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Global Economy and Development Roundup

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In the recently released Global Economic Prospects June 2012, World Bank experts warned of long period of volatility. Resurgence of the Euro Area tensions had eroded economic gains of first 4 months of 2012, said the report.  And as the leaders of the 27 European Nations convened in Brussels yesterday to tackle the crisis, it was labeled as the “last chance” summit. The outcome: Up All Night, But Consensus Finally Reached, says a story. According to the story, published today, “Yet, despite what were described as tense and grinding negotiations, decisions announced early Friday morning appear to represent important steps towards the survival of the embattled euro zone—and in both the short- and long-term context of the crisis.” This much needed move comes at a crucial point and will hopefully have a positive impact on developing countries. However, a lot remains to be done. Following is a sampling of some interesting research and analysis by World Bank as well as others highlighting issues of current import to global economy and development.

Financial globalization in emerging countries: diversification vs. offshoring
This working paper examines two important, concurrent dimensions of financial globalization: diversification and offshoring. The diversification dimension refers to the increase in foreign assets and liabilities in countries' portfolios. Offshoring relates to the reallocation of financial activities to international markets. The former focuses on who holds the assets, the latter on where transactions take place. The authors find that globalization via the diversification channel expanded throughout the world during the 2000s and the nature of financing (through both diversification and offshoring) has improved for emerging countries.

Financial inclusion in Africa: an overview
This working paper provides a brief overview of Africa’s financial sector and uses the Global Financial Inclusion Indicators (Global Findex) database to tell the story of how adults in Africa use formal and informal financial services and to identify barriers to formal account ownership. Less than a quarter of adults in Africa have an account with a formal financial institution and that many adults in Africa use informal methods to save and borrow. Similarly, the majority of small and medium enterprises in Africa are unbanked and access to finance is a major obstacle.

Infographic: How can the world get out of this economic mess?
This interactive data visualization from The Guardian uses World Bank Open Data and McKinsey datasets to show how black markets are intricately connected with the chances of recovery. The simple message is: transparency and connected economies are linked.

On the international transmission of shocks : micro-evidence from mutual fund portfolios
Using micro-level data on mutual funds from different financial centers investing in equity and bonds, this working paper analyzes how investors and managers behave and transmit shocks across countries. The paper shows that the volatility of mutual fund investments is quantitatively driven by investors through injections of capital into, or redemptions out of, each fund, and by managers changing the country weights and cash in their portfolios.

Emerging economies recovered more quickly from the financial crisis
A cross-country incidence study of the 2008-2009 global crisis documents a structural break from the past in the way emerging economies responded to this global shock. Contrary to popular perceptions, emerging market economies suffered growth collapses comparable to, or even larger than, those in advanced economies during the crisis. In response to such a large financial and real shock, most of the world economy came to a halt when the crisis hit, with most countries resuming their pre-crisis growth rates afterward. While emerging economies were not able to avoid the fallout from the economic collapse, they grew at a higher rate during the post-crisis period, relative to before and, as usual, relative to advanced countries. Moreover, emerging economies recovered sooner.

Bank competition promotes systemic stability
Using bank-level measures of competition and co-dependence, this research shows a robust positive relationship between bank competition and systemic stability. Much of the extant literature has focused on the relationship between competition and the absolute level of risk of individual banks, but this work examines the correlation in the risk-taking behavior of banks (systemic risk). The results suggest that greater competition encourages banks to take on more diversified risks, making the banking system less fragile to shocks. Furthermore, lack of competition has a greater adverse effect on systemic stability in countries with generous safety nets and weak supervision.


Swati Mishra

Communications Strategist

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