Development Economics
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Development Economics
Regularly updated news articles, research features and revision resources on Unit 4 macro development economics
Curated by Geoff Riley
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Inequality linked to export complexity

Some new and exciting work from Cesar Hidalgo! Research from Hidalgo's team at the MIT media lab finds that a country's income inequality is linked to its…
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Some new and exciting work from Cesar Hidalgo! Research from Hidalgo's team at the MIT media lab finds that a country's income inequality is linked to its export complexity. According to a new paper appearing in World Development, the more complex a country’s products, the greater equality it enjoys relative to similar-sized countries with similar-sized economies.
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Money via mobile: The M-Pesa revolution

Money via mobile: The M-Pesa revolution | Development Economics | Scoop.it
How mobile technology is profoundly changing access to money in the developing world.
Geoff Riley's insight:
Tim Harford's series on 50 Things That Made the Modern Economy this week looks at the impact of the M-PESA innovation which is having a significant impact on millions of entrepreneurs, farmers and government employees in many low and middle income countries.
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Ethiopian Growth and Development - Latest Report

Ethiopian Growth and Development - Latest Report | Development Economics | Scoop.it
The latest Ethiopia economic analysis for the country says addressing major obstacles in the labor market will further facilitate economic growth and structural transformation.
Geoff Riley's insight:
Ethiopia has continued to experience rapid growth despite he challenges of drought, social unrest and a chronic trade deficit and volatile currency.  The latest report from the World Bank on the Ethiopian economy is worth a read for those who are studying Ethiopia from a development perspective. It highlights government investments in key areas, including the Addis Ababa -Djibouti railway line, the launch of new industrial parks and the increased investment in the power sector.
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Egypt wins approval for $12bn loan from the IMF - BBC News

Egypt wins approval for $12bn loan from the IMF - BBC News | Development Economics | Scoop.it
The IMF approves a three-year loan to Egypt to try help it out of a deep economic crisis.
Geoff Riley's insight:
Hit hard (among other factors) by a collapse in revenue from tourism, Egypt has won approval for a $12 billion emergency loan from the International Monetary Fund. This comes hot on the heels of the decision to move to a floating currency in a bid t stabilise demand and output. Will both decisions help the economy overcome longstanding structural economic weaknesses?
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Mark Carney is what stands between Britain and chaos

Mark Carney is what stands between Britain and chaos | Development Economics | Scoop.it
Brexiteers with little grasp of economics are lining up to undermine Carney. Theresa May should ignore them and do everything she can to keep him
Geoff Riley's insight:
Danny Blanchflower provides a robust defence of Mark Carney in this opinion piece in the Guardian.
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The importance of remittances for Nepal

Remittances are the bedrock of Nepal’s economy. They’ve quadrupled since 2010 thanks to 2 million Nepalis who work abroad, generating nearly one-third of the gross domestic product.
Geoff Riley's insight:
Nearly two million Nepalese live and work overseas, little wonder that remittances flowing into Nepal account for nearly one third of their annual national income. This article from the Asian Development Bank considers some of the benefits and costs of remittances for countries such as Nepal.
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The sweatshop dilemma

The sweatshop dilemma | Development Economics | Scoop.it
The sweatshop dilemma
Geoff Riley's insight:
The perennial debate about whether low-wage, arduous and often hazardous work in light manufacturing is beneficial to those employed in such jobs has been given a new twist. Tim Harford reports here on a randonmised controlled trial in the fast-growing country of Ethiopia in which one group was given cash (with no strings attached) and five days of enterprise training instead of the job they had applied for. The results are complicated but hint that direct cash transfers and small-scale investment in human capital can yield significant results. 
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Zara supply chain analysis

6 min read - Find out how Zara's supply chain drives efficiency and responsiveness in effectively fulfilling ever-changing customer demands.
Geoff Riley's insight:
Really interesting insight into how flexible just in time production across a vertically integrated global supply chain has helped transform Zara into one of the world's most successful fashion manufacturers.
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Ethiopia’s Incentives To Investors Attracts Foreign Firms

Ethiopia’s Incentives To Investors Attracts Foreign Firms | Development Economics | Scoop.it
Ethiopia has seen an increase in FDI as more foreign firms set up in the horn of Africa nation attracted by government incentives
Geoff Riley's insight:
Ethiopia has seen substantial inward FDI in recent years although this investment has been volatile. http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/BX.KLT.DINV.WD.GD.ZS?end=2015&locations=ET&start=1975 What are the advantages and downsides of inward FDI for a fast-growing country such as Ethiopia?
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Western Mongolia's Road to Development

A highway linking Mongolia to neighboring Russia and the People's Republic of China is bringing development, jobs, and social services to the country'
Geoff Riley's insight:
I used to have an A level student who insisted that bridges were the answer to more or less every development challenge. Naturally, building bridges is better than constructing walls (!) and he did get a top A* grade in his A2 macro! But roads matter too and this short video from the Asian Development Bank provides a timely and clear example of how new highways reduce the time and cost of getting key exports to neighbouring countries. A highway linking Mongolia to neighbouring Russia and the People's Republic of China is bringing development, jobs, and social services to the country's remote western regions. 
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African economic growth dips to two-decade low, World Bank says

African economic growth dips to two-decade low, World Bank says | Development Economics | Scoop.it
Economic growth in sub-Saharan Africa is likely to slip to 1.6% this year, its lowest level in two decades, due to continuing woes in the continent's largest economies South Africa and Nigeria, a World Bank report said on Thursday.
Geoff Riley's insight:
I make a point of having a look at the Africa Pulse report because it is packed full of useful analysis and comment on some of the key factors shaping growth and development outcomes for this heterogeneous continent. The latest edition forecasts that real GDP growth is likely to fall well below the rates achieved in recent years (including post GFC in 2008). Some African countries continue to do well - among them Ethiopia, Rwanda, and Tanzania - whereas others are hamstrung by institutional weaknesses, a lack of economic diversity and structural gaps in competitiveness. 

For more head to the main World Bank page: http://www.worldbank.org/en/region/afr

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Britain’s spending on aid isn’t too generous. It’s a drop in the ocean | Gordon Brown

Britain’s spending on aid isn’t too generous. It’s a drop in the ocean | Gordon Brown | Development Economics | Scoop.it
Our lack of commitment to educating the world’s children is a timebomb. And its consequences will haunt us
Geoff Riley's insight:
Former PM Gordon Brown builds the case for more generous overseas development assistance focusing on improving educational opportunities for children in the least developed economies arguing that a failure to act may lead to more Arab Springs.

"While around 80% of today’s Korean, Japanese, Taiwanese and Singaporean primary school children will go on to attend university, less than 5% of their counterparts in African countries such as Niger and the Democratic Republic of Congo will do so at any time in the foreseeable future."
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Kit Wiggin's curator insight, September 19, 2016 1:48 AM
Interesting coming from someone who did't know a lot about spending on the right things

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Brexit could cost poorest countries £320m a year, warn economists

Brexit could cost poorest countries £320m a year, warn economists | Development Economics | Scoop.it
Overseas Development Institute experts and others say developing countries will be hit hard if preferential access to British market is lost
Geoff Riley's insight:
Brexit is likely to be a double-edged sword for many less developed countries with trade / labour / investment links with the British economy. The Overseas Development Institute has published an initial report on some of the channels of impact arising from Brexit - including the recent depreciation of the sterling exchange rate (affecting the value of remittances) and also the extent to which newly negotiated trade deals with emerging/developing countries might be an opportunity both parties. 
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How mobile technology is transforming lives in rural India

How mobile technology is transforming lives in rural India | Development Economics | Scoop.it
Deep in a rural village in India outside the city of Jhansi, children play on dirt roads where goats and cows roam. The humble and colorful homes have mud..
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Ubi's curator insight, February 20, 6:36 PM
- Smart phones being used in rural India to both help reduce infant mortality rate to one digit (from 27 per 1000 live births) + help increase the speed and facility of loans by digitalising them.
- Problems include: the digital divide in rural India, the illiteracy of Indian women; 48% of girls studying up to 5th grade are illiterate, and the lack of connectivity; only 22% of Indian adults could get online in 2015
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Trump Endorses Plan for 20% Tax on All Imports

Trump Endorses Plan for 20% Tax on All Imports | Development Economics | Scoop.it
The new tax would be imposed as part of a tax overhaul that President Trump intends to pursue with the Republican Congress.
Geoff Riley's insight:
I know we are living in turbulent times and a lunatic is in the White House but this is just staggering. 
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Don't just define fragility – understand it, act on it

Don't just define fragility – understand it, act on it | Development Economics | Scoop.it
For our development projects to be effective, we must learn the root causes of conflict and fragility, and use that knowledge to guide our planning and implementation efforts.
Geoff Riley's insight:
This new blog from the Asian Development Board looks at strategies to increase long-term resilience in fragile states.
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Powering Africa, Horizons - BBC 

Powering Africa, Horizons - BBC  | Development Economics | Scoop.it
Visiting Africa, Adam Shaw encounters some unusual methods to provide electricity.
Geoff Riley's insight:
This could be a superb programme to watch if you are interested in the potential for countries in sub Saharan Africa to invest in affordable energy capacity and overcome one of the biggest barriers to growth on the continent. 
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World's best university in 2016? 

World's best university in 2016?  | Development Economics | Scoop.it
For the first time ever, a university from outside the United States has topped the Times Educational Supplement's annual ranking.
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How important are universities to a countries international competitiveness?
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Mapping Africa's natural resources

Mapping Africa's natural resources | Development Economics | Scoop.it
An overview of the continent's main natural resources.
Geoff Riley's insight:
Here is an updated chart on the main natural resources for African countries - great when teaching resource traps, primary product dependency and related topics. Is the wealth that lies below the ground more significant than what lies above? Turning natural capital into sustainable, inclusive/equitable growth and development progress is difficult but a growing number of sub Saharan African countries have made notable strides forwards in recent years. 

The weakness of world commodity prices is leading to forecast growth in SSA to be cut. Oil exporting countries are struggling but many non-commodity exporting nations continue to enjoy rapid growth. According to the IMF,  "the full picture of sub-Saharan Africa is one of multispeed growth in which regional aggregate numbers hide considerable diversity." That said, economic growth in Africa is forecast to drop to 23-year-low of 1.4 pct in 2016 according to the latest IMF forecasts.

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Mozambique on brink of default citing severe economic difficulties

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This is a superb resource to use when teaching macroeconomic fragility in countries highly dependent on commodity exports. 
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Chaebols: South Korea's corporate fiefdoms

Chaebols: South Korea's corporate fiefdoms | Development Economics | Scoop.it
South Korea's corporate titans - known as chaebols - are facing difficult times, writes Stephen Evans
Geoff Riley's insight:
The South Korean economy remains dominated by family/clan run conglomerates. Is this a barrier to the economy continuing to operate on the technological frontier and cementing itself as an advanced, high income (OECD) country?
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Is globalization bad for the global poor? This study ran an experiment to find out.

Is globalization bad for the global poor? This study ran an experiment to find out. | Development Economics | Scoop.it
Answering this question can be tricky.
Geoff Riley's insight:
Employment in low value added manufacturing has tangible benefits but cash transfers and directly provided enterprise training might have more of a long term effect.
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Why they’re wrong

Why they’re wrong | Development Economics | Scoop.it
Globalisation’s critics say it benefits only the elite. In fact, a less open world would hurt the poor most of all
Geoff Riley's insight:
One of those must read enrichment articles for students interested in globalisation and its discontents. Naturally the Economist favours a world with fewer tariff and non-tariff barriers but there is a wealth of contextual gold-dust in this special report that will help support evaluation in a tricky essay on trade or protectionism!
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Income inequality in a globalising world | VOX, CEPR’s Policy Portal

Income inequality in a globalising world | VOX, CEPR’s Policy Portal | Development Economics | Scoop.it
Since the turn of the century, inequality in the distribution of income, together with concerns over the pace and nature of globalisation, have risen to be among the most prominent policy issues of our time. These concerns took centre stage at the recent annual G20 summit in China. From President Obama to President Xi, there was broad agreement that the global economy needs more inclusive and sustainable growth, where the economic pie increases in size and is at the same time divided more fairly.
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The G20’s call for a New Industrial Revolution and what it means for more and better jobs

The G20’s call for a New Industrial Revolution and what it means for more and better jobs | Development Economics | Scoop.it
As the G20 calls for a “new industrial revolution” Huang Phuong Thao of Action Aid Vietnam argues that the international group will need to open up the space to make this revolution a reality. On 5…
Geoff Riley's insight:
A useful primer for some of the key issues concerning whether developing / emerging countries such as Vietnam and Bangladesh have benefitted in the longer term from joining the WTO and signing up to a raft of free trade agreements.

"Bangladesh has taken liberalisation very seriously. It became a member of the WTO in 1995 and has signed 34 investment agreements. Measured in terms of simultaneous rise in export and import, its openness has doubled in just two decades. But the country is over-reliant on garments, where it is stuck at the bottom rung of the industry’s ladder; this has put a brake on economic development."
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