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Social Progress Index 2014 launched today

Merrell Tuck-Primdahl's picture

In April 2013, the Social Progress Imperative launched a research product, the Social Progress Index, during a forum at the University of Oxford. Now it's year two and they've grabbed headlines with the results of the 2014 index, finding New Zealand is on top and Chad at the bottom of the overall rankings. What also jumps out are big differences in social progress for countries with similar incomes.

According to Index, economic success alone doesn't explain social progress. The USA (16th), for example, ranks lower than New Zealand, even though the Kiwi nation's GDP is lower. The same pattern is seen for countries at all levels: Ghana (96th) has a similar GDP per capita as Nigeria (123rd), but scores a lot higher on social progress.

An outside view on the WDR 2015: Will adding a behavioral dimension to development mark a paradigm shift?

Chris Eldridge's picture

The following post is a part of a series that discusses 'mind and culture,' the theme of the World Bank’s upcoming World Development Report 2015.

Recently I was asked to give some feedback on the upcoming World Development Report 2015 (WDR 2015). WDR 2015 will be both important and timely. The following are some initial suggestions for the report.

River Salinity in Coastal Bangladesh in a Changing Climate

Susmita Dasgupta's picture

With a virtual certainty that sea-level rise (SLR) will continue beyond 2100 even if greenhouse gas emissions were stabilized today, it is essential that we gain understanding of the potential impacts of SLR and begin planning adaptation, especially for countries with major risk of SLR. The urgency of responding to the growing alarm over climate change effects worldwide is hitting headlines this week, as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) just released its Climate Change 2014 report warning that climate change is already having widespread effects on every continent and throughout the world’s oceans.

Friday Roundup: Tunisia cronyism, Africa land grabs, Banerjee to lecture, Piketty and Easterly books reviewed, Basu in top thinker contest and more

LTD Editors's picture

The Washington Post's Monkey Cage has a post on crony capitalism in Tunisia that draws from the findings of a widely reported WB working paper by Bob Rijkers, Caroline Freund and Antonio Nucifora  titled 'All in the Family: State Capture in Tunisia.'

Kayode Ogunbunmi, correspondent from City Voice newspaper in Nigeria, covered the World Bank's Annual Land and Poverty Conference in Washington this week his story for Reuters TrustLaw website looks at how foreign investors are often blamed for Africa land grabs conducted by local ruling elites.

Land matters: Experts grapple with issues of measurement, ownership and equity

Merrell Tuck-Primdahl's picture

Good stewardship of land – whether fertile fields or tracts on the edges of growing cities – can drive sustainable and equitable development. Done well, good land governance can enable farmers, community leaders, city planners, remote sensing scientists, researchers and relief organizations to successfully deal with climate change, urbanization, gender equality, and food security. But the complexity of land administration, and its attendant institutional and political hurdles, often hamper progress and reinforce deep-seated inequalities and inertia instead of fostering growth and shared prosperity.

This is what makes the Annual World Bank Conference on Land and Poverty happening this week at the World Bank so important. Over 1,000 experts from 115 countries have gathered here for the event and are exploring a wide range of problems and potential solutions.

Social norms and incentives: Homo economicus is dead, long live bounded rationality, social interdependence and culture!

Daniel Harris's picture

The following post is a part of a series that discusses 'mind and culture,' the theme of the World Bank’s upcoming World Development Report 2015.

All public policy is based on assumptions, whether implicit or explicit, about human behaviour. These assumptions, particularly those about what motivates people, are often incomplete. A better understanding of human motivation, one that draws on a range of disciplines, offers a chance to improve the effectiveness of development policy.

Friday Roundup: Chronic poverty, remittances, debating inequality, water worries and agriculture, and gender in Africa

LTD Editors's picture

A report by ODI, "The Chronic Poverty Report 2014-2015:The Road to Zero Extreme Poverty," provides an impoverishment index to help countries determine which priorities will pull their citizens out of poverty.

'Remittances and Vulnerability in Developing Countries,' a new World Bank Policy Research Working Paper by Giulia Bettin, Andrea F. Presbitero, and Nikola Spatafora, examines how international remittances are affected by structural characteristics, macroeconomic conditions, and adverse shocks in both source and recipient economies.

More to do on measuring hunger

Kathleen Beegle's picture

One of the first Millennium Development Goals is to reduce hunger by half between 1990 and 2015. To date, the global hunger count has fallen slightly, from 1 billion in 1990–1992 to 870 million in 2010–2012 (Food and Agriculture Organization 2013). As a proportion of the world’s population, this is just a one-third fall in the hunger rate, from 19% to 13%. In contrast, the other highly visible Millennium Development Goal – reducing extreme poverty by half – was achieved by 2010.
 
The failure of the hunger rate to fall as fast as poverty undoubtedly has many causes. Increased volatility of world food prices and the damaging responses by some countries hardly help (Rocha et al. 2012). But researchers also are starting to study measurement issues – the methodology for measuring the hungry differs from that for measuring the poor.

​Leveling the field is not just the right thing to do. It’s the smart thing to do.

Michael O’Sullivan's picture

With the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Program (CAADP) Partnership Platform meeting underway this week in Durban, policymakers are seeking ways to boost agricultural productivity and promote inclusive growth in Africa. Investing in Africa’s female farmers offers one promising path forward. 

Women contribute close to half of Africa’s crop labor yet a host of factors constrain their contribution to Africa’s overall productivity. Policymakers need better evidence before they can chart a course of action. Where should they focus their resources? Which factors need tackling first? And what, if any, sound evidence is available on investments that can yield deep impacts?

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