International Women’s Day – relevant to both advanced and emerging countries

Tuesday, March 7th, 2023


On March 8, it is time again to celebrate the international Women’s Day. Sure, better female equality has been achieved in the past few decades. But not enough!

During a lot of meetings during the years with students, researchers, male and female entrepreneurs or corporate officers, politicians and other professionals, I have got the clear impression that the female role in supervisory boards and boards of directors until now has been regarded as – by far – the most relevant gender equality issue. However, this view is definitely too narrow though very necessary.

Instead, there is another group of corporate and non-commercial organizations with insufficient female equality: competent women in middle management and below. These women still seem to be without strong and influential lobby – indeed a shame!

Lagging statistics

One major problem in this context is the statistical uncertainty about the total relative share of women being organized under the leading positions. Better statistical estimates are desirable. Some kind of idea, however, can be found in a publication by the World Bank by the name of (also for emerging countries). Here, the participation share of women in middle management is in most advanced countries around 30-40 percent, in the case of Sweden somewhat higher. The average seems to be located at around one third on country levels – not really satisfactory.

Altogether, the potential for improvement is still high. Analysts should be provided with much more statistics on gender equality on both broadening and deepening levels – and researchers should deal more with female encouragement and promotion on lower organization levels.

Theory and practical application from female gender research

No advanced exercises are necessary to give the “malign neglect” – as described above – an academic touch. Research on human capital formation tells us a lot about the benefits of applying education and improved competence – strongly underlined, for example, by Nobel Prize winners such as Robert Lucas and Paul Romer.

Massively improving female human capital formation also in middle female management and below could appeal to many women’s motivation and productivity – and in the longer run even to macroeconomic GDP growth if successfully spread. Furthermore, countries in particularly Europe could receive some demography-supporting input from the above-mentioned and strived gender-equality improvements.

However, theoretically possible broad proliferation of widened gender equality urges for strong practical support: from students, researchers, employers’ and employees’ organizations, male and female entrepreneurs or corporate strategists, politicians, media and last but not least from voters.

This shouldn’t be impossible in advanced countries, right?

However, also many emerging countries could work more on improved gender equality (also here with human capital mostly in the first place). If we look, for example, at the current convention of the National People’s Congress in Beijing (China’s “parliament”), the female participation rate is only about one fourth. Not really a model for the rest of the world!


Hubert Fromlet
Affiliate Professor at the School of Business and Economics, Linnaeus University
Editorial board


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In memoriam: Professor (Dr) J.D. Agarwal

Tuesday, January 10th, 2023

Founder of the Indian Institute of Finance (IIF), Chairman and Director of the IIF, chief editor, etc.


It would take a lot of pages and time to sum up all the efforts, achievements, research results, high honors and appointments Professor (Dr) J.D. Agarwal has received during his successful life as a researcher. He saw many forthcoming problems on financial markets at an early stage, e.g. money laundering, real estate bubbles, liberalization of capital flows and the impact on bank systems – with focus on crisis situations. Energy and climate change in a financial context were also part of Professor J.D. Agarwal’s research.

Altogether, professor Agarwal’s impressing professional record clearly indicates his direct important role for the Indian society when advising Indian governments and other influential public decision-makers. The indirect important impact of Professor J.D. Agarwal’s work is also obvious. He deserves a lot of recognition for having led many of his well-educated financial students so beneficially to serve the society.

Fortunately, I had the great privilege of having met Professor J.D. Agarwal several times in Delhi. It was always very stimulating to meet and listen to such an intellectual, skilled and at the same time humble colleague. His generous attitudes also included enormous hospitality whenever I came to India, Delhi and the IIF.

J.D. Agarwal’s close family members – some of them I had the pleasure to meet as well, even in Sweden – will certainly work hard and successfully to cultivate and further develop the heritage of Professor J.D. Agarwal’s great lifetime achievements.

Hubert Fromlet
Affiliate Professor at the School of Business and Economics, Linnaeus University
Editorial board


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The analysis of emerging countries in the light of the Russian war

Thursday, April 7th, 2022

The analysis of emerging markets is traditionally part of my lectures and generally not changing very much from year to year. However, this year (and beyond?) is different. A kind of limited global downturn was already in the cards last fall for the forthcoming quarters. But the Russian war makes the outlook for the global economy both worse and more uncertain about both depth and length of the downturn. The world is indeed confronted with the abominable black swan.

The spillover to emerging markets

Also emerging markets all over the world are affected badly by the ongoing terrible war development in the heart of Europe. There are clear spillover effects on the less advanced countries as well. Of course, the Ukraine and Russia itself are hit the most. But there are many other countries in the emerging world that are now meeting worsening conditions that are directly or indirectly linked to the Russian war.

When considering the already existing economic troubles before the eruption of the war Russian war, the timing for the commenced war in February could not be less favorable for emerging countries. But emerging countries are not equally hit by all the deteriorating political and economic developments. In very general terms, one may say that less advanced countries far away with, for example, energy and food resources tend to be better off than countries with corresponding shortages. Altogether, more details should be examined.

Reliable calculations are currently not possible     

I feel pretty sure about the conclusion that accurate point forecasts for individual emerging countries and emerging regions currently are not possible – at least not without precise assumptions about uncertain parameters like the supposed depth and length of the war, energy and other commodity prices and – not to forget – transports and delivery times.

However, when a major event like a big war in Europe happens with a military superpower involved, our models do not work anymore because of the lacking historical experience in a comparable war. Using another one or two different assumption baskets about depth and length of the war, a number of different scenarios could be developed. But still, we are not talking about a forecast. Instead, it is about scenarios.

Thus, further studies on war developments with impact on emerging markets would be beneficial. More can be found.

Influence on emerging markets due to the war

Initially, it would be useful to single out a number of different negative global developments that already had shown up globally in 2021. Here we find

  • rising global inflation, interest rate hikes not far away,
  • rapidly rising energy prices,
  • insufficient supply of chips, other IT components, metals plus transport bottlenecks,
  • since last fall worsening GDP forecasts for the beginning of 2022.

What we now can see as a further consequence of the war, are currently worsening trends for several of the negative developments from last year

—>  more inflation (coming from energy, agricultural products, metals, intermediate IT-goods, transport bottlenecks)

—>  further and/or faster global/American interest rate hikes than anticipated some months ago (means higher costs for emerging countries borrowing in foreign / American currency)

—>  higher American interest rates may mean a stronger dollar (which would lead to higher costs for many emerging markets since most foreign credits by emerging countries have been taken up in dollars)

—>  clear weakening GDP growth both in advanced and emerging countries.

—>  slowing FDI from Western companies in emerging countries as a result of increasing general uncertainty and risk aversion.

Conclusion 1: The foreign debt situation will remain an increasingly important indicator for emerging countries ( Check it out!

Major producers of oil, gas, agricultural products etc., are, of course, better off than less developed countries that need to import a lot of these commodities. Commodity production at home and imports from abroad are other important factors that should be considered when emerging countries are analyzed, particularly now during the Russian war (

Conclusion 2: Also commodities play an important role for the development of many emerging countries, particularly during the Russian war.

Hubert Fromlet
Affiliate Professor at the School of Business and Economics, Linnaeus University
Editorial board


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