Environmental Economics & Policies; Economic Theory & Research; Banks & Banking Reform; Debt Markets; Development Economics & Aid Effectiveness
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Summary: The twenty-second Annual Bank Conference on Development Economics (ABCDE) took place in Stockholm, Sweden, from May 31 to June 2, 2010. The main theme of the conference was 'Development Challenges in a Postcrisis World.' The theme reflects the mood and the concerns of the development community as the recent global financial crisis, now widely known as the great recession, continued to capture the minds of economists and development practitioners while uncertainties on the strength of the recovery and its long-term implications for development remained. A crisis presents an immediate challenge that has to be faced but also an opportunity to address long-term problems and to reconsider established conventions. With this in mind, this year's volume includes papers on five areas of inquiry: environment and climate change, development strategies in a post-crisis world, the political economy of fragile states, new ways of measuring welfare, and lessons learned from social programs and transfers. The general findings of the field studies, as well as interviews at Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA), can be summarized as: a) type of project affects the likelihood of sustainability with infrastructure projects still very attractive to development agencies because they generate immediate benefits and move a large amount of money with low staff time but they may do little else; b) small investments in building human skills can be effective in building productivity and self-reliance if designed well for the local environment; c) feedback from citizens in recipient, as well as donor, countries to their own officials and development assistance staff is lacking; d) motivated staff is not sufficient to overcome the many incentives to spend money rather than time on the project; and e) enhancement of individual learning about sustainability by long-term assignments, continued flow of information about projects, and career advancement based to some extent on past participation on successful projects are needed. Openness to trade is a well-accepted component of many successful growth strategies of emerging market economies. Nevertheless, the role those government policies have played in guiding the industrial structural transformation ahead of a country's factor endowment leapfrogging-have been controversial. Opinions vary but the empirical evidence is scarce in part because it is more difficult to measure the degree of leapfrogging than the extent of trade openness.
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