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Global Health Donors Viewed as Regulators of Monopolistic Service Providers: Lessons from Regulatory Literature - Working Paper 424

2/26/16

Controlling healthcare costs while promoting maximum health impact in the recipient countries is one the biggest challenges for global health donors. This paper views global health donors as the regulators of monopolistic service providers, and explores potential optimal fund payment systems under asymmetric information. It provides a summary and assessment of optimal price regulation designs for monopolistic service providers.

Family Planning Program Effects: A Review of Evidence from Microdata - Working Paper 422

2/22/16

This paper reviews empirical evidence on the micro-level consequences of family planning programs in middle- and low-income countries. In doing so, it focuses on fertility outcomes (the number and timing of births), women’s health and socio-economic outcomes, and children’s health and socio-economic outcomes throughout the life cycle. In practice, family planning programs may only explain a modest share of fertility decline in real-world settings, and may also have quantitatively modest - but practically meaningful - effects on the socio-economic welfare of individuals and families.

The New Economic Case for Migration Restrictions: An Assessment - Working Paper 423

2/22/16

For decades, migration economics has stressed the effects of migration restrictions on income distribution in the host country. Recently the literature has taken a new direction by estimating the costs of migration restrictions to global economic efficiency. In contrast, a new strand of research posits that migration restrictions could be not only desirably redistributive, but in fact globally efficient. This is the new economic case for migration restrictions: empirically, a case against the stringency of current restrictions.

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The New Role of the World Bank - Working Paper 421

1/25/16

Many developing countries need the World Bank’s capital less and less. What role should the Bank play in the 21st century? This paper argues that many features of the Bank today reflect a new role. That role, resting on the economic theory of bargaining and public good provision, is to reduce extreme poverty. Donor subsidies to the Bank already reflect this role, which implies new ways to structure and evaluate the Bank’s work.

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Changes in Funding Patterns by Latin American Banking Systems: How Large? How Risky? - Working Paper 420

11/20/15

This paper investigates the shifts in Latin American banks’ funding patterns in the post-global financial crisis period. To this end, we introduce a new measure of exposure of local banking systems to international debt markets that we term: International Debt Issuances by Locally Supervised Institutions. In contrast to well-known BIS measures, our new metric includes all entities that fall under the supervisory purview of the local authority.

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Asking What the People Want: Using Mobile Phone Surveys to Identify Citizen Priorities - Working Paper 418

10/19/15

Using an experimental design, we assess the feasibility of interactive voice recognition (IVR) surveys for gauging citizens’ development priorities. Our project focuses on four low-income countries (Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Mozambique, and Zimbabwe). We find that mobile phone-based approaches may be an effective tool for gathering information about citizen priorities.

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Toward Better Global Poverty Measures - Working Paper 417

9/16/15

The paper discusses three problems in measuring global poverty: (i) how to allow for social effects on welfare, recognizing the identification issues involved; (ii) the need to monitor progress in raising the consumption floor above its biological level; and (iii) addressing the longstanding concerns about prevailing approaches to making inter-country comparisons of price levels facing poor people.

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Taxes: Price of Civilization or Tribute to Leviathan? - Working Paper 412

8/31/15
Lant Pritchett and Yamini Aiyar

There are two dominant narratives about taxation.  In one, taxes are the “price we pay for a civilized society” (Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.).  In this view taxes are not a necessary evil (as in the pairing of “death and taxes” as inevitable) but a positive good: more taxes buy more “civilization.” The other view is that taxes are “tribute to Leviathan”—a pure involuntary extraction from those engaged in economic production to those who control coercive power producing no reciprocal benefit.  In this view taxes are a bane of the civilized.   We consider the question of taxes as price versus tribute for contemporary India.

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Inequality and Fiscal Redistribution in Middle Income Countries: Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Indonesia, Mexico, Peru and South Africa - Working Paper 410

8/21/15

This paper examines the redistributive impact of fiscal policy for Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Indonesia, Mexico, Peru and South Africa using comparable fiscal incidence analysis with data from around 2010. The largest redistributive effect is in South Africa and the smallest in Indonesia. While fiscal policy always reduces inequality, this is not the case with poverty.

Manufacturing or Services? An Indian Illustration of a Development Dilemma - Working Paper 409

6/10/15
Amrit Amirapu and Arvind Subramanian

Manufacturing has historically offered the fastest path out of poverty, but there is mounting evidence that this path may be all but closed to developing countries today. Some have suggested that services might provide a new path forward, while others have expressed skepticism about this claim and consequent pessimism over the future growth trajectories of developing countries. We contribute to debate this by using a multi-sector growth framework to establish five important criteria that any sector must exhibit in order to lead an economy to rapid, sustained, and inclusive development. 

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