Ideas to Action:

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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.

 

What About Gender Equality as a Public-Sector Priority?

We at CGD recently hosted a series of events illuminating the case for smarter gender policy in the private sector, a triple win that would benefit consumers, firms, and emerging economies. Change in private firms is important — but what about the world’s public sector? To create more opportunities for women and create valuable spillover effects, we might start with central banks.

Behind-the-Scenes of #InequalityIs

By now you may have heard of #InequalityIs, the Ford Foundation’s latest endeavor ticking through Twitter feeds around the world. The campaign kicked off last month with a series of videos featuring Sir Elton John, feminist powerhouse Gloria Steinem and journalist/activist/filmmaker Jose Antonio Vargas describing, in two minutes, what inequality means to them. When the Ford Foundation asked senior fellow and migration economist Michael Clemens to weigh in alongside the stars to describe what inequality is, we jumped at the opportunity.

The World Bank’s Poverty Statistics Lack Median Income Data, So We Filled In the Gap Ourselves — Download Available

PovcalNet, the World Bank’s global poverty database, provides all kinds of country statistics, including mean income, the share (and number) of the population living in absolute poverty ($1.90), the poverty gap and several measures of income inequality, such as the Gini coefficient. But one thing it doesn’t provide is median income or consumption. The median is a better measure of “typical” well-being than the mean, which is always skewed to the right.

We’ve been waiting for the World Bank to add these medians to its PovcalNet database, but we got impatient and did it ourselves. By manually running a few hundred queries in PovcalNet, we now have (and can share with you) the latest median income/consumption data for 144 countries (using 2011 PPPs — more on our methods below).

Davos Dreaming: Development without Development

It's that time of year again when presidents, CEOs and civil society leaders get together at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, leaving the rest of us to wonder whether it is really true that a small number of very rich people at the top of the income distribution own more than the bottom half of the world.

Seven Development Policy Wishes for 2016

Sometimes it feels like Groundhog Day. Every twelve months or so, I sit down to write about my main wishes for the forthcoming year in development, and every list for the last few years has included my desire to see the US make good on its commitment to IMF quota reform (which would be of little extra cost to the US taxpayer as the US share of IMF funds could be augmented from existing monies already set aside for global financial crises). Dear reader, you can share my past frustration here, here and here.

There’s No Magic Bullet, But We Have the Tools to Reduce Inequality

Reducing inequality is front and center of the current economic policy agenda. Multilateral institutions like the IMF and the World Bank have accepted that high inequality leads to macroeconomic instability and lowers growth and that lower inequality helps make growth sustainable in the long run. But there is no magic bullet.

The World Bank’s New Global Poverty Line

This week saw the release of the World Bank’s updated global poverty counts. There is new country-level data on poverty and inequality underlying these revisions. But the big change is that the numbers are now anchored to the 2011 Purchasing Power Parity (PPP) rates for consumption from the International Comparisons Program (ICP). Previously the numbers were based on the prior ICP round for 2005.

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