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December 2013

Long Live The Internal Market! (But How Competitive is the EU?)

Matija Laco's picture
A vibrant private sector - with firms investing, creating jobs, and improving productivity - is absolutely essential for promoting growth and expanding opportunities. In order to support the private sector, however, governments need to step in and remove obstacles to growth and job creation. Although macroeconomic stability and sustainability are unquestionably necessary for spurring business activity, the quality of the business regulation also matters.
Collectively, the 10 indicators in Doing Business 2014 are a great tool for assessing the ease of doing business in countries and measuring the quality of their regulations.

The results can be surprising for some countries in the European Union (EU): Would you ever consider that the most difficult country to start a business in the EU is Austria? That Italy is the worst place to pay taxes? That one of the top countries in protecting investors is Slovenia? Or that Poland is the global runner-up in providing information about credit?

Policy Coherence on Migration and Development

Susan Martin's picture

(In observance of the International Migrants Day on December 18)

Achieving policy coherence regarding migration and development requires more effective data, analysis, monitoring and evaluation of the interconnections between the two phenomena. Progress has been made by the World Bank, OECD, UN Population Division and others in improving the collection and publication of data on international migrants and remittances but more needs to be done in this area. There are still gaps in the production of good data for policy making. While aggregate data are improved, not all countries produce precisely the same information and some countries collect almost no data on migration or its linkages to development. The Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD) has repeatedly called upon governments to introduce modules on migration into censuses and household and labor surveys. Some of these modules are being tested to determine the best ways to collect needed information. Encouragement of even greater progress in this area is essential to promoting policy coherence. So too are improvements in the collection and use of administrative data on migration and development and their inter-linkages.

PISA 2012’s Success Story: Improvements in Quality and Equity in Turkey’s Education System

Will Wiseman's picture

Students at Sisli Vocational High SchoolOver the last decade, Turkey has achieved relatively high economic growth at just over 5% per year. As was discussed in a recent blog post, this translated into broadly inclusive growth- not only did income grow for all segments of the population, but there were also improvements in a number of non-income indicators of well-being, including in health and education. Last week the OECD launched the latest results from its Program for International Student Assessment (PISA), a triennial international assessment that evaluates education systems worldwide by testing the skills and knowledge of 15-year-old students. This new data allows us to revisit the question of how Turkey has fared in terms of the performance of its education system in general and with regards to inclusiveness in particular. So what does the data tell us?

Asylum from climate change?

Hanspeter Wyss's picture

(In observance of the International Migrants Day on December 18)

You probably do not spend much time contemplating leaving your country of birth, your home, your family, your community and your job because rising sea levels are making your current place of residence too dangerous and difficult.  But then, you probably do not live in Kiribati, a small state in the South Pacific with a population of just over 100,000, like Ioana Teitiota. He and his family have requested asylum in New Zealand claiming to be climate change refugees.  Sea levels in Kiribati have been rising and are contaminating drinking water, destroying crops, flooding homes, and undermining livelihoods, but apparently, these imperatives are not (yet) enough.

A White Coin for a Black Day: Reflections on Presenting the WDR 2014 in Africa

Kyla Wethli's picture

Following the launch of the World Development Report (WDR) 2014, Risk and Opportunity: Managing Risk for Development, various team members have been traveling to different countries to present its findings. I recently joined other team members in a visit to Morocco, Egypt, Ethiopia, and South Africa, with a stop in the middle in London and Oxford.

One thing that struck me was how relevant the topic of risk management is for many countries. The importance of risk management seemed immediately apparent to many participants in our discussions. Indeed, many participants gave examples of risk management measures that have been practiced in their cultures for generations (such as storing grain in African villages), or linked messages in our Report to common sayings – for example, as Professor Awad from the American University in Cairo told us, our message on the importance of saving in good times for the bad times has a direct parallel in the old Arabic adage, “to keep a white coin for a black day”.

Prospects Daily: Developing-country stocks advance, German economic confidence highest in 7 years,Turkish monetary policy unchanged

Global Macroeconomics Team's picture
Financial Markets…The dollar rose slightly against the euro but fell versus the yen on Tuesday ahead of a two-day Federal Reserve meeting that investors hope will finally clarify when it plans to reduce its quantitative easing program.  The speculation over the timing of the Fed’s QE tapering has dominated market sentiment worldwide for months as investors worry an end of cheap money may trigger a tumultuous reaction from global financial markets.  The greenback slid 0.1% to 102.97 yen, after reaching a five-year high of 103.92 yen last week, while it gained 0.1% to $

The Power of Imagery: The White House Celebrates International Trade This Holiday Season

Chad P Bown's picture


The White House’s 2013 National Christmas Tree Railroad Exhibit. Photo by Chad P. Bown.

Economists are often considered to be an aesthetically challenged bunch. Yet, as any trade economist will tell you, there is a single visual aid that someone has decided symbolizes all things international trade. To trade economists, this image is inescapable – it seemingly graces every textbook cover, accompanies every policy brief, website, blog post, or article, article, article, or article. There is even award-winning scholarship about it.

The image, of course, is of stacked cargo shipping containers.

World Bank to publish Purchasing Power Parities in March 2014

Grant Cameron's picture
In June 2013 we announced the upcoming release of the results from the 2011 round of the International Comparison Program (ICP). The results will include ICP 2011 benchmark PPPs and related volume measures for 199 participating countries/economies.

Poor Countries are Losing $1 Trillion a Year to Illicit Capital Flows - 7 Times the Volume of Aid

Duncan Green's picture

I was surprised not to see more coverage of last week’s hard-hitting report from the Global Financial Integrity watchdog. Illicit Financial Flows from Developing Countries: 2002-2011 has a whole bunch of killer facts about the escalating haemorrhage of wealth from poor countries. Here are some highlights. My additions in square brackets/italics:

“We estimate that illicit financial outflows from the developing world totalled a staggering US$946.7 billion in 2011, with cumulative illicit financial outflows over the decade between 2002 and 2011 of US$5.9 trillion. [By way of comparison, total global aid in 2011 was $134bn (not mn as first printed -thanks to all of you who pointed this out) – 14% of illicit flows - and has fallen since, even as illicit flows keep booming. Want that as a soundbite? ‘For every dollar of aid, the South loses $7 in illicit outflows; developing countries are losing $2.6 bn a day/$108m per hour/$2m per minute/$30,000 per second’.]

This gives further evidence to the notion that illicit financial flows are the most devastating economic issue impacting the global South.  Large as these numbers are, perhaps the most distressing take-away from the study is just how fast illicit financial flows are growing. Adjusted for inflation, illicit financial flows out of developing countries increased by an average of more than 10 percent per year over the decade. Left unabated, one can only expect these numbers to continue an upward trend.


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