Despite improvements in censuses and household surveys, the building blocks of national statistical systems in sub-Saharan Africa remain weak. Measurement of fundamentals such as births and deaths, growth and poverty, taxes and trade, land and the environment, and sickness, schooling, and safety is shaky at best. The Data for African Development Working Group’s recommendations for reaping the benefits of a data revolution in Africa fall into three categories: (1) fund more and fund differently, (2) build institutions that can produce accurate, unbiased data, and (3) prioritize the core attributes of data building blocks.
Getting Serious about Underperformance of the African Growth and Opportunity Act: Policy Options for Supporting Trade Potential in Africa
With the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) scheduled to expire in September 2015, the US Congress and Obama Administration will need to consider its status this year.
Africa’s industrial progress has been disappointing. Part of the reason is that labor costs are higher than one might expect, given GDP per capita. Alan Gelb, Christian Meyer, and Vijaya Ramachandran distill the policy lessons.
China's Development Finance to Africa: A Media-Based Approach to Data Collection - Working Paper 323
China’s presence in Africa is, beyond dispute, large in both trade and what can be called official finance to Africa. But how large, exactly? A new database from the College of William and Mary brings additional resources to help answer the question. This paper describes the new database, its key findings, and its possible applications and limitations of the data, which is being made publicly available for the first time.
Regional trade agreements such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership and Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership could leave some poor countries behind. Here are three policy changes to help Congress and President Obama avoid doing so.
Cash or Coupons? Testing the Impacts of Cash versus Vouchers in the Democratic Republic of Congo - Working Paper 320
Despite the increased use of conditional and unconditional cash-transfer programs worldwide, a majority of social protection programs in both developed and developing countries use in-kind transfers and vouchers. This paper reports the results of a randomized evaluation of an unconditional cash transfer and voucher program in the Democratic Republic of Congo, a country that has been plagued by intense civil war for much of the past two decades.
A number of Andean countries stand out in their successful use of macroprudential financial regulations. This paper focuses on three: countercyclical capital requirements, countercyclical loan-loss provisioning requirements, and liquidity requirements.
This paper discusses the potential usefulness of implementing macroprudential approach in Central America.
Hoping to Win, Expected to Lose: Theory and Lessons on Microenterprise Development - Working Paper 312
How do entrepreneurs learn whether they have what it takes to manage larger businesses? It's likely through experimentation. In this paper, Dean Karlan, Ryan Knight, and Christopher Udry develop a model to help understand the impediments to experimentation and the benefits to giving it a try.
The Impact of Taxes and Social Spending on Inequality and Poverty in Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Mexico, and Peru: A Synthesis of Results - Working Paper 311
Latin America is known for high levels of inequality, which governments can lessen somewhat through smart policy. In this paper, Nora Lustig and others analyze how and whether taxes, subsidies, and social spending reduce inequality across countries in the region and identify which policies are most beneficial.
This paper details that results of an experiment in northern Ghana in which small-scale farmers were randomly given different kinds of potentially risk-reducing assistance.
Declining Inequality in Latin America in the 2000s: The Cases of Argentina, Brazil, and Mexico - Working Paper 307
Income inequality fell in most of Latin America in the 2000s after rising in the 1990s. In this paper, Nora Lustig, Luis Lopez-Calva, and Eduardo Ortis-Juarez investigate why.
This course aims to develop a broad understanding of the dynamics of inequality and poverty in Latin America and how market forces and government policies affect those dynamics.
In this paper, Nancy Birdsall sets out basic information on the growing middle class in Latin America and the Caribbean and provides grounds for optimism that such expansion might reinforce the inclusive politics that sustain broadly shared growth.
No Longer Poor: Ghana’s New Income Status and Implications of Graduation from IDA - Working Paper 300
Ghana’s rapid economic growth and the recent GDP rebasing exercise put Ghana suddenly above the income limit for IDA eligibility. This paper considers the implications of the country’s new middle-income status.
State Health Insurance and Out-of-Pocket Health Expenditures in Andhra Pradesh, India - Working Paper 298
The authors of this working paper analyze the effects of the Aarogyasri health insurance program deployed in 2007 in Andhra Pradesh to reduce catastrophic health expenditures in households below the poverty line.
In this report, senior fellow Liliana Rojas-Suarez and José Luis Guasch, senior regional advisor on regulation and competition at the World Bank, investigate what donors can do to help Central America secure sustained growth, alleviate poverty, and reduce inequality, and what the role is for the private sector. They focus their recommendations on five areas in which policy changes can make Central American economies more competitive.
Capital Requirements under Basel III in Latin America: The Cases of Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru - Working Paper 296
This paper conducts a detailed calculation of capital held by the banks in four Latin American countries—known as the Andean countries: Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru—and assesses the potential effects of full compliance with the capital requirements under Basel III.