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The political economy of development
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From The World Bank Group
Global Development Finance Reports:
  • 1998 Vol. I
    External finance for developing countries

    It was a rollercoaster year for emerging markets in 1997. During the first three quarters external finance from private sources rose strongly, as low international interest rates and high stock market valuations in some countries encouraged creditors to seek out higher yields (and accept higher risks) in emerging market debt instruments. Stock market booms in Latin America and Eastern Europe were accompanied by substantial portfolio equity flows. But the onset of the East Asian financial crisis in July and its effects on other regions later in the year led to a general retreat from new investments in emerging markets. Bond issues and loan commitments fell (on a year-over-year basis) in the third quarter to East Asia and in the fourth quarter to most major borrowers. At the same time stock markets fell sharply in many countries and loan spreads widened, though they remained well below the levels that followed the Mexican peso crisis in early 1995. The same forces that led to pronounced swings in flows induced large changes in secondary market spreads. Spreads fell sharply from early 1995 to mid-1997 and then shot up in late 1997 in response to the turmoil in financial and currency markets.

  • 1999 Vol. I
    More Difficult International Economic Environment for Developing Countries

    The report consists of two volumes: a) Analysis and Summary Tables contains analysis and commentary on recent developments in international finance for developing countries, with particular focus on the global financial crisis. Summary statistical tables are included for 150 countries. b) Country Tables contains statistical tables on the external debt of the 138 countries that report public and public guaranteed debt under the Debtor Reporting System (DRS). Also included are tables of selected debt and resource flow statistics for individual reporting countries as well as summary tables for regional and income groups. This year's report includes the external debt obligations of the Republic of Korea, a high-income country. Charts on pages xx to xxii summarize graphically the relation between debt stock and its components; the computation of net flows, aggregate net resource flow, and aggregate net transfers; and the relation between net resource flow and the balance of payments. Exact definitions of these and other terms are found in the Sources and Definitions section.

  • 1999 Country Tables
  • 2000 Vol. I
    Prospects and Risks Developing Countries

    An improved outlook GROWTH IN DEVELOPING COUNTRIES continues to recover from the global financial crisis, underpinned by stronger and more broadly based growth in industrial country output and in world trade, both of which have significantly exceeded earlier expectations in recent months. The main drivers of the recovery have included stimulative policy measures in the industrial countries (widespread interest rate cuts in late 1998 and, in Japan, fiscal stimulus), the return of confidence in East Asia, and a gradual easing of financial conditions throughout virtually the entire developing world.
    The renewed confidence in East Asia was prompted by an unprecedented current account adjustment, strengthening currencies, lower domestic interest rates, and expansionary fiscal policy. While primary commodity prices have firmed, overall inflationary pressures in the world economy remain contained, reflecting cautious monetary policies, significant potential output gaps in many parts of the world, and unexpectedly rapid increases in productivity in the United States. This report revises upward the estimate for developing country growth in 1999 by 0.6 percentage points to 3.3 percent, from the forecast in last fall’s Global Economic Prospects.1 Given the strengthening momentum of the world recovery, it revises upward developing country forecast growth in 2000 by 0.4 percentage point to 4.6 percent, and in 2001–02 by 0.1 percentage point to 4.8 percent.
    Nevertheless, adjustment to the effects of the recent financial crisis is still far from complete in the developing world. Growth in 2000–02 is projected to remain somewhat below precrisis trends, as underlying fragilities exposed and exacerbated by the crisis will take time to address.

  • 2000 Country Tables
  • 2001 Vol. 1
    Building Coalitions for Effective Development Finance

    These are some of the conclusions reached by Global Development Finance 2001, Analysis and Summary Tables, a report which also highlights current international initiatives to leverage the extensive potential of international financial flows. These include the global reform of the international financial architecture and the World Bank's Comprehensive Development Framework at the country level, which advocates a holistic approach to development.
    Global Development Finance 2001, Analysis and Summary Tables,
    Predicts a quick rebound in the global economy in 2001 despite the cyclical slowdown of 2000
    Finds that capital flows to developing countries grew smartly in 2000 following the steep declines of the crisis-laden late 1990s but still lagged behind output and trade since the crises
    That aid flows and the pace of debt relief picked up in 2000, but would need constant watching to sustain the gains to make the case for greater aid
    Concludes that international financial institutions need to take a more flexible and pragmatic approach to coalition building to achieve the maximum dividends from international resource transfers intended for public goods

  • 2002
    Financing the Poorest Countries

    The integration of developing countries into the global economy increased sharply in the 1990s with improvements in their economic policies; the massive expansion of global trade and finance driven by technological innovations in communications, transport, and data management; and the lowering of barriers to trade and financial transactions. Many of the poorest developing countries1 participated strongly in this process despite their limited access to capital markets. This report analyzes the interaction between the global expansion of finance and improvements in domestic policies in the poor countries over the 1990s, and the implications for growth and poverty reduction. Three main messages are developed: (a) a strong investment climate is critical to attracting foreign capital and using it productively; (b) poor countries’ increasing integration in the global economy means that they face similar policy challenges as middle-income countries, including how to deal with capital mobility; and (c) achieving the Millennium Development Goals will require a substantial rise in aid flows, an increased allocation of aid to countries with good policies, and improvements in policies by both developing countries and donors.

  • 2003
    Striving for Stability in Development Finance

    ALTHOUGH 2002 WAS A YEAR OF HESITANT global recovery, financial conditions facing many developing countries were once again challenging, especially for those countries (mainly middle-income countries) dependent on international financial markets. Conditions have improved a little in the early months of 2003, although the uncertainties surrounding Iraq have cast a shadow over both the global economy and financial markets.
    Concern over the recent pattern of financial flows for global development that has prevailed in recent years is widespread—and understandably so. Since 1998, developing countries have repaid external debt to private creditors in developed countries. In some cases these net repayments of debt have been required by timorous capital markets grown wary of overexposure to developingcountry debt. In others they reflect reduced demand for debt by countries that have either found alternative forms of external finance or have reduced their overall demand for external investment funds. Combined with developing countries’ steady accumulation of financial assets in highincome economies, however, these debt repayments mean that the developing world has become a net capital exporter to the developed world. On a net basis, therefore, capital is no longer flowing from high-income countries to economies that need it to sustain their progress toward the Millennium Development Goals. The shortage is compounded in the poorest countries by a significant drop in official development assistance from bilateral donors.
    What can or should be done to promote access by developing countries to external capital? What can be done to prevent growing economies from the disruptive effects of sharp reversals in financing? These are the central concerns of this year’s Global Development Finance.

  • 2004
    Harnessing Cyclical Gains for Development

    A STRONG CYCLICAL RECOVERY IN global capital flows to developing countries is underway. Net private flows increased sharply in 2003, reaching $200 billion—their highest level since 1998. The rapid turnaround in private flows from the subdued levels of the two previous years occurred in all regions, except the Middle East and North Africa. Flows to Europe and Central Asia were particularly strong, as eight transition countries approached accession to the European Union in May 2004. Total net capital inflows, including official flows, reached $228 billion (3.6 percent of developing-country gross domestic product [GDP]), up from $191 billion in 2002 (3.2 percent of GDP) (figure 1; table 1). At the same time, the credit quality of developing countries improved markedly, and investor confidence is returning.
    The recovery in capital flows is heavily influenced by cyclical factors—in particular the boost to liquidity arising from stimulative monetary policy in many advanced economies—but it also reflects structural improvements both in developing countries and internationally. The net external liability position of developing countries has strengthened, and the large-scale buildup in developing countries’ official reserves—much of which is invested in the financial markets of advanced economies—has introduced a new dimension to the relationship between the developed and developing worlds. More than ever, global capital flows, trade, and exchange-rate policies are intricately linked. The challenge for international financial policymakers will be to ensure that the cyclical recovery in flows can be sustained over the medium term, and that it can be channeled into areas, such as infrastructure, where it can lay the foundations for sustained growth and poverty reduction, thereby helping to meet the Millennium Development Goals. It will be important to maintain investor confidence, while avoiding the excesses—and increased vulnerability—that have accompanied surges in lending to developing countries in the past. At the same time, aid flows have to increase. These are the central themes of this year’s Global Development Finance.

  • 2005
    Mobilizing Finance and Managing Vulnerability

    2004 WAS A ROBUST YEAR FOR THE global economy, especially for developing countries, which recorded their fastest growth in more than three decades. The global recovery strengthened, with much of the momentum coming from the United States and Asia (notably China), and broadened, with a pickup in Latin America, acceleration in Japan, and modest recovery in the European Union (EU). Driven by favorable global conditions and strong domestic performance at home, developing countries continued to attract capital in 2004, although more slowly than in 2003. Favorable global economic and financial conditions over the past few years, along with domestic policy initiatives, have improved economic fundamentals in most developing countries, strengthening their external positions and making them less susceptible to external pressures. But significant global financial imbalances suggest the need for adjustment.
    History has shown time and again that financial crises often take markets and policymakers by surprise. The Asian crisis that erupted in mid-1997 offers a striking example— large exchange-rate exposures on balance sheets in the corporate, financial, and public sectors were not widely recognized until after the fact. Valuable lessons can be learned from these past episodes. One is that there is a tendency for financial markets and policymakers to miss the warning signs and overshoot, making the necessary adjustment larger when it does occur. Overshooting has contributed to “boom-bust” cycles in global financial markets, which have impeded economic development in many regions.

  • 2006
    The Development Potential of Surging Capital Flows

    "....This relatively benign soft-landing scenario for developing countries faces both internal and external risks. First, the high growth of the past several years is generating tensions within individual countries. In several East European countries this has taken the form of rising inflation, currency appreciation, and high current-account deficits, while in others it has expressed itself in rising asset prices, inflationary pressure, and growing domestic tensions between fast and slower growing regions and sectors. Second, many of the buffers that permitted countries to absorb higher oil prices with a minimum of disruption have been exhausted, and countries have yet to fully adjust to higher oil prices. As a result, developing countries are much more vulnerable to potential external shocks, such as a disruptive resolution of global imbalances, a decline in nonoil commodity prices, or a hike in oil prices following a supply shock." (GDF 2006, p. 13)

  • 2007
    The globalization of corporate finance in developing countries

    Growth in the developing countries came in at 7.3 percent in 2006, the fourth year that their economies expanded by more than 5.5 percent. Very fast-growing countries, such as China (10.7 percent) and India (9.2 percent), contributed strongly to this overall result. But even excluding these countries, low- and middle-income countries grew 5.9 percent and gross domestic product (GDP) in every developing region expanded by more than 5 percent. This robust developingcountry demand was reflected in stronger highincome country export growth, which was the main factor behind the acceleration of GDP in those countries to 3.1 percent. Overall, global output increased by 4 percent (5.3 percent using purchasing power parity [PPP] weights).
    Despite these strong figures, 2006 was likely a cyclical peak, as both GDP and industrial production began slowing in mid-2006 and into 2007.
    This moderation of growth among developing countries is welcome, however, because it should help reduce the chance that the current growth boom could be followed by a bust. The past few years of very strong growth have generated a number of tensions in the global economy, including increased commodity and asset prices (notably those of oil, metals, and housing) and a buildup of inflationary pressures.

  • 2008
    The role of international banking
    This report predicts a slowdown in world GDP growth from 3.7 percent in 2007 to 2.7 percent in 2008, while growth in developing countries is expected to slow from an extraordinary 7.8% in 2007 to 6.5 % in 2008.
    Strong growth in the developing world is certainly helping to offset the sharp slowdown in the U.S....But at the same time, rising global inflationary pressures, especially high food and energy prices,  are hurting large segments of the poor around the world.ť
    THE WORLD ECONOMY HAS endured a period of financial turmoil and slowing growth since mid-2007. As these events have unfolded, financing conditions facing developing countries have shifted from the benign environment of 2002–06 to the current state of heightened market volatility and tight credit conditions. With these tensions setting the stage, 2008 is shaping up to be a challenging year for development finance.
    Strong fundamentals underpinned most developing countries’ initial resilience to deteriorating economic and financial conditions. As of mid- 2007, total developing-country foreign exchange reserves amounted to $3.2 trillion (23.6 percent of their combined GDP, with the top five countries accounting for 68 percent of the total figure), many countries were posting strong economic growth, emerging equity markets were rallying (outperforming mature markets by a wide margin for the fourth consecutive year), and spreads on emerging-market sovereign bonds had reached record low levels.
    The balance of risks, however, has now plainly tilted to the downside. Various indicators signal that economic growth in the United States and Europe is slowing more than previously expected. Across the developing world, inflationary pressures, stemming from dramatic increases in energy and food prices in many cases, complicate the role that monetary and fiscal policy can play in maintaining macroeconomic stability over the medium term. Meanwhile, as financial services have become increasingly globalized, the reconciliation of national autonomy with the demands of international banking has become more difficult.


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Róbinson Rojas on:
Sustainable development in a globalized economy? The odds. 1999
Sustainable development in a globalized economy. 1997
Making sense of development studies
Notes on the philosophy of the capitalist system
Notes on economics: assuming scarcity
Notes on economics: about obscenities, poverty and inequality
Notes on structural adjustment programmes
Agenda 21 revisited (notes)
15 years of monetarism in Latin America: time to scream
Latin America: a failed industrial revolution
Latin America: the making of a fractured society
Latin America: a dependent mode of production