The World Health Organization, the United Nations, and the World Bank jointly released data and a report on new maternal mortality estimates (1990-2013). Using illustrative charts, the Bank's Development Data Group demographer Emi Suzuki blogs about how the data shows meaningful progress in reducing maternal mortality.
The World Bank Group’s Doing Business project provides objective measures of business regulations and their implementation across economies worldwide and selected cities at the subnational and regional level. The first Doing Business report, published in 2003, covered five indicator sets and 133 economies. The most recent report published in late 2013 covered 11 indicator sets and 189 economies.
As with most key international indicator sets, Doing Business has come a long way since its inception in 2002/2003 and continues to be a work in progress. The report team works to improve the methodology each year and to enhance their data collection, analysis and output.
- doing business
A fascinating feature of purchasing power parity (PPP) is more people hold an opinion on it than know what it means. This was in ample display last week, when the Global Office of the International Comparison Program (ICP), hosted by the World Bank, announced the latest PPP data for the world, pertaining to 2011.
Putting aside complexities, PPPs may be viewed as an estimate what one US dollar can buy in different countries. In case a dollar in Ghana can buy three times what it can buy in the United States, then a person who earns 1,000 dollars each month in Ghana is said to earn 3,000 in terms of ‘PPP-adjusted dollars’.
There is a lot of public discussion about Thomas Piketty’s book on capital and its implications for inequality. His work strikes a chord with many of us because it outlines a future where basically your own or inherited wealth matters and where wage income and apparently your human capital does not matter that much for your income generation. So how do we escape such a one-sided and unequal world? Well, maybe one way is to understand better the interaction between growth, changes in the income distribution, and their implications for shared prosperity.
On September 23rd 2013, Gary Becker spoke about inequality and government policy here at the World Bank. In introducing him, Kaushik Basu, the Chief Economist at the World Bank, paid him the highest tribute, calling him one of the most towering figures in our profession. “There are people who describe themselves as Beckerian and that is important,” Kaushik said. “But Gary Becker is much more than that. Many years ago at a conference, someone came to me and said, ‘You know, I am non-Beckerian’. It is one thing to have a school. But to have a school that is identified as ‘non-you’ is truly remarkable. We do hear of the non-Euclidean school and a few others, but this puts you in a special category.”
An April briefing paper from 'Global Humanitarian Assistance' analyzes where humanitarian aid comes from and finds that private donors contributed US$4.1 billion in 2012, representing 24% of the total international response. Over a quarter of all international humanitarian assistance came from private donors between 2008 and 2012. The role of these private donors clearly goes beyond purely financial donations. There is an acknowledged rise for example in corporate partnerships, where expertise, human resources and goods are a given.
- weekly roundup
Yesterday the International Comparison Program released the summary results and findings of the 2011 ICP covering 199 economies. FT economics editor Chris Giles explains the uses and limitations of PPPs in this video, plus he discusses the results of his own calculations regarding the estimated standing of the US and other big economies for 2014. Clearly the world is changing fast. There is also a useful 'explainer' blog by Data Group Director Haishan Fu on the Open Data blog.
There is mounting consensus that gender equality generates both substantial equity and efficiency gains. However, there is still much to uncover about both the current state of gender equality in developing economies and the accompanying measures that should receive attention. Should the focus be on simple labor participation, or wages? Do any of these measures capture female empowerment? Data availability plays a substantial role in these decisions. For instance, given the dearth of gender wage data in developing economies, a lot of attention may shift to labor force participation as a convenient measure. A primary concern in the feminist literature regarding participation measures is that even though more females may join the labor market there may be little improvement in their livelihoods. There is some evidence that women tend to be employed in the informal sectors which tend to have low wages and are more economically vulnerable. Thus a more informative measure could be one that attempts to capture female economic empowerment. Using this measure, the interesting question would then be for example, in what sectors of the economy are women typically more empowered?
The following post is a part of a series that discusses 'mind and culture,' the theme of the World Bank’s upcoming World Development Report 2015.
When it comes to development, one size doesn’t fit all. It is about mindsets that can be transformed to see and do things differently. Taking a cue from this, The Hunger Project believes in empowering people to end their own hunger versus providing them with service delivery. The Let’s Talk team caught up with John Coonrod, Executive Vice President, The Hunger Project, to know more about building self-reliant communities.
'Our goal: Defeat malaria forever' is the title of a Path blog to commemorate World Malaria Day. Written by Dr. Carlos C. (Kent) Campbell and Bindiya Patel to commemorate World Malaria Day, it stresses that malaria control alone won't be enough to stop the disease.
Meanwhile, the economics world continues to be rocked by Piketty. His powerpoint on Capital in the 21st Century, presented recently at an IMF event where Martin Ravallion played the role of discussant, can be downloaded here. Ravallion provided his own take on historic inequality trends and explained why he thinks there is still hope that extreme poverty in the developing world will continue to fall, thanks in no small part to growth and other factors.