WIDERAngle

Expert commentary from our network

Why countries best placed to handle the pandemic appear to have fared the worst

by Rachel M. Gisselquist, Andrea Vaccaro
During the first year of the pandemic, it was wealthier countries, with their comparatively stronger health systems, civil services, legal systems and other public services, that suffered the highest rates of COVID-19. Indeed, countries rated to be best prepared to respond to public health threats such as pandemics – those with the greatest “global health security” – had the most COVID-related fatalities. On the face of it, this makes no sense. Poorer countries with...

Mozambique's difficult decade

Unsplash - house of cards - Sigmund
At the start of the last decade, Mozambique’s prospects looked stellar. Following from the early 1990s, when peace finally arrived after a devastating and protracted armed conflict, this vast country in Southern Africa could look back proudly on a sustained period of rapid growth and poverty reduction. Mozambique was a darling of the international development community, enjoying significant direct support to the government budget, and investment possibilities in the natural resources...

Do resource rich economies have better or worse human development outcomes?

Although increasingly challenged, we often hear that being resource rich can adversely affect growth prospects. Here we concentrate instead on a lesser-known aspect: how resource rich economies fare in terms of education, health, income inequality and poverty. The IMF classifies over 50 developing and emerging economies as resource rich. Many are in Africa, where a significant share of the world’s poor lives. With the increasing prices of many...

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Long-term research in Tanzania sheds light on the reasons rural households diversify their income

Researchers and policymakers have long asked whether rural households in Africa diversify their income to spread risk or by seizing opportunities to increase their earning potential...

Blog
Why countries best placed to handle the pandemic appear to have fared the worst

During the first year of the pandemic, it was wealthier countries, with their comparatively stronger health systems, civil services, legal systems and other public services, that suffered the highest rates of COVID-19...

COVID-19 Pandemic State
Policy Brief
The economic gains of reducing the employment gender gap in Morocco June 2021

Middle East and North Africa (MENA) countries, including Morocco, currently record the lowest rates of female labour force participation (FLFP) in the world...

Female labour force participation Gender gap Employment
Blog
Mozambique's difficult decade: Three lessons to inform next steps

At the start of the last decade, Mozambique’s prospects looked stellar...

Foreign Direct Investment Foreign investments Natural resource management
Blog
Do resource rich economies have better or worse human development outcomes?

Although increasingly challenged , we often hear that being resource rich can adversely affect growth prospects...

Blog
Ethnic diversity and informal employment in Ghana

Informal activities are widespread in many developing countries. In many sub-Saharan African (SSA) countries informal economic activities account for more than one-third of economic output and more than two-thirds of employment...

Ethnic diversity Inequalities Informality
Blog
Precarious employment for youth in Egypt, Jordan, and Tunisia

Youth (those aged 15–29) in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) face notoriously precarious employment prospects...

Labour market outcomes Gender equality; Labour markets Informality
Blog
Precarization or protection? How labour policies influence the effects of globalization on informality

Globalization has generally coincided with a rise in work outside the formal economy, intensifying job precarization — when high-quality, formal jobs that entitle workers to benefits are replaced by jobs which may not comply with regulations an...

Precarity Labour market outcomes Informality
Blog
Over 2 billion workers globally are informal — what should we do about it?

Informality is a pervasive phenomenon in the labour markets of developing countries. Two billion workers, representing 61.2 per cent of the world’s employed population, are in informal employment ...

Informal poor Labour market outcomes Equality and inequality
Blog
Better measures of informality can improve poverty reduction policy

In a recent study , my co-authors and I propose a new way to measure informality by household, rather than by individual worker...

Informality Labour rights Labour market outcomes
Blog
How global tax dodging costs lives: New research shows a direct link to increased death rates

Tax abuse is an expensive business. According to a recent report by the Tax Justice Network, avoiding or evading tax deprives governments across the world of around US$427 billion (£302 billion) every year...

Tax evasion Tax avoidance Human rights
Blog
Truly one of a kind – SA-TIED’s Research Assistant programme

Most jobs right out of university are either filled with busy work or too much work—very little time is available for gaining new skills...

Research Brief
Trends in global inequality – a comprehensive approach April 2021

Recent analysis of inequality trends — which relies on the World Income Inequality Database (WIID) Companion , a pair of rich new datasets — assesses the extent to which inequality trends depend on certain views about inequality, includin...

Inequality Income inequality Global inequality
Blog
COVID-19 lays bare Cape Town’s social divide, deepens underlying inequalities

The COVID-19 pandemic delivered a devastating economic shock to livelihoods across the world. In Cape Town, it has been toughest on those who had just found a way to keep their heads above water, living on the fringes of urban society...

South Africa Urban COVID-19
Blog
'Love thy neighbour'?: Evidence from a randomized neighbourhood relocation policy in India
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Caste in India plays an instrumental role in determining access to education, jobs, public spaces, and social networks...

Group-based inequality Inequalities Anti-discrimination measures
Blog
Good intentions falling short – the case of pension-related tax expenditures in South Africa

Tax benefits to boost contributions into pension funds or pension-related tax expenditures (PTEs) are used widely by governments worldwide to address issues related to the aging of population and the sustainability of retirement systems...

Inequality Tax administration data Tax expenditures
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