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Inspiring change, one drop at a time!

LTD Editors'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.

For one night, the Cirque du Soleil closes all its shows in Las Vegas. Instead, more than 100 artists come together to create one magnificent show in support of One Drop to give out a simple, yet very powerful message: water, for today and forever. For One Drop, awareness is as essential as economic development to drive change to make water accessible to all. The non-profit organization uses social arts to connect, communicate, and convince communities to adopt sound water management practices that ensure sustainability in the long run. The Let’s Talk team caught up with Jacques Rajotte, Chief Operating and Innovation Officer, and Danielle Valiquette, Chief International Programs Officer, One Drop, on their visit to the World Bank last week to know more about operationalizing social arts as an impactful tool for social transformation.

Do Latin American Firms Invest in R&D?

Asif Islam's picture

The rewards of innovation for developing nations do not require much convincing. Poverty alleviation, faster economic growth, greater job creation, and higher worker remuneration are just some of the potential benefits. The idea of innovation as a key driver of development can be traced back to the seminal works of economists such as Joseph Schumpeter. Thus, it is no surprise that on July 30 and 31, 2013 a group of innovation leaders from 18 countries gathered in Santiago, Chile for the first pan Latin American Innovation Summit. The event was kicked off by Sebastian Piñera, then President of Chile, who had announced a national innovation budget of $1 billion. What about the private sector? An important driver of innovation is Research and Development (R & D) spending by businesses.  Evidence shows that firms that invest in R&D and other innovation-related activities have higher productivity and are more capable of making technological advances than firms that do not.  So, where do Latin American firms stand on R & D investment?

Global and Local Connectivity and Spatial Development

Ejaz Ghani's picture

With William Kerr and Alexander Segura.

Developing countries have become much more globally integrated. On a global dimension, they now trade a lot more with other countries than they did two decades ago. Domestic connectivity at the country level has been helped through investments in road networks as urban and rural areas are becoming better connected not just through roads but phones lines and faster flows of knowledge.

How global and local connectivity influence spatial development and distribution of jobs is a tricky question. A naïve approach might look industry-by-industry at their exposure to trade or highways and ask what happens to the average wage in the industry as highways form.  This approach, however, risks confounding several forces.  It could be, for example, that a decline in the average wage represents a positive outcome if 1) those firms and workers who were already in the industry are experiencing wage growth, and 2) the industry overall expands to pull in workers from subsistence agriculture.  A declining average wage can signify the second factor is dominating the first factor, but this might be cause for celebration by policy makers rather than a source of concern.

Friday round up: Women in Ukraine, new fund for women entrepreneurs, women and the law, WBG President and staff on women in development

LTD Editors's picture

Anne Marie Slaughter of New America has a podcast on women's role in the Ukraine uprising.

Philanthropy News Digest reports on the launch of a new Gloldman Sachs-World Bank Group $600 million fund for women entrepreneurs.

How legal reforms improve women's welfare is a question being studied by World Bank economist Mary Hallward-Driemeier.

Why discrimination?

Rasmus Heltberg's picture

The international media have recently put attention to laws against homosexuality adopted by several African countries. Sensible people have, quite rightly, expressed outrage over these laws, and the widespread homophobia behind them. World Bank President Jim Kim expressed his opinion against such discrimination deeming it bad for people and for societies. In a Washington Post opinion piece, President Kim shares his personal experience of being judged based on appearance and reminds us that discrimination is widespread: 83 countries in the world outlaw homosexuality; more than 100 countries discriminate against women; and even more countries have laws that discriminate against minority groups.

A recent research by Audrey Sacks, Safi Lakhani, and me indicates that negative attitudes toward various groups are widespread around the world. Although these things vary by country, immigrants, ethnic minorities, the poor, HIV-positive, and homosexuals are frequent targets of discriminatory attitudes—in developed and developing countries alike.

Should Sovereign Wealth Funds Invest at Home?

Alan Gelb's picture

Sovereign Wealth Funds (SWFs) represent a large and growing pool of savings and an increasing number are owned by natural resource exporting countries. The funds have a variety of objectives, including intergenerational equity and macroeconomic stabilization. Traditionally they have invested abroad, increasingly in developing country assets, but always as part of a strategy to boost yields while remaining diversified. However, a recent trend sees an increasing number starting to invest in their domestic markets, including in infrastructure and other greenfield investments. Angola, Kazakhstan, Malaysia and Nigeria are examples; funds with a domestic investment mandate are also being established by Colombia, Morocco, Mozambique, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia.

Friday Roundup: Redistribution and Growth, World Development Report 2015, Psychology and Economics, Democracy, and ABCDE 2014

LTD Editors's picture

In a new IMF paper, Jonathan D. Ostry, Andrew Berg, and Charalambos G. Tsangarides look into historical data to explore the relationship between inequality, redistribution, and growth and find little evidence of a “big tradeoff” between redistribution and growth.

Robert Chambers of IDS comments on the forthcoming World Development Report (WDR) 2015: Mind and Culture. He raises some important points on participatory thinking.

Trouble ensues when UCLA psychologist Joe Henrich steps into economics territory. Article by Ethan Watter for the Pacific Standard.

Leave Export Promotion to Goldilocks

Ana Fernandes's picture

The successful WTO Ministerial at Bali has placed trade facilitation in the spotlight, but it is export promotion that takes pride of place in most national trade policy agendas. Sometimes export promotion seems a virtuous exercise, targeting small firms most in need of help.  The US Government’s efforts through its Small Business Administration or under the National Export Initiative are an example.  At other times, it seems cold-bloodedly pragmatic, geared towards large firms most able to use assistance.  Examples are government support for national champions from Brazil to South Korea.

A Focus on Growth

Zia Qureshi's picture

The G20 Ministers of Finance and Central Bank Governors met in Sydney over the past weekend. An important outcome of the meeting is a commitment to lift G20’s collective GDP (which accounts for about 85 percent of world GDP) by more than 2 percent above the trajectory implied by current policies over the coming five years. This will amount to over US$2 trillion more in real terms. The higher growth would help generate significant additional jobs.

The targeted increase of more than 2 percent is based on a report prepared by the IMF with inputs from the OECD and the World Bank Group (WBG). The WBG contributions were prepared by a team drawn from various units and led by the Development Economics Vice Presidency. The report finds that with a feasible set of policy reforms, an increase in growth of that order of magnitude is achievable.

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