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  • Publication Date: 01-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: The economic crisis has caused millions of migrant labourers from Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan to lose their jobs in the boom economies of Russia and Kazakhstan. Remittances that kept their relatives afloat have plummeted and many migrants have returned home to certain destitution, putting weak Central Asian governments under severe strain. In Tajikistan half the labour force is without work, while Kyrgyzstan suffers from massive rural unemployment. Before the crisis hit, up to five million people from these countries left home for Russia and Kazakhstan to take on poorly paid and unskilled jobs, often the unpleasant tasks that local people no longer wished to do. Yet at home they were viewed with respect: the most daring members of their society, who were willing to take a jump into the unknown to pull themselves and their families out of poverty. Remittances also boosted their home countries' economic data, allowing governments with little ability or interest in creating jobs to claim a modest degree of success. By 2008 remittances were providing the equivalent of half Tajikistan's gross domestic product (GDP), a quarter of Kyrgyzstan's GDP, and an eighth of Uzbekistan's.
  • Topic: Economics, Migration, Labor Issues, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Russia, Central Asia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan
  • Author: Sébastien Peyrouse
  • Publication Date: 11-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: Agriculture constitutes one of the main sectors in the economies of Central Asia: cotton production and export, mainly in Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan, and to a lesser extent in Kazakhstan and Tajikistan; a booming grain sector in Kazakhstan; and a long tradition of vegetable cultivation throughout the region. The agrarian question is a sensitive one since the population is still predominantly rural in four of the five republics (all except Kazakhstan) and because food safety is not ensured in the two poorest states (Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan). Land reform would be a priority for the growth of investment, increased productivity, and, consequently, the reduction of rural unemployment and poverty. However, pressed by the choice of cotton versus self-sufficiency in food production, the Central Asian states remain hesitant. They must also manage many structural problems, including high levels of corruption in the agrarian administrative organs, the opacity of decisionmaking structures for the export of production, quasi-slavery in some impoverished rural areas, child labour, and serious environmental problems related to the overuse of the soil.
  • Topic: Agriculture, Development, Economics
  • Political Geography: Europe, Central Asia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan
  • Author: Kathryn Anderson, Richard Pomfret
  • Publication Date: 06-2004
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This paper focuses on inequality in living standards across oblasts and regions within Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. Regional inequality is an important area of research and policy development. Inequality in income and consumption are logical outcomes in a market-based economic system. If inequality within countries exists because of barriers to competition, then inequality can foment internal tension, and economic and social development within countries is negatively affected. We examine Living Standards Measurement data from Tajikistan, Kyrgystan, and Kazakhstan and additional survey data from Uzbekistan. We find that the most important explanations for the variation in expenditures per capita in the region are household location, household composition, and education. We find large variation in per capita expenditure by location within each country, and the differences go beyond the simple rural-urban distinction. Family structure is also important, and in all countries, having a university educated household head significantly improves household welfare; expenditures are higher in these households than in households with less educated heads. We examine inequality in access to community services and find that provision of public goods reinforces regional inequality patterns in expenditures that we measure among households. The poorest households are likely to live in communities with the lowest access to public services.
  • Topic: Economics, Human Welfare, Poverty
  • Political Geography: Central Asia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan
  • Publication Date: 03-1999
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: EastWest Institute
  • Abstract: The perception that the disintegration of the Soviet Union constituted a major challenge to Russia's security is of a political and psychological, rather than an economic nature. The countries of the Caucasus and Central Asia—Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan—are neither an irreplaceable resource base for the Russian economy nor the only available market for its non-competitive products. Any efforts to see it otherwise will induce the region to strengthen its economic and military security with the help of outside powers as a buffer against Russia's ambitions for greater control.
  • Topic: Security, Economics
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Kazakhstan, Asia, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Soviet Union, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Angola