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  • Author: Luc Soete, Alexis Habiyaremye
  • Publication Date: 01-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Before the current global recession, many resource-rich African countries were recording unprecedented levels of growth due to a raw material price boom. However, the collapse in raw material prices and the ensuing severe economic difficulties have again exposed the vulnerability of these countries' natural resource export-focussed economic structures. In this research brief, we describe how Africa's abundance of natural resources attracted disruptive and predatory foreign forces that have hindered innovation-based growth and economic diversification by delaying the accumulation of sufficient stocks of human capital. We suggest that for their long-term prosperity, resource-rich African countries shift their strategic emphasis from natural to human resources and technological capabilities needed to transform those natural resources into valuable goods and services to compete in the global market.
  • Topic: Economics, Emerging Markets, Industrial Policy, Global Recession, Natural Resources, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Africa, China, India
  • Author: Jun Zhang
  • Publication Date: 04-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This paper investigates the institutional reason underlying the change in the trajectory of economic growth in post-reform China, and argues that the trajectory of growth was much more normal during the period of 1978-89 than in the post-1989 era. In the former period, growth was largely induced by equality-generating institutional change in agriculture and the emergence of non-state industrial sector. In the latter period, growth was triggered by the acceleration of capital investments under authoritarian decentralized hierarchy within self-contained regions. Such a growth trajectory accelerates capital deepening, deteriorating total factor productivity and leads to rising regional imbalance. This paper further argues that the change in the trajectory of growth is the outcome of changes in political and inter-governmental fiscal institutions following the 1989 political crisis.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, Industrial Policy, Political Economy
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: 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: Tianbiao Zhu
  • Publication Date: 07-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Conventional explanations of Taiwan and China's economic success point to the shift from an import-substituting industrialization (ISI) strategy to an export-oriented industrialization (EOI) strategy. This paper argues that the development strategies in Taiwan and China have always been a combination of ISI and EOI strategies during their entire miracle-creating period; far from the shift from ISI to EOI strategies, export promotion was used in both cases to sustain ISI, which has always been the central focus of development. Behind this strategy there is a set of institutions in both Taiwan and China, which has played a key role in supporting ISI, in particular, the government, the bank sector, public enterprises, and their relationship.
  • Topic: Development, Industrial Policy
  • Political Geography: China, Israel, Taiwan, East Asia, Asia
  • Author: Ravi Kanbur, Xiaobo Zhang
  • Publication Date: 08-2004
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This paper constructs and analyses a long-run time-series for regional inequality in China from the Communist Revolution to the present. There have been three peaks of inequality in the last fifty years, coinciding with the Great Famine of the late 1950s, the Cultural Revolution of the late 1960s and 1970s, and finally the period of openness and global integration in the late 1990s. Econometric analysis establishes that regional inequality is explained in the different phases by three key policy variables; the ratio of heavy industry to gross output value, the degree of decentralization, and the degree of openness.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Industrial Policy, Political Economy
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Songhua Lin
  • Publication Date: 09-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Models of economic geography predict that transportation costs directly affect demand for goods and the supply of intermediate inputs. One of the reasons that international trade is concentrated in the coastal provinces of China is that they have lower transportation costs in transporting goods to other countries than do provinces in the interior. This paper examines the relationship between the provincial wage rate and each province's access to international markets, and to suppliers of intermediate inputs. A gravity equation is first estimated to construct these 'market access' and 'supplier access' variables. In the second stage, the effect of market access and supplier access on the wage rate is estimated. It is found that about one quarter of the provincial wage differences in the coastal provinces and 15 per cent of the wage differences in the interior provinces can be explained by these economic geography variables.
  • Topic: Industrial Policy, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: China, Israel, East Asia
  • Author: Jian Sun
  • Publication Date: 02-1999
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Since the beginning of the Chinese economic reforms in 1978, there has been a series of effort to reform the labour compensation practice in state-owned enterprises to strengthen the link between pay and productivity. Despite the reforms, however, rapid increases in wage rates occurred in state-owned enterprises. Moreover, although state-owned enterprises have much lower productivity gains than non-state enterprises, they pay substantially higher wages and have faster wage growth.
  • Topic: Economics, Globalization, Industrial Policy, International Political Economy
  • Political Geography: China, Asia