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May 2012

Can Financial Literacy Help Migrants Save on Remittance Costs?

Bilal Zia's picture

In a new working paper published in the World Bank Working Paper Series, John Gibson, David McKenzie, and I look at exactly this question.

While much of migration policy has been focused on reducing costs of remittances and introducing new and inexpensive transmission channels, relatively little attention has been paid to educating customers on such benefits. After all, this could be pretty low hanging fruit – tell migrants about a cheaper way of remitting and they will switch.

With this thought in mind, we designed an information dissemination experiment for migrant workers in both Australia and New Zealand who had migrated from the Pacific Islands, East Asia, and Sri Lanka. 

What explains huge gender disparities in women’s economic participation in India?

Ejaz Ghani's picture

Despite rapid economic growth, gender disparities have remained deep and persistent in India and other South Asian countries. The UN Gender Inequality Index has ranked India below several Sub-Saharan African countries. Gender disparities are even more pronounced in economic participation and women’s business conditions in India. Using data from the 2011 Global Gender Gap report, Figure 1 shows that while India scores around the mean gender gap index overall (horizontal axis), its score for women’s economic participation and opportunity is below the 5th percentile of the distribution (vertical axis).

What explains these huge gender disparities in women’s economic participation in India? Is it poor infrastructure, limited education, and gender composition of the labor force and industries? Or is it deficiencies in social and business networks and a low share of incumbent female entrepreneurs?In a recent paper we examine gender disparities in women’s business conditions in India. We use detailed micro-data on the unorganized manufacturing and services sectors to explore the drivers of female entrepreneurship across districts and industries.

Building a More Resilient Financial System: Are We There Yet?

Inci Otker-Robe's picture

Almost five years after the onset of the global financial crisis, much has been done to reform the global financial system, but much is still left to accomplish. Comprehensive reform, once agreed to and implemented in full, will have far-reaching implications for the global financial system and the world economy. In a new book, Building a More Resilient Financial Sector, edited by Aditya Narain, Ceyla Pazarbasioglu, and myself, we summarize our views on various reform proposals discussed since 2008, ranging from various regulatory reforms to supervision, too-important-to-fail (TITF) proposals, restricting banks’ size and scope, resolution, and to living wills.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF), alongside the Bank for International Settlements and Financial Stability Board, has been at the forefront of discussions on shaping the new financial system to reduce the possibility of future crises and limit the consequences if they occur. Current reforms are moving in the right direction towards building a more resilient financial system capable of supporting sustainable economic growth, but many policy choices—both urgent and challenging—still lie ahead. Progress has been made in some areas, including in reforming capital (including for systemically important financial institutions—SIFIs), recognizing the importance of a wider regulatory perimeter to oversee shadow banks, improving supervision, disclosure, and resolution regimes, and addressing incentives for risk-taking. Policymakers put forward some novel ideas, such as living wills and contingent capital (CoCos). But they lagged in implementation in many areas, while disagreeing over others.

The Institutional Structures of Financial Sector Supervision

Martin Melecky's picture

The global financial crisis made us rethink financial sector regulation and supervision. As part of this process there has been a renewed interest in the institutional structure of financial services supervision. This includes reflections on the differences in these structures across countries, their development over time and their relative performance in the run-up and during the crisis. Several important questions have arisen: (i) why supervisory structures for the financial sector differ so much across countries, especially in the extent to which they integrate the microprudential supervision of financial subsectors (banking, insurance, capital markets), (ii) why some countries have chosen to institutionally integrate microprudential and macroprudential supervisions while other keep those separated, (iii) why business conduct supervision has been introduced in some countries and not others, and how does it interact with institutions that support prudential supervision? From a development perspective, one may also want to ask the questions of: (i) what models have the emerging market economies and developing countries chosen to follow and why, and (ii) is there a prevailing trend toward certain benchmark models that countries have followed according to their financial system typology?