The rising popularity of randomized controlled trials (RCTs) in development applications has come with continuing debates on the pros and cons of this approach. The paper revisits the issues.
Many countries’ systems of basic education are in “stall” condition.
A recent paper of Beatty et al. (2018) uses information from the Indonesia Family Life Survey, a representative household survey that has been carried out in several waves with the same individuals since 2000 and contains information on whether individuals can answer simple arithmetic questions. Figure 1, showing the relationship between the level of schooling and the probability of answering a typical question correctly, has two shocking results.
Demand for and supply of “sustainable” coffee (and other commodities) have grown markedly for two decades, as has the literature analyzing the effects of voluntary sustainability standards for coffee. The evidence for assessing the impacts for smallholder producers and the environment remains relatively weak, however.
I argue that we did learn two very important things from growth research, and these were learned from research in the strong sense that they changed people’s views from a previous view that was incorrect.
An economic, political, and humanitarian crisis has driven more than one million Venezuelans across the border into Colombia in the past year. Countries hosting Venezuelans have done so with relative welcome, keeping their borders open and offering some services and protection to migrants. But additional significant financial and other support will be required to meet the needs of both migrants and hosts.
If You Build It, Will They Consume? Key Challenges for Universal, Reliable, and Low-Cost Electricity Delivery in Kenya - Working Paper 491
Kenya’s rapid electrification in the past decade has improved the lives of millions, but significant challenges remain. This paper provides analysis that shows electrification can be improved by considering cheaper options that still meet the needs of low consumers and that low consumption is a first-order problem for the sustainability of utilities.
Competing or Complementary Strategies? Protecting Indigenous Rights and Paying to Conserve Forests - Working Paper 490
In 2007, the UN General Assembly adopted the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the UNFCCC endorsed the Bali Action Plan to pay for reductions in tropical deforestation. This paper reviews the history of efforts to protect indigenous rights and to pay for conserving forests and analyzes how they might be competing or complementary strategies.
What Mining Can Learn from Oil: A Study of Special Transfer Pricing Practices in the Oil Sector, and their Potential Application to Hard Rock Minerals
Governments of mining countries are vulnerable to investors manipulating transfer prices as a means of avoiding paying taxes. This paper looks at whether special practices in the oil sector that provide materially greater protection against transfer pricing risk could be applied to hard rock minerals. These are (1) administrative pricing, where government, rather than the taxpayer sets the price for crude oil; and (2) the no-profit rule, which prevents joint venture partners from charging a profit mark-up on the cost of providing goods and services to the group.
Digital Governance in Developing Countries: Beneficiary Experience and Perceptions of System Reform in Rajasthan, India - Working Paper 489
India is at the forefront of the use of digital technology to transform the way in which citizens interact with states. This paper provides a picture of the perceived impact of digitization reforms in Rajasthan, based on a survey of beneficiaries of several benefit programs. We find that, on balance, the reforms appear to have improved perceptions of service delivery despite some difficulties during the digitization process and the possibility that there could have been some degree of exclusion.
In recent years, many global health institutions have adopted eligibility and transition frameworks for the countries they support, generating questions about how these frameworks apply in practice—and whether global health progress will be put at risk through premature or poorly planned transition processes.
Over the past 50 years, Pakistan’s record on macroeconomic management has been mixed. The next crisis is now approaching. Most economists agree that the post-election government will have no alternative but to approach the IMF yet again for another bailout with associated policy conditionality. Against this background, this note examines three questions that economists both within and outside Pakistan are asking.
The Rise of the Robot Reserve Army: Automation and the Future of Economic Development, Work, and Wages in Developing Countries - Working Paper 487
Emerging economies face a contemporary challenge to traditional pathways to employment generation: automation, digitalization, and labor-saving technologies. 1.8 billion jobs—or two-thirds of the current labor force of developing countries—are estimated to be susceptible to automation from today’s technological standpoint.
Even with international assistance, the cost of providing refuge to so many people has strained the budget of the Jordanian government. At the same time, international partners, notably the IMF, have been insisting that Jordan take actions to bring down government debt to “more sustainable levels” through increasing fiscal discipline to tame government deficits. These dual imperatives by the international community—host more refugees and tame the budget—seem to put Jordan in an untenable situation as long as the refugee crisis continues. Something will have to give—the question is how, what, and when?
Women own more than half of all micro, small, and medium enterprises in Indonesia. But of the estimated 22–33 million businesswomen in the country, most operate informal unregistered microenterprises, with significantly fewer assets and profits than men’s. So, to unlock these women’s economic potential, policies must go beyond equalizing characteristics between men and women to addressing social customs and gender discrimination in service provision that tilt business environments in favor of men.
Domestic Resource Mobilization in Low-Income Countries: Proposal for a Surge in Multilateral Support
Rising debt vulnerability in low-income countries (LICs) is emerging as a front-burner issue. Analysts at the IMF and elsewhere are tracking increases in public debt ratios that had fallen after the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries Initiative and the Multilateral Debt Relief Initiative. Forty percent of LICs are either in, or at high risk of, debt distress. Many factors have contributed to rising debt-to-GDP ratios: falling commodity prices, deteriorating fiscal balances, conflict, and corruption, among others. The larger fiscal deficits are fully or partially accounted for by increased public investment in about half of LICs. Which brings us to the challenge of financing the SDGs.
To help demonstrate where MNCs, regional and local businesses, and other actors are best positioned to expand economic opportunities for refugees, we created an interactive tool to map the locations of refugees, and analyzed the extent to which refugees overlap with major urban areas in 31 of the 37 developing countries hosting at least 25,000 refugees.
Creating a Multilateral Wealth Fund for a Global Public Good: Proposed Governance Arrangements for a Tropical Forest Finance Facility
This paper outlines the proposed governance arrangements for the TFFF. The performance payments would be allocated as part of a global offer, available to all countries with extensive tropical forests that meet the performance standards.