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September 2013

Prospects Daily: Equities stall and yields drop as risk aversion dominates, Australia’s unemployment rate hits a four-year high, India’s IP accelerates

Global Macroeconomics Team's picture
Financial Markets…Global stocks stalled at five-year highs as Asia’s long rally ran out of steam and risk aversion extended the yen’s rebound below ¥100 against the US dollar. European and US markets struggled for gains as eurozone industrial production figures disappointed expectations while the FTSE Asia-Pacific index broke its longest winning streak for nine months.

The decline of risk appetite was evident in the government bond markets as German yields sank 6 basis points to 1.98% while 10-year US Treasuries yields slipped 4bp to 2.88%.

When do Transparency and Accountability Initiatives have impact?

Duncan Green's picture

So having berated ODI about opening up access to its recent issue of the Development Policy Review on Transparency and Accountability Initiatives (TAIs), I really ought to review the overview piece by John Gaventa and Rosemary McGee, which they’ve made freely available until December.

The essay is well worth reading. It unpicks the fuzzy concept of TAIs and then looks at the evidence for what works and when. First a useful typology of TAIs:

‘Service delivery is perhaps the field in which TAIs have been longest applied, including Expenditure Tracking Surveys, citizen report cards, score cards, community monitoring and social audits.

By the late 1990s, moves to improve public finance management the world over led to the development of budget accountability and transparency as a sector in its own right…. An array of citizen-led budget TAIs has developed, including participatory budgeting; sector-specific budget monitoring (for example, gender budgeting, children’s budgets); public-expenditure monitoring through social audits, participatory audits and tracking surveys; and advocacy for budget transparency (for example, the International Budget Partnership (IBP)’s Open Budget Index). Many of these initiatives focus ‘downstream’ on how public funds are spent; less work focuses on T and A in revenue-generation, although this is growing with recent work on tax justice.

Weekly Wire: the Global Forum

Kalliope Kokolis's picture

These are some of the views and reports relevant to our readers that caught our attention this week.

Smartphones could provide weather data in poor nations
African Brains

“Smartphones can now be used to collect weather data such as air temperatures through WeatherSignal, a crowdsourcing app developed by UK start-up OpenSignal.

This helps crowd source real-time weather forecasts and could one day help collect climate data in areas without weather stations, its developers say.

Once installed, the app automatically collects data and periodically uploads them to a server.

The app’s ability to record air temperature is based upon the discovery that the temperature of a smartphone battery correlates closely to the surrounding air temperature, published in Geophysical Research Letters this month (13 August).” READ MORE

“Austerity” and Inequality: Is there a Link?

Prakash Loungani's picture

Rally on Parliament Hill over Canadian job losses, Ottawa, Canada, May 2007. © Photawa

Inequality is at historic highs. The richest 10 percent took home half of U.S. income in 2012, according to estimates released this week by economists Emmanuel Saez and Thomas Piketty, a level of inequality not seen since the 1920s. What explains this rise in inequality? A recent IMF working paper suggests that reductions in government budget deficits, commonly known as "austerity," are a factor.

Prospects Daily: Indonesia bond yields rise, France raises budget deficit targets, Malaysian and South African IP growth accelerates

Global Macroeconomics Team's picture
Financial Markets…The Japanese yen hovered near recent lows at about Y100/$ on Wednesday as easing tensions over Syria dented demand for the safe-haven currency, while uncertainty about the Federal Reserve's stimulus plan kept the dollar range-bound. The yen hit a seven-week low against the dollar and a 3-1/2-month trough versus the euro, before recovering losses. It also fell to a four-year low against the British pound, which had rallied after Friday's U.S. jobs data.

Ups and Downs in the Struggle for Accountability – Four New Real Time Studies

Duncan Green's picture

OK, we’ve had real time evaluations, we’ve done transparency and accountability initiatives, so why not combine the two? The thoroughly brilliant International Budget Partnership is doing just that, teaming up with academic researchers to follow in real time the ups and downs of four TAIs in Mexico, Brazil, South Africa and Tanzania. Read the case study summaries (only four pages each, with full versions if you want to go deeper), if you can, but below I’ll copy most of the overview blog by IBP research manager Albert van Zyl.

By following the work rather than tidying it all up with a neat but deceitful retrospective evaluation, they record the true messiness of building social contracts between citizens and states: the ups and downs, the almost-giving-up-and-then-winning, the crucial roles of individuals, the importance of scandals and serendipity.