Conventional wisdom holds that Sub-Saharan African farmers use few modern inputs despite the fact that most growth-inducing and poverty-reducing agricultural growth in the region is expected to come largely from expanded use of inputs that embody improved technologies, particularly improved seed, fertilizers and other agro-chemicals, machinery, and irrigation. Yet following several years of high food prices, concerted policy efforts to intensify fertilizer and hybrid seed use, and increased public and private investment in agriculture, how low is modern input use in Africa really?
What determines the evolution of the size of countries? Does size matter for economic success? Given the trend toward decentralization and the existence of supernational unions such as the EU, is the meaning of national borders evolving? Alberto Alesina of Harvard tackles these questions in his Joseph Schumpeter lecture, 'The Size of Countries: Does it Matter?"
As the big climate events were under way in New York over the past 10 days, 'Live Mint' talked with Prakash Javadekar, India's Environment Minister regarding the country's intent to act on climate change on its own volition, but not at somebody's dictation.
The world economy faces huge infrastructure financing needs that are not being matched on the supply side. Emerging market economies, in particular, have had to deal with international long-term private debt financing options that are less supportive of infrastructure finance.
In the context of development, globalization has always had two facets. For the advocates of globalization, it has facilitated financial and economic integration around the world and has played a substantial role in reducing poverty in many developing countries. For those who oppose it, it has introduced new challenges such as economic structural changes, huge income inequality and development disparities across and within developing countries. The changing development landscape with globalization calls for the necessity of reconsidering effective development aid strategies.
At a time when students, parents and governments are looking more closely at the value of schooling, it is important to keep in mind that in addition to being a basic human service, education produces some strong economic benefits. One of the most commonly cited benefits are the earnings associated with schooling. These have been called the returns to investment in schooling.
While estimates of the economic rate of return to schooling have been provided by economists for more than 60 years, it is only recently that we have had such estimates for the vast majority of nations in the world. In a recent research, “Comparable Estimates of Returns to Schooling around the World,” we report the latest estimates of the private – what the individual student earns – returns to schooling using comparable data from 140 economies around the world and more than 800 household surveys.
Do Poverty Traps Exist? is the question asked by Aart Kraay and David McKenzie in an article in the Journal of Economic Perspectives.
An articulate, humble piece by IMF Chief Economist Olivier Blanchard on key lessons from the 2009 financial crisis, the main one being that much more attention needs to be paid to what he calls ‘dark corners’
A new study by an international team of researchers finds that the world's population will hit 11bn in 2100.
A recent surge in China’s food imports has rekindled concerns about global food demand raised by Brown (1995) and about food self-sufficiency in China. According to UN Comtrade data, China’s trade in food was roughly balanced until 2008 but subsequently moved into deficit, with net imports rising to $38.7 billion in 2013. A key question is whether China will become a massive net food importer like Japan and the Republic of Korea, which rely on world markets for more than 70 percent of grain and soybean demand.
China’s rapid economic growth, at 8.5 percent average annual per capita in purchasing power parity terms since economic reform began in 1978, has dramatically changed Chinese diets. While China’s per capita calorie consumption appears likely to be approaching its peak, the composition of food demand seems likely to continue to change, as consumers shift away from basic staples and towards animal-based products. This shift to greater dietary diversity imposes greater burdens on agricultural resources since animal-based diets require much more agricultural resources than vegetable-based diets.
Economists often recommend fuel taxes to curb greenhouse gas emissions from automobiles in cities. But the effectiveness of these taxes depends heavily on other factors, like the availability of public transportation, and the density of a city. In the following podcast interview, I discuss my paper, co-authored with Paolo Avner and Jun Rentschler, and explain why taxes are twice as effective when accompanied by an investment in public transport. Please listen in.
Reuters reports that the number of new Ebola cases in West Africa is growing faster than authorities can manage them, and that the World Health Organization (WHO) is renewing a call for health workers from around the world to go to the region to help.
The Wall Street Journal's 'Corporate Intelligence' blog finds that R&D by pharmaceuticals on tropical diseases like ebola is on the rise. "Increased focus on tropical diseases [is] a mix of social responsibility and “strategic investment in the customers of tomorrow, given that the tropics are home to over 40% of the world’s population," writes Hester Plumridge.
During the 1990s and 2000s, nearly two dozen African countries proposed de jure land reforms extending access to formal, freehold land tenure to millions of poor households, but many of these reforms stalled. Titled land remains largely the preserve of wealthy households and, within households, mainly the preserve of men.
An ambitious research project aiming to map the value of preserving the Amazon rainforest is just getting started at the World Bank. Why is it important to value the Amazon rainforest? Consider the perhaps most fundamental dilemma for conservation policy, with two opposing views. A “conservation” view is to assume that the rainforest should always be protected. A “development” view implies that the rainforest should always be converted to alternative uses (such as agriculture) when such conversion implies clear and readily measurable financial gains. Very often these two views cannot be reconciled, as the value attributed to forest protection by each of them can be dramatically different.
Do economists care about influencing public policy? is a question asked by Robert Hansen on the 'Overcoming bias' blog.
Abhijit Banerji, Arun Chandrasekhar, Esther Duflo, and Matthew Jackson have a new paper on a study of 43 Indian villages that tackles the subject of gossip and how to identify the village busybody, also known as the best information diffuser. This matters for microfinance and any product for which experts want local uptake or adoption.
The impact of the Great Recession on Latvia was severe. Between 2008 and 2010, GDP fell by 21 percent, 11 percent of the workforce lost their jobs, and poverty nearly doubled, to 18 percent. This was no ordinary recession, it was a deep crisis.
This is the story of how Latvia successfully cushioned the inevitable blow--to at least some workers--through a World Bank-supported public works program.
Enhancing the effectiveness of aid has long been the international development community’s core agenda, given the limited resources available for the fight against poverty. With the establishment of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in 2000 and the implementation of the Paris Declaration (PD) on Aid Effectiveness in 2005, the international community has continued to improve the impact of aid on development. However, poverty still persists despite drastic changes in the development landscape.
Recently, while reviewing a document, I came across a statistic about age dependency* in the Republic of Mauritius. Mauritius already had an age dependency ratio of 10.9 in 2010 and this is projected to rise to 25 by 2030 and 37 by 2050, which is at par with many East Asian economies. Aging issues in Europe and parts of Asia have already become an economic and fiscal policy concern over the last few years and will remain so for the foreseeable future, could it also become a problem for Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) sooner than realized?
With 43 percent of the population below the age of 15 and only three percent above the age of 65, Sub-Saharan Africa is a predominantly young continent. The problems emanating from an ageing population, such as rising age dependency ratios and increasing health care costs, are far over the horizon as far as the continent is concerned. However, this may not remain so for long and definitely not for all the countries. Let me explain why.