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GDN FUNDED PAPERS
  242526
Reforming the Structure of the National Economic Decision-making System
Project :
Author : Mashaikhi
Date : 0
Description : Directing and controlling the public affairs of any society, among other things, require making a multitude of decisions that in turn lay the ground for the future governance of that society. Therefore, how well or badly a society is governed is a function of the nature and quality of the dicsions that are adopted. However, the quality of dcisions anot only depends on the talents and capacities of policy-makers but also on the organization of the decision-making system. It is the decision-making system that determines the institutes involved, their functions and duties, as well as their inter-connection with one another. The decision-making system affects the nature and quality of decisions for a number of reasons. Firstly, most of the decisions made for governing the society are interrelated and should, consequently, be harmonious and compatible. Otherwise the decisions adopted neutralize the effects of one another, and waste the resources used in carrying them out. Such wastage will definitely harm the management of the society.
Measuring Farmers Agroecological Resistance To Hurricane Mitch In Central America
Project :
Author : Eric Holt-Giménez
Date : 0
Description : A study using a participatory action research approach and simple field techniques found significant differences in agroecological resistance between plots on ‘conven- tional’ and ‘sustainable’ farms in Central America after Hurricane Mitch. On average, ‘agroecological’ plots on sustainable farms had more topsoil, higher field moisture, more vegetation, less erosion and lower economic losses after the hurricane than control plots on conventional farms. The differences in favour of these agroecologi- cal plots tended to increase with increasing levels of storm intensity, increasing slope and years under agroecological practices, though the patterns of resistance suggest- ed complex interactions and thresholds. For some indicators agroecological resis- tance collapsed under extreme stress. With the help of 40 non-governmental organisations and 99 farmer-technician teams, 1,743 farmers measured key agroecological indicators on 1,804 plots paired under the same topographical conditions. These paired observations covered 360 communities of smallholders from southern Nicaragua to eastern Guatemala. The broad geographical coverage took into account the diversity of ecological condi- tions, a variety of practices common to sustainable agriculture in Central America, and moderate, high and extreme levels of hurricane impact. This coverage, and the massive mobilisation of farmer-technician field research teams, was made possible by the existence of a widespread smallholders’ network for sustainable agriculture called Movimiento Campesino a Campesino (Farmer to Farmer Movement). A model for measuring agroecological resistance is introduced, and it is suggested that comparatively higher levels of agroecological resistance are an indication of lower vulnerability and higher sustainability. However, the effectiveness of practices appears to be bounded by a combination of steep slopes, maintenance and design of soil conservation structures, and extremely high storm intensity.
Green Revolution in Kerala: A Discourse on Technology and Nature
Project :
Author : V. Santhakumar; R. Rajagopalan
Date : 0
Description : This paper attempts to interpret the known failure of the Green Revolution in Kerala in light of the crucial influence of climatic and geographical factors on the performance of the Green Revolution package in the region. Based on the analysis of the experiments conducted by the scientists of the Kerala Agricultural University (KAU), this paper shows that the net effect of the Green Revolution technology was not impressive even in the research stations. However, an analysis of the discourses on, and the policies of, agricultural development in Kerala shows the complete neglect of these "natural" limiting factors. The authors also examine the socio-political forces and the ideological elements which result in the neglect of climatic and geographical factors.
El Movimiento de las charter schools. Una Amenaza y una Oportunidad para la Educación Pública Argentina
Project :
Author : Antonio Cicioni
Date : 0
Description : Desde comienzos de la década del ochenta, los Estados Unidos parecen estar sumergidos en una situación de crisis educativa permanente. A la interminable lista de investigaciones que afirman que la calidad de las escuelas es insuficiente1, se le han agregado en los últimos años los resultados de una serie de exámenes internacionales que consistentemente ubican a los estudiantes norteamericanos en las últimas posiciones entre los países de la OECD (ver, por ejemplo, los exámenes de la TIMSS). Como resultado de esta sensación de crisis, así como del renovado consenso respecto a la importancia de la educación como medio de garantizar la prosperidad en un mundo más integrado y competitivo, los intentos de reformar el sistema educativo norteamericano han sido no sólo muy numerosos, sino que además notablemente variados2. En general, han habido dos tipos de reformas: aquellas que han apuntado a cuestiones pedagógicas – por ejemplo, modificar los métodos de enseñanza, los contenidos de la curricula, la duración del año académico, las prácticas disciplinarias, la formación de los docentes, etc. - y aquellas que se han enfocado más en cuestiones estructurales e institucionales. Este segundo tipo de reformas ha buscado, en general, promover la variedad de la oferta educativa del sistema público de educación, en la búsqueda de modelos organizacionales más efectivos, así como la introducción de mecanismos de competencia y accountability3.
A Summary Review of the Research Results on the Process of Changes in the Level of Prosperity, Poverty, and Income Distribution in Iran.
Project :
Author : Mohammad Tabibian
Date : 0
Description : This summary report is part of the results of a series of statistical research on the trend of prosperity, poverty, and income distribution in Iran. These studies are based on results of Household Budget Surveys of 1985-1997, conducted by the Statistical Center of Iran (SCI). In addition to summarizing the time trend of related variables, in this report details of the SCI’s 1997 Household Budget Surveys is also reviewed. In the first place, we need to define and clarify some basic concepts: First, we need to keep in mind that various factors affect the level of household welfare, these include material as well as non- material means available to the household. However, if we are to choose a single index among all the relevant indexes of household welfare, the level of household real expenditure would be the most appropriate. Household real expenditure measures expenditure at constant prices, namely household expenditure after taking into account the level of price inflation. Thus, in the present study changes in real household expenditure is used as a proxy for changes in the level of welfare. The household gross real expenditure is used as an index of permanent income and permanent income is interpreted as the main source of economic potential for the household. Time trend of changes in the level of household real expenditure is examined for urban and rural regions.
Causes, National Costs, and Timing of Reforms
Project :
Author : Leong H. Liew; Laszlo Bruszt; Liping He
Date : 0
Description : Most developing and transition countries (DCs and TCs) face the twin problems of establishing and/or consolidating institutions for a market economy and democracy. In addition, some of them face difficulties in maintaining internal and external macroeconomic balance. The aim of reform in DCs and TCs is to establish or/and reform market and political institutions that optimize investment and innovation and enable implementation of policies ensuring efficient use of productive resources over time and management of a country’s demand in a way that does not lead to unsustainable public and foreign debt levels. In sum reform seeks to make an economy statically and dynamically efficient – operating on its most-efficient production possibilities frontier at any point in time and achieving optimal growth over time – and ensures the economy is internally and externally in balance. From the viewpoint of the politics of reforms, the aim is to establish the political and institutional conditions that allow for launching and consolidating reforms. There is no one-to-one correspondence between political and economic regimes. In the 1970s, the generals in Chile under the influence of the ‘Chicago School’ introduced liberal market reforms, weakening the state sector in the economy. At the same time, Peruvian generals strengthened the state sector and Brazilian generals, while declaring a commitment to market reforms ended enlarging state production (Cardoso 2001: 135-136). In East Asia, Hong Kong under colonial rule had the freest economy in Asia and Singapore, an illiberal regime, has a freer economy than South Korea, a democracy. Hence outcomes of economic reforms or even the willingness to initiate economic reforms cannot be attributable to a broad category of regime type, like democracy, which encompasses too large a variety of configurations of history and economic and political institutions to explain differences in reform outcomes. Just as there is no one-to-one correspondence between political and economic regimes, the form of the relationship between democracy and economic development is unresolved (Przeworski and Limongi 1997) but there is a consensus in the literature that successful economic reform in most DCs and TCs must involve some changes to economic and political institutions. This paper examines the variety of forces that work in favor or against the initiation of economic reform programs. It first describes the policies and institutions that typically require reform in DCs and TCs and examines the factors that may help or hinder the decision to reform, including initial conditions and costs at the national level. The paper then examines the costs of reform at the national level. Some costs are transitory while others may be long lasting and some can put an end to reform before it is completed. Next the paper discusses different sequences of reform programs. The paper concludes with a discussion on scenarios of reform that are likely to result in path dependency – producing either vicious circles or virtuous circles of reform and choice between allocating efforts and funds to capacity building or implementation.
On the Philosophical, Political, and Methodological Underpinnings of Reform
Project :
Author : Jose Maria Fanelli; Vladimir Popov
Date : 0
Description : Paper prepared for the Fourth Annual Global Development Conference "Globalization and Equity," Workshop on "Understanding Reform," organized by the Global Development Network (GDN), Cairo, Egypt, January 15-21, 2003. We are grateful to Juan José Pradelli, Gary McMahon, and Klaus Schmidt-Hebbel for their very insightful comments. We are also grateful to the participants in the Understanding Reform Workshop. Several developing and transition countries implemented policy and institutional reforms in the last quarter of a century. Since the late seventies, and specially in the eighties and nineties, there has been a widespread move toward more market-oriented policies and institutions, particularly in Latin America, South and East Asia, the former Soviet Union and the former socialist economies of Eastern Europe. The scope of the first rounds of market-friendly reforms was rather limited in light of what is understood by reform today. In the late seventies, policy initiatives mostly focused on the “liberalization” of the financial and trade sectors. In the eighties, under the aegis of what would later be known as the Washington Consensus (WC) view, the list of policy recommendations on the agenda significantly enlarged, encompassing trade, capital account, industrial, divestiture, financial, and macroeconomic policies. This agenda was audacious at the time because its implementation implied the abandonment of the development strategy that developing countries had been pursuing in the post-World War II period. But, the agenda still concentrated on policy reform. The references to institutional and political economy issues were scattered and ad hoc. As time elapsed and experience with reform accumulated, however, the number and scope of items on the reform agenda continued to grow steadily to the point that the WC became just one part of a much broader reform agenda in which the inducement of institutional change took center stage. Three facts were decisive: first, the de facto necessity to re-organize the institutional structure of post-communist societies practically from scratch after the fall of the Wall; second, the repeated occurrence of currency and financial crises and episodes of financial contagion among “emerging” countries; and, third, the fact that countries that at least apparently followed similar economic policies had substantially different economic outcomes. It was hypothesized that the crises in countries with apparently sound fundamentals and the failures in the case of some “early bird” reformers were due to the negative influence of “bad” institutional environments on “good” policies.
Political Institutions and Economic Policy Reform
Project :
Author : Andres Rius; Nicolas van de Walle
Date : 0
Description : There has been a growing recognition over the course of the last twenty years that institutional, cultural and managerial factors weigh heavily on the course of economic reform programs in developing countries. The first generation of reform programs largely disregarded these factors (Stiglitz, 2000b). The implicit model of decision- making was largely apolitical, and policy makers focused almost entirely on issues of economic design, taking the implementation of the programs almost entirely for granted. Inevitably, policies and programs which had been designed to be implemented in a year took three times as long. Others were simply never implemented or were reversed soon after implementation. Finally, implementation was characterized by striking and unexpected variation across countries, across policy areas and across time. The problem of implementation inevitably forced policy makers and academic analysts of policy reform to the issues addressed in this essay. It became clear that an array of political and institutional issues critically shaped the outcomes of reform episodes. A large literature has emerged on the impact of institutions on economic policy reform. This essay will review several of the more important strands in this literature. It will focus on political institutions, narrowly defined as the institutions that affect how the state apparatus is constituted. It will largely ignore broader, cultural institutions, such as religion or ethnicity, in part because of space limitations, but also simply because there is little agreement on their impact on policy making and policy reform in the literature. On the other hand, by encompassing some informal patterns of political interaction, the analysis covers aspects of what political science defines as political culture and goes beyond formal political institutions as expressed in constitutions or the legal system. Adapting only marginally his definitions and labels, we follow the approach of Tommasi (2002) and view the relation between political institutions and market oriented reforms as the relation between levels of rules (i.e., institutions).1 At the lowest level are markets, which are themselves diverse institutions that require embedding institutions of higher (and increasingly “political”) levels.2 The “market oriented reforms” of the 1980s and 1990s were changes in what we could consider a medium level set of rules, namely rules that regulate the behavior of agents in the economic sphere. These rules include what we normally call “policies” (e.g., fiscal policy, trade policy, etc.) and institutional arrangements that determine how certain markets operate (e.g., whether there are state- owned enterprises in certain utilities market, whether a market is reserved for a single or a few participants, what rules or regulations bind the actions of players, etc.).
Visible Success and Invisible Failure in Post-Crisis Reform in Korea: Interplay of the Global Standards, Agents and Local Specificity
Project :
Author : Keun Lee; Byung-Kook Kim; Chung H. Lee; Jaeyeol Yee
Date : 0
Description : The reform in post-crisis Korean was one of the most comprehensively and decisively implemented reform. Though impressed by the stunning around within a short period of time, many are now questioning about what has really changed in the economy. The concern comes together with the recognition of both benefits and the cost of the reform. While the reform has brought the Korean firm into a more stable and profitable state of the business, the economy is now suffering from weak investment, slow growth and rising unemployment. This study thus proposes to consider the Korean case as “visible success and invisible failure,” based on the following findings. First, reform tend to achieve some nominal success in terms of making new laws and several quantifiable targets (eg. debt-equity ratio; introduction of outside directors in the board, selling of banks to foreigners,), and in the area where interests conflicts are less acute (opening capital and M&A markets to foreigners). In contrast, the reform tend not to make much success in really changing institutional conventions, habit and beliefs, such as enhancing transparency in the management or trust in labor relations. Second, reform process involved tension between global standard and local specificity, which became the sources for the mixed results. Some elements of the global standards are not well fitted to the local specificity of Korea. Examples are discussed in the corporate governance and labor relations reform. Third, interests politics in the implementation stage, plus the complexities caused by democratization and globalization, has caused weakening of state capability (or reform coalition) and implementation effectiveness and hence the distorted outcomes of the reform. While globalization necessitates increasing flexibility, the Korean management is now facing much stronger power of the labor after democratization. The outcome is not a fully flexible but segmented labor markets, divided between the core, unionized workers and unorganized periphery workers, and between the one over-protected and the other under-protected. Fourth, it is important to have an effective system of legislative bargaining necessary for disputing parties to negotiate. Only with this institutional vehicle, interest politics can lead to some reform consensus. Korea tried to overhaul its financial system and conduct substantial financial liberalization in the early 1990s but it was partly aborted and partly distorted, which paved the way for financial crisis in 1997. The reasons were due to the lack of clear reform consensus, without which reform is more likely to be aborted or unsuccessful. In the Korean case, real and strong consensus for reform arrived only after the 1997 crisis as the crisis persuaded the society of the need for reform. However, as he used to be a political outsider, the President Kim Daejung lacked brain pool and decided to make old guard (elite bureaucrats) his people by entrusting them with key posts for reform. The crisis brought back the state and its autonomy revived to the front as the banks, labor unions, Chaebols all staying in back yard. Fifth, one source of the implementation difficulty in reform has to do with the institutional complementarities, and we need to take a proper sequence in reforms. One possible logical sequence seems to be moving from banking reform, corporate governance, labor relations, and then to finally business restructuring. Now, an emerging question is whether our response (the reform blueprint) was right. The post-crisis Korea just tried to be more market or Anglo-Saxon model oriented but without paying attention to growth and competitiveness. While the firms have now lowered their debt ratios, they are not borrowing to make investment. The issue of wrong or right blueprint underscores the need to define the reform goal correctly. The goals of reform should not just be a movement toward market-oriented economy but toward a growth-oriented one/ or pro-growth market-oriented one.
Understanding The Post-1991 Indian Economic Policy Reforms
Project :
Author : Suresh D. Tendulkar; T.A. Bhavani
Date : May 0
Description : India initiated systemic changes in its economic policies involving a major shift in the development strategy toward greater integration with the world economy and liberalization of restrictions on market transactions and private economic activities in July 1991 after remaining a closed and heavily regulated market economy for almost four decades. The systemic and on-going character of the reforms can be seen in their extensive coverage for over a dozen years i.e., external sector (trade flows, exchange rate, capital inflows including private foreign direct investment), fiscal consolidation with reform on revenue and expenditure side, monetary and financial sector (freeing of interest rates, reduction in statutory liquidity and cash reserve ratios, introduction of capital adequacy norms, reduction in directed lending, limited privatization, significant expansion in the variety of financial instruments of intermediation), industrial sector (virtual abolition of comprehensive investment licensing, abolition of restrictive monopoly regulation, significant opening up of activities previously reserved for the public sector), infrastructure (expansion of investment in roads, limited privatization of ports, privatization and introduction of competition in telecommunications), partial/full privatization of public sector commercial enterprises and so on. Continuing at uneven pace, the reform process has survived the emergence of coalition politics at the Centre and as many as six central governments donning different ideological colours since 1991. The systemic nature and persistence of these reforms for more than a decade till to date lead us to a question that has often been raised in the reform literature, namely, why 1991? Why not earlier? Were there any drastic changes in the economic and political situation that prompted the policy makers to undertake sweeping changes in the rules governing the economic system? Were there any international influences? The Indian case underscores the need to understand the political economy of policy making [Rodrik 1996]. This is what the present paper attempts to study in the context of post-1991 economic reforms in India. India being a long-established developing country democracy [Jenkins 1999] with a stronghold of the ideology of socialism and economic nationalism (Section 1.3 below) not only provides an interesting case study for reforms (and 1 hopefully helps widen the international perspective on reforms that the GDN project aims to develop) but also poses challenges to the political economy and institutional analysis.
  242526
 
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