World Economics

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Small island economies
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Demographic Change Across the Globe
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Marga Peeters & Loek Groot, World Economics, June 2012
This paper investigates the fiscal pressure, or the level of public expenditure on old and young economically inactive people, arising from demographic change in relation to the labour market space, or the proportion of the working age population not in full-time employment. The exercise is carried out for 50 countries that cover 75% of the world population. The pressure-to-space indicator ranks Poland, Turkey and Greece high, although, apart from Turkey and India, developing countries generally rank low due to low spending on the old (pensions, healthcare) and on the young (education, family costs). Peculiarly, economies with higher pressure have more space. The hypothesis that ageing economies have started using their labour market space in anticipation of higher demographic pressure is rejected. It is important to note that raising the retirement age in developed economies by five years alleviates fiscal pressure by almost 30% and creates 10% more labour market space.
Counting the Bottom Billion
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Morten Jerven, World Economics, December 2011
What do the statistics from the international databases tell us about income and growth in Sub-Saharan Africa? Less than we would like to think. The article takes a starting point in per capita GDP estimates in Africa. Recently, Ghana announced a revision of its GDP statistics, increasing its national income estimates by over 60%. This article shows that similar revisions are to be expected in other countries. Many statistical offices are currently using outdated data and methods. It is argued that with the current uneven application of methods and poor availability of data, any ranking of African economies according to GDP levels is misleading. It is argued that the World Bank, prominent among data disseminators, is currently not providing the necessary information to complement its datasets, and that this shortcoming misleads data users.

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