News & Highlights



Our good friend and colleague Elinor Ostrom passed away on 12 June 2012 after a long illness. Elinor was the first, and to date only, woman to win a Nobel Prize in economics. Ravi Kanbur, who worked closely with Elinor, reflects on her life and work:


New web site on Research and Communication on Foreign Aid Launched

ReCom - Research and Communication on Foreign Aid: New web site on Research and Communication Launched



Does foreign aid foster democracy? What is the relationship between foreign aid, democracy assistance and democratic transitions and consolidation? What are the unintended consequences of different intervention modalities, and how these can be mitigated? In this ReCom policy brief answers and recommendations from the Foreign Aid and Democracy in Africa research.


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UNU-WIDER Staff and Board, 2014

The WIDERAngle editorial team:

Executive Editor - Tony Addison 
Managing Editor - Annett Victorero 
Copy Editor - Lorraine Telfer-Taivainen 
Editor - James Stewart 
Web administration and digital content - Anu Laakso and Elli Keränen
Assistant - Martin Maingi 

JUNE - JULY 2012


From the Editor’s Desk

Tony Addison

I started writing this ‘From the Editor’s Desk’ in Accra, to the sound of an African drum band, preparing for a ceremony to mark the launch of the joint University of Ghana-UNU-WIDER Research and Post-Graduate Teaching Programme. The launch took place in the University of Ghana’s magnificent Great Hall. We were in Accra for the 28th session of the UNU-WIDER Board, held for the second time in Africa. Professor Ernest Aryeetey, UNU-WIDER Board Chairman and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ghana, hosted us in Accra.
Full article. 

Launch of collaboration for joint University of Ghana – UNU-WIDER Research and post-Graduate Teaching Programme
Launch of collaboration for joint University of Ghana – UNU-WIDER Research and post-Graduate Teaching Programme

Youth Unemployment in the Arab World: What Do We know? What is the Way Forward?

Imed Drine

Many observers see youth unemployment as the major reason behind the recent popular uprisings in a number of Arab countries.  Frustration among unemployed youth spilled out into the streets at the beginning of 2011, leading to rebellion against the existing political regimes in Egypt, Syria, Tunisia, and Yemen. The unemployment crisis is aggravated by low capital flows and a sharp decline in exports which result from the slowdown in investment and growth in the economies of the region’s main trading partners. 
Full article.

Urbanization and Development in Asia: Linkages with Globalization and Migration

Lorraine Telfer-Taivainen

The Central European University (CEU) in Budapest, Hungary, was the venue for the launch on 16 June 2012 of the just-published UNU-WIDER book Urbanization and Development in Asia: Multidimensional Perspectives, edited by Jo Beall, Basudeb Guha-Khasnobis, and Ravi Kanbur, published by Oxford University Press India. The launch took place within the framework of the Global Development Network’s 13th Annual Conference being held collaboration with CEU; the session was chaired by Francois Bourguignon (Paris School of Economics, GDN Board of Directors, and a former UNU-WIDER board member). Full article.

After the Fall of the Berlin Wall: Some Lessons on Transition

Lorraine Telfer-Taivainen

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) in London was the setting on 19 June 2012 for the launch of the recent UNU-WIDER book Economies in Transition: The Long-Run View, edited by Gerárd Roland, and published by Palgrave Macmillan.
Full article.

2012 UNU-WIDER interview series

Donors, Democracy and Development: Unraveling the Impact of Aid in Africa

UNU-WIDER and the University of Ghana hosted a seminar in Accra titled 'Donors, Democracy and Development: Unraveling the Impact of Aid in Africa' on 8 June 2012. The event was linked to the ReCom projects Governance & Fragility theme research on 'Foreign Aid and Democracy in Africa'.

For more UNU-WIDER Feature videos


Millennium Development Goals in Turbulent Times: Emerging Challenges for Post-2015 MDGs

Rolph van der Hoeven and Peter van Bergeijk

One of the most important trends that emerged since the launch of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) is the rapid growth of some large developing countries such as China, India, and Brazil.  Current IMF projections indicate that by 2015 the principal providers of official development assistance (ODA)—Europe, Japan, the US—will be producing less than 50 per cent of total world GDP. Already before the financial crisis it was clear that this geo-economic shift would have to have an impact on the norms and values of the global system (van Bergeijk 2009). In this Angle article we argue that a post-2015 framework for development needs to be based on a global social contract, relevant to people in the South and the North, rather than being dominated by development aid professionals and merely applicable to the South. Full article.


Green Growth: A Win-Win Approach to Sustainable Development?

Danielle Resnick and James Thurlow

The concept of ‘Green Growth’ is one which has understandable political currency, highlighted by its prominence in this year’s 'Rio+20' meeting hosted by the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development. In promising to reconcile the goals of low-carbon and sustainable development with other valued outcomes such as job creation, poverty reduction and economic growth, it appears to offer a win-win solution for confronting the growing threat of climate change. This is the tenor of many recent reports on the concept, such as the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s Towards Green Growth (2011) or the United Nations Environment Programme’s Towards a Green Economy:  Pathways to Sustainable Development and Poverty Eradication-A Synthesis for Policymakers (2011).  Full article.

How to Spend it?

A donor dilemma: aid effectiveness in fragile states.

Donors are often faced with the dilemma that those countries most in need of aid are often those least likely to spend it effectively.  Attempts to overcome this dilemma by using capacity building and policy conditionality have proved ineffective and a new approach is required. In the UNU working paper 'How to Spend it: The organization of public spending and aid effectiveness', Paul Collier first addresses the donor dilemma and then goes on to suggest a menu of new organizational designs for ensuring that recipient countries use aid efficiently. Full article.

How can food aid be more effective?

If food aid is to be more effective donors need to consider both the goals of the aid, and its economic implications.

The availability and affordability of food in developing countries is a constant concern and malnutrition causes the death of around 2.6 million children a year. In the wake of the food crisis of 2007-2008 many donors made a renewed commitment to food security. In his WIDER working paper 'Foreign Assistance and the Food Crisis of 2007-2008', Phillip Abbott addresses the issues arounf food aid and highlights a number of key problems that policy makers need to keep in mind when designing and administering projects aimed at mitigating the effects of the food crisis. . Full article.  


UNU-WIDER ReCom - Research and Communication on Foreign Aid: gender equality theme meeting, Helsinki, Finland 12 July 2012

UNU-WIDER Conference on Climate Change and Development Policy, Helsinki, Finland 28 September 2012 


Panel Discussion and Book Launch: Economies in Transition: The Long-Run View. Edited by Gérard Roland. Published by Palgrave Macmillan, 2012. To be held in London, UK 19 June 2012

Presentation: ‘Urbanization and Development in Asia: Multidimensional Perspectives’, research findings from the UNU-WIDER project titled 'Development in an Urban World' directed by Jo Beall, Basudeb Guha-Khasnobis, and Ravi Kanbur. Central European University, Budapest, Hungary. 16 June 2012

Presentation: Launch of the special issue of the Journal of Economic Inequality: ‘Measuring Poverty Over Time’ (Luc Christiaensen and Tony Shorrocks, guest editors), Washington DC, USA. 14 June 2012

Launch of Collaboration for Joint University of Ghana – UNU-WIDER Research and Post Graduate Teaching Programme, Accra, Ghana
11 June 2012

UNU-WIDER Seminar: Donors, Democracy and Development:  Unraveling the Impact of Aid in Africa. Jointly hosted with the University of Ghana in Accra, Ghana. 8 June 2012

HECER-UNU-WIDER Seminar: Living through Crises: How the Food, Fuel, and Financial Shocks Affect the Poor. By Rasmus Heltberg. To be held in Helsinki 5 June 2012

UNU-WIDER Seminar: Urban Governance and Service Delivery in Africa. Jointly hosted with the African Centre for Cities at the University of Cape Town, South Africa. 5 June 2012

Workshop: Introduction to data analysis 29 May 2012

Exhibition: Maailma Kylässä - World Village Festival 26 May 2012

Presentation: Social Protection in sub-Saharan Africa: Will the green shoots blossom? Organized by Nordic African Institute and the Church of Sweden, Stockholm, Sweden 23 May 2012

Seminar: Foreign Aid and Democracy in Africa – A joint ODI and
UNU-WIDER event  17 May 2012

Seminar: Foreign Aid, Ministry for Foreign Affairs, Helsinki, Finland 15 May 2012

Results meetings: ReCom – Research and Communication on Foreign Aid, Democracy & Fragility. Sida, Stockholm, Sweden 10 May 2012

Lecture: Research and Communication on Foreign Aid 'Foreign Aid and Domestic Politics in Recipient Countries'. Stockholm University, Sweden 10 May 2012


Forthcoming Book: The Role of Elites in Economic Development
Edited by the late Alice H. Amsden, Alisa DiCaprio, and James A. Robinson

Journal special issue: Journal of Economic Inequality: Measuring Poverty Over Time
Guest editors: Luc Christiaensen and Tony Shorrocks

Forthcoming Book: Latin American Urban Development into the 21st Century: Towards a Renewed Perspective on the City
Edited by Dennis Rodgers, Jo Beall, and Ravi Kanbur

Book: Urbanization and Development in Asia: Multidimensional Perspectives
Edited by Jo Beall, Basudeb Guha-Khasnobis, and Ravi Kanbur

Book: Economies in Transition: The Long-Run View
Edited by Gérard Roland 

WIDER Working Papers 2012

On a Distance Function-Based Inequality Measure in the Spirit of the Bonferroni and Gini Indices
S. Subramanian WP/062

Foreign Aid in Dangerous Places: The donors and Mali’s democracy
Nicolas van de Walle WP/061

Informed Selection of Future Climates
Channing Arndt, Charles Fant, Sherman Robinson, and Kenneth Strzepek  WP/060

The Effects of Group Composition and Fractionalization in a Public Goods Game: An Agent-Based Simulation
Pablo Lucas, Angela C.M. de Oliveira, and Sheheryar Banuri WP/059

Conflicting Measures of Poverty and Inadequate Saving by the Poor
Sugata Marjit WP/058

On the ‘Inclusiveness’ of India’s Consumption Expenditure Growth
D. Jayaraj and S. Subramanian WP/057

Aid and Infrastructure Financing: Emerging challenges with a focus on Africa
Tony Addison and P.B. Anand WP/056

Pro-poor Service Delivery and Social Identity: An Experimental Investigation
Ulrike Mueller WP/055

Does Aid Availability Affect Effectiveness in Reducing Poverty?
François Bourguignon and Jean-Philippe Platteau WP/054 

Variable Populations and the Measurement of Poverty and Inequality: A Selective Overview
S. Subramanian WP/053

‘Successful’ Development Models in the MENA Region
Imed Drine  WP/052

Opposition Politics and Urban Service Delivery in Kampala, Uganda
Gina M. S. Lambright WP/051

Can Cities or Towns Drive African Development? Economy-wide Analysis for Ethiopia and Uganda
Paul Dorosh, and James Thurlow  WP/050

Donor Assistance and Urban Service Delivery in Africa
Richard Stren  WP/049

The Development Implications of External Integration in Latin America
José Antonio Ocampo  WP/048

Aid, Employment and Inclusive Growth in Conflict-Affected Countries: Policy Recommendations for Liberia
Graciana del Castillo  WP/047

The Economic Implications of Introducing Carbon Taxes in South Africa
Theresa Alton, Channing Arndt, Rob Davies, Faaiqa Hartley, Konstantin Makrelov, James Thurlow, and Dumebi Ubogu  WP/046

Does an Educated Mind Take the Broader View? A field experiment on in-group favouritism among microcredit clients  Ivar Kolstad and Arne Wiig  WP/045

Income Inequality, Redistribution and Poverty: Contrasting rational choice and behavioural perspectives
Malte Luebker  WP/044

Trans-border Land Acquisitions: A New Guise of Outsourcing and Host Country Effects
Gouranga Das  WP/043

On the Impact of External Debt and Aid on Public Expenditure Allocation in Sub-Saharan Africa after the Launch of the HIPC Initiative
Maria Quattri, and Augustin Kwasi Fosu  WP/042

The Effects of Rural Land Right Security on Labour Structural Transformation and Urbanization: Evidence from Thailand  Thanyaporn Chankrajang  WP/041

Ghana: The Limits of External Democracy Assistance
E. Gyimah-Boadi and Theo Yakah WP/040

Information on all of WIDER's publications is available on our website: http://www.wider.unu.edu/publications/ 

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