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  • Author: Guanghua Wan, Zhang-Yue Zhou
  • Publication Date: 09-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: A comparative study of the public distribution systems of foodgrains in India and China is expected to reveal lessons and experiences that are valuable to policymakers. This is particularly important for developing countries in their endeavour to ensure food security. This paper undertakes such an exercise. The main features and developments of the two public distribution systems are first highlighted. This is followed by a comparative analysis of their similarities and differences. The role of public foodgrain distribution systems in ensuring food security is then evaluated. Finally, policy implications are drawn.
  • Topic: Human Welfare, Poverty
  • Political Geography: China, India, Asia
  • Author: Rimjhim M. Aggarwal
  • Publication Date: 09-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: It is often argued that an important reason why globalization may lead to GDP growth but fail to reduce poverty is because the poor are unable to participate in the new market opportunities and are marginalized. In this paper we examine the experience of resource-poor farmers in south India, who participated aggressively in the new market opportunities that opened up with trade reforms. However, these expanded market opportunities failed to improve their welfare. The paper examines why and how this happened.
  • Topic: Agriculture, Globalization, Poverty
  • Political Geography: India, Asia
  • Author: Zhicheng Liang
  • Publication Date: 09-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Financial development can exert a significant influence on the distribution of income. In this paper, using Chinese provincial data over the period of 1991-2000 and applying the generalized method of moment (GMM) techniques, we investigate the relationship between finance and inequality in rural China by testing alternative existing theories concerning the finance-inequality nexus. A negative and linear relationship between finance and inequality is found in our estimations. The empirical results show that financial development significantly reduces income inequality in post-reform rural China.
  • Topic: Demographics, Development, Economics
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Xiaobo Zhang
  • Publication Date: 09-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: China's current fiscal system is largely decentralized while its governance structure is rather centralized with strong top-down mandates and a homogenous governance structure. Due to large differences in initial economic structures and revenue bases, the implicit tax rate and fiscal burdens to support the functioning of local government vary significantly across jurisdictions. Regions initially endowed with a broader nonfarm tax base do not need to rely heavily on preexisting or new firms to finance public goods provision, thereby creating a healthy investment environment for the nonfarm sector to grow. In contrast, regions with agriculture as the major economic activity have little resources left for public investment after paying the expenses of bureaucracy. Consequently, differences in economic structures and fiscal burdens may translate into a widening regional gap.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Politics
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Guanghua Wan, Yin Zhang
  • Publication Date: 08-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This paper analyzes the evolution of poverty in China from the late 1980s to the late 1990s, employing a version of Shapley decomposition tailored to unit-record household survey data. The changes in poverty trends are attributed to two proximate causes— income growth and shifts in income distribution. Different datasets, poverty lines, poverty measures, and equivalence scales are used to examine the robustness of the results. Potential biases arising from ignoring differential regional prices and inflation are also investigated. Notwithstanding some ambiguities in the results, it is consistently found that rural poverty increased in the second half of the 1990s and adverse distributional changes are the main cause.
  • Topic: Demographics, Development, Poverty
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Guanghua Wan, Zhao Chen, Ming Lu
  • Publication Date: 08-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This paper argues that the conventional approach of data averaging is problematic for exploring the growth—inequality nexus. It introduces the polynomial inverse lag (PIL) framework so that the impacts of inequality on investment, education, and ultimately on growth can be measured at precisely defined time lags. Combining PIL with simultaneous systems of equations, we analyze the growth—inequality relationship in postreform China, finding that this relationship is nonlinear and is negative irrespective of time horizons.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Development, Education
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Zhicheng Liang
  • Publication Date: 08-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Deepening financial development and rapid economic growth in China have been accompanied by widening income disparity between the coastal and inland regions. In this paper, by employing panel dataset for 29 Chinese provinces over the period of 1990-2001 and applying the generalized method of moment (GMM) techniques, we examine the impacts of financial development on China's growth performance. Our empirical results show that financial development significantly promotes economic growth in coastal regions but not in the inland regions; the weak finance-growth nexus in inland provinces may aggravate China's regional disparities.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Development, Economics
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Geoffrey J.D. Hewings, Dong Guo, Patricio Aroca
  • Publication Date: 08-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: The purpose of this paper is to examine the convergence process in China by taking into account the spatial interaction between factors. The paper shows that there has been a dramatic increase in the spatial dependence of China's per capita GDP in the last 20 years. The consequence of space plays an important role, which is reflected in the influence of a neighbour's condition on the mobility of a province's income distribution from one category to another. The dynamics of the process showed evidence that China's distribution has gone from one of convergence to stratification, and from stratification to polarization.
  • Topic: Demographics, Development, Economics
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Benjamin Davis, Kathleen Beegle, Gero Caretto, Mauro Migotto
  • Publication Date: 08-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Food security is a complex and multi-dimensional phenomenon. As such, its measurement may entail and benefit from the combination of both 'qualitative-subjective' and 'quantitative-objective' indicators. Yet, the evidence on the external validity of subjective-type information is scarce, especially using representative household surveys. The aim of this paper is to compare information on self-perceived food consumption adequacy from the subjective modules of household surveys with standard quantitative indicators, namely calorie consumption, dietary diversity and anthropometry. Datasets from four countries are analysed: Albania, Indonesia, Madagascar and Nepal. Simple descriptive statistics, correlation coefficients, contingency tables and multivariate regression show that the 'subjective' indicator is at best poorly correlated with standard quantitative indicators. The paper concludes that while subjective food adequacy indicators may provide insight on the vulnerability dimension of food insecurity, they are too blunt an indicator for food insecurity targeting. An effort towards developing improved subjective food security modules that are contextually sensitive should go hand in hand with research into how to improve household survey data for food security measurement along other dimensions of the phenomenon, particularly calorie consumption.
  • Topic: Human Welfare
  • Political Geography: Africa, Europe, Indonesia, Asia, Nepal, Albania, Madagascar
  • 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