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Friday round up: Basu op ed, Grading the Gates' annual letter, the most powerful new tool in the history of social activism, study of solar lanterns, 6 new studies by JPAL and IPA on microcredit

LTD Editors's picture
The State of Global Poverty’ is the title of a Project Syndicate commentary by Kaushik Basu. As opinion leaders and heads of state convene in Davos, Basu reflects on the world’s rapidly changing economic geography and what it will take to get extreme poverty virtually to zero by 2030.

Engaging governments to increase their capacity: lessons from Tajikistan

Oleksii Balabushko's picture
Pomegranate farm. Tajikistan. Photo: Gennadiy Ratushenko / World Bank

 In 2010-14, we were facing a challenging task: develop a new approach to increase institutional and leadership capacity in Tajikistan’s public sector, including internal capability to initiate reforms. 

How do you build government capacity in a low income fragile state  in a way that would fit with the country context?

If you are familiar with the Western part of the former Soviet Union and have never been to Tajikistan, you are in for a surprise. The differences with countries such as Ukraine or Georgia are staggering.  To put things in the global perspective, Tajikistan has a GDP per capita lower than Cameroon, Djibouti and Papua New Guinea. The country suffered a civil war that lasted five years (1992-1997), resulted in massive internal displacement and decimated civil service. Despite establishing formal governing institutions after the war, institutional capacity remains weak.

Consolidating Gains: Gender Diversity in Business Leadership

Rudaba Z. Nasir's picture

Can we envision a time when we will no longer be surprised to hear that a woman is leading an energy or technology company? Can closing the gender gap in leadership, especially in male-dominated industries, be a possibility in fewer than 100 years?

Today’s dynamic women in top leadership positions are opening up the possibility of answering these questions with a resounding “Yes!” They have shattered glass ceilings and paved the way forward for countless others trying to uproot deeply entrenched ideas about women’s and men’s differing roles and opportunities in business and society. As a result, more and more women are now recognizing and making progress towards transcending the glass walls that also silo them in certain managerial functions, such as human resources and communications.

However, a new report by the International Labour Organization (ILO) released last week reminds us that gender diversity gains are not always sustained. Featuring unique data collected from 1,300 private sector companies in 39 developing countries, the report states that concerted efforts are required to consolidate progress and change mindsets while fighting unconscious biases at all levels of society.

Weekly links January 23: aid vs conflict, nudging Guatemalans, how the poor think, and more…

David McKenzie's picture
  • Soap Operas and Development: Business Week summarizes a lot of recent work and some ongoing work on using soap operas to change behaviors.
  • When the nudge unit went to Guatemala – results from efforts to increase tax collection from changes in the phrasing of tax letters etc.
  • The Deliberative Lives Project: “The goal of the project is to do something similar as “Portfolios of the Poor” or “Economic Lives of the Poor”, but for thoughts and decisions. A novel feature is that everyone can contribute to design and data analysis: the (de-identified) data will be posted online in real-time as it is collected, and anyone can download and analyze it. Similarly, questionnaires will be developed with input from anyone who wants to give it.”

 

It’s Hard to Say Goodbye

Tina Taheri's picture

When we launched Future Development almost a year and a half ago I didn’t anticipate it would take over my life the way it did and right now I feel as if a dear friend was leaving for a different country…. That friend is the Future Development Blog which is changing its host organization from the World Bank Group to Brookings Institution.

It was a difficult decision but as with everything in life change is hard but often for the best; so this is the moment I say goodbye. Since September 16th 2013, the Future Development platform has been the first thing I check and the last every day of the year without exception; and now someone else will be taking over this task.
 
When we started this project, our firm belief was that countries can only achieve shared prosperity if they develop their policies through evidenced-based conversation with their citizens, so our main purpose with the creation of this blog was to empower all engaged citizens to hold their governments to account more successfully so that they take decisions in poor people’s interest and not their own.

Oil is Well that Ends Well

Francisco G. Carneiro's picture


Why are petroleum prices dropping so fast anyway? Have they reached rock bottom yet? Should we be worried if they continue to fall? These are questions that probably every finance minister in either oil-rich or oil importing nations is trying to answer.  

Rising Financial Pressures from the East

Aurora Ferrari's picture
It’s hard to get a break in the Europe and Central Asia region, it seems – even a short one. Hit hard by the troubles in the Eurozone at the beginning of the decade, emerging and developing countries in Eastern Europe are, at the beginning of this year, contending with renewed fears. Meanwhile, external pressures have built up on the Central Asia side as well.

All eyes turned to Russia recently, when on 16 December the ruble plunged by more than 11 percent, despite the Central Bank of Russia’s last-minute interest rate hike of 6.5 percentage points to 17 percent. When it looked like Russia’s turmoil might spread to global markets, western economies sat up and paid close attention.

What may have gone unnoticed, however, is the ongoing impact on our client countries in the Europe and Central Asia region.

Fiscal Policy: Cycle and Space Matter

Otaviano Canuto's picture

I am among those economists who have argued that expansive fiscal policy has been missing as a lever to support recovery in advanced economies, especially in the Eurozone – see here and here

At the same time, I have cast doubts on recent attempts of using it to prop up growth in some emerging markets – see here and here in the case of Brazil. 

Transit is Still Important to Landlocked Developing Countries

Karlygash Dairabayeva's picture

Bus crossing a steppe full of red poppies in Kazakhstan. Photo - Kubat Sydykov / World BankComing from a landlocked country myself (Kazakhstan), I was fascinated to participate in the 2nd UN Conference on landlocked developing countries (LLDCs) held in Austria this past November. Representatives of 32 LLDCS and many other neighboring transit countries gathered to review progress of the Almaty Program of Action (APoA) over the last decade, and to discuss further ways to help countries overcome the downsides of being landlocked.

LLDCs, by definition, lack direct access to the sea and are therefore marginalized from major transportation and services networks. This means that any product these countries try to import or export relies on transit through another country. LLDCs experience much higher costs of trade than their transit neighbours, reducing their ability to trade. LLDCs constitute a mere 1 percent share of world trade, while the transit coastal countries account for roughly 24 percent. The majority of citizens in LLDCs falls into a category that has been coined the “bottom billion” in terms of average real GDP per capita.


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