Friday, April 5, 2013

Links of Interest (2013-04-05)

Links of interest series is back again. Below are links (and excerpts) to some of the interesting papers and articles.

Does gender inequality hinder development and economic growth?

[The evidence is not conclusive, i.e. a definitive causal link between inequality and growth is not established yet. But, this doesn’t mean “imply that inequality-reducing policies are ineffective.”]

Economics versus Politics: Pitfalls of Policy Advice

[Acemoglu and Robinson argue that “sound economic policy should be based on a careful analysis of political economy and should factor in its influence on future political equilibria.”]

Cash transfers and child schooling : evidence from a randomized evaluation of the role of conditionality

[Akresh, de Walque and Kazianga: “The results indicate that unconditional and conditional cash transfer programs have a similar impact increasing the enrollment of children who are traditionally favored by parents for school participation, including boys, older children, and higher ability children. However, the conditional transfers are significantly more effective than the unconditional transfers in improving the enrollment of "marginal children" who are initially less likely to go to school, such as girls, younger children, and lower ability children. Thus, conditionality plays a critical role in benefiting children who are less likely to receive investments from their parents.”]

Trends in developing country trade 1980-2010

[Michalopoulos and Ng: “This paper reviews trends and patterns in developing countries' trade from 1980 to 2010. During the 30-year span, world trade expanded rapidly, especially in developing countries in the last decade. A similar picture emerges in trade in services. These overall trends, however, mask different trade patterns during some of the time periods and among different developing countries and groups. For example, except for Asia, the 1980s were pretty much a "lost" decade for many developing countries and groups. But that changed in the 1990s and 2000s, with trade by all major developing countries growing faster than developed countries. From 1980 to 2000, trade by Least Developed Countries grew much more slowly than that of developing countries as a whole. But those countries saw the fastest growth in trade in the following decade. This strong overall trade performance -- with some exceptions (for example Sub-Sahara Africa in the manufacturing trade) -- raises questions about sustainability, trade policy and the architecture of the trading system.”]

Does access to finance matter in microenterprise growth ? evidence from Bangladesh

[Khandker, Samad and Ali: “The findings suggest that households engaged in microenterprise activities, in addition to farm and other nonfarm activities, are much better off (in terms of income, expenditure and poverty) than those not engaged in such activities. Fewer than 10 percent of the enterprises have access to institutional finance (formal banks or microcredit), although the rate of return on microenterprise investments is more than sufficient (36 percent per year) to repay institutional loans. The research suggests that credit constraints may reduce the enterprises' profit margin by as much as 13.6 percent per year. As the returns to microenterprise investment are found to be high, microfinance institutions can play a larger role in supporting microenterprise growth in Bangladesh.”]

A brighter future for renewable energy with private sector involvement in Nepal

[ Friis Bach and Pokharel write: “The National Rural and Renewable Energy is innovative as it seeks to realize the great scope of credit financing of renewable energy. The private sector and public-private partnerships are keys to the success of the program. The public sources and development assistance is simply not enough, if we want to ensure universal access to sustainable energy. At the same time, there should be a sound profit to earn for private sector, if they engage in new models for financing investments in renewable energy. The Government of Nepal and development partners have therefore agreed to establish a new Central Renewable Energy Fund (CREF) mechanism–the CREF to be handled by a bank–with an estimated budget of US $ 115 million for the next five years. We are not creating a new institution, but buying into existing commercial and development banks, which is more efficient and sustainable. Through subsidies and credits, the CREF will facilitate bankable renewable energy solutions to rural Nepal on an even larger scale. Once established and proven as an effective financing mechanism for the sector, it is expected that further funds will be committed to CREF, from public, development and private sources.”]