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Doing Business 2015: Going Beyond Efficiency

October 30, 2014 Comments off

Doing Business 2015: Going Beyond Efficiency
Source: World Bank

Doing Business 2015: Going Beyond Efficiency, a World Bank Group flagship publication, is the 12th in a series of annual reports measuring the regulations that enhance business activity and those that constrain it. Doing Business presents quantitative indicators on business regulations and the protection of property rights that can be compared across 189 economies—from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe—and over time.

Doing Business measures regulations affecting 11 areas of the life of a business. Ten of these areas are included in this year’s ranking on the ease of doing business: starting a business, dealing with construction permits, getting electricity, registering property, getting credit, protecting minority investors, paying taxes, trading across borders, enforcing contracts and resolving insolvency. Doing Business also measures labor market regulation, which is not included in this year’s ranking.

Data in Doing Business 2015 are current as of June 1, 2014. The indicators are used to analyze economic outcomes and identify what reforms of business regulation have worked, where and why. This year’s report introduces a notable expansion of several indicator sets and a change in the calculation of rankings.

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Telecom — The World in 2014: ICT Facts and Figures

October 29, 2014 Comments off

The World in 2014: ICT Facts and Figures
Source: International Telecommunications Union

The World in 2014: ICT Facts and Figures features end 2014 estimates for ITU’s key telecommunication/ICT indicators. The brochure highlights the latest global ICT facts and trends and includes figures on mobile-cellular subscriptions, Internet use, trends of fixed and mobile broadband services, home ICT access, and more.

Determinants of Households’ Investment in Energy Efficiency and Renewables: Evidence from the OECD Survey on Household Environmental Behaviour and Attitudes

October 29, 2014 Comments off

Determinants of Households’ Investment in Energy Efficiency and Renewables: Evidence from the OECD Survey on Household Environmental Behaviour and Attitudes
Source: OECD

Many studies on household energy efficiency investments suggest that a wide range of seemingly profitable investments are not taken up. This paper provides novel evidence on the main factors behind consumer choices using the OECD Survey on Household Environmental Behaviour and Attitudes. The empirical analysis is based on the estimation of binary logit regression models. Empirical results suggest that households’ propensity to invest in clean energy technologies depends mainly on home ownership, income, social context and households’ information. Indeed, home owners and high-income households are more likely to invest than renters and low-income households. On the other hand, social context, such as membership in an environmental non-governmental organisation, and households’ knowledge about their energy spending and use may play a relevant role in technology adoption.

Russia Economic Report 32: Policy Uncertainty Clouds Medium-Term Prospects

October 29, 2014 Comments off

Russia Economic Report 32: Policy Uncertainty Clouds Medium-Term Prospects
Source: World Bank

Russia’s economy is stagnating. Increasing uncertainty has impacted investor and consumer decisions. There are substantial risks to Russia’s medium-term outlook. Economic recovery will need a predictable policy environment and a new model of diversified development. Prospects for further poverty reduction and shared prosperity are limited.

How Was Life? Global Well-being since 1820

October 28, 2014 Comments off

How Was Life? Global Well-being since 1820
Source: OECD

How was life in 1820, and how has it improved since then? What are the long-term trends in global well-being? Views on social progress since the Industrial Revolution are largely based on historical national accounting in the tradition of Kuznets and Maddison. But trends in real GDP per capita may not fully re­flect changes in other dimensions of well-being such as life expectancy, education, personal security or gender inequality. Looking at these indicators usually reveals a more equal world than the picture given by incomes alone, but has this always been the case? The new report How Was Life? aims to fill this gap. It presents the first systematic evidence on long-term trends in global well-being since 1820 for 25 major countries and 8 regions in the world covering more than 80% of the world’s population. It not only shows the data but also discusses the underlying sources and their limitations, pays attention to country averages and inequality, and pinpoints avenues for further research.

The How Was Life? report is the product of collaboration between the OECD, the OECD Development Centre and the CLIO-INFRA project. It represents the culmination of work by a group of economic historians to systematically chart long-term changes in the dimensions of global well-being and inequality, making use of the most recent research carried out within the discipline. The historical evidence reviewed in the report is organised around 10 different dimensions of well-being that mirror those used by the OECD in its well-being report How’s Life? (www.oecd.org/howslife), and draw on the best sources and expertise currently available for historical perspectives in this field. These dimensions are:per capita GDP, real wages, educational attainment, life expectancy, height, personal security, political institutions, environmental quality, income inequality and gender inequality.

Urban Poverty in Asia

October 28, 2014 Comments off

Urban Poverty in Asia
Source: Asian Development Bank

The phenomenon of urban poverty in Asia is pervasive, severe, and largely unacknowledged. In several Asian countries, the numbers of the urban poor have risen over the 1990–2008 period, lending strength to the proposition that as Asian economies become more urbanized, they may face increasing urban poverty with some urban scholars labeling it as “urbanization of poverty.”

Unlike rural poverty, urban poverty is complex and multidimensional—extending beyond the deficiency of income or consumption, where its many dimensions relate to the vulnerability of the poor on account of their inadequate access to land and housing, physical infrastructure and services, economic and livelihood sources, health and education facilities, social security networks, and voice and empowerment.

In most of developing Asia, urbanization has been accompanied by slums and shelter deprivation, informality, worsening of the living conditions, and increasing risks due to climate change and exclusionary urban forms. According to the UN-HABITAT, Asia has 60% of the world’s total slum population, and many more live in slum-like conditions in areas that are officially designated as nonslums. Working poverty and informality are high in Asian cities and towns. Recent years have witnessed, almost universally, increasing urban inequalities and stagnating consumption shares of lower-percentile households, with Hong Kong, China registering one of the highest Gini-coefficients observed in any other part of the developing and developed world.

Women in National Parliaments (Situation as of 1st October 2014)

October 24, 2014 Comments off

Women in National Parliaments
Source: Inter-Parliamentary Union

The data in the table below has been compiled by the Inter-Parliamentary Union on the basis of information provided by National Parliaments by 1st October 2014. 189 countries are classified by descending order of the percentage of women in the lower or single House. Comparative data on the world and regional averages as well as data concerning the two regional parliamentary assemblies elected by direct suffrage can be found on separate pages. You can use the PARLINE database to view detailed results of parliamentary elections by country.

Hat tip: IWS Documented News Service

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