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If development data is so important, why is it chronically underfinanced?

Michael M. Lokshin's picture

Few will argue against the idea that data is essential for the design of effective policies. Every international development organization emphasizes the importance of data for development. Nevertheless, raising funds for data-related activities remains a major challenge for development practitioners, particularly for research on techniques for data collection and the development of methodologies to produce quality data.

If we focus on the many challenges of raising funds for microdata collected through surveys, three reasons stand out in particular: the spectrum of difficulties associated with data quality; the problem of quantifying the value of data; and the (un-fun) reality that data is an intermediate input.

Data quality

First things first – survey data quality is hard to define and even harder to measure. Every survey collects new information; it’s often prohibitively expensive to validate this information and so it’s rarely done. The quality of survey data is most often evaluated based on how closely the survey protocol was followed.

The concept of Total Survey Error sets out a universe of factors which condition the likelihood of survey errors (Weisbeg 2005). These conditioning factors include, among many other things: how well the interviewers are trained; whether the questionnaire was tested and piloted and to what degree; whether the interviewers’ individual profiles could affect the respondent answers, etc. Measuring some of these indicators precisely is effectively impossible—most of the indicators are subjective by nature. It may be even harder to separate the individual effects of these components in the total survey error.

Imagine you are approached with a proposal to conduct a cognitive analysis of your questionnaire. - How often were you bothered by the pain in the stomach over the last year? A cognitive psychologist will tell you that this is a badly formulated question: the definition of stomach varies drastically among the respondents; last year could be interpreted as last calendar year, 12 months back from now, or from January 1st until now; one respondent said: it hurt like hell, but it did not bother me, I am a Marine... (from a seminar by Gordon Willis)

Financial repression and bank lending: Evidence from a natural experiment in an emerging market

Tomás Williams's picture

Since the early 2000s, local-currency debt (mostly traded in domestic markets) became a growing and important source of funding for several governments in emerging market economies. Despite their impressive growth, many domestic sovereign debt markets maintain a captive domestic audience that facilitates direct credit to government. This represents a form of financial repression 1, which can lead to a crowding out of private credit.

The degree of this form of financial repression depends crucially on government access to foreign credit. If there is a low presence of foreign investors in domestic sovereign debt markets, governments have to rely heavily on domestic financial institutions potentially worsening the crowding out of private credit. In turn, an increased presence of foreign investors might reduce financial repression, and free resources for the private sector. As a result local firms may be able to finance more investment projects and boost economic activity. Although intuitive, there is little evidence on this topic because of identification challenges.2 In a recent study (Williams, 2018), I use a quasi-natural experiment in Colombia and provide evidence on how the entrance of foreign investors into domestic sovereign debt markets reduces financial repression and increases domestic credit growth, boosting economic activity.

Privacy law and services trade: Resolving the conflict

Aaditya Mattoo's picture

The EU’s new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) recently went into effect. You have probably received emails regarding your data resident on email servers and applications. And while the media focus has also remained on data concerns with Facebook and other personal data, the impact of the GDPR on developing countries has received little attention.  Their exports of data-based services rely on the free flow of data across borders. Strengthened regulation can make international data transfers more difficult. And traditional trade rules and regulatory cooperation cannot resolve this conflict.

Writing a Papers and Proceedings Paper

David McKenzie's picture

Ok, this is an even more specialized blogpost than usual, but I thought it might still be of use to some readers. I’ve received several variants of the following question from colleagues “I’m excited that my AEA session was accepted for the papers and proceedings. But how do I write a P&P paper without hurting my chances of also publishing the longer paper?” or “but the paper I have in that session is already forthcoming somewhere else, what should I write as the P&P?”.  I thought I’d offer my advice on this, since there doesn’t seem to be much written out there.

In Bangladesh, building the skills for the 4th Industrial Revolution

Mustahsin-ul-Aziz's picture
With the onset of the fourth industrial revolution, the landscape of jobs, and the skills required for jobs, are quickly changing around the world. Bangladesh is no exception. Already the Ready-Made Garments (RMG) sector—the leading export sector employing a significant portion of the workforce— is undergoing major automation, which threatens the loss of jobs by the thousands.

This places significant importance on continuous skills training to prepare the workforce ready for future jobs. For this, what are the policy options for Bangladesh? How can the country move forward to ride the wave of the changing tide while leveraging the burgeoning youth population?

To answer these questions, and contribute towards the skills dialogue, an International Skills Conference was organized recently in Dhaka under the theme “Building Brands for Skills of Bangladesh”. The conference brought together national and international policymakers, skills development practitioners, academics, and researchers, from China, Singapore and India for two days of knowledge sharing and networking.
 
A memo agreement between Bangladesh and China

Organized by the Technical and Madrasah Education Division of the Ministry of Education of Bangladesh and supported by the Directorate of Technical Education and the Skills and Training Enhancement Project (STEP), the conference covered topics ranging from connecting skills and jobs to future proofing technical education institutions to raising the brand of skills of Bangladesh. After two days of knowledge sharing, two important themes emerged:

5 điều cần làm để chấm dứt ô nhiễm nhựa

Anjali Acharya's picture
Also available in English



Que hút bằng nhựa là một trong những chất thải bằng nhựa hàng đầu trong các đại dương, và chúng không thể tái chế được. © Kanittha Boon/Shutterstock
 
Các báo đưa nhiều tin buồn. Một con cá voi hoa tiêu đực bị chết và dạt vào bãi biển ở Thái Lan vì đã nuốt 80 túi nilon; hình ảnh về những con rùa mắc trong 6 cái vòng nhựa, một con cá ngựa nhỏ xíu cuộn đuôi vào một cái tăm bông bằng nhựa. Các sản phẩm nhựa trôi dạt hàng ngày trên các bãi biển toàn thế giới – từ Indonesia đến bờ biển tây Phi, và các con kênh trong các thành phố ngày càng tràn ngập chất thải nhựa.

Nhưng cả thế giới bắt đầu chú ý đến điều đó và các nước, các doanh nghiệp, người dân, cộng đồng đã bắt đầu hành động. Từ cấm, đánh thuế các sản phẩm nhựa dùng một lần đến đầu tư vào thu gom rác thải và các chính sách làm giảm số bao bì bằng nhựa và dọn vệ sinh bãi biển. Chúng ta đang cố gắng cai nghiện thói quen dùng nhựa, làm cho cuộc sống và hành tinh lành mạnh hơn.

Working to make children’s dreams of quality education come true: Insights from Ethiopia

Teklu Tesfaye's picture
An existing classroom awaits an upgrade in Tigray.  Esayas Nigatu/World Bank


“I want to be a doctor when I grow up. I want to help people like the doctor at the hospital who helped my mother” said the little eight-year old girl, full of confidence. She was one of about 50 children attending a primary school in Tahtay Adiabo Woreda in Tigray. The little girl was talking to a World Bank team visiting the area and the Development Response to Displacement Impacts Project (DRDIP).

Can temporary employment help reduce crime?

Fabrizio Zarcone's picture

Activities of the Temporary Income Support Program, or PATI / World Bank

With collaboration of Emma Monsalve.

The 2008-09 financial crisis significantly affected El Salvador. The economy, as measured by gross domestic product, contracted 3.1 percent in 2009. The crisis seriously affected employment: between 2008 and 2009, more than 100,000 Salvadorans, or 3 percent of the labor force, became unemployed or under-employed.

Using satellite imagery to revolutionize the creation of tax maps

Daniel Ayalew Ali's picture

Municipalities need recurrent property taxes to finance service delivery

The ability for cities to raise revenues in a non-distortionary way for effective urban service delivery and infrastructure is essential to realizing the potential of urbanization. As most benefits from these investments will be capitalized in surging land values, recurrent taxes on land and other real property can be an incentive-compatible financing method. In developing countries, taxes on land and property are still far below those of developed countries, even in relative terms. Instead, cities often rely heavily on land transaction taxes, but these impose frictions on land market operations, push transactions into informality, and create incentives for fraudulent under-declaration of sales values.

Blog4Dev Burundi: New mentality, new growth!

Bernice Nasangwe's picture
Photo: Sarah Farhat/World Bank


“To succeed in life, you have to study hard and obtain your diploma with honors so that you can eventually land a high-paying job,” is what my father would tell me constantly. As a young girl, everything was clear to me: a diploma with honors would automatically land me a job with a salary as high as Bill Gates’s.


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