It is becoming common wisdom that developing countries are doing well while the rich world is stuck in long-overdue austerity. Barring another subprime crisis (this time, in public debt), the locomotives of global growth are about to “switch over.” How come? Will this hold?
Greedy speculators in housing and private bankers, financial innovation and failure of risk models, regulators and credit rating agencies were all deservedly blamed for the recent financial crisis. Behind this all is public policy that worsened the problems.
The story of growth and poverty reduction is much debated in an ever-changing world. The challenge in the 1960s was how to lift low-income countries from a low-growth trap to a reasonably high-growth path. Fifty years later we have many fast-growing emerging economies but also over a hundred countries unable to move away from low-growth and high-poverty traps.
Between 1960 and 2010, 3 major shifts impacted how we think about growth and poverty. These big shifts were from state-directed ‘commanding heights’ to market-driven approach, from structural issues of deregulation, liberalization and privatization to sectoral sources of growth, particularly agriculture and financial services, and from macroeconomic to microeconomic (and now macro-micro) approaches to growth. Somewhere along these shifts, there was a recognition that poverty reduction is a goal in itself and does not have to depend on how fast or slow a country is growing. The new wave of globalization that has swept the world during the past two decades has aided growth and poverty reduction in the developing world but the ongoing global economic crisis threatens to undo all those gains and much more.
For policy makers, practitioners and students who want to learn more about growth and poverty reduction in development economics today, the World Bank Institute is offering an e-learning course on Policies for Growth.
The application deadline is September 17, 2010. Please note that a nominal fee of $250 will be assessed for accepted participants.
All over the world, countries have put in place fiscal stimulus packages as a response to the global crisis. In the US and UK, despite the large fiscal stimuli, the economies are stalling and unemployment rates are still high. Now, Paul Krugman is advocating a second $800+ billion stimulus as he is worried of a Third Depression (i.e. 1873-4, 1929-30 and now) or at best a low job creation and low GDP growth for the short to medium term.
Seventy percent of all trade is trade in goods. World trade volume declined by over 20% from peak levels trough April 2008 to January 2009, and this decline was observed across the board – advanced economies recorded a decline of over 23%, Asia about 25%, and so on. Several explanations were provided. One was that countries were raising tariffs and nontariff measures to protect domestic industries during the global downturn.
After all is said and done, this crisis had its genesis in US and European countries living beyond their means. This was reflected in large current account deficit which was financed by emerging economies of China, Russia, Brazil, Korea and others.
The current recovery in advanced economies is now exhibiting several signs of fragility. Their medium term growth prospects also look difficult. In this environment two questions arise: Will developing economies experience a renewed downward “recoupling” as a result of a low-growth scenario in advanced economies?
What do we learn from the troubles of Goldman Sachs, British Petroleum, Enron, Satyam, and other modern day corporations? These are the most sophisticated corporations ever formed yet victims of their own governance failures.
In 21 industrial economies during 1970-2008, there have been about 47 housing price busts and about 90 stock price collapses. Sometimes they both overlapped, other times not. There is now concern that stock markets in Emerging Markets have expanded rather rapidly since their lows at end-2008.
Keynes is best known for suggesting fiscal stimulus policies and programs to increase aggregate demand to get out of a deep recession. Since the marginal propensity to consume is positive and less than one; the bigger it is, the larger the fiscal multipliers will be and the faster we will get out of a recession.