Deep roots or current policies – what drives sustained prosperity differences across locations?

Mercedes Delgado, Christian Ketels, Michael Porter, Scott Stern 18 September 2014

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What explains the dramatic differences in prosperity levels across locations? A large segment of the research-oriented literature points towards ‘deep roots’, i.e. legacy factors that have been set long ago (Spolaore and Wacziarg 2012). The debate rages on as to whether geographic location and natural endowments (e.g. McCord and Sachs 2013, Sachs et al. 2001) or institutional legacies – themselves influenced by geography and natural conditions (e.g. Acemoglu et al. 2001, Acemoglu and Robinson 2012) – are key.

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Topics:  Development Institutions and economics

Tags:  deep roots, development, Botswana, institutions, geography, colonialism, extractive institutions, natural resources

Restoring financial stability with economic growth

James Boughton 15 September 2014

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No one would argue seriously any longer that the international financial system is working just fine. When the politicians and central bankers who govern the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank gather in Washington this October, much of the talk will be about the refusal of the US Congress to pass legislation that would reform the IMF.

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Topics:  Global governance International finance

Tags:  economic growth, financial stability, institutions, IMF, G20

How history can contribute to better economic education

Coen Teulings 11 July 2014

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Historians tend to stress the particularities in history. Each event is unique, caused by a set of conditions that will never reproduce themselves again. In turn, each event causes new events, which therefore are equally unique and equally irreproducible. Hence, historians conduct painstaking research into the details of these conditions to understand the course of history.

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Topics:  Economic history Education

Tags:  geography, institutions, Agriculture, economic history, Industrial Revolution, urbanisation, agglomeration, history, new economic geography

Institutions, trade shocks, and regional differences in long-run educational and development trajectories

André Carlos Martínez, Aldo Musacchio, Martina Viarengo 09 July 2014

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Understanding the determinants of long-run socio-economic development is a major concern for academics and policymakers in many countries around the world. In particular, beyond understanding differences in development or educational and other outcomes across countries, the origins of within-country inequality are now a fundamental issue, given the impact inequality has on the long-run prosperity of nations.

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Topics:  Development Economic history Education

Tags:  development, education, growth, institutions, Inequality, Brazil, colonialism, trade shocks, extractive institutions

The euro crisis: Muddling through, or on the way to a more perfect euro union?

Joshua Aizenman 03 July 2014

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The short history of the Eurozone has been remarkable and unprecedented – the euro project has moved from the planning board to a vibrant currency within less than ten years. Otmar Issing’s optimistic speech in 2006 reflects well the buoyant assessment of the first decade of the euro – an unprecedented formation of a new currency without a state.1 Observers viewed the rapid acceptance of the euro as a viable currency and the deeper financial integration of the Eurozone and the EU countries as stepping stones toward a stable and prosperous Europe.

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Topics:  Institutions and economics International finance Monetary policy

Tags:  Germany, ECB, eurozone, inflation targeting, euro, institutions, Eurozone crisis, GIIPS

British and French educational legacies in Africa

Denis Cogneau, Alexander Moradi 17 May 2014

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Britain and France followed two very distinct approaches to education in their African colonies (Garner and Schafer 2006).

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Topics:  Development Economic history Education

Tags:  Africa, institutions, colonialism, West Africa

New evidence on the durability of social norms

John Helliwell, Shun Wang, Jinwen Xu 12 March 2014

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Recent studies find that individuals’ social norms – as evidenced by their opinions and behaviour – can be transmitted from one generation to the next within the same cultural setting (Algan and Cahuc 2010, Bjørnskov 2012, Dohmen et al. 2012, Guiso et al. 2006, Rainer and Siedler 2009, Rice and Feldman 1997). Studies also find that the current environment – such as institutions – plays an important role in shaping an individual’s social norms (Dinesen 2012, Nannestad et al. 2014, Alesina and La Ferrara 2002, Bjørnskov 2007, Glaeser et al. 2000, Helliwell and Wang 2011, Kosfeld et al.

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Topics:  Frontiers of economic research Migration

Tags:  institutions, immigration, social attitudes, trust, migration, Culture, social norms

Unemployment, labour-market flexibility and IMF advice: Moving beyond mantras

Olivier Blanchard, Florence Jaumotte, Prakash Loungani 18 October 2013

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Growth in advanced economies is gaining some speed. The IMF projects these economies will grow 2% next year, up from an expected 1.2% this year. The average unemployment rate in advanced economies is expected to inch down from its peak of 8.3% in 2010 to 8% next year. This is progress, but it is clearly not enough. The state of labour markets remains dismal for a number of reasons.

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Topics:  Labour markets Welfare state and social Europe

Tags:  unemployment, institutions, IMF, trust, Unemployment insurance, labour-market flexibility, EZ crisis, collective bargaining

National institutions and subnational development in Africa

Stelios Michalopoulos, Elias Papaioannou 11 October 2013

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Few issues have received more inquiry in the social sciences than "what are the fundamental determinants of comparative development?" The institutional view asserts that the ultimate causes of underdevelopment are poorly performing institutional structures, such as lack of constraints on the executive, poor property-rights protection, as well as inefficient legal and court systems (see Acemoglu, Johnson and Robinson 2005 for a review and Acemoglu and Robinson 2012 for an influential popular argument).

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Topics:  Development Economic history Institutions and economics

Tags:  Africa, institutions, Culture, politics and economics

Finding his own way: Ronald Coase (1910-2013)

Steven Medema 18 September 2013

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Ronald Coase, who passed away last week at the age of 102, left an indelible mark on both economics and law. In 1991 he was awarded the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences in recognition of his work on transaction costs and property rights. Best known for the ‘theorem’ that bears his name, the depth and breadth of Coase’s contributions are decidedly under-appreciated by the economics community – in no small part because his methodological approach and the subjects to which it led him differed from those that dominated the profession after WWII.

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Topics:  Institutions and economics

Tags:  institutions, history of economic thought, methodology, case studies, transaction costs

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