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Some thoughts on human development, equal opportunity, and universal coverage

Adam Wagstaff's picture

I was asked recently to advise on some ongoing work on human development, equal opportunities, and universal coverage. The work was building on previous work undertaken by the World Bank in its Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) region that had developed a new index known as the Human Opportunity Index (HOI).

The core idea underlying the HOI isn’t new. The argument is that inequalities are inequitable insofar as they’re the result of circumstances beyond the individual’s control (inequality in opportunity), but not if they reflect factors that are within the individual’s control. The object of the exercise is to separate empirically the two.

Year-end Reflections and Trends for 2013: Final Friday Roundup for 2012

LTD Editors's picture

It’s the end of the year, which means there are all sorts of retrospectives on the big things that happened in 2012.  Here’s a list of interesting articles that recap the year gone by.

• Andres Marroquin’s blog lists the top ten economic papers of 2012. Topping the list is a working paper from the Journal of Politics 201 titled ‘Economic Conditions and the Quality of Suicide Terrorism’. See more papers here.

• Consider yourself an aficionado of the latest in global development issues? Then test your knowledge by taking a quiz put together by The Guardian.

A guide to the top World Bank blogs and blog posts of 2012

Adam Wagstaff's picture

Last year I wrote a post listing the most read 100 World Bank blogposts of 2011. I also compared the Bank’s 26 English-language blogs with one another in terms of how many posts they got in the top-200. 2012 was an even more successful year for World Bank bloggers.

Fig 1 compares the Bank’s 29 blogs in terms of their shares of the top-200 posts for both 2011 and 2012. (I excluded pages that didn’t look like posts – blog home pages, blogger profiles, thematic pages, and so on. I may have inadvertently dropped some posts in which case my apologies to the blogger.) Africa Can End Poverty retains the number one slot, accounting for 20% of the top-200 in both years. Development Impact, which started mid-way through 2011, increased its share to 10% in 2012 with 20 posts in the top-200; it now occupies 2nd position. Last year’s runner-up (East Asia & the Pacific on the rise) slipped to 4th position this year, and last year’s #3 (Let’s Talk Development) slipped to 5th position. Open Data, new this year, came in strongly at #7. Voices - Perspectives on Development improved its position considerably, while Development in a Changing Climate slid the other way.

The Real Winners and Losers of Globalization

Branko Milanovic's picture

It is generally thought that two groups are the big winners of the past two decades of globalization: the very rich, and the middle classes of emerging market economies.

The statistical evidence for this has been cobbled together from a number of disparate sources. The evidence includes high GDP growth in emerging market economies, strong income gains recorded for those at the top of the income pyramid in the United States and other advanced economies, as well as what seems to be the emergence of “a global middle class” and casual observations of the rising affluence of Chinese and Indians.

CSO inputs needed for Global Monitoring Report 2013

Jos Verbeek's picture

Last year, we sought inputs from the CSO/NGO community to strengthen the Global Monitoring Report (GMR) with stories that had a qualitative character of how people at community level had coped with the higher food prices due to recent food price spikes.  The focus of the upcoming GMR, to be issued in April 2013, is on Rural-Urban Dynamics and the Millennium Development Goals. Clearly, domestic or in-country migration is a major contributing factor to urbanization.  However, migrants’ expectations of better job opportunities or better quality and easier access to service delivery do not always materialize.  Even though basic living standards, as measured by the MDGs, are often better in urban areas than in rural areas, this cannot be generalized for all residents of urban areas. Rural-urban migrants are quite often the ones who face a more challenging environment, particularly when expectations of finding a job are not fulfilled.  Ensuring access to basic services, such as those defined by the MDGs, for everyone living in urban areas is one of the major challenges governments and citizens alike face during the urbanization process.  GMR 2013 has set itself the task of bringing together a body of knowledge on this subject, i.e. how to make urbanization work for all. 

Announcing the launch of the Global Financial Inclusion (Global Findex) Microdata

Asli Demirgüç-Kunt's picture

What percentage of Sub-Saharan women under age 30 with a formal account use a community-based group to save? The answer is 26 percent, but until today you would have had difficulty finding that statistic. Not anymore. Today, the Development Research Group is publishing the complete micro dataset of the Global Financial Inclusion (Global Findex) dataset. This translates to over 150,000 individual-level observations, representing adults in 148 economies and 97 percent of the world’s adult population. Users can download the complete worldwide dataset, or datasets by country.

Chart: Good jobs for development are not the same everywhere

LTD Editors's picture

From the World Development Report 2013.

Looking through the jobs lens and focusing on the key features of the different country types can help identify more clearly the kinds of jobs that would make the greatest contribution to development in each case. This focus allows for a richer analysis of the potential tradeoffs between living standards, productivity, and social cohesion in a specific context.

Where in the world is a hospitalization least affordable?

Adam Wagstaff's picture

In the developing world, a hospitalization is one of the things that families – especially poor ones – fear most. This came through in country after country in the World Bank’s Voices of the Poor exercise. Here are just some examples:

A man from Ghana is quoted as saying: “Take the death of this small boy this morning, for example. The boy died of measles. We all know he could have been cured at the hospital. But the parents had no money and so the boy died a slow and painful death, not of measles, but out of poverty.”

The researchers write that in Lahore, Pakistan, “a father explained that it had taken him eight years to repay debts acquired after he, his wife, and two of their children had been hospitalized.”

Friday Roundup: China’s Cities, India’s healthcare, US jobs & the Fiscal Cliff

LTD Editors's picture

In “How Cities Can Save China” Henry Paulson, former US Treasury Secretary and current head of the Paulson Institute, argues in this week’s New York Times that better city planning will allow China’s investments to be more balanced, debt levels to be lowered, pollution to be eased, and a consumption windfall to be realized.

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