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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
  • Author: Jarko Fidrmuc, Ivana Bátorová
  • Publication Date: 01-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: We analyse the business cycles in China and in selected OECD countries between 1992 and 2006. We show that, although negative correlation dominate s for nearly all countries, we can also see large differences for various frequencies of cyclical developments. On the one hand, nearly all OE CD countries show positive correlations of the very short-run developments that may correspond to intensive supplier linkages. On the other hand, business cycle frequencies (cycles with periods between 1.5 and 8 years) are typically negative. Nevertheless, countries facing a comparably longer history of intensive trading links tend to show also slightly higher correlations of business cycles with China.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Jun Zhang
  • Publication Date: 04-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This paper investigates the institutional reason underlying the change in the trajectory of economic growth in post-reform China, and argues that the trajectory of growth was much more normal during the period of 1978-89 than in the post-1989 era. In the former period, growth was largely induced by equality-generating institutional change in agriculture and the emergence of non-state industrial sector. In the latter period, growth was triggered by the acceleration of capital investments under authoritarian decentralized hierarchy within self-contained regions. Such a growth trajectory accelerates capital deepening, deteriorating total factor productivity and leads to rising regional imbalance. This paper further argues that the change in the trajectory of growth is the outcome of changes in political and inter-governmental fiscal institutions following the 1989 political crisis.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, Industrial Policy, Political Economy
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Gary S. Fields, María Laura Sánchez Puerta
  • Publication Date: 01-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: In recent years, the economy of Argentina has experienced both rapid economic growth and severe economic decline. In this paper, we use a series of one -year long panels to study who gained the most in pesos when the economy grew and who lost the most in pesos when the economy contracted. To answer these questions, we test two hypotheses both unconditionally and conditionally. The 'divergence of earnings' hypothesis holds that in any given year, the highest earning individuals are those who experienced the largest earnings gains or the smallest earnings losses in pesos. The 'symmetry of gains and losses' hypothesis holds that those groups that gained the most in pesos when the economy grew are those that lost the most in pesos when the economy contracted. Both hypotheses are decisively rejected in the data.
  • Topic: Development, Economics
  • Political Geography: Argentina, South America
  • Author: Lino Briguglio, Gordon Cordina, Stephanie Vella, Nadia Farrugia
  • Publication Date: 05-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: In this paper, economic vulnerability is defined as the exposure of an economy to exogenous shocks, arising out of economic openness, while economic resilience is defined as the policy-induced ability of an economy to withstand or recover from the effects of such shocks. The paper briefly reviews the work already carried out on economic vulnerability and extends the research towards the development of a conceptual and methodological framework for the definition and measurement of economic resilience. Towards this end, the paper proposes an index of economic resilience gauging the adequacy of policy in four broad areas, namely macroeconomic stability, microeconomic market efficiency, good governance and social development.
  • Topic: Development, Economics
  • Author: S. Mansoob Murshed, Philip Verwimp
  • Publication Date: 04-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This paper models the instability of peace agreements, motivated by the empirical regularity with which peace agreements tend to break down following civil war. When war provides opportunities for profit to one side, or when other difficulties such as historical grievances exist, peace may become incentive incompatible. The party that has something to gain from surprise warfare may agree to peace, but will later renege on it. It is shown that the levels of conflict chosen by this group are an increasing function of both grievance and greed, but decreasing in the direct costs of war. Peace is achievable via externally devised mechanisms that enhance commitment to peace. Aid and direct military peacekeeping intervention (sanctions) can reduce or eliminate conflict. These sanctions, however, need to be credible. Finally, the independent provision and finance of international sanctions are considered. When these arrangements yield little benefit to financial sponsors, or are very costly to them, the bite of the sanctions can become ineffective.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Economics, Peace Studies, Treaties and Agreements
  • Author: Sanjeev Gupta
  • Publication Date: 02-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This paper explores the macroeconomic implications of aid flows in countries with weak institutions. It argues that these countries should take into account their overall macroeconomic position, their capacity to absorb aid at the sectoral and subnational levels, and the strength of their fiscal institutions in deciding how much and how fast to spend aid. These considerations may warrant a gradual use of aid, except when aid is provided for humanitarian purposes. There is some basis for frontloading spending for countries emerging from a conflict, otherwise fragile states should seek to smoothen their spending against the background of aid volatility and uncertainty.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Economics
  • Author: Thomas Gries, Wim Naudé
  • Publication Date: 06-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: A stylized fact of economic development is the structural transformation of countries from traditional, mainly agricultural societies to modern economies dominated by manufacturing and services. In this paper we provide an endogenous growth model to illuminate the role of entrepreneurial start-up firms in structural economic transformation. We follow the Lewis-model's distinction between a traditional and modern sector, and underpin this with micro-foundations. We specify mature and start- up entrepreneurs and make a distinction between survivalist self-employment activities in the traditional sector, and opportunity-driven entrepreneurship in the modern sector. The model shows how opportunity-driven entrepreneurship can drive structural transformation through innovation, provision of intermediate inputs and services (which permits greater specialization in manufacturing), and by increasing employment and productivity in both the modern and traditional sectors.
  • Topic: Development, Economics
  • Author: Wim Naudé
  • Publication Date: 03-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: What is the role of entrepreneurship in economic development? At a minimum the answer should be able to explain the role of entrepreneurs in the structural transformation of countries from low income, primary-sector based societies into high-income service and technology based societies. More broadly though, it should also be able to explain the role of entrepreneurs in the opposite pole of stagnating development (including conflict) and in high innovation-driven growth. Although economic development lacks a 'general theory' of entrepreneurship, which could encompass a variety of development experiences, much progress has been made in extending the understanding of entrepreneurship in the process of development. This paper surveys the progress with the purpose of distilling the outlines for a more general theory of entrepreneurship in economic development. Entrepreneurship in developing countries remains a relatively under-researched phenomenon, so by surveying the current state of research, and by discussing the role of entrepreneurship in dual economy models of structural transformation and growth, a secondary objective of this paper is to identify avenues for further research. Finally, the policy implications from the economic literature suggest that a case for government support exists, and that this should focus on the quantity, the quality, and the allocation of entrepreneurial ability. Many routinely adopted policies for entrepreneurship, such as provision of credit and education, are shown to have more subtle effects, not all of which are conducive to growth-enhancing entrepreneurship.
  • Topic: Development, Economics
  • Author: Amelia U. Santos-Paulino
  • Publication Date: 03-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This paper analyses the patterns of export productivity and trade specialization profiles in the China, Brazil, India and South Africa, and in other regional groupings. In doing so, the investigation calculates a time varying export productivity measure using highly disaggregated product categories. The findings indicate that export productivity is mainly determined by real income and human capital endowments. Importantly, the study reveals significant differences in the export productivity and specialization patterns of countries with comparable per capita income levels. For instance, China's export productivity and implied export sophistication is in line with that of countries with higher per capita incomes, including some OECD industrial economies.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Africa, China, India, Asia, South Africa, Brazil, South America
  • Author: Slobodan Djajić
  • Publication Date: 06-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This paper examines the welfare implications of foreign aid within the framework of a two-period, two-country model of international trade. It is up to the donor country to decide what fraction of any given aid package is to be made available for the recipient's immediate, period-one consumption, and what part should be allocated for investment in infrastructure that expands the recipient's production possibilities in period two. The focus of the analysis is on the conditions under which both countries agree or disagree on the manner in which the aid funds should be divided between the two options.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance
  • Author: Sumei Tang, E. A. Selvanathan, S. Selvanathan
  • Publication Date: 02-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: In this paper, we investigate the causal link between foreign direct investment (FDI), domestic investment and economic growth in China for the period 1988-2003. Towards this purpose, a multivariate VAR system with error correction model (ECM) and the innovation accounting (variance decomposition and impulse response function analysis) techniques are used. The results show that while there is a bi-directional causality between domestic investment and economic growth, there is only a single-directional causality from FDI to domestic investment and to economic growth. Rather than crowding out domestic investment, FDI is found to be complementary with domestic investment. Thus, FDI has not only assisted in overcoming shortage of capital, it has also stimulated economic growth through complementing domestic investment in China.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: China
  • Author: Ira N. Gang, Sumon Kumar Bhaumik, Myeong-Su Yun
  • Publication Date: 04-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: The paper examines the comparative economic wellbeing of female- and male-headed households among Serbs and Albanians in post-conflict Kosovo. Evidence from the living standards measurement study (LSMS) household survey, 2001, shows that Serb households, both those headed by women and men, are worse off than Albanians households. We find that female-headed households do not generally suffer more than male-headed households, but there is substantial variation among ethnic groups. While Albanian female-headed households are marginally better-off than Albanian male-headed households, Serb female-headed households have the lowest standard of living.
  • Topic: Demographics, Economics, Gender Issues
  • Political Geography: Kosovo, Balkans, Albania
  • Author: Anushree Sinha, Haider Khan
  • Publication Date: 06-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: The main purpose of this paper is to look at the incorporation of gender and the informal sector within a general equilibrium framework for India. Moreover, we clarify some important links between a gender aware informal sector based social accounting matrix (SAM) and general equilibrium models such as the computable general equilibrium (CGE) models including as a special case the fixed price multiplier (FPM) models. In particular, economy wide modelling of gender and the informal sector is facilitated by the use of national level data and constructing the base data set as an SAM. Another important strategy is to conceptualize the economy within gender structures, entailing the recognition of gender relations as an intervening variable in all economic activities.
  • Topic: Economics, Gender Issues
  • Political Geography: India, Asia
  • Author: Dominique van der Mensbrugghe, Maurizio Bussolo, Rafael E. De Hoyos, Denis Medvedev
  • Publication Date: 03-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Over the past 20 years, aggregate measures of global inequality have changed little even if significant structural changes have been observed. High growth rates of China and India lifted millions out of poverty, while the stagnation in many African countries caused them to fall behind. Using the World Bank's LINKAGE global general equilibrium model and the newly developed Global Income Distribution Dynamics (GIDD) tool, this paper assesses the distribution and poverty effects of a scenario where these trends continue in the future. Even by anticipating a deceleration, growth in China and India is a key force behind the expected convergence of per capita incomes at the global level. Millions of Chinese and Indian consumers will enter into a rapidly emerging global middle class—a group of people who can afford, and demand access to, the standards of living previously reserved mainly for the residents of developed countries. Notwithstanding these positive developments, fast growth is often characterized by high urbanization and growing demand for skills, both of which result in a widening of income distribution within countries. These opposing distributional effects highlight the importance of analysing global disparities by taking into account—as the GIDD does—income dynamics between and within countries.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Poverty
  • Political Geography: Africa, China, India, Asia
  • Author: Anis Chowdhury
  • Publication Date: 04-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Most small island economies or 'microstates' have distinctly different characteristics from larger developing economies. They are more open and vulnerable to external and environmental shocks, resulting in high output volatility. Most of them also suffer from locational disadvantages. Although a few small island economies have succeeded in generating sustained rapid growth and reducing poverty, most have dismal growth performance, resulting in high unemployment and poverty. Although macroeconomic policies play an important role in growth and poverty reduction, there has been very little work on the issue for small island economies or microstates. Most work follows the conventional framework and finds no or very little effectiveness of macroeconomic policies in stabilization. They also concentrate on short-run macroeconomic management with a focus almost entirely on either price stability or external balance. The presumption is that price stability and external balance are prerequisite for sustained rapid growth. This paper aims to provide a critical survey of the extant literature on macroeconomic policies for small island economies in light of the available evidence on their growth performance. Given the high output volatility and its impact on poverty, this paper will argue for a balance between price and output stabilization goals of macroeconomic policy mix. Drawing on the highly successful experience of Singapore, it will also outline a framework for growth promoting, pro-poor macroeconomic policies for small island economies/microstates.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: Asia, Australia/Pacific, Caribbean, Singapore
  • Author: Sudhir K. Thakur
  • Publication Date: 05-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This study provides an understanding of the Indian regional economy utilizing the fundamental economic structure (FES) approach. The FES construct implies that selected characteristics of an economy will vary predictably with region size, as measured by net state domestic product, population, and total gross output. The big question addressed in this study is if identifiable patterns of relations between various macro aggregates and economic transactions can be revealed via regional input-output tables. Jensen et al. (1988) discuss the tiered, partitioned, and temporal approaches to the identification of FES using input-output tables. This research addresses the following four questions: (1) Does a regional FES exist for the Indian economy during the period 1965? (2) What proportions of the cells are predictable? (3) Can the 1965 regional FES predict 1983-84 table for Punjab economy? (4) Does regional FES manifest an enhanced understanding of the Indian regional structure? Regression analyses are used to identify the FES and non-FES cells for the Indian regional economy. The regional input-output tables for 21 States and Union Territories provide data for the analysis. Analysis reveals regional FES includes primary and secondary sectors as components of FES. This research has extended the notion of FES to include: weak, moderate and strong FES cells.
  • Topic: Economics
  • Political Geography: India, Asia, Punjab
  • Author: Ligang Song, Yu Sheng
  • Publication Date: 02-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: The study decomposes the sources of Chinese growth by first making a distinction between technological progress and technical efficiency in the growth accounting framework, and then identifying a series of reform programmes, such as urbanization, structural change, privatization, liberalization, banking and fiscal system reforms as the key components in institutional innovation which facilitate the improvement of technical efficiency and through which economic growth. These components are then incorporated into the model specification, which is estimated based on a panel dataset by applying the principal component analysis (PCA) to eliminate the multicollinearity problem. The results show that urbanization, liberalization and structural change in the form of industrialization are the most important components in contributing to the improvement of technical efficiency and hence growth, highlighting the importance of government policies aimed at enhancing further urbanization, openness to trade and industrial structural adjustments to sustain the growth momentum in China. The study also found that the potential for further enhancing growth through technical efficiency in China is considerable, which can be realized by deepening state-owned enterprises (SOEs) restructuring, and banking and fiscal system reform.
  • Topic: Economics
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Manoel Bittencourt
  • Publication Date: 02-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: We examine the impact of inflation on financial development in Brazil and the data available permit us to cover the period between 1985 and 2002. The results – based initially on time-series and then on panel time-series data and analysis, and robust for different estimators and financial development measures – suggest that inflation presented deleterious effects on financial development at the time. The main implication of the results is that poor macroeconomic performance has detrimental effects to financial development, a variable that is important for affecting, for example, economic growth and income inequality. Therefore, low and stable inflation, and all that it encompasses, is a necessary first step to achieve a deeper and more active financial sector with all its attached benefits.
  • Topic: Economics
  • Political Geography: Brazil, South America
  • Author: Mark McGillivray, Wim Naudé, Stephanié Rossouw
  • Publication Date: 05-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: A small but growing literature has been concerned about the economic (and environmental) vulnerability on the level of countries. Less attention is paid to the economic vulnerability of different regions within countries. By focusing on the vulnerability of subnational regions, our paper contributes to the small literature on the 'vulnerability of place'. We see the vulnerability of place as being due to vulnerability in various domains, such as economic vulnerability, vulnerability of environment, and governance, demographic and health fragilities. We use a subnational dataset on 354 magisterial districts from South Africa, recognize the potential relevance of measuring vulnerability on a subnational level, and construct a local vulnerability index (LVI) for the various districts. We condition this index on district per capita income and term this a vulnerability intervention index (VII) interpreting this as an indicator of where higher income per capita, often seen in the literature as a measure of resilience, will in itself be unlikely to reduce vulnerability.
  • Topic: Security, Demographics, Development, Economics
  • Political Geography: Africa, South Africa
  • Author: Raghav Gaiha, Katsushi Imai
  • Publication Date: 04-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This paper measures the vulnerability of households in rural India, based upon the ICRISAT panel survey. We employ both ex ante and ex post measures of vulnerability. The latter are decomposed into aggregate and idiosyncratic risks and poverty components. Our decomposition shows that idiosyncratic risks account for the largest share, followed by poverty and aggregate risks. Despite some degree of risk-sharing, the landless or small farmers are vulnerable to idiosyncratic risks, forcing them to reduce consumption. Income-augmenting policies therefore must be combined with those that not only reduce aggregate and idiosyncratic risks but also build resilience against them.
  • Topic: Demographics, Development, Economics, Poverty
  • Political Geography: India, Asia
  • Author: Shujie Yao, Zhongwei Han, Genfu Feng
  • Publication Date: 04-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Since China joined the WTO in 2001, the pressure for bank reforms has mounted as China ought to fully open up its financial market to foreign competition by 2006. Efficiency is key for domestic banks to survive in a liberalised environment, but it appears that the last hope for raising bank efficiency is through ownership reform. Whether ownership reform and foreign competition can solve China's banking problem remains to be tested. This paper aims to answer this question through using a non-parametric approach to analyse the efficiency changes of 15 large commercial banks during 1998-2005. We find that ownership reform and foreign competition have forced the Chinese commercial banks to improve performance, as their total factor productivity rose by 5.6 per cent per annum. This coincides with the recent bullish Chinese stock markets led by three listed state-owned commercial banks. Despite such encouraging results, we remain cautious about the future of the Chinese banks, as the good results may have been artificially created with massive government support and the fundamentals of the banks may be still weak.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Calum G. Turvey, Rong Kong
  • Publication Date: 05-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This paper investigates the economic conditions of rural households in China. Historical survey data indicate that over 80 per cent of rural households earn less than 4,500 yuan in net disposable income each year, that for the vast majority of rural households disposable income is insufficient to meet food consumption needs, and that in terms of economic growth rural households are receiving an ever decreasing percentage of China's growing economy with rural household incomes being only 31 per cent of urban household income in 2004.
  • Topic: Economics, Poverty
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Marc-Andreas Muendler, Jennifer Pamela Poole, Ernesto Aguayo-Tellez
  • Publication Date: 03-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Comprehensive linked employer{employee data allow us to study the relationship between domestic formal sector migration in Brazil and globalization. Considerable worker flows in the formal labor market between 1997 and 2001 are directed toward lower income regions|the reverse flows of those often posited for informal labor markets. Estimation of the worker's multi-choice migration problem shows that previously unobserved employer covariates are significant predictors associated with migration flows. These results support the idea that globalization acts on internal migration through job stability at exporting establishments and employment opportunities at locations with a concentration of foreign owned establishments. A 1% increase in exporter employment predicts a 0.3% reduced probability of migration. A 1% increase in the concentration of foreign owned establishments at potential destinations is associated with a 0.2% increase in the migration rate.
  • Topic: Economics, Globalization, Markets, Migration, Labor Issues
  • Political Geography: Latin America
  • Author: Renwei Zhao, Shi Li
  • Publication Date: 01-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This paper investigates some major changes in the wealth distribution in China using the data from two national household surveys conducted in 1995 and 2002. The surveys collected rich information on household wealth and its components, enabling a detailed analysis of changes in wealth distribution among Chinese households. Our analysis indicates that the wealth distribution in China as a whole became much more unequal in 2002 than it was in 1995. The housing reform, in which public apartments were sold to urban households at extremely low prices, has accelerated the accumulation of wealth among urban households on the one hand, and widened the wealth gap between urban and rural areas on the other.
  • Topic: Demographics, Development, Economics
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Guanghua Wan
  • Publication Date: 01-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This paper depicts the trend of regional inequality in rural China for the period 1985- 2002. The total inequality is decomposed into the so-called within- and between components when China is divided into three regional belts (east, central and west). A regression-based accounting framework is then used to explore root sources of the rising inequality. Policy implications are discussed.
  • Topic: Demographics, Development, Economics
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Ruslan Yemtsov
  • Publication Date: 01-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: All countries in transition experienced increases in inequality. They have also undertaken massive privatization of key asset housing, often on give-away terms. Are these two phenomena related? Has transfer of ownership rights to residents slowed down the inequality increases or it pushed it up? Surprisingly little is known in this area. This paper attempts to provide empirical evidence to start answering these questions. It shows how housing privatization affected the distribution of personal wealth and inequality in current consumption based on recent representative household surveys from three transition countries: Poland, Russia and Serbia. Survey data are compared with figures derived from national accounts and housing statistics. Contrary to common belief and some earlier evidence of strong equalizing effect of housing distribution in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union, the paper finds that the contribution of housing to the overall inequality levels is not strong, and is not universally progressive. There is also a significant variation across countries. In Russia and Serbia progressive. There is also a significant variation across countries. In Russia and Serbia features of privatization programmes resulted in better off households capturing more valuable housing assets on extremely beneficial terms, while in Poland privatization and housing reform led to more equitable outcomes. When owner occupied housing rents and durables are properly accounted for, the effects of housing ownership on inequality in current consumption are mildly progressive in Russia and Poland and regressive in Serbia. The paper argues that the information collected by regular household surveys provides only a starting point to study housing wealth distribution, and there are a number of gaps which should be addressed through improved data collection.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Development, Economics, Poverty
  • Political Geography: Russia, Poland, Serbia
  • Author: Vicar Valencia, William E. Griffiths, D.S. Prasada Rao, Duangkamon Chotikapanich
  • Publication Date: 01-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This paper examines the nature and extent of global and regional income distribution and inequality using the most recent country level data on income distribution drawn from World Bank and UNU-WIDER studies for the period 1993–2000. The methodology used is a recently developed technique to fit flexible income distributions to limited aggregated data. Empirical results show a very high degree of global inequality, but with some evidence of inequality decreasing between the two years.
  • Topic: International Relations, Development, Economics, Globalization
  • Author: Wim Naudé, Marianne Matthee
  • Publication Date: 08-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: The success of Africa's exports, as well as its spatial development, depends on lowering transport costs. In this Policy Brief, we address a number of pertinent questions on transport costs in Africa, such as 'what are transport costs?', 'do transport costs matter for trade?', 'how important are transport costs in practice?', and 'why are Africa's transport costs so high?' We present a case study of the firm location decisions of exporters in South Africa to illustrate the significance in particular of domestic transport costs for manufactured exports. The message from this Policy Brief is that Africa's international transport costs are significantly higher than that of other regions, and its domestic transport costs could be just as significant. Moreover we show how domestic transport costs influence the location, the quantity, and the diversity of manufactured exports. Various policy options to reduce transport costs in Africa are discussed.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Ha-Joon Chang
  • Publication Date: 08-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: The volume Institutional Change and Economic Development fills some important gaps in our understanding of the relationship between institutional changes and economic development. It does so by developing new discourses on the 'technology of institution building' and by providing detailed case studies—historical and more recent— of institution building. It is argued that functional multiplicity, the importance of informal institutions, unintended consequences, and intended 'perversion' of institutions all imply that the orthodox recipe of importing 'best practice' formal institutions does not work. While denying the existence of universal formulas, the volume distills some general principles of institutions building from theoretical explorations and case studies.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, International Cooperation, International Trade and Finance
  • Author: Guanghua Wan, Yin Zhang
  • Publication Date: 12-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Applying the Shapley decomposition to unit-record household survey data, this paper investigates the trends and causes of poverty in China in the 1990s. The changes in poverty trends are attributed to two proximate causes; income growth and shifts in relative income distribution. The Foster-Greer-Thorbecke measures are computed and decomposed, with different datasets and alternative assumptions about poverty lines and equivalence. Among the robust results are: (i) both income growth and favourable distributional changes can explain China's remarkable achievement in combating poverty in rural areas in the first half of the 1990s; (2) in the second half of the 1990s, both rural and urban China suffered from rapidly rising inequality and stagnant income growth, leading to a slow-down in poverty reduction, even reversal of poverty trend.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Poverty
  • Political Geography: China, Asia