DESA News Vol. 11, No. 8 August 2007

Publications and websites

Technical reports

Innovations in Governance in the Middle East, North Africa, and Western Balkans: Making Governments Work Better in the Mediterranean Region

Innovations in Governance in the Middle East, North Africa, and Western Balkans: Making Governments Work Better in the Mediterranean Region

Produced by the Division for Public Administration and Development Management, this title provides an analysis of the challenges and opportunities of innovation faced by governments in the Middle East, North Africa and Western Balkans. All the initiatives highlighted, whether large or small, in one agency or across the board, a major transformation or a first step towards reform, are significant in that they demonstrate openness to new ways of thinking about public service. Part one gives an overview of practices nominated for the UN Public Service Award between 2003 and 2006. Part two is a collection of case studies in innovation from eleven Mediterranean countries. Part three turns to key lessons of the studies presented, and offers insight into the drivers of successful government innovation.

To download: http://unpan1.un.org/intradoc/groups/public/documents/UN/UNPAN025283.pdf

The Challenges of Restoring Governance in Crisis and Post-Conflict Countries

The Challenges of Restoring Governance in Crisis and Post-Conflict Countries

This title examines the tasks and challenges of restoring effective governance in crisis and post-conflict countries, including the role of government, international organizations and donor countries based on more than three decades of experience with post-conflict reconstruction. Drawing on cases from around the world, rebuilding trust in government emerges as a central theme alongside restoration of the capacity to govern. The types of assistance provided by international organizations, donors, and development finance agencies in post-conflict situations, and the factors that affect implementation, are described and assessed. Produced by the Division for Public Administration and Development Management together with UNDP, and issued as part of a Government Reinvention Series launched in June.

To download: http://unpan1.un.org/intradoc/groups/public/documents/UN/UNPAN025512.pdf

Excellence and Leadership in the Public Sector: The Role of Education and Training

Excellence and Leadership in the Public Sector: The Role of Education and Training

How best to achieve excellence in public administration education and training, and how to prepare government leaders to deal with a world of complexity and uncertainty are the two themes explored in this publication. While some individuals may be born leaders, for the most part the quality of political and administrative leadership in any government can be significantly enhanced through education and training. Not only can leadership techniques be taught, but public administration education also serves to provide government leaders with a broader understanding of critical economic, social, and other issues. In combination, the two areas of study could have a profound impact on the quality of governance worldwide. Produced by the Division for Public Administration and Development Management together with the International Association of Schools and Institutes of Administration, and issued as part of a Government Reinvention Series launched in June.

To download: http://unpan1.un.org/intradoc/groups/public/documents/UN/UNPAN025513.pdf

Governance for the Millennium Development Goals: Core Issues and Good Practices

Governance for the Millennium Development Goals: Core Issues and Good Practices

One of the most important aims of UN efforts to promote good governance is to establish the capacity to attain the Millennium Development Goals adopted by the General Assembly in 2000. This title constitutes a first attempt to link governance issues to the MDGs. Theoretical and empirical connections between policy-making and sound governance are explored, as is the question of democratic governance. A number of examples of good practices implemented by governments, civil society organizations, and the private sector are included along with a proposed eleven-point reform agenda to improve governance in our rapidly changing world. Published by the Division for Public Administration and Development Management, and issued as part of a Government Reinvention Series launched in June.

To download: http://unpan1.un.org/intradoc/groups/public/documents/UN/UNPAN025110.pdf

Public Administration and Democratic Governance: Governments Serving Citizens

Public Administration and Democratic Governance: Governments Serving Citizens

This publication is a collection of papers from around the world on how to achieve more responsive and accountable public administration within the framework of democratic governance. Strengthening trust, accountability, and participation in government are seen as essential to serving the needs of citizens Public officials and administrators are provided with conceptual and policy tools to help them understand today’s complex challenges, and to pursue ideas that are most likely to enhance service delivery from the citizen’s perspective. Published by the Division for Public Administration and Development Management, and issued as part of a Government Reinvention Series launched in June.

To download: http://unpan1.un.org/intradoc/groups/public/documents/UN/UNPAN025063.pdf


Statistical compilations

Monthly Bulletin of Statistics and MBS Online

Monthly Bulletin of Statistics and MBS Online

MBS provides monthly statistics on more than 50 indicators from over 200 countries and areas, together with special tables illustrating important economic developments. Quarterly data for significant world and regional aggregates are included regularly.

Vol. LXI, no. 5, May 2007 ST/ESA/STAT/SER.Q/413

Special features in this issue: Indices of world industrial production by branches of industry and by regions; producer price indices; earnings in manufacturing, by sex; construction of new buildings; total exports and imports by regions: volume and unit value indices and terms of trade.

For more information: http://unstats.un.org/unsd/mbs


Meeting records

Report of the Expert Group Meeting on E-participation and E-government: Understanding the Present and Creating the Future

Report of the Expert Group Meeting on E-participation and E-government: Understanding the Present and Creating the Future

As part of its ongoing effort to promote ICT for development, DESA organized a meeting on e-participation and e-government in July 2006. The meeting provided an opportunity to review experiences, and explore methods of building and supporting inclusive societies through e-government at the local, national, regional and international levels. This report of the meeting, published by the Division for Public Administration and Development Management, includes information on best practices in e-participation, and lessons learned, from around the world.

To download: http://unpan1.un.org/intradoc/groups/public/documents/UN/UNPAN026527.pdf


Working papers

Growth, employment and poverty: An analysis of the vital nexus based on some recent UDP and ILO/SIDA studies

This paper explores the role of employment growth in determining the effect of a given rate of economic growth on the rate of change in poverty, based on the findings of sixteen country case studies recently carried out by UNDP and ILO. The principal finding is that the rate of poverty reduction has invariably been lower than expected. The main reasons appear to be the low employment intensity of growth and, with few exceptions, low overall growth itself. .

To download: http://www.un.org/esa/desa/papers/2007/wp49_2007.pdf

A Compendium of Policy Instruments to Enhance Financial Stability and Debt Management in Emerging Market Economies

Drawing on available theory and evidence, this paper attempts to identify some key factors contributing to international financial instability to develop a taxonomy of policy instruments to enhance financial stability and debt management in emerging market economies. The purpose is to relate each instrument to particular aspects of the broader policy challenge, thus clarifying differences and/or similarities among instruments and proposals. The analysis suggests instruments that could help increase the efficiency of risk management strategies, such as growth- or GDP-indexed bonds, and enhance the effectiveness of debt management, growth and development policies, such as a stability and social investment facility.

To download: http://www.un.org/esa/desa/papers/2007/wp48_2007.pdf

Labour Market Flexibility and Decent Work

This paper reviews evidence from both industrialized and developing countries on the relationship between labour market flexibility and employment. It is argued that the notion of flexibility and its impact is often oversimplified. The evidence, such as it is, does not provide much support for the view that greater flexibility results in higher employment. There is more evidence for an impact on the distribution of employment among different groups of the population, but also effects which vary widely between countries. Flexibility needs to be considered within a wider framework of policies and institutions to promote decent work.

To download: http://www.un.org/esa/desa/papers/2007/wp47_2007.pdf

Rethinking the Informal Economy: Linkages with the Formal Economy and the Formal Regulatory Environment

This paper explores the relationship of the informal economy to the formal economy and the formal regulatory environment. It begins with a discussion of the concept of the informal economy and its size, composition, and segmentation. It then discusses the linkages between the informal economy and the formal economy and the formal regulatory environment. The conclusion suggests why, and how, more equitable linkages between the informal economy and the formal economy should be promoted through an appropriate inclusive policy and regulatory environment.

To download: http://www.un.org/esa/desa/papers/2007/wp46_2007.pdf

Inequality in India: A Survey of Recent Trends

This paper analyzes the nature and causes of the patterns of inequality and poverty in India. Since the economic liberalization in the early 1990s, the evidence suggests increasing inequality (in both spatial and vertical terms) as well as persistent poverty. The macroeconomic policies possibly responsible for these trends include—fiscal tightening, regressive tax policies and expenditure cuts; financial sector reform that reduced institutional credit flow to small producers and agriculturalists; liberalization of rules for foreign and domestic investment, leading to more regional imbalance and skewed investment patterns, and trade liberalization, which has affected livelihoods and employment generation.

To download: http://www.un.org/esa/desa/papers/2007/wp45_2007.pdf

A Growth Model for a Two-sector Economy with Endogenous Productivity

A growth model is developed for an open dual economy. The economy expands due to a higher growth rate of labour productivity in the modern sector through the Kaldor-Verdoorn channel and higher effective demand through a Keynesian channel. The model incorporates a retardation mechanism affecting the slopes of productivity and output growth schedules as labour surplus and economies of scale diminish. A wage or profit-led regime and initial conditions may give rise to: de-industrialization in terms of both output and employment; a growth trap sustaining a situation of structural heterogeneity; or sustainable employment and adequate output and productivity growth.

To download: http://www.un.org/esa/desa/papers/2007/wp44_2007.pdf

The Conflict-growth Nexus and the Poverty of Nations

Lack of growth limits poverty reduction while poverty increases conflict risk. Institutional failure and other factors seem to cause both growth failure and civil war. The greed explanation for conflict is common in cross-country econometric investigation, despite its dubious role in directly causing civil war. The relationship between natural resource revenues and conflict onset works through other mechanisms, such as a weakening social contract and withering state capacity. The grievance explanation for contemporary civil war is supported by detailed case studies where horizontal inequality is important. Economic reconstruction following war should therefore be pro-poor and address horizontal inequalities engendering conflict.

To download: http://www.un.org/esa/desa/papers/2007/wp43_2007.pdf