Friday, September 24, 2010

How and Why Does History Matter for Development Policy?

Michael Woolcock, World Bank - Development Research Group, Harvard University - Kennedy School of Government, Simon Szreter, World Bank and Vijayendra Rao, World Bank have an interesting new paper that ask How and Why Does History Matter for Development Policy?

ABSTRACT: The consensus among scholars and policymakers that"institutions matter"for development has led inexorably to a conclusion that"history matters,"since institutions clearly form and evolve over time. Unfortunately, however, the next logical step has not yet been taken, which is to recognize that historians (and not only economic historians) might also have useful and distinctive insights to offer. This paper endeavors to open and sustain a constructive dialogue between history -- understood as both"the past"and"the discipline"-- and development policy by (a) clarifying what the craft of historical scholarship entails, especially as it pertains to understanding causal mechanisms, contexts, and complex processes of institutional change; (b) providing examples of historical research that support, qualify, or challenge the most influential research (by economists and economic historians) in contemporary development policy; and (c) offering some general principles and specific implications that historians, on the basis of the distinctive content and method of their research, bring to development policy debates.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Legal Institutions and Economic Development

Thorsten Beck (Tilburg - Economics) has a new paper worth reading on Legal Institutions and Economic Development.

ABSTRACT: Legal institutions are critical for the development of market-based economies. This paper defines legal institutions and discusses different indicators to measure their quality and efficiency. It surveys a large historical and empirical literature showing the importance of legal institutions in explaining cross-country variation in economic development. Finally, it presents and discusses three different views of why we can observe the large cross-country variation in legal institutions, the social conflict, the legal origin and the culture and religion hypotheses.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Law and Pluralism in Asia: Exploring Dynamics of Reflection, Reinforcement, and Resistance

North Carolina Journal of International Law and Commercial Regulation presents

Law and Pluralism in Asia: Exploring Dynamics of Reflection, Reinforcement, and Resistance
Friday, January 14, 2011
9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Kenan-Flagler Business School, Kenan Center
University of North Carolina
Chapel Hill, North Carolina

Register for the 2011 Symposium

In recent years, Asian societies have experienced a growth in heterogeneity. Due to economic developments, there has been increased intraregional migration that redefines local demographics. For example, economic forces have driven migrant workers from Southeast Asia to resettle in parts of East Asia. Workers have also been migrating to Asia from other parts of the world. State policies have promoted this migration. For example, jurisdictions such as Singapore and Hong Kong have sought to attract educated "creative class" workers from all around the world. Finally, there has also been increasing diversity due to empowerment of local minority groups. The growing political legibility of gays and lesbians in Asia is but one example of this development. States in Asia have been instituting legal reforms to address these changing dynamics. This symposium explores these sociolegal changes, examining how, in different ways, the law reflects, reinforces, and resists pluralism in Asia.

The keynote address will be given by Madhavi Sunder, 2006 Carnegie Scholar and professor of law at the University of California-Davis School of Law.

Confirmed symposium panelists include:

Kelley Loper, University of Hong Kong
Puja Kapai, University of Hong Kong
Wen-chen Chang, National Taiwan University
David Law, Washington University in St. Louis
Illhyung Lee, University of Missouri
Apichai Shipper, University of Southern California
Timothy Webster, Yale University
Anil Kalhan, Drexel University
Carl Minzner, Washington University in St. Louis
Jeffrey Redding, St. Louis University School of Law
Meredith Weiss, University of Albany
Hyunah Yang, Seoul National University

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Selecting International Judges

New book discusses the role of international judges on international justice...

See here

Monday, September 6, 2010

The (Indispensable) Middle Class in Developing Countries; or, the Rich and the Rest, Not the Poor and the Rest

Nancy Birdsall at the Center for Global Development has an interesting new paper The (Indispensable) Middle Class in Developing Countries; or, the Rich and the Rest, Not the Poor and the Rest.

ABSTRACT: Inclusive growth is widely embraced as the central economic goal for developing countries, but the concept is not well defined in the development economics literature. Since the early 1990s, the focus has been primarily on pro-poor growth, with the “poor” being people living on less than $1 day, or in some regions $2 day. The idea of pro-poor growth emerged in the early 1990s as a counterpoint to a concern with growth alone (measured in per-capita income) and is generally defined as growth which benefits the poor as much or more than the rest of the population. Examples include conditional cash transfers, which target the poor while minimizing the fiscal burden on the public sector, and donors’ emphasizing primary over higher education as an assured way to benefit the poor while investing in long-term growth through increases in human capital. Yet these pro-poor, inclusive policies are not necessarily without tradeoffs in fostering long-run growth. In this paper I argue that the concept of inclusive growth should go beyond the traditional emphasis on the poor (and the rest) and take into account changes in the size and economic command of the group conventionally defined as neither poor nor rich, i.e., the middle class.