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  • Author: Risto Rönkkö, Stuart Rutherford, Kunal Sen
  • Publication Date: 03-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: In this paper, we examine the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the livelihoods of the poor. We use an unusually rich data set from a ‘financial diaries’ study known as the Hrishipara Daily Diaries Project. The data set tracks the economic and financial transactions of 60 individuals and their families in a semi-rural setting in Bangladesh on a real-time basis from October 2019 to September 2020. We document individual diarists’ behavioural responses to COVID-19, which reveal the varied experiences of the poor during the pandemic. We find that the pandemic and associated government lockdowns had significant negative effects on the livelihoods of the poor in our study, with financial inflows and outflows, incomes, and household expenditures below pre-pandemic levels during the pandemic period. To cope with the pandemic, households drew down on their cash reserves at home, as well as cutting down on non-food expenditures to protect their spending on food.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, Finance, Pandemic, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Bangladesh, South Asia
  • Author: Enrique Alaniz, T. H. Gindling, Catherine Mata, Diego Rojas
  • Publication Date: 03-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Informal work is often considered a place of employment for marginalized and vulnerable workers who have been rationed out of preferred formal work. However, informality can also be seen as a dynamic sector that budding entrepreneurs and those looking for flexible working conditions enter voluntarily. We use the methodology developed in Günther and Launov (2012) to test for the voluntary and involuntary nature of informal work in Nicaragua and Costa Rica, without making ad hoc assumptions about labour market segmentation and self-selection. We find evidence of heterogeneous informality in both Nicaragua and Costa Rica, with one informal sub-segment where most workers are voluntarily informal and another informal sub-segment where most workers are involuntarily informal. In Nicaragua, our results suggest that 44 per cent of wage employees are involuntarily informal, while 30 per cent of self-employed workers are involuntarily informal. In Costa Rica, our results suggest that 10 per cent of wage employees are involuntarily informal, and that 66 per cent of the self-employed are involuntarily informal.
  • Topic: Labor Issues, Developing World, Informal Economy, Workforce
  • Political Geography: Central America, Nicaragua, Costa Rica
  • Author: Giorgia Giovannetti, Marco Sanfilippo, Arianna Vivoli
  • Publication Date: 03-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This paper analyses the impact of trade liberalization on local labour markets in Ethiopia, with a focus on the gender dimension of employment. By exploiting rich micro-level data on Ethiopian workers, we evaluate the effect of the Ethiopian trade reforms on the changes and composition of employment, adopting as unit of analysis Ethiopian districts. We find that districts more exposed to trade liberalization experienced reductions in their employment levels, especially in female employment. We also show that reductions in (agricultural) input tariffs triggers a process of sectoral reallocation from agriculture to services and that this process is particularly pronounced for women. This in turns contributes to increase sectoral segregation.
  • Topic: Gender Issues, Employment, Trade, Liberalization
  • Political Geography: Africa, Ethiopia
  • Author: Farzana Afridi, Amrita Dhillon, Sanchari Roy
  • Publication Date: 05-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This paper studies the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on the gendered dimensions of employment and mental health among urban informal-sector workers in India. First, we find that men’s employment declined by 84 percentage points post-pandemic relative to pre-pandemic, while their monthly earnings fell by 89 per cent relative to the baseline mean. In contrast, women did not experience any significant impact on employment post pandemic, as reported by their husbands. Second, we document very high levels of pandemic-induced mental stress, with wives reporting greater stress than husbands. Third, this gendered pattern in pandemic-induced mental stress is partly explained by men’s employment losses, which affected wives more than husbands. In contrast, staying employed during the pandemic is associated with worse mental health for women and their (unemployed) husbands. Fourth, pre-existing social networks are associated with higher mental stress for women relative to men, possibly due to the ‘home-based’ nature of women’s networks.
  • Topic: Gender Issues, Employment, Mental Health, COVID-19, Informal Economy, Social Networks
  • Political Geography: South Asia, India
  • Author: Paolo Falco, Francesca Gioia, Neda Trifković
  • Publication Date: 06-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: The quality of people’s jobs is a fundamental determinant of their well-being, and judging the state of a labour market on the basis of job quantity alone delivers a very partial picture. This study is an attempt to place the spotlight on the working conditions of workers in the Myanmar manufacturing sector. Using a model of job demands and job resources, we focus on the balance between different stress factors and the support workers get. We find that a large fraction of workers face severe pressures. In particular, nearly one half faces severe time pressure; nearly a quarter is exposed to health hazards, such as loud noises, carrying heavy loads, and operating in uncomfortable or painful positions. These factors are often not met with adequate support from the firm. Male workers and those with lower levels of education are most exposed to occupational risks. Contrary to the narrative that a trade-off might exist between firm competitiveness and job quality, we find that labour productivity is higher in firms where working conditions are better.
  • Topic: Labor Issues, Employment, Manufacturing, Trade, Productivity
  • Political Geography: Southeast Asia, Myanmar
  • Author: Chunbing Xing
  • Publication Date: 06-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This paper examines the evolution of China’s industrial and occupational structure in the last two decades and its impact on wage inequality. We find that non-routine cognitive and interpersonal tasks have increased, while routine cognitive tasks first increased and then declined. Occupation structural change is accompanying rising wage inequality. The wage premium for educated workers rose sharply in the 1990s and remained high thereafter. Occupations with high routine task intensity are associated with lower wages. While the return to education has become the largest contributor to wage inequality, routine task intensities have yet to play a significant role.
  • Topic: Education, Labor Issues, Employment, Inequality, Work Culture
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Annalena Oppel
  • Publication Date: 06-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Community or interpersonal support as a critical source of livelihood sustenance in the Global South can exhibit unequal dynamics. An understanding of these practices is primarily tied to the conceptual space of poverty or small communities. Less is known about how social support systems might respond to structural inequalities. I address this by exploring how support practices might be shaped by inequalities in the Namibian context. I draw on primary network data to assess inequality as a social dynamic within the space of support and evaluate whether providing worse-off others corresponds to former discriminatory practices under the apartheid regime. My results suggest that inequality has normalized a sense of support as necessity for black but not white Namibians. More broadly, by recognizing differences in group practices, I evidence that exploring support practices across structural inequalities can enhance insights on the social replication of inter- and intragroup-based inequalities.
  • Topic: Economics, Race, Inequality, Social Networks
  • Political Geography: Africa, Namibia
  • Author: Bethuel Kinyanjui Kinuthia
  • Publication Date: 11-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This paper examines the impact of the government input subsidy—the National Agriculture Input Voucher—on farmers’ production and welfare in Tanzania as well as the factors that influence agricultural production in the country. The analysis is based on the Living Standards Measurement Study-Integrated Surveys on Agriculture for 2008–13. The study uses panel fixed effects and difference-in-difference and propensity score matching methods to examine the two objectives. The results show that the input subsidy programme resulted in an initial increase in maize and rice production but not in the long run and only in a few regions. In addition, there was a decrease in total production in the southern region and the programme had little effect on farmers’ welfare. The results show that this programme only partly met the expected outcomes in Tanzania due to mistargeting, inaccurate identification of households, and poor implementation.
  • Topic: Agriculture, Development, Welfare, Farming, Subsidies
  • Political Geography: Africa, Tanzania
  • Author: Carl Shu-Ming Lin, Linxiang Ye, Wei Zhang
  • Publication Date: 11-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: The informal sector has long been viewed as a locus of the disadvantaged, unskilled, and inexperienced workers in under-developed and developing economies. Workers in the informal sector, however, can learn skills and gain experience that could help them switch to better-paying jobs in the formal sector. But evidence of this is limited. China constitutes an important case study because it is the most populous country and has the largest labour force, consisting of over 290 million rural-to-urban migrants whose employment is mostly informal. Using three waves of nationally representative household surveys from 2014 to 2018, we study how the livelihoods of Chinese workers change when transitioning to different work statuses within or between formal and informal sectors. Our results show that transitioning jobs from the informal to the formal sector and from the self-employed to the wage-employed increases earnings, which improves the livelihoods of Chinese workers.
  • Topic: Employment, Economic Development , Informal Economy, Workforce
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Arusha Cooray, Krishna Chaitanya Vadlamannati, Indra de Soysa
  • Publication Date: 12-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: How has government healthcare spending prepared countries for tackling the COVID-19 pandemic? Arguably, spending is the primary policy tool of governments in providing effective health. We argue that the effectiveness of spending in reducing COVID deaths is conditional on the existence of healthcare equity and lower political corruption, because the health sector is particularly susceptible to political spending. Our results, obtained using ordinary least squares (OLS) and two-stage least squares (2SLS) estimation, suggest that higher spending targeted at reducing inequitable access to health has reduced COVID deaths. Consistent with the findings of others, our results indirectly suggest that health spending is necessary, but not sufficient unless accompanied by building resilience against the spread of deadly disease. Equitable health systems ease the effects of COVID presumably because they allow states to reach and treat people. Spending aimed at increasing health system capacity by increasing access thus seems a sound strategy for fighting the spread of disease, ultimately benefiting us all.
  • Topic: Health Care Policy, COVID-19, Equity, Regression Analysis
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Steve Kayizzi-Mugerwa
  • Publication Date: 12-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This paper discusses the political economy of oil in Uganda since the announcement of its discovery in 2006. It focuses on the dynamics of oil revenue generation (pre-commercial production) and expenditure, investor-stakeholder contestation (i.e. between bureaucrats, investors/oil companies, and domestic stakeholders), and the role of public policy. Although the Government has created several institutional and regulatory frameworks to manage oil-related revenues and ensure that oil contributes to structural transformation, Uganda is already experiencing many of the stylized facts associated with natural resource exploitation, including macroeconomic instability, rent dissipation, and, more broadly, threats of adverse impact on the environment and on local livelihoods in the oil regions. Besides these, Uganda, and similarly endowed African countries, face the economic challenges related to the global shift in recent decades towards a low-carbon development paradigm and the threatening prospect of oil investments becoming ‘stranded assets’. The latter issues are not yet part of the policy conversation in Uganda.
  • Topic: Environment, Oil, Public Policy, Investment, Revenue Management
  • Political Geography: Uganda, Africa
  • Author: Carlos Gradín, Binbin Wu
  • Publication Date: 08-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: We analyse income and expenditure distribution in China in a comparative perspective with India. These countries represent extreme cases in the relationship of inequality to both wellbeing indicators. Income is more highly concentrated than expenditure in India, especially at the top of the distribution. Both types of inequality are similar in China, although expenditure is more unequally distributed than income in urban areas. China has a much stronger correlation in individual ranks and levels between the two wellbeing distributions. As a result, expenditure inequality is higher in China than in India, but income inequality much lower. This results partially from differences in population composition, such as China being more urbanized and having smaller households, but mostly from differences in conditional income distributions, especially by attained education of the household head. We show that hybrid measures of wellbeing combining income and expenditure can be useful for such cross-country comparison.
  • Topic: Inequality, Income Inequality, Consumerism
  • Political Geography: China, South Asia, India, Asia
  • Author: Rachel M. Gisselquist
  • Publication Date: 12-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Across the world, we observe different experiences in terms of inequality between migrant and ‘host-country’ populations. What factors contribute to such variation? What policies and programmes facilitate ‘better’ economic integration? This paper, and the broader collection of studies that it frames, speaks to these questions through focused comparative consideration of two migrant populations (Vietnamese and Afghan) in four Western countries (Canada, Germany, the UK, and the US). It pays particular attention to involuntary migrants who fled conflict in their home regions beginning in the 1970s. The paper builds in particular on the literature on segmented assimilation theory, exploring new linkages with work on horizontal inequality, to highlight the role of five key sets of factors in such variation: governmental policies and institutions; labour market reception; existing co-ethnic communities; human capital and socioeconomic characteristics; and social cohesion or ‘groupness’.
  • Topic: Migration, Inequality, Displacement, Economic Integration
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United Kingdom, Europe, South Asia, Canada, Vietnam, Germany, North America, Southeast Asia, United States of America
  • Author: Nancy Luke
  • Publication Date: 12-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Women have historically been overlooked in research on social mobility. In contrast, new research focuses on the intergenerational transmission of gender attitudes and norms as determinants of women’s labour force participation in industrialized countries. This paper discusses the measurement of gender attitudes and reviews research findings. Studies reveal that gender attitudes are a key transmission mechanism for intergenerational economic mobility beyond wealth and other economic factors. Mothers’ egalitarian views and less-restrictive gender norms promote greater labour force participation for daughters and daughters-in-law. There are few investigations in developing countries, where restrictive gender attitudes and norms are more pervasive and could potentially have greater impact in shaping women’s labour force participation. The paper concludes with a brief case study of women’s labour force participation in India, where the direct link between gender attitudes and women’s labour market engagement could provide a further explanation for its recent decline.
  • Topic: Gender Issues, Labor Issues, Women, Mobility
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Matteo Fiorini, Marco Sanfilippo
  • Publication Date: 12-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: We look at how improving roads can affect jobs and structural transformation. We use a novel geocoded dataset covering the universe of Ethiopian roads and match this information with individual data to identify the effects of improvements in road infrastructure on the creation, quality, and sectoral distribution of jobs over the period 1994–2013. We find that, at the district level, higher market potential due to better roads contributes to the creation of new jobs, reduces the share of agricultural workers, and increases that of workers in the services sector but not in manufacturing. The latter experiences a relative increase in the share of informal workers. Finally, investigating the underlying mechanisms, we show that patterns of internal migration and changes in economic opportunities can help to rationalize our findings.
  • Topic: Markets, Infrastructure, Transportation, Roads
  • Political Geography: Africa, Ethiopia
  • Author: Prasenjit Duara
  • Publication Date: 08-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This paper identifies historic patterns in the dialectic between nationalism and development across various East, South, and Southeast Asian nations. Nationalism as the rationale for development is used by regimes to achieve high levels of growth, but also generates exclusivism and hostilities, often in order to integrate a political core. Popular nationalism has also dialectically reshaped the goals and patterns of development during the post-Second World War period. The region is divided into zones shaped by twentieth-century historical and geo-political conditions. Colonial and Cold War conditions were as important as internal political and ethnic circumstances. Turning points in the dialectical relationship were common within a region. More recently, a common transregional pattern has emerged with neoliberal globalization being accompanied by exclusivist nationalism.
  • Topic: Development, Nationalism, War, History, Colonialism
  • Political Geography: Asia
  • Author: Ggombe Kasim Munyegera, Akampumuza Precious
  • Publication Date: 09-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Rwanda is one of the countries with the best strategies for women empowerment and gender equality in Africa and globally. Nonetheless, some inequalities exist especially in education attainment. This study investigates the gender gaps in business performance using nationally representative household survey and establishment census data. Ordinary Least Squares results indicate that female-owned business enterprises employ fewer workers and are less productive than male-owned counterparts. Specifically, turnover and net revenue per worker are 20-22 per cent and 22-25 per cent lower among female-owned enterprises. The results are corroborated by propensity score matching estimates, implying that the estimated gender productivity gap is robust to observed heterogeneity between male- and female-owned enterprises. We investigate the potential mechanisms and find that female owners invest less capital, are less likely to seek and/or obtain credit and devote fewer hours per week to their businesses. Credit products targeting collateral-constrained and female-owned household enterprises could partially close the gender productivity gap.
  • Topic: Gender Issues, Business , Economic Policy, Productivity
  • Political Geography: Africa, Rwanda, Global Focus
  • Author: Hoang Xuan Diem, Tran Van Hoang
  • Publication Date: 10-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: For years, the international development community has been considering poverty as a multidimensional phenomenon, which takes into account not only income or consumption of the poor, but also their access to basic needs (education, health, etc.) and resources (credit, social network, etc.). In Vietnam, since 2016, the Government has adopted the multidimensional approach to thoroughly measure poverty. This paper is an attempt to assess the state and evolution of multidimensional poverty in the rural areas of Vietnam, using data from the Vietnam Access to Resources Household Survey 2008–16. Results show remarkable improvement of the living conditions in the rural areas, with a greater pace shown among the ethnic minority groups. However, there need to be more efforts to reduce the gap in poverty headcount ratios among Kinh and non-Kinh groups, households with male and female heads, and among households in different provinces. Some of the main suggestions to reduce multidimensional poverty in Vietnam is to increase households’ access to health care services, education, clean water and hygienic latrines, and to improve the presence of such service providers near the households’ locations.
  • Topic: Poverty, Minorities, Rural, Survey
  • Political Geography: Vietnam, Southeast Asia
  • Author: Marcelo Neri, Cecilia Machado, Valdemar Pinho Neto
  • Publication Date: 12-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This paper documents the evolution and the determinants of earnings inequality in the Brazilian formal sector from 1994 to 2015, using establishment level data. In 2015, schooling explained 33 per cent of overall inequality. Firm-specific effects explain 65 per cent of total inequality level and 76 per cent of the inequality fall observed. The downward inequality trend parallels the one seen in household surveys. However, the distributive decompression goes only until the 90th percentile, which is in line with Personal Income Tax based evidence. The share of inequality explained by top 1 per cent and 0.1 per cent incomes rose 43 per cent and 91 per cent, respectively.
  • Topic: Education, Employment, Inequality, Business
  • Political Geography: Brazil, South America
  • Author: Raymundo M. Campos-Vazquez, Nora Lustig
  • Publication Date: 11-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: We analyse the evolution and proximate determinants of labour income inequality in Mexico between 1989 and 2017. Labour income inequality increased between 1989 and 1994 and declined between 1994 and 2006. What happened after 2006 is subject to uncertainty. The national labour force survey shows a steady decline and the income expenditure survey suggests that inequality increased. We correct for high and rising item (labour income) non-response and under-representation of high-wage earners through a ‘hot deck’ imputation method and post-survey weight adjustments. We obtain the new weights for formal workers from tabulations recently released by the Mexican social security administration. For informal workers, we correct using the hot deck imputation method. With corrected data, inequality no longer declines between 2006 and 2017.
  • Topic: Labor Issues, Inequality, Income Inequality, Survey
  • Political Geography: Central America, Mexico
  • Author: Mathilde Maîtrot, Miguel Niño-Zarazúa
  • Publication Date: 11-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Over the last 35 years, microfinance has been generally regarded as an effective policy tool in the fight against poverty. Yet, the question of whether access to credit leads to poverty reduction and improved wellbeing remains open. To address this question, we conduct a systematic review of the quantitative literature of microfinance’s impacts in the developing world, and develop a theory of change that links inputs to impacts on several welfare outcomes. Overall, we find that the limited comparability of outcomes and the heterogeneity of microfinance-lending technologies, together with a considerable variation in socio-economic conditions and contexts in which impact studies have been conducted, render the interpretation and generalization of findings intricate. Our results indicate that, at best, microfinance induces short-term dynamism in the financial life of the poor; however, we do not find compelling evidence that this dynamism leads to increases in income, consumption, human capital and assets, and, ultimately, a reduction in poverty.
  • Topic: Development, Poverty, Developing World, Finance, Microeconomics
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Vincent Leyaro, Pablo Selaya, Neda Trifković
  • Publication Date: 12-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: We study the roots of violence against women, and propose that it partly originates in cultural norms that derive from (a) characteristics of the traditional subsistence problem in different societies, and (b) differences in the sexual division of labor for solving that problem in each society. We construct this hypothesis on economics and anthropology research showing the potential of traditional livelihoods to shape persistent cultural norms at the local level, and arguing that this concept can be extended to explain outcomes at the domestic level. We test our main hypothesis by examining differences in the incidence of domestic violence across areas with different historical livelihoods in modern-day Tanzania, where we observe a large degree of spatial variation in both attitudes and actions of violence against women. Using rich individual survey and high-resolution georeferenced data, we find systematically less violence against women in traditionally sea-fishing areas vis-à-vis traditionally lake-fishing, agricultural, and pastoralist ones. Our results are consistent with anthropological accounts of the idea that women in sea-fishing societies tend to be comparatively more independent in decision-making, and to acquire skills that are complementary to demands in non-agrarian sectors. We interpret this as evidence for direct mechanisms helping to sustain egalitarian gender norms in general, and less violence against women in particular. By exploiting sub-national variation, this research allows us to move beyond studying the socio-economic and institutional determinants of violence against women, and to analyse the formation of specific cultural traits that explain where and why some women tolerate less violence against them.
  • Topic: Natural Resources, Culture, Women, Violence, Fishing
  • Political Geography: Africa, Tanzania
  • Author: Joseph Deutsch, Jacques Silber
  • Publication Date: 12-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: In developing countries, women’s decisions concerning their children’s health depend on ‘empowerment’ concerning decision-making, husband/partner’s use of violence, woman’s attitude towards this violence, available information, and resources. We derive an empowerment indicator using the ‘fuzzy sets’ and Alkire and Foster approaches to multidimensional poverty measurement. The health of children is a latent variable; their height and weight are observed health indicators. We apply the ‘MIMIC’ approach to the 2009 Mozambique Demographic and Health Survey. Children’s health is better when the woman opposes her partner’s violence, the higher her education and body mass index, among female children, and in urban areas.
  • Topic: Demographics, Health, Poverty, Children, Women, Empowerment
  • Political Geography: Africa, Mozambique
  • Author: Channing Arndt, Finn Tarp
  • Publication Date: 12-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: In broad terms, the climate challenge is relatively straightforward. Global average temperatures are rising because of anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases. Continuation of current levels of emissions or (worse) continued growth in emissions throughout the twenty-first century could result in warming far above the two-degree Celsius threshold with very dangerous implications for the environment of the planet and for human societies, particularly poor people.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Development, Political Economy, Renewable Energy
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Christophe Muller
  • Publication Date: 12-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: For the first time in Indonesia, we jointly analyse several economic statistics and ethnic diversity indicators at national and local levels. Nationally, we find very high levels of economic inequality, measured from household asset values or consumption expenditure. In contrast, the levels of ethnic diversity, while non-negligible, are much lower, whether they reflect fractionalization, polarization, or ethnic inequality based on individual living standards. All ethnic inequality indicators surged after the Asian economic crisis. Ethnic inequality based on education is much lower and decreasing. In panel data models, individual participation in community activities is found to be much determined by local patterns of ethnic diversity. Different dimensions of ethnic diversity generate distinct effects. Ethnic polarization stimulates participation in strategic activities. Instead, ethnic fragmentation and ethnic inequality depress most local activities. Finally, we provide tentative explanations of local ethnic inequality in regressions that show a mixed pattern of socioeconomic influences.
  • Topic: Inequality, Ethnicity, Diversity, Community
  • Political Geography: Indonesia, Southeast Asia
  • Author: João Morgado, Vincenzo Salvucci
  • Publication Date: 12-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: In this study we analyze the gender gap in agricultural productivity in Mozambique applying the Oaxaca-Blinder decomposition approach on data from four agricultural surveys between 2002 and 2012. We find that female-headed households are on average substantially less productive (about 20 per cent) than male-headed households, and that differences are more pronounced in the centre-north compared to the south. The gap persists even though female-headed households are disproportionally found in relatively smaller plots, and a pronounced inverse-size productivity relation exists. We could identify some of the most important drivers of this divide linked to differences in endowments. However, a larger proportion is accounted for by the structural part, potentially linked to technical efficiency, pure discrimination, or other unobservable characteristics.
  • Topic: Agriculture, Gender Issues, Inequality
  • Political Geography: Africa, Mozambique
  • Author: Yared Seid, Alemayehu Seyoum Taffesse, Seid Nuru Ali
  • Publication Date: 12-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Ethiopia has experienced rapid economic growth since 2005. Real gross domestic product (GDP) grew at an average rate of 10.5 per cent per annum for the period between 2004–05 and 2013–14. Public investment in key infrastructure and interventions in the agriculture sector have made important contributions to GDP growth. This growth has been accompanied by a process of capital deepening and signs of structural shift away from traditional and primary sectors towards secondary and tertiary sectors. Both processes of high growth and structural shift have important implications for poverty reduction and income distribution. One potential channel through which these influences work is the labour market. The indications of structural transformation that Ethiopia has shown in the last decade, including a continuous decline in the role of agriculture and rise in that of services, have led to reallocation of jobs and labour from low-productivity agriculture to more productive industrial—in particular the construction sub-sector—and service sectors. The rise in total factor productivity, overall increase in labour force participation rate, and fall in the labour share of the agriculture sector are indicative of the nature and extent of structural shift in the Ethiopian economy. A more durable shift of economic activities towards the manufacturing sector is expected to follow the rising trend in investment in the sector. This study explores the impact of the high economic growth and slow but unmistakable structural change on a number of economic outcomes working through the labour market. The growth opportunities and challenges of the Ethiopian economy are also discussed.
  • Topic: Infrastructure, Economy, Economic Growth, Investment, Labor Market
  • Political Geography: Africa, Ethiopia
  • Author: James Cockayne
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: On 30 November 1943, Franklin Roosevelt was in Teheran, celebrating Winston Churchill's sixty-ninth birthday with Josef Stalin. FDR gave Churchill a Persian vase, and as discussion turned to the post-war order he passed an aide a pencil sketch of what was to become the United Nations.
  • Topic: Crime, International Cooperation, International Law, Narcotics Trafficking, Sex Trafficking, Law Enforcement, Piracy
  • Author: David M. Malone, Rohinton P. Medhora
  • Publication Date: 11-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Notions of development have varied over time, and so an account of the international organizations concerned with its advancement must be accordingly elastic. The roots of international organizations concerned with development lie in two aspects of global inter-connectedness. The first is the propagation and management of a nascent technology for the global good. Thus were born the International Telegraph Union (ITU, now the International Telecommunication Union) in 1865 and the General Postal Union (GPU, now the Universal Postal Union) in 1874.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Emerging Markets, International Cooperation, International Organization, Post Colonialism
  • Author: David M. Malone, Poorvi Chitalkar
  • Publication Date: 11-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: The UN Security Council, largely handicapped by the Cold War until the late 1980s, has become considerably more proactive over the last twenty-five years. The results are mixed. One constant for the Council since 1980 is that it has been at grips with conflicts involving Iraq — conflicts with Iraq's neighbours and also internal strife prior to and particularly since 2003. Every instrument at the Council's disposal, including all the coercive ones, have been invoked at one time or another against authorities in Iraq or to assist them. After a promising beginning in helping to end the Iran-Iraq war (1980-88), and in mandating the expulsion of Iraqi forces from Kuwait, which Baghdad had sought to annex in 1990, the Council's silent tolerance of intrusive international humanitarian activities in Iraq's Kurdish provinces as of 1991 was ground-breaking. Nevertheless, the Council's post-war strategy for Iraq outlined in Resolution 687 of 1991 wound up over-reaching, involved serious unintended consequences arising from an overzealous sanctions regime (and a related humanitarian program the UN did not possess the administrative machinery to oversee effectively), and eventually sundered relations among the Permanent Five (P-5) members of the Council through a series of fractious episodes from 1988 to 2003. This working paper outlines a three-decade span of Security Council resolutions, actions and impasses on Iraq, investigating closely the period of diplomatic confrontation in 2002–2003 culminating in unilateral military action to remove Saddam Hussein from power by the US, the UK and a very few others without a mandate from the Council to do so. The UN was subsequently mostly side-lined in and on Iraq. The paper considers damage to perceptions of the Council legitimacy stemming from the events of 2002–2003 and assesses its evolving approach to international security in Iraq and beyond since then.
  • Topic: Security, Cold War, Humanitarian Aid, United Nations
  • Political Geography: Iraq
  • Author: Augustin Kwasi Fosu
  • Publication Date: 01-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: The study presents recent global evidence on the transformation of economic growth to poverty reduction in developing countries, with emphasis on the role of income inequality. The focus is on the period since the early/mid-1990s when growth in these countries as a group has been relatively strong, surpassing that of the advanced economies. Both regional and country-specific data are analysed for the US$1.25 andUS$2.50 level poverty headcount ratios using the most recent World Bank data. The study finds that on average income growth has been the major driving force behind both the declines and increases in poverty. The study, however, documents substantial regional and country differences that are masked by this 'average' dominant growth story. While in the majority of countries growth was the major factor behind falling...
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Poverty, Third World
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Peter Warr
  • Publication Date: 01-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Thailand's development strategy has been strongly market-oriented and open to trade and investment flows with the rest of the world. Since the late 1950s, its growth performance has been outstanding. Poverty incidence has declined dramatically, but economic inequality has increased. Economic progress has been reflected in very significant improvement in non-economic indicators of well-being such as life expectancy, infant and maternal morality, and literacy. Nevertheless, the performance of the education system is chronically poor. Environmental problems and institutional failures in resource management are ongoing. Reform is needed in several areas, including political and corporate governance, regulation of industry, and in the education and health systems.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Education, Emerging Markets, Poverty, Foreign Direct Investment
  • Political Geography: Asia, Southeast Asia
  • Author: Samuel Kobina Annim
  • Publication Date: 01-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This paper examines the combined effect of interest rates and poverty levels of microfinance clients on loan size. Cross section data on 2,691 clients and non-clients households from Ghana is used to test the hypothesis of loan price inelasticity. Quantile regression and variants of least squares methods that explore endogeneity are employed. We find the expected inverse relationship only for the 20th to 40th quantile range. The semi-elasticity of loan amount responsiveness to a unit change in interest rate is more than proportionate and significant for the poorest group only. Market segmentation based on poverty level is suggested in targeting and sustaining microfinance clients.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Markets, Poverty, Foreign Aid
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Sam Jones
  • Publication Date: 01-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: The recent financial crisis has rekindled interest in the foreign aid supply behaviour of bilateral donors. Using the latest data covering the period 1960-2009, this paper examines how such behaviour is related to domestic factors. Based on a simple empirical model, a distinction is made between long-run supply trends and short-run dynamics, which motivates use of error correction methods. Panel econometric techniques are employed that are consistent in the presence of parameter heterogeneity and cross-section dependence. Results support the error correction framework, but point to very substantial heterogeneity between countries. There is also good evidence that donor behaviour continues to evolve over time. As such, past trends in aid supplies are unlikely to provide a good guide to those of the future.
  • Topic: Development, Bilateral Relations, Foreign Aid, Financial Crisis
  • Author: Ravi Kanbur, Dennis Rodgers, Jo Beall
  • Publication Date: 01-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This paper argues for a more systemic engagement with Latin American cities, contending it is necessary to reconsider their unity in order to nuance the 'fractured cities' perspective that has widely come to epitomise the contemporary urban moment in the region. It begins by offering an overview of regional urban development trends, before exploring how the underlying imaginary of the city has critically shifted over the past half century. Focusing in particular on the way that slums and shantytowns have been conceived, it traces how the predominant conception of the Latin American city moved from a notion of unity to a perception of fragmentation, highlighting how this had critically negative ramifications for urban development agendas, and concludes with a call for a renewed vision of Latin American urban life.
  • Topic: Development, Poverty, Urbanization
  • Political Geography: Latin America
  • Author: Konstantin M. Wacker
  • Publication Date: 01-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This paper first shows that important economic arguments in favor of the Prebisch- Singer hypothesis of falling terms of trade of developing countries have implicitly relied on the role of multinational corporations and foreign direct investment. As of yet, the relationship between the latter and terms of trade has not been empirically investigated. In order to start closing this gap in research, data on 111 developing countries between 1980 and 2008 is analyzed using panel data methods. The empirical results suggest that there is no reason to believe multinationals' activities were responsible for a possible decrease of the developing countries' net barter terms of trade. On the contrary, foreign direct investment seems to play a positive role for developing countries' terms of trade.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Foreign Direct Investment
  • Author: Danielle Resnick
  • Publication Date: 02-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Electoral coalitions are becoming increasingly popular among opposition parties in Africa because they offer many advantages with respect to reducing party fragmentation and increasing incumbent turnovers. At the same time, however, they are often comprised of parties that are defined predominantly by their leaders' personalities and exhibit little differentiation in terms of their policy orientation. Based on a dataset spanning all opposition coalitions since 2000 in Africa's electoral democracies, this paper demonstrates not only that coalitions rarely defeat incumbents but also that they are only competitive when major opposition parties are involved. More significantly, the paper highlights that in many countries, a sizeable share of total electoral volatility is due to fluctuations in voting for opposition parties that have belonged to coalitions. The paper argues that such volatility reflects the inability of coalition members to build loyal constituency bases over time, which is critical for party development and broader consolidation.
  • Topic: Democratization, Development, Politics
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Abdelrasaq Na-Allah
  • Publication Date: 02-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Recent developments in policy initiatives as well as some current practical events have combined to put the spotlight on the issue of industrial embeddedness in sub-Saharan Africa. Though extant research documents some stylized facts, as determinants of its manifestations, their relevance to realities in the sub-continent, have until now been overlooked. Yet, it is difficult to ignore the fact that its constituent economies possess some peculiar attributes with potentially significant implications for embeddedness behaviour. Using data for the country of Lesotho, a probit model is estimated to ascertain the veracity of some of the widely acclaimed explanatory factors. We find, as we argue, that among all, the issue of supply potentials appears the most important.
  • Topic: Development, Industrial Policy
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Ignacio A. Navarro
  • Publication Date: 03-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: The relationship between the cocaine trade and urban land markets in South America has been overlooked by the mainstream economics and urban studies literature. This paper examines two avenues through which the cocaine trade can have a large impact on urban development in producer countries: (i) through an employment multiplier effect similar to that of other legal exports, and (ii) through money laundering using urban real estate. We test our hypotheses using the Bolivian case and find that urban growth patterns are closely related to fluctuations in cocaine production. Further, even though our estimates suggest that the cocaine trade affects urban growth through the two avenues presented in the paper, we find that formal urban employment generated by the cocaine trade has a modest effect on urban growth and most of the effect seems to be explained by money laundering using real estate and other paths.
  • Topic: Corruption, Crime, Narcotics Trafficking, Urbanization
  • Political Geography: South America, Latin America
  • Author: Michael Cohen
  • Publication Date: 03-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: International narratives on Argentina's recovery from the crisis of 2001-02 tend to emphasize the role of rising commodity prices and growing demand from China. Argentina is said to have been 'lucky', saved by global demand for its agricultural exports. The international narrative has also been used by local agricultural exporters to justify their objections against higher export taxes during periods of high commodity prices. These narratives are not correct. Data on the country's recovery show that it was not led by agricultural exports but was fuelled by urban demand and production. When the Convertibility period ended and the peso was devalued in 2002, price increases for imports stimulated the production of domestic goods and services for consumers. This production in turn generated multiplier effects which supported small and medium-sized firms and helped to create many new jobs. This later produced a revival of the construction and then the manufacturing sectors as well.
  • Topic: Agriculture, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: China, Argentina, Latin America
  • Author: Lissette Aliaga Linares
  • Publication Date: 03-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Unlike in most Latin American cities, street vendors organized in farmers' markets popularly known as ferias libres in Santiago de Chile, gained legal recognition early in the twentieth century. Since then, comunas, or local municipalities, have provided vendors with individual licenses that stipulate the place and time of operations, and have defined a clear set of rules regarding customer service. However, this early legal recognition has not necessarily overcome the embedded conflict over the economic use of public space. As supermarkets become spatially positioned along the main streets within easy access of the city's transportation system, feriantes, or licensed street vendors, are being relocated in less profitable areas. Moreover, coleros, or unlicensed vendors, are still flourishing despite efforts to restrict their numbers.
  • Topic: Economics, Markets
  • Political Geography: Latin America, Chile
  • Author: Eduardo Lora, Andrew Powell
  • Publication Date: 03-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: A growing number of cities around the world have established systems of monitoring the quality of urban life. Many of those systems combine objective and subjective information and attempt to cover a wide variety of topics. This paper introduces a simple method that takes advantage of both types of information and provides criteria to identify and rank the issues of potential importance for urban dwellers. The method combines the so-called 'hedonic price' and 'life satisfaction' approaches to value public goods. Pilot case results for six Latin American cities are summarized and policy applications are discussed.
  • Topic: Economics, Urbanization
  • Political Geography: Latin America
  • Author: Flavio Janches
  • Publication Date: 03-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This article surveys the problem of urban marginalization by one of its more critical expressions in the contemporary city: the slums. The aim is to define an urban design strategy for the integration of those settlements as part of the city context, which enables to find solutions for the conflict improving these communities quality of life.
  • Topic: Poverty, Sociology, Urbanization
  • Author: Mahvash Saeed Qureshi, Charalambos G. Tsangarides
  • Publication Date: 03-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This paper revisits the link between exchange rate regimes and trade in the context of Africa's exchange rate arrangements. Applying an augmented gravity model that includes measures of currency unions and pegged regimes, the paper compares Africa's experience with that of the world. Our results suggest that both currency unions and direct pegs promote bilateral trade in Africa vis-à-vis more flexible exchange rate regimes,and that their effect is almost double for the region than that for an average country in the world sample. Further, we find evidence that the effect of conventional pegs is at least as large as that of currency unions in Africa, and that the benefits of fixed exchange rate regimes stem through channels in addition to reduced exchange rate volatility.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Bilateral Relations, Monetary Policy
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Lucy Earle
  • Publication Date: 03-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This study focuses on the city of São Paulo, Brazil and examines the ways in which irregular and illegal growth have influenced the collective action of social movements of the urban poor. The study describes how São Paulo grew as a socially segregated city during the twentieth century due to calculated neglect on the part of the municipal authorities. Highlighting the city's sociospatial inequality, degradation of the central districts and widespread irregularity, it illustrates how these factors have both negatively affected the urban poor and provided a catalyst for social mobilization.
  • Topic: Poverty, Social Stratification, Social Movement, Urbanization
  • Political Geography: South America, Latin America
  • Author: Dennis Rodgers
  • Publication Date: 03-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Many commentators have noted the existence of a historical correlation between cities and democratization. This image of the city as an inherently civic space is linked to the notion that the spatial concentration intrinsic to urban contexts promotes a democracy of proximity. Seen from this perspective, it is perhaps not surprising that the most urbanized region of the global south, Latin America, is also a heartland of vibrant and much applauded democratic innovation. Of particular note are the myriad local level 'radical democracy' initiatives that have proliferated throughout the region's cities during the past two decades. At the same time, however, it is a significant paradox that Latin American urban centres are also amongst the most segregated in the world, something that is widely considered to have a significantly fragmenting effect on public space, and is therefore undermining of democracy.
  • Topic: Democratization, Social Stratification, Sociology, Urbanization
  • Political Geography: Latin America
  • Author: Channing Arndt, M. Azhar Hussain, E. Samuel Jones, Virgulino Nhate, Finn Tarp1, James Thurlow
  • Publication Date: 03-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Measuring poverty remains a complex and contentious issue. This is particularly true in sub-Saharan Africa where poverty rates are higher, information bases typically weaker, and the underlying determinants of welfare relatively volatile. This paper employs recently collected data on household consumption in Mozambique to examine the evolution of consumption poverty with focus on the period 2002/03 to 2008/09. The paper contributes in four areas. First, the period in question was characterized by major movements in international commodity prices. Mozambique provides an illuminating case study of the implications of these world commodity price changes for living standards of poor people. Second, a novel 'backcasting' approach using a computable general equilibrium model of Mozambique, linked to a poverty module.
  • Topic: Human Welfare, Poverty
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Markus Brückner
  • Publication Date: 03-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: A common finding in the empirical civil war literature is that population size and per capita income are highly significant predictors of civil war incidence and onset. This paper shows that the common finding of population size and per capita income having a significant average effect on civil war risk in a world sample breaks down once country- and year-specific unobservables are accounted for. However, for Sub-Saharan Africa there continues to be a highly significant average effect of population size and per capita income on civil war risk that is robust to the use of country- and year-fixed effects and instrumental variable techniques.
  • Topic: Civil War, Demographics, Economics
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Steve Onyeiwu
  • Publication Date: 03-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This paper reviews the innovative capabilities and absorptive capacities of African countries, and investigates whether they have played significant roles in the region's slow and episodic economic growth. Results from cross-country regressions covering 31 Sub-Saharan African countries suggest that growth in Africa is not simply a question of capital accumulation, fertility rates, aid dependency, and stable macroeconomic environment. It is also about strengthening the capacity of African countries to assimilate and effectively use knowledge and technology. Contrary to the views held by many analysts, the growth of African economies does not depend so much on their ability to innovate, but rather on their capacity to absorb and effectively use new technologies. Beyond technological issues, the paper confirms the stylized facts that the size of the government and political stability are important for the growth performance of African countries.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Science and Technology
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Philip Abbott, Finn Tarp
  • Publication Date: 03-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Vietnam has been among the most successful East Asian economies, especially in weathering the external shocks of recent globalization crises—the 1997-98 Asian financial crisis and the 2008-09 great recession, financial crisis and collapse of global trade. Its success contradicts its characterization as an example of export-led growth and highlights the role of the state, particularly in maintaining and influencing investment. Examination of economic performance and policy responses shows rising dependence on foreign finance around each crisis, and actions by the government to counteract that dependence and bolster the domestic economy while continuing to restructure the economy toward greater emphasis on the private sector. Growth, employment and poverty alleviation have been maintained at the expense of renewed inflation, larger budget deficits, and currency depreciation. The 'stop-go' nature of present …
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Globalization, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Asia