Ross Warwick, 29 May 2018

Similarly to advanced economies, developing countries often subsidise VAT rates on food and other basic goods and services. Ross Warwick discusses his research at the IFS, which suggests these subsidies may in fact disdvantage the poorest, because the subsidised goods and services are consumed disproportionately more by richer households.

Dan Nuer, 22 May 2018

For Ghana to move beyond aid to being self-sufficient on its own tax revenues, it must first gather huge amounts of data on the tax profiles of its citizens and businesses. Dan Nuer talks about the challenges the Ghanaian government faces in doing this, and how its work with the Institute for Fiscal Studies can help address them.

Rachel Cassidy, Marcel Fafchamps, 15 May 2018

Informal savings and borrowing institutions are a way to intermediate between savers and borrowers in the developing world. But if these associations attract mostly savers or mostly borrowers, or are concentrated in one occupation, they may not function as well as they should. This column uses survey results from Malawi to suggest that commitment savers and borrowers mix in such associations, but occupations have tended to stick together. This may make them vulnerable to shocks such as a bad harvest. 

Matthew Jackson, 19 April 2018

Social networks are important even in developing countries. Professor Matthew Jackson of Stanford University explains the channels through which they make an economic impact, and how to improve their study in economic research.

Andrés Rodríguez-Pose, 06 February 2018

Persistent poverty, economic decay and lack of opportunities cause discontent in declining regions, while policymakers reason that successful agglomeration economies drive economic dynamism, and that regeneration has failed. This column argues that this disconnect has led many of these ‘places that don’t matter’ to revolt in a wave of political populism with strong territorial, rather than social, foundations. Better territorial development policies are needed that tap potential and provide opportunities to those people living in the places that ‘don’t matter’.

Jutta Bolt, Robert Inklaar, Herman de Jong, Jan Luiten van Zanden, 25 January 2018

Research on long-run economic development has relied heavily on the database compiled by Angus Maddison. This column presents a new version of the Maddison Project Database based on historical growth data, but also incorporating historical cross-country income comparisons. The revisions shed new light on patterns of long-term development and cross-country income convergence.

Vito Amendolagine, Andrea Presbitero, Roberta Rabellotti, Marco Sanfilippo, 24 January 2018

A new wave of foreign direct investment has swept sub-Saharan African countries, with inflows becoming more diversified both geographically and sectorally. This column presents an analysis that shows a high degree of complementarity between involvement in global value chains and FDI. Policies supporting the entry and upgrading of countries in such chains – especially via a strong institutional setting and a well-educated labour force – can help maximise the spillovers from foreign investment.

Ruth Greenspan Bell, 10 January 2018

Should countries keep extracting natural resources? In this video, Ruth Greenspan Bell discusses the challenge of promoting development while protecting the environment. This video was recorded at UNU-WIDER in May 2016.

Raul Sanchez de la Sierra, 19 December 2017

We have theories of why states form, but until now no systematic data on the process. This column uses a new dataset on 650 locations in the Democratic Republic of the Congo to explain why armed actors may create the functions of a state. When a village's output was valuable but could not easily be taxed, armed actors developed sophisticated fiscal and legal administrations to extract revenue. Household welfare improved only when these stationary bandits had ties to the population.

Céline Carrère, Marcelo Olarreaga, Damian Raess, 15 December 2017

Protecting workers through the inclusion of labour clauses in trade agreements has become more common since the first such causes were included in NAFTA, but some argue that by increasing labour costs in developing countries, they represent a form of protectionism. This column uses new data to argue that there is no evidence for adverse effects on trade from labour clauses. When such clauses are strong, and if they emphasise cooperation in their implementation, they have a positive effect on the commercial interests of developing countries.

Joseph Stiglitz, 20 November 2017

Finding the right balance between the role of the state and the market is key for susccesful development. In this video, Joseph Stiglitz explains why they should complement each other. This video was recorded at the UNU-WIDER 30th anniversary conference in Helsinki in September 2015.

Susanne Frick, Andrés Rodríguez-Pose, 20 October 2017

Big cities have historically been seen as an important prerequisite for a country’s economic growth. In recent decades, however, developing countries have rapidly urbanised, and large cities are increasingly found in relatively poor countries. This column uses a new dataset to revisit the relationship between city size and economic growth. It finds that relatively small cities (with populations under three million) have been more conducive to economic growth, while very large cities are only growth-enhancing in countries with a very large urban population.

Martin Ravallion, Shaohua Chen, 15 September 2017

Past studies have measured poverty in either relative terms (mostly in the developed countries) or absolute terms (the developing world). This column presents a new unified approach to global poverty that assumes that people care about both their own income and their income relative to others in their country of residence. The study finds that global poverty has declined more in absolute terms than in relative terms. The vast bulk of the relatively poor now live in the developing world. The advanced countries have seen little progress against poverty, unlike the developing world.

The Editors, 22 June 2017

VoxEU is pleased to announce the launch of its new sister site – VoxDev.org. VoxDEV will focus on development issues, posting research-based analysis and commentary by leading economists. The Editor-in-Chief is Tavneet Suri, Professor of Economics at MIT.

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.

Ejaz Ghani, Arti Grover Goswami, Sari Pekkala Kerr, William Kerr, 06 May 2017

Developing countries around the world are implementing structural reforms and pro-competitive policies to promote growth, but the impact of this on gender equity is unclear. This column examines the case of India, one of the world’s fastest growing countries, and finds that gender equality has not improved. Policymakers must do more to eliminate gender discrimination. They have an opportunity to not only improve the allocative efficiency of factors and increase growth, but also create an environment of equal opportunity for all, by targeting domestic market competition. 

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You are invited to submit a paper for the workshop on “Globalization and Development”. The workshop is sponsored by NOVAFRICA and the World Bank and will take place at Nova School of Business and Economics in Lisbon, on June 9, 2017.

It will feature around 6 papers, and a keynote speech by Eric Verhoogen (Columbia University).

The topics of the workshop include, but are not limited to:

The impacts of global economic integration (through trade, migration, and capital flows) on:
Economic development,
Local labor markets,
Firm-level decisions.

Globalization and economic growth: measurement issues and dynamics;

The adjustment costs associated with economic integration and the role of social programs and policies in reducing these costs.

The deadline is May 5, 2017. Authors of the selected papers will be informed by May 12th. If you would like to submit a paper, please send a draft by email with the subject: “2017NOVAFRICA-WBWorkshop” to [email protected].

M. Ayhan Kose, Csilla Lakatos, Franziska Ohnsorge, Marc Stocker, 27 February 2017

A growth surge in the world’s largest economy could provide a significant boost to global activity. In contrast, uncertainty about the direction of US policies could have the opposite effect. This column investigates spillover channels linking the US and the global economy. An acceleration in US growth would have positive effects for the rest of the world if not counterbalanced by increased trade barriers. However, policy uncertainty could hamper global growth, and could have particularly bad effects on investment growth in emerging and developing economies.

Stelios Michalopoulos, Elias Papaioannou, 23 January 2017

Over the past decades, economists working on growth have ‘rediscovered’ the importance of history, leading to the emergence of a vibrant, far-reaching inter-disciplinary stream of work.  This column introduces a new eBook in three volumes which examines key themes in this emergent literature and discusses the impact they have on our understanding of the long-run influence of historical events on current economics.

Harald Fadinger, Christian Ghiglino, Mariya Teteryatnikova, 24 December 2016

Economists are just starting to understand how observed input-output linkages and productivity differences are connected. This column investigates how differences in the distribution of sectoral input-output multipliers interact with sectoral productivities to determine cross-country differences in aggregate income. It finds that the impact of the linkages on productivity are substantial, which in turn has significant implications for policy.

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