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Adversity gets in the brain

Magdalena Bendini's picture

“Individuality is the product of both biological inheritance and personal experience,” said Professor Charles A. Nelson during a recent presentation at the World Bank. Professor Nelson has been studying neurobiological development and the effect of adversity on the brain for some time now (e.g., here and here). So we asked him to open the black box of brain development for us and help us understand what it all means to those of us working on ending extreme poverty and boosting shared prosperity. Below are some highlights from his talk.

Which features of procurement systems increase competition and reduce corruption?

Steve Knack's picture

Public procurement of services, works and supplies is estimated to account for 15-20% of GDP in developing countries, and up to 50% or more of total government expenditure. Efficient and effective procurement is vital to core government functions, including public service delivery and provision of infrastructure. Weaknesses in procurement systems can lead to large-scale waste of public funds, reduced quality of services, corruption, and loss of trust in government.

Human development accounting

Youssouf Kiendrebeogo's picture

The rate of change in human development outcomes varies considerably across countries over long periods of time, as reflected in the two histograms below (Figure 1). For 78 countries in the period 1980-2014, the percentage decline in child mortality was 3.39% on average, with a standard deviation of 1.36%, a smallest rate of 0.89% (Central African Republic) and a highest rate of 8.07% (Maldives). The average percentage increase in school enrollment was 3.35%, with a standard deviation 3.54%, a minimum of 0.37% (Georgia) and a maximum of 19.68% (Maldives). Similar patterns of cross-country variation are found when using alternative proxies for health and education outcomes.

Should emerging markets worry about U.S. monetary policy announcements?

Poonam Gupta's picture

Emerging economies are routinely affected by monetary policy announcements in the US. This was starkly evident on May 22, 2013, when Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke first spoke of the possibility of the Fed tapering its security purchases. This “tapering talk” had a sharp negative impact on financial conditions in emerging markets in ensuing days—their exchange rates depreciated, bond spreads increased, and equity prices fell; so much so that some of the countries seemed on the verge of a full-fledged balance of payments crisis. The event helps explain why issues related to the spillover of US monetary policy have gained prominence in recent contributions to the literature and in policy discussions (Rajan, 2015).

How can teachers cultivate (or hinder) students’ socio-emotional skills?

Paula Villaseñor's picture
Also available in: Spanish

Socio-emotional skills are the new hot topic in education. Governments, ministers of education, policymakers, education experts, psychologists, economists, international organizations, and others have been captivated by these skills and their contribution to students’ academic and life outcomes. The goal seems clear, but the way to achieve results is not so obvious. Most of the literature focuses on the impact of socio-emotional skills on different outcomes, while much less illuminates the specific mechanisms through which teachers can boost students’ socio-emotional development. 

U.S. post-crisis trade weakness in 4 charts

Franziska Ohnsorge's picture
Trade growth has slowed sharply since the 2007-2009 financial crisis. An analysis of U.S. trade data shows that trade between unaffiliated firms (arm’s-length trade) – as opposed to trade between firms linked by control or ownership (intra-firm trade) – accounted for the lion’s share of this slowdown. Arm’s-length trade depends more heavily on sectors of the economy, such as textiles and apparel, that have languished since the crisis.

Rising debt and deficits in Emerging Market and Developing Economies (EMDEs) in 5 charts

Ayhan Kose's picture
Debt and budget deficits have risen among emerging market and developing economies since the 2007-2009 financial crisis, rendering these economies more vulnerable to a sharp rise in borrowing costs. Government debt has climbed to 47 percent of GDP in 2016 from 35 percent of GDP in 2007 among emerging market and developing economies, while fiscal deficits have widened to about 5 percent of GDP from roughly 1 percent of GDP over the same period.

Energy prices fell in May, led by oil, coal – Pink Sheet

John Baffes's picture
Energy commodity prices declined 4 percent in May, led by a 4.3 percent drop in oil and an 11.7 plunge in coal, the World Bank’s Pink Sheet said. Natural gas prices rose 1.6 percent.

Food prices increased 2.4 percent, following gains in key grains (rice and wheat) and edible oils. Beverage prices eased 1 percent due to weak coffee prices. Fertilizer prices receded nearly 6 percent.

Metals and minerals prices slid 2.4 percent, led by an 11 percent tumble in iron ore. Precious metals were off 2.6 percent.  It was the third monthly decline for metals.

The Pink Sheet is a monthly report that monitors commodity price movements.
 
Commodity Prices

Global Economic Prospects in 10 Charts: June 2017

Ayhan Kose's picture
Also available in: Chinese

The World Bank forecasts that global economic growth will strengthen to 2.7 percent in 2017 as a pickup in manufacturing and trade, rising market confidence, and stabilizing commodity prices allow growth to resume in commodity-exporting emerging market and developing economies.  Growth in advanced economies is expected to accelerate to 1.9 percent in 2017, a benefit to their trading partners. Amid favorable global financing conditions and stabilizing commodity prices, growth in emerging market and developing economies as a whole will pick up to 4.1 percent this year from 3.5 percent in 2016. Nevertheless, substantial risks cloud the outlook. These include the possibility of greater trade restriction, uncertainty about trade, fiscal and monetary policy, and, over the longer term, persistently weak productivity and investment growth.

Download the June 2017 Global Economic Prospects report.
 
Global growth is projected to strengthen to 2.7 percent in 2017, as expected. Emerging market and developing economies are anticipated to grow 4.1 percent – faster than advanced economies.
 
Global Growth

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