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Gary Becker on sustainable development

A recent study (see Becker, Philipson, and Soares, "The Quantity and Quality of Life and the Evolution of World Inequality" American Economic Review, March 2005) shows how to combine improvement in life expectancy with traditional measures of the growth in GDP to measure what we call the growth in "full" income. We demonstrate that the growth in full income since 1965 has been much faster than the growth in material income in essentially all countries, but especially in less developed nations.

Towards smarter aid

Lex Reiffel of Brookings writes in The Globalist:

The MCC appears to be drifting toward “more of the same.” Its first four country programs look too much like projects administered by the World Bank and USAID.

Read his full report from Brookings or see our own page on Aid Effectiveness.

Is branding key to generating wealth in the developing world?

In his new book, Brand New Justice, Simon Anholt argues that better understanding the nature and value of brands is essential for poor nations wanting to capitalize on Globalization - since wealth is created on “the last mile” of the commercial process. In his own words:

Business and the Millennium Development Goals

Last week the WBCSD released Business for Development: Business Solutions in Support of the Millennium Development Goals. A very manageable summary of the main issues and debates. Among their main conclusions:

Irrepressible entrepreneurship

The BBC reports (via Shashwati's Blog) that Indians with an embarrassingly small guest list can hire extra guests. The service sounds top-notch:

The Best Guests Agency has around 70 people on its books. They can turn up either traditionally dressed or in smart Western clothes, and are briefed on family history and pretend to be friends from the past...

2006 World Development Report: Equity and Development

The 2006 WDR: Equity and Development was released yesterday. As with all of WDRs it is jam-packed with information, anecdotes and analysis. We will be sure to pass along snippets as we work our way through it.

African economies can overtake Switzerland

When battling with jet-lag most people take sleeping pills, watch TV, or toss and turn in bed. Economists, however, put their sleepless nights to better use. The IFC’s Chief Economist, Michael Klein, tinkered with the Doing Business database in the middle of a sleepless night in Johannesburg and created a hypothetical African country which adopted the best African practice on each of the Doing Business indicators.

Grade inflation

Grade inflation is also the product of competition. Competition improves performance and mostly this is good: it leads to lower prices and shorter queues at the checkout. But the process has perverse results when the product is performance measurement, and the buyer is the person whose performance is being measured.

That's John Kay in the Financial Times, on why competition is not always good.

New SME newsletter

The new IFC e-newsletter “Outcomes” showcases IFC advisory work, and that of our partners, in promoting small business development in emerging markets. The focus will be on results sharing - both successes and failures. Subscribe now.

The debut September edition highlights new local banking markets in Bangladesh.