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Food Prices, Nutrition and the Millennium Development Goals

Jos Verbeek's picture

How are communities around the world coping with the higher and more volatile food prices? What is the impact on poverty, or on nutritional outcomes? And, how should policymakers respond to such price spikes that can eat away at already-tight budgetary resources?

These are only some of the questions that a key World Bank-IMF report is delving into as it provides an annual assessment on progress towards the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) as well as the challenges which developing countries face in achieving them. 

More than we expected: what we would like to know about Conditional Cash Transfers—Part II

Emanuela Galasso's picture

A week ago we hosted an informal workshop with some academic researchers, policymakers and World Bank staff to review "The second generation of evaluations" of CCT programs. Yesterday's post recounted where we stand with respect to 'Opening the Black Box', parsing out what we can about which design features help to produce the human capital impacts that are one of the programs' twin goals. Today we summarize the rest of the discussion.

More than we expected: what we would like to know about Conditional Cash Transfers—Part I

Emanuela Galasso's picture

A week ago we hosted an informal workshop with some academic researchers, policymakers and World Bank staff to review "The second generation of evaluations" of CCT programs. We finally have the website, where you can see all the presentations made available by the authors and video of the event. Two posts in the Development Impact blog (here and here) go into more detail on the effectiveness of conditions — their theory, evidence and the conflicting values around them. In blog posts today and tomorrow we’ll summarize discussion of the whole workshop. Today we introduce it and focus on the human capital formation side of things. Tomorrow we consider the poverty reduction objective, how CCTS are working in low income countries, and some "new frontiers" with respect to considering behavior, governance, supply, costs, and wider social protection strategies.

Cannes Summit: Building Foundations for Growth

Zia Qureshi's picture

Much of the attention at the Cannes summit this week will be focused on addressing the crisis in the eurozone. But as president Zoellick emphasized in his press teleconference yesterday, the summit should aim to go beyond the immediate crisis-response actions to build some foundations for future growth. A focus on growth is the central theme of a report the Bank released yesterday as an input to the discussions in Cannes. The report conveys the following main messages:

  • The global economy has entered a dangerous phase that threatens to stall economic recovery in advanced economies. Weaker growth in these economies and financial turmoil also threaten growth in developing countries that has been an engine driving the global economy. These developments call for a renewed G20 focus on growth. Actions to address immediate risks to financial stability must be complemented by actions to strengthen the foundations for global growth.

Development Thinking 3.0: The Road Ahead

Justin Yifu Lin's picture

It's time for a third phase of development thinking focused on structural change, driven by changes in endowment structure and comparative advantages. The market will be the fundamental institution for resource allocation and the state would play a proactive facilitating role in the process. I make this case because, in two earlier waves of development economics had mixed records. The first emerged after World War II with a focus on market failures and an embrace of traditional structuralist, state-led development policies; the second adopted a largely neo-liberal view that targeted government failures and recommended Washington Consensus-types of policies.

I lay out this argument in the most recent issue of the World Bank Research Observer (subscription required), which synthesizes half a century of various approaches proposed by development economics, and suggested a way forward. My WBRO paper, New Structural Economics: A Framework for Rethinking Development, is critically discussed in the same issue of the journal by Joe Stiglitz, Anne Krueger, and Dani Rodrik

Beyond Universal Coverage Part III

Adam Wagstaff's picture

Should we try to incorporate the cost of forgone care into a measure of financial protection?

In my first post on UC in this series I argued that UC is best thought of as a means to achieving lower inequalities and improved financial protection in the health sector, but that in practice UC is unlikely to be sufficient – and may not even be necessary – for us to achieve these goals.

In this post, I want to probe a little on the measurement of financial protection; in particular I want to ask whether it should incorporate an allowance for forgone care.

The Nuts and Bolts of Trade: Stepping up to Manufacturing in the Development Ladder

John Wilson's picture

With the global recovery slow to pick up speed, the latest World Economic Outlook (WEO) isn’t exactly an uplifting read. However, for those of us with an eye on the developing world there are some bright spots: the low-income-countries (LICs) in Africa, for example, have returned to their pre-crisis growth rates and their economies are expected to expand by a respectable 6.5 percent in 2012. 

Despite this seemingly good news, there are some dark clouds on the horizon. The WEO attributes the quick rebound to the fact that the African LICs were, “largely shielded from the global financial crisis owing to their limited integration into global manufacturing and financial networks.”  Although limited international exposure is a boon in the short-term, it also signals trouble down the road.

Beyond Universal Coverage Part II

Adam Wagstaff's picture

Quantity inequalities may be dwarfed by quality inequalities

In my last post on UC I argued that UC is best thought of as a means to achieving lower inequalities and improved financial protection in the health sector, but that in practice UC is unlikely to be sufficient – and may not even be necessary – for us to achieve these goals.

In this post, I argue that our focus on narrowing inequalities in the quantity of care is leading us to ignore another and potentially more important type of inequality in the health sector: inequality in the quality of care.

Picking winners

Justin Yifu Lin's picture

Concepts derived from structural-change theory are being revived and debated in exciting new ways, as evidenced in a recent conference at the World Bank earlier this month on ‘Structural Transformation and Economic Growth.’ Top researchers presented new papers and new ongoing work that covered globalization and structural transformation, sectoral diversification and human capital, industrial policy, and country case studies. 

The conference revealed an important emerging consensus about the role of the government in providing both soft infrastructure (for example a conducive business environment, regulations, and legal system) and hard infrastructure (such as port facilities, highways, telecommunications, and power).  Indeed, few dispute that broad-based interventions to support industrial upgrading and diversification are crucial to facilitating structural transformation and to spurring sustainable growth. 

On Aid and Growth – reflections ahead of Busan

Finn Tarp's picture

Not a month goes by without some sort of bad news about foreign aid. Examples of incompetence , abuse of funds by corrupt leaders, and distorted incentives abound. These stories fuel a deep skepticism of foreign aid. In this view, perverse effects dominate – and end up weakening, rather than encouraging, growth and development. If one accepts this view, then it is logical to turn off the poisoned tap of foreign aid. But are such views well founded?

The answer is no.

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