This research program spans the full gamut of human development — education, health, labor markets, and social protection. It examines the performance of the sectors in terms of levels and inequalities in utilization, quality and outcomes, as well as methods for improving performance, whether aimed at households, service providers, politicians and policymakers, or donors. More »
In both 2011 and 2012, Adam Wagstaff did a roundup of the most read 200 World Bank blogposts of the year, and compared the performance of the various World Bank blogs in terms of readership. What did blogging at the World Bank in 2013 look like? Blog »
January 2014 - The report guides policy makers on how to intervene along the dimensions of human capital and the business environment in three areas: agriculture, household enterprises, and the modern wage sector. The goals are to increase productivity, improve livelihoods, and multiply opportunities for youth. Report »
International Aid and Financial Crises in Donor Countries Hai-Anh Dang, Stephen Knack, F. Halsey Rogers European Journal of Political Economy 32: 232–50, December 2013. The recent global financial crisis placed new economic and fiscal pressures on donor countries that may have long-term effects on their ability and willingness to provide aid. Not only did donor-country incomes fall, but the cause of the drop — the banking and financial-sector crisis — may exacerbate the long-term effect on aid flows. This paper estimates how donor-country banking crises have affected aid flows in the past, using panel data from 24 donor countries between 1977 and 2010.
Political Ideology, Quality at Entry and the Success of Economic Reform Programs Lodewijk Smets, Stephen Knack, Nadia Molenaers The Review of International Organizations 8(4): 447-76, December 2013. This study investigates how government ideology matters for the success of World Bank economic policy loans, which typically support market-liberalizing reforms. A simple model predicts that World Bank staff will invest more effort in designing an economic policy loan when faced with a left-wing government.
U.S. and Them: The Geography of Academic Research Jishnu Das, Quy-Toan Do, Karen Shaines, Sowmya Srikant Journal of Development Economics 105: 12-130, November 2013. Using a database of 76,046 empirical economics papers published between 1985 and 2005, we report two associations. First, research output on a given country increases with the country's population and wealth, yielding a strong correlation between per-capita research output and per-capita GDP. Regressions controlling for data quality, governance and the use of English give an estimated research–wealth elasticity of 0.32; surprisingly, the U.S. is not an outlier.
How and why do countries vary so much in their use of health services? Adam Wagstaff, Blog, December 11, 2013 I’ve been struck recently by how little we (or at least I) seem to know about variations in use of health services across the world, and what drives them. Do people in, say, India or Mali use doctors “a lot” or “a little”. Even harder: do they “overuse” or “underuse” doctors?
What exactly is the public-private mix in health care? Adam Wagstaff, Blog, December 2, 2013 A World Bank Group report on the private sector in Africa claims that “the private health sector now provides half of all health services in the region.” Another document claims that “much” of medical care is provided by the private sector. The data underlying such claims reflect a very partial picture.
Expanding Social Insurance Coverage in Urban China John Giles, Research Brief, Fall 2013 Social insurance coverage in China has expanded, but a significant share of the urban population still lacks coverage.This research highlights both the progress made in increasing social insurance coverage and the significant difficulties in further expanding it.
Risking Your Health Damien de Walque, Blog, November 20, 2013 All over the world, people engage in behaviors that are risky for their health. They smoke, use illicit drugs, drink too much alcohol, eat unhealthy food or adopt sedentary lifestyles, and have risky sexual encounters. As a consequence, they endanger their health, reduce their own life expectancy, and often impose harmful consequences on others. French | Spanish
Risking Your Health: Causes, Consequences, and Interventions to Prevent Risky Behaviors November 2013 – Individuals all over the worlds engage in behaviors that are risky for their health: smoking, drugs, alcohol, unhealthy food, and risky sexual encounters. They increasingly affect the health of individual and their populations. This report examines the causes, consequences and interventions to prevent these growing threats. Order | Download
The Elderly and Old Age Support in Rural China March 2012 - This book examines projected demographic changes that will affect the economic well-being of China’s rural elderly over the next 20 years, taking into account both China’s sharp demographic transition and the continued migration of young adults to cities. The projected old age dependency ratio of 34 percent in China’s rural areas by 2030 suggests that support of the elderly is likely to be an increasing burden on China’s families. Order | Download
Health Equity and Financial Protection: Streamlined Analysis with ADePT Software May 2011 - This book provides ADePT Health, a free-standing computer program that allows users to produce quickly - and with the minimal risk of errors - most standard tablesin applied health and equity analysis. ADePT produces summary statistics and charts that allow inequalities to be compared across countries and over time. This manual explains the methods ADePT uses, how to prepare data for it, how to navigate the ADePT interface to generate the desired tables and charts, and how to interpret them.Order | Download
Incentives and Teacher Effort: Further Evidence from a Developing Country Hai-Anh H. Dang and Elizabeth M.King Few would contest that teachers are a very important determinant of whether students learn in school. Yet, in the face of compelling evidence that many students are not learning what they are expected to learn, how to improve teacher performance has been the focus of much policy debate in rich and poor countries. Working Paper 6694, November 2013
Is Workfare Cost-Effective against Poverty in a Poor Labor-Surplus Economy? Martin Ravallion, Rinku Murgai, Martin Ravallion, Dominique van de Walle Workfare schemes impose work requirements on beneficiaries. This has seemed an attractive idea for self-targeting transfers to poor people. This incentive argument does not imply, however, that workfare is more cost-effective against poverty than even poorly-targeted options, given hidden costs of participation. Working Paper 6673, October 2013