By the end of the twentieth century, sub-Saharan Africa had experienced twenty-five years of economic and political disaster. While "economic miracles" in China and India raised hundreds of millions from extreme poverty, Africa seemed to have been overtaken by violent conflict and mass destitution, and ranked lowest in the world in just about every economic and social indicator.
High inequality in incomes and assets and persistent poverty continue to plague Latin America and remain a central economic policy challenge for Latin American policymakers. At the same time, dramatically improved methods and data allow researchers to analyze these problems and how they are affected by economic policy. In this book, experts on Latin American economic affairs use these new approaches to examine the dynamics of poverty and inequality in Latin America and the ability of policy to address them.
Guillermo Calvo, one of the most influential macroeconomists of the last thirty years, has made pathbreaking contributions in such areas as time-inconsistency, lack of credibility, stabilization, transition economies, debt maturity, capital flows, and financial crises. His work on macroeconomic issues relevant for developing countries has set the tone for much of the research in this area and greatly influenced practitioners' thinking in Latin America, Eastern Europe, Asia, and elsewhere.
Explicit deposit insurance (DI) is widely held to be a crucial element of modern financial safety nets. For this reason, establishing a DI system is frequently recommended by outside experts to countries undergoing reform. Predictably, DI systems have proliferated in the developing world. The number of countries offering explicit deposit guarantees rose from twenty in 1980 to eighty-seven by the end of 2003. This book challenges the wisdom of encouraging countries to adopt DI without first repairing observable weaknesses in their institutional environment.
The urgency of reducing poverty in the developing world has been the subject of a public campaign by such unlikely policy experts as George Clooney, Alicia Keyes, Elton John, Angelina Jolie, and Bono. And yet accompanying the call for more foreign aid is an almost universal discontent with the effectiveness of the existing aid system. In Reinventing Foreign Aid, development expert William Easterly has gathered top scholars in the field to discuss how to improve foreign aid.
Recent decades have seen almost unprecedented economic growth in income per capita around the world. Yet this extraordinary overall performance masks a wide variation in growth rates across different countries, with persistent underdevelopment in some parts of the world. This disparity constitutes "the development puzzle," and it is exemplified by growth spurts in China and India that contrast markedly with disturbingly low growth rates in sub-Saharan Africa.
The American government has been both miracle worker and villain in the developing world. From the end of World War II until the 1980s poor countries, including many in Africa and the Middle East, enjoyed a modicum of economic growth. New industries mushroomed and skilled jobs multiplied, thanks in part to flexible American policies that showed an awareness of the diversity of Third World countries and an appreciation for their long-standing knowledge about how their own economies worked. Then during the Reagan era, American policy changed.
With more than a billion people now living on less than a dollar a day, and with eight million dying each year because they are simply too poor to live, most would agree that the problem of global poverty is our greatest moral challenge. The large and pressing practical question is how best to address that challenge. Although millions of dollars flow to poor countries, the results are often disappointing.
The debt crises in emerging market countries over the past decade have given rise to renewed debate about crisis prevention and resolution. In Debt Defaults and Lessons from a Decade of Crises, Federico Sturzenegger and Jeromin Zettelmeyer examine the facts, the economic theory, and the policy implications of sovereign debt crises. They present detailed case histories of the default and debt crises in seven emerging market countries between 1998 and 2005: Russia, Ukraine, Pakistan, Ecuador, Argentina, Moldova, and Uruguay.
Over the past three decades the developing world has seen increasing devolution of political and economic power to local governments. Decentralization is considered an important element of participatory democracy and, along with privatization and deregulation, represents a substantial reduction in the authority of national governments over economic policy.