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Reducing black carbon emissions from diesel vehicles : impacts, control strategies, and cost-benefit analysis

May 23, 2014 Comments off

Reducing black carbon emissions from diesel vehicles : impacts, control strategies, and cost-benefit analysis
Source: World Bank

A 2013 scientific assessment of black carbon emissions and impacts found that black carbon is second to carbon dioxide in terms of its climate forcing. High concentrations of black carbon in the atmosphere can change precipitation patterns and reduce the amount of radiation that reaches the Earth’s surface, which affects local agriculture. Acute and chronic exposures to particulate matter are associated with a range of diseases, including chronic bronchitis and asthma, as well as premature deaths from cardiopulmonary disease, lung cancer, and acute lower respiratory infections. The transportation sector accounted for approximately 19 percent of global black carbon emissions in the year 2000. This report aims to inform efforts to control black carbon emissions from diesel-based transportation in developing countries. It presents a summary of emissions control approaches from developed countries, while recognizing that developing countries face a number of on-the-ground implementation challenges. This study applies a new cost-benefit analysis methodology to four simulated diesel black carbon emissions control projects – diesel retrofit in Istanbul, green freight (plus retrofit) in Sao Paulo, fuel and vehicle standards in Jakarta, and compressed natural gas (CNG) buses in Cebu taking into account the additional climate benefits of black carbon reductions. While this report focuses on quantifying just the health and climate benefits of transport interventions, it also serves to highlight the challenges that can be faced when undertaking more comprehensive evaluation of transport projects. A cost-benefit framework for economic analysis of diesel black carbon emissions control transport projects is also presented that factors in both climate and health benefits. Historically, technical interventions to control diesel black carbon emissions in developed countries have successfully relied on fuel quality improvements and vehicle emissions standards.

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The State of Social Safety Nets 2014

May 23, 2014 Comments off

The State of Social Safety Nets 2014
Source: World Bank

This publication begins a series that will monitor and report on social safety nets in developing countries. This first report in the series provides key social safety nets statistics and explains trends using information from 146 countries, including detailed household survey data from 69 countries in the World Bank’s Atlas of Social Protection: Indicators of Resilience and Equity (ASPIRE) database. This report reviews important policy and practical developments in social safety net programs and highlights emerging innovations. While the primary focus is on developing and emerging countries, it also includes some references to high-income settings.

Voice and Agency: Empowering Women and Girls for Shared Prosperity

May 16, 2014 Comments off

Voice and Agency: Empowering Women and Girls for Shared Prosperity
Source: World Bank

This major new report distills vast data and hundreds of studies to shed new light on constraints facing women and girls worldwide, from epidemic levels of gender-based violence to biased laws and norms that prevent them from owning property, working, and making decisions about their own lives.

World Bank — The Little Data Book 2014

May 12, 2014 Comments off

The Little Data Book 2014
Source: World Bank

The Little Data Book 2014 is a pocket edition of World Development Indicators 2014. It is intended as a quick reference for users of the World Development Indicators database, book, and mobile app. The database covers more than 1,200 indicators and spans more than 50 years. The 214 country tables present the latest available data for World Bank member countries and other economies with populations of more than 30,000. The 14 summary tables cover regional and income group aggregates.

See also: World Development Indicators 2014

Which World Bank reports are widely read ?

May 12, 2014 Comments off

Which World Bank reports are widely read ?
Source: World Bank

Knowledge is central to development. The World Bank invests about one-quarter of its budget for country services in knowledge products. Still, there is little research about the demand for these knowledge products and how internal knowledge flows affect their demand. About 49 percent of the World Bank’s policy reports, which are published Economic and Sector Work or Technical Assistance reports, have the stated objective of informing the public debate or influencing the development community. This study uses information on downloads and citations to assesses whether policy reports meet this objective. About 13 percent of policy reports were downloaded at least 250 times while more than 31 percent of policy reports are never downloaded. Almost 87 percent of policy reports were never cited. More expensive, complex, multi-sector, core diagnostics reports on middle-income countries with larger populations tend to be downloaded more frequently. Multi-sector reports also tend to be cited more frequently. Internal knowledge sharing matters as cross support provided by the World Bank’s Research Department consistently increases downloads and citations.

East Asia Pacific at Work : Employment, Enterprise, and Well-being

May 9, 2014 Comments off

East Asia Pacific at Work : Employment, Enterprise, and Well-being
Source: World Bank

The unprecedented progress of East Asia Pacific is a triumph of working people. Countries that were low-income a generation ago successfully integrated into the global value chain, exploiting their labor-cost advantage. In 1990, the region held about a third of the world’s labor force. Leveraging this comparative advantage, the share of global GDP of emerging economies in East Asia Pacific grew from 7 percent in 1992 to 17 percent in 2011. Yet, the region now finds itself at a critical juncture. Work and its contribution to growth and well-being can no longer be taken for granted. The challenges range from high youth inactivity and rising inequality to binding skills shortages.

A key underlying issue is economic informality, which constrains innovation and productivity, limits the tax base, and increases household vulnerability to shocks. Informality is both a consequence of stringent labor regulations and limited enforcement capacity. In several countries, de jure employment regulations are more stringent than in many parts of Europe. Even labor regulations set at reasonable levels but poorly implemented can aggravate the market failures they were designed to overcome.

This report argues that the appropriate policy responses are to ensure macroeconomic stability, and in particular, a regulatory framework that encourages small- and medium-sized enterprises where most people in the region work. Mainly agrarian countries should focus on raising agricultural productivity. In urbanizing countries, good urban planning becomes critical. Pacific island countries will need to provide youth with human capital needed to succeed abroad as migrant workers. And, across the region, it is critical to ‘formalize’ more work, to increase the coverage of essential social protection, and to sustain productivity. To this end, policies should encourage mobility of labor and human capital, and not favor some forms of employment – for instance, full-time wage employment in manufacturing – over others, either implicitly or explicitly. Policies to increase growth and well-being from employment should instead reflect and support the dynamism and diversity of work forms across the region.

We Just Ran Twenty-Three Million Queries of the World Bank’s Website

May 9, 2014 Comments off

We Just Ran Twenty-Three Million Queries of the World Bank’s Website
Source: Center for Global Development

Much of the data underlying global poverty and inequality estimates is not in the public domain, but can be accessed in small pieces using the World Bank’s PovcalNet online tool. To overcome these limitations and reproduce this database in a format more useful to researchers, we ran approximately 23 million queries of the World Bank’s web site, accessing only information that was already in the public domain. This web scraping exercise produced 10,000 points on the cumulative distribution of income or consumption from each of 942 surveys spanning 127 countries over the period 1977 to 2012. This short note describes our methodology, briefly discusses some of the relevant intellectual property issues, and illustrates the kind of calculations that are facilitated by this data set, including growth incidence curves and poverty rates using alternative PPP indices. The full data can be downloaded at www.cgdev.org/povcalnet.

Entrepreneurship Education and Training Programs around the World : Dimensions for Success

May 6, 2014 Comments off

Entrepreneurship Education and Training Programs around the World : Dimensions for Success
Source: World Bank

Entrepreneurship has attracted global interest for its potential to catalyze economic and social development. Research suggesting that certain entrepreneurial mindsets and skills can be learned has given rise to the field of entrepreneurship education and training (EET). Despite the growth of EET, global knowledge about these programs and their impact remains thin. In response, this study surveys the available literature and program evaluations to propose a Conceptual Framework for understanding the EET program landscape.

The study finds that EET today consists of a heterogeneous mix of programs that can be broken into two groups: entrepreneurship education and entrepreneurship training. These programs target a range of participants: secondary and post-secondary education students, as well as potential and practicing entrepreneurs. The outcomes measured by program evaluations are equally diverse but generally fall under the domains of entrepreneurial mindsets and capabilities, entrepreneurial status, and entrepreneurial performance. The dimensions of EET programs vary according the particular target group. Programs targeting secondary education students focus on the development of foundational skills linked to entrepreneurship, while post-secondary education programs emphasize skills related to strategic business planning. Programs targeting potential entrepreneurs generally are embedded within broader support programs and tend to target vulnerable populations for whom employment alternatives may be limited. While programs serving practicing entrepreneurs focus on strengthening entrepreneurs’ knowledge, skills and business practices, which while unlikely to transform an enterprise in the near term, may accrue benefits to entrepreneurs over time.

The study also offers implications for policy and program implementation, emphasizing the importance of clarity about target groups and desired outcomes when making program choices, and sound understanding of extent to which publicly-supported programs offer a broader public good, and compare favorably to policy alternatives for supporting the targeted individuals as well as the overall economic and social objectives.

Do Poverty Traps Exist?

April 25, 2014 Comments off

Do Poverty Traps Exist?
Source: World Bank

This paper reviews the empirical evidence on the existence of poverty traps, understood as self-reinforcing mechanisms through which poor individuals or countries remain poor. Poverty traps have captured the interest of many development policy makers, because poverty traps provide a theoretically coherent explanation for persistent poverty. They also suggest that temporary policy interventions may have long-term effects on poverty. However, a review of the reduced-form empirical evidence suggests that truly stagnant incomes of the sort predicted by standard models of poverty traps are in fact quite rare. Moreover, the empirical evidence regarding several canonical mechanisms underlying models of poverty traps is mixed.

Categories: poverty, World Bank

Ending poverty requires more than growth, says WBG

April 21, 2014 Comments off

Ending poverty requires more than growth, says WBG
Source: World Bank

While economic growth remains vital for reducing poverty, growth has its limits, according to a new World Bank paper released today. Countries need to complement efforts to enhance growth with policies that allocate more resources to the extreme poor. These resources can be distributed through the growth process itself, by promoting more inclusive growth, or through government programs, such as conditional and direct cash transfers.

In addition, the paper notes, it is imperative not just to lift people out of extreme poverty; it is also important to make sure that, in the long run, they do not get stuck just above the extreme poverty line due to a lack of opportunities that might impede progress toward better livelihoods.

Taking on the Rising Death Toll from Traffic & Pollution

April 11, 2014 Comments off

Taking on the Rising Death Toll from Traffic & Pollution
Source: World Bank

+ The annual death toll linked to road transportation is higher than many policy makers realize, reaching at least 1.5 million people worldwide and rising, according to a new analysis.

+ The report, Transport for Health, counts the number of lives lost to road crashes and, for the first time, also quantifies deaths related to vehicle pollution.

+ It offers practical actions countries can take now to improve transportation, air quality, and road safety data.

Inside Inequality in the Arab Republic of Egypt : Facts and Perceptions across People, Time, and Space

April 8, 2014 Comments off

Inside Inequality in the Arab Republic of Egypt : Facts and Perceptions across People, Time, and Space
Source: World Bank

This book joins four papers prepared in the framework of the Egypt inequality study financed by the World Bank. The first paper prepared by Sherine Al-Shawarby reviews the studies on inequality in Egypt since the 1950s with the double objective of illustrating the importance attributed to inequality through time and of presenting and compare the main published statistics on inequality. To our knowledge, this is the first time that such a comprehensive review is carried. The second paper prepared by Branko Milanovic turns to the global and spatial dimensions of inequality. The objective here is to put Egypt inequality in the global context and better understand the origin and size of spatial inequalities within Egypt using different forms of measurement across regions and urban and rural areas. The Egyptian society remains deeply divided across space and in terms of welfare and this study unveils some of the hidden features of this inequality. The third paper prepared by Paolo Verme studies facts and perceptions of inequality during the period 2000-2009, the period that preceded the Egyptian revolution. The objective of this part is to provide some initial elements that could explain the apparent mismatch between inequality measured with household surveys and inequality aversion measured by values surveys. No such study has been carried out before in the Middle-East and North-Africa (MENA) region and this seemed a particular important and timely topic to address in the light of the unfolding developments in the Arab region. The fourth paper prepared by Sahar El Tawila, May Gadallah and Enas Ali A. El-Majeed assesses the state of poverty and inequality among the poorest villages of Egypt. The paper attempts to explain the level of inequality in an effort to disentangle those factors that derive from household abilities from those factors that derive from local opportunities. This is the first time that such study is conducted in Egypt. The book should be of interest to any observer of the political and economic evolution of the Arab region in the past few years and to poverty and inequality specialists that wish to have a deeper understanding of the distribution of incomes in Egypt and other countries in the MENA region.

Reforms in Land Use and Local Finances Will Help Make China’s Urbanization More Efficient

March 27, 2014 Comments off

Reforms in Land Use and Local Finances Will Help Make China’s Urbanization More Efficient
Source: World Bank

  • In the last 30 years, urbanization helped lift half a billion people in China out of poverty
  • Urban strains caused by inefficient urban sprawl are showing
  • New report lays out comprehensive reform agenda toward efficient, inclusive and sustainable urbanization

Asia — Energizing Green Cities: Solutions to Meet Demand and Spark Economic Growth

March 21, 2014 Comments off

Energizing Green Cities: Solutions to Meet Demand and Spark Economic Growth
Source: World Bank

Cities in Southeast Asia (SEA) are growing twice as fast as the rest of the world and by 2030, it is expected that 70 percent of SEA population will live in cities. Worldwide, cities account for around two-thirds of global energy demand and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. While cities have always been the engines of economic growth, now they also hold the key to a sustainable development in SEA. Given their size and dynamic growth, SEA cities today have a unique opportunity to also become global engines of green growth by choosing energy-efficient solutions for their infrastructure needs.

Improving energy efficiency isn’t just good for the environment; it’s good for economic growth, says a World Bank report, “Energizing Green Cities in Southeast Asia – Applying Sustainable Urban Energy and Emissions Planning.” According to the report, there is a clear correlation between investments in energy efficient solutions in infrastructure and economic growth, based on a study of three cities – Da Nang in Vietnam, Surabaya in Indonesia and Cebu City in the Philippines. By improving energy efficiency and reducing GHG emissions, cities not only help the global environment, but they also support local economic development through productivity gains, reduced pollution, and more efficient use of resources.

Social Gains in the Balance : A Fiscal Policy Challenge for Latin America and the Caribbean

March 11, 2014 Comments off

Social Gains in the Balance : A Fiscal Policy Challenge for Latin America and the Caribbean
Source: World Bank

In 2012, the Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) region continued its successful drive to reduce poverty and build the middle class. The proportion of the region’s 600 million people living in extreme poverty, defined in the region as life on less than $2.50 a day, was cut in half between 2003 and 2012 to 12.3 percent. Reflecting the upward mobility out of poverty, households vulnerable to falling back into poverty became the largest group in LAC in 2005, and represent almost 38 percent of the population. However, in the last two years, the share of vulnerable households has started to decline. The middle class, currently 34.3 percent of the population, is growing rapidly and is projected to replace the vulnerable as the largest economic group in LAC by 2016. The Southern Cone region (including Brazil) continued to be the most dynamic region and the main driver of poverty reduction in LAC, while poverty in Central America and Mexico proved more stubborn. About 68 percent of poverty reduction between 2003 and 2012 was driven by economic growth, with the remaining 32 percent arising from decline in inequality. Overall, equality of access to basic childhood goods and services has improved in recent years. Yet access can be further improved, and serious issues remain concerning the quality of those goods and services, particularly in education and housing infrastructure. Moreover, access increases with parental education and income or assets, reflecting low intergenerational mobility in many countries in the region. As with poverty reduction, most of the progress in equality of access since 2000 has come in the Southern Cone and the Andean regions, while many of Central America’s countries managed only small improvements. There are also severe differences at the subnational level and between urban and rural areas, highlighting the need to strengthen the capacity of local governments to deliver high quality basic services to all their citizens.

International Debt Statistics 2014

March 3, 2014 Comments off

International Debt Statistics 2014
Source: World Bank

International Debt Statistics (IDS) 2014 is a continuation of the World Bank’s publications Global Development Finance, Volume II (1997 through 2009) and the earlier World Debt Tables (1973 through 1996). IDS 2014 provides statistical tables showing the external debt of 128 developing countries that report public and publicly guaranteed external debt to the World Bank’s Debtor Reporting System (DRS). It also includes tables of key debt ratios for individual reporting countries and the composition of external debt stocks and flows for individual reporting countries and regional and income groups along with some graphical presentations.

IDS 2014 draws on a database maintained by the World Bank External Debt (WBXD) system. Longer time series and more detailed data are available from the World Bank open databases, which contain more than 200 time series indicators, covering the years 1970 to 2012 for most reporting countries, and pipeline data for scheduled debt service payments on existing commitments to 2019.

International Debt Statistics 2014 is unique in its coverage of the important trends and issues fundamental to the financing of the developing world. This report is an indispensable resource for governments, economists, investors, financial consultants, academics, bankers, and the entire development community.

In addition, International Debt Statistics will showcase the broader spectrum of debt data collected and compiled by the World Bank. These include the high frequency, quarterly external debt database (QEDS) and the quarterly public sector database (QPSD) developed in partnership with the International Monetary Fund and launched by the World Bank.

How gender affects life choices among Bulgarian Roma

February 22, 2014 Comments off

How gender affects life choices among Bulgarian Roma
Source: World Bank

+ Roma represent a large ethnic minority in Bulgaria, but it is not a homogeneous group – as many as 60 different Roma groups live in the country with different culture, traditions and religion.

+ Roma are one of the poorest populations in Bulgaria. As many as one in three Roma live in extreme poverty earning less than $4.30 a day, compared to just one in twenty among the rest of the population.

+ But poverty is not the only challenge: traditional social norms, including gender roles, are changing and tensions between those who seek to cope by adopting new roles and those who want to preserve traditional roles and values are emerging.

Urbanization as Opportunity

February 21, 2014 Comments off

Urbanization as Opportunity (PDF)
Source: World Bank (forthcoming)

The developing world already packs 2.6 billion people into its relatively dense cities. In 100 years, it could have three times as many urban residents. As their per capita income grows, they will they will also demand more land, perhaps twice as much per person as they do today. Governments can accommodate this increased demand either with a sixfold increase in the average built area of existing cities or with a combined strategy of expanding existing cities and developing entirely new cities. The Commissioners’ Plan of 1811, which guided a sevenfold increase in the built area of New York City, shows that a government can manage successful urban expansion on the required scale if it implements a plan that is narrow but strong. China’s development of Shenzhen shows that a government can use a new city to unleash systemic reform. The next few decades offer a unique opportunity to speed up progress by following these examples.

Gender at Work

February 20, 2014 Comments off

Gender at Work (PDF)
Source: World Bank

A companion to the 2013 World Development Report on jobs, Gender at Work finds huge, persistent gender gaps at work around the world. This major new report advances our understanding of key trends, patterns, and constraints-and offers innovative, promising approaches to policies and programs that can level the playing field.

Raising More Fish to Meet Rising Demand

February 18, 2014 Comments off

Raising More Fish to Meet Rising Demand
Source: World Bank

+ A new World Bank report estimates that in 2030, 62% of the seafood we eat will be farm-raised to meet growing demand from regions such as Asia, where roughly 70% of fish will be consumed. China will produce 37% of the world’s fish, while consuming 38% of world’s food fish.

+ By producing more seafood that is affordable and rich in nutrition, aquaculture can help improve food security and livelihoods for the world’s poorest.

+ The rise in seafood demand gives countries the opportunity to expand and improve responsible fish and shellfish farming practices.

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