From the Editor's Desk (October 2014)
30 October 2014
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.
Roger Williamson is preparing for Annual Lecture 18 and the 30th anniversary of UNU-WIDER (in 2015) by going through all our previous Annual Lectures. Roger’s article in this month’s Angle takes a look at the rich history of the series. I still remember Joe Stiglitz giving the second Annual Lecture in 1998. A true-barnstorming lecture, in Joe’s inimitable style.
Andrea Cornia’s piece in this month’s Angle focuses on inequality in Latin America, and the role of the financial sector. One reason why Latin America has contained and reduced rising inequality is through avoiding financial crises (which knocked its growth off in the past). Andrea explores the issues, and to read more in depth see his new Oxford University Book for UNU-WIDER go here. Andrea presented the work at an ILO/UNCTAD/UNU-WIDER event hosted by ILO in Geneva in October. Dominik Etienne and Annett Victorero report back from the meeting in this issue of the Angle (and a video of the lively presentation are available here).
The Latin American flavour and theme of inequality of this month’s newsletter continues with RESEARCHAngle articles. Deeper integration into the global economy has been a distinctive feature of Latin American development strategies over the past quarter century, the first article featured here outlines the effect these strategies have had on growth. The rise of social protection in Latin America is another notable trend, and the second article outlines its evolution and possibilities for the future.
Our VIDEOAngle is an interview with Tony Shorrocks, former director of UNU-WIDER, and an international expert on the measurement of income and wealth inequality. Tony has done innovative work on global wealth, and the statistics that you see in the media on the distribution of wealth are often from Tony’s work. The Credit Suisse global wealth report 2014 comes from the work of Tony and Jim Davies. The talk by Jim explaining the methods used can be seen here, from our recent Inequality conference.
If you missed our June conference on ‘Institutional Reforms for Transformation, Inclusion and Sustainability’ in Hanoi, with Vietnam’s Central Institute for Economic Management, then you can watch the videos of the sessions here. And the videos from our ‘Inequality: Measurement, Trends, Impacts and Policies’, conference held in Helsinki in September are now up. If you weren’t among the 350+ people who attended (including many from Africa), the videos are a great opportunity to catch up on our inequality research including the latest World Income Inequality Database (WIID). The special session by the Journal of Economic Inequality, on which inequality database to use, is very useful. Research students could find this material especially helpful as they look to becoming the next inequality rock star post-Piketty.
We have now published over 140 working papers in 2014. The topics include: inequality and its determinants, much on African poverty trends, industrial policy (with Asia and Africa comparisons), women’s economic empowerment; child labour, and social protection. Our ReCom project site continues to provide a hub for work on aid and its impact.
So, as the days darken ever more, and we switch on the special sun lamps that keep us perky, UNU-WIDER continues to bring you interesting news and views. We are back in December with a double issue issue of Angle, including a report back from the UN in New York on our annual lecture (go here for more, and register to participate if you are in town that day). Meanwhile follow us on twitter at @UNUWIDER.
Tony Addison is chief economist/deputy director, UNU-WIDER.
Follow him on twitter at @TonysAngle