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  • Economic Development: Urban, Rural, Regional, and Transportation Analysis; Housing; Infrastructure x
  • Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty: General x
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Sriram Balasubramanian and Mr. Paul Cashin
This paper examines the origins and use of the concept of Gross National Happiness (or subjective well-being) in the Kingdom of Bhutan, and the relationship between measured well-being and macroeconomic indicators. While there are only a few national surveys of Gross National Happiness in Bhutan, the concept has been used to guide public policymaking for the country’s various Five-Year Plans. Consistent with the Easterlin Paradox, available evidence indicates that Bhutan’s rapid increase in national income is only weakly associated with increases in measured levels of well-being. It will be important for Bhutan to undertake more frequent Gross National Happiness surveys and evaluations, to better build evidence for comovement of well-being and macroeconomic concepts such as real national income.
Elin Baldárrago and Mr. Gonzalo Salinas
While trade integration has been an engine of global growth and prosperity, as suggested by theory, some sectors have been negatively affected by increased import competition. We test if this negative effect is significant in a context of high intranational migration, as theory indicates that labor mobility could reduce it. We focus on the 2004-14 period of trade liberalization in Peru (a major beneficiary of trade integration), which allows for methodological improvements relative to similar studies. We find that districts competing with liberalized imports experienced significantly lower growth in consumption per capita despite some emigration in response to increased import competition. This underscores the need to support the “losers of trade liberalization” even amidst high labor mobility.
International Monetary Fund. Asia and Pacific Dept
Executive Directors commend Bangladesh in addressing the major challenges to growth and poverty reduction. The strategy is comprehensive and confronts the key issues impeding sustainable development and inclusive growth in Bangladesh. Implementing sound macro-financial policies, intensifying revenue mobilization, improving the business environment, ensuring trade liberalization, and improving governance and accountability are top priorities. Actions should be sequenced according to these priorities. Severe external shocks could reignite macroeconomic pressures and undermine socioeconomic targets.
Petia Topalova
This paper uses the 1991 Indian trade liberalization to measure the impact of trade liberalization on poverty, and to examine the mechanisms underpinning this impact. Variation in sectoral composition across districts and liberalization intensity across production sectors allows a difference-in-difference approach. Rural districts, in which production sectors more exposed to liberalization were concentrated, experienced slower decline in poverty and lower consumption growth. The impact of liberalization was most pronounced among the least geographically mobile, at the bottom of the income distribution, and in Indian states where inflexible labor laws impeded factor reallocation across sectors.