In September 1975, Mr. McNamara outlined in his address to the Governors of the Bank at their Annual Meeting a major new undertaking for the Bank—a program to help national governments alleviate poverty in the rapidly growing cities of the developing countries. This article, the second in the series, sets out the background to this major effort, outlines the basic strategy that has been developed, and reports on progress to date.
Abhijit Banerjee, Victor Ginsburgh, Mr. Shlomo Weber, Tim Harford, and Jeff Madrick
'Wising Up to the Costs of Aging' looks at how falling fertility and rising life expectancy have combined to threaten the ability of many countries to provide a decent standard of living for the old without imposing a crushing burden on the young. In our lead article, Ronald Lee and Andrew Mason say that while population aging in rich industrial countries as well as in some middle- and lower-income countries will challenge public and private budgets in many ways, a combination of reduced consumption, postponed retirement, increased asset holdings, and greater investment in human capital should make it possible to meet this challenge without catastrophic consequences. Neil Howe and Richard Jackson publish a fascinating ranking of which countries are best and worst prepared to meet the needs of the growing wave of retirees. We also have articles on a broad range of current topics, including Middle East unemployment, the economic repercussions of the earthquake and devastating tsunami in Japan, and banking in offshore financial centers such as the Cayman Islands. Carmen Reinhart and Jacob Kirkegaard look at how governments are finding ways to manipulate markets to hold down the cost of financing huge public debts, and, in Straight Talk, the IMF's Min Zhu talks about the long-term challenges now facing emerging markets. Prakash Loungani speaks to Nobel Prize winner George Akerlof, and we discuss with three other laureates-Michael Spence, Joseph Stiglitz, and Robert Solow-what the global economic crisis has taught us. Back to Basics explains economic models, and Picture This highlights the great variations in the cost of sending money back home.
What about the flow of well-educated people from less developed countries to richer countries? The author puts forth the view that—sometimes at least—it alleviates social and economic stresses in some of the “losing” countries.
This paper highlights that 1977 was an eventful year for the IMF. Drawing on the IMF’s resources during 1977 totaled more than SDR 3.4 billion. These were accompanied by a record volume of repurchases, which reduced the total net drawings for the year to SDR 427 million. At the end of 1977, total net drawings on the IMF since its inception were equivalent to about SDR 15.5 billion. In 1977, the IMF also carried out its gold sales to members at SDR 35 per ounce under the IMF’s “restitution” program.
What is populism? Economists, unsurprisingly, have defined the phenomenon in exclusively economic terms. The classic definition of populism is “an approach to economics that emphasizes growth and income redistribution and deemphasizes the risks of inflation and deficit finance, external constraints, and the reaction of economic agents to aggressive nonmarket policies” (Dornbusch and Edwards 1991).
An endogenous growth model with heterogeneous agents is analyzed to show that “human capital flight” or “brain drain” can lead to a permanent reduction in income and growth of the country of emigration relative to the country of immigration. Convergence between the two is therefore rendered unlikely with such migration. While, in a closed economy, subsidizing human capital accumulation at all levels of education can benefit economic growth, in an open economy where the educated are more likely to migrate, growth may be better fostered by subsidizing only lower levels of education. [JEL 015, 040, H20]