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About participants attended the conference, more than of them coming from outside Finland. The conference was open to younger researchers as well as established scholars. The project aims to assemble data about the distribution and composition of personal assets in developing, transition, and developed countries and to study the implications of personal asset-holding for economic development. The most important asset types — financial assets, land and housing — will be given special attention. Life-cycle saving, self-insurance and other motives for saving, as well as their consequences for asset-holding, will also be studied.

International development in the era of globalization needs an effective transfer of knowledge and human capital from the main centres of knowledge creation to developing countries for supporting their growth and development process. Most of the new knowledge is embodied in people. This process has raised concern, particularly in developing countries. This process, however, needs not be irreversible as people tend to return to their home country bringing with them knowledge and experience thereby contributing to national development.


  1. Growth patterns over three decades.
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Achievement of the MDG goals by is an ambitious undertaking. The donor community is now mobilizing resources behind the goals, and efforts to implement the goals are now underway at national and international levels. It is inevitable that progress in achieving the goals will vary considerably across developing regions, and indeed within individual countries. Activities to monitor the achievement of the goals both globally and nationally are now being put in place by international agencies.

This is a highly demanding task, particularly in the area of collecting the relevant data which will require much faster progress in building the capacity of national statistical agencies. Development aid has become an increasingly hot topic in international research and policy circles, especially following the adoption of the Millennium Development Goals.

Growth, Jobs and Inequalities

Donors are paying increased attention to how they allocate aid across countries. Consisting of three linked activities, the project builds on expertise in aid and related areas of research among current WIDER resident researchers. WIDER possesses a very strong comparative advantage in this area, and is in a position to lead the development aid research effort internationally. It also builds on the many strategic contacts of the two project directors in policy and research circles. The mobilization of domestic savings for private investment plays a crucial role in achieving growth and poverty reduction; this is demonstrated by the historical experience of the now developed countries as well as East Asia.

However two problems have become apparent. First, the construction of regulatory and supervisory capacity has often lagged behind liberalization, and a number of low-income and transition countries have experienced major bank crises. Second, the domestic investment response to financial liberalization has often been disappointing and the newly liberalized systems have often not effectively intermediated savings into new and higher levels of domestic investment. Millions of people remain desperately food insecure, and over a decade of agricultural-sector reform appears to have achieved little in the way of improving entitlement to food in many countries.

This project will investigate why progress in achieving food-security has been disappointing in so many countries especially in Africa despite the implementation of extensive donor-inspired reform in agriculture, and the possibility of transferring lessons learned from the successful reduction of hunger in many parts of Asia.

Creating better institutions for development has come to the fore in recent years, reflecting the often poor results of economic reform programmes that failed to take account of the need to develop appropriate supporting institutions. This project looks at the role of institutional reform in accelerating development through an in-depth investigation of the historical experiences of the now-developed countries, as well the success stories among the developing countries thereby drawing practical lessons for institutional change elsewhere in the developing world.


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Globalization offers new opportunities for accelerating development and poverty reduction. And there is much concern about the distribution of benefits; in particular whether the poor gain from globalization, and under what circumstances it may actually hurt them. This project aims at producing rigorous theoretical and empirical analysis of the poverty impact of globalization, thereby providing a framework upon which to build strategies for 'pro-poor globalization'.

The project is interested in understanding better the mechanisms through which globalization ultimately affects poverty. Reconstruction from conflict is a complex and demanding task, and a major challenge for the UN system as well as the wider donor community. National authorities and their donor partners are faced with multiple priorities - rebuilding infrastructure, assisting war-damaged communities, and re-creating weakened institutions - with often insufficient resources to meet these needs.

The scale and causes of international income inequality and poverty continue to be much debated.

Why Development in Africa Is So Difficult

Yet, the quality of the analysis and data underlying this debate still leaves much to be desired. A wide variety of policy relevant studies including cross-country analyses of the determinants of poverty and income inequality, and the role of income inequality in determining development outcomes, will be undertaken. Many developing and transition countries have considerable regional variation in average household income, poverty, and health and educational status.

National human development indicators can therefore mislead policy-makers when large regional disparities exist. This project will investigate the size and determinants of regional disparities in a representative selection of countries. It will use indicators such as poverty incidence and depth, within-region income inequality, human development, and gender indicators to better understand why some regions fall behind in the development process. The real value of official aid flows fell for much of the s, and private capital flows to low-income countries remain mostly limited.

The decline in aid flows may endanger the development process, since they finance much of the development budget in many poor countries. However, while aid in aggregate is in decline, some have argued that better use is now made of each aid dollar, so the decline in aid flows may have been partially offset by an improvement in its quality. This project looks at the likely outcomes for the levels, structure, and effectiveness of official flows.

When the Uruguay Round was being negotiated and it was coming to a close, a number of estimates were made about the impact of the agreement on poor countries. Many assessments indicated that there would be a net loss for them while others came up with a more positive scenario. Now that the agreement has been in place for several years there is scope for an empirical assessment of the issue to identify the winners and the losers ex post.

Poverty in Africa

The project makes recommendations to improve the participation of the least developed countries in international economic policy regimes, especially the WTO. Summary measures of human well-being are increasingly used to compare and monitor performance within and across countries. This project aims to provide guidelines for the future design and practical application of human well-being indicators by taking stock of and reviewing current practice.

Members of the CFA-zone enjoy currency convertibility, fiscal and monetary policies which are more prudent than SSA as a whole, and a large amount of financial and technical assistance. These advantages do not appear, however, to have resulted in more rapid economic and human development in the CFA-zone and CFA countries in the Sahel face major structural handicaps. This project aims to understand why CFA-zone performance has been disappointing given the advantages enjoyed by the region, and will devise policy recommendations to improve longer-term development. Topics include: environmental taxation for development; revenue potential of the Tobin tax; Special Drawing Rights; the International Finance Facility; private donations for development; a global lottery and a global premium bond; remittances by emigrants; global public economics; national taxation, fiscal federalism, and global taxation.

Fleeing poverty, violence and 'ethnic cleansing' millions of people leave their homes every year in search of safety and economic opportunities. In contrast to the migrations of the nineteenth century today's migrations often take place through illegal channels.

Such migration is therefore very difficult to control and tends to be an important new source of poverty, social exclusion and social deviance. The project aims to document the extent of this phenomenon, to assess its economic and social impact on sending and receiving countries, and to develop humane policy recommendations. Households in developing countries face many risks.


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  • Informal insurance mechanisms marriage, the extended family, and investment in social capital provide some protection but are weak in the face of major calamities that affect households en masse. Most people cannot obtain formal insurance. The incomplete insurance market therefore constrains investment, growth, and poverty reduction. Public action to remedy this deficiency is merited, but what form should it take? The project will evaluate alternatives in widening insurance provision, including sustainability and poverty effects.

    Micro-simulation models play an important role in policy analysis in developed economies, particularly in connection with the distributional impact of tax and benefit reforms. The objective is to show how the changes affect different households in different ways, and to assess the overall impact on individual living standards, poverty rates, and other indicators of household well-being.

    The project will aim to produce studies assessing the distributional impact of past changes to the tax and benefit structure, and possible future changes to programmes such as pensions and housing subsidies. Latin America has now privatised a large number of utilities water, electricity, transport, and telecommunications and now makes more use of market approaches to delivery in the social sectors education and health. Privatisation has major consequences for efficiency and therefore long-term growth , consumer welfare and income distribution.

    But insufficient attention has been paid to regulating privatised enterprises in the public interest. The project will assess how privatisation and regulation processes can be improved, particularly in the light of experience elsewhere. The project will consist of two parts: 1 analysis of new trends in the supply of different categories of capital flows since the Asian crisis and 2 evaluation of national policies to reduce both the volatility of capital flows and its' negative domestic impact.

    Many developing countries are characterised by weak budgetary and revenue institutions, insufficient public spending on priority investments and the macro-economic instability associated with repeated fiscal crises. This project will re-examine the design of fiscal policy including public expenditure management and taxation with the aim of improving its role in supporting growth and poverty reduction.

    Background

    A property rights regime covers rights to use, lease, donate, bequest, and sell assets or collect the incomes generated by assets. A clear and transparent property rights regime facilitates investment and economic growth. While private property is considered by many to be the most superior type of regime, this is not always the case, especially when important markets are imperfect or missing and when key institutions are underdeveloped.

    This project will evaluate alternative property rights regimes at different development stages. Previous UNU-WIDER research has shown that the risk of internal conflict is high in low-income societies rich in natural resources and characterised by ethnic fragmentation. Yet for each country in conflict there are many others with similar characteristics that are at peace. Understanding why some countries avoid conflict while others fail is critical. The project will focus in particular on the impact of different patterns of public expenditure, the distribution of government jobs and the overall benefits of government operations in social stability and integration.

    Why growth has slowed

    Past policies, an erroneous approach to adjustment, and 'geography' are repeatedly cited as explanations for Africa's poor performance. But, weaknesses in the institutional capacity of the African State may be as important. In particular, economic policies continue to be donor-driven in many cases, with a lack of local ownership.

    A key challenge for policy makers is how to bring about the successful integration of the less developed countries into the international system.

    Poverty and Development in Africa

    Many of the obstacles to the meaningful participation of vulnerable developing economies in the international system are domestic in origin, but external factors beyond the control of these countries play an important part as well. The project identifies and analyses these factors and develops policies that could ameliorate the domestic obstacles and help overcome the external constraints. It is a widely held opinion among policy-makers and social scientists that the so-called 'information revolution' is having a substantial impact on the world economy.

    It is often also presumed that this impact is beneficial to all those countries having the necessary infrastructure for the adoption of IT.