These are some of the views and reports relevant to our readers that caught our attention this week.
The IMF Confronts Its N-Word
The research department of the International Monetary Fund dropped a political bombshell last month. The furor was set off by the publication of an article — “Neoliberalism: Oversold?” — that sparked a near-panic among advocates of free market policies and celebrations among their critics. The piece concluded that, over the past 30 years, the proponents of the economic philosophy known as “neoliberalism” have been systematically overselling the benefits of the two planks at its heart — namely, fiscal austerity during economic slowdowns and the deregulation of financial markets.
Bridging data gaps for policymaking: crowdsourcing and big data for development
Good data to inform policymaking, particularly in developing countries, is often scarce. The problem is in part due to supply issues – high costs, insufficient time, and low capacity – but also due to lack of demand: policies are rarely shown to be abject failures when there is no data to evaluate them. The wonderful phrase “policy-based evidence making” (the converse of “evidenced-based policy making”) comes to mind when thinking about the latter. However, technological innovations are helping to bridge some of the data gaps. What are the innovations in data collection and what are the trade-offs being made when using them to inform policy?
Women in Tech as a Driver for Growth in Emerging Economies
Council on Foreign Relations
As the world transitions to an increasingly digital economy, many low- and middle-income countries face an obstacle: most emerging economies lack qualified people to fill critical information and communication technology (ICT) jobs, a shortage that is exacerbated by the low representation of women in these industries. The gap between the demand for ICT workers and the supply of job seekers with the necessary technical skills threatens the ability of those countries to participate in a powerful driver of growth in the twenty-first century—the digital economy. As the CFR Discussion Paper "Women in Tech as a Driver for Growth in Emerging Economies" argues, increasing the participation of women in the ICT labor force would help bridge this gap, but women are not yet able to take full advantage of this growing sector. While a degree in computer science or engineering is necessary for most professional-level careers in ICT, the share of women graduates in these fields is slipping in many parts of the world.
Millions Learning: Scaling up quality education in developing countries
As a continuation of the report, Millions Learning: Scaling up quality education in developing countries, which tells the story of where and how effective learning interventions have scaled up around the world, the Millions Learning case studies provide an in-depth look at 12 of the programs and policies explored in the report. These case studies focus on a range of topics—from teacher development to financial literacy to early grade reading to technological innovation—each unpacking the factors behind their expansion and increased scope of impact, with the ultimate goal of offering valuable insight to help current and future education interventions expand access and improve education quality for children and youth around the world.
Leaving no one behind: a critical path for the first 1,000 days of the Sustainable Development Goals
Overseas Development Institute
Leaving no one behind is the moral issue of our age, and is at the heart of an ambitious blueprint for action: the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). One specific goal is ‘ending poverty, in all its forms, everywhere’, but the SDGs also aim to tackle marginalisation. The SDG outcome document specifies that the goals should be met for all segments of society, with an endeavour to reach those furthest behind first. Now the focus is on implementation, particularly at the national level, and this report not only makes the case for early action, it also quantifies its benefits. The report outlines the actions that governments can take in the first 1,000 days of the SDGs to respond to what poor people want and to deliver for the most marginalised people and groups. The evidence shows that achieving the SDGs and the ambition to leave no one behind will become far more difficult the longer governments delay.
Quantifying household vulnerability triggered by drought: evidence from rural India
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Climate and Development
Drought is a complex, slow-onset phenomenon that imposes serious challenges on human beings and ecosystems. The vulnerability associated with drought may vary at different social, geographical and temporal scales. These differences emphasize the need for regional-level vulnerability assessments, which in turn helps to formulate efficient adaptation policies and strategies that are suitable for the region to mitigate the drought risk. The objective of this paper is to quantify the livelihood and socio-economic vulnerability of rural households that are affected by drought in rural India. The Livelihood Vulnerability Index and Socioeconomic Vulnerability Index were applied to analyse the vulnerability of rural households.