Conditional Cash Transfer Programs: An Effective Tool for Poverty Alleviation?
This paper addresses the welfare of the vulnerable and needy, cash transfers-both conditional and unconditional are among the important safety net programs. This brief focuses on conditional cash transfers (CCT) that are increasingly perceived as an effective tool for poverty alleviation. CCT programs have the ability to enhance both the income of the poor in the short run, and their human capabilities in the medium and long run. The brief discusses issues related to the rationale and implementation of CCT programs and assesses their effectiveness.
How Effective are Oil Funds? Managing Resource Windfalls in Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan
This note presents that the recent surge in global commodity prices has brought large windfall revenues to resource-rich economies in Asia. Booming economies have, however, faced challenges of macroeconomic stabilization and intergenerational income distribution, and sought a solution to setting up a separate fund outside the budget. This brief assesses the experiences of Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan in their oil revenue management, and concludes that if there is insufficient control of expenditure or deficits, setting up an oil fund by itself does not guarantee either a prudent stance on overall fiscal management or commitment to savings for future generations.
Technology and Development in Asia
Until the scientific revolution of the 18th century, global material wealth had increased at a snail's pace. Then a burst of knowledge and innovation ignited economic growth in a way never before experienced. This revolution followed two centuries of painstaking scientific discovery and trial and error that began around the time of the European renaissance. DeLong (1998) estimates that it took 15,000 years to double per capita income from hunter-gatherer levels to where it stood around 1750. Global per capita income then quickly gained altitude, fueled by relentless scientific learning and discovery. Just 250 years later, global per capita income has ascended by 73 times what it was in hunter gatherer societies.
Pro-poor to Inclusive Growth: Asian Prescriptions
Inclusive growth is now at the heart of mainstream development economics. This paper explains why developing Asia needs to move its development focus from poverty reduction to inclusive growth. This policy brief examines the implications of such a shift for public policy.
Inclusiveness of Economic Growth in the People's Republic of China: What Do Population Health Outcomes Tell Us?
This paper presents that despite the People's Republic of China's remarkable economic growth, improvements in population health outcomes actually slowed during the reform period. Along with increasing commercialization of the health sector, urban-rural disparities in health have increased, and there are large health inequalities between the rich and the poor. This paper argues that even if the market is to play a major role in health provision in the country, it is imperative that the overnment provide the appropriate regulatory and protective cover so as to ensure that economic growth does not leave a large section of its population behind with regard to key development indicators such as health.
Improving Primary Enrollment Rates among the Poor
This policy brief discusses evidence for policy making within the context of attaining the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) of universal primary enrollment. Despite recent progress, many developing member countries (DMCs) will not attain this goal by 2015. Unsurprisingly, some of the biggest enrollment deficiencies within countries occur at the bottom end of the income distribution. Empirical evidence indicates that children from poorer families are on average almost three times more likely to be out of school versus those from richer families (UNESCO 2005). What this implies is that universal primary enrollment cannot - and will not - be attained without an explicit focus on inclusiveness. In addition, for many DMCs, there are serious concerns regarding the quality of basic education.
International Payments Imbalances
Over the last few years, the term 'global payments imbalances' has been used to refer to the growing current account surpluses/ deficits between different regions of the world, together with a substantial accumulation of international reserves by several Asian countries. These trends have raised a number of concerns.
The Challenge of Job Creation in Asia
With at least 500 million Asians conservatively estimated to be unemployed or underemployed and some 245 million new workers expected to enter the region's labor markets over the next decade, Asia faces the formidable challenge of creating large numbers of productive and better paying jobs to absorb its underutilized labor force. While economic growth is vital for generating jobs and improving standards of living, the links between economic growth, job creation and earnings are complex.
Creating Better and More Jobs in Indonesia: A Blueprint for Policy Action
There has been a dramatic deterioration in the Indonesian labor market performance since the Asian financial crisis mainly due to the decline in investment and a much more regulated labor market. This has resulted in real wages outstripping productivity growth, increasing 'informalization', increasing wage inequality, and disappointing export performance for labor-intensive manufactures. In this context, the Government of Indonesia has been under pressure to reduce open unemployment from 10 to 5% over 2004-2009.
Potential Economic Impact of an Avian Flu Pandemic on Asia
This brief looks at the possible economic consequences for Asia of a mutation of avian flu leading to human-to-human transmission, using different assumptions about the duration and virulence of the flu pandemic.