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March 2013

Enough is Enough: Stop Violence against Women!

Naomi Ahmad's picture

Arne Hoel/World BankOne in every three women in the world will be physically or sexually abused at some point in her life. This could include the woman sitting next to you on the bus, your little niece playing in the garden, or even a friend you have known all your life.

For years, Rumana Manzur, assistant professor at Dhaka University, had been silent about the abuse she suffered at the hands of her husband. But on June 5, 2011, Manzur was brutally attacked at home. Her husband beat her mercilessly, tried to gouge out her eyes, and bit off part of her nose in a fit of rage. Their 5-year-old daughter was in the room and witnessed this inhuman act. Manzur is now blind, her daughter traumatized for life.

The Next 30 Years: Whither Finance — Repression or Turbulence?

Michael Klein's picture

The recent financial crisis shocked the world. Aftershocks are still reverberating. The future of the Eurozone remains clouded. Much ink has been spilled about the causes of the crisis. Extraordinary measures have been taken to stimulate economies and rescue banks. Thousands of pages have been filled with new regulations. But will all the efforts bring us back to normal?

The crisis itself was a surprise for most. Equally surprising could be the long-term consequences. Rather than returning to "normal" we may see lasting shifts in the nature of financial systems. Two scenarios — "Repression" and "Turbulence" try to explore the new normal for financial institutions over the next 30 years. My paper written under the auspices of the Frankfurt School of Finance and Management in Germany explores the matter. The first part of the paper reviews relevant historical data and arguments about key drivers for the future such as financial regulation, prospects for growth and demographics. Illustrative numbers about long-term economic growth are derived from long-term projections by the OECD.

A well-kept secret: Tanzania’s export performance

Jacques Morisset's picture

Let's think together: Every Sunday the World Bank in Tanzania in collaboration with The Citizen wants to stimulate your thinking by sharing data from recent official surveys in Tanzania and ask you a few questions.

Outward looking strategies have been used by most countries that have succeeded in their transition toward emergence. East Asian tigers and dragons have witnessed a tremendous and sustained boom in their exports, as have emerging countries like Chile, Tunisia, Botswana, and Mauritius. Even fast-growing ‘big’ countries such as Brazil and China have relied on world markets.

What might surprise some though is that Tanzania’s export performance in fact exceeded that of Brazil, Tunisia, Mauritius, Malaysia, Korea, and Thailand between 2000 and 2012. Among countries that did better were China and Uganda.

Putting Governance where it belongs – On the Table

Francesca Recanatini's picture

I am heartened by the discussions at the recently-concluded Global Thematic Consultation on Governance and the Post-2015 Development Framework, held in Johannesburg, South Africa. The meeting, facilitated by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and hosted by the Pan-African Parliament, brought together a wide range of stakeholders across regions and constituencies, including from government, grassroots to international civil society, national human rights institutions, youth groups, parliamentarians, and representatives of the media and the private sector, allowing them to share their views and concerns about the post-2015 agenda.

The exchanges at the two-day meeting have been thoughtful, articulate and yet passionate. And they have all pointed in the same direction: the need for a new and more effective framework that will improve the mixed outcomes achieved by the current MDGs. As Varun Gauri elegantly pointed out (MDGs that Nudge – Ask your mom or dad), we need a new MDG framework that “captures the attention and enthusiasm of non-experts (regular people)”. We also need a framework that can make a difference on the ground.

Quote of the Week: John Gray

Sina Odugbemi's picture

“The idea that humans may one day be more rational requires a greater leap of faith than anything in religion.”

- John Gray, Emeritus Professor of European Thought at the London School of Economics. Author of the best seller Straw Dogs: Thoughts on Humans and Other Animals, and most recently, The Silence of Animals: On Progress and Other Modern Myths.

As quoted in the Finincial Times, February 22, 2013, The Demolition Man, by Julian Baggini.

Evaluating Regulatory Reforms Using the Synthetic Control Method

David McKenzie's picture

Many important policies are implemented at the national level. Monetary policy, fiscal policy, and many regulations are key examples. Pure time series or before-after analysis of the impacts of changes in these policies on the economy of a country will be contaminated by other changes going on in the economy. Simply trying to difference out global trends will not account for systematic differences in the growth path of the country where the reform took place from the average global growth path. This makes evaluation of the impacts of such policies difficult.

Social Impact Bonds, Youth Employment, and Pensions

David Robalino's picture

Waiting for salvation — a homeless man in London, 02-22-11 @ Chris Schmidt

People are talking about a relatively new financial instrument — called social impact bonds (SIBs) — that can help governments implement social programs without using taxpayers' monies, that is, unless the programs work.  In fact, the Economist magazine recently had an article about SIBs. These bonds were introduced by the British in 2010. New York City, working with Goldman Sachs, launched a SIB last year. The White House is exploring SIBs to finance some Department of Labor programs.  And emerging markets, with the help of international development agencies, are also showing an interest. 

Blog links March 1, 2013: Still WEIRD, community grants, one-stop shops, pilgrim markets, and more…

David McKenzie's picture

·         A new From Evidence to Policy note looks at the impact of a community grant program in Indonesia which gave grants to communities for health and education services. The program lowered malnutrition, and finds performance-based incentives lead to improved performance.

The Prize & Price of a Hot Breakfast

Patti Petesch's picture

Breakfast in Peru. Samuel Bravo Silva/Flickr Creative Commons

Without a doubt my most vivid memories from my work on the new gender report On Norms and Agency: Conversations about Gender Equality with Women and Men in 20 Countries were my journeys to Peru and Liberia to pilot questions for focus groups. We conducted pilots in rural and urban areas, but as terribly different as these settings were, the level of similarities that emerged surprised me.

Namely, I imagined that traditional gender norms would be much less apparent in modern and rapidly urbanizing Lima when in fact, it was not the case. Young women in Lima described their day as getting up before sunrise in order to get a hot breakfast on the table, and then juggling a flurry of activities - including part-time work as supermarket cashiers and bank tellers. The descriptions were very similar to those we heard from women in other countries.

It was startling that gender norms in a modern city were not much different from norms in a rural community of a low-income country. Just like women from poorer and more traditional places, women in Lima helped their husbands make ends meet on top of long hours of household work. Just like in less developed communities, teenage pregnancies for girls as young as 12 and 13 were cited as a problem of deep concern. All of this in a place where girls went to high school and college, and had access to a modern family planning clinic right in their neighborhood.

Friday Roundup: Rural Programmes, Middle-Income Trap, Slums in Africa, Currency Wars, and Open States

LTD Editors's picture

By encompassing social, political, and feudal factors in development, Rural Support Programmes have enjoyed success in India and Pakistan for the past 30 years. Why did they work? For one, the approach acknowledges that ‘one size doesn’t fit all’ and second, it looks for a holistic growth. Read the article on the Guardian to find out how communities can unlock their own potential.

What is a middle-income trap? The concept has been quite popular for some time, but only recently has been tested and defined. The concept broadly defines the fast-growing economies that suffered steep slowdown, and hence their dilemma of being caught between poverty and prosperity. There has been a lot of debate on poverty or prosperity, but it has substantially benefitted from work done by Barry Eichengreen, Donghyun Park, and Kwanho Shin. Read the post on Free Excgange to get an insight on their work.


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