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How Human Rights Have Contributed to Development

Otaviano Canuto's picture

The last 20 years have seen a growing engagement between development and human rights practitioners. But are we still mainly talking past each other? Or has there been valuable mutual learning with development results on the ground?

Let’s start by clarifying what I mean when I refer here to human rights. Adapted from the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, human rights are international norms that help to protect all people everywhere from severe political, legal, economic and social abuses, or, alternatively, which serve to secure and preserve extremely important goods, protections and freedoms in these various areas, for all people everywhere. These rights are now embodied in the 1947 Universal Declaration on Human Rights and nine core international covenants and treaties.

Since 1947 much has happened. And in the last two decades, there has been a growing convergence between human rights and development. Paralleling the broad reach of human rights concerns, the scope of development has also extended enormously. From mainly being concerned with economic growth, the term has broadened to include poverty reduction, inequality, human and social development, the environment, governance and institutions, just to name some. From GDP figures, we now also think about households and the specific needs of specific groups.

Why Official Bailouts Tend Not to Work: An Example Motivated by Greece 2010

Brian Pinto's picture

A newsclip in the DECPG Daily dated April 19, 2010, noted: “After Greek aid talks were delayed by disrupted air travel, Greek bond premiums relative to German bunds spiked again on Monday.  Air travel disruptions caused by Iceland’s recent volcanic eruption delayed the start of talks on a potential bailout package....

The Poor Are Paying the Price of the Food Cost Spike

Otaviano Canuto's picture

2008 is so last decade. And yet, the recent hike in food prices is bringing food costs near the dangerous levels of that year, creating enormous vulnerabilities in developing countries.

Frontiers in Development Policy: the Role of Macro-Prudential Policies

The devastating impact of the global financial crisis, which consequently turned into a global economic crisis, created a consensus that pre-crisis financial regulation didn’t take the “Big Picture” of the system as a whole sufficiently into account. As a result, according to the views of many, supervisors in many markets “missed the forest for the tress”.

Relevance of History to Current Global Crisis

A lot is being written these days on the global economic crisis. In fact, the volume of research and blogs on various aspects of the crisis particularly in the developed countries is truly overwhelming. There are too many camps and too many ideas being brandied about the causes, consequences and responses to the global crisis.

“Speaking in Verse without Knowing It”: Skilled Diasporas from a Mundane Task Manager Perspective

Yevgeny Kuznetsov's picture

‘What is diaspora?’ –  a senior official of the biotechnology department of India’s Ministry of Science and Technology asked me as she was describing how the department engages with India’s technical and managerial talent abroad.  Relevant expertise is drawn upon for peer review of proposals and mentoring of their subsequent implementation.

Delivering Aid Differently

Otaviano Canuto's picture

There has been an ongoing debate on the future need for foreign aid—a debate made ever more crucial by the current budget constraints in many countries as a result of the financial crisis. Some contend that aid budgets should be ramped up to counter the continued existence of severe poverty in the world; others argue that aid has been ineffective in the past, and in some cases, stymied growth in developing countries.

How Public Spending Can Help You Grow

Otaviano Canuto's picture

Last week’s State of the Union underscored the debate surrounding public spending as a measure to stimulate economic growth. President Barrack Obama argued that to “win the future” the US needs to make significant public expenditures to update the country’s infrastructure, health, and educational systems. The opposite view is that economic growth can only occur through decreased public spending and private sector growth.

Such varied opinions on public expenditures do not exist in the US alone—the debate is global. From the US to the UK, from Europe to Africa, from Latin America to Southeast Asia, to spend or not to spend is a question faced everywhere.

Beyond the epicenter of the economic crisis—the US and Western Europe—public spending has had an indeterminate effect on

The Day After Tomorrow: Macro-Financial Policy Catches Up With Reality

Otaviano Canuto's picture

The 2008–09 crisis opened the door to a different kind of thinking in international macroeconomics—and closed it on some of the previous orthodoxy. Let’s take a look at some of the most obvious cases.

First, some now see a bit of inflation (perhaps as high as 5 percent per year) as desirable for countries that pursue inflation targets, because it would allow more space to reduce nominal interest rates when an economy falls in recession. In fact, what to target (e.g., consumer, producer, asset, housing, or other prices) is the question.

Second, regulatory parameters and practices in the financial sector have proved to be

How Do Women Weather Economic Shocks?

Otaviano Canuto's picture

From the Latin American Debt crises to East Asia’s financial sector turmoil, past macroeconomic shocks have traditionally affected women differently than men. Such asymmetries are even more evident in the context of today’s financial crisis, where gender-differentiated impacts are expected to affect women more acutely than ever.

As women’s participation in the globalized workforce has steadily increased, the present shock is expected to have greater effects on women’s

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