World Economics

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Global governance
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How Accurate are Global Trade-Finance Data?
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Brian Sturgess, World Economics, June 2019
Over 80% of international trade is financed by some form of credit, but the size of the trade finance market has received little attention by economists. It has been estimated that there is currently a world trade finance gap of around US$1.5 trillion acting as a drag on international trade and GDP growth. Survey-based estimates of traditional trade finance provided by banks at US$4.6 trillion in 2017 are highly inconsistent and are based on flawed data and opaque methodologies. The problem of collecting reliable data needed to promote trade growth and to monitor financial stability is being exacerbated as the trade finance sector is undergoing rapid structural change.
Data on Indicators of Governance: Handle with Care
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M.G.Quibria, World Economics, June 2016
This article provides a select review of data used as indicators of governance. Despite the popularity and considerable success of the existing body of governance indicators in putting the spotlight on governance inadequacies in developing countries, they are fraught with a whole host of statistical and measurement issues. It argues that these indicators should be applied with caution, keeping their shortcomings in mind.
New Data on Global Differences in Family Offices
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Robert Eigenheer, World Economics, March 2014
A family office is not a specifically-defined institution per se. Rather, the family office is a broad concept to cover all financial needs of one or more wealthy families. While in the United States the first family offices were established in the nineteenth century, interest in the family office concept has recently been growing in emerging markets around the globe due to the increasing number of ultra-wealthy individuals and families in those regions. Nowadays, family offices are set up all over the world. This fact inevitably leads to the question: Are there regional differences among the structures of family offices, their services, their investment strategies, and their operational costs?
The Value of Value Added
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William Powers, World Economics, December 2012
As production has become more globally integrated, imported components account for a rising share of the value of exports. Many countries may contribute inputs to a good, and the final assembler may capture only a small share of the product’s value. Official trade statistics, which attribute all value to the final exporter, can be uninformative or misleading about a country’s global engagement and its participation in global supply chains. New measures are required that incorporate both production and trade, and track the flow of inputs, and their value, through industries and across national borders. This paper examines the construction and use of value-added measures that incorporate the necessary production and trade data, and evaluates their performance against similar measures based on gross trade. The value-added measures provide a more revealing look into global integration that is consistent across different measures and analytical approaches.
Global Value Chains, International Trade Statistics and Policymaking in a Flattening World
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Alejandro Jara & Hubert Escaith, World Economics, December 2012
The raise of global production networks since the 1980s changed the way we understand international trade and has profound repercussions on development policies and the conduct of global governance. New comparative advantages allow large developing countries to leap-frog through their industrialization process while smaller economies without large internal market or mining resources are now able to build an industrial base. Offshoring also gave the possibility to firms from industrialised countries to remain competitive in front of fast-expanding firms from emerging countries. But in the process, the relative demand for low and medium skilled workers in industrialised countries contracted, and this employment and income effect became a political issue and fuelled demand for protectionism. Unfortunately, the debate lacks accurate data as traditional statistics give only a blurred picture of what is known as ‘trade in tasks’. Before revising the trade and governance implications, the article calls for a new measurement of international trade based on its value-added content in order to have a better understanding of the actual issues.
The Argentine Productivity Slowdown
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Ariel Coremberg, World Economics, September 2011
The purpose of this working paper is to analyse the main causes of economic growth in Argentina during the 1990–2006 period. This research proposes a methodology in order to identify Total Factor Productivity (TFP) gains in the strict sense of positive shifts in the production function, independent of short-run cyclical fluctuations in the utilization of productive factors and relative prices effects; distinguishing it from residual or apparent TFP which expresses a phenomenon of real cost changes but not necessarily changes in long-run economic growth. The main results of this research are that strict TFP has a lower trend than apparent TFP. Similar conclusions are obtained in the case of labour productivity adjusted for labour intensity. Argentina sustained a prolonged period of economic growth over 1990–2004, biased to capital accumulation and utilization during the 1990s, and biased to labour input demand after the devaluation year of 2002. In the light of these findings and the data problems after 2007 there are doubts about the ability of the Argentine economy to generate the necessary productivity gains to support sustainable long-term economic growth.
Why is the Chinese Saving Rate so High?
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Guonan Ma & Wang Yi, World Economics, March 2011
China’s saving rate is high from many perspectives – historical experience, international standards and model predictions. Furthermore, the average saving rate has been rising over time, with much of the increase taking place in the 2000s. What sets China apart from the rest of the world is that its rising aggregate saving has reflected high savings rates in all three sectors: corporate, household and government. Our evidence casts doubt on the proposition that distortions and subsidies account for China’s high saving rate. Instead, we argue that tough corporate restructuring (including pension and home ownership reforms), a marked Lewismodel transformation process (where the average wage exceeds the marginal product of labour in the subsistence sector) and rapid ageing process have all played more important roles. Such structural factors suggest that the Chinese saving rate may peak over the coming years.
Measuring Global Poverty Right
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M. G. Quibria, World Economics, December 2005
The international community is committed to millennium development goals which postulate a vision of global development that makes eliminating poverty and sustaining development the overriding objective of global development efforts. In the hierarchy of the MDGs, the first and foremost goal is to reduce by half, between 1990–2015, the proportion of people whose income is less than a dollar a day (a widely used yardstick to measure extreme poverty). However, estimating such poverty across developing countries and globally is by no means a simple exercise nor has it yielded unambiguous results. This article provides a brief summary of the state of the art in global poverty estimates, including the problems as well as the possible solutions.
Measuring Global Drug Markets
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Peter Reuter & Victoria Greenfield , World Economics, December 2001
The continuing demand for measures of the size of global drug revenues has produced a supply of numbers that consistently overstate international financial flows. This paper shows that, rather than $500 billion, the annual figure in trade terms may be about $25 billion. As with many refined agricultural products, most of the revenues go to distributors rather than to primary producing countries. The authors explore the need for estimates of the global drug markets, address the difficulties of obtaining ‘good’ numbers, and describe opportunities for developing better estimates of flows and revenues. There are at least three reasons for caring about the numbers: they can help to improve understanding of the drug production and consumption problem and identify appropriate policy responses.
False Perspective: The UNDP View of the World
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David Henderson, World Economics, March 2000
Despite some searching and unanswered criticisms of its treatment of statistical evidence, the UNDP Human Development Report has become established as a widely-quoted and influential survey of the world scene. The 1999 Report, reviewed here, focuses on ‘globalization’. This is described as a dominant influence on the recent economic fortunes of developing countries in particular, and as a primary cause of continuing poverty and growing inequality in the world. The author argues that the Report provides neither argument nor evidence in support of this thesis; that it takes no account of other factors that have strongly influenced economic performance; that its main prescription for the world, of reforms in ‘global governance’, is largely beside the point; and that its whole approach is crudely anti-liberal. The author concludes by placing the Report, as also the economists who have aligned themselves with it, in the wider context of anti-liberalism today.

Displaying: 1-10 of 10