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An aerial view of the Za'atri camp in Jordan for Syrian refugees on July 18, 2013. State Department photo/Public Domain.
June 28, 2018

Refugee Spending and the Macroeconomic Program in Jordan

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?

Stock photo of a foggy rainforest
June 14, 2018

The Tropical Forest Finance Facility

A proposal for a pay-for-performance mechanism to finance sustainable development goals and global public goods that maximizes the efficient use of public credit and builds on major technology breakthroughs for measuring results.

Michele de Nevers , Kenneth Lay , Michael Wolosin and Patricia Bliss-Guest
Cover: Unequal Ventures
April 30, 2018

Unequal Ventures: Results from a Baseline Study of Gender and Entrepreneurship in East Java, Indonesia

A study of women and men business owners in East Java offers a unique opportunity to analyze characteristics of entrepreneurs and their businesses by gender for a country where such systematic data are scarce. The study is one of two randomized controlled trials launched in 2015 to assess the power of mobile savings and training for women entrepreneurs. This report details baseline results from the Indonesia trial, still under way, which is testing whether providing financial literacy training for women who are potential bank clients and varying financial incentives to bank agents promoting a new mobile savings product make a difference in increasing  entrepreneurs’ uptake of formal savings and in improving economic outcomes. Short-term results of the other trial, in Tanzania, were reported in the first report in this series.

Mayra Buvinic , James C. Knowles and Firman Witoelar
Cover of "Mindful Saving: Exploring the Power of Savings for Women"
March 22, 2018

Mindful Saving: Exploring the Power of Savings for Women

Mobile savings hold great promise, because they can considerably reduce transaction costs that can be unduly heavy for women. Two questions guide us: how can we encourage more women microentrepreneurs to access formal savings accounts, and is mobile saving a particularly fitting solution? This series uses empirical evidence to address these issues.

Cover of Working Paper 478
March 16, 2018

Short-Term Impacts of Improved Access to Mobile Savings, with and without Business Training: Experimental Evidence from Tanzania - Working Paper 478

This paper presents short-term results from an experiment randomizing the promotion and registration of a mobile savings account among women microentrepreneurs in Tanzania, with and without business training. Six months post-intervention, the results show that women save substantially more through the mobile account, and that the business training bolstered this effect. 

Gautam Bastian , Iacopo Bianchi , Markus Goldstein and Joao Montalvao
Cover of Policy Paper 121
March 4, 2018

Examining the Debt Implications of the Belt and Road Initiative from a Policy Perspective

China’s Belt and Road Initiative hopes to deliver trillions of dollars in infrastructure financing to Asia, Europe, and Africa. This paper assesses the likelihood of debt problems in the 68 countries identified as potential BRI borrowers. We conclude that eight countries are at particular risk of debt distress based on an identified pipeline of project lending associated with BRI. 

Cover of Working Paper 475
February 5, 2018

FDI and Supply Chains in Horticulture (Vegetables, Fruits, and Flowers, Raw, Packaged, Cut, and Processed): Diversifying Exports and Reducing Poverty in Africa, Latin America, and Other Developing Economies - Working Paper 475

Prior research on foreign investment and supply chains in emerging markets has focused almost exclusively on the creation of international networks in manufacturing and assembly. This paper extends that research, looking beyond manufacturing into supply chain creation in horticulture in developing countries.

Cover of Policy Paper 116
January 17, 2018

Comparing Five Bilateral Development Finance Institutions and the IFC

Development Finance Institutions (DFIs)—which provide financing to private investors in developing economies—have seen rapid expansion over the past few years. This paper describes and analyses a new dataset covering the five largest bilateral DFIs alongside the IFC which includes project amounts, standardized sectors, instruments, and countries. The aim is to establish the size and scope of DFIs and to compare and contrast them with the IFC.

Cover of Policy Paper 115
January 17, 2018

Inside the Portfolio of the International Finance Corporation: Does IFC Do Enough in Low-Income Countries?

IFC’s portfolio is not focused where it could make the most difference. Low income countries are where IFC has the scale to make a considerable difference to development outcomes. While an excessive portfolio shift might imperil IFC’s credit rating, the evidence suggests that there is considerable scope for increasing commitments to low income countries without significant impact to IFC’s credit scores.

December 14, 2017

Towards the Argentine Presidency in the G20: What Macro-Financial Challenges Does the Region Face and What Are the Implications for the Debate?

After the slowdown of the Chinese economy and the sharp decrease in commodity prices, the Latin American macroeconomic outlook has worsened substantially in relation to the boom that occurred between 2003 and 2012, despite favorable external conditions characterized by significantly high liquidity in international capital markets and a strong economic recovery in developed nations.

Cover of Working Paper 473
December 13, 2017

Encouraging State Governments to Protect and Restore Forests Using Ecological Fiscal Transfers: India’s Tax Revenue Distribution Reform - Working Paper 473

India’s tax revenue distribution reform creates the world’s first ecological fiscal transfers (EFTs) for forest cover, and a potential model for other countries. In this paper we discuss the origin of India’s EFTs and their potential effects. In a simple preliminary analysis, we do not yet observe that the EFTs have increased forest cover across states, consistent with our hypothesis that one to two years of operation is too soon for the reform to have had an effect. This means there remains substantial scope for state governments to protect and restore forests as an investment in future state revenues.

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