, employment and poverty alleviation have been maintained at the expense of renewed inflation, larger budget deficits, and currency depreciation. The 'stop-go' nature of present …
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Globalization, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Asia
  • Author: Wim Naudé, Adam Szirmai, Micheline Goedhuys
  • Publication Date: 01-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Nobody can be left in any doubt as to the importance of innovation for prosperity upon reading that “people living in the first decade of the twentieth century did not know modern dental and medical equipment, penicillin, bypass operations, safe births, control of genetically transmitted diseases, personal computers, compact discs, television sets, automobiles, opportunities for fast and cheap worldwide travel, affordable universities, central heating, air conditioning . . . technological change has transformed the quality of our lives.”
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Globalization, Markets
  • Author: Luc Soete, Alexis Habiyaremye
  • Publication Date: 01-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Before the current global recession, many resource-rich African countries were recording unprecedented levels of growth due to a raw material price boom. However, the collapse in raw material prices and the ensuing severe economic difficulties have again exposed the vulnerability of these countries' natural resource export-focussed economic structures. In this research brief, we describe how Africa's abundance of natural resources attracted disruptive and predatory foreign forces that have hindered innovation-based growth and economic diversification by delaying the accumulation of sufficient stocks of human capital. We suggest that for their long-term prosperity, resource-rich African countries shift their strategic emphasis from natural to human resources and technological capabilities needed to transform those natural resources into valuable goods and services to compete in the global market.
  • Topic: Economics, Emerging Markets, Industrial Policy, Global Recession, Natural Resources, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Africa, China, India
  • Author: Wim Naudé
  • Publication Date: 04-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This policy brief provides some fresh perspectives on the relationship between entrepreneurship and development, and considers policy design issues. It reports on the UNU-WIDER two-year research project “Promoting Entrepreneurial Capacity”, which aimed to understand whether and how entrepreneurship matters for development, how it could derail development, how entrepreneurs function in high growth as well as in conflict environments, and how female entrepreneurship differs across countries at various stages of development.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Emerging Markets, Third World
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Iraq, Burundi
  • Author: Sandeep Kapur, Suma Athreye
  • Publication Date: 01-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: The last two decades have seen a significant rise in the internationalization of firms from developing economies. In addition to their growing participation in international trade, a number of leading emerging economies are contributing to growing outflows of foreign direct investment (FDI) and cross-border mergers and acquisitions. According to the 2008 World Investment Report, outward flows of FDI from developing countries rose from about US$6 billion between 1989 and 1991 to US$225 billion in 2007. As a percentage of total global outflows, the share of developing countries grew from 2.7% to nearly 13.0% during this period.
  • Topic: International Relations, Economics, Globalization, International Political Economy, Markets, Foreign Direct Investment, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: United States, China, India
  • Author: Wim Naudé
  • Publication Date: 08-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: T HE ECONOMIC DOWNTURN AND RECESSION, WHICH spread across the globe following the US sub-prime mortgage crisis in September 2008, has become the dominant news topic of the past year. One year into the crisis it has become clear that the paradigm for international development has changed irrevocably. With leadership, moral authority and the capacity of the West diminishing, developing countries' recovery and future growth will critically depend on their own initiatives and solutions.
  • Topic: Economics, Globalization, International Trade and Finance, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Fang Cai
  • Publication Date: 02-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: With the aid of an analytical framework of the Lewis model revised to reflect the experience of China, this paper examines the country's dualistic economic development and its unique characteristics. The paper outlines the major effects of China's growth as achieved during the course of economic reform and the opening-up of the country: the exploitation of the demographic dividend, the realization of comparative advantage, the improvement of total factor productivity, and participation in economic globalization. By predicting the long-term relationship between the labour force demand and supply, the paper reviews the approaching turning point in China's economic development and examines a host of challenges facing the country in sustaining growth.
  • Topic: Development, Economics
  • Political Geography: China, Asia