The World Bank’s President called it “best news in the world” when the 2015 forecast of extreme poverty rates was released in October, showing that less than 10% of the world’s population now live in extreme poverty. It is great news indeed and it was widely reported in the press.
Some colleagues circulated the New Yorker magazine’s “Four Charts That Defined the World in 2015” from last week - their inclusion of the fall in global extreme poverty is very welcome.
However, some of us found the chart they used to be a little tricky to interpret, and because we see the issues below quite regularly, we thought doing a quick remake and explanation would be worthwhile.
Via The New Yorker
What’s wrong with this picture? A few things stand out:
We know corruption in developing countries affects poor people the most. It also impacts firms in many ways.
In a study of 137 countries, on average, firms reported that 14% of public transactions, such as dealing with utilities, permits, licenses, and taxes, involved the request of a gift or informal payment — a bribe. The Enterprise Surveys program collects data directly from firms to study an economy’s private sector. Read more.
The Doing Business project produces a rich dataset of objective measures of business regulations for local firms in countries around the world. We’ve written about some of the key findings - how starting a business is easier than ever before and produced a dashboard to explore that topic; but the dataset goes much further.
The 2016 edition of the report covers 11 indicator sets or “themes” and 189 economies. These themes range from enforcing contracts and registering property to getting electricity and credit. We’ve produced the dashboard below to help explore this data and let you filter across various dimensions - in general, a lower rank or smaller bar is better but hover over bars to see the details. You can click through the tips at the top of the visual for a tutorial, or just dive right in!
Today is World Aids Day - an annual event to raise awareness about the global fight against HIV. Earlier this year, a report from UNAIDS declared that the Millennium Development Goal 6 target of “halting and reversing the spread of HIV” had been met, but that continued effort and financing would be needed to end the AIDS epidemic by 2030 as part of Sustainable Development Goal 3.
When it comes to international data about HIV and AIDS, the cross-organisational UNAIDS program publishes age and gender-disaggregated data on indicators such as prevalence, new infections and deaths. In turn, we incorporate some of these data into the World Development Indicators.
Here are some highlights from the most recently available data:
In 2014, there were an estimated 36.9 million adults and children living with HIV in the world. The majority of these people are in Sub-Saharan Africa and parts of Asia. As you can see from the decreasing slope of the “global” line - while people continue to become infected, the rate of new infections is going down.
Here are some (of the many) things that caught our attention last week:
“Analyzing 1.1 Billion NYC Taxi and Uber Trips, with a Vengeance” is a masterclass in hands-on reproducible analysis of open data by Todd Schneider who finds all sorts of interesting trends and patterns. Jake Vanderplas did a similar, smaller-scale, exercise in Seattle with data on bicycle commutes, again making all the data and methods openly available.
The Economist writes that “The open-data revolution has not lived up to expectations. But it is only getting started." It’s a good piece highlighting the progress that’s been made in the last 5 years and they speak to a number of leaders in the field who point to skills gaps, data quality and accessibility, and privacy being important issues to tackle.
Globally, the most common form of violence women experience is from an intimate partner. A recent report found that 127 out of 173 economies studied had laws on domestic violence, and in 72% of economies, protection orders can be used to limit an abuser's behavior. Read more.
Comparing the classification of countries.
Humans, by their nature, categorize. Economists are no different. For many years, the World Bank has produced and used income classifications to group countries.
The low, lower-middle, upper-middle and high income groups are each associated with an annually updated threshold level of Gross National Income (GNI) per-capita, and the low and middle income groups taken together are referred to in the World Bank (and elsewhere) as the “developing world.”
This term is used in our publications (such as the World Development Indicators and the Global Monitoring Report) and we also publish aggregate estimates for important indicators like poverty rates for both developing countries as a group and for the whole world.
But the terms “developing world” and “developing country” are tricky: even we use them cautiously, trying to make it clear that we're not judging the development status of any country.