scispace - formally typeset
Search or ask a question
Author

Nancy Birdsall

Other affiliations: Inter-American Development Bank, World Bank, Williams College  ...read more
Bio: Nancy Birdsall is an academic researcher from Center for Global Development. The author has contributed to research in topics: Poverty & Population. The author has an hindex of 55, co-authored 250 publications receiving 10244 citations. Previous affiliations of Nancy Birdsall include Inter-American Development Bank & World Bank.


Papers
More filters
Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: The authors argued that liberalization of trade regimes and increased foreign investment in Latin America have not associated with pollution-intensive industrial development, and concluded that protected economies are more likely to favor pollution intensive industries, while openness actually encourages cleaner industry through the importation of developed-country pollution standards.
Abstract: It is commonly assumed by economists and environmentalists alike that greater economtc "openness" will lead to increased industrial pollution in developing countries. This paper challenges the "pollution haven" hypothesis, arguing that liberalization of trade regimes and increased foreign investment in Latin America have not been associated with pollution-intensive industrial development. From case studies and econometric evidence, we conclude that protected economies are more likely to favor pollution intensive industries, while openness actually encourages cleaner industry through the importation of developed-country pollution standards.

629 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: The authors showed that low levels of income inequality may have directly stimulated growth in East Asian economies, and that high-quality basic education and augmenting labor demand also contributed to economic growth.
Abstract: East Asian economies have experienced rapid growth over three decades, with relatively low levels of income inequality, and appear to have also achieved reductions in income inequality. We argue that policies that reduced poverty and income inequality, such as emphasizing high-quality basic education and augmenting labor demand, also stimulated growth. Closing two virtuous circles, rapid growth and reduced inequality led to higher demand for, and supply of, education. Moreover, low levels of income inequality may have directly stimulated growth. We present cross-economy regression results that are consistent with a positive causal effect of low inequality on economic growth and with low inequality of income as an independent contributing factor to East Asia's rapid growth. We conclude that policies for sharing growth can also stimulate growth. In particular, investment in education is a key to sustained growth, both because it contributes directly through productivity effects and because it reduces income inequality.

508 citations

Posted Content
TL;DR: The fight against poverty has been adopted by the multilateral development banks as their principal objective as discussed by the authors and the emphasis in the international institutions contrasts with disappointing results in the real world, and although life expectancy, school enrollments and other indicators of social wellbeing have improved dramatically across the developing world, although the proportion of the poor has declined in the last few decades, the absolute number of poor people in the world has actually increased.
Abstract: The fight against poverty has been adopted by the multilateral development banks as their principal objective. Almost three decades after Robert McNamara announced that the World Bank's fundamental work was to improve the lives of the poor, its new president, James Wolfensohn, has reiterated that poverty reduction is the World Bank's principal purpose. Similarly, in 1994 the Inter-American Development Bank set social progress and social equity as its central objective. The emphasis in the international institutions contrasts with disappointing results in the real world. Although life expectancy, school enrollmuent, and other indicators of social wellbeing have improved dramatically across the developing world, and although the proportion of the poor has declined in the last few decades, the absolute number of poor people in the world has actually increased. Today about 1.3 billion people in less developed countries still subsist on less than $1 per day (World Bank, 1980, 1990, 1996). The case of Latin America is dramatic. While in the 1970's the number of poor fell, it nearly doubled in the 1980's, increasing from about 80 to almost 150 million; and in the last few years, the number of poor, now 33 percent of the total population, has failed to fall despite economic recovery (Birdsall and Londofio, 1997). The contrast between the multilateral banks' goals and these disappointing results suggests the need for a critical reassessment of their approach to poverty reduction. In this paper we describe the approach reflected in the work of World Bank economists and, based on new empirical work, assess its relevance for Latin America.'

477 citations

Book
01 Oct 1987
TL;DR: 4 policies for health financing are proposed to raise revenues for important health programs increase the efficiency of public health services and make the system better serve the poor.
Abstract: In the current environment of general budget stringency in developing countries it is unrealistic to push for more public spending for health services. The answer to this health crisis is to relieve government of much of the responsibility for financing those kinds of health services for which the benefits to society as a whole (as opposed to direct benefits to the users of the service) are low freeing public resources to finance those services for which benefits are high. The intent is to relieve government of the burden of spending on health care for the rich freeing public resources for more spending for the poor. Individuals with sufficient income should pay for their curative care. The financing and provision of these "private" health services should be shifted to a combination of the nongovernment sector and a public sector reorganized to be more financially self-sufficient. A shift such as this would increase the public resources available for those types of health services which are "public goods" and currently are underfunded "public" health programs such as immunization vector control some prenatal and maternal care sanitary waste disposal and health education. Also such a shift would increase the public resources available for simple curative care and referral for the poor who now only have limited access to low quality services of this nature. Government efforts to cover the full costs of health care for everyone from general public revenues have contributed to 3 sets of problems in the health systems of many countries: an allocation problem -- insufficient spending on cost-effective health activities; an internal efficiency problem -- inefficient public programs; and an equity problem -- inequitable distribution of benefits from health services. 4 policies for health financing are proposed to raise revenues for important health programs increase the efficiency of public health services and make the system better serve the poor. These are: charging users of public health facilities; providing insurance or other risk coverage; strengthening nongovernmental health activities; and decentralizing government health services. A table summarizes the effects of each of the 4 options for reform in alleviating health sector problems.

414 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: In this paper, the authors present a review of economic and demographic change in Latin America, focusing on fertility, poverty, saving, wealth, and population in the context of economic growth, distribution, and conversion.
Abstract: I. SETTING THE STAGE 1. How and Why Population Matters: New Findings, New Issues 2. The Population Debate in Historical Perspective: Revisionism Revised 3. Dependency Burdens in the Developing World II. POPULATION CHANGE AND THE ECONOMY 4. Economic and Demographic Change: A Synthesis of Models, Findings, and Perspectives 5. Demographic Change, Economic Growth and Inequality 6. Saving, Wealth, and Population 7. Cumulative Causality, Economic Growth and the Demographic Transition III. FERTILITY, POVERTY AND THE FAMILY 8. Population and Poverty in Households: A Review of Reviews 9. Demographic Transition and Poverty: Effects Via Economic Growth, Distribution, and Conversion 10. Inequality and the Family in Latin America 11. Demographic Changes and Poverty in Brazil IV. POPULATION, AGRICULTURE AND NATURAL RESOURCES 12. Rural Population Growth, Agricultural Change and Natural Resource Management in Developing Countries: A Review of Hypotheses and Some Evidence from Honduras V. SOME ECONOMICS OF POPULATION POLICY 13. Why Micro Matters 14. New Findings in Economics and Demography: Implications for Policies to Reduce Poverty

381 citations


Cited by
More filters
Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: The Commission on Social Determinants of Health (CSDH) as mentioned in this paper was created to marshal the evidence on what can be done to promote health equity and to foster a global movement to achieve it.

7,335 citations

Journal Article
TL;DR: A Treatise on the Family by G. S. Becker as discussed by the authors is one of the most famous and influential economists of the second half of the 20th century, a fervent contributor to and expounder of the University of Chicago free-market philosophy, and winner of the 1992 Nobel Prize in economics.
Abstract: A Treatise on the Family. G. S. Becker. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. 1981. Gary Becker is one of the most famous and influential economists of the second half of the 20th century, a fervent contributor to and expounder of the University of Chicago free-market philosophy, and winner of the 1992 Nobel Prize in economics. Although any book with the word "treatise" in its title is clearly intended to have an impact, one coming from someone as brilliant and controversial as Becker certainly had such a lofty goal. It has received many article-length reviews in several disciplines (Ben-Porath, 1982; Bergmann, 1995; Foster, 1993; Hannan, 1982), which is one measure of its scholarly importance, and yet its impact is, I think, less than it may have initially appeared, especially for scholars with substantive interests in the family. This book is, its title notwithstanding, more about economics and the economic approach to behavior than about the family. In the first sentence of the preface, Becker writes "In this book, I develop an economic or rational choice approach to the family." Lest anyone accuse him of focusing on traditional (i.e., material) economics topics, such as family income, poverty, and labor supply, he immediately emphasizes that those topics are not his focus. "My intent is more ambitious: to analyze marriage, births, divorce, division of labor in households, prestige, and other non-material behavior with the tools and framework developed for material behavior." Indeed, the book includes chapters on many of these issues. One chapter examines the principles of the efficient division of labor in households, three analyze marriage and divorce, three analyze various child-related issues (fertility and intergenerational mobility), and others focus on broader family issues, such as intrafamily resource allocation. His analysis is not, he believes, constrained by time or place. His intention is "to present a comprehensive analysis that is applicable, at least in part, to families in the past as well as the present, in primitive as well as modern societies, and in Eastern as well as Western cultures." His tone is profoundly conservative and utterly skeptical of any constructive role for government programs. There is a clear sense of how much better things were in the old days of a genderbased division of labor and low market-work rates for married women. Indeed, Becker is ready and able to show in Chapter 2 that such a state of affairs was efficient and induced not by market or societal discrimination (although he allows that it might exist) but by small underlying household productivity differences that arise primarily from what he refers to as "complementarities" between caring for young children while carrying another to term. Most family scholars would probably find that an unconvincingly simple explanation for a profound and complex phenomenon. What, then, is the salient contribution of Treatise on the Family? It is not literally the idea that economics could be applied to the nonmarket sector and to family life because Becker had already established that with considerable success and influence. At its core, microeconomics is simple, characterized by a belief in the importance of prices and markets, the role of self-interested or rational behavior, and, somewhat less centrally, the stability of preferences. It was Becker's singular and invaluable contribution to appreciate that the behaviors potentially amenable to the economic approach were not limited to phenomenon with explicit monetary prices and formal markets. Indeed, during the late 1950s and throughout the 1960s, he did undeniably important and pioneering work extending the domain of economics to such topics as labor market discrimination, fertility, crime, human capital, household production, and the allocation of time. Nor is Becker's contribution the detailed analyses themselves. Many of them are, frankly, odd, idiosyncratic, and off-putting. …

4,817 citations

01 Jan 2002
TL;DR: This article investigated whether income inequality affects subsequent growth in a cross-country sample for 1965-90, using the models of Barro (1997), Bleaney and Nishiyama (2002) and Sachs and Warner (1997) with negative results.
Abstract: We investigate whether income inequality affects subsequent growth in a cross-country sample for 1965-90, using the models of Barro (1997), Bleaney and Nishiyama (2002) and Sachs and Warner (1997), with negative results. We then investigate the evolution of income inequality over the same period and its correlation with growth. The dominating feature is inequality convergence across countries. This convergence has been significantly faster amongst developed countries. Growth does not appear to influence the evolution of inequality over time. Outline

3,770 citations