Syndicate content

March 2018

The latest research in economics on Africa: The CSAE round-up

Markus Goldstein's picture
This post was coauthored with Niklas Buehren, Joao Montalvao, Sreelakshmi Papineni, and Fei Yuan.   This team couldn’t attend all 106 sessions so coverage is limited.  If there is a paper you saw that you think people should know about please submit a comment. 

New leadership for community-based natural resource management in Mozambique

André Rodrigues de Aquino's picture
Coal selling in Quirimbas National Park, Mozambique. Photo: Andrea Borgarello/World Bank

Night had descended and the rain that had persisted for days finally calmed when the Maputo Declaration of Community-Based Natural Resource Management (CBNRM) was finally agreed upon. But the result was worth the wait.

Getting Zimbabwe’s agriculture moving again: The beckoning of new era

Innocent Kasiyano's picture

‘Our Economic Policy will be predicated on our agriculture which is the mainstay…’ said Zimbabwe President Emmerson Mnangagwa in his inaugural speech in November 2017, setting a new tone for agricultural development in the country. While reiterating that the principles that led to land reform cannot be “challenged” or “reversed,” he called for a “commitment to the utilization of the land for national food security and for the recovery of our economy.”

From London to Abidjan and Accra: Making your chocolate deforestation-free

Richard Scobey's picture
Photo: World Cocoa Foundation.

For five years now, the global community has been observing the International Day of Forests on March 21. It is an occasion to celebrate the wide range of economic and social benefits that forests and trees bring to humankind. Since joining the World Cocoa Foundation (WCF) as its president in July 2016, I have been paying lots of attention to forests in West Africa, which is the world’s leading source of cocoa. These tropical forests, and others like them around the world, play an indispensable role in fighting global climate change by storing carbon. They also meet vital local needs, by cooling temperatures, helping generate rainfall, and purifying the air and water. Healthy forests help rural communities thrive. The paradox is that, over the last 10 years, life-giving forests in Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana were felled at an alarming rate as cocoa farmers, faced with challenges such as low prices, climate change, and low productivity, have expanded the land area on which they grow cocoa. The crop, essential for the chocolate and cocoa products that many of us love, is now seen as a major driver of deforestation in these countries.

Who Joins the Fight Club? The Role of Inequality, Exclusion, and a Sense of Injustice

Bledi Celiku's picture

At least since Aristotle, theorists have believed that political discontent and its consequences—protests, instability, violence, revolution—depend not only on a society’s absolute level of economic well-being, but also on its distribution of wealth. However, many societies also experience low levels of conflict that continue to simmer without tipping over into the kind of outright violence that takes a heavy toll on lives, livelihoods, economic output, and stability for multiple generations.

Civilization, Civilizations, and Art at the World Bank

Gonzalo Castro de la Mata's picture
Eat the News, installation, table, place settings (5) collage, newspaper clippings, enamel, 2017. Courtesy of the Artist, Helen Zughaib
Eat the News, installation, table, place settings (5)
collage, newspaper clippings, enamel, 2017.
Courtesy of the Artist

There is a lot of excitement regarding the new “Civilizations” series on the BBC. Anybody who watched the original 1969 “Civilization” series hosted by Kenneth Clark will find it hard to forget the extraordinary opening scene, in which a professorial Clark, properly attired in tweed and tie, exclaims: “What is civilization? I don’t know, I can’t define it in abstract terms, but I think I can recognize it when I see it, and I am looking at it now.” He then turns back and the camera focuses on Paris’ Notre Dame Cathedral in all its splendor.

The new BBC series is no longer just about European civilization as seen through its artistic achievements since the Renaissance, but expands into civilizations more broadly defined, thus the additional “s.” It is hosted by legendary art historian Simon Schama, as well as Mary Beard and David Olusoga. It covers civilizations around the world including the ancient ones of China, Egypt, and Mexico.  Like the original series, it uses art as a defining and unifying principle that not only accompanies it but more properly, defines and characterizes human civilization.

Why is this so? Once again, turning back to Clark, he quotes John Ruskin as saying, “Great nations write their autobiographies in three manuscripts—the book of their deeds, the book of their words, and the book of their art. Not one of these books can be understood unless we read the two others; but of the three, the only quite trustworthy one is the last.”

Artificial Intelligence for Economic Development Conference: Roundup of 27 presentations

Maria Jones's picture

Is artificial intelligence the future for economic development? Earlier this month, a group of World Bank staff, academic researchers, and technology company representatives convened at a conference in San Francisco to discuss new advances in artificial intelligence. One of the takeaways for Bank staff was how AI technologies might be useful for Bank operations and clients. Below you’ll find a full round-up of all the papers and research-in-progress that was presented. All slides that were shared publicly are linked here, as well as papers or other relevant sites.

Fragility Forum 2018: Can security sector reform prevent conflict?

Bernard Harborne's picture

Consider some figures: In 2016, the world spent almost US$1.7 trillion on military expenditures, a number that included not only weapons, but also pensions and salaries of personnel. By contrast, data from the OECD show that net official development assistance for the same year peaked at US$142 billion. In other words, countries spend over ten times more on war than aid in an era when about 2 billion people still live in places where violence is a threat to life.

Breaking new ground: growing the digital economy through cyber risk reinsurance PPPs in EMDEs

Jinsuk Park's picture

Photo: ItNeverEnds | Pixabay Creative Commons

The digital economy has emerged as a key driver of growth and development across the world. According to Huawei and Oxford Economics, it accounted for 15.5% of global GDP in 2016 and this share is expected to increase to 24.3% by the year 2020—growing 2.5 times higher than the overall growth of the global economy.

However, along with rapidly increasing digitization, we are witnessing an exponential increase in cyber risks. These have potentially huge financial impacts that could place entire economies and societies in jeopardy. Such threats now typically include privacy breaches, cyber fraud, denial-of-service attacks, and cyber extortion. There are many examples just within the last few years. For instance, a cyber attack on Ukraine’s power grid in 2015 caused serious power outages, and in 2016, the Central Bank of Bangladesh lost $81 million in a cyber heist. That same year, more than 3.1 billion records were leaked globally.

While traditional approaches such as establishing computer emergency response teams and national cyber security agencies are important, there is a need to engage more actively with both public and private entities through new institutional structures, new technologies, and new business models. Cyber risk insurance is one tool that can help address these challenges.

Gender Differences in What Development Economists Study

Seema Jayachandran's picture
Co-authored with Jamie Daubenspeck, a PhD student at Northwestern University

One of the arguments in favor of more gender diversity in the economics profession is that men and women bring distinct perspectives to research and are interested in answering different research questions. We focus in on development economics in this post and examine how the research topics studied by men and women differ.