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08 декабря 2014, 08:00

How significant is Africa's demographic dividend for its future growth and poverty reduction ?

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Africa will be undergoing substantial demographic changes in the coming decades with the rising working age share of its population. The opportunity of African countries to convert these changes into demographic dividends for growth and poverty reduction will depend on several factors. The outlook will likely be good if African countries can continue the gains already made under better institutions and policies, particularly those affecting the productivity of labor, such as educational outcomes. If African countries can continue to build on the hard-won development gains, the demographic dividend could account for 11 to 15 percent of gross domestic product volume growth by 2030, while accounting for 40 to 60 million fewer poor in 2030. The gains can become much more substantial with even better educational outcomes that allow African countries to catch up to other developing countries. If the skill share of Africa's labor supply doubles because of improvements in educational attainment, from 25 to about 50 percent between 2011 and 30, then the demographic dividends can expand the regional economy additionally by 22 percent by 2030 relative to the base case and reduce poverty by an additional 51 million people.

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03 декабря 2014, 08:00

Local foundations for better governance : A Review of Ghazala Mansuri and Vijayendra Rao's Localizing Development

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In Localizing Development, Mansuri and Rao survey theory and evidence for development strategies based on local community empowerment. This note extends their theoretical argument by focusing on local government as a vital source of new leadership. Local leaders who provide better public service can prove their qualifications for higher office, but new competition from popular local leaders may be against the interests of incumbent national leaders. Thus, decentralization reforms that could benefit economic development may face powerful resistance. International assistance should promote a balanced development of local and national governments, along with a free press to monitor government at all levels. To better inform public discussions of decentralization reforms, the World Bank should actively support research on comparative subnational politics.

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03 декабря 2014, 08:00

Party age and party color : new results on the political economy of redistribution and inequality

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This paper advances research on inequality with unique, new data on income distribution in 61 countries, including 20 Latin American countries, to explore the effects of political parties on redistribution. First, consistent with a central -- but still contested -- assumption of the political economy literature, left-wing governments redistribute more. In addition, consistent with recent research on the importance of party organization and the organizational differences between younger and older parties, older left-wing parties are more likely to internalize the long-run costs of redistribution and to be more credible in their commitment to redistribution, leading them to redistribute less. With entirely different data, the paper also provides evidence on mechanisms: left-wing governments not only redistribute more, they tax more; older left-wing parties, though, tax less than younger ones.

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26 ноября 2014, 08:00

Climate change and poverty -- an analytical framework

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Climate change and climate policies will affect poverty reduction efforts through direct and immediate impacts on the poor and by affecting factors that condition poverty reduction, such as economic growth. This paper explores this relation between climate change and policies and poverty outcomes by examining three questions: the (static) impact on poor people's livelihood and well-being; the impact on the risk for non-poor individuals to fall into poverty; and the impact on the ability of poor people to escape poverty. The paper proposes four channels that determine household consumption and through which households may escape or fall into poverty (prices, assets, productivity, and opportunities). It then discusses whether and how these channels are affected by climate change and climate policies, focusing on the exposure, vulnerability, and ability to adapt of the poor (and those vulnerable to poverty). It reviews the existing literature and offers three major conclusions. First, climate change is likely to represent a major obstacle to a sustained eradication of poverty. Second, climate policies are compatible with poverty reduction provided that (i) poverty concerns are carefully taken into account in their design and (ii) they are accompanied by the appropriate set of social policies. Third, climate change does not modify how poverty policies should be designed, but it creates greater needs and more urgency. The scale issue is explained by the fact that climate will cause more frequent and more severe shocks; the urgency, by the need to exploit the window of opportunity given to us before climate impacts are likely to substantially increase.

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26 ноября 2014, 08:00

Trade and civil conflict : revisiting the cross-country evidence

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This paper revisits and expands the evidence on the impact of trade shocks on intra-state conflict with a large sample of developing countries in the 1960-2010 period. The results suggest that increases in the prices of a country's exported commodities raise the country's risk of civil conflict and its duration. The effect on conflict risk is mainly driven by the price of point-source commodities, in line with the rapacity effect theory of conflict. However, the paper does not find support for the opportunity cost theory via exported commodities. The analysis also finds that intense trading with contiguous countries is associated with lower duration of intra-state conflict, consistent with the idea that such trade reduces the incentive of contiguous countries to fuel conflict in their neighbor. Trading with neighbors is also associated with a lower risk of conflict, when such trade occurs under trade agreements. By contrast, neither imported commodity prices nor the economic cycle in export markets appears to exert any influence on the probability or duration of conflict. The paper identifies several conditions under which changes in the value of exported commodities cease to matter for conflict probability.

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24 ноября 2014, 08:00

Importing high food prices by exporting : rice prices in Lao PDR

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This paper shows how a developing country, Lao PDR, imports high glutinous rice prices by exporting its staple food to neighboring countries, Vietnam and Thailand. Lao PDR has extensive export controls on rice, generating a sizable difference between domestic and international prices. Controls are relaxed after good harvests, leading to a surge in exports early in the season and rapidly rising prices later in the year. There is thus a strong case for removal of trade restrictions since they give rise to price spikes, keep the long-term price of glutinous rice low, and thereby hinder increases in income from agriculture. Although this is a case study of Lao PDR, the findings may equally apply to other developing countries that export their staple food.

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24 ноября 2014, 08:00

What doesn't kill you makes you poorer : adult wages and the early-life disease environment in India

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A growing literature documents links between early-life health and human capital, and between human capital and adult wages. Although most of this literature has focused on developed countries, economists have hypothesized that effects of early-life health on adult economic outcomes could be even greater in developing countries. This paper asks whether the early-life disease environment in India influences adult economic wages. The paper uses two measures of early-life disease environment to investigate this question: infant mortality rates and open defecation. A district-level differences-in-differences strategy is used to show that men born in district-years with lower infant mortality and better sanitation earned plausibly higher wages in their 20s and 30s. The effect estimates are applied to calculate the fiscal and welfare consequences of the disease environment, which are considerable. In particular, eliminating open defecation would increase tax revenue by enough to offset completely a cost to the government of over \$400 per household that stops defecating in the open. A fiscally neutral elimination of open defecation in India would increase the net present value of lifetime wages by more than \$1,800 for an average male worker born today. These large economic benefits ignore any other benefits of improved health or reduced mortality. The result suggests that the disease environment could have important effects on developing-country economic outcomes.

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19 ноября 2014, 08:00

The creative wealth of nations : how the performing arts can advance development and human progress

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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. increasing 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.

17 ноября 2014, 08:00

Milking the data : measuring income from milk production in extensive livestock systems -- experimental evidence from Niger

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Milk is an important source of cash and nutrients for many households in developing countries. Yet, the understanding of the role of dairy production in livelihoods and nutritional outcomes is hindered by the lack of decent quality household survey data. Data on milk off-take for human consumption are difficult to collect in household surveys for several reasons that make accurate recall challenging for the respondent (continuous production and seasonality, among others). As a result, the quantification and valuation of milk off-take is particularly difficult in household surveys, introducing possibly severe biases in the computation of full household incomes and farm sales, as well as in the estimation of the contribution of livestock (specifically dairy) production in agricultural value added and the livelihoods of rural households. This paper presents results from a validation exercise implemented in Niger, where alternative survey instruments based on recall methods were administered to randomly selected households and compared with a 12-month system of physical monitoring and recording of milk production. The results of the exercise show that reasonably accurate estimates via recall methods are possible and provide a clear ranking of questionnaire design options that can inform future survey operations.

14 ноября 2014, 08:00

Does livestock ownership affect animal source foods consumption and child nutritional status ? evidence from rural Uganda

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In many developing countries, consumption of animal source foods among the poor is still at a level where increasing its share in total caloric intake may have many positive nutritional benefits. This paper explores whether ownership of various livestock species increases consumption of animal source foods and helps improve child nutritional status. The paper finds some evidence that food consumption patterns and nutritional outcomes may be affected by livestock ownership in rural Uganda. The results are suggestive that promoting (small) livestock ownership has the potential to affect human nutrition in rural Uganda, but further research is needed to estimate more precisely the direction and size of these effects.

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13 ноября 2014, 08:00

Income diversification patterns in rural Sub-Saharan Africa : reassessing the evidence

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Is Africa's rural economy transforming as its economies grow? This paper uses comparable income aggregates from 41 national household surveys from 22 countries to explore the extent of income diversification among rural households in Sub-Saharan Africa, and to look at how income diversification in Sub-Saharan Africa compares with other regions, taking into account differences in levels of development. The paper also seeks to understand how geography drives income diversification, focusing on the role of agricultural potential and distance to urban areas. The countries in the African sample have higher shares of on-farm income (63 versus 33 percent) and lower shares on nonagricultural wage income (8 and 21 percent) compared with countries of other regions. Specialization in on-farm activities continues to be the norm in rural Africa (52 percent of households, 21 percent in other regions). In terms of welfare, specialization in nonagricultural income-generating activities stochastically dominates farm-based strategies in all of the countries in our African sample. Crop income is still important for welfare, however, and even at higher levels of household income, crop activities continue to play an important complementary role. Regardless of distance and integration in the urban context, when agro-climatic conditions are favorable, farming remains the occupation of choice for most households in the African countries for which the study has geographically explicit information. When urban integration is low and agricultural conditions more difficult, the picture is mixed, with households more likely to engage more fully in nonfarm activities in Niger and Malawi, but less likely to do so in Uganda and Tanzania.

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13 ноября 2014, 08:00

Twinning the goals : how can promoting shared prosperity help to reduce global poverty ?

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In 2013, the World Bank adopted two goals: First, reduce global extreme poverty to 3 percent by 2030. Second, promote shared prosperity defined as the income growth of the bottom 40 percent of the population within a country. This paper simulates the global poverty headcount under three growth scenarios for the bottom 40 percent up to 2030. The analysis deploys a set of "shared prosperity premiums," in which the bottom 40 percent in each country grows at a differential rate from the projected growth in the mean. With no distributional change, the global headcount reaches between 6.7 and 4.7 percent in 2030, depending on the average growth scenario used for the simulations. However, if the incomes of the bottom 40 percent grow 2 percentage points faster than the mean, the World Bank's poverty goal is achieved with the global poverty falling to below 3 percent in 2030 in the scenarios which average growth rates are extrapolated from the early 2000s. While such a "shared prosperity premium" is not unprecedented in recent growth spells, maintaining it over 20 years in every country is optimistic. The paper shows that in the baseline growth scenario, the global poverty rate could either reach the 3 percent target, or be close to 10 percent, depending on the "shared prosperity premium."