- regression discontinuity
Whether in Buenos Aires or Abu Dhabi, or at the recent World Meeting of the International Road Federation in Riyadh, and the climate change meetings in Warsaw, the World Bank has contributed to critical discussions on how to best realize the transformative potential of the transport sector.
Written in the wake of the World Bank Group's two recently adopted overarching goals — ending extreme poverty by 2030 and promoting shared prosperity — Kaushik Basu's new working paper examines the longstanding debate on growth, redistribution, and poverty. Basu analyzes past poverty trends on poverty and sheds new light on an old debate.
Jun Rentschler's new paper presents empirical evidence of the profound and long-term damage from adverse natural events on poverty. The paper discusses detrimental long-term consequences for the income and welfare of the poor and the presence of poverty traps that result from damages to productive assets, health, and education.
For the past seven years, the Korean Education & Research Information Service (KERIS) has hosted an annual global symposium on ICT use in education, bringing senior policymakers and practitioners from around the world to Seoul to share emerging lessons from attempts to introduce and utilize information and communications technologies to help meet a wide variety of goals in the education sector. Each year this event, which is one important component of a strong multi-year partnership between the World Bank education sector and the Korean Ministry of Education, focuses on one particular theme. This year's symposium examined the 'changing role of teachers' and featured presentations from, and discussions with, policymakers from 22 countries. This was also the dominant theme of the first global symposium back in 2007 -- but, oh my, how the nature and content of the discussions have changed!
At that first symposium, much of the talk from policymakers in middle and low income countries was still of promise and potential, of the need to begin preparing for what was inevitably going to come. Where there were specific lessons and models and research to share, these were largely those from places like the United States, the UK, Australia -- and of course from Korea itself! For most of the policymakers from middle and low income countries participating in the event, helping to prepare and support teachers as they sought to use ICTs in various ways in support of their teaching, and to support student learning, was something being explored in various 'pilot' activities, and a topic perhaps given some (at least rhetorical) attention in national education policy documents. It wasn't yet a real area of large and sustained activity and expenditure -- largely because there just weren't that many computers in most schools, and what computers that were present were mostly to be found in computer labs, presided over by 'computer teachers' of various sorts. As this year's event made clear, the introduction of PCs, laptops, tablets, and interactive whiteboards is something that is now happening *right now* in very large numbers in countries of all sorts, and ministries of education are ramping up and reforming their teacher training efforts as a result.
A few quick highlights from this year's symposium:
Financial Markets…U.S. stocks extended their gains on Friday, with the Dow and the S&P 500 indexes hitting new record highs, following reassuring comments by Federal Reserve chair nominee Janet Yellen that the central bank will maintain stimulus. The Dow gained 0.3% in morning trade, while the S&P 500 added 0.2%, heading for a six-consecutive week of gains. Still, gains were somewhat limited after data showed manufacturing in the New York unexpectedly shrank in November while U.S. industrial production decline in October.
As some of you may have heard, the World Bank is in the middle of an extensive change process, with the goal of making us more responsive and nimble in addressing the needs of our client countries. In the ICT Practice, we are convinced that an important part of this process will be to integrate new technology into our operations in a way which is coordinated and informed.
The countryside around the Obuom farm, where I was traveling last week, is not rich. The landscape is scarred by deep gullies caused by soil erosion. Half the people live below the poverty line; and malnutrition affects 45 percent of children under the age of five. Climate change and the resultant increasingly unpredictable rainfall will make this land even tougher to farm. Over the next 70 years, climate change could reduce food crop yieldsby as much as 16 percent worldwide and up to 28 percent in Africa. Yet climate-smart approaches are giving farmers better options and helping them increase production, incomes, and resilience, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Mapping impact on houses in Tacloban
In the aftermath of a disaster, lack of information about the affected areas can hamper relief and recovery efforts. Open-source mapping tools provide a much-needed low-cost high-tech opportunity to bridge this gap and provide localized information that can be freely used and further developed.
A week ago, devastating typhoon Haiyan hit the Philippines. As the images of the horrifying destruction emerge, there is a clear need in accessing localized high-resolution information that can guide communities’ recovery and reconstruction. Responding to this challenge, over 766 volunteers have been activated by the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team (HOT) to create baseline geographic data which can be freely used by the Philippine government, donors and partner organizations to support all phases of disaster recovery.
In September 2013, four elderly sisters in Botswana were finally and definitively allowed to remain in the ancestral home where they had spent most of their lives — the result of their own tenacity and determination that a young nephew could not step in and take ownership of a property they had lovingly maintained.
This landmark decision by the highest court in Botswana, the Court of Appeal, followed five years of efforts by women’s networks and legal associations who helped the sisters bring their claim. The judges decided that customary laws favoring the rights of the youngest male heir were simply out of date.
“The Constitutional values of equality before the law and the increased leveling of the power structures with more and more women heading households and participating with men as equals in the public sphere and increasingly in the private sphere demonstrate that there is no rational and justifiable basis for sticking to the narrow norms of days gone by when such norms go against current value systems,” wrote Justice Lesetedi of the Botswana Court of Appeal.
The reform of discriminatory laws can lead to transformative change.
- Call for papers for my favorite migration conference – the 7th AFD-CGD-World Bank Migration and Development Conference, to take place at IMI Oxford on June 30 - July 1, 2014.