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Adriaan Verspoor

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.

Marco A Espinosa-Vega and Richard C. Barnett
The World Bank documents an inverse relationship between GDP per capita and child labor participation rates. We construct a life-cycle model with human and physical capital in which parents make a time allocation choice for their child. The model considers two features that have shown potential in explaining differences in states of development across nations. These are a minimum consumption requirement, and barriers to physical capital accumulation. We find the introduction of capital barriers alone is not enough to replicate the aforementioned observation by the World Bank. However, we find the interplay of a minimum consumption requirement and barriers to capital may enhance our understanding of child labor and the poverty of nations. Additionally, we find support for policies aimed at reducing capital barriers as a means to reduce child labor.
Mr. Arvind Subramanian, Mr. Francesco Trebbi, and Mr. Dani Rodrik
We estimate the respective contributions of institutions, geography, and trade in determining cross-country income levels using recently developed instruments for institutions and trade. Our results indicate that the quality of institutions "trumps" everything else. Controlling for institutions, geography have at best weak direct effects on incomes, although it has a strong indirect effect through institutions. Similarly, controlling for institutions, trade has a negative, albeit, insignificant direct effect on income, although trade too has a positive effect on institutional quality. We relate our results to recent literature, and where differences exist, trace their origins to choices on samples, specification, and instrumentation.
Mr. Abebe Aemro Selassie
Uganda has registered one of the most impressive economic turnarounds of recent decades. The amelioration of conflict and wide ranging economic reforms kick-started rapid economic growth that has now been sustained for some 20 years. But there is a strong sense in policy making circles that despite macroeconomic stability and reasonably well functioning markets, economic growth has not translated into significant structural transformation. This paper considers (i) Uganda's record of economic transformation relative to the high growth Asian countries and (ii) the contending explanations as to why more transformation and higher growth has proved elusive.