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Reducing food waste could save the global economy $300 billion a year

February 27, 2015 Comments off

Reducing food waste could save the global economy $300 billion a year
Source: Waste & Resources Action Programme and Global Commission on the Economy and Climate

Reducing consumer food waste could save between US$120 and 300 billion per year by 2030 according to a new report by WRAP (The Waste & Resources Action Programme) and the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate. To achieve this would require a 20-50% reduction in consumer food waste.

One third of all food produced in the world ends up as waste, while the value of global consumer food waste is more than US$400 billion per year. As the global middle class expands over the course of the decade, the cost could rise to US$600 billion, according to new research conducted by WRAP for the Global Commission.

Their report, Strategies to achieve economic and environmental gains by reducing food waste, also identifies significant opportunities to improve economic performance and tackle climate change by reducing the amount of food that is wasted in agriculture, transport, storage and consumption.

U.N. System Flagship Publications

February 19, 2015 Comments off

U.N. System Flagship Publications
Source: United Nations
Comprehensive set of annotated links to major reports of the various United Nations agencies. Undated; links may be broken.

Categories: United Nations

Borrower Protection and the Supply of Credit: Evidence from Foreclosure Laws

February 17, 2015 Comments off

Borrower Protection and the Supply of Credit: Evidence from Foreclosure Laws
Source: International Monetary Fund

Laws governing the foreclosure process can have direct consequences on the costs of foreclosure and could therefore affect lending decisions. We exploit the heterogeneity in the judicial requirements across U.S. states to examine their impact on banks’ lending decisions in a sample of urban areas straddling state borders. A key feature of our study is the way it exploits an exogenous cutoff in loan eligibility to GSE guarantees which shift the burden of foreclosure costs onto the GSEs. We find that judicial requirements reduce the supply of credit only for jumbo loans that are ineligible for GSE guarantees. These laws do not affect, however, the relative demand of jumbo loans. Our findings, which also hold using novel nonbinary measures of judicial requirements, illustrate the consequences of foreclosure laws on the supply of mortgage credit. They also shed light on a significant indirect cross-subsidy by the GSEs to borrower-friendly states that has been overlooked thus far.

Measuring the Digital Economy: A New Perspective

February 5, 2015 Comments off

Measuring the Digital Economy: A New Perspective
Source: OECD

The growing role of the digital economy in daily life has heightened demand for new data and measurement tools. Internationally comparable and timely statistics combined with robust cross-country analyses are crucial to strengthen the evidence base for digital economy policy making, particularly in a context of rapid change. This report presents indicators traditionally used to monitor the information society and complements them with experimental indicators that provide insight into areas of policy interest. The key objectives of this publication are to highlight measurement gaps and propose actions to advance the measurement agenda.

Does Homework Perpetuate Inequities in Education?

February 1, 2015 Comments off

Does Homework Perpetuate Inequities in Education?
Source: OECD

  • While most 15-year-old students spend part of their after-school time doing homework, the amount of time they spend on it shrank between 2003 and 2012.
  • Socio-economically advantaged students and students who attend socio-economically advantaged schools tend to spend more time doing homework.
  • While the amount of homework assigned is associated with mathematics performance among students and schools, other factors are more important in determining the performance of school systems as a whole.

Addressing the Global Health Crisis: Universal Health Protection Policies

January 29, 2015 Comments off

Addressing the Global Health Crisis: Universal Health Protection Policies
Source: International Labour Organization

This policy paper (i) examines the dimensions of the global health crisis based on severe deficits in health protection and limited access to needed health care; (ii) presents the extent of the health crisis at global, regional and national level as well as rural/urban divergences within countries and their root causes; (iii) suggests policy options to address the health protection crisis using the framework of national social protection floors by focusing on inclusive legislation and adequate financing as well as making quality services available and providing financial protection; (iv) concludes that progressing towards universal health protection is possible by developing a three step approach that yields highest rates of returns in terms of sustainability, economic growth and equity. The Annexes present global data on total health expenditure, health coverage and skilled health workers for 171 countries.

Hat tip: IWS Documented News Service

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.

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