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Jobs, plateaus, dividends, skills and data

Kaushik Basu's picture

Jobs have been at the center of my life since I took up my own new job as World Bank Chief Economist on October 1. This began within hours of my joining the Bank, when I participated in the press launch of the World Development Report 2013 on Jobs. Following that, my interactions at the Tokyo Annual Meetings of the World Bank and IMF also brought the jobs issue into high relief, with ministers and policymakers from around the world reacting to the WDR, especially in some of my corridor conversations with them.
 
I have a longstanding interest in labor-related issues, the role of labor laws, and on the impact of privatization on jobs. So I was pleased by the clairvoyance of the World Bank in choosing jobs as the topic for the 2013 World Development Report, much before the Bank knew that it would choose me to be the Chief Economist.

A pre-analysis plan checklist

David McKenzie's picture

A pre-analysis plan is a step-by-step plan setting out how a researcher will analyze data which is written in advance of them seeing this data (and ideally before collecting it in cases where the researcher is collecting the data). They are recently starting to become popular in the context of randomized experiments, with Casey et al. and Finkelstein et al.’s recent papers in the QJE both using them.

Inside ICRISAT's Seed Banks & Test Fields, Research Is Changing Farmers' Lives

Rachel Kyte's picture

Deep inside the ICRISAT campus just outside Hyderabad, there are two sub-zero rooms that house the seeds of 120,000 plants from over 100 countries and 120,000 chances to change poor farmers' lives. The rows of plastic containers and freeze-dried metallic packages resemble a huge and very cold medicine cabinet.

These seed banks, or genebanks, hold the keys to growing more productive, hardier, healthier food crops that could help feed the 9 billion people who will be living on Earth by 2050. Scientists use the collection to map characteristics that enable individual plants to withstand water shortages, pests, and disease, or increase yields and nutrient levels. Over 800 improved crop varieties have been developed from this seed bank and now grow in 79 countries.

ICRISAT is the international crop research institute for the semi-arid tropics and one of 15 CGIAR research centers. Scientist here work on sorghum, millet, chickpeas, pigeon peas, and ground nuts - the food crops that smallholder farmers from the driest parts of the world depend on for their survival.

A walk through the campus reveals the power and potential of international research.

Getting Evaluation Right: A Five Point Plan

Duncan Green's picture

Final (for now) evaluationtastic installment on Oxfam’s attempts to do public warts-and-all evaluations of randomly selected projects. This commentary comes from Dr Jyotsna Puri, Deputy Executive Director and Head of Evaluation of the International Initiative for Impact Evaluation (3ie)

Oxfam’s emphasis on quality evaluations is a step in the right direction. Implementing agencies rarely make an impassioned plea for evidence and rigor in their evidence collection, and worse, they hardly ever publish negative evaluations.  The internal wrangling and pressure to not publish these must have been so high:

  • ‘What will our donors say? How will we justify poor results to our funders and contributors?’
  • ‘It’s suicidal. Our competitors will flaunt these results and donors will flee.’
  • ‘Why must we put these online and why ‘traffic light’ them? Why not just publish the reports, let people wade through them and take away their own messages?’
  • ‘Our field managers will get upset, angry and discouraged when they read these.’
  • ‘These field managers on the ground are our colleagues. We can’t criticize them publicly… where’s the team spirit?’
  • ‘There are so many nuances on the ground. Detractors will mis-use these scores and ignore these ground realities.’

The zeitgeist may indeed be transparency, but few organizations are actually doing it.

Friday Roundup: Manufacturing, Inequality, and the MDGs

LTD Editors's picture

For those of us following the US Election 2012, the words ‘manufacturing’ and ‘jobs’ are hard to miss. Building on that buzz, The Economist recently conducted a debate: “Will manufacturing return to the West?” While the US election is a good ten days away, the decision on this debate is out: Manufacturing will return to the west. Irrespective of the verdict, both the sides – opposing and defending the motion- have provided numerous insights in to the trends that are unfurling in China and US. Read them here.

Inequality, alongside jobs, is the proverbial elephant in the room amidst the US presidential elections. Joe Stiglitz has a new 'Campaign Stops' blog in the New York Times online that draws on The Economist magazine's special series from earlier this month. Stiglitz discusses the perils of underplaying the great divide between the one percent in the US and the middle class. Meanwhile, on the other side of the debate, Kevin Hasset of the American Enterprise Institute along with Aparna Mathur, write in the WSJ that inequality studies that focus mainly on pre-tax incomes are flawed because they overlook transfer payments such as food stamps, unemployment insurance and other safety net programs. Read the article here.

ADePT-Labor: A New Tool for Understanding Jobs, Poverty, and Inequality

Gladys Lopez-Acevedo's picture

Maize seed quality control at small seed company Bidasem, by CIMMYT, 2012

In light of growing evidence that much of the poverty reduction observed in the past decades has been facilitated by the dynamics of labor markets in developing countries, it is more important than ever to understand the links between labor markets and poverty and income inequality. In an effort to do just that, on October 18, 2012, World Bank researchers launched a revamped labor module for labor market diagnostics as part of its free software program – called ADePT (Automated DEC Poverty Tables) - that offers policy makers globally a helping hand in evidence-based decision making.

Expansion for the Development Marketplace

Virginia Ziulu's picture

AVPN Logo - Photo Credit: avpn.asiaMarking the 10 year anniversary of Development Marketplace in 2011, the World Bank launched the Development Marketplace Investment Platform (DMIP) program.

The intent is to seek to help a pilot group of 30 selected social enterprises that have received prize money from DM, and that have been successful in their project, to attain a second or further round of financing from impact investors and foundations, in order to build up or replicate their project success.

A second purpose is to help respond to a familiar complaint of social enterprise funding organizations, that they do not see enough good projects to evaluate. In this context, the Asian Venture Philanthropy Network published the following article on its website highlighting the results achieved so far by DMIP and the prospects for the future of this program.


The 30 selected social enterprises by DMIn 2011 the World Bank Institute marked the 10th anniversary of the Development Marketplace. The programme was set up to provide early-stage funding to innovative social enterprises through a range of annual global and national-level competitions. Over 300 global winners have won US$200,000 each in grant funding.

But what happens to the winners beyond the life of the award? How many go on to the next stage of development? The tenth anniversary furnished an occasion to ask these questions. The answers suggest a significant new direction for the programme.

The main motive for the review was, ‘to move away from the traditional “fund and forget” model,’ as the DM’s Virginia Ziulu explains.

Some of the supported ventures have found subsequent funders, but this was largely outside the programme’s mandate. In 2011, the program shifted its focus to engage with past winners and discover how the World Bank could provide follow-on assistance.

Notes from the ‘Capital of Innovation’

Murat Seker's picture

This past summer, I joined my colleagues on a visit to the Global Innovation Summit and study tour in Silicon Valley—which is undoubtedly the world’s capital of innovation and entrepreneurship. Also joining us were representatives from Lebanon and Vietnam, who were clearly interested in enabling inclusive innovation in their respective countries.

Silicon Valley isn't afraid of failing and risking its way to success.  The Global Innovation Summit brought together more than 500 innovation practitioners—including entrepreneurs, financiers, think tanks, NGOs engaged in inclusive innovation, and government officials from emerging markets.  While we were there, we got an inside look at business accelerators, financiers, higher education institutions, and NGOs engaged in inclusive innovation.  It was an important learning opportunity for us, considering the importance of innovation to the development agenda and the World Bank’s role in fostering innovation in our client countries. 


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