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  • Author: Shyama V. Ramani, Ajay Thutupalli, Sutapa Chattopadhyay, Veena Ravichandran, Tamás Medovarszki
  • Publication Date: 05-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Women entrepreneurs in the informal economy need business engagements with other women (and men) that offer 'spaces' for dialogue to learn and build business capabilities. While formalization of entrepreneurial activity is favourable under some circumstances, it can be detrimental under others, necessitating a case-by-case evaluation. Many top-down actions for women's empowerment in the informal sector are only effective in gender-neutral economic development programmes. In this Policy Brief, we argue that although policy interventions may be favourable, they are neither necessary nor sufficient for change, as successful women role models are often the best agents for sweeping change.
  • Topic: Development, Diplomacy, Gender Issues, International Trade and Finance
  • 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: 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: 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: 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
  • 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: Jeffrey Henderson
  • Publication Date: 05-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: The rise of China as an economic and political 'driver' of the global economy is likely to be one of the defining moments of world history. Its dynamism and international expansion are on the verge of creating a 'critical disruption' in the global order that has held sway for over 60 years. As such, China is beginning to reshape the world, presaging a new phase of globalization: a 'global-Asian era'. This new era is likely to be distinct from any of the earlier phases of globalization and China's global footprint, in terms of its business, economic and political actions and their geopolitical implications, is likely to be markedly different from what has gone before. This paper offers a framework by which we can begin to understand the coming global-Asian era (GAE) and some of its consequences, particularly as the latter are surfacing in the developing world. Having discussed the nature and dynamics of the GAE, the paper turns to sketch a series of vectors (trade, aid and energy security) along which the GAE is beginning to impact on developing countries. The paper argues that, at least for these vectors, the Chinese-driven GAE is providing opportunities as well as dangers for national development projects. It concludes by briefly speculating on the viability of the GAE.
  • Topic: Development, Globalization, International Political Economy, International Trade and Finance, Oil
  • 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: Yuqing Xing
  • Publication Date: 04-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This paper analyses China's ICT exports grow thin its two major markets Japan and the US from 1992 to 2004. It focuses on ICT products classified in SITC 75, 76 and 77. The empirical results show that Chinese exports had maintained two-digit annual growth during the period. The growth was much higher than the corresponding growth of the overall markets. By 2004, Chinese ICT exports accounted for 26 per cent of the total Japanese imports and 19 per cent of the total imports of the US in ICT products. In addition, the paper investigates whether the rapid growth of Chinese ICT exports crowded out that of other Asian countries: Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea and Thailand. The empirical analysis shows that the crowding out effect differs across countries and products. The exports of Singapore and Philippines have been negatively affected by the growth of Chinese exports, but no crowding effect existed at all with Indonesia's exports.
  • Topic: International Trade and Finance, Markets
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan, China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Asia, South Korea, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand
  • Author: Yuefen Li, Bin Zhang
  • Publication Date: 04-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: The segmentation of global manufacturing and services provided China and subsequently India with a golden opportunity to make full use of their absolute advantage—low cost yet educated labour—to integrate into the world economy within a comparatively shorter period of time than some earlier industrialisers. Though international trade functioned as a vent of surplus in view of the narrowness of their domestic markets at the beginning of their economic catch-up, the label of export-led model may not reflect the real picture as imports underwent dramatic increases during their respective growth periods, in particular for China. Foreign direct investment has played a pivotal role in their economic growth and has major presence in international trade and investment in leading sectors of both countries, giving rise to certain special features and weak links for their economic expansion and sustainability of fast economic growth. To maintain more broad-based, fast and balanced growth, it seems that both countries have to redress sectoral imbalances, encourage technology upgrading and cope with future changes in demographic profiles which constituted a trigger to fast economic growth at the time of their respective economic reform.
  • Topic: Development, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: China, India, Asia
  • Author: Alessandra Guariglia, Amelia U. Santos-Paulino
  • Publication Date: 03-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Using a panel of 139 countries over the period 1992-2003, we analyse the links between export productivity, economic growth and financial development indicators. We then investigate whether the links observed in China, India and Brazil systematically differ from those observed in other countries in the sample. We find that both GDP per capita and investment generally exert a positive and significant effect on export productivity. Except for Brazil, financial development is not an important determinant of export productivity. Moreover, except for Brazil, export productivity plays a positive effect on growth, and so does financial development for both China and Brazil, but not for India. Finally, in both India and Brazil, FDI is negatively associated with growth.
  • Topic: International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: China, India, Asia, Brazil, South America
  • 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: John Henley, Stefan Kratzsch, Tamer Tandogan, Mithat Külür
  • Publication Date: 03-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: The burgeoning literature on outward foreign direct investment from emerging markets has largely focused on analysing the motives of investors as reported by parent companies. This paper, instead, focuses on firm-level investments originating from China, India or South Africa in fifteen host countries in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). The analysis is based on a sub-set of firms drawn from the overall sample of 1,216 foreign-owned firms participating in the UNIDO Africa Foreign Investor Survey, carried out in 2005. The sample of investments originating from China, India and South Africa is analysed in terms of firm characteristics, past and forecast performance in SSA over three years and management's perception of ongoing business conditions. Comparisons are made with foreign investors from the North. The paper concludes that while investors in SSA from the three countries are primarily using their investment to target specific markets, they are largely operating in different sub-sectors. While there appear to be specific features that firms from a given country of origin share, there are no obvious operating-level features they all share apart from market seeking.
  • Topic: International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Africa, China, India, Asia, South Africa
  • Author: Alok Bhargava
  • Publication Date: 01-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This paper estimated models for GDP growth rates, poverty levels, and inequality measures for the period 1990–2000 using data on 54 developing countries at five-yearly intervals. Issues of globalization were investigated by analysing the differential effects of the countries' exports and imports and by postulating trans-logarithmic models that allow for non-linear effects of literacy levels and measures of openness. The main findings were that literacy rates affected growth rates in a quadratic manner and countries with higher literacy were more likely to benefit from globalization. Second, the model for growth rates showed non-linear and differential effects of the export/GDP and import/GDP ratios. Third, the models indicated that population health indicators such as life expectancy were important predictors of GDP growth rates. Fourth, models for poverty measures showed that poverty was not directly affected by globalization indicators. Finally, the model for Gini coefficients indicated significant effects of 'medium' and 'high' skilled labour work force, with higher proportions of high-skilled labour implying greater inequality.
  • Topic: Development, Education, International Trade and Finance, Poverty
  • Author: Benjamin Davis, Calogero Carletto, Angeli Kirk, Paul Winters
  • Publication Date: 02-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This paper uses a duration analysis based on adoption data spanning over 25 years from six communities in the Central Highlands of Guatemala to explore how household characteristics and external trends play into both the adoption and diffusion processes of non-traditional exports among smallholders. Adoption was initially widespread and rapid, which led NTX to be hailed as a pro-poor success, reaching all but the smallest landholders. However, over time more than two-thirds of the adopters eventually dropped out from NTX production. Based on the analysis, NTX production.
  • Topic: Agriculture, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: South America, Yugoslavia, Tunisia
  • Author: Rhys Jenkins
  • Publication Date: 02-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: In recent years there has been a growing literature that analyses the threat which Chinese exports pose to the exports of other developing countries. The paper provides a critique of the standard measures of export similarity which have been used to estimate the threat from China in these studies. Two alternative indices, the static and the dynamic index of competitive threat, are developed and estimated for 18 developing countries and compared with estimates for the standard measures. It is shown that the latter tend to underestimate the extent to which countries are threatened by China. They also distort both the rankings of countries according to the extent to which they face competition from China and the direction of change in the competitive threat over time.
  • Topic: International Political Economy, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Thomas Gries, Wim Naudé, Marianne Matthee
  • Publication Date: 04-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Success in international trade depends, amongst other things, on distance from markets. Most new economic geography models focus on the distance between countries. In contrast much less theorizing and empirical analysis have focused on how distances within a country—for instance due to the location behaviour of exporting firms—matter to international trade. In this paper we contribute to the literature on the latter by offering a theoretical model to explain the optimal distance that an export-oriented firm would locate from a port. We present empirical evidence from South Africa in support of the model.
  • Topic: International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Africa, South Africa
  • 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: Silvia Nenci
  • Publication Date: 02-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: The rise of the emerging southern economies – China, India, Brazil, and South Africa (CIBS) – as both economic and political actors, is having significant and far-reaching impact on the world economy. Notwithstanding the increasing amount of study and research, there are still important knowledge-gaps with respect to a range of likely consequences of the dynamism of the Southern Economies. One of these gaps concerns the implications for the WTO-multilateral trading system. The present paper proposes a review of the southern participation in the multilateral integration process and suggests a methodology to assess the impact of CIBS' rise on the future of the WTO system. Through the analysis of the trajectories of 'impact' of the trade channel, the paper draws some suggestive remarks.
  • Topic: International Organization, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Africa, China, India, Asia, South Africa, Brazil, South America
  • Author: Guanghua Wan, Mahvash Saeed Qureshi
  • Publication Date: 02-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: By exploring the export performances and specialization patterns of China and India, we assess their trade competitiveness and complementarity vis-à-vis each other as well as with the rest of the world. Our analysis indicates that (i) India faces tough competition from China in the third markets especially in clothing, textile and leather products; (ii) there is a moderate potential for expanding trade between the two countries; (iii) China poses a challenge for the East Asian economies, the US, and most of the European countries especially in medium-technology industries; (iv) India appears to be a competitor mainly for its neighbouring South Asian countries; and (v) complementarity exists between the imports of China and India, and the exports of the US, some European states and East Asian countries, especially Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand, implying opportunities for trade expansion; and finally (vi) the export structure of China is changing with the exports of skill intensive and high-technology products increasing and those of labour-intensive products decreasing gradually. This suggests that challenges created by China in traditional labour-intensive products might reduce in the long run.
  • Topic: International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan, China, Europe, South Asia, Malaysia, India, Asia, Korea, Singapore, Thailand
  • Author: Gurleen K. Popli
  • Publication Date: 01-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: In this paper I examine the trend in income inequality and poverty among the selfemployed workers in Mexico over the last two decades (1984–2002). This is the period over which Mexico opened its economy to the global market through trade and investment liberalization. For the first decade following the liberalization, inequality and poverty among the self-employed increased; as the economy stabilized and the country saw economic growth inequality started to go down, but poverty kept increasing. To understand the changes in inequality and poverty I decompose the inequality and poverty indices into within and between group components. Rising returns to skilled labour, regional differences in impact of liberalization and sectoral shifts in employment are important factors in explaining the trends in both inequality and poverty.
  • Topic: International Trade and Finance, Markets
  • Political Geography: Mexico
  • Author: Paul Winters, Angeli Kirk, Benjamim Davis, Calogero Carletto
  • Publication Date: 02-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: As developing countries continue on the path of economic liberalization, there is a compelling need to ensure that the benefits of globalization reach poor rural communities. Increased commercialization of agriculture and diversification into nontraditional exports (NTXs) is one strategy that has often been advocated as a way for developing countries to use their comparative advantage in lower labor costs and to achieve growth in the agricultural sector. Given the predominantly rural nature of most developing countries and the preponderance of poor people in these areas, high-value agricultural production is considered the ideal mechanism to extend the benefits of globalization directly to the rural poor:1 Allowing poor farmers to shift into the export sector and take advantage of internationally demand driven prices that are higher relative to traditional crops may reduce inequality while fostering overall economic growth (Nissanke and Thorbecke 2007).
  • Topic: Agriculture, Development, Globalization, International Trade and Finance, Poverty
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Obijiofor Aginam, Christina Hansen
  • Publication Date: 09-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Consumer trust of food producers and the governments that regulate them is in notable decline throughout the world, due to frequent and recurring instances of food contamination. Yet consumer trust is pivotal in order to sustain the increasingly globalized nature of food production, processing, and distribution in the international trading relations of states. With an increasing population, rapid urbanization and rise of the middle class, the demand for processed food is increasing significantly, and thus presents inherent risks for food safety and sustainability. The challenge of ensuring effective global food safety standards is inexorably linked to the progressive trade liberalization agenda of the World Trade Organization (WTO). In a globalized world, food-borne outbreaks, like air-borne infectious diseases, disregard the geopolitical boundaries of sovereign states. Food products grown in one part of the world, because of advancements in food production trends and burgeoning international trade between states, are now easily transported to other regions of the world. International trade norms and policies often focus predominantly on traded goods and services, especially “Northern” access to “Southern” markets. Founded on the free trade agenda of market access, and driven by the principles of “National Treatment” and “Most Favoured Nation”, the international trading system—with nation-states as the dominant actors—is asymmetrical in nature. Very often, the international trading system does not effectively address the many fundamental and pressing issues related to environmental degradation, pesticide use and chemical dependency common in modern agricultural practices.
  • Topic: Security, Agriculture, Globalization, International Trade and Finance
  • Author: Vesselin Popovski, Nicholas Turner, Obijiofor Aginam
  • Publication Date: 08-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Economic development is essential for every country but it is especially crucial for those countries in the aftermath of protracted armed confl ict, needing peacebuilding, recovery and reconstruction. Development aid alone cannot transform damaged economies, and it is here that foreign direct investment (FDI) can be a valuable tool to revitalize industries, rebuild infrastructures and eventually even eliminate the need for aid.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Development, International Cooperation, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Political Economy, Third World
  • 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: A.J.E. Charman, J. Hodge
  • Publication Date: 09-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This study aims to help identify how the Agreement on Agriculture (AoA) could potentially constrain government action to achieve food security in the Southern African Development Community (SADC). The paper considers the proposed tariff and subsidy reduction modalities of the current round of WTO negotiations. The main focus is on the potential direct effects of the AoA, in terms of proposed reductions to domestic subsidies and tariffs, on food security policy in SADC countries. The study examines the argument that subsidy reductions and further liberalizing market access may pose constraints on the food security policy options of governments within the region.
  • Topic: International Trade and Finance, Markets, Treaties and Agreements
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Yin Ge
  • Publication Date: 09-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: How do foreign trade and foreign direct investment affect regional inequality? Foreign trade and investment may affect internal economic geography, and the resulting industry agglomeration may contribute to regional inequality. This paper provides empirical evidence supporting this linkage. The results indicate that the increasing regional inequality in China has been accompanied by an increase in the degree of regional specialization and industry agglomeration. Foreign trade and foreign investment are closely related to industry agglomeration in China. Industries dependent on foreign trade and FDI are more likely to locate in regions with easy access to foreign markets, and exporting industries have a higher degree of agglomeration.
  • Topic: Economics, Industrial Policy, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Robert Lensink, Pham Thi Thu Trà
  • Publication Date: 08-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This paper deals with loan contracting from a private bank in Vietnam. We focus on the main loan contract features that the bank uses in lending to business firms, namely loan maturity, collateral and loan interest rate. Based upon the simultaneous equation model of Dennis et al. (2000) and the bank's loan contracting policies, we examine the possible interdependency of the three different loan contract terms. Also, we try to determine which firm characteristics and exogenous factors are relevant for loan contracts. We find strong interdependencies between these contract terms with significant bi-directional relationships between collateral and loan maturity, loan rate and loan maturity, and a uni-directional relationship between loan rate and collateral. The conflicting signs within the collateral–loan maturity relationship and the loan interest rate–loan maturity relationship can be explained by our hypothesis that the choice for a certain loan maturity is primarily determined by borrowers' behaviors, whereas the loan rate and the collateral requirements are primarily determined by banks policies. In addition, our results support the relevance of firm quality, agency costs of debt and relationship lending in loan contract design.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Vietnam, Southeast Asia
  • Author: Mingming Zhou, Iftekhar Hasan
  • Publication Date: 08-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This paper documents the financial and institutional developments of China during the past two decades, when China was successfully transformed from a rigid centralplanning economy to a dynamic market economy following its unique path. We empirically examine the relationship between financial development and economic growth in China by employing a panel sample covering 31 Chinese provinces during the important transition period 1986-2002. Our evidence suggests that the development of financial markets, institutions, and instruments have been robustly associated with economic growth in China.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Bassam A. Fattouh, Panicos O. Demetriades
  • Publication Date: 08-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: We provide a novel empirical analysis of the South Korean credit market that reveals large volumes of excess credit since the late 1970s, indicating that a sizeable proportion of total credit was being used to refinance unprofitable projects. Our findings are consistent with theoretical literature that suggests that soft budget constraints and overborrowing were significant factors behind the Korean financial crisis of 1997-98.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets
  • Political Geography: Asia, South Korea, Korea
  • Author: Jonathan Di John
  • Publication Date: 07-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Taxation provides one of the principal lenses in measuring state capacity, state formation and power relations in a society. This paper critically examines three main approaches (economic, administrative and political economy) to understanding taxation. It also examines differences in tax composition across middle-income developing regions and finds that Latin American economies tax upper income groups much less than in East Asia and Eastern Europe, and explores the political economy and policy implications of these differences. The paper also examines issues of tax reform in low income/post-war economies and explores the problem that capital flight poses for less developed countries.
  • Topic: Development, International Trade and Finance, Political Economy, Third World
  • Political Geography: Eastern Europe, East Asia, Latin America
  • Author: K.L. Sharma
  • Publication Date: 06-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This paper analyses the status of food security in selected South Pacific Island countries, namely Cook Islands, Fiji Islands, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, and Vanuatu at the national and household levels during the period 1991-2002. Due to narrow resource base and production conditions, Pacific Islands concentrate on a few primary commodities for production and exports. During recent years import dependency for food items has increased mainly due to a decline in per capita food production and a rapid rate of rural-urban migration. Currently, export earnings can finance food imports but earnings could fall short of the requirements needed after the expiry of some commodity preferential price agreements with importing countries. National food security is dependent on the continuation of subsistence farming and tapping ocean resources in conjunction with the on-going commercial farming of those crops in which Pacific Islands have a comparative advantage. Increased productivity is crucial for improving agricultural performance through government investment in rural infrastructure, agricultural research and extension, irrigation and appropriate price incentives. This would also help alleviate poverty for improvement in economic accessibility of food by households. There is also a need to design appropriate disaster risk management programmes to minimize any adverse effects on the food supply.
  • Topic: Economics, Human Welfare, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Australia/Pacific, Solomon Islands, Papua, Guinea, Cook Islands, Samoa, Tonga, Vanuatu, Fiji
  • Author: Elaine Zuckerman, Marcia E. Greenberg
  • Publication Date: 06-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Based on analysing World Bank and other donor post-conflict reconstruction (PCR) loans and grants from rights-based, macroeconomic and microeconomic perspectives, we conclude that few PCR projects identify or address gender discrimination issues. Bank PCR investments hardly reflect Bank research recognizing that gender inequality increases the likelihood of conflict and gender equality is central to development and peace. Our conceptual framework examining women's programmes, gender mainstreaming, and gender roles in transforming violent into peaceful societies, leads to recommending that PCR projects systematically address gender issues and promote gender equality to make peace work.
  • Topic: Development, Gender Issues, Humanitarian Aid, International Trade and Finance
  • Author: Samuel K. Gayi
  • Publication Date: 06-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: The paper examines the state of food security in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), based on an analysis of a selection of indicators of food security and nutritional wellbeing during the period 1990-2002 within the context of the WTO Agreement on Agriculture. It argues that it may be advisable for those SSA countries with both static and dynamic comparative advantage in agriculture to pursue policies towards 'food self-sufficiency' as a means to attaining food security, considering their large rural farming population, at least until such time that international trade in agriculture is fully integrated into the WTO disciplines. This is particularly relevant in view of the fact that high agricultural protectionism in the north currently distorts price signals and thus the opportunity costs of allocating factors of production in these economies. The SSA countries that lack comparative advantage in agriculture may want to aim for a 'food self-reliance' strategy to attain food security.
  • Topic: Agriculture, Human Welfare, International Trade and Finance
  • Author: Jonna P. Estudillo, Yasuyuki Sawada
  • Publication Date: 06-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This paper investigates how the two types of globalization—i.e., integration of international trade and emigration—affected poverty reduction in the Philippines. Using the Family Income and Expenditure Surveys from 1985 to 2000, we found that both nontransfer and transfer incomes decreased poverty significantly but transfer income exerted greater impact. External openness reduced poverty significantly before the Asian currency crises but its impact had been reversed since. The effect of land reform in inducing transfer income from abroad was significant only in the 1990s. Yet, the ultra poor were bypassed in the land reform-credit-emigration-transfer nexus.
  • Topic: Development, Globalization, International Trade and Finance, Migration
  • Author: M.S. Quresh
  • Publication Date: 04-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This paper revisits the pollution haven hypothesis in the context of Pakistan by offering a systematic analysis of its trade and production patterns. Using bilateral trade statistics from 1975-2003, we test the hypotheses that Pakistan's net exports of pollutionintensive products have increased to the OECD countries. We also investigate if the stringency of environmental governance in the importing countries plays a role in determining Pakistan's exports of pollution-intensive products. The results reveal that there has been a change in the composition of output and exports towards pollutionintensive manufacturing that parallels the opening of the economy. Overall, the findings appear to be in favour of the pollution haven hypothesis and call for effective environmental policy response for poverty alleviation and sustainable development.
  • Topic: Development, International Trade and Finance, Poverty
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Asia
  • Author: Lakhwinder Singh
  • Publication Date: 03-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Innovations spur science-based trade and industrial development in a fast changing pace of globalization. Knowledge accumulation and diffusion have been increasingly recognised as fundamental factors that play an important role in long-run economic growth. This paper focuses on the long-term innovation strategy of industrial and technological development in developing countries. Growth theory, empirical evidence and several indicators of innovation have been pressed into service to draw important lessons from historical experience of the developed and newly industrializing countries for the industrial development of the developing economies. Technology development and public technology policy experience of the East Asian countries have been examined to reinvent the role of public technology policy that can be adopted to develop national innovation system to nurture and build innovative capabilities in the developing economies in the dynamic global economy.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Industrial Policy, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: East Asia
  • Author: Grzegorz W. Kolodko
  • Publication Date: 02-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Institutions are not only created and built, but al so, and especially, need to be learnt. It is a process which takes place in all economies, but acquires a special importance in less advanced countries. Not only theoretical arguments, but also the practical experience over the past 15 years demonstrates that faster economic growth, and hence also more broadly, socioeconomic development, is attained by those countries which take greater care to foster the institutional reinforcement of market economy. However, progress in market-economy institution building is not in itself sufficient to ensure sustained growth. Another indispensable component is an appropriately designed and implemented economic policy which must not confuse the means with the aims.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Globalization, International Trade and Finance
  • Author: Marcia Byrom Hartwell
  • Publication Date: 02-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: A key issue for development in the late twentieth and early twenty -first centuries has been an escalation of violence during post-conflict transitions. A long-term goal for international donor involvement is to assist in building legitimate and effective political, economic, and legal institutions. However, research and observation has revealed that increased violence is commonplace during peace processes and strongly influences the ways in which these institutions are formed. In turn post-conflict violence itself is strongly influenced and motivated by the way in which peace agreements have been negotiated. This study addresses some of the reasons for escalation of violence following peace agreements. It describes the underlying dynamics including the relationship between perceptions of justice as fairness, formation of post-conflict identity, political processes of forgiveness and revenge; and the policy implications for development particularly in relation to peace conditionality tied to aid.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Development, International Trade and Finance, Peace Studies
  • Author: Laura Sabani, Silvia Marchesi
  • Publication Date: 02-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Since the 1970s, prolonged use of resources by the IMF has consistently expanded, among both low- and middle-income countries. Overall, this phenomenon suggests a lack of effectiveness of Fund supported programmes. In the literature conditional lending failure has been explained by looking both at the characteristics of the borrowing countries (demand-side factors) and at the possible influence of IMF specific interests (supply-side factors). Among the latter it has been suggested that non- compliance with conditionality might be attributed to the lack of credibility of the IMF threat of interrupting financial assistance in case of policy slippages. In this paper we critically review this literature and we propose a novel explanation, according to which it is the repeated nature of the IMF involvement, together with the fact that the Fund acts simultaneously as a lender and as a monitor (and as an advisor) of economic reforms, that weakens the credibility of the IMF threat. Specifically, we argue that Since the 1970s, prolonged use of resources by the IMF has consistently expanded, among both low- and middle-income countries. Overall, this phenomenon suggests a lack of effectiveness of Fund supported programmes. In the literature conditional lending failure has been explained by looking both at the characteristics of the borrowing countries (demand-side factors) and at the possible influence of IMF specific interests (supply-side factors). Among the latter it has been suggested that non- compliance with conditionality might be attributed to the lack of credibility of the IMF threat of interrupting financial assistance in case of policy slippages. In this paper we critically review this literature and we propose a novel explanation, according to which it is the repeated nature of the IMF involvement, together with the fact that the Fund acts simultaneously as a lender and as a monitor (and as an advisor) of economic reforms, that weakens the credibility of the IMF threat. Specifically, we argue that the IMF desire to preserve its reputation as a good monitor/advisor may distort its lending decisions towards some laxity, which may be exacerbated by the length of the relationship between a country and the Fund. Therefore, we claim that prolonged use of IMF resources is not only a consequence of a lack of effectiveness of conditional lending but it might itself be a determinant of conditionality failure.
  • Topic: Economics, International Organization, International Trade and Finance, Markets
  • Author: Tony Addison
  • Publication Date: 02-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Much has changed in international finance in the twenty years since UNU-WIDER was founded. This paper identifies five broad contours of what we might expect in the next twenty years: the flow of capital from ageing societies to the more youthful economies of the South; the growth in the financial services industry in emerging economies and the consequences for their capital flows; the current strength in emerging market debt, and whether this represents a change in fundamentals or merely the effect of low global interest rates; the impact of globalization in goods markets in lowering inflation expectations, and therefore global bond yields; and the implications of the adjustment in global imbalances between Asia (in particular China) and the United States for emerging bond markets as a whole. The paper ends by noting the paradox that today we see ever larger amounts of capital flowing across the globe in search of superior investment returns, and yet the financing needs of the poorer countries are still largely unmet.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Asia
  • Author: Ayodele Odusola
  • Publication Date: 01-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Nigeria is governed by a federal system, hence its fiscal operations also adhere to the same principle, a fact which has serious implications on how the tax system is managed. The country's tax system is lopsided, and dominated by oil revenue. It is also characterized by unnecessarily complex, distortionary and largely inequitable taxation laws that have limited application in the informal sector that dominates the economy. The primary objective of this paper is to prepare a case study on tax policy reforms in Nigeria, with the specific objectives of examining the main tax reforms in the country; highlighting tax revenue profile and composition; analysing possible distributional impacts on the poor; discussing major problems that could prevent effective tax implementation in the country; and offering suggestions for reforms.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Africa, Nigeria
  • Author: Sergey Filippov, Iornara Costa, Mariana Zanatta
  • Publication Date: 10-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: The growing importance attached to attracting foreign direct investment (FDI) is evidenced by the steady rise of investment promotion agencies (IPAs) worldwide, especially from the early 1990s. Since its launch in 1995, the World Association of Investment Promotion Agencies (WAIPA) has registered a growing number of members representing cities, regions, countries and free zones from all over the world: from 112 in 2002, 161 in 2004, rising to 191 members from 149 countries in 2006. According to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) there were around 500 IPAs in more than 160 countries in 2004.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Development, Economics, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: United Nations
  • Author: Fabrizio Carmignani, Abdur Chowdhury
  • Publication Date: 12-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: We study whether financial openness facilitates the economic integration of formerly centrally planned economies with the EU- 15. Two dimensions of economic integration are considered: cross-country convergence of per-capita incomes and bilateral trade in goods and services. We find that more financially open economies effectively catch-up faster and trade more with the EU-15. These integration-enhancing effects occur over and above any effect stemming from domestic financial deepening and other factors determining growth and trade.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Robert Lensink, Niels Hermes
  • Publication Date: 12-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This paper aims to investigate the relationship between financial liberalization on the one hand and saving, investment and economic growth on the other hand, using a new dataset for measuring financial liberalization for a sample of 25 developing economies over the period 1973-96. We find no evidence that financial liberalization affects domestic saving and total investment (although there are some signs to believe that liberalization may actually reduce rather than increase domestic saving), whereas it is positively associated with private investment, as well as with per capita GDP growth. We find a negative relationship between financial liberalization and public investment. These results suggest that financial liberalization leads to a substitution from public to private investment, which may contribute to higher economic growth.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Emerging Markets, International Trade and Finance
  • Author: George Mavrotas, Subal C. Kumbhakar
  • Publication Date: 12-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Recent years have witnessed important structural changes around the world as a result of the globalization process, the creation of new economic blocks and the liberalization of financial sector in many countries. Responding to these changes many sectors of the industrialized countries have gone through major deregulatory changes to acclimate themselves to new environments. At the same time, many countries have undertaken institutional reforms to build a market-orientated financial system in the hope that transition towards market economy will improve productivity. In the face of uncertainty resulting from changes in regulatory structure and the development of financial institutions to foster market economy, many countries may not be able to achieve their maximum growth potential. In other words, productivity growth is likely to depend on the development of financial institutions and the stage of economic development That is, a less developed country is likely to benefit more (in terms of output growth rate) from the development of financial institutions than a developed economy with well-developed financial system. In this paper we document this by using data covering 65 countries, varying substantially in term s of level of development and geographic location, and spanning the period 1960-1999. Empirical results obtained from the estimation of two different empirical models regarding the measurement of total factor productivity growth seem to confirm a priori expectations about the overall positive influence of financial systems on productivity in line with previous work on this front. Our results remain robust with respect to alternative definitions of financial sector development we tried.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Globalization, International Trade and Finance