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Views from the Center

CGD experts offer ideas and analysis to improve international development policy. Also check out our Global Health blog and US Development Policy blog.

 

How to Avoid Indicator Scandals: Three Ways to Fix the Doing Business Index

On Friday, the World Bank’s chief economist, Paul Romer, told the Wall Street Journal that the Bank unfairly influenced its own competitiveness rankings. He highlighted the case of Chile which suffered lower rankings on the Doing Business index during the Bachelet administration versus the Piñera years, and recalculated these rankings on his personal blog. Today, he issued a clarification of his views.  

IMF and World Bank Annual Meetings 2016: Leveraging Global Growth in Challenging Times

Beginning this Friday, the Annual Meetings of the IMF and World Bank will take place against the backdrop of a still-sputtering global economy, a growing number of displaced people, and a warming climate. In the face of these headwinds, a major priority for the multilaterals has to be to energize their members to spur global growth while also helping to address the challenge of global public goods.

We Read the New World Bank Group Strategy, So You Don't Have To

This is a joint post with Mead Over

The new World Bank Group Strategy posted this week for discussion by the Development Committee, the ministerial-level forum that oversees the World Bank and the IMF, provides a solid analytical foundation for what has so far been a messy and disjointed re-organization effort. The release of the paper coincided with a speech by bank president Jim Kim that covered much of the same ground, but the strategy paper digs deeper.  For those of us who believe that the World Bank has a crucial role to play in addressing the problems of the 21st Century, there is much to applaud.

Organize the World Bank Like a University, Not a Consulting Firm

This is a joint post with Alan Gelb.

In response to our August 5 blog criticizing the World Bank’s current reorganization plans, a few readers wrote to ask us if we could come up with a better idea. This is a daunting challenge. We’ve heard that the Bank has spent millions over more than a year to generate more than 40 ideas about how to tweak the Bank’s organization and has intensively discussed three overarching ideas, for none of which we have actually seen a background paper – or even a PowerPoint.  So with brains unfettered by facts, uncluttered by concept papers, bereft of briefings and emboldened by ignorance, here goes…

World Bank Reorganization: To What End?

This is a joint post with Mead Over.

The World Bank is reorganizing. Bloomberg reports that president Jim Yong Kim has written staff about a shake-up at the bank’s highest levels in preparation for implementing an as-yet-to-be-announced new institutional strategy. Such can be unsettling for bank employees, some of whom will find their jobs on the line and others who may get new bosses. Is there any reason for the rest of the world to care?

New Structural Economics: Industrial Policy 2.0 or Same Old Structuralism?

This is a joint post with Julia Clark and Christian Meyer.

Industrial policy—as many have already commented—is back. (See here, here and here).

The recent wave of post-financial-crisis interventionism has reignited the classic (and often heated) debate about whether governments can in fact nurture economic growth. Previous analysis of the East Asian miracle, and frustration at the perceived failure of certain liberalization policies, has led many to (again) embrace a more activist role for governments in economic development.

Does It Matter Who Runs the World Bank?

With Robert Zoellick’s announcement that he will step down from the World Bank presidency at the end of June, now comes the question of who his successor will be, particularly whether it will be an American.  Just a few days ago I commented on the awkwardness of the situation for the White House.

World Bank Results Initiative: The U.S. Should Support It – But with Independent Verification Please

For more than two years, the staff of the World Bank have been developing a new lending instrument that would link financing to measurable results within countries. If approved, it would be the third instrument at the World Bank; the two that exist now are “investment loans” under which inputs, not results, are financed; and policy based loans, under which policy changes are financed.

Shortcut to Accountability? A World Bank Call to Try Cash Transfers

This is a joint post with Stephanie Majerowicz

The World Bank’s Shanta Devarajan and Marcelo Giugale in yesterday’s Guardian Poverty Matters blog write:

Except for Botswana, the track record of Africa's mineral and hydrocarbon exporters is sobering. While Africa's central banks are today better equipped to deal with currency appreciation, and its civil society more alert to environmental hazards, the institutions that control graft are not strong. They must be improved. However, this will take time. Is there a shortcut to better accountability in the management of natural resources? Yes, there is: direct transfers of resource dividends to citizens.

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