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Mr. Matthew J. Slaughter and Mr. Phillip L Swagel

Abstract

Globalization—the international integration of goods, technology, labor, and capital—is everywhere to be seen. In any large city in any country, Japanese cars ply the streets, a telephone call can arrange the purchase of equities from a stock exchange half a world away, local businesses could not function without U.S. computers, and foreign nationals have taken over large segments of service industries. Over the past twenty years, foreign trade and the cross-border movement of technology, labor, and capital have been massive and irresistible. During the same period, in the advanced industrial countries, the demand for more-skilled workers has increased at the expense of less-skilled workers, and the income gap between the two groups has grown. There is no doubt that globalization has coincided with higher unemployment among the less skilled and with widening income inequality. But did it cause these phenomena, as many claim, or should we look to other factors, such as advances in technology? This paper seeks to answer that question.

Mr. Matthew J. Slaughter and Mr. Phillip L Swagel

Abstract

Increased globalization - the international integration of markets for goods, technology, labor, and capital - has coincided in the past 20 years with a shift in demand from less-skilled workers to those with more skills. Have imports from developing countries been responsible for the lowered wages of the unskilled, increased unemployment, and widened income inequality in the more advanced countries? This paper finds that a more important influence on labor markets during these years has been a technology-driven shift in labor demand.

Ms. Eva Jenkner and Mr. Arye L. Hillman

Abstract

In an ideal world, primary education would be universal and publicly financed, and all children would be able to attend school regardless of their parents’ ability or willingness to pay. The reason is simple: when any child fails to acquire the basic skills needed to function as a productive, responsible member of society, society as a whole—not to mention the individual child—loses. The cost of educating children is far outweighed by the cost of not educating them. Adults who lack basic skills have greater difficulty finding well-paying jobs and escaping poverty. Education for girls has particularly striking social benefits: incomes are higher and maternal and infant mortality rates are lower for educated women, who also have more personal freedom in making choices.

Ms. Eva Jenkner and Mr. Arye L. Hillman

Abstract

In an ideal world, primary education would be universal and publicly financed, and all children would be able to attend school regardless of their parents’ ability or willingness to pay. In many poor countries, however, governments lack either the financial resources or the political will to provide each child with a basic education, despite the benefits that would accrue not only to individuals but to society as a whole. In some of these countries, parents cover part or all of the cost of their children’s education. This paper explores the pros and cons of user payments.

Mr. N. A. Barr

Abstract

Looks at the policy choices involved in creating pension schemes, particularly whether it is advisable to move away from government pay-as-you-go pensions toward private or publicly funded plans. Examines the reasons for the controversy surrounding pension design, and whether the second level of pension systems should be mandatory, private, funded, and defined-contribution.

Mr. N. A. Barr

Abstract

All societies, in one way or another, try to meet people’s needs as they age and can no longer provide for themselves. As developing countries grow, they face difficult issues about when and how to establish pension systems that their more complex economies require. Countries currently making the transition from central planning to more market-oriented approaches confront similar decisions. And in the industrial world, long-established pension systems that have sufficed for decades are now threatened by rapidly expanding populations of pensioners with a shrinking base of productive workers to provide for them.

Mr. Bernardin Akitoby, Mr. Gerd Schwartz, and Mr. Richard Hemming

Abstract

While infrastructure needs and financing constraints are more severe in developing countries than in advanced economies, all economies need to maintain fiscal discipline and respect constraints on taxation and borrowing, the usual sources for funding public investment. The Stability and Growth Pact of the European Union (EU), for example, imposes ceilings on deficits and public debt in EU members, limiting their room for maneuver with regard to public investment. Also, all economies, rich and poor alike, must allocate limited resources among competing needs, balancing investment in physical capital against investment in human capital—education, health care, and other social sectors—while ensuring that they have enough revenue to cover current spending.

Mr. Bernardin Akitoby, Mr. Gerd Schwartz, and Mr. Richard Hemming

Abstract

Over the past three decades, public spending on infrastructure, as a share of GDP, has been on the decline worldwide. Although the link between infrastructure investment and economic growth is not yet fully understood, the quality of infrastructure clearly affects a country's productivity, competitiveness in export markets, and ability to attract foreign investment. This EI explores the following questions: Should countries increase public investment in infrastructure? If the answer is yes, how can they do so in a fiscally responsible manner? Are public-private partnerships a viable alternative?

Mr. Mahmood Hasan Khan

Abstract

The causes of rural poverty are complex and multidimensional. They involve, among other things, culture, climate, gender, markets, and public policy. Likewise, the rural poor are quite diverse both in the problems they face and the possible solutions to these problems. This pamphlet examines how rural poverty develops, what accounts for its persistence, and what specific measures can be taken to eliminate or reduce it.

Mr. Mahmood Hasan Khan

Abstract

Reviews causes of poverty in rural areas and presents a policy framework for reducing rural poverty, including through land reform, public works programs, access to credit, physical and social infrastructure, subsidies, and transfer of technology. Identifies key elements for drafting a policy to reduce rural poverty.