Over the last twenty years, impact evaluations have dramatically expanded the body of evidence about which types of development programs work, when, and why, but their application has been heavily concentrated in a few sectors. 83% of the trials in 3ie’s worldwide repository are focused on health, nutrition, and population programs.
As I wondered which of the many fascinating ideas from the World Bank’s inaugural annual Data Day to recap in a blog, it occurred to me that there was likely selection bias in those who chose to attend. Presumably, some skeptics of big data chose to skip the day entirely. So this blog is aimed first and foremost at the skeptical.
The blog draws on joint ongoing and published work with several IMF staff, including Leo Bonato, Aliona Cebotari, Julian Chow, Alejandro Guerson, Franz Loyola, Sònia Muñoz, Uma Ramakrishnan, Ippei Shibata, Krishna Srinivasan and Karim Youssef.
Five years since its launch, the key messages of the World Development Report on Risk and Opportunity (WDR 2014) remain as pertinent as they were back then. WDR 2014 argued that risk management can be a powerful instrument for development, as mismanaged risks can destroy lives, assets, and economic and social stability, with the poor often hit the hardest. Managing risk plays an important role in increasing resilience to adverse shocks. It needs to combine the capacity to prepare for risk with the ability to cope afterward, considering how upfront costs of preparation compare with its potential benefits.
Social media has flourished with increasing digital connectivity. Internet users in the Philippines, Brazil, Mexico, Argentina and the United Arab Emirates spend more than 3 hours per day on social media. Global social media platforms such as YouTube and WhatsApp as well as local ones such as Mxit, an instant messaging application in South Africa, and Odnoklassniki, the Russian version of Facebook, are attracting people's attention. The social interaction aspect of those communication initiatives redefines how individuals, business and government engage with each other.
Energy commodity prices increased nearly 2 percent in January, led by oil (+5 percent), the World Bank’s Pink Sheet reported.
Non-energy prices gained marginally, with rises in agriculture balanced by losses in fertilizers and (less so) metals and minerals.
Agricultural prices climbed more than one percent, with pickups in all sub-indexes, beverages (+0.7 percent), food (+1 percent), and raw materials (+1.8 percent).