With the phenomenal growth of microfinance institutions representing 30 million members with over $2 billion of annual disbursement over the past two decades, it is important to understand the dynamics of microcredit expansion and its induced impact on household welfare. A new World Bank working paper by Shahidur R. Khandker and Hussain A. Samad uses long panel survey data spanning over 20 years to examine the dynamics of microcredit programs in Bangladesh.
President Jim Yong Kim, Prof Jeff Sachs, Chief Economist Kaushik Basu and Annie Lowrey of the New York Times participated in a panel last Friday titled 'Sharing Prosperity, Delivering Results.'
The four discussed the challenges of achieving the World Bank Group's goals of ending extreme poverty and boosting shared prosperity, and in so doing, all stressed the need to take on the goals with an activist's zeal.
From calling for a Data Revolution to analyzing the power of migration and development, to sharing prosperity and the moral imperative of ending poverty and discrimination, there are a dizzying array of events, meetings and ideas buzzing at this week's Spring Meetings of the WB and IMF.
On Data, you can watch the webcast of an event at the Bank where Jim Yong Kim, the Chief Economist of the AFDB and Haishan Fu of the Data Group in the Development Economics Vice Presidency spoke of their vision for better statistics harnessed for the greater good. Also, David Roodman has a compelling post on what it will take to overhaul methods of data collection and donor as well as country coordination.
Last week, Oxfam released a powerful report on inequality, “Working for the Many: Public services fight inequality.” The report makes a persuasive case for the need to bring more attention to the issue of inequality in policy discussions. Indeed, at the recent World Economic Forum Annual Meeting, World Bank President Jim Yong Kim stated that “at Davos, income inequality should be front and center” as an important item on the global agenda. I was recently a discussant in a session on the Oxfam report at a Spring Meetings event alongside Max Lawson of Oxfam Great Britain and David Coady of the IMF's Fiscal Affairs Department. The case Oxfam makes that inequality is harmful to the global economy is well articulated and their prescription for a solution is highly focused: increase the amount of progressive taxation to fund free and universal health and education. In the following slides, I provide a few examples of where we might want to broaden our thinking on the issue of inequality. In particular, I offer a couple of illustrations where a singular focus on inequality would lead us to undervalue some very important progress that has been made in the fight to eliminate poverty. In contrast, by ‘twinning’ the goals of eliminating extreme poverty and boosting shared prosperity, the policies we design may be more likely to ensure that everyone shares in growth and prosperity.
It seems it does. During 2008-2012, post-crisis, launching under English law increased spreads by more than a third on average. In other words, by choosing the UK law, a nation rated B+ (for example, Ecuador, Ghana, Greece, Pakistan and Zambia) apparently paid 7.7% interest rate per annum instead of 6 percent, and a nation rated BB (for example, Bangladesh, Nigeria, Serbia or Vietnam) paid nearly 5.7% instead of 4.5% (figure 1). Such an increase in spread is equivalent to a rating downgrade of 3 notches or more.
A new report by the United Nations Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) Saving Lives Today and Tomorrow is a wakeup call to the humanitarian community to improve risk management. The report builds on and has several parallels to the World Development Report (WDR) 2014 on Risk and Opportunity: Managing Risk for Development, and I was therefore invited to speak at its UN launch in New York last week.
This paper reviews the empirical evidence on the existence of poverty traps, understood as self-reinforcing mechanisms through which poor individuals or countries remain poor. Poverty traps, understood as self-reinforcing mechanisms through which poor individuals or countries remain poor, have captured the interest of many development policy makers, because poverty traps provide a theoretically coherent explanation for persistent poverty. They also suggest that temporary policy interventions may have long-term effects on poverty. However, a review of the reduced-form empirical evidence suggests that truly stagnant incomes of the sort predicted by standard models of poverty traps are in fact quite rare. Read the entire paper here.
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.
In Ethiopia, 3% of students will go to college.* But how many would you guess say that they want to?
The answer is 75%. That is how many of the 14 to 15 year-olds surveyed by the Young Lives team out of Oxford said they would like to complete a university degree. Of those kids, 9 in 10 expect to get there.
Virginia Gewin of Nature magazine carries a story on USAID's new Global Development Lab, a $100 million effort that will fund research into technological solutions for targeted problems related to food security and nutrition, maternal and child survival, energy access and sustainable water solutions.
In April 2013, the Social Progress Imperative launched a research product, the Social Progress Index, during a forum at the University of Oxford. Now it's year two and they've grabbed headlines with the results of the 2014 index, finding New Zealand is on top and Chad at the bottom of the overall rankings. What also jumps out are big differences in social progress for countries with similar incomes.
According to Index, economic success alone doesn't explain social progress. The USA (16th), for example, ranks lower than New Zealand, even though the Kiwi nation's GDP is lower. The same pattern is seen for countries at all levels: Ghana (96th) has a similar GDP per capita as Nigeria (123rd), but scores a lot higher on social progress.
- Social Development