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The creative wealth of nations : how the performing arts can advance development and human progress

January 23, 2015 Comments off

The creative wealth of nations : how the performing arts can advance development and human progress (PDF)
Source: World Bank

Cultural activities are increasingly noted as drivers of meaningful development. But they have yet to gain a prominent place in the architecture of development strategy. The performing arts, discussed here, exhibit direct effects on social progress and economic growth through trade in music, movies, and temporary work permits for artists, for example. Indirect contributions may also include environmental stewardship, tourism, nation branding, social inclusion, cultural democracy, and shifting cultural behaviors. These direct and indirect contributions are not well documented. As such, how is the creative or cultural sector a crucial part of the wealth of nations, and how could the World Bank Group better leverage the performing arts in its development strategy? This discussion provides a broad snapshot, from arts education, to social inclusion, to international trade in services. Key constraints include: the paucity of data and the difficulty of measuring cultural activities, the challenge of intellectual property, and the unclear benefits of cultural tourism. Part I sets the stage. Part II then provides policy options to foster the performing arts as a promising engine for development. Suggestions include: 1. expanding direct involvement in artistic projects, 2. increa sing the use of performing arts to address social issues, 3. collecting data, 4. promoting intellectual property training programs, 5. supporting digital platforms in the developing world that advance indigenous music, and 6. funding studies on such areas as cultural tourism. Progress still needs to be made in the discussion of the diverse ways that the performing arts can contribute to meaningful development.

Making Economic Growth more Socially Inclusive in Germany

January 23, 2015 Comments off

Making Economic Growth more Socially Inclusive in Germany
Source: OECD

While past labour market reforms have been successful in terms of employment, the relative poverty risk and income inequality have remained broadly unchanged in recent years. Some social groups remain particularly vulnerable, including individuals in non-regular employment, the unemployed and the low skilled. If in employment, their jobs tend to be unstable and wages and income mobility low. Continued efforts are needed to foster economic growth in a more inclusive manner, such that the most vulnerable groups benefit from and contribute to economic growth more strongly and such that the gaps between the rich and the poor in terms of income and wellbeing are reduced. These efforts should include enhancing the labour market outcomes of the most vulnerable and increase upward income mobility among disadvantaged individuals; strengthening skills at the lower end of the skills distribution; revising the tax and benefit system to improve incentives and to ensure efficient and well-targeted redistribution; and to make health and old-age pension insurance more inclusive. This working paper relates to the 2014 OECD Economic Survey of Germany (http://www.oecd.org/eco/surveys/economic-survey-germany.htm).

Green Growth: Environmental policies and productivity can work together – OECD Policy Brief

January 22, 2015 Comments off

Green Growth: Environmental policies and productivity can work together – OECD Policy Brief (PDF)
Source: OECD

  • Stringent environmental policies can be introduced without hurting overall productivity
  • Letting up on environmental policies would not necessarily support a recovery
  • The design of environmental policies is key, emphasising the importance of flexible, market-based instruments, such as taxes, in the policy mix
  • Sending a strong signal to the market through stringent policies that do not create unnecessary barriers to entry and competition, will allow new, cleaner technologies and business models to develop
  • To help policymakers set the right balance, a set of new OECD environmental policy indicators has been developed: Environmental Policy Stringency (EPS) and the Burdens on the Economy due to Environmental Policies (BEEP)

See also: Productivity and long term growth — Do environmental policies matter for productivity growth?

IMF — World Economic Outlook Update — January 2015

January 22, 2015 Comments off

World Economic Outlook Update — January 2015
Source: International Monetary Fund

+ Global growth will receive a boost from lower oil prices, which reflect to an important extent higher supply. But this boost is projected to be more than offset by negative factors, including investment weakness as adjustment to diminished expectations about medium-term growth continues in many advanced and emerging market economies.

+ Global growth in 2015–16 is projected at 3.5 and 3.7 percent, downward revisions of 0.3 percent relative to the October 2014 World Economic Outlook (WEO). The revisions reflect a reassessment of prospects in China, Russia, the euro area, and Japan as well as weaker activity in some major oil exporters because of the sharp drop in oil prices. The United States is the only major economy for which growth projections have been raised.

+ The distribution of risks to global growth is more balanced than in October. The main upside risk is a greater boost from lower oil prices, although there is uncertainty about the persistence of the oil supply shock. Downside risks relate to shifts in sentiment and volatility in global financial markets, especially in emerging market economies, where lower oil prices have introduced external and balance sheet vulnerabilities in oil exporters. Stagnation and low inflation are still concerns in the euro area and in Japan.

Hashtag Standards For Emergencies

January 20, 2015 Comments off

Hashtag Standards For Emergencies (PDF)
Source: United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)

Key Messages

• The public is using Twitter for real-time information exchange and for expressing emotional support during a variety of crises, such as wildfires,1-3 earthquakes,4-6 floods,3,13 hurricanes,21 political protests,11, 25-27 mass shootings,15, 17 and communicable-disease tracking.31 By encouraging proactive standardization of hashtags, emergency responders may be able to reduce a big-data challenge and better leverage crowdsourced information for operational planning and response.

• Twitter is the primary social media platform discussed in this Think Brief. However, the use of hashtags has spread to other social media platforms, including Sina Weibo, Facebook, Google+ and Diaspora. As a result, the ideas behind hashtag standardization may have a much larger sphere of influence than just this one platform.

• Three hashtag standards are encouraged and discussed: early standardization of the disaster name (e.g., #Fay), how to report non-emergency needs (e.g., #PublicRep) and requesting emergency assistance (e.g., #911US).

• As well as standardizing hashtags, emergency response agencies should encourage the public to enable Global Positioning System (GPS) when tweeting during an emergency. This will provide highly detailed information to facilitate response.

• Non-governmental groups, national agencies and international organizations should discuss the potential added value of monitoring social media during emergencies. These groups need to agree who is establishing the standards for a given country or event, which agency disseminates these prescriptive messages, and who is collecting and validating the incoming crowdsourced reports.

• Additional efforts should be pursued regarding how to best link crowdsourced information into emergency response operations and logistics. . If this information will be collected, the teams should be ready to act on it in a timely manner.

Hat tip: ResearchBuzz

Africa Energy Outlook

January 20, 2015 Comments off

Africa Energy Outlook
Source: International Energy Agency

Sub-Saharan Africa’s energy sector can be improved to unlock a better life for its citizens. This report describes one of the most poorly understood parts of the global energy system, offers an authoritative study of its future prospects, broken down by fuel, sector and sub-region and shows how investment in the sub-Saharan energy sector can stimulate rapid economic and social development across the region.

Shedding Light on Shadow Banking

January 20, 2015 Comments off

Shedding Light on Shadow Banking
Source: International Monetary Fund

In this paper, we develop an alternative approach to estimate the size of the shadow banking system, using official data reported to the IMF complemented by other data sources. We base our alternative approach on the expansion of the noncore liabilities concept developed in recent literature to encompass all noncore liabilities of both bank and nonbank financial institutions. As opposed to existing measures of shadow banking, our newly developed measures capture nontraditional funding raised by traditional banks. We apply the new approach to 26 jurisdictions and analyze the results over a twelve-year span. We find that noncore liabilities are procyclical and display more volatility than core liabilities for most jurisdictions in the sample. We also compare our measures to existing measures, such as the measure developed by the Financial Stability Board. Our approach can be replicated over time using internationally-comparable data and thus may serve as an operational tool for IMF surveillance and policy analysis.

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