Published on Let's Talk Development

Friday Roundup: Inequality demystified, CCTs, GiveDirectly, post offices to expand financial inclusion, and malaria in Africa

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Globalization has benefited an emerging “global middle class,” mainly people in places such as China, India, Indonesia, and Brazil, along with the world’s top 1 percent, said Branko Milanovic at a recent Policy Research Talk. But people at the very bottom of the income ladder, as well as the lower-middle class of rich countries, lost out.

In an article published by The Economist today, World Bank researcher Berk Ozler contends that conditional cash transfers work better when the problems individuals face go beyond mere shortage of cash.  If families do not appreciate the real value of education, for instance, or if part of the benefit of doing something comes when everyone does it (vaccination is a case in point), people left to themselves may not spend enough on education or health. CCTs help to overcome that.

On the other hand, organizations like GiveDirectly are sending money to those in need with no strings attached.  Listen to an NPR Planet Money podcast titled 'What Happens When You Just Give Money To Poor People?'

A new working paper by Jose Anson, Alexandre Berthaud, Leora Klapper and Dorothe Singer on 'Financial Inclusion and the Role of the Post Office' -- was showcased this week at a global forum on financial inclusion organized by the Universal Postal Union in Geneva. The paper explores how post offices can play a leading role in advancing financial inclusion. The paper uses data from the UPU to explore the degree to which different postal business models and the size of the postal network help explain differences in account ownership patterns.
In 'A Cure for Africa's Common Cold: Why Malaria Persists, Sonia Shad writes in Foreign Affairs on the reality that many people in the most malaria-prevalent countries have a degree of immunity and/or are never diagnosed. Sadly, where the disease is most widespread, there is often little political will to campaign against it.

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