Day two and counting.. ERF 20th annual conference

Comparative Experiences of Social Injustice

The ERF 20th Annual conference carried on for the second consecutive day with plenary session presentations on studies of social justice experiences in different countries across the globe. The 2nd plenary session was chaired by Dr. Heba Handoussa (Egyptian Network for Integrated Development “ENID”), along with a distinguished panel of economists; Shanta Devarajan (World Bank Africa), Mahmoud El-Gamal (Rice University) and Carlos Eduardo Vélez (Universidad de los Andes).

Speakers during the 2nd plenary session

ERF 20th Annual Conference 2nd plenary session

World Bank Africa’s chief economist Shantayanan Devarajan addressed the issue of “capture and the failure of free public services” in developing countries. Devarajan argues how the nature of free public services promotes inequality of opportunity, where the elite can “capture” the better end of public goods distribution. The paper focused mainly on case studies from African and Asian countries; namely Mali, Gabon, India and Indonesia respectively.

Read more of this post

ERF 20th Annual Conference on “Social justice and economic development”

Economic Research Forum (ERF) kick-started its 20th Annual Conference in Cairo yesterday, March 22nd, featuring an impressive line-up of speakers. In light of the significant political transformations happening in the region, this year’s conference is devoted to the theme “Social Justice and Economic Development”. Social justice is widely considered to be one of the main factors behind popular uprisings in the MENA region; Arab societies witnessed an increasing concentration of wealth, unequal opportunities and rising corruption. The conference is addressing social justice with a special focus on what social justice might mean, how different societies were able to bring it about, and the lessons-learned from these experiences for Arab countries, particularly the ones in transition.

Speakers during ERF annual conference

Alternative perspectives on social justice

The opening and first plenary session discussed the alternative perspectives on social justice. Following the opening remarks of Ahmed Galal (ERF Managing Director), and Abdlatif Al-Hamad (Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development), François Bourguignon (Paris School of Economics) discussed the empirical and factual side of inequality in his presentation entitled ‘Inequality trends in the world: Common forces, idiosyncrasies and measurement errors’. When comparing the patterns of inequality in the developed world with that of the MENA region, Bourguignon shows that two thirds of developed countries witnessed an increasing inequality in the two decades between 1980 and 2000; including Sweden and the Netherlands, as do countries in Africa and Latin America. The striking intelligence he shared is that only the MENA region ‘shows surprising stability’.

Watch our interview with François Bourguignon


Read more of this post

On macroeconomic performance, development, social and labor policies in Latin America

LACEA and LAMES 18th Annual Meeting

This post was written by Carolina Zuluaga, Assistant Editor Vox.LACEA

The Latin American and Caribbean Economic Association (LACEA)’s main contributions to the Latin American community of economists have been the strengthening of the interest for research and the creation of new ties with the academia of the developed world. Through annual meetings, thematic research networks and its academic journal – Economía – LACEA encourages research and teaching, and fosters dialogue among researchers and practitioners.

LACEA-LAMES Mexico City 2013

LACEA-LAMES Mexico City 2013

The 18th annual meeting of the Latin American and Caribbean Economic Association (LACEA) and the 28th Latin American Meeting of the Econometric Society (LAMES) took place in Mexico City from October 31st – November 2nd, 2013, and was hosted by the Center for Economic Studies at El Colegio de México. With over 200 papers participating in the contributed sessions; more than 40 discussions taking place in the invited sessions and 3 feature presentations occurring in the plenary lectures, this conference gathered a concentration of talent hard to find in any other event.

Read more of this post

The political economy of transformation in the Arab region

Almost three years after the Arab spring uprisings kicked off in Tunisia in late 2010, the Arab region’s politico-economic transition remains complex. Although some uprisings have succeeded in bringing down regimes when others were the source of mass violence and violations, their economic and political outcomes are still unclear. Political and economic transformations are interacting more than ever before throughout the region’s transition. But the question is what kind of economic and political outcomes are being produced?

In an attempt to provide a better understanding of the impact of recent political changes on the economy of the region, the Economic Research Forum (ERF) launched a call for papers under the research theme of “Political Economy of Transformation in the Arab World”. 6 out of 16 research proposals were selected under this competition and following a peer-review process.

Read more of this post

“Climate Change and Economic Development in Africa”, socioeconomic and climate scenarios in the African continent

Climate change and economic development in Africa are pressing issues within the African continent. Although Africa is pressurized by problems of poverty alleviation and health issues, yet lately climate change and economic development became a major concern. While African countries have lower overall and per capita global warming emissions on the planet, they are also likely to suffer from the consequences of climate change. Droughts, famine, desertification, and population displacement are the impacts of such a rising danger within the continent. In the context of high levels of poverty and malnutrition, the priority for many African countries is increasing access to energy services and improving the economic welfare of their people. The African Economic Research Consortium’s (AERC) is organizing its Biannual Research Workshop addressing the topic of “climate change and economic development”. The event is scheduled on Sunday June 2, 2013 at the Mount Meru Hotel, Arusha, Tanzania.

AERC has embarked upon an initiative of an interactive live webcast for the workshop allowing the audience to follow the proceedings on the plenary session. The live web cast is available directly from: videos will also be made available on the YouTube link on the website as the meeting progresses. For updates through Twitter, the AERC twitter handle is @AERCAFRICA and through the RSS link available on the website.

Read more of this post

ERF 2013 Annual Conference – Highlights Day 1

Economic Research Forum (ERF)’s  19th Annual Conference kicked-off yesterday. Interesting and  fruitful discussions are be

ing held


 the controversial issue of

 Economic Development and the Rise of Islamist Parties.

 Amongst others, the following are the main topics that are being addressed:

ERF2013 Storify Highlights Day 1

The GDNet team, in collaboration with Pier Andrea Pirani from Euforic Services, is supporting the social reporting of the event.

You can see updates from the conference on the ERF Blog, or follow  the twitter feed of @ERFlatest and @Connect2GDNet. The hashtag for the event is #erf2013.

We put together yesterday’s highlights with Storify. You can see the curated outputs clicking on the image above.

Stay tuned for more update and join in the conversation online!

Economic Development and the Rise of Islamist Parties

(This is a cross-post based on a blog published by Salma el Meliegy ,  Communications Assistant at ERF )

The political upheavals, which swept the Arab World in early 2011 ushered in Islamist political parties in Egypt, Tunisia, and potentially elsewhere in the region. The rise of political Islam in the Middle East is contended by some to be the consequence of multidimensional crises experienced by the region. Economists and political analysts argue that some of these explanations may include failed economic policies, widespread authoritarianism, increasing unemployment, corruption and rapid urbanization.

The Rise of Political Islam

19th annual conference: The rise of political Islam

Economic Research Forum’s (ERF) 19th annual upcoming conference on ‘Economic Development and the Rise of Islamist Parties’ aims to these issues and the main economic policies aims to understand the causes behind the rise of Islamist parties, the conditions under which they succeed and the likely outcome in Arab Spring countries. The conference, to be held March 3-5th 2013, will be hosted by the Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development (AFESD) in Kuwait.

Don’t miss any discussions and stay up to date with conference proceedings and messages. The conference will be covered using social media by a dedicated team. Follow the ERF and GDNet blogs for posts and stories resulting from main sessions. And for quick and fast message follow @ERFLatest and @connect2gdnet on twitter.

Conference hash tag #ERF2013

Southeast Asia, the new rising star in the global market

We have been referring to the developing economies in Asia as the “Asian Miracle” since they not only witness very high rates of sustained growth, but also underpinning that growth, rapid increases in labor productivity and the import, adoption, use and development of technologically sophisticated processes for generating high-value goods and services.

Southeast Asia's Labor Force By Flickr User Robert Scoble (CC).

Southeast Asia’s Labor Force By Flickr User Robert Scoble (CC).

According to some analysts, Southeast Asian economies are forecast to grow at an average of nearly six percent per year throughout this decade, despite the slowdown in other regions of the world. Based on the analysis of Eric J. Wailes and Eddie C. Chavez in their paper “ASEAN and the Global Rice Situation and Outlook“, the region is projected to account for 53% of net exports, 14% of net imports, 29% of harvested area and 25% of total production.

The region, home to nearly nine percent of the global population, is also home to a large and growing pool of highly skilled, low-cost workers, shaped over years of domestic and foreign capital investment. Moreover, the Southeast Asia region has a strategic location since it sits at the crossroads between China and India in Asia and USA, Australia and New Zealand in the Pacific which grants it a competitive advantage over other regions in the world.

Joshua Aizenman, Minsoo Lee and Donghyun Park shed light in their paper “The Relationship between Structural Change and Inequality: A Conceptual Overview with Special Reference to Developing Asia” on the reasons behind the economic success in Southeast Asia. They explain that an indispensable core ingredient behind developing Asia’s remarkable economic success has been the explosive growth of trade with the rest of the world and with other countries within the region. Equally important to the region’s rapid growth has been the large inflows of FDI and other foreign capital into the region. The region has now become a globally significant exporter of capital, in addition to its technological progress, which has steadily shifted the region’s technological level toward the global technology frontier.

Southeast Asia’s economic, political, and market factors, combined with a landscape focused on attracting capital and development, have created an environment ripe with opportunity, but one still fraught with challenges. For example, transmission of HIV/AIDS, transnational crime including drug trafficking, human trafficking, piracy, labor migration, political instabilities including ethnic conflicts, financial market volatility, geographic challenges especially natural disasters and trans-boundary pollution are some threats facing the region.

By jointly taking action on issues that transcend national boundaries, countries can maximize their development prospects and increase their capacities to alleviate poverty, promote regional peace and security, and achieve sustainable development. Cooperation that further integrates the region expands opportunities to realize faster and more equitable economic growth and higher achievements of human development for South-East Asia.

It is important to reduce cross-country inequalities so that the whole of South-East Asia can compete on even footing with the rest of the world. Any lag or bottleneck in one part of the region could drag the rest, thus special attention, assistance, and cooperation within the region are highly recommended!

Research Network on Inequality and Poverty

Combating poverty and inequality is on the top of priorities for many development organizations. This is why the Latin American and Caribbean Economic Association (LACEA), the Inter-American Development Bank and the World Bank came together to launch their joint initiative “Network on Inequality and Poverty”. The objective of the initiative is to advance the state of knowledge and expertise regarding the causes and consequences of poverty, inequality, and social exclusion, as well as the whole range of policies, institutions and social structures that influence their dynamics, and finally the impact of public action.

As every year, an NIP meeting took place prior to the LACEA Annual Conference, on October 31st. Discussions were held on women’s participation in the labor market, the impact of fields of specialization on the man/woman’s position in the labor market and the possible correlation between a woman’s participation in the labor market and her earning.

According to Jaime Ruiz Tagle, Universidad de Chile, men and women interact based on the values they grew up on and the roles they see for each other. A conservative woman will commit to do her utmost in the household, participate in the labor market for shorter hours, and therefore will participate with less income in the household.

In this video, Virginia Robano, George Washington University, questions the possible correlation between working as a part-time and earnings. Educated females have the choice of working part-time or full time. According to her, two females with similar high education characteristics may opt for different options, which affects their respective earnings.

Hugo Rolando Ñopo, Inter-American Development Bank, explains that the decision men and women make regarding their respective fields of specialization affects their income once they join the labor market. The differences we see in the labor market are usually marked according to the decisions men and women make when choosing their field of specialization. In his view, one area that could be worked on today is the gender stereotyping in the labor market when it comes to skills and expertise.

LACEA 2012 Annual Meeting, Lima, Perú



The 17th Annual LACEA Meeting kicked off today in Lima, Perú. Hosted by Universidad del Pacifico (UP), the annual meeting of the Latin American and Caribbean Economic Association (LACEA) and the Latin American Meeting of the Econometric Society (Lames) will take place from November 1st – 3rd, 2012. As last year, 2012 LACEA and LAMES meetings will share a common program, under a single local organization.

Topics to be covered at the Meeting will include (but not limited to):

–          The shortage of safe assets

–          Knowledge growth and the allocation of time

–          Financial crises: Why they occur and what we can do about them

–          Economic mobility and the rise of the Latin American Middle Class

–          Room foe Development – Housing Markets in Latin America and the Carribbean

–          Eurozone spillovers and policy responses

–          Quality of education in Latin America and the Caribbean: The importance of teachers

–          Inequality in the world: Facts, perceptions and public policy

–          Launch of the World Development Report on Jobs

Read the daily blog on GDNet to catch up on plenaries and parallels discussions and listen to interviews from speakers and participants.

Follow @Connect2GDNet for live updates and comments on discussion ( #LACEA2012Lima  &  #LaceaLames2012 )

Sessions from the Meeting will be broadcasted on the web