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December 2015

Saturday, December 12 was UHC Day. What have we learned in the last 12 months about Universal Health Coverage?

Adam Wagstaff's picture
It turns out lots of interesting things happened on December 12. Beethoven had his first lesson in music composition with Franz Joseph Haydn (1792), Washington, D.C. became the capital of the US (1800), Guglielmo Marconi sent the first transatlantic radio signal (1901), Kenya declared independence from the UK (1963), The Beatles played their last UK concert (1965), and  Ed Sheeran announced he was “taking a break” from social media (2015). Oh yes, and the UN endorsed a resolution calling for countries to “provide affordable, quality health care to every person, everywhere” (2012).

As development actors, how should we address the forced displacement crisis?

Xavier Devictor's picture
Forced displacement has long been seen as a humanitarian issue. But with the number of forcibly displaced people at historic highs, there are increasing calls for development actors to engage.  

Does firm size matter for productivity? The case of informal firms in Africa

Asif Islam's picture
There are two fairly accepted empirical observations. First, formal firms are more productive and larger than informal firms. Second, in the formal sector, large firms are more productive than small firms. Should it then follow that, ceteris paribus, the productivity gap between the formal and informal sector firms narrows as informal firms become larger? Alternatively, as far as productivity is concerned, is formalization a simple march from small to large firms or is there more to it than that?

How roads support development

Claudia Berg's picture
Rural road. Photo: Curt Carnemark / World Bank

Roads are the arteries through which the economy pulses. By linking producers to markets, workers to jobs, students to school, and the sick to hospitals, roads are vital to any development agenda.  Since 2002, the World Bank has constructed or rehabilitated more than 260,000 km of roads. It lends more for roads than for education, health, and social services combined.  However, while roads bring economic and social benefits, they can also come with social costs such as pollution or deforestation.  The Amazon rainforest is crisscrossed by almost 100,000 km of roads—enough to circle the Earth two and a half times. And the transport sector accounts for about 23 percent of global energy-related carbon dioxide emissions and a significant share of local particle pollution. Such tradeoffs need to be weighed when planning any intervention.

The consequences of banning child labor

Caio Piza's picture
From a normative perspective, we can all agree that child labor is reprehensible and should be banned, particularly in its worst forms. According to the International Labor Organization (ILO), child labor has declined worldwide in the last fifteen years, but the numbers are still alarming. In 2012, 168 million children were a part of child labor with more than half of these kids involved in hazardous work.