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December 2013

The Need for “Staying Power”: Russian Firms in Times of Economic Volatility

Alvaro Gonzalez's picture

In a recent blog, our colleague Birgit Hansl adds her voice to the chorus of economists warning us of Russia’s coming deceleration.  If she is right, this is especially bad news for Russia. If the recent past is an indicator of what may happen; this looming slump will have dramatic effects on the structure of the economy. 

A slowdown in Russia means a wiping out of gains made during booms.  Russia’s economy has experienced several booms and busts in the recent past.  We found that  young firms, even if they are efficient, were more likely to die off during a slump.  Not so for incumbents.  They had staying power independent of their relative efficiency.  So much for the new blood that the economy needs to diversify!

Russia's economy is concentrated and dependent on the extraction of natural resources. Recent trends are not promising. Growth in Russia has been limited to a few sectors and to a few firms. Russia is much less diversified today than it was during the Soviet Era, both within and across sectors. The bottom quartile of the manufacturing sector, ranked by operating revenue, contributes 0.6 percent of total manufacturing output while the top quartile contributes 80 percent. In addition, the average share of output for the bottom quartile of firms (in terms of operating revenue) in a manufacturing sector is 0.06 percent while the share of the top quartile is 94.7 percent.

Homophobic Bullying in Educational Institutions Undermines World Bank Equity Efforts

Caroline Vagneron's picture

Artwork by Ernest Katantazi Mukasa
The issue of inclusion was at the heart of the discussions around the World Bank's Education Sector Strategy 2020: Learning for All. One of the strategy’s main messages is that "there are indisputable benefits to ensuring that [...] disadvantaged populations have an equal opportunity to learn and excel in order for households, communities, and nations to prosper" and, therefore, the development of learning environments friendly to these populations is an essential part of our efforts to increase access to, and improve the quality of, schools worldwide. 

The Bank is focusing its efforts on girls, ethnic minorities and disabled children. However, it’s also important for the Bank to look at the extent to which bullying, and homophobic bullying in particular, is a cause of exclusion and at ways to address it.

Safe Food for Thought for the Holiday Season

Juergen Voegele's picture

Cleaning food in Moldova. Michael Jones/World BankIn the lead up to the holidays, much will be written about how we, as consumers, can safely prepare food to ensure that friends and family remember a wonderful holiday meal and not the bout of food poisoning that landed a loved one in the emergency room.

But it often strikes me that other major threats to food safety – those that lie undetected in farms and factories and other vulnerable points along the food supply chain – are not part of the conversation until tainted food surfaces in grocery stores and on dinner plates, making millions sick and even killing people along the way.

As global headlines have illustrated – packaged salads in the United States, sprouts in Germany, milk and infant formula in China – food safety is a serious issue that affects all of us: individuals, nations, and businesses.  No country is immune, and as global agri-food value chains become more integrated, food safety hazards that were once geographically confined can now span countries and continents with ease.

The DIQA initiative: Supporting the silent data revolution in the Arab world

Sebastian Trenner's picture

DIQA - Photo: Arne Hoel/World Bank

Statistical agencies in the Middle East and North Africa have now started to open up access to their raw datasets (micro-data). In a break with their old ways, they have begun either to post them on their websites or to share them on a bilateral basis. To support this wind of change, a group of donors active in the statistical domain and avant-garde partner countries joined forces for the first time to launch the Data Improvement and Quality in Access initiative (DIQA – which reads as “precision” in Arabic).

Friday Round-up: Nelson Mandela, the power of Universal Health Coverage, the AIDS epidemic in 4 charts, gauging corruption, and grim climate trends

LTD Editors's picture

The week ended with the passing at age 95 of Nelson Mandela, father of South African democracy and a global icon for freedom. Read President Jacob Zuma's statement  as well as a statement from World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim --

Universal health coverage was the topic of a December 6 speech by Jim Kim in Tokyo.

On the heels of World AIDS Day on December 1, Tariq Khokhar of the World Bank's Data Group provided a snapshot of the global state of AIDS in four charts.

New Funding to Expand Carbon Finance in Low-Income Countries

Brice Jean Marie Quesnel's picture





One of the few bright spots at the recent UN climate talks in Warsaw was the announcement of new financial commitments to the World Bank’s BioCarbon Fund.

Coming hard on the heels of that groundbreaking initiative for sustainable forest landscapes is another piece of good news in international efforts to bring more carbon finance to low-income nations.

The governments of the United Kingdom and Sweden and the Switzerland-based Climate Cent Foundation have pledged more than $125 million for the World Bank’s Carbon Initiative for Development (Ci-Dev), a financial initiative that, like the third tranche of the BioCarbon Fund, will help the least-developed countries access financing for low-carbon investments.

More specifically, the new funding allows the World Bank to focus on helping the world’s poorest countries – especially in Africa – access carbon finance to develop clean energy sources.

It will enable the development and scaling up of a diverse range of projects similar to household biogas systems in Nepal or solar home systems in Bangladesh. It’s also an example of how the World Bank continues its efforts to mobilize private-sector investments for clean development and climate mitigation.

We’re showing, through actions on the ground, that putting a price on carbon is a key part of the solution to the climate challenge.

South-South Migration: Foreign Workers in Malaysia

Çağlar Özden's picture

Migration policy has focused on South-North flows in recent years, especially as the financial crisis created havoc in OECD labour markets and immigrants became targets in political debates. However, South-South migration is gaining importance due to various demographic, economic and social factors.

Many developing countries are growing rapidly, while mature OECD countries are slowing down with the weight of demographic and fiscal burdens.  Lower cultural, physical and legal barriers between neighbouring countries are contributing to increased mobility.

Why I’m More Optimistic than Ever about Biodiversity Conservation

Valerie Hickey's picture
Conservation biology was baptized as an interdisciplinary problem science in 1978 at a University of California San Diego conference. But the conservation movement precedes this conference by at least a century, when the first national park was established in Yellowstone in 1872 and signed into law by U.S. President Ulysses S. Grant. Both the academic discipline and the practice of conservation have had two things in common for a long time: they remained steadfast to their original mission to protect nature and their proponents were largely American and European and mostly middle class. 
 
But nothing stays the same forever.
 

Brokering knowledge on broadband investments environment: Turkey’s approach to fiber

Michel Rogy's picture

Because the penetration of high speed internet is strongly correlated with economic growth, governments around the world are eager to promote the diffusion of broadband technologies.  The Turkish Government recently set out ambitious roll-out and take up targets for broadband: 60 million subscriptions in 2023 (up from 33.7 in September 2013), at least 100 Mbps connection for every household, with fiber-optic cables deployed to most homes or buildings (in short: FTTH (Fiber to the Home) or FTTB (Fiber to the Building), diffusion of next generation mobile broadband technologies (such as 4G/LTE), and a vision of the country being a regional hub for telecommunications infrastructure.


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