Rabah Arezki, 19 August 2019

Algeria’s recent victory in the Africa Cup of Nations has united a country whose development model has frustrated its young and educated workforce. This column offers four lessons for economic development from the national football team’s success: on the role of competition and market forces, mobilising talent, the role of managers, and the importance of referees (i.e. regulation). 

Marcela Eslava, John Haltiwanger, Alvaro Pinzón, 09 June 2019

A key difference between more and less developed countries lies in the speed at which the average business grows over its life cycle. This column compares manufacturing firms in Colombia and the US, and concludes that average life cycle growth differences across countries with diverging income levels are largely driven by the superstars and the worst performers. Relative to the US, Colombia presents an overwhelming prevalence of microestablishments, a deficit of superstar plants, and less strict market selection pressure for underperforming plants.

Markus Eberhardt, 28 April 2019

Recent evidence suggests that a country switching to democracy achieves about 20% higher per capita GDP over subsequent decades. This column demonstrates the sensitivity of these findings to sample selection and presents an implementation which generalises the empirical approach. If we assume that the democracy–growth nexus can differ across countries and may be distorted by common shocks or network effects, the average long-run effect of democracy falls to 10%.  

Jongrim Ha, M. Ayhan Kose, Franziska Ohnsorge, 11 April 2019

Emerging market and developing economies have achieved a remarkable decline in inflation since the early 1970s, supported by robust monetary policy frameworks, strengthening of global trade, financial integration, and the disruptions caused by the global crisis. The column argues that a continuation of low and stable inflation in these countries is not guaranteed. If this wave of structural and policy-related factors loses momentum, elevated inflation could re-emerge. Policymakers may find that maintaining low inflation is as difficult as achieving it.

Yashaswini Dunga, Nancy Hardie, Stephanie Kelly, Jeremy Lawson, 25 March 2019

As climate change worsens and the forces of populism gather, there is a strong argument for moving beyond narrow economic measures of national progress. This column presents a new indicator of progress that integrates environmental, social, and governance factors into growth analysis. Results show that the countries that have been able to blend economic dynamism with environmental, social, and governance dynamism are mostly developing economies. These countries often fly under the radar of traditional macroeconomic analyses. 

Oded Galor, Ömer Özak, Assaf Sarid, 20 January 2019

Evidence suggests that ancient regional variations in geographical characteristics contributed to the differential formation of culturaland linguistic traits, which in turn shaped development and inequality in today’s world. This column discusses how geographical characteristics are linked to the emergence of long-term orientation and the future tense, how they shaped distinct gender roles and possibly contributed to the emergence of grammatical gender, and how ecological diversity is connected to the emergence of hierarchical societies and reflected in politeness distinctions in language.

Jukka Pirttilä, Pia Rattenhuber, 02 January 2019

Jukka Pirttilä and Pia Rattenhuber of UNU-WIDER discuss what the last decade of research at the institute tells us about taxation.

Smriti Sharma, 20 December 2018

Smriti Sharma of Newcastle University and former Research Fellow at UNU-Wider discusses the last decade of research at UNU-WIDER tells us about gender. 

, 13 December 2018

David Arnold, Riccardo Crescenzi and Sergio Petralia of LSE's GILD team summarise cutting-edge research that examines the growing disparity between the places plugged into 21st century flows of investment, talent and knowledge and those that aren’t.

Finn Tarp, 22 November 2018

Finn Tarp, Director of UNU-WIDER, discusses what the last decade of research at the institute can tell us about economic transformation.

Emanuel Ornelas, Marcos Ritel, 08 November 2018

Generalised System of Preferences programmes, a form of nonreciprocal tariff cuts, have proliferated since the 1970s. Using a well-documented dataset of international trade agreements, this column studies the effectiveness of the system on beneficiaries’ aggregate exports. It finds that nonreciprocal tariff preferences can have a strong positive effect on the exports of least-developed countries, provided that they are WTO members. Conversely, other developing economies enjoying nonreciprocal preferences are able to increase exports only if they are not WTO members. 

, 05 November 2018

Over the last decade, UNU-WIDER have produced over 2,000 studies on economic and social development. This video outlines some important lessons from their work, from aid and data to inequality and energy.

Stephen Cecchetti, Kim Schoenholtz, 08 June 2018

Global remittances total $600 billion annually - equivalent to about four times the value of development assistance. Yet despite huge innovations in the underlying technology, the cost of remittances remains persistently high, at around 7% on average. Stephen Cecchetti and Kim Schoenholtz discuss the causes of this, and suggest some options available to policymakers to lower costs. The G8, G20 and Sustainable Development Goals targetting lower remittance costs could be realised by a two-pronged approach of educating consumers on the one hand and fostering competition among providers on the other.

Peter Jensen, Markus Lampe, Paul Sharp, Christian Skovsgaard, 08 June 2018

Denmark is a paragon of economic development because it rapidly modernised its agriculture 150 years ago by using technology and cooperatives. This column argues that Denmark's development story has in fact been misrepresented. Rapid agricultural development was the end of a process begun by landed elites in the 18th century. It may be a mistake to cite the case of Denmark to argue that a country with a lot of peasants and cows can cooperate its way out of underdevelopment.

Andara Kamara, 06 June 2018

Policymakers use microsimulation models to gauge the impact of policies across the economy. Andara Kamara discusses the work of the IFS with the Ghanaian government, which uses such models to better understand the impact of a range of taxes on different demographic groups, particularly in the absence of historical data.

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’.

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