Thursday, March 18, 2010

Hunger in the developing world after the crisis

Food and economic crises increased the number of hungry people to one billion in 2009.

Reasons: people's inability to afford food due to high prices and a slightly low harvests

In the medium and long term, the structural solution to hunger lies in increasing agricultural productivity to increase incomes and produce food at lower cost, especially in poor countries. The importance of longer-term measures is evidenced by the unacceptably high number of people who did not get enough to eat before the crises and are likely to remain hungry even after the food and economic crises have passed. In addition, these measures must be coupled with better governance and institutions at all levels.

Real Exchange Rate and Economic Growth

There is good reason and much evidence to suggest that the real exchange rate matters for economic growth, but why? The "Washington Consensus" (WC) view holds that real exchange rate misalignment implies macroeconomic imbalances that are themselves bad for growth. In contrast, Rodrik (2008) argues that undervaluation relative to purchasing power parity is good for growth because it promotes the otherwise inefficiently small tradable sector. Our main result is that WC and the Rodrik views of the role of misalignment in growth are observationally equivalent for the main growth regressions he reports. There is an identification problem: Determinants of misalignment are also likely to be independent drivers of growth, and these types of growth regressions are hard-pressed to disentangle the different channels. However, we confirm that not only are overvaluations bad but undervaluations are also good for growth, a result squarely consistent with the Rodrik story but one that requires some gymnastics from the WC viewpoint

Source: IMF WP 10/58