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Public Sector and Governance

Secular Stagnation: A Working Pair of Scissors Needs Two Blades

Otaviano Canuto's picture
The role of asset bubbles as an unsustainable pillar of pre-2007 world economic growth has been widely recognized. Simultaneously, analysts worry that a secular stagnation, though momentarily offset by asset bubbles, may have been already at play in major advanced economies, leading to the ongoing sluggish and feeble recovery.

In Times of Consecutive Crises, Is Fiscal Policy the Answer?

Otaviano Canuto's picture

By flickr user prawnpieIn recent weeks, fiscal policy – once the domain of policy wonks – has become part of dinner-table conversations. As Washington attempts to put its fiscal house in order, catchy metaphors from "fiscal cliff" to "fiscal calamity" to "austerity bomb" (and even "hostage crisis") permeate the media.  Amidst the media spin and misnomers however, there lies a crucial debate.

Where Rubber Hits the Road: Reforming Public Sector Management

Otaviano Canuto's picture

In practice, theory is something else. I've already heard variants of this expression in several countries and languages. Very often from people referring to the gap between abstract, generic principles and the implementation of projects and policies.

Can Non-State Service Delivery Undermine Governments?

Otaviano Canuto's picture

policeWhether it is in the U.S. presidential election campaign or as a result of the debt crisis in Europe, people on both sides of the Atlantic are debating the role of the state. Do we need more government or less of it? Do we want more public services provided by the state and funded with taxpayers’ money? Or are we better off with the private sector and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) doing the job?

Like a Hummingbird – From Chile to Mongolia

Otaviano Canuto's picture

MiningIncreased cross-learning and cooperation among developing countries has been a remarkable feature of the global economy in recent decades.  It's been some time now since knowledge and technology flowed only from advanced economies ("North") to developing ones ("South").

Not All That Glitters Is Gold

Otaviano Canuto's picture

imageGross Domestic Product, better known as GDP, is the market value of all final goods and services produced within a country in a given period. That's why GDP per capita is widely used as a summary indicator of living standards in a country. No wonder we keep our eyes closely on its evolution and compare its levels among countries.
 

Diamonds May Be Forever, Natural Resource Wealth Is Not

Otaviano Canuto's picture

Photo: Gennadiy KolodkinImagine a low-income country in the developing world suddenly discovering a large endowment of natural resources within its borders. Perhaps a large oil reserve is found just offshore, or a deposit of valuable natural minerals is uncovered just below the earth’s surface. Surely, such a discovery would be a blessing, as it would expand the country’s total stock of capital.

A State of Hope in a State of Uncertainty

Otaviano Canuto's picture

Photo: Dmitry Kirillov / World BankIn a world in economic turmoil, calls for greater fiscal austerity, leaner social entitlements, and smaller government expenditures are seemingly ubiquitous. From the United States to the Euro Zone, the size and role of government are being questioned. Yet, at the same time, the recent financial crisis has highlighted the importance of the state as a regulator of the financial system.

Picking Up The Pieces

Otaviano Canuto's picture

For the 600 million people living in fragile and conflict affected economies, the threat of relapsing into violence and slipping into deeper poverty is a reality they must face every day. Believe it or not, poverty rates average 54% in fragile and postconflict economies, compared with 22% for low-income countries as a whole. Weak institutions and a lack of local capacity further undermine the delivery of core services, such as security, rule of law, and other public goods.

So what happens when the fighting stops and the reconstruction begins? What happens to local capacity in countries where qualified civil servants have either fled to escape the conflict or were killed during it? A new study on public financial management reforms, produced by the World Bank’s fragile states and public sector governance units, shows that progress is possible even in such difficult circumstances.

From Bubble to Bubble: Government Policy Blunders

Raj Nallari's picture

Greedy speculators in housing and private bankers, financial innovation and failure of risk models, regulators and credit rating agencies were all deservedly blamed for the recent financial crisis. Behind this all is public policy that worsened the problems.

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