Innovations in development happen where traditional markets fail. The open discussion that followed the presentation I made on Monday to nearly 100 colleagues inside and outside the World Bank Group spurred the first of what I hope are many conversations on the role the World Bank Group and others can play in supporting social entrepreneurs in the developing world
"BRAC is built upon a foundation of innovation that is driven by an integrated approach to development and broad participation of its members... the BRAC model of innovation for the social good should be considered a new industry standard."
I am encouraged that the self-educated child I met when my car broke down on the Kenyan coast can monetize his intellectual capital using mobile technology.
I am writing from Cape Town in South Africa, where about 90 governance specialists from around the World Bank are attending a workshop on the theme: "Implementing Effective Country Level Governance Programs". The aim of the workshop is to review the implementation of about 17 country level governance programs funded by the Governance Partnership Facility (GPF). The donors, also represented here are the governments of Great Britain, the Netherlands and Norway, through their development agencies.
Check out the story CNN is featuring on Hero Rats today. In the early days of the project Bart Weetjens of Apopo, the Dutch Company that implements Hero Rats, said that initially “Every where I went to apply for funding, we were just laughed at.” But in 2003 the Development Marketplace took his idea seriously and funded his project. Now Hero Rats are making news around the world.
Designing policies that promote innovation and growth is key to development. In many countries there is also considerable corruption, with government officials seeking bribes and many firms underreporting their revenues to the state to evade taxes. Might there be a set of reforms that allow policymakers to kill two birds with one stone, both reducing corruption and boosting innovation? New research suggests financial sector reform may be able to play this role.
In a recent paper with co-authors Meghana Ayyagari and Vojislav Maksimovic, we look at corruption—defined as both bribery of government officials and tax evasion—and how this is associated with firm innovation and financial development. Using firm-level data for over 25,000 firms in 57 countries, we investigate whether firms are victims, who pay more in bribes than they gain by underreporting revenues to tax authorities, or perpetrators, who gain more by avoiding taxes than they lose in paying bribes.
Of particular interest is the effect of corruption and tax evasion on innovative firms. Specifically, we explore the following questions:
A college student designs a battery-powered small microscope for only $240?! Loved this news from the Rice 360: Institute for Global Health Technologies. Reminds us that innovtaion cannot thrive without actual invention of new things.