Topic: Economics

Why equity matters more than growth: The Spirit Level

‘Growth with Equity’ is motherhood and apple pie in economic policy-making these days. But in a great new book, Spirit Level, authors Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett argue that ‘economic growth, for so long the great engine of progress, has, in the rich countries, largely finished its work.’ Above a certain average income (the authors […]

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Developing country governments are dragging their feet over the global crisis

What are developing country governments doing to respond to the damage being inflicted by the global economic crisis? Answer, according to two new papers: not much, and they could be doing a lot more. A study from the Overseas Development Institute pulls together the draft findings from studies in ten countries. The ODI finds that […]

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The rise of the informal sector and why it should be taxed

I’ve been reading a couple of interesting things on the informal economy recently. The OECD has a new book out with the engaging title ‘Is Informal Normal?’ which gives a pretty decent overview. Informal employment refers to jobs or activities that are not registered or protected by the state. Informal workers are excluded from social […]

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Taxation and development: a great new book

Finally finished an illuminating book on the link between taxation and development: (Taxation and state-building in Developing Countries), edited by Deborah Brautigam, Odd-Helge Fjeldstad and Mick Moore). Here are a few highlights – a bit long, but I’m trying to summarize a densely argued 260 page book, so bear with me. Taxation is the new […]

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What the IMF will be discussing this weekend

The global diplomatic circus that so recently met at the G20 summit in London is reconvening in Washington for the IMF and World Bank spring meetings this weekend. These are usually the lesser of the Bretton Woods Institutions’ (BWIs) two yearly jamborees (the Annual Meetings are held in September) but the momentum provided by both the […]

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Getting women into paid employment has more impact on poverty than formalizing women's work or equalizing wage rates – findings from Latin America

The International Poverty Centre (IPC) in Brazil churns out some interesting analysis and summarizes them in reader-friendly ‘one pagers’. One recent study looks at the role of gender inequality in explaining income growth, poverty and inequality. Here’s a summary of the one pager. The full paper is here.

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The Good Governance 8 and a debate on tax havens

One of the G20 Voice bloggers at the London Summit last week was a rather distinguished-looking, silver haired Chilean who turned out to be Daniel Kaufman. He used to work at the World Bank, where he was one of the 46 employees who blew the whistle on Paul Wolfowitz in a letter to Wolfowitz and […]

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The UN/Stiglitz Commission recipe for reforming globalization

I finally got round to reading the report of the UN Commission of Experts on reforms of the international monetary and financial system, chaired by Joseph Stiglitz. It’s very sensible, comprehensive and solution-oriented. Trouble is, is anyone listening? Regrettably, the UN process seems largely delinked from the G20/IMF/World Bank leadership on the crisis (see previous […]

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Food prices for poor people are not coming down – new data from the FAO

It’s been bugging me for months that we are still talking about a ‘food price crisis’ even though world commodity prices, including food, have come down a long way since their peak in mid 2008. Should we still be talking about 150m people being pushed below the poverty line by high food prices? Won’t they […]

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'Moving Out of Poverty': Outstanding new mega-study from the World Bank

One of the best books I have ever read on development was ‘Crying out for Change’, a summary of a massive late 1990s study by the World Bank called ‘Voices of the Poor’. So it was a delight to pick up the summary of its new and epic successor ‘The Moving Out of Poverty Study’ […]

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Is the UN missing in action on the global crisis?

Last week I attended two events that focussed on the crisis and its impact on development: a big DFID conference in preparation for its forthcoming white paper, and an NGO presentation to the UN ‘Commission of Experts’ on reforming the international financial system, which is chaired by Joe Stiglitz. Discussions at both events brought home […]

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How badly is the crisis hitting the poorest countries? Here's what the IMF thinks

The IMF has a new paper out summarizing the impact of the global crisis on 78 ‘low income countries’ (LICs) – the world’s poorest, many of them in Sub-Saharan Africa. Its findings include:

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