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Çağlar Özden

For the latest thinking about the international financial system, monetary policy, economic development, poverty reduction, and other critical issues, subscribe to Finance & Development (F&D). This lively quarterly magazine brings you in-depth analyses of these and other subjects by the IMF’s own staff as well as by prominent international experts. Articles are written for lay readers who want to enrich their understanding of the workings of the global economy and the policies and activities of the IMF.

Mr. Rabah Arezki and Mr. Marc G Quintyn

Two years ago, citizens in the Arab world—fired by their ideals and visions of a better life—ignited a social movement that inspired people around the globe. In Egypt, Jordan, Libya, Morocco, Tunisia, and Yemen—the so-called Arab countries in transition—people embraced change, ushering in a new era. This issue of F&D looks at the difficulties of this transition, focusing on long-standing forces that shape the region’s economy and offering options for moving ahead to achieve strong, inclusive growth. • Masood Ahmed, Director of the IMF’s Middle East and Central Asia Department, maps out an agenda for modernizing and diversifying the region’s economies in “Toward Prosperity for All.” • In “Freedom and Bread Go Together,” Marwan Muasher addresses the intersection of economic progress and political change. • Vali Nasr, in a Point of View column, underscores the vital role small and medium-sized enterprises play in a successful democratic transition. Elsewhere in this issue, we look at how surging oil and gas production in the United States could shake up global energy markets; the effect of uncertainty on economic growth; and Mexico’s competitiveness rebound. F&D's People in Economics series profiles Christina Romer, former chair of the U.S. Council of Economic Advisers and an architect of the U.S. stimulus package; and the latest installment in our Back to Basics series explains how structural policies help to both stabilize and strengthen economies.

International Monetary Fund

Two years ago, citizens in the Arab world—fired by their ideals and visions of a better life—ignited a social movement that inspired people around the globe. In Egypt, Jordan, Libya, Morocco, Tunisia, and Yemen—the so-called Arab countries in transition—people embraced change, ushering in a new era. This issue of F&D looks at the difficulties of this transition, focusing on long-standing forces that shape the region’s economy and offering options for moving ahead to achieve strong, inclusive growth. • Masood Ahmed, Director of the IMF’s Middle East and Central Asia Department, maps out an agenda for modernizing and diversifying the region’s economies in “Toward Prosperity for All.” • In “Freedom and Bread Go Together,” Marwan Muasher addresses the intersection of economic progress and political change. • Vali Nasr, in a Point of View column, underscores the vital role small and medium-sized enterprises play in a successful democratic transition. Elsewhere in this issue, we look at how surging oil and gas production in the United States could shake up global energy markets; the effect of uncertainty on economic growth; and Mexico’s competitiveness rebound. F&D's People in Economics series profiles Christina Romer, former chair of the U.S. Council of Economic Advisers and an architect of the U.S. stimulus package; and the latest installment in our Back to Basics series explains how structural policies help to both stabilize and strengthen economies.

International Monetary Fund. Research Dept.

Research summaries on (1) public investment, and (2) bank transaction taxes; announcement of forthcoming (November 2006) Jacques Polak Seventh Annual Research Conference; country study on Italy; listing of contents of Vol. 53, No. 2 of IMF Staff Papers, summary of recently published book entitled "Divergent Paths in Post-Communist Transformation: Capitalism for All or Capitalism for the Few?"; summary of (January 2006) Warsaw Conference on European Union (EU) enlargement and related flows of labor and capital; listing of recent IMF Working Papers; and listing of visiting scholars at IMF, January-April 2006.

Dr. Anna Vignoles, Mr. Angel J. Ubide, and Martin M. McLaughlin

This paper reviews the resurgence of Latin America. The paper highlights that much of the region has witnessed a swift and robust recovery from the successive financial crises of 2001–02. Within two years, the region’s economic growth reached 5.6 percent in 2004, a 24-year high. Growth rates of about 4 percent in 2005 and 3¾ percent projected for 2006 are well above historical averages. Mexico and South American countries have gained, in particular, from the surge in fuel, food, and metals prices, and have generally been able to exploit these opportunities by expanding production.

Dean T. Jamison and Steven Radelet

The paper highlights that over the past century, access to education has increased enormously, illiteracy has fallen dramatically, and a higher proportion of people are completing primary, secondary, or tertiary education than ever before. But huge problems remain. About 115 million children of primary school age are not currently enrolled in school. Most are illiterate and live in absolute poverty—the majority female. Some 264 million children of secondary school age are not currently enrolled, and the quality of schooling is often low.

ARORA VIVEK and VAMVAKIDIS ATHANASIOS

This paper empirically examines the extent to which a country's economic growth is influenced by the economies of its trading partners. Panel estimation results based on four decades of data for more than 100 countries show that trading partners' growth has a strong effect on domestic growth, even after controlling for the influence of common global and regional trends. The results are robust to instrumental variable estimation and other robustness tests. Trading partners' relative income levels are also positively correlated with growth, suggesting that the richer a country's trading partners, the stronger is conditional convergence. A general implication of the results is that countries benefit from trading with fast-growing and relatively more developed countries.