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Managing Risk for Development

Kaushik Basu's picture

Suppose a political leader implements a policy that results in an economic crisis in the sense that, had he not implemented the policy in this instance, the crisis would not have occurred. In such a situation we are inclined to come down heavily on the leader’s policy and castigate the decision. This would however be a mistake.

To see the mistake—as to see so many things in life—it is worth converting this to a more abstract problem. A (fair) dice is about to be rolled; but before that you have to choose between A and B. If you choose A and the dice outcome is 1 or 2, or you choose B and the dice outcome is 3, 4, 5 or 6, all will be well. Otherwise, there is a major food crisis. What should you do? A little thought makes it clear that you should choose B. If after that the dice shows up on 1, there will of course be a crisis, but that disastrous outcome would not render your decision wrong. Indeed, if you had to play the game again, you should make the same choice.

Chart: Low-income countries lag behind in realizing progress in female school enrollment

LTD Editors's picture

From the World Development Report 2012.

For poor women and for women in very poor places, sizable gender gaps remain. In education, where gaps have narrowed in most countries, girls’ enrollment in primary and secondary school has improved little in many Sub-Saharan countries and some parts of South Asia. School enrollments for girls in Mali are comparable to those in the United States in 1810, and the situation in Ethiopia and Pakistan is not much better.

Shocking facts about primary health care in India, and their implications

Adam Wagstaff's picture

There’s nothing quite like a cold shower of shocking statistics to get you thinking. A paper that came out in Health Affairs today, written by my colleague Jishnu Das and his collaborators, is just such a cold shower.

Fake patients
Das and his colleagues spent 150 hours training each of 22 Indians to be credible fake patients. These actors were then sent into the consulting rooms of 305 medical providers – some in rural Madhya Pradesh (MP), others in urban Delhi – to allow the study team to assess the quality of care that the providers were delivering.

A lot of thought went into just what conditions the fake patients should pretend to have. The team wanted the conditions to be common, and to be ones that had established medical protocols with government-provided treatment checklists. The fake patients shouldn’t be subjected to invasive exams, and they needed to be able to be able to credibly describe invisible symptoms.

Friday Roundup: Kaushik Basu meets CSOs; debating India’s jobs scheme; and tracking fast growing economies

LTD Editors's picture

In an interesting post on “From Poverty to Power,” Duncan Green writes about our Chief Economist, Kaushik Basu. Commenting on a recent roundtable for CSOs held in London, Duncan highlights Kaushik’s views on redistribution, taxation, economists, climate change and  multi-player sudoku. With his prior experience in the Indian Government and emphasis on thinking outside the ‘reductionist stereotypes,’ Duncan writes that Kaushik “could prove to be an interesting and innovative voice at the Bank…” Read the entire post here.

On November 16, Kaushik delivered a lecture at Brown University titled ‘From the Slopes of Raisina Hill: India’s Economic Reforms and Prospects’. Watch the video here. He’s posted a power point on ‘The Global Crisis and the Impact On Emerging Economies’ that was delivered at a UNU-Wider seminar on November 26.

Service with a smile: A new growth engine for poor countries

Ejaz Ghani's picture

This post was originally published in Voxeu.org.

Services have long been the main source of growth in rich countries. We argue that services are now the main source of growth in poor countries as well. We present evidence that services may provide the easiest and fastest route out of poverty for many poor countries.

For more than 200 years, it was argued that economic development and growth was associated with growth of the labour-intensive manufacturing sector (Baumol 1967, Kaldor 1966, UNIDO 2009). Services were considered as menial, low-skilled, and low-innovation (McCredie and Bubner 2010). But today, services can be among the most dynamic sectors in an economy. The policy question is whether this is true even in poor countries.

Chart: Jobs account for much of the decline in extreme poverty

LTD Editors's picture

From the World Development Report 2013.

Quantitative analysis confirms that changes in labor earnings are the largest contributor to poverty reduction. In 10 of 18 countries, changes in labor income explain more than half the reduction in poverty, and in another 5 countries, more than a third. In Bangladesh, Peru, and Thailand, changes in education, work experience, and region of residence mattered, but the returns to these characteristics (including labor earnings) mattered most. Just having work was not enough, given that most people work in less developed economies. What made a difference for escaping poverty was increasing the earnings from work.

 

Turkey, India’s inflation, a new WTO tool, growth & happiness, and migration & remittances update

LTD Editors's picture

Timothy Taylor, Managing Editor of the Journal of Economic Perspectives, re-posts a classic Thanksgiving blog on turkey supply and demand from last November on the Conversable Economist. Read it here.

 ‘Purchasing power parity wages and inflation in emerging markets and developing countries’ is the topic of a new Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research (IGIDR) working paper by Ashima Goyal that explores the puzzle of the persistent deviation of real exchange rates from purchasing power parity (PPP) values. According to the paper, the conundrum exists because nominal shocks, which cause such deviation, are expected to have only short-run effects. Balassa Samuelson (BS) explains what happens when some goods are non-traded and looks at price differences in advanced economies. However, consistently higher inflation in emerging or developing economies presents separate challenges. Goyal presents a framework that grapples with this, drawing on the case of India.

Cities in the aftermath of great recession

Jean-Jacques Dethier's picture

Cities around the world face a serious fiscal crisis following the Great Recession of 2008. Five years later, the after-effects of this crisis continue to be felt and limit economic opportunities in cities.

Revenue of cities around the world—either generated by municipalities or derived from State transfers—have decreased sharply because of the economic slowdown, as did the fiscal value of real property. Some local governments also lost major assets that they invested in risk funds and banks that collapsed during the crisis. City expenditures—especially spending to address social needs—rose because of the slowdown in economic activity and the corresponding increases in unemployment and social welfare needs.  The decline in revenue and increase in expenditure led many cities to experience the worst “fiscal crunch” in decades. Financing capacities shrank owing to the difficulty in obtaining loans and the increase in the cost of money. Banks and bond issuers—the main financiers of cities—have been heavily impacted. The credit rating of cities was heavily impacted because of declines in the tax base, expenditure pressures and increasing debt. Foreign investment to finance infrastructure has declined; operations underway have been put on hold and many projects have either been cancelled or delayed.

Within Reach

Asma Lateef's picture

With 2015 fast approaching, many of us in the development community are paying close attention to how post-MDG plans are unfolding. At Bread for the World Institute, we are using the 2013 edition of our annual Hunger Report to share our thoughts about getting to 2015 and how we’d like to see the post-MDG agenda develop.

The 2013 Hunger Report, Within Reach – Global Development Goals, calls for a strong push, starting right now, to meet the MDG targets by 2015.

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