Alvaro Espitia, Aaditya Mattoo, Mondher Mimouni, Xavier Pichot, Nadia Rocha, 10 July 2019

Preferential trade agreements cover more than half of world trade. This column argues that while the 280 preferential trade agreements in existence have substantially widened the scope of free trade and reduced average applied tariffs, they have struggled against traditional bastions of protection in poorer countries and have not been able to eliminate the high levels of protection for a handful of sensitive products. While preference margins offered to partners in such agreements seem large, their significance shrinks when competition from both preferential and non-preferential sources is considered.

Xavi Cirera, Edwin A. Goñi Pacchioni, William Maloney, 29 November 2017

Innovation is widely seen as central to the growth of developing countries, and available evidence suggests that the returns to R&D investment should be extremely high.  Yet low-income countries invest very little. This column suggests that this is due to the increasing scarcity of a wide array of factors complementary to innovation, and that this explains the lack of convergence of low-income countries to the technological frontier.    

Ejaz Ghani, Stephen O'Connell, 15 June 2017

There are concerns that the premature deindustrialisation experienced by low-income countries in Africa and South Asia will negatively affect their growth. This column argues that this is not the case, since services, rather than manufacturing, are driving growth in the developing world. While demographics and urbanisation can help growth in low-income countries, the low quality of physical infrastructure is a major challenge.

Nauro Campos, Stefan Dercon, 01 March 2014

Financial development and growth have long been linked. This column argues that there remain fundamental lacunae in our understanding of the finance-growth nexus. Three main areas for future research are identified: aid, institutions and technology.

Christopher Woodruff, 27 January 2012

Christopher Woodruff talks to Viv Davies about his recent research in Sri Lanka that looks at the constraints to growth of micro-enterprises and how to generate job creation; he highlights the effects of wage subsidies, savings programmes, entrepreneurship training, firm registration and the transition from small informal firms to more dynamic enterprises. They also discuss a new 5-year competitive research grants programme, directed by Woodruff and co-ordinated by CEPR, that focuses on private enterprise development in low-income countries.

Ravi Kanbur, Andy Sumner, 08 November 2011

Many poor people no longer live in poor countries. Of the 10 countries that contribute most to global poverty, six are middle-income countries. For many aid organisations, ‘middle-income’ means they no longer qualify for the same financial aid. This column argues that such a policy would be failing up to a billion people.

Nikola Spatafora, Andrew Berg, 24 May 2011

What effect did the global financial crisis have on low-income countries? This column examines data from the last forty years to help place 2007–2009 in perspective. It finds that the global crisis was largely transmitted to low-income countries through external demand shocks that were not tremendously large relative to historical volatility. Such demand shocks are usually bad for growth in the short to medium run, but they may not have damaged poor economies' long-run growth prospects.

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