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  • Author: Hafez Ghanem
  • Publication Date: 02-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: Morocco has so far been a success story in the Arab world. It has followed a gradual approach to political reforms and democratization, which led to the adoption of a new constitution and the holding of free parliamentary elections in 2011. At the same time, economic growth averaged 4.5 percent between 2000 and 2010, reached 5.0 percent in 2011, 2.7 percent in 2012, and 4.4 percent in 2013. That is, Morocco has avoided the political upheavals and economic meltdowns that plagued other Arab Countries in Transition (ACTs). Maintaining this record of success will require continued political and economic reforms.
  • Topic: Development, Economics
  • Political Geography: Arabia, Morocco
  • Author: Vidya Putcha, Jacques van der Gaag
  • Publication Date: 02-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: In the developing world, more than 200 million children under the age of five years are at risk of not reaching their full human potential because they suffer from the negative consequences of poverty, nutritional deficiencies and inadequate learning opportunities. Given these risks, there is a strong case for early childhood development (ECD) interventions in nutrition, health, education and social protection, which can produce long-lasting benefits throughout the life cycle. The results from the 2012 round of the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA)—an international, large-scale assessment that measures 15-year-olds\' performance in mathematics, reading and science literacy—demonstrate the benefits of ECD: Students in the countries that belong to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) who had the benefit of being enrolled for more than one year in preprimary school scored 53 points higher in mathematics (the equivalent of more than one year of schooling), compared with students who had not attended preprimary school. Although there is much evidence that ECD programs have a great impact and are less costly than educational interventions later in life, very few ECD initiatives are being scaled up in developing countries. For example, in 2010, only 15 percent of children in low-income countries—compared with 48 percent worldwide—were enrolled in preprimary education programs. Furthermore, even though the literature points to larger beneficial effects of ECD for poorer children, within developing countries, disadvantaged families are even less likely to be among those enrolled in ECD programs. For instance, in Ghana, children from wealthy families are four times more likely than children from poor households to be enrolled in preschool programs.
  • Topic: Development, Economics
  • Author: Lord Nicholas Stern, Jeremy Oppenheim, Amar Bhattacharya
  • Publication Date: 07-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: The agendas of accelerating sustainable development and eradicating poverty and that of climate change are deeply intertwined. Growth strategies that fail to tackle poverty and/or climate change will prove to be unsustainable, and vice versa. A common denominator to the success of both agendas is infrastructure development. Infrastructure is an essential component of growth, development, poverty reduction, and environmental sustainability.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Development, Economics, Poverty, Infrastructure
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Carol Graham, Shaojie Zhou, Junyi Zhang
  • Publication Date: 06-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: The past two decades in China brought unprecedented rates of economic growth, development, and poverty reduction. Indeed, much of the reduction in the world’s extreme poverty rates during that time can be explained by the millions of people in China who exited poverty. GDP per capita and household consumption increased fourfold between the years 1990 and 2005.1 China jumped 10 places forward on the Human Development Index from 2008 until 2013, moving up to 93 of 187 countries, and life expectancy climbed to 75.3 years, compared to 67 years in 1980.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Health, Human Welfare
  • Political Geography: China
  • Author: Christine Zhang, Jeffrey Gutman
  • Publication Date: 06-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: Economic development is often tied to the evolution of local industry. One way to assess a country’s emergence as a major player in the global economy is by examining the ability of its domestic firms to compete on the global market. Public procurement—the purchase of goods, works, and services by governments—represents a significant portion of this market, making up an estimated average of 15 to 30 percent of a country’s GDP. Procurement in the developing world is especially noteworthy, since large projects are often partially or wholly financed by external donors such as the World Bank and other international financial institutions (IFIs), which encourage developing country governments to internationally advertise the goods, works, or services they require and to select the most competitive bid they receive. Yet the role of IFI-funded procurement in the emergence of global markets, particularly for and among developing countries, is seldom a topic of empirical study, despite its linkages to global growth.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Emerging Markets, World Bank, Developing World
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Joshua Meltzer
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: This paper is about the potential of the Internet as a platform for international trade. A traditional understanding of the impact of the Internet on commerce is derived from the dot.com experience of the 1990s, where Internet companies such as Pets.com and Amazon sold goods online. Since then, the impact of the Internet on commerce has grown and changed. Certainly, the ability to sell goods online remains important. However, the key development is that the Internet is no longer only a digital storefront. Instead, the Internet as described in this working paper is a platform for businesses to sell to customers domestically and overseas, and is a business input that increases productivity and the ability of businesses to compete. Understanding the Internet as a platform for trade highlights its broad economic potential. It emphasizes how the commercial opportunities are no longer limited to Internet companies, but are now available for businesses in all sectors of the economy, from manufacturing to services. Moreover, the global nature of the Internet means that these opportunities are no longer limited to domestic markets, but are embraced wherever Internet access is available.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Science and Technology, Communications
  • Political Geography: Africa, United States, Europe
  • Author: Akira Murata
  • Publication Date: 01-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: The paper uses a discrete choice experiment (DCE) to elicit job preferences among youth, and analyzes survey data collected from engineering students at 10 universities in six cities in Egypt during the period of July through October 2013. For a comparative analysis, the survey was also conducted at eight universities in five cities in Indonesia, which is one of the nations in Asia with a Muslim-majority population that faces the same demographic issue. The findings of this research will contribute to building a foundation for designing youth employment policies in Egypt. The most obvious findings to emerge from this study are that: the public-private sector wage differentials must be narrowed; better benefits must accompany private sector employment (particularly support for continuing education, upgrading qualifications, and health insurance); and good IT infrastructure matters. Taken together, these steps could significantly contribute to an increase in the rates of a private sector employment among young Egyptian job seekers, even in the case of continued high public sector wages.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Islam, Labor Issues, Youth Culture
  • Political Geography: Africa, America, Arabia
  • Author: Hafez Ghanem
  • Publication Date: 01-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: This paper examines how economic growth in Egypt can be made more inclusive through a focus on rural development and reducing regional disparities. Nearly all of the extremely poor in Egypt live in rural areas and 83 percent of them live in Upper Egypt. The youth in those rural areas feel particularly excluded.
  • Topic: Agriculture, Development, Economics, Poverty
  • Political Geography: Africa, Arabia
  • Author: Carol Graham
  • Publication Date: 01-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: The United States has long been viewed as the "land of opportunity," where those who work hard get ahead. Belief in this feature of American national identity has persisted even though inequality has been rising for de¬cades. In recent years, the trend toward extremes of income and wealth has accelerated significantly, owing to demographic shifts, the skills bias of the economy and fiscal policy. From 1997 to 2007, the share of income accru¬ing to the top 1 percent of U.S. households increased by 13.5 percentage points, which is equivalent to shifting $1.1 trillion in total annual income to this group - more than the total income of the bottom 40 percent of households. The precise impact of inequality on individual well-being remains controversial, partly because of the complex nature of the metrics needed to gauge it accurately, but also because why it matters depends on what it signals. If inequality is perceived to be the result of just reward for individual effort, then it can be a constructive signal of future opportunities. However, if it is perceived to be the result of an unfair system that rewards a privileged few, inequality can undermine incentives to work hard and invest in the future. In this sense, current U.S. trends have been largely destructive. Economic mobility, for example, has declined in recent decades and is now lower than in many other industrialized countries. There is also a strong intergenerational income correlation (about 0.5) in the U.S.; children of parents who earn 50 percent more than the average are likely to earn 25 percent above the average of their generation. In a world in which individuals' fates are increasingly linked and effective gover¬nance depends on some kind of consensus on social and distributive justice norms, growing income differentials in one country - especially one that has long served as a beacon of economic opportunity - can affect behavior elsewhere, both in terms of investments in education and the labor market and the propensity to protest. More generally, declining economic mobility in the U.S. could undermine confidence in the principles of market econo¬mies and democratic governance that America has espoused for decades - principles that are fundamental to many countries' development strategies.
  • Topic: Economics, Poverty, Social Stratification, Labor Issues
  • Political Geography: United States, Germany
  • Author: John McArthur, Gordon C. McCord
  • Publication Date: 09-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: This paper uses cross-country panel data to estimate the agronomic inputs that lead to cereal yield improvements and the consequences for developing countries' processes of structural change. The results suggest a clear role for fertilizer, modern seeds and water in boosting yields. It then estimates empirical links in developing economies between increased agricultural yields and economic growth; in particular, the spillover effect from yield growth to declines of labor share in agriculture and increases of non-agricultural value added per capita. The identification strategy for the effect of fertilizer includes a novel instrumental variable that exploits variation in global fertilizer price, interacted with the inverse distance between each country's agriculturally weighted centroid and the nearest nitrogen fertilizer production facility. Results suggest that a half ton increase in staple yields (equal to the within-country standard deviation) generates a 13 to 20 percent higher GDP per capita, a 3.3 to 3.9 percentage point lower labor share in agriculture five years later, and approximately 20 percent higher non-agricultural value added per worker a decade later. The results suggest a strong role for agricultural productivity as a driver of structural change.
  • Topic: Agriculture, Economics, Labor Issues
  • Author: Hakan Altinay
  • Publication Date: 02-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: We frequently treat the changing constellation that has come to be referred to as global governance as a lackluster fait accompli. Nobody has masterminded it. Nobody is really in charge. Almost everybody has reasons to be unhappy about what they view as its current suboptimal state. As such, global governance is not an easy phenomenon to assess or audit. The benchmarks and scales to be used are not obvious. Yet an audit attempt is nevertheless necessary, if for no other reason than to start to form a deliberated assessment, to develop some benchmarks, and to refine our questions for the future.
  • Topic: Economics, Globalization, Governance
  • Political Geography: China, Europe
  • Author: Urjit R. Patel, Gangadhar Darbha
  • Publication Date: 01-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: Compared to immediately preceding years, that is, its own recent history, India's inflation became unhinged (thereby reversing creditable performance) from as far back as 2006. The paper puts forward an empirical framework to analyze the time series and cross-sectional dynamics of inflation in India using a large panel of disaggregated sector prices for the time period, 1994/95 to 2010/11. This allows us to rigorously explore issues that have been, at best, loosely posed in policy debates such as diffusion or comovement of inflation across sectors, role of common and idiosyncratic factors in explaining variation, persistence, importance of food and energy price changes to the overall inflation process, and contrast the recent experience with the past. We find, interalia, that the current period of high inflation is more cross-sectionally diffused, and driven by increasingly persistent common factors in non-food and non-energy sectors compared to that in the 1990s; this is likely to make it more difficult for anti-inflationary policy to gain traction this time round compared to the past. The paper has also introduced a novel measure of inflation, viz., Pure Inflation Gauges (PIGs) in the Indian context by decomposing price movements into those on account of: (1) aggregate shocks that have equiproportional effects on all sector prices; (2) aggregated relative price effects; and (3) sector-specific and idiosyncratic shocks. If PIGs, in conjunction with our other findings, for example, on persistence had been used as a measure of underlying (pure) inflationary pressures, the monetary authorities may not have been sanguine regarding the timeliness of initiating anti-inflationary policies.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Industrial Policy, International Trade and Finance, Monetary Policy
  • Political Geography: South Asia, India
  • Author: Raj M. Desai, Shareen Joshi
  • Publication Date: 01-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: This paper evaluates the impact of the Self- Employed Women's Association's (SEWA) farmer development center (FDC) initiative across five farming districts in Gujarat, India. The initiative provided a mix of training, information provisions, access to farming inputs, risk mitigation, and output. Controlling for a range of individual-specific, household, and village level factors, we find that SEWA membership primarily raised awareness of available opportunities among its participants, linked women to the financial sector and to diversified employment opportunities, including non-farm work. There is also evidence that the program's impact varied depending on the participants' socio-economic background. The poorest members experienced higher farm and non-farm incomes, increased food consumption, improved household and farm productivity, more self-employment opportunities, a greater likelihood of opening a bank account, higher crop harvests, and greater food security. These estimates suggest that the major comparative advantage of FDCs lies in improving access to credit and in expanding access to useful information.
  • Topic: Agriculture, Development, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets
  • Political Geography: India, Gujarat
  • Author: Douglas J. Elliott
  • Publication Date: 11-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: European leaders have committed to moving toward a banking union, in which bank regulation and supervision, deposit guarantees, and the handling of troubled banks will be integrated across at least the euro area and possibly across the wider European Union. This is quite positive for two reasons. Most immediately, it will help solve the euro crisis by weakening the link between debt-burdened governments and troubled banks, where each side has added to the woes of the other. In the longer run, it will make the “single market” in European banking substantially more effective.
  • Topic: Debt, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Monetary Policy, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Laurence Chandy
  • Publication Date: 12-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: Is Australia's aid program effective? Measuring the effectiveness of aid is no easy feat. For a start, there is uncertainty about what aid is trying to achieve. Even seemingly straightforward objectives, like poverty reduction, throw up a range of questions as to what precisely ought to be measured. For instance, how should one balance the provision of temporary relief to those in need with catalyzing permanent transformation in people's lives (Barder, 2009)? Second, it is notoriously difficult to isolate the effect of a single aid program from other factors. Aid is delivered in an environment of enormous complexity where all manner of other events shape outcomes, including actions by recipient governments, aid from other countries, non-aid flows, and the performance of the global economy. To accurately attribute impact to aid therefore requires a thorough understanding of the setting in which aid is given. Third, the effects of aid are not always immediate or straightforward. For instance, improvements in people's skills or the performance of institutions may manifest gradually. Measurements of what aid achieves must be sensitive to the different ways change is brought about (Woolcock et al., 2009).
  • Topic: Economics, Globalization, Humanitarian Aid, Poverty, Foreign Aid
  • Political Geography: Australia/Pacific
  • Author: Hakan Altinay
  • Publication Date: 03-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: “Civics” often refers to the familiar constellation of rights and responsibilities emanating from citizenship in a nation-state. But what about global civics? Would this be feasible—or even desirable?
  • Topic: International Relations, Civil Society, Economics, International Cooperation
  • Author: Robert Mosbacher, Jr.
  • Publication Date: 05-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: To tackle global poverty, it is essential to craft a new and dynamic approach to economic development that refl ects the realities of a 21st century global economy and incorporates the participation of a wide variety of new players, particularly from the private sector. While investment, trade and innovation all represent basic components of building healthy economies, this paper focuses primarily on strategies to increase both in-country and international private capital investment in order to create jobs. To that end, it concentrates on two areas: strengthening and reforming the existing structures, coordinating mechanisms and policies that support U. S. economic development efforts; and improving public-private partnership models to promote broader fi nancing to local businesses, greater human capital support and technical assistance and improved physical and ICT infrastructure.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Development, Economics, Emerging Markets, Poverty, Third World
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Peter Blair Henry, Conrad Miller
  • Publication Date: 01-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: Recent work emphasizes the primacy of differences in countries' colonially-bequeathed property rights and legal systems for explaining differences in their subsequent economic development. Barbados and Jamaica provide a striking counter example to this long-run view of income determination. Both countries inherited property rights and legal institutions from their English colonial masters yet experienced starkly different growth trajectories in the aftermath of independence. From 1960 to 2002, Barbados' Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita grew roughly three times as fast as Jamaica's. Consequently, the income gap between Barbados and Jamaica is now almost five times larger than at the time of independence. Since their property rights and legal systems are virtually identical, recent theories of development cannot explain the divergence between Barbados and Jamaica. Differences in macroeconomic policy choices, not differences in institutions, account for the heterogeneous growth experiences of these two Caribbean nations.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Political Economy, Poverty
  • Political Geography: Caribbean
  • Author: Marco E. Terrones, Eswar Prasad, Ayhan Kose
  • Publication Date: 01-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: Economic theory has identified a number of channels through which openness to international financial flows could raise productivity growth. However, while there is a vast empirical literature analyzing the impact of financial openness on output growth, far less attention has been paid to its effects on productivity growth. This paper provides a comprehensive analysis of the relationship between financial openness and total factor productivity (TFP) growth using an extensive dataset that includes various measures of productivity and financial openness for a large sample of countries. We find that de jure capital account openness has a robust positive effect on TFP growth. The effect of de facto financial integration on TFP growth is less clear, but this masks an important and novel result. We find strong evidence that FDI and portfolio equity liabilities boost TFP growth while external debt is actually negatively correlated with TFP growth. The negative relationship between external debt liabilities and TFP growth is attenuated in economies with higher levels of financial development and better institutions.
  • Topic: Debt, Development, Economics, Foreign Direct Investment
  • Author: Shang-Jin Wei, Eswar Prasad, M. Ayhan Kose, Kenneth Rogoff
  • Publication Date: 04-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: We review the large literature on various economic policies that could help developing economies effectively manage the process of financial globalization. Our central findings indicate that policies promoting financial sector development, institutional quality and trade openness appear to help developing countries derive the benefits of globalization. Similarly, sound macroeconomic policies are an important prerequisite for ensuring that financial integration is beneficial. However, our analysis also suggests that the relationship between financial integration and economic policies is a complex one and that there are unavoidable tensions inherent in evaluating the risks and benefits associated with financial globalization. In light of these tensions, structural and macroeconomic policies often need to be tailored to take into account country specific circumstances to improve the risk-benefit tradeoffs of financial integration. Ultimately, it is essential to see financial integration not just as an isolated policy goal but as part of a broader package of reforms and supportive macro- economic policies.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Globalization, Political Economy
  • Author: Eswar Prasad, M. Ayhan Kose, Ashley D. Taylor
  • Publication Date: 05-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: The financial crisis has re-ignited the fierce debate about the merits of financial globalization and its implications for growth, especially for developing countries. The empirical literature has not been able to conclusively establish the presumed growth benefits of financial integration. Indeed, a new literature proposes that the indirect benefits of financial integration may be more important than the traditional financing channel emphasized in previous analyses. A major complication, however, is that there seem to be certain “threshold” levels of financial and institutional development that an economy needs to attain before it can derive the indirect benefits and reduce the risks of financial openness. In this paper, we develop a unified empirical framework for characterizing such threshold conditions. We find that there are clearly identifiable thresholds in variables such as financial depth and institutional quality—the cost-benefit trade- off from financial openness improves significantly once these threshold conditions are satisfied. We also find that the thresholds are lower for foreign direct investment and portfolio equity liabilities compared to those for debt liabilities.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Globalization, International Political Economy, International Trade and Finance
  • Author: Ravi Kanbur, Eswar Prasad, Gill Hammond
  • Publication Date: 08-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: This paper introduces a significant collection of papers on monetary policy in emerging market economies, written by leading analysts and policymakers. Does existing economic theory provide lessons that are pertinent for designing effective monetary policy frameworks in emerging markets? What can be learnt from cross-country studies and from experiences of individual countries that have adopted different approaches? While country-specific circumstances and initial conditions matter a great deal in formulating suitable frameworks, are there clear general principles that can serve as a guide in this process? These are among the issues addressed in the dialogue between academics and policymakers represented in the volume. In this paper, we provide an overview of the main issues, linking them to broader debates in the academic literature as well as an assessment of how individual countries have chosen to respond to specific policy challenges and what the consequences have been. We discuss many controversies where there are still sharp differences in views between and amongst theorists and practitioners. We also delineate a few key analytical issues where there is still a yawning gap between theory and practice. In the process, we set out a broad agenda for further re- search in this area.
  • Topic: Economics, Emerging Markets, Markets, Monetary Policy
  • Author: Rachel McCulloch, Chad P. Bown
  • Publication Date: 12-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: Critical appraisals of the current and potential benefits from developing country engagement in the WTO focus mainly on the Doha Round of negotiations. This paper examines a different aspect of developing country participation in the WTO: use of the WTO dispute settlement system to enforce foreign market access rights already negotiated in earlier rounds of multilateral negotiations. We examine data on developing country use from 1995 through 2008 of the WTO Dispute Settlement Understanding (DSU) to enforce foreign market access. The data reveal three notable trends: developing countries' sustained rate of self-enforcement actions despite declining use of the DSU by developed countries, developing countries' increased use of the DSU to self-enforce their access to the markets of developing as well as developed country markets, and the prevalence of disputes targeting highly observable causes of lost foreign market access, such as antidumping, countervailing duties, and safeguards. The paper also examines how introduction of the Advisory Centre on WTO Law (ACWL) into the WTO system in 2001 has affected developing countries' use of the DSU to self-enforce their foreign market access rights. A first pass at the data indicates that developing country use of the ACWL mirrors their use of the DSU more broadly; the ACWL has had little effect in terms of introducing new countries to DSU self-enforcement. A closer look at the data reveals evidence on at least three channels through which the ACWL may be enhancing developing countries' ability to self-enforce foreign market access: increased initiation of sole-complainant cases, more extensive pursuit of the DSU legal process for any given case, and initiation of disputes over smaller values of lost trade.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets
  • Author: Eswar Prasad, Kenneth Rogoff, M. Ayhan Kose, Shang-Jin Wei
  • Publication Date: 04-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: We review the large literature on various economic policies that could help developing economies effectively manage the process of financial globalization. Our central findings indicate that policies promoting financial sector development, institutional quality and trade openness appear to help developing countries derive the benefits of globalization. Similarly, sound macroeconomic policies are an important prerequisite for ensuring that financial integration is beneficial. However, our analysis also suggests that the relationship between financial integration and economic policies is a complex one and that there are unavoidable tensions inherent in evaluating the risks and benefits associated with financial globalization. In light of these tensions, structural and macroeconomic policies often need to be tailored to take into account country specific circumstances to improve the risk-benefit tradeoffs of financial integration. Ultimately, it is essential to see financial integration not just as an isolated policy goal but as part of a broader package of reforms and supportive macroeconomic policies.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Globalization, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: William Easterly, Tobias Pfutze
  • Publication Date: 06-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: This paper does not address the issue of aid effectiveness—that is, the extent to which foreign aid dollars actually achieve their goals—but instead focuses on “best practices” in the way in which official aid is given, an important component of the wider debate. First, we discuss best practice for an ideal aid agency and the difficulties that aid agencies face because they are typically not accountable to their intended beneficiaries. Next, we consider the transparency of aid agencies and four additional dimensions of aid practice: specialization, or the degree to which aid is not fragmented among too many donors, too many countries, and too many sectors for each donor); selectivity, or the extent to which aid avoids corrupt autocrats and goes to the poorest countries; use of ineffective aid channels such as tied aid, food aid, and technical assistance; and the overhead costs of aid agencies. We compare 48 aid agencies along these dimensions, distinguishing between bilateral and multilateral ones. Using the admittedly limited in- formation we have, we rank the aid agencies on different dimensions of aid practice and then provide one final comprehensive ranking. We present these results as an illustrative exercise to move the aid discussion forward.
  • Topic: Economics, Humanitarian Aid, Poverty, Third World, United Nations
  • Author: Alan Abramowitz, Ruy Teixeira
  • Publication Date: 04-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: Dramatic shifts have taken place in the American class structure since the World War II era. Consider education levels. Incredible as it may seem today, in 1940 three-quarters of adults 25 and over were high school dropout s (or never made it as far as high school), and just 5 percent had a four-year college degree or higher. But educational credentials exploded in the postwar period. By 1960, the proportion of adults lacking a high school diploma was down to 59 percent; by 1980, it was less than a third, and by 2007, it was down to only 14 percent. Concomitantly, the proportion with a BA or higher rose steadily and reached 29 percent in 2007. Moreover, those with some college (but not a four-year degree) constituted another 25 percent of the population, making a total of 54 percent who had at least some college education 1 . Quite a change: moving from a country where the typical adult was a high school dropout (more accurately, never even reached high school) to a country where the typical adult not only has a high school diploma, but some college as well.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Demographics, Economics
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Lael Brainard
  • Publication Date: 02-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: Compiled by Brookings Institution experts, this chart is part of a series of issue indices to be published during the 2008 Presidential election cycle. The policy issues included in this series were chosen by Brookings staff and represent the most critical topics facing America's next President. Available voting records and statements vary based on time in office. For candidates who have not been a Member of Congress, public statements are noted when available.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Politics
  • Political Geography: United States, America
  • Author: Bruce Katz
  • Publication Date: 01-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: Infrastructure has a dramatic effect on the economic competitiveness of our nation, the health of our environment and our quality of life. And infrastructure—freight ports, airports, bridges, roads, rail and transit networks, water and sewer systems, web of channel communications—is the connective tissue of our nation. Smart policies and investments can enhance and further national prosperity and the health and vitality of metropolitan areas, where the bulk of our population lives and jobs are located.
  • Topic: Debt, Economics, Political Economy
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Ruy Teixeira
  • Publication Date: 01-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: Political polarization in the United States has a number of causes, ranging from media hype to gerrymandering to hyper- ideological elites to cultural “sorting” between the parties. But there is another key contributor that is frequently overlooked: demographic and geographic changes in the electorate that have altered the sizes of different population groups and even shifted their political orientations over time. These changes have helped produce the current deadlock between coalitions of roughly equal size and opposed outlooks. But these same changes—since they will continue to alter group sizes and political orientations in the future—could also provide the impetus for unlocking this polarization and policy gridlock in the future.
  • Topic: Democratization, Economics, Politics
  • Political Geography: United States, America
  • Author: Ralph C. Bryant
  • Publication Date: 01-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: A prosperous, stable world economy is in the self interest of every nation—large or small, rich or poor. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is a worldwide intergovernmental institution that can facilitate that prosperity and stability. Because every nation has a stake, each should participate in the IMF's governance and operations. The value to each nation of an effective IMF increases as the world economy and financial system become more integrated.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, International Organization, International Political Economy
  • Author: Homi Kharas
  • Publication Date: 07-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: Flows of official development assistance (ODA) to recipient countries have been highly volatile and this reduces their value. At the macro level, empirical evidence suggests that volatile ODA can negatively impact growth through several channels. At the micro level, volatility can affect fiscal planning and the level and composition of investment. This working paper develops a simple financial metric that policy makers can use to estimate (and reduce) the cost of aid volatility. Unlike other estimates, our measure does not depend on parameter estimates from cross-country regressions, nor on country-specific model simulations.
  • Topic: Economics, Humanitarian Aid
  • Author: Lex Rieffel
  • Publication Date: 09-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: The IMF and the World Bank were created in 1944 to be at the center of the international financial system, but they have not adapted well to the far- reaching changes in the global economy over the past twenty years. Their legitimacy has been called into question due to their antiquated governance structures, and as a consequence they are losing relevance and effectiveness.
  • Topic: Economics, International Organization, International Political Economy, International Trade and Finance, International Monetary Fund
  • Author: Lael Brainard, David Lipton
  • Publication Date: 08-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: From the vantage point of 2008, some of the most memorable initiatives of U.S. international economic leadership—the Paris and Louvre Accords, the support for Poland and Russia after the fall of communism, the Uruguay Round, and the Mexican Financing Loan—seem like quaint reminders of a simpler time. In the coming years, the exercise of international economic leadership will surely prove more complex than in the past. The very success of the American vision of a global spread of vibrant and competitive markets has created a huge, rapidly integrating private economy of trade and finance much less amenable to guidance, let alone control, by governments. Unlike in diplomacy and defense, where non state actors are growing in importance but still a side show, in inter- national economics, households, corporations, labor unions, and non-profits are now the dominant players in most parts of the world. While they respond to national laws and policies, their interests are varied and their operations often span borders.
  • Topic: Economics, International Political Economy, International Trade and Finance, Markets
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Paris, Poland, Uruguay, Mexico
  • Author: Warwick J. McKibbin, Adele Morris, Peter J. Wilcoxen
  • Publication Date: 11-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: To estimate the emissions reductions and costs of a climate policy, analysts usually compare a policy scenario with a baseline scenario of future economic conditions without the policy. Both scenarios require assumptions about the future course of numerous factors such as population growth, technical change, and non-climate policies like taxes. The results are only reliable to the extent that the future turns out to be reasonably close to the assumptions that went into the model.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Development, Economics, Energy Policy
  • Author: Bryan K. Mignone
  • Publication Date: 11-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: The overall economic efficiency of a quantity-based approach to greenhouse gas mitigation depends strongly on the extent to which such a program provides opportunities for compliance flexibility, particularly with regard to the timing of emissions abatement. Here I consider a program in which annual targets are determined by choosing the optimal time path of reductions consistent with an exogenously prescribed cumulative reduction target and fixed technology set. I then show that if the availability of low-carbon technology is initially more constrained than anticipated, the optimal reduction path shifts abatement toward later compliance periods. For this reason, a rigid policy in which fixed annual targets are strictly enforced in every year yields a cumulative environmental outcome identical to the optimal policy but an economic outcome worse than the optimal policy. On the other hand, a policy that aligns actual prices (or equivalently, costs) with expected prices by simply imposing an explicit price ceiling (often referred to as a "safety valve") yields the opposite result. Comparison among these multiple scenarios implies that there are significant gains to realizing the optimal path but that further refinement of the actual regulatory instrument will be necessary to achieve that goal in a real cap-and-trade system.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Economics, Environment
  • Author: Bryan K. Mignone
  • Publication Date: 11-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: Of the many regulatory responses to climate change, cap-and-trade is the only one currently endorsed by large segments of the scientific, economic and political establishments. Under this type of system, regulators set the overall path of carbon dioxide (CO2) reductions, allocate or auction the appropriate number of emissions allowances to regulated entities and – through trading – allow the market to converge upon the least expensive set of abatement opportunities. As a result, the trading price of allowances is not set by the regulator as it would be under a tax system, but instead evolves over time to reflect the underlying supply and demand for allowances. In this paper, I develop a simple theory that relates the initial clearing price of CO2 allowances to the marginal cost premium of carbon-free technology, the maximum rate of energy capital replacement and the market interest rate. This theory suggests that the initial clearing price may be lower than the canonical range of CO2 prices found in static technology assessments. Consequently, these results have broad implications for the design of a comprehensive regulatory solution to the climate problem, providing, for example, some intuition about the proper value of a possible CO2 price trigger in a future cap-and-trade system.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Economics, Environment, Markets
  • Author: Eswar Prasad, Marcos Chamon
  • Publication Date: 12-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: From 1995 to 2005, the average urban household saving rate in China rose by 7 percentage points, to about one quarter of disposable income. We use household-level data to explain why households are postponing consumption despite rapid income growth. Tracing cohorts over time indicates a virtual absence of consumption smoothing over the life cycle. Saving rates have increased across all demographic groups although the age profile of savings has an unusual pattern in recent years, with younger and older households having relatively high saving rates. We argue that these patterns are best explained by the rising private burden of expenditures on housing, education, and health care. These effects and precautionary motives may have been amplified by financial underdevelopment, as reflected in constraints on borrowing against future income and low returns on financial assets.
  • Topic: Economics, Education, Emerging Markets, Health
  • Political Geography: China, Israel
  • Author: John Page
  • Publication Date: 12-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: For a growing number of countries in Africa the current commodity boom is a huge opportunity. But if the economic history of resource-rich, poor countries-especially in Africa-is any guide, rather than bringing prosperity, the resource boom may drive them into what Paul Collier (2007) in his influential book The Bottom Billion terms the "Natural Resources Trap." In Africa, countries dependent on oil, gas, and mining have tended to have weaker long-run growth, higher rates of poverty, and higher inequality than Non mineral-dependent economies at similar levels of income.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Political Economy, Poverty
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Harry J. Holzer
  • Publication Date: 12-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: This paper proposes a new federal funding stream to identify, expand, and replicate the most successful state and local initiatives designed to spur the advancement of low-wage workers in the United States. In the Worker Advancement Grants for Employment in States (WAGES) program, the federal government would offer up to $5 billion annually in matching funds for increases in state, local, and private expenditures on worker advancement initiatives. To gain funding, states would have to develop local advancement “systems,” which would provide career-oriented education and training to youth, working poor adults and “hard-to-employ” workers. Partnerships would be developed between local training providers (like community colleges), employer associations, and intermediaries. Additional financial supports for the working poor—including child care, transportation, and stipends for working students—would have to be funded as well. Initially, the WAGES program would require states to compete for federal grants, which would ultimately be renewable. The program would generate a “learning system” in which states would have an incentive to innovate and use information from other initiatives. The federal government would provide substantial technical assistance and oversight. Performance measurement and rigorous evaluation would be required for program renewal; states achieving substantial worker advancement would be awarded major bonuses and more rapid renewal of funding.
  • Topic: Economics, Markets, Political Economy
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Ron Haskins
  • Publication Date: 08-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: The idea of economic mobility in America often evokes a personal story. For many Americans, it is one of immigrant parents or grandparents, or even one's own journey and arrival. In recent decades, immigration has been rising steadily, with nearly one million legal immigrants entering the country per year throughout the 1990s and in the early years of this century, compared to only about 300,000 per year in the 1960s. In addition to legal immigrants, it is estimated that about 500,000 illegal immigrants now arrive each year.
  • Topic: Economics, Human Welfare, Migration
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Sara Burr, Virginia Carlson
  • Publication Date: 03-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: Access to credit is one of the cornerstones of wealth-building in the United States. Yet, between 35 million and 54 million persons are not participating in the credit market. Many individuals outside the credit mainstream are unable to access credit, or credit at competitive rates, because of the lack of traditional information, such as mortgage and credit card payments, available on their credit files. However, there is evidence that the inclusion of alternative data on credit-like payments, such as utility payments, in credit reporting can help bridge this information gap. The first step toward filling this gap requires utility companies to systematically report these data to the major credit bureaus.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Demographics, Development, Economics
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Joel Kotkin, William H. Frey
  • Publication Date: 03-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: For most Americans, California evokes coastal images, the sunny beaches of south or the spectacular urban vistas of San Francisco Bay. Yet within California itself, the state's focus is shifting increasingly beyond the narrow strip of land between the coast- line and its first line of mountain ranges.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Environment
  • Political Geography: United States, America, California
  • Publication Date: 03-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: Pennsylvania is at once the same and different, three years after the release of the 2003 Brookings Institution report “Back to Prosperity,” which proposed a new vision for how Pennsylvania might revitalize its cities, towns, and regions in order to compete more energetically in today's global economy.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: United States, Pennsylvania
  • Author: Alice M. Rivlin, Brooke DeRenzis
  • Publication Date: 04-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: The Washington area is growing and decentralizing. From 1990 to 2000, the District of Columbia's population declined while the number of people living in surrounding suburbs increased. Prince George's County was among the suburban jurisdictions that experienced population growth, increasing by 10 percent from about 729,000 residents in 1990 to over 800,000 in 2000. Prince George's continues to grow, with an estimated 840,000 residents in 2005.
  • Topic: Demographics, Development, Economics, Migration
  • Political Geography: Washington
  • Author: Elizabeth Kneebone
  • Publication Date: 04-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: The first half of this decade brought with it a range of economic challenges, including increased unemployment, stagnant family incomes, and rising poverty.
  • Topic: Demographics, Development, Economics, Government
  • Publication Date: 05-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: On the eve of its second Mardi Gras since Katrina, New Orleans stands poised to gain a larger economic benefit from the event than in did in 2006. Twenty additional hotels have opened since last year's Mardi Gras, and the New Orleans airport is now accommodating 100,000 more arriving passengers each month.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Environment
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Jennifer S. Vey
  • Publication Date: 05-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: The evidence is clear. On the whole, America's central cities are coming back. Employment is up, populations are growing, and many urban real estate markets are hotter than ever, with increasing numbers of young people, empty-nesters, and others choosing city life over the suburbs.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Globalization, Government
  • Political Geography: America
  • Author: Caroline Cecot, Robert Hahn, Andrea Renda
  • Publication Date: 05-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: In 2002, the European Union required that an impact assessment be done for all major initiatives, including many regulations, directives, decisions, and communications. This paper is the first paper to statistically analyze these impact assessments using the largest available dataset. As a benchmark, we compare our results in the EU with recent results on the quality of regulatory analysis in the U.S. We score impact assessments using a number of objective measures of quality, such as whether a particular assessment provides any quantitative information on costs or benefits, and use the scores to develop two indices of quality.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Philip Osafo-Kwaako
  • Publication Date: 03-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: Following years of economic stagnation, Nigeria embarked on a comprehensive reform program during the second term of the Obasanjo administration. The program was based on the National Economic Empowerment and Development Strategy (NEEDS) and focused on four main areas: improving the macroeconomic environment, pursuing structural reforms, strengthening public expenditure management, and implementing institutional and governance reforms. This paper reviews Nigeria's recent experience with economic reforms and outlines major policy measures that have been implemented. Although there have been notable achievements under the program, significant challenges exist, particularly in translating the benefits of reforms into welfare improvements for citizens, in improving the domestic business environment, and in extending reform policies to states and local governments. Consequently, we argue that the recent reform program must be viewed as the initial steps of a much longer journey of economic recovery and sustained growth. This paper concludes by outlining a number of outstanding issues that future Nigerian administrations must address.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: Africa, Nigeria
  • Author: Bernard Hoekman, Chad Brown
  • Publication Date: 02-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: Poor countries are rarely challenged in formal WTO trade disputes for failing to live up to commitments, reducing the benefits of their participation in international trade agreements. This paper examines the political-economic causes of the failure to challenge poor countries and discusses the static and dynamic costs and externality implications of this failure. Given the weak incentives to enforce WTO rules and disciplines against small and poor members, bolstering the transparency function of the WTO is important to make trade agreements more relevant to trade constituencies in developing countries. While our focus is on the WTO system, our arguments also apply to reciprocal North-South trade agreements.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Government, International Trade and Finance