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LTD Editors's blog

Friday Roundup: Economists and Public Policy, Information Diffusers, Ebola, Human Capital and the Wealth of Nations, and Globalization's Downside

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Do economists care about influencing public policy? is a question asked by Robert Hansen on the 'Overcoming bias' blog. 
 
Abhijit Banerji, Arun Chandrasekhar, Esther Duflo, and Matthew Jackson have a new paper on a study of 43 Indian villages that tackles the subject of gossip and how to identify the village busybody, also known as the best information diffuser. This matters for microfinance and any product for which experts want local uptake or adoption.

Friday round up: Digitizing money, an Asia-focused poverty line, the limits of globalization, and 11 very funny economics papers

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'Africa: Digitizing Money -- A Big Opportunity for Broad-Based Growth in Africa,' is the title of an op ed by Geoffrey Lamb of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Ruth Goodwin-Groen of the Better Than Cash Alliance in AllAfrica.com. The piece cites a new World Bank study by Leora Klapper and others on how better access to basic financial services can help break the cycle of poverty and contribute to broad-based growth. 
 
Nigeria has launched national electronic i.d. cards and the country's President, Goodluck Jonathan, says the e-ID scheme will have a pervasive and positive impact on citizens.

Friday Roundup: Ebola, World Economy in One Chart, Extremism, and Recognizing Humanitarians

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Ebola's deadly spread is sobering, but luckily there are seasoned international health experts, as well as brave doctors and nurses mobilized to battle it. Senior UN System Coordinator for Ebola Virus Disease, David Nabarro, was interviewed by the UN News Centre about efforts to contain unprecedented outbreak in West Africa and had some valuable insights, not least of all that survivors of Ebola are the best champions in tackling the virus.
 
An inspiring personal story is that of Nahid Bhadelia, epidemiologist at the Boston Medical Center who was featured in the Boston Globe just ahead of a mission to Liberia.

​Aid, Growth and Causality

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Last week's Free Exchange blog, run by The Economist, has a post titled 'Aid to the Rescue'.  The piece cites a recent paper by Sebastian Galiani, Stephen Knack, Colin Xu and Ben Zou, which attempts to gauge the effects of aid on growth. Pondering whether it pays for donors to contribute 0.7% of national income toward development assistance, the piece goes on to explain the complexities of establishing causality when analyzing the pay offs from aid.  

Friday roundup: US-Africa Summit, Carbon Reduction and Demographics, Poverty, Robots, and Fair Trade

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US-Africa Summit garners over $17b in pledges and calls for a deeper economic relationship.

In a New York Times article, Eduardo Porter writes about curbing population growth as a way to reduce carbon emissions.
 
Economic growth may be the best way to overcome poverty and reduce social ailments, says The Economist.

Friday Roundup: Human Development Report, LinkedIn Economic Confidence Outlook, Inequality, and Jason Furman

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The 2014 edition of the Human Development Report was released yesterday. The latest report focuses on promoting people’s choices and protecting human development achievements. 

LinkedIn’s Economic Confidence Outlook predicts scattered optimism for the future of the global economy.  The survey, conducted in the first quarter of 2014, of more than 14,000 senior business leaders on LinkedIn in 16 different countries around the world is designed to gauge leaders’ confidence level in the global economy and their country. 

Welfare dynamics measurement: Two definitions of a vulnerability line and their empirical application

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Little research currently exists on a vulnerability line that distinguishes the poor population from the population that is not poor but that still faces significant risk of falling back into poverty. A new World Bank policy research working paper by Hai-Anh H. Dang and Peter F. Lanjouw attempts to fill this gap by proposing vulnerability lines that can be straightforwardly estimated with panel or cross-sectional household survey data, in rich- and poor-country settings. These vulnerability lines offer a means to broaden traditional poverty analysis and can also assist with the identification of the middle class or resilient population groups. Empirical illustrations are provided using panel data from the United States (Panel Study of Income Dynamics) and Vietnam (Vietnam Household Living Standards Survey) for the period 2004-2008 and cross-sectional data from India (National Sample Survey) for the period 2004-2009. The estimation results indicate that in Vietnam and India during this time period, the population living in poverty and the middle class have been falling and expanding, respectively, while the opposite has been occurring in the United States.

Friday Roundup: Vint Cerf and Mark Zuckerberg, Global Housing Markets, MDG Update, Free Vaccines in India, and Disaster Risk Reduction

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Internet pioneer and Google's Vice President Vinton G. Cerf will talk about the major emerging trends and threats about the Internet that will dramatically shape the global economy on July 14, 2014 at the World Bank headquarters. Watch the event live here.

Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg writes in The Wall Street Journal about global internet access and its impact on poverty reduction.

The IMF has a new, Global Housing Markets database that tracks developments in housing markets around the world.

Services, Inequality, and the Dutch Disease

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A new World Bank policy research working paper by Bill Battaile, Richard Chisik, and Harun Onder shows how Dutch disease effects may arise solely from a shift in demand following a natural resource discovery. The natural resource wealth increases the demand for non-tradable luxury services due to non-homothetic preferences. Labor that could be used to develop other non-resource tradable sectors is pulled into these service sectors. As a result, manufactures and other tradable goods are more likely to be imported, and learning and productivity improvements accrue to the foreign exporters.

PPPs and Global Poverty: July 9 Seminar at 12:30 PM, Join Online!

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The Purchasing Power Parity (PPP) rates released in April 2014, based on the 2011 round of the International Comparison Program (ICP), entail some seemingly dramatic revisions to price levels and real incomes across the world. Looking back over the last three ICP rounds, back to 1993, it feels like we have been on an “ICP roller coaster” with falls in the estimated real incomes of many developing countries up to 2005 and then rises in 2011. The 2011 revisions have been taken to suggest substantially less poverty and inequality in the world than the 2005 round had implied. If we believe these new PPPs then the economic map of the world is quite different to what we thought. But can they be believed? A public debate has been generated by the new PPPs.

On July 9, 2014 Martin Ravallion (Department of Economics, Georgetown University) will shed more light on this ongoing debate at the Poverty and Applied Macro seminar hosted by the World Bank's research department.

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