This paper provides a broad empirical analysis of the determinants of post-conflict economic transitions across the world during the period 1960–2010, using a dynamic panel estimation approach based on the system-generalized method of moments. In addition to an array of demographic, economic, geographic, and institutional variables, we introduce an estimated risk of conflict recurrence as an explanatory variable in the growth regression, because post-conflict countries have a tendency to relapse into subsequent conflicts even years after the cessation of violence. The empirical results show that domestic factors, including the estimated probability of conflict recurrence, as well as a range of external variables, contribute to post-conflict economic performance.
This paper tests the theoretical framework developed by North, Wallis and Weingast (2009) on the transition from closed to open access societies. They posit that societies need to go through three doorsteps: (i) the establishment of rule of law among elites; (ii) the adoption of perpetually existing organizations; and (iii) the political control of the military. We identify indicators reflecting these doorsteps and graphically test the correlation between them and a set of political and economic variables. Finally, through Identification through Heteroskedasticity we test these relationships econometrically. The paper broadly confirms the logic behind the doorsteps as necessary steps in the transition to open access societies. The doorsteps influence economic and political processes, as well as each other, with varying intensity. We also identify income inequality as a potentially important force leading to social change.
Current estimates of global poverty vary substantially across studies. In this paper we undertake a novel sensitivity analysis to highlight the importance of methodological choices in estimating global poverty. We measure global poverty using different data sources, parametric and nonparametric estimation methods, and multiple poverty lines. Our results indicate that estimates of global poverty vary significantly when they are based alternately on data from household surveys versus national accounts but are relatively consistent across different estimation methods. The decline in poverty over the past decade is found to be robust across methodological choices.
Will Ghana’s oil production from 2011 accelerate progress toward middle-income status, or will it retard gains in living standards through a possible "resource curse"? This paper examines the likelihood of "resource curse" effects, drawing on a dataset of 150 low and middle income countries from 1973 to 2008 using static and dynamic panel estimation techniques. Results confirm that resource rich countries in Ghana’s income range do experience slower growth than their more diversified peers, an effect that appears to be related to weaker governance. Provided that Ghana can preserve and improve its economic governance and also strengthen fiscal management, prospects look good for converting its oil wealth into sustained strong economic growth.
The paper analyzes how the UNDP, the World Bank, and the IMF classify countries based on their level of development. These systems are found lacking in clarity with regard to their underlying rationale. The paper argues that a country classification system based on a transparent, data-driven methodology is preferable to one based on judgment or ad hoc rules. Such an alternative methodology is developed and used to construct classification systems using a variety of proxies for development attainment.
Each year natural disasters affect about 200 million people and cause about $50 billion in damage. This paper compares the incidence of natural disasters across countries along several dimensions and finds that the relative costs tend to be far higher in developing countries than in advanced economies. The analysis shows that small island states are especially vulnerable, with the countries of the Eastern Caribbean standing out as among the most disaster-prone in the world. Natural disasters are found to have had a discernible macroeconomic impact, including large effects on fiscal and external balances, pointing to an important role for precautionary measures.
The paper evaluates the impact of HIV/AIDS on welfare in several countries affected by the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Unlike studies focusing on the impact of HIV/AIDS on GDP per capita, we evaluate the impact of increased mortality using estimates of the value of statistical life. Our results illustrate the catastrophic impact of HIV/AIDS in the worst-affected countries and suggest that studies focusing on GDP and income per capita capture only a very small proportion of the welfare impact of HIV/AIDS.
This paper reviews current thinking on the relationship between financial development and poverty alleviation-a subject that has grown increasingly important in the policy prescriptions of the IMF and other international financial institutions in recent years. Although work on this issue is far from over, some important lessons can be learned from the existing evidence. The paper reflects on these lessons and looks at some of the policy implications of the analysis.