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  • Author: Andrei Rachinsky, Sergei Guriev
  • Publication Date: 10-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This study discusses the evolution of personal wealth in transition economies. While data availability is still a problem, the available indirect evidence suggests privatization has resulted in an increase in personal wealth but also in personal wealth inequality, especially in the countries that lagged behind in building effective institutions. Another source of wealth inequality is the high income inequality due to wage decompression coupled with the low saving rates among the poor. We pay a special attention to one of the most noticeable implications of this rise in personal wealth and wealth inequality— the emergence of so called 'oligarchs'. Using the comprehensive dataset of Muscovites' incomes we show that surveys that do not take into account the first- and second-tier rich (billionaires and millionaires) may drastically underestimate inequality.
  • Topic: International Relations, Development, International Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Eastern Europe, Soviet Union
  • Author: D. Jayaraj, S. Subramanian
  • Publication Date: 10-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This paper reviews the principal source of India's wealth distribution statistics, which is constituted by the five decennial Reserve Bank of India National Sample Survey Organization Surveys on Debt and Investment of 1961-62, 1971-72, 1981-82, 1991-92, and 2002-03. The data available are described, critically appraised, and analyzed to present some salient findings in terms of the levels of debt, the levels of asset-holdings across the states of the Indian Union and over time, wealth composition, and aspects of vertical and horizontal inequality in the distribution of wealth. The centrality of land and real estate in the wealth status of India is underlined, and some broad aspects of redistributive anti-poverty policy are spelt out.
  • Topic: International Relations, Development, International Political Economy
  • Political Geography: India, Asia
  • Author: Cheryl R. Doss, Carmen Diana Deere
  • Publication Date: 10-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Only recently has it been recognized that women may not share in the wealth of men, even within the same household or family. Moreover, there is growing evidence that the gender distribution of wealth matters. This paper first reviews the available evidence for developing countries on the gender asset gap and finds that it is significant. It then considers the constraints on women's asset ownership with particular attention to the role of legal marital and inheritance regimes. The paper then turns to a more detailed examination of women's land ownership in Latin America and Africa. The final section considers the impact of women's land ownership on household income and welfare.
  • Topic: International Relations, Development, International Political Economy, Third World
  • Political Geography: Africa, Latin America
  • Author: Seymour Spilerman, Florencia Torche
  • Publication Date: 10-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This paper provides a descriptive analysis of wealth ownership and wealth inequality in Latin American countries, using diverse published sources and primary data analysis for 16 nations. We produce estimates of the distribution of home ownership, land, and financial assets, and find very high wealth concentration in all these types of assets, with the partial exception home ownership. The relevance of informal assets and the historical patterns of wealth accumulation and concentration since colonial times are discussed. Mechanisms of intergenerational wealth transmission are analyzed for the Chilean case.
  • Topic: International Relations, Development, International Political Economy
  • Political Geography: South America, Latin America
  • Author: Alemayehu Geda
  • Publication Date: 10-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Since 1992 Ethiopia has been engaged in liberalizing its financial sector. The hallmark of the strategy is gradualism. The approach is not without problems especially from Bretton Woods Institutions that saw the reform as a sluggish process. This study examines this liberalization program by analyzing the performance of the sector before and after the reform. The study notes that given the nascent development of the financial sector in the country, the relatively good shape in which the existing financial institutions find themselves, and given that supervision and regulation capacity of the regulating agency is weak, the government's strategy of gradualism and its over all reform direction is encouraging. However, we argue for charting out clearly defined time frame for liberalization and exploring the possibility of engaging with foreign banks to acquire new technology that enhance the efficiency of the financial sector in general and the banking sector in particular.
  • Topic: International Relations, Development, International Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Africa, Ethiopia
  • Author: Tony Addison
  • Publication Date: 09-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Artists, musicians and writers have always been great travellers. Today, their talent circulates in new ways, and takes new forms, as the creative industries expand globally in a marriage of media technology and the traditional arts. The growing international market for cultural talent can do much to help countries diversify their economies, and improve the quality of life more broadly. The creative industries are subject to strong clustering effects, with talent moving swiftly to the most vibrant clusters, not always to the advantage of the poorer countries which can lose talent to the richer world. Countries that protect intellectual property rights, educate and train their talent, and maintain politically open and liberal societies will have a head start in the global creative economy.
  • Topic: International Relations, Economics, Migration, Science and Technology
  • Author: Daniel Waldenström, Jesper Roine, Henry Ohlsson
  • Publication Date: 09-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: The objective of this paper is to study the dynamics of the wealth distribution over the path of economic development. More specifically, we are interested in distinguishing between changes which seem to be country specific and characteristics shared by all countries. A historical account of the evolution of the wealth distribution in developed countries is interesting in itself, but it can also hold implications for countries that are currently in an early stage of development or in transition. The data used originates from the taxation of wealth and estates.
  • Topic: International Relations, Demographics, Economics
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: André Mach, Thomas David
  • Publication Date: 09-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This research paper discusses the role of institutions in the rapid growth and successful international integration of Switzerland during the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. In analysing the emergence and consolidation of the institutions whose existence was crucial, the paper looks both at the political institutions that managed conflicts and promoted cooperation between private and public actors and the economic institutions that, on the one hand, compensated the groups that fell behind in the developmental process (e.g., agricultural subsidies, high tolerance for domestic cartels, tariffs for some industries, institutions for labour representation) and, on the other hand, enhanced productivity. In addition, the absence of some institutions such as a patent law and an independent central bank was also crucial in the Swiss case, even though these two institutions are regarded as pre-requisites of development by today's economic orthodoxy. The paper concludes by drawing lessons for today's developing countries.
  • Topic: International Relations, Development, Economics
  • Political Geography: Europe, Switzerland
  • Author: Lauritz B. Holm-Nielsen, Kristian Thorn
  • Publication Date: 08-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: High demand for researchers and scientists has led to an increase in skilled migration in recent years. The paper focuses on improving our understanding of the push and pull factors affecting the migration decisions of researchers and scientists from developing countries and discusses policy options for maximizing the potential gains associated with international mobility of advanced human capital. Evidence suggests that a reasonable salary level should be guaranteed but that return decisions of researchers and scientists are primarily shaped by factors such as the quality of the research environment, professional reward structures and access to state-of-the-art equipment.
  • Topic: International Relations, Education, Migration, Science and Technology
  • Author: Stephen Bach
  • Publication Date: 08-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: The consequences of health professional mobility have become a prominent public policy concern. This paper considers trends in mobility amongst doctors and nurses and the consequences for health systems. Policy responses are shifting from a reactive agenda that focuses on stemming migration towards a more active agenda of managed migration that benefits source and destination countries. Improved working conditions and effective human resource practice are required to encourage retention of health professionals in both source and destination countries.
  • Topic: International Relations, Health, Human Welfare, Migration
  • Author: Kuan Xu, Lars Osberg
  • Publication Date: 06-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Before effective anti-poverty policy can be designed and implemented, the extent, trend and distribution of poverty must be identified. In this sense, poverty measurement is a crucial intermediate step in public policymaking and development planning. This paper asks whether the estimated proportion of the world's population with income below US$1 (adjusted according to purchasing power parity) per day is a good measure of trends in global poverty. We argue that the answer depends on two important issues in the measurement of poverty—the definition of the poverty line, and how best to summarize the level of poverty In this paper, we survey the literature on poverty measurement, demonstrate the importance of considering poverty incidence, depth and inequality jointly, present a simple but powerful graphical representation of the Sen and SST indices of poverty intensity (the poverty box) which is the FGT index of order 1 and extend our empirical work to China using the commonly accepted international poverty line definition of one half median equivalent income.
  • Topic: International Relations, Development, Poverty
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • 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: Mark Sundberg, Franois Bourguignon
  • Publication Date: 05-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: The ability of low-income countries to productively absorb large amounts of external assistance is a central issue for efforts to scale-up aid. This paper examines absorptive capacity in the context of MDG-based development programmes in low-income countries. It first defines absorptive capacity, and proposes a framework for measuring it. Applying a dynamic computable general equilibrium model to link the macro framework to sector results, the paper simulates MDG scenarios for Ethiopia and examines the role of infrastructure, skilled labour, macroeconomic, and other constraints on absorptive capacity. The main policy conclusions are that careful sequencing of public investment across sectors is key to minimizing the costs of reaching the MDGs; the macro impact of large aid flows on the tradeables sector can potentially be serious in the short run; large-scale frontloading of aid disbursements can be costly as it pushes against absorptive constraints; and that improvement of governance and institutional structures can significantly reduce the cost of achieving the MDGs.
  • Topic: International Relations, Development, Humanitarian Aid, Third World
  • Author: Richard Jolly
  • Publication Date: 03-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Adam Smith, Tom Paine, John Stuart Mill and Karl Marx were all bold and outspoken about the injustices of extreme inequality, nationally and internationally. Yet by almost every standard, global inequality has grown substantially since they were writing, and national income inequality also over the last two or three decades. There is a case today for more outspokenness about the extremes of inequality, both about the causes and how these causes are linked to extreme injustices in the past.
  • Topic: International Relations, Economics, Human Rights
  • Author: Deepak Nayyar
  • Publication Date: 03-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This paper seeks to analyze the prospects for development in a changed international context, where globalization has diminished the policy space so essential for countries that are latecomers to development. The main theme is that, to use the available policy space for development, it is necessary to redesign strategies by introducing correctives and to rethink development by incorporating different perspectives, if development is to bring about an improvement in the well-being of people. In redesigning strategies, some obvious correctives emerge from an understanding of theory and a study of experience that recognizes not only the diversity but also the complexity of development. In rethinking development, it is imperative to recognize the importance of initial conditions, the significance of institutions, the relevance of politics in economics and the critical role of good governance. Even if difficult, there is also a clear need to create more policy space for national development, by reshaping the rules of the game in the world economy and contemplating some governance of globalization.
  • Topic: International Relations, Development, Globalization, Government
  • Author: Farhad Noorbakhsh
  • Publication Date: 02-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: The concept of convergence is extended to the human development index. Evidence of weak absolute convergence is found over 1975-2002. The results are robust and verified by various conditional β -convergence models and also supported by the evidence of weak σ -convergence. Population weighted analyses provide support for polarization in the human development index amongst developing countries but a slight reduction in world inequality. The dynamics of regional analysis reveal a movement of sub-Saharan Africa towards the low band of human development with Asia and Latin America making progress. High immobility of the early part of the period is followed by considerable upward and downward mobility in the latter part indicating a possible case of the 'twin peaks' type of polarization.
  • Topic: International Relations, Civil Society, Development, Education
  • Author: Lance Taylor
  • Publication Date: 02-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Recent growth experience in developing countries is reviewed, with an emphasis on structural change and sources of effective demand. Ho w policy influences such outcomes is analyzed in light of historical experience. Options are discussed for macro and industrial/commercial policy, and how they may influence the growth process. The recent 'institutional turn' in development theory may obfuscate serious policy analysis.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Development, Third World
  • Author: lvaro Garca Hurtado
  • Publication Date: 02-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Chile, in the last 15 years, has shown remarkable results in terms of growth, poverty reduction and democratic governance. This pa per reviews the structural changes that were behind these positive outcomes, as well as the pending challenges for Chile's development. Also shows that Chile did better in terms of growth than social integration and that this is related to the weak representation and participation of a wide majority in the national debate and decision making process. It also draws conclusions valid for other Latin American countries' development.
  • Topic: International Relations, Development, Economics
  • Political Geography: South America, Chile
  • Author: Louis Emmerij
  • Publication Date: 02-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Why and when do turning points occur? How are they prepared? What are the choices before us when it comes to economic and social development policies? What is the role of culture in development? Do ideas play a role? What are the interests behind the ideas? The present paper tries to answer these and other questions and compares the advantages and disadvantages of global development theories with regional and local development policies that put more emphasis on the role of culture in economic development.
  • Topic: International Relations, Development, Economics, United Nations
  • Author: George Mavrotas, Alessia Isopi
  • Publication Date: 01-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: The paper performs aid allocation analysis using OECD-DAC data covering 20 aid donors and 176 recipients over the period 1980-2003. We improve upon earlier work in this area by employing inter alia the variable 'past outcome' measuring aid effectiveness in order to link together aid allocation and aid effectiveness. In line with previous work, we also account for both altruistic and selfish donor motives in the empirical analysis. As expected, empirical results based on To bit estimates of aid allocation for individual donors vary quite significantly among donors. We also test the robustness of our results by estimating individual regressions for the major donors over the period 1990-2003 in view of major events in the aid arena during that time that could potentially have an impact on the aid allocation process. Our results seem to be similar to those derived over the 1980-2003 period, thus implying that this was not the case. Overall, both altruistic and selfish donor motives seem to motivate aid allocation for most donors over the two periods under examination. However, when we further restrict our time dimension to the 1999-2003 period, some important policy changes with regard to selectivity seem to emerge for a small group of donor countries.
  • Topic: International Relations, Development, Economics, Humanitarian Aid