A person is caught stealing groceries from a supermarket. How should the justice system sanction such behavior?
In the modern system of criminal justice, the sentence imposed on such a perpetrator should prevent that person from repeating the crime, demonstrate to society that such behavior is undesirable hence punishable, penalize the person for the morally wrong deed, and try to rehabilitate the criminal. As analyzed by Becker (1968), deterrence relies on the postulate that the threat of criminal punishment alters the cost-benefit calculation of rational agents.
But what if it doesn’t?
The Economist recently published an article about the promise of technology to improve the quality of education in low- and middle-income countries. It gives a balanced view of technology’s potential: It isn’t “a substitute for well-qualified, motivated teachers” and in order to work, “tech innovations need the acceptance of teachers and administrators.” But it can help teachers to manage classrooms with students at dramatically different learning levels, and it can help administrators to monitor teacher performance. The examples in the articles are backed up by high-quality studies of the impact of educational technology on student learning.
The OECD base erosion and profit shifting initiative, aimed at closing tax avoidance gaps in the international system, is meant to be inclusive. Today roughly two-thirds of the initiative’s members are emerging economies. Yet, as discussions expand to questions regarding who gets to tax what in the digital economy, it is becoming clear that the OECD is an unlikely forum for the task. Instead, institutions like the World Bank or the International Monetary Fund are the obvious conveners. These institutions have the global membership required for such decision-making.
When the going gets tough, do the tough need higher pay?
Many public policies and nearly all international aid aim to improve the well-being of the poor. Front-line service providers may not embrace this goal, however. Is this mismatch important? Can it be corrected? These questions are crucial for the success of public policies meant to equalize services to the poor and non-poor. Recent evidence suggests that money helps – but how we select service providers matters, too.
Non-energy prices declined by 1 percent, due to losses in agriculture and metals.
Agricultural prices fell 1 percent—a 3 percent decline in oils and meals was offset by a marginal gain in beverages.
Fertilizer prices gained nearly 6 percent, led by a 13 percent increase in urea.
Last week I spoke at the World Bank’s Productivity Bootcamp, organized by Ana Cusalito, Bill Maloney, and Jan De Loecker. A psychologist might say that the professor in me could not let go of teaching. But the Bootcamp was about more than “productivity.” It covered firm profitability, competition, and market power – topics that lie at the heart of the raging debate on market concentration and firm profits, the declining labor share in the U.S., and rising inequality.
From the e-commerce site Taobao.com to the social media app WeChat, China has drawn global attention to its digital platform economy. A third of the top-200 digital platforms were born in China according to the Global Platform Survey 2016. They are also growing fast. A 2017 report published by Ali Research shows that the digital platform sector contributes to 10.5% of China’s GDP.
We have been living with digital platforms for about a decade now and their impact on changing how we work is beginning to make itself felt. Even so, it merits much greater attention and investigation, but until now the spotlight has been trained firmly on robots and automation.
This blog is the eighth in a series of ten blogs on commodity market developments, elaborating on themes discussed in the latest edition of the World Bank’s Commodity Markets Outlook. Earlier blogs are here.
The World Bank’s Metals and Minerals Price Index is forecast to remain broadly unchanged in 2019, following a projected 5 percent increase in 2018. However, volatility is anticipated to remain elevated due to China’s environmental policies, tariff negotiations between the United States and China, and Chinese policy responses aimed at stimulating the economy and cushioning the impact of trade tensions.