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30 Years of economics for development

WIDERAngle October 2014

From the Editor’s Desk

Tony Addison

With the first snow in Helsinki, we are settling in for the long winter. Our winters will become colder and snowier with climate change (more moisture in the atmosphere above the arctic, I’m told). But let’s keep our spirits up. None of this stops us getting ready for the WIDER Annual Lecture 18 by Peter Timmer, which takes place on 18 November at the UN in New York. The lecture focuses on the kinds of economic transformation necessary to move ahead post-2015. Expect a lot to be said about agriculture, which is still neglected in all the post-2015 chatter. Full article

Financial reforms and falling inequality in Latin America, 2002-2012: are they connected?

Giovanni Andrea Cornia

For the last quarter of the twentieth century, Latin America suffered from low growth, rising inequality, and frequent financial crises; i.e., currency, sovereign debt, and banking crises. For instance, between the early 1980s and 2002 there were at least 26 major banking crises involving 15 countries. Sovereign debt defaults and currency crises were frequent, as were ‘double’ or ‘triple’ financial crises (as in the case of the ‘Tequila crisis’ of 1994, Ecuadorian crisis of 1999, and Argentinean default of 2001-02). The cost of such crises was massive, as during the three years subsequent to their outbreak the cumulative output losses reached up to 98 per cent of GDP. During this period, the high income inequality that had afflicted Latin America for centuries rose further—from a Gini of 48.9 in early 1980s to 54.1 in 2002— this was partly due to the impact of devastating financial crises on growth, employment, relative prices, and public subsidies. Full article

WIDER Annual Lectures – taking stock

Roger Williamson

I am looking forward to WIDER Annual Lecture 18, held 18 November in New York not only because I expect that Peter Timmer will make a distinguished contribution to the understanding of economic transformation, but also because the cumulative impact of this lecture series provides a comprehensive overview of the major economic issues of our day. 

During my active association with UNU-WIDER over the past three years, I have been an enthusiastic promoter of the annual lectures by Justin Yifu Lin (AL15) and Lant Pritchett (AL16) in particular. Wherever possible, I have pressed a copy of the publication into the hands of friends and associates, or recommended them where appropriate in academic discussions. Full article

Rising inequality - how to reverse it?

Annett Victorero and Dominik Etienne

The last decade has witnessed a revival of concern over the impact of high-income concentration on economic development and wellbeing. The global distribution of income has for decades resembled a ‘champagne glass’. On 23 October UNU-WIDER, ILO, and UNCTAD organized a policy seminar to discuss why it is crucial to integrate the economic equity perspective to national and international development processes, with examples of policies that have worked. Evidence presented on falling inequality in Latin America is a reminder that different sets of policies yield different outcomes. Full Article

RESEARCHAngle

International economic integration and growth in Latin America

Deeper integration into the global economy has been a distinctive feature of Latin American development strategies over the past quarter century. However integration into global markets has not proven to be successful for most Latin American countries. Contrary to mainstream analysis, under the current market reforms countries have underperformed as compared to the prior period of state-led industrialization. Full Article

The evolution of social protection in Latin America

In the 2000s social assistance, as a parallel measure to social insurance, was greatly expanded throughout Latin America. What is the result of this shift in policy focus, and what will be the implications for poverty, inequality and the future of social protection institutions in the region? Full article

VIDEOAngle

Researching and reporting on global wealth - two interviews with Anthony Shorrocks 

Roger Williamson

In this interview Professor Anthony Shorrocks describes the methodology to research global household wealth, developed by him and colleagues when he was Director of UNU-WIDER. The initial 2006 study with its headline that two per cent of households owned half of global wealth created such media interest that the UNU-WIDER website crashed twice in one day. Shorrocks goes on to describe the key findings and further refinements of the work and its development into the annual Global Wealth Report published by Credit Suisse Research Institute. The 2014 Report has just been published. Watch interview

WIDERAngle newsletter
October 2014
ISSN 1238-9544

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