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Is there a middle class in Asia? Depends on how you define it

Vikram Nehru's picture

A colleague from the Asian Development Bank visited the other day to talk about a study he is doing on Asia’s middle class.  Yet this is not an area we have focused on in the World Bank’s East Asia region – perhaps at our cost.  I quickly googled the topic and discovered a rapidly growing literature, including a paper each by Martin Ravallion and Nancy Birdsall

Your questions about East Asia and Pacific's economies, answered by World Bank experts

Claudia Gabarain's picture

Ivailo Izvorski, the Lead Economist for the East Asia & Pacific region of the World Bank (and our latest blogger, below this post), and Vikram Nehru, Chief Economist for the region, held a live online chat a couple of days ago where they answered a good number of questions about China's currency, GDP forecasts, free-trade agreements, and structural reforms, among others.

What is new in Malaysia’s New Economic Model?

Philip Schellekens's picture
Malaysia's New Economic Model proposes a number of strategic reforms.

Prime Minister Najib has announced the broad outline of the proposed New Economic Model (NEM) at the Invest Malaysia conference.

The objective of the NEM is for Malaysia to join the ranks of the high-income economies, but not at all costs. The growth process needs to be both inclusive and sustainable. Inclusive growth enables the benefits to be broadly shared across all communities. Sustainable growth augments the wealth of current generations in a way that does not come at the expense of future generations.

Nam Theun 2 – How are the resettled people doing overall? In their own words… (part 2 of 2)

Nina Fenton's picture

In the last blog we saw that most resettlers are broadly satisfied with the resettlement process and are positive and optimistic about their lives as a whole. But…how do they feel about their lives in comparison to the very different world they lived in before relocation? What are the changes they value or regret?
 

The respondents were asked directly how they felt about life now compared with life before resettlement. The overwhelming majority think that life has got much better, and that the vulnerable households are even more likely to feel this way than the non-vulnerable—no vulnerable households felt that life had got worse.

Nam Theun 2 – How are the resettled people doing overall? In their own words… (part 1 of 2)

Nina Fenton's picture

In last week’s blog I showed that, when we examine consumption—a commonly used measure of household welfare—the resettled households appear to be doing relatively well, and much better than before resettlement. But economic circumstances are just one small part of what really matters to households. In order to get closer to a broader picture of “well-being”, I’m going to present some evidence of how these households themselves view their lives overall and how they feel about the changes going on around them. I hope that this will provide new insights to the question of “how are the resettled people doing overall?”

Nam Theun 2 – how are resettled people doing? (a note on epistemology, or what we can and can’t learn using socioeconomic data)

Nina Fenton's picture

On the Nakai plateau, a large proportion of income is non-monetary. If we fail to account for this income, we grossly underestimate the living standards of most households. (WB photo)

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