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  • Author: Matthew Smith, Alan Roe, Tony Addison
  • Publication Date: 06-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: An effective state is able to mobilize revenue and spend it on infrastructure, services, and public goods that both enhance human capital and the well-being of communities (especially the poor), as well as stimulating investment and employment creation by the private sector. An effective state also manages public finance to ensure that macroeconomic balance is maintained—with policy neither too restrictive to discourage private investment and growth, nor too accommodative to create high inflation and crowd out private investment. Fiscal issues are therefore at the heart of the state's role in the development process and failure in this policy area—whether it is in taxation, public expenditures, or in managing the fiscal deficit and public debt—can quickly undermine growth and poverty reduction. Fiscal weakness can also be fatal to social peace when one or more ethnic, religious, or regional groups are taxed unfairly—or receives too little in the allocation of public spending.
  • Topic: Debt, Development, Economics, Poverty
  • Political Geography: Africa, Asia
  • Author: Guanghua Wan, Yin Zhang
  • Publication Date: 12-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This paper proposes a framework for incorporating longitudinal distributional changes into poverty decomposition. It is shown that changes in the Sen-Shorrocks-Thon index over time can be decomposed into two components—one component reflects the progressivity of income growth among the original poor, the other measures the extent of downward mobility experienced by the incumbent poor. The decomposition is applied to appraising poverty trends in China between 1988 and 1996. The results indicate that the proposed decomposition can complement the widely-used growthdistribution decomposition in providing insights into poverty dynamics.
  • Topic: Development, Poverty
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Guanghua Wan, Peilei Fan
  • Publication Date: 12-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Relying on a recently developed decomposition framework, this paper explores spatial distribution of innovation capability in China. It is found that at the regional level, China's inequality in innovation capability increased from 1995 to 2004. At the provincial level, the inequality decreased from1995 to 2000, but increased from 2000 to 2004. Location, industrialization and urbanization, human capital, and openness (foreign direct investment) are significant contributors to the inequality in innovation capability. Unbalanced development in high-tech parks exerts a growing explanatory power in driving innovation disparity, which implies that institutional factor plays a direct role.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Demographics
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • 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
  • Author: Fang Cai, Meiyan Wang
  • Publication Date: 11-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This paper describes and decomposes wage differences between female and male workers. The results indicate that females receive low wages because of unequal pay within sectors, and that the wage gap caused by the difference in sectoral attainment is small. The results also reveal that a lion's share of the wage differential between females and males is attributable to discrimination rather than to the human capital difference between the genders. Eliminating discriminations against females with a focus on intra-sectoral inequality is crucial for reducing female/male wage differentials.
  • Topic: International Relations, Development, Political Economy
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Ying Chu Ng
  • Publication Date: 11-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Gender earnings differentials in urban China by region and their changes during the first decade of economic reform are examined. It is found that the female–male earnings ratio increased during the early stage of reform. The male earnings premium, overall, showed an increasing trend in the later stage of reform. Decomposition of the gender earnings differential reveals that a relatively lower percentage of the differential could be explained by gender differences in productive characteristics in the fast growing regions and in regions with a rapid pace of reform. The cross-sectional results highlight the possible existence of gender discrimination, particularly in the later stages of economic reform and development. Both market competition and the effects of wage decentralization play a role in shaping the gender earnings differentials. Gender earnings differentials varied by region and over time, generally in tandem with the pace of economic reform and development. The decomposition of the overtime changes in the earnings gap indicated that improvement in females' productive characteristics during the reform period constantly enhanced the earnings of females relative to those of males. The overtime changes in the returns to females' characteristics, however, work to counter any narrowing of the gender earnings gap.
  • Topic: International Relations, Development, Gender Issues
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Shi Li, Ximing Yue, Terry Sicular, Björn Gustafsson
  • Publication Date: 11-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Using new household survey data for 1995 and 2002, we investigate the size of China's urban-rural income gap, the gap's contribution to overall inequality in China, and the factors underlying the gap. Our analysis improves on past estimates by using a fuller measure of income, adjusting for spatial price differences and including migrants. Our methods include inequality decomposition by population subgroup and the Oaxaca-Blinder decomposition. Several key findings emerge. First, the adjustments substantially reduce China's urban-rural income gap and its contribution to inequality. Nevertheless, the gap remains large and has increased somewhat over time. Second, after controlling for household characteristics, location of residence remains the most important factor underlying the urban-rural income gap. The only household characteristic that contributes substantially to the gap is education. Differences in the endowments of, and returns to, other household characteristics such as family size and composition, landholdings, and communist party membership are relatively unimportant.
  • Topic: International Relations, Development, Human Rights
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: George Cheriyan
  • Publication Date: 11-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Over the past decade, a series of events in India have brought the question of food security into sharp focus. Vast famine-affected areas versus surplus production and stocks of grains, the impact of globalization and World Trade Organization laws on agriculture and farmers, the media's spotlight on starvation deaths and, finally, the Supreme Court of India's strong reaction to the plight of the hungry—all make a case for recognizing the right to food.
  • Topic: International Relations, Development, Human Rights
  • Political Geography: India, Asia
  • 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: 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