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September 2013

Fiscal Strains in the Years Ahead

Augusto Lopez-Claros's picture

The world’s population by 2030 is projected to be 8.1 billion, 2 billion more than in 2000. A full 95 percent of the increase over this 30 year period will take place in the developing world, nearly all of it concentrated in urban areas. There is a relentless process of urbanization under way all over the world which, for instance, has transformed China’s landscape and has contributed to that country’s rapid pace of economic growth. Whereas in 1980 less than 20 percent of China’s total population of close to 1 billion was living in urban areas, by 2000 this share had risen to 33 percent. The urban population during this period expanded from about 190 million to over 420 million, and is projected to reach 1 billion by 2030. Well before 2030 China will have several megacities, with the population of Shanghai likely to exceed 25 million.
The Hai river and surrounding park and high-rise buildings

Untangling the Syrian Refugee Crisis with Open Data

Leila Rafei's picture

Refugees, asylum seekers, migrants and the internally displaced. For Syrians and journalists, these are the buzzwords of the moment, but I’ve been curious: are there data that can help to understand the issue better? Since I work in the department in the World Bank responsible for leading the Open Data Initiative, I thought I’d see whether there are open data resources that can help with that.

Each of the terms above describes a different way in which humans move, and all are difficult to measure. In Syria, as a result of the internal conflict, all are in evidence. Refugees need to move in order to preserve their lives or political freedom. Asylum seekers have applied for official refugee status, but haven’t received it yet. International migrants move from one country to another - generally for economic opportunity, but also if they are refugees. The internally displaced are people who have fled their homes but still reside within the borders of their original country.

Prospects Daily: ​Global stocks inches lower, The Netherlands remains in recession, Brazil’s current account deficit widens

Global Macroeconomics Team's picture
Financial Markets… Global stock markets inched lower on Tuesday as lingering uncertainty over U.S. fiscal and monetary policies weighed on market sentiment. The benchmark MSCI world equity index is down 0.1% with early losses in Asian markets and a small gain in Europe.  Developing-country shares also declined with weakening Russian and Chinese shares, trimming their Fed’s inspired gains, and U.S. equities opened slightly lower in morning trading session after the S&P 500 and the Dow indexes rose to new record highs last week.

You Need Beautiful Art to Understand Data. Really, You Do.

Susan Moeller's picture

It’s tempting for those who work with numbers and spreadsheets, for those who live by the bottom line and whose minds run along quantitative paths to think that art exists for its own sake. It’s tempting to think of art as something nice for the wall, pleasant to look at, maybe even restorative or inspiring in its impact, but ultimately not essential to the running of the world.

Yet consider the work of University of Maryland Computer Science Prof. Ben Shneiderman. Shneiderman is the inventor of treemaps — those graphics that chart often vast quantities of hierarchical data, such as electronic health records.  He’s also famous for the eponymous “Shneiderman’s Mantra” of visual data analysis: look at an overview of the data first, then zoom and filter it, then, on demand, consider the details. 

Is “Half Empty” Good News for Women’s Rights? (cross-posted)

Mary Hallward-Driemeier's picture

A woman putting her finger in the ink bottle as a proof that she already cast her vote in al-Mahalla, Egypt. 05-23-2013. Photo by Nehal El-Sherig.

Over the past 50 years, there has been tremendous progress in improving women's legal rights. The challenge now is that some sticky areas persist where laws haven't changed or have even regressed. Tackling these remaining gaps is crucial, given that strengthening women's legal rights, on top of being an inherent right, goes hand in hand with better economic opportunities, health, and education — on top of being an inherent right — points made forcefully in the op.ed. by Sri Mulyani Idrawati, Managing Director of the World Bank.

The Mini-Revolutions of the New Transparency

Gabriel Demombynes's picture

Development economics has been rocked by three mini-revolutions in recent years. The materials, methods, and medium have all been transformed—making for what Michael Clemens and I call “the new transparency” in a new working paper, forthcoming in the journal World Economy. We use the controversy around the Millennium Villages Project (MVP) as a case study to explain what we mean.

GH058S03 World Bank A separate new book, The Idealist, by journalist Nina Munk, traces the trials and tribulations of the Millennium Villages. The account of the attempt to jump-start development in rural Africa has generated reviews in the New York Times and Wall Street Journal. The book jumps back and forth between a profile of Jeffrey Sachs, the project’s tireless promoter, and on-the-scene reporting at two Millennium Villages, which the author visited several times over six years. Munk’s narrative of good intentions stymied by the challenge of implementation makes for a gripping and heartbreaking read, particularly in the account of the site at Dertu, Kenya where ongoing drought overwhelmed the project’s efforts.

Catalyzing Open Government in Afghanistan: Focusing on Poverty Reduction and Shared Prosperity

Gazbiah Rahaman's picture

What does open data and development mean for Afghanistan?

Last November, the first open data mission revealed Afghans’ interest and commitment to foster knowledge sharing, collaboration and openness for a broader and targeted engagement in Afghanistan. In my blog, Afghanistan’s First Open Data Dialogue Delivers, I described my first-hand experience on Afghans enthusiasm about improving data dissemination, national dialogue and partnership between users and producers of statistics, and the drive for more effective aid and technical assistance through better coordination and alignment to the agreed National Statistical Plans.

Results-Based Financing: A Proven Model for Better Maternal and Child Health

Monique Vledder's picture

Mother and child

Today, World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim announced US$700 million in new IDA funding for the scale-up of results-based financing (RBF) pro­grams to help save more women and children’s lives, an endorsement of the idea that the RBF approach is an opportunity to accelerate progress towards the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) 4 and 5—reducing child mortality and improving maternal health.