Spending public funds efficiently and effectively is a challenge for governments around the world, but weak public finance management systems are holding back growth and development in Africa. Ken Opalo studies African legislatures and policymaking at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service. In this podcast, Opalo says public spending does not adequately reflect taxpayers' priorities in many African countries because elected officials are often left out of the budget process.
Much has been said and written about the dangers of government borrowing. In their new book, In Defense of Public Debt, economic historian Barry Eichengreen and his co-authors trace the evolution of sovereign debt from the wars of medieval Europe through the Covid-19 crisis, illustrating public debt's many positive uses, from reacting to financial crises to building public works. In this podcast, Eichengreen discusses the book with Finance and Development Magazine’s Chris Wellisz. Transcript: https://bit.ly/3ec6Hvj
Despite all the money and health infrastructure available to them, some of the world's richest countries have suffered higher death rates from COVID-19 than many developing countries. Jay Patel is a researcher at the Global Health Governance Program at the University of Edinburgh and has coauthored along with colleague Devi Sridhar an article about pandemic preparedness in the December issue of Finance and Development. In this podcast, Patel tells journalist Rhoda Metcalfe that regardless of their limited resources, many developing countries in Africa delivered effective containment strategies because of strong local leadership and knowledge sharing.
Read the article at IMF.org/fandd.
Pandemics pose significant macroeconomic costs but only recently have garnered the attention they deserve. In this podcast, economist Ruchir Agarwal, sits down with Peter Sands, Executive Director of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria, to discuss the role of macroeconomics in public health preparedness. Agarwal heads the IMF's Global Health and Pandemic Response Taskforce. Transcript: https://bit.ly/32KapKk
Read the F&D article at IMF.org/fandd
For all its strengths in measuring a country's economy, GDP falls short when it comes to gauging the well-being of its residents. For example, per capita GDP numbers today suggest people in the US are better off now than they were before the pandemic, regardless of the enduring social and economic upheaval. The recognition that GDP cannot encompass many dimensions of well-being has prompted a search for measures that reflect a more complete account of what people care about. Miles Kimball is a Professor at the University of Colorado, Boulder, and is developing the principles for a national well-being index. In this podcast, Kimball says the index would also serve to grade governments. Transcript: https://bit.ly/3lfnD8c
Read the F&D article at IMF.org/fandd
Most economists would agree a carbon tax is a powerful tool in fighting climate change, but carbon pricing alone is not enough. As green technologies evolve and prices fall, the fight against climate change will need a more nuanced plan of attack where people can actually afford to do the right thing. In this podcast, journalist Rhoda Metcalfe talks to Harvard Professor of Political Economy James Stock about how he sees the decarbonization process playing out sector-by-sector, which is the subject of his article titled Driving Deep Decarbonization in the September edition of Finance and Development.
Read the F&D article at IMF.org/fandd
This is the first in a series of IMF podcasts that will showcase extraordinary work by extraordinary women in economics. In this episode, Dr. Lisa Cook, speaks with journalist Rhoda Metcalfe about her work using data on lynching and racial violence in the US to study the impact of violence on innovation and economic growth. Cook has made her mark not only as a black woman economist in a field dominated by white men but for her ground-breaking research on how racism, sexism and violence prevent economies from achieving their potential.
Read her Profile in F&D at IMF.org/fandd
Nature is often missing in economic models, but in a study commissioned by the UK government, Partha Dasgupta examines the economic benefits of biodiversity and the costs of losing it. Dasgupta is Professor Emeritus of Economics at the University of Cambridge, and his 600-page study titled the Economics of Biodiversity: The Dasgupta Review sets out a framework for including Nature in our economic thinking and provides a guide for change through three broad, interconnected transitions. Professor Dasgupta published an article about his findings in the September edition of Finance and Development. In this podcast, he says humans are embedded in nature and cannot escape the biosphere through ingenuity. Transcript: https://bit.ly/3A56Eem
Read the F&D article at IMF.org/fandd
There's been a shift in the economic understanding of climate change of late. Climate action, once believed a trade-off to economic growth, is now seen by many economists as an opportunity to drive innovation and increase efficiency. After almost a decade at the World Resources Institute, Andrew Steer is now President and CEO of the Bezos Earth Fund, which has committed $10 billion toward supporting new technologies that help reduce our impact on nature. Rhoda Metcalfe sat down with Dr. Steer to talk about his recent article in Finance and Development magazine. In this podcast, he says philanthropy has a big role to play in addressing climate change.
Read the F&D article at IMF.org/fandd
When it comes to cooperation, humans and chimpanzees still have much in common. Perhaps that's not surprising given humans share over 98 percent of our DNA with chimps. But in a recent article in Finance and Development, economist Ruchir Agarwal argues the 2 percent genetic difference propels humanity’s success, but also its potential for disaster. In this podcast, Agarwal asks whether humans have evolved enough to escape “chimpanzee politics” and confront the greatest risk our species is facing—climate change.
Read the Article at IMF.org/fandd
When the apartheid regime ceded power following South Africa’s first democratic elections in 1994, the economy was in shambles. Debt service costs as a share of GDP were crippling. Trevor Manuel—a veteran of the anti-apartheid struggle and appointed minister of finance—revamped the budgeting process and set a stringent deficit reduction target. By 2006, the economy was growing at its fastest pace in more than two decades. In this podcast, Manuel looks back at what drove the country's longest phase of economic growth and how he believes the ruling party he helped establish has lost its way. Read the Transcript.
Covid-19 has left government budgets across the globe scrambling for revenues and having to reassess their tax and spending policies. For some countries– especially those in conflict areas, spending on defense eats up precious resources that could otherwise go toward other forms of public spending like education, health and infrastructure. In this podcast, economist Sanjeev Gupta says keeping global tensions in check would have long-term economic benefits. Transcript
Transcript link: https://bit.ly/3vAx1q8
Look for Military Spending in the Post-Pandemic Era in Finance and Development Magazine.
Society has long debated the morality of debt. In ancient times, debt was viewed in many cultures as sinful, with lending at interest especially repugnant. These concerns continue to influence perceptions of lending and the regulation of credit markets today. Nikita Aggarwal is a research associate at the Digital Ethics Lab at Oxford University's Internet Institute. In this podcast, Aggarwal says our increasingly online lives prove a valuable source of data for lenders and add new dimensions to debt’s morality. Her article, The New Morality of Debt, is published in the March 2021 issue of Finance and Development Magazine. Transcript
There are talented people everywhere, with ideas that could make the world a better place to live in. But what does it take for a promising young innovator to reach their full potential? In this podcast, IMF economist Ruchir Agarwal says global scientific output could be more than 40 percent higher if talented youth around the world had equal opportunities to nurture their abilities. Look for Agarwal and coauthors Ina Ganguli and Patrick Gaule's article Embracing the Gift of Global Talent in the March 2021 issue of Finance and Development Magazine. Transcript
Since the Industrial Revolution began more than 250 years ago- the world has produced enough wealth for every one of its 8 billion people to live comfortably. Yet, over 40 percent live in poverty, with most of the wealth being held by an increasingly narrow slice of the population. Binyamin Appelbaum says rising inequality is weighing on growth and straining the fabric of liberal democracy. And he squarely places the blame on distribution. In this podcast, Appelbaum says while there has been a surge of interest among economists to study the inequities of distribution, some still question the importance of it. Transcript
Tourism, hospitality, and other contact-intensive sectors with higher shares of female workers came to a dead stop shortly after Covid-19 infections started to spread. But as the labor market readjusts to the new work environment, a new study using real-time data on job listings reveals women–across all sectors, continue to drop out of the workforce at an alarming rate. While official labor market data can paint a confusing picture of the job market under the current conditions, economist Wenjie Chen says online job posting analysis from 22 countries shows the extent of the pandemic's damage, especially to women. Women have fared worse than men even in those jobs that are more conducive to working from home. Chen's article Disparities in Real Time is published in the December 2020 issue of Finance and Development Magazine.
The global pandemic has caused millions of people to lose their jobs and is widening the gap between white-collar workers who can work from home and those who don’t have the skills or resources to participate in a digitally-driven economy. And with robots and automation on the rise, COVID-19 appears to have ushered in a new normal for the global workplace. But in this podcast, JustJobs Network President Sabina Dewan, and ILO economist Ekkehard Ernst, argue this "new normal" isn't really new at all, and that shifting demographics and technology were upending labor markets long before the Covid-induced lockdowns. Dewan and Ernst coauthored Rethinking the World of Work, published in the December 2020 issue of Finance and Development Magazine.
While the African elephant is the largest and the most famous land animal in the world, very few people know anything about the African forest elephant. Forest elephants are smaller and live in densely wooded rainforests. Their numbers are declining thanks to deforestation and poachers and likely face extinction if nothing is done to protect them. Other than local conservationists and the biologists who study them, forest elephants have few advocates. But what if people knew that African forest elephants provide carbon-capture services valued at over $150 billion? And what if those countries that host them could tap into that equity and benefit from their conservation efforts? In this podcast, economist Ralph Chami and ecologist Fabio Berzaghi say placing a monetary value on the services provided by forest elephants could help prevent their demise. Their article, The Secret Work of Elephants, is published in the online edition of Finance and Development Magazine.
The 2008 global financial crisis and the current pandemic have put enormous pressure on societies and exposed cracks in the systems we all depend on to survive. These types of global crises are forcing a reckoning about the world’s ability to manage systemic hazards. In this podcast, Ann Florini and Sunil Sharma say with increasing fragility in political, social, economic, and environmental systems, the 21st century is set to experience massive disruptions that pose serious, possibly existential threats to society. Their article Systemic Hazards is published in the June 2020 issue of Finance and Development Magazine.
Ann Florini is a clinical professor at the Thunderbird School of Global Management at Arizona State University.
Sunil Sharma is a distinguished visiting scholar at the Elliott School of International Affairs at George Washington University.
It took more than 50,000 years for the world population to reach 1 billion people, but since 1960, we have added successive billions every one to two decades. The United Nations projects there will be 9 billion people on the planet by 2037. Demography is the study of life, death and everything we do in between. And throughout human history, we've seen plenty of population booms and busts. In this podcast, Harvard economist and demographer David Bloom, says public policy both shapes and responds to demographic trends. David Bloom's article, Population 2020, is published in the March issue of Finance & Development magazine.
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While the immigration debate tends to focus on culture, identity and potential economic benefits, Giovanni Peri says demographics are the Achilles' heel of the global North. Peri is Director of the Global Migration Center at the University of California, Davis, and in this podcast, he says immigration policies that allow larger numbers of immigrants will help stabilize population growth in the aging advanced economies of the North. Peri's article Immigrant Swan Song is published in the March 2020 issue of Finance and Development magazine.
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Bonds have been helping corporations and governments finance infrastructure and large-scale projects for hundreds of years. But the last decade has seen the emergence of green bonds, driven by increasing environmental awareness within the business community. In this podcast, founder and CEO of Rock Creek, Afsaneh Beschloss, says global asset management firms like hers are seeing a growing demand for climate-related investments. In the first half of 2019 alone, new certified green bond issues topped $100 billion globally. Prior to Rock Creek, Beschloss was treasurer and chief investment officer of the World Bank. Her article A Greener Future for Finance, co-authored with Mina Mashayekhi, is published in the December 2019 edition of Finance and Development Magazine.
Inequality and climate change are two of the most pressing issues of our time, with repercussions likely to last long into the future. In this podcast, IMF Chief Economist Gita Gopinath sits down with two young leaders to talk about how best to tackle these issues. Lyndsay Walsh (Trinity College, Dublin) and Tarik Gooptu (University of Oxford) are both students and both of a generation that is highly motivated to bridge income gaps and stop global warming. Walsh and Gooptu are the winners of an essay competition launched by Finance and Development Magazine. Their essays are published in the December 2019 issue.
Without major efforts to reduce the accumulation of carbon emissions in the atmosphere, future generations will inherit a much warmer planet with risks of dangerous climate events, higher sea levels, and destruction of the natural world. In this podcast, economist Ian Parry makes the case for carbon taxation as the most effective way to nudge people towards cleaner fuels and to encourage them to adopt more efficient appliances or lower emission vehicles. But while convincing people to buy electric cars and more efficient appliances is important, the largest CO2 emitting countries need to work together to make a real dent in global greenhouse gas emissions. That, Parry says, is proving to be difficult. Parry's latest article Putting a Price on Pollution is published in the December 2019 edition of Finance and Development Magazine.
While efforts to mitigate climate change have focused primarily on burning fewer fossil fuels, recent research by the UN’s Panel on Climate Change shows that what we eat and how we produce it can have an even greater impact on the global environment and public health. The report says reforms in crop and livestock activities could potentially mitigate up to a third of all greenhouse-gas emissions. IMF economist, Nicoletta Batini studies the environmental impact of the agri-food sector. Her latest article titled Reaping What We Sow is published in the December 2019 issue of Finance and Development Magazine.
Photo: Consuming fewer animal products can help reduce greenhouse-gas emissions. (Istock by Getty Images/ FrankvandenBergh)