The rich in the West are getting richer. Many countries have experienced a sharp concentration of incomes over the last three decades. The top 1% of Americans have doubled their share of national income (from 8 to 17%) since Ronald Reagan was inaugurated 32 years ago – see graph, source here. The elite in other advanced economies, including, Australia, the UK, Japan and Sweden, have also gotten a larger share of the pie. We have been able to understand the concentration of incomes at the national level thanks to the study of tax records by enterprising scholars such as Emmanuel Saez, Thomas Picketty and Sir Anthony Atkinson. But until recently, we didn’t know much about the global concentration of incomes (there’s no global tax collector with a similar database).
“Politics isn’t about policy details, it’s about broad thrusts and whether people think you’re on their side.”
-- Paul Krugman, Professor of Economics and International Affairs at Princeton University, Centenary Professor at the London School of Economics, and op-ed columnist for The New York Times. In 2008, Krugman received the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences.
- Paul Krugman
Several countries around the world (notably Australia and Canada) have migration points systems- score above some points threshold and you can come in, score below and you can’t. This has intrigued me with the possibility of a regression-discontinuity design to measure impacts of migrating. However, there are several problems – the points given tend to be lumpy (e.g.
Hot on the heels of Hurricane Sandy, Typhoon Bopha lashed the shores of the Philippines earlier this month, leaving 900 dead and 80,000 homeless. Extreme weather is becoming the norm. The World Bank-commissioned report, “Turn Down the Heat: Why a 4°C Warmer World Must be Avoided” found that scientists are unanimously predicting warming of 4 degrees Celsius by the end of the century. The social, economic, and environmental consequences will be devastating. Over the past 20 years, over half of South Asians – more than 750 million people – have been affected by natural disasters, with the loss of life estimated at more than 60,000, and damages above $45 billion.
It is generally thought that two groups are the big winners of the past two decades of globalization: the very rich, and the middle classes of emerging market economies.
The statistical evidence for this has been cobbled together from a number of disparate sources. The evidence includes high GDP growth in emerging market economies, strong income gains recorded for those at the top of the income pyramid in the United States and other advanced economies, as well as what seems to be the emergence of “a global middle class” and casual observations of the rising affluence of Chinese and Indians.
Recently, I was part of the Global Economic Symposium held in Rio de Janeiro. This year’s theme was Growth through Education and Innovation; I presented as part of a panel entitled Effective Investments in Education.
My presentation focussed on the fact that a growing and compelling body of research shows that teacher effectiveness varies widely - even across classrooms in the same grade in the same school. Getting assigned to a bad teacher has not only immediate, but also long term, consequences for student learning, college completion and long-term income.
In the Europe and Central Asia (ECA), populations and labor forces are shrinking because of below-replacement-level fertility, aging populations and high dependency ratios, high mortality in much of the region, shrinking youth populations and therefore fewer new entrants into the labor force, and populations with limited mobility. Fertility rates in many ECA countries are at all time “lowest-low” levels, where the number of births per woman is less than 1.3. Several ECA countries are among those with the oldest median ages in the world.
Populations in many ECA countries are either currently declining or soon will be. Over the past two decades, the global population increased by 30 percent—less-developed countries by 36 percent and more-developed by just 8 percent. Yet the ECA region as a whole lost 1.4 percent of its people.
Last year, we sought inputs from the CSO/NGO community to strengthen the Global Monitoring Report (GMR) with stories that had a qualitative character of how people at community level had coped with the higher food prices due to recent food price spikes. The focus of the upcoming GMR, to be issued in April 2013, is on Rural-Urban Dynamics and the Millennium Development Goals. Clearly, domestic or in-country migration is a major contributing factor to urbanization. However, migrants’ expectations of better job opportunities or better quality and easier access to service delivery do not always materialize. Even though basic living standards, as measured by the MDGs, are often better in urban areas than in rural areas, this cannot be generalized for all residents of urban areas. Rural-urban migrants are quite often the ones who face a more challenging environment, particularly when expectations of finding a job are not fulfilled. Ensuring access to basic services, such as those defined by the MDGs, for everyone living in urban areas is one of the major challenges governments and citizens alike face during the urbanization process. GMR 2013 has set itself the task of bringing together a body of knowledge on this subject, i.e. how to make urbanization work for all.
STOCKHOLM, Sweden -- I made a three-day trip to Sweden this week, meeting senior government officials in finance and development; addressing the Bank's Nordic-Baltic Governors and the Bank's Advisory Council on Gender and Development; and attending the Nobel Prize ceremony.
In this video, I reflect on the visit, the impact of the Nordic countries on global development, and the importance of promoting gender equality in the World Bank Group's work.
· Nice op-ed in the Washington Post by reporter Dylan Matthews calling for more testing of policy experiments