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How (not) to build state capability

court room
Effective and capable states are essential for the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Such states can raise the necessary resources for spending on the crucial government programmes that matter for the achievement of the SDGs, as well as implement these programmes efficiently. This is why the development of effective, accountable and transparent institutions is itself an important element of the 2030 Agenda, as reflected in SDG 16. However, building state capability in...

Industrial policy in the 21st century

Road traffic
Why is there so little industry in Africa? Does it matter? What can be done about it? These were questions I put to Finn Tarp and Louis Kasekende, then the Director of UNU-WIDER and Chief Economist of the African Development Bank respectively, at a 2008 meeting of the African Economic Research Consortium in Nairobi. We were talking about the challenges that Africa would facein the 21st century and our greatest worry was that, despite almost twoVideo of MOOC preview: Industrial policy for the...

Data for development

SA-TIED meeting
As the largest economy in sub-Saharan Africa, South Africa’s successes and failures spill over into the broader region. Today, as South Africans face high unemployment and a sluggish economy, policymakers are wrestling to create success through solutions that will quell rising public debt, overcome persistent inequality, and stimulate regional economic integration. But a deficit of data that can inform whole–system answers threatens to impede policies that lead to inclusive...

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Research Brief
The impact of tax havens on South African revenue October 2019

The study uses a comparative analysis of foreign-owned firms operating in South Africa to show that firms with a parent registered in a tax haven tend to report 80% less in profits than similar firms without a parent in a tax haven...

Tax International taxation Profit shifting
Policy Brief
Social protection, government revenue and microsimulation in developing countries October 2019

Social protection has attracted increasing interest in developing countries in recent decades and policies have been initiated in all developing regions...

SOUTHMOD Microsimulation modelling Tax-benefit microsimulation
Policy Brief
Aid effectiveness: Growth and beyond October 2019

The questions of whether aid has impact and is effective have been the subject of considerable attention...

Aid effectiveness aid and growth Development aid
Policy Brief
Can legal empowerment help to address ethnic exclusion? October 2019

‘Legal empowerment’ is defined as a process of systemic change through which the poor and excluded become able to use the law to protect and advance their rights and interests as citizens and economic actors...

Legal empowerment Group-based inequality Property rights
Research Brief
Firms with high-growth episodes in South Africa: Are they persistently high-growth firms? October 2019

The analysis of firm growth has been a topic of consistent economic interest as a growing body of literature has lent support to the possibility that the majority of growth and new employment creation is the result of a small sub-sector of high-growt...

Firm growth High-growth firms Regression analysis
Highlights from the 2019 WIDER Development Conference

The World Bank recently estimated that two-thirds of all jobs in developing countries are at risk of automation...

Jobs sdg8 Economic transformation
Research Brief
Dancing with dragons: Can South African firms compete with Chinese imports?

China’s growing edge in export manufacturing has caused concern for low-income and middle-income countries seeking to develop robust manufacturing sectors...

Capabilities Import competition Import
How (not) to build state capability

Effective and capable states are essential for the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)...

SDGs SDG16 Building State Capabilities
Industrial policy in the 21st century: The challenge for Africa

Why is there so little industry in Africa? Does it matter? What can be done about it?...

Research Brief
Racial inequality and demographic change in South Africa: Impacts on economic development September 2019

Over the past 20 years, researchers have been looking at the economic lifecycle of individuals around the world using National Transfer Accounts (NTA) data...

demographic dividend economic lifecycle Intergenerational Mobility
Policy Brief
Resurgent Asia: Diversity in Development September 2019

In 1820, Asia accounted for two-thirds of world population and over half of world income. The subsequent decline of Asia was attributable to its integration with a world economy shaped by colonialism and driven by imperialism...

Gunnar Myrdal Economic transformation Structural transformation
Policy Brief
Learning from a half-century of economic development in Asia August 2019

When Gunnar Myrdal published his magnum opus, Asian Drama: An Inquiry into the Poverty of Nations , in 1968, he was deeply pessimistic about the development prospects in Asia...

Development Economics Asia Industrial policy
Research Brief
A game of snakes and ladders with loaded dice: Socioeconomic class and poverty in South Africa August 2019

South Africa is often cited as the most unequal economy in the world...

Economic inequality Poverty Dynamics social stratification
Research Brief
Balancing tax collection and equality: The case of value-added tax in South Africa August 2019

In a democratic system, taxation is a critical part of the social contract between the state and its citizens. The tax system can be used to help address the unacceptably high levels of poverty, inequality, and unemployment in South Africa...

value-added tax microsimulation Redistribution
Research Brief
The gender wage gap in post-apartheid South Africa August 2019

The World Bank reports that the world loses US$160 trillion in human capital wealth due to gender wage inequality every year. Inequality is not just an issue of fairness...

Labour force participation Gender gap wage gap
How can developing countries pay for the SDGs?

With official development assistance under strain, achieving the Sustainable Development Goals will require developing countries to rely increasingly on their own resources...

SDGs Sustainable Development Goals Millennium Development Goals
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