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Do changes in land use caused by Payments for Environmental Services last?

Stefano Pagiola's picture
Also available in: Español | Portuguese



Not long after I joined the World Bank, I worked on a team assessing the extent and severity of land degradation in El Salvador. As part of this work, I went to visit the site of a soil conservation project that had been implemented a few years earlier and was considered extremely successful. Indeed, the project’s implementation report was full of numbers on linear kilometers of terraces built, and other indicators of success. Once we reached the project site, however, we looked in vain for any sign of a terrace. The terraces had once been there (there were photographs to prove it), but a few years later they no longer were.

That results may not last once a project ends is a constant concern. The extent to which it is actually a problem is hard to assess, however, as there rarely is any monitoring after a project closes.

What is the first step for organizing Peru’s cities?

Zoe Elena Trohanis's picture
Also available in: Español

Traffic Jam in Lima Peru

My job brought me and my family to Lima, Peru 11 months ago. In case you have never visited Lima before, Lima is in many ways, a lovely city – it has fantastic views of the Pacific Ocean (you can surf right from the local beaches), great food, and vibrant neighborhoods, including a historic city center with Spanish architecture and churches. On the other hand, Lima is also know for its terrible traffic, unplanned urban growth, and informality.

As an urban development specialist, I can’t help but wonder how Lima could be better organized so residents can better enjoy all of the services and amenities the city has to offer. Is it possible?

Leveraging behavioral insights in the age of big data

Germán Reyes's picture
Also available in: Español

This blog is part of the series "Small changes, big impacts: applying #behavioralscience into development".

Access to an extremely large amount of data has enabled us to pursue research endeavors that just a couple of years ago seemed unimaginable. Examples of amazing big data applications in the field of economics are all over the place: using job-portals data to inform labor market policies; analyzing citizens’ reactions to public policies using Twitter; creating daily inflation data using billions of records from online retailers around the world; and even measuring economic growth from outer space!

The data revolution is open to anyone with the right tools, and big data can be useful to answer policy questions. Pairing big data with some of the traditional methods of data gathering such as household surveys can yield timely information and can help shape appropriate policy responses. For instance, traditional household surveys, from which unemployment estimates are calculated could carry outdated employment data by the time they become available. But big data can complement this effort in places where unemployment rates correlate with the frequency with which people use Google to search for jobs, as in the case of Brazil, that could be used to estimate real-time unemployment rates.

Monthly unemployment rate and google searches for “looking for a job” in Brazil, 2006-17

To close the infrastructure gap, Brazil needs to spend better – not necessarily more

Martin Raiser's picture
Also available in: Portuguese
Construction works at Sobradinho Reservoir in Bahia, Brazil.
Photos by Marcello Casal Jr./ABr.

Caribbean Voices Attest to the "Return of Confidence” in the Region

Emily Bartels Bland's picture

“While Caribbean countries are faced with a challenging environment, they also have opportunities that point towards a brighter future - particularly for the small states comprising Organization of Eastern and Caribbean States (OECS).”

That was a common message highlighted by World Bank Country Director Tahseen Sayed in the opening of the The Caribbean Dilemma conference on March 30, and shared by many senior policy-makers, CEOs and international partners gathered in Miami for the event. Here’s what the participants told us:

Can behavioral change support water conservation? Examples from the US, Colombia and Costa Rica

Juan Jose Miranda's picture
Also available in: Español


This blog is part of the series "Small changes, big impacts: applying #behavioralscience into development".

While Latin America is rich in water, people’s ability to access safe, reliable water supply remains elusive in most countries. Worse, most countries and major cities in the region will face economic water scarcity in less than a decade. Strategies to manage water scarcity vary, from investing in water recycling facilities to changing consumer behavior.

The most common ways to change consumer behavior are to increase the price or conduct communication campaigns to encourage conservation. Neither solution, however, is guaranteed to succeed. In some cases, they even backfire. Increasing price, for example, can upset citizens who currently pay little for poor quality water. Likewise, if done poorly, communication campaigns can cause panic and increase consumption and water stockpiling, something Bogota faced in 1997 when a tunnel providing water to the city collapsed and caused water shortages.

Greater integration = economic revival? Latin America believes so.

Jorge Familiar's picture

By the time this blog pops up on your Twitter feed, mobile device or desktop, you will probably have heard seen or heard #integration, far too many times, presented as a strategy for economic renewal.

But before you hit ‘delete’ by my bringing up ‘integration’ yet again, bear with me.

Granted, integration is not a new concept for the region or even the world.

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