9 märkimist väärivat VoxEU artiklit

Competition from private schools boosts performance system-wide ((Martin West, Ludger Woessmann):

Interestingly, descriptive evidence also suggests that a larger share of privately operated schools is also associated with a strong reduction in the dependence of student achievement on socioeconomic status – as long as all schools are publicly financed (Woessmann et al. 2009). In other words, the additional choice created by public funding for privately operated schools seems to particularly benefit disadvantaged students and thus boost equity in the school system.

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Emerging Europe: Lessons from the boom-bust cycle (Bas Bakker, Ajai Chopra):

Indeed, it is striking that the strongest credit growth during the boom years took place in countries with fixed exchange rate regimes. This is due in part to the fact that countries with fixed exchange rates have few instruments to restrain credit booms. On the contrary, once a credit boom sets in, a vicious cycle emerges. As the economy heats up and inflation accelerates, real interest rates drop, further boosting demand for credit. Countries with floating exchange rates do not face this problem, as they can let their exchange rate appreciate, which prevents overheating, keeps inflation low and thus real interest rates high. It is striking that the countries that saw the least deterioration of their current account position between 2003 and 2008 (Czech Republic, Slovak Republic, Poland) were precisely the countries that saw a strong appreciation of their nominal exchange rate, while some of the countries that saw the largest increase of their current-account deficit (the Baltics and Bulgaria) were the countries that kept their exchange rate fixed (for more see Bakker and Gulde 2010).

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What should we do about cannabis? (Stephen Pudney):

In my view, the best way to begin putting policy on a better footing is to allow more variation in policymaking, including the legalisation option. This could be done if domestic supply and consumption of cannabis were removed from the international drug prohibition treaties, while retaining the ban on international trade in the drug. At present we are limited to decriminalisation unaccompanied by the instruments of regulation available for legal markets, so that the potential benefits of a non-prohibitionist approach are largely precluded. The removal of cannabis from the UN treaty structure would pass the responsibility for cannabis policy back to national governments, with freedom of action to pursue independent policies. Some will choose to stick to the status quo, others will choose decriminalisation or legalisation. In doing so, we will certainly have the chance to learn more about the effects of policy.

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Export restrictions and food market instability (Kym Anderson, Will Martin, Signe Nelgen):

The larger the number of countries insulating their domestic markets, the more other countries perceive a need to do likewise, exacerbating the effect on world prices such that even greater changes in trade barriers are desired by each nation – both exporters and importers. They also transfer welfare between food-surplus and food-deficit countries, and may even add to rather than reduce poverty.

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African poverty is falling…much faster than you think (Maxim Pinkovskiy, Xavier Sala-i-Martin):

Our main conclusion is that Africa is reducing poverty, and doing it much faster than many thought.

  • The growth from the period 1995-2006, far from benefiting only the elites, has been sufficiently widely spread that both total African inequality and African within-country inequality actually declined over this period.
  • The speed at which Africa has reduced poverty since 1995 puts it on track to achieve the Millennium Development Goal of halving poverty relative to 1990 by 2015 on time or, at worst, a couple of years late.
  • If the Democratic Republic of Congo converges to the African trend once it is stabilised, the MDG will be achieved by 2012, three years before the target date.

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The ageing, crisis-prone welfare state is bad news for welfare migration (Assaf Razin):

For instance, a skilled (rich) and young native-born who expects to bear more than an average share of the cost of providing the benefits of the welfare state is likely to oppose admitting unskilled migrants on such grounds. On the other hand, the same native-born may favour unskilled migrants to the extent that a larger supply of unskilled workers boosts skilled workers’ wages. The native-born older voters may favour migration, even low-skilled, on the ground that it could help finance their old-age benefits.

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Your new composite index has arrived: Please handle with care (Martin Ravallion):

While there is invariably a gap between the theoretical ideal and practical measurement, for past mashup indices the gap is huge. Greater clarity is needed on what exactly is being measured. And more attention needs to be given to the trade-offs embodied in the index. In most cases the trade-off is not even identified in the most relevant space for users to judge, and in cases where it can be derived from the data available it has been found to be questionable – implying, for example, unacceptably low valuations of life in poor countries. Indeed, the value of life implicit in the HDI ranges from a remarkably low level in the poorest countries to a very high level in rich countries (Ravallion 1997).

There is a peculiar inconsistency in the literature on mashup indices whereby prices are deemed to be an unreliable guide to trade-offs, and are largely ignored, while the actual weights being assumed in lieu of prices are often not made explicit in the same space as prices. Thus we have no basis to believe that the weights being used are any better than market prices, when available. Nor do we have any basis for believing that the weights bear any resemblance to defensible shadow prices.

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Regulating knowledge monopolies: The case of the IPCC (Richard S J Tol):

Natural monopolies should be regulated, particularly if they abuse their position (Berg and Tschirhart 1988, Sharkey 1982). The IPCC has. Quality standards have slipped. Errors in the Fourth Assessment Report made headlines across the world, testament to the extraordinary position of the IPCC (Economist 2010, Nature 2010). The IPCC ignored its own rules (Shapiro et al. 2010). The IPCC has not innovated much over the last 20 years. The IPCC has branched out into standard setting, research funding, and primary research. In its assessment reports, the IPCC glossed over mistakes it made in the relative importance of greenhouse gases (O’Neill 2000) and in scenario development (Castles and Henderson 2003). Such behaviour is typical of a monopolist who need not care about the client. Such behaviour calls for regulation (Tol 2010).

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Growing together: Croatia and Latvia (Thorvaldur Gylfason, Eduard Hochreiter):

Our story of Croatia and Latvia’s economic advances since 1991 suggests policy implications that seem to be of general relevance for many countries, particularly for those that aspire to rapidly catch up with others. Among other things, rapid convergence requires:

  • Policies that foster education and training, embrace free trade, and focus on investment in a business-friendly environment;
  • Macroeconomic policies that support price stability and fiscal sustainability, sound private banking and other financial intermediation, and international, consumer-friendly competition,
  • Sound and transparent societal institutions that support the rule of law, and
  • Good governance in both the public and the private sectors.

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