Global emissions of carbon dioxide, a major greenhouse gas and driver of climate change, increased from 22.4 billion metric tons in 1990 to 35.8 billion in 2013, a rise of 60 percent. The increase in CO2 emissions and other greenhouse gases has contributed to a rise of about 0.8 degrees Celsius in mean global temperature above pre-industrial times.
Remittances to developing countries decreased by 2.4 percent to an estimated $429 billion in 2016. This is the second consecutive year that remittances have declined. Such a trend has not been seen in the last 30 years. Even during the global financial crisis, remittances contracted only during 2009, bouncing back in the following year.
In several economic infrastructure sectors, India enjoyed a strong track record of harnessing Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs). Private sector investments in infrastructure more than tripled from the 10th Plan Period (2002-07; INR 2 trillion) to the 11th Plan (2007-12; INR 7.3 trillion). Between these plan periods, private sector share in infra investments increased from 22% to 38%. For a considerable period of time, on the score of mobilizing infrastructure investments through private participation among developing countries, India ranked 1st in Energy and Transport sectors and 2nd in Telecom (behind Brazil).
This erstwhile success of India’s PPP program is attributable to well-crafted reform efforts by the government, and ably executed by the private sector, banks and other financial intermediaries. Following the economic liberalization initiated in the early 1990s, the government has created an enabling environment for private participation through several sector-specific and cross-sectoral initiatives, e.g., relaxing entry norms, tax concessions, independent regulation in telecom and power, mobilization of additional revenues through tolls and cess on fuel, establishment of a viability gap fund mechanism and India Infrastructure Financing Company Limited, etc. The financial intermediaries, too, quickly moved up on a steep learning curve to cater to this new and challenging mode of delivering infrastructure services. Private sector responded enthusiastically and seized these opportunities to develop their own capabilities and progressively build larger and complex projects. Today, private sector operators are serving more than 90% of the mobile phone users, owning ~40% of the power generation capacity, built and operating a substantive portion of arterial network of national highways, besides world-class airports in four metros and container handling facilities at many ports.
- Congrats to Dave Donaldson for winning the Clark medal this year for his work at the intersection of international trade and development economics (although the economic historians are also claiming him) – here is the NYTimes summary – and here is a recent IGC piece by Dave and co-authors on the barriers to trade in Africa.
- Dave Evans discusses three further examples of studies that relate to the issue of scaling up RCTs on his personal blog – with a lively discussion on twitter under this thread and this one about what exactly you want to hold constant when thinking about whether the government can scale up a program run by NGOs. Keeping busy, he also blogs about his newly accepted paper on cash transfers and health outcomes in Tanzania, along with links to the data.
- development impact links
Most youths’ perception of agriculture and agribusiness reflects the image of a dirty, exhausted poor farmer carrying a rusty hoe on puffy, tired shoulders somewhere on the outskirts of modernity.
During wars, it is widely recognized that women and young people are the primary victims. Women are vulnerable to exploitation, abuse, sexual slavery, and forced recruitment into armed groups. Yet as the survivors of violent conflicts, women find reconstruction, as a window of opportunity to take a leading role in this operation. With determination and courage, they return to destroyed communities and actively, begin rebuilding infrastructure, restoring and developing traditions, laws, and customs.
The World Bank embraces innovation in many forms, including the use of Virtual Reality (VR) and 360° images to create immersive experiences that help build empathy and awareness of critical topics that affect people living in poverty.
VR is impacting the way the World Bank communicates, visualizes projects, and improves decision making to further the Bank’s goals.
- Virtual Reality
Quality and innovative education policies emerge usually from a combination of factors such as good teachers, quality school management, and parental engagement, among others. In Brazil, a country with tremendous diversity and regional inequalities, good examples have emerged even when they are least expected. Ceará, a state in the northeast region of Brazil — where more than 500,000 children are living in rural areas and where poverty rates are high — is showing encouraging signs of success from innovative initiatives in education. The figures speak for themselves. Today, more than 70 of the 100 best schools in Brazil are in Ceará.
At times in the last few years”, writes Duncan Green in his recent book How Change Happens, “it has felt like something of a unified field theory of development is emerging”. As Hegel reminded us, however, the owl of wisdom flies at dusk. As recently as early 2016 (which is about when he wrote these words) Green’s exuberant enthusiasm was shared by many of us. But a year, we now know, can be an eternity.
How Change Happens synthesizes a growing body of work that has aimed to move development scholarship and practice away from a pre-occupation with so-called ‘best practice’ solutions. It captures well the sensibility of the new literature – a paradoxical combination of the enthusiasm of a breakthrough and the pragmatism of seasoned practitioners who have learned the limitations of over-reach, often through bitter experience. But, as per Hegel, has our quest for useful insight reached its destination only to find that a new journey has begun, a different and more difficult journey than the one we had planned?
In this review essay, I use the insights of How Change Happens to explore this question. I unbundle into two broad groups the categories of analysis Green uses to delineate the grand unified theory. In discussing the first group, I highlight what we got right about the drivers of change; in discussing the second, what we got wrong. I then suggest possible ways forward.
Inequality can be both good and bad for growth, depending on what inequality and whose growth. Unequal societies may be holding back one segment of the population while helping another. Similarly, high levels of inequality may be due to a variety of factors; some good, some bad for growth.