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Financial Inclusion in Latin America: Facts and Obstacles - Working Paper 439

Tue, 18 Oct 2016 19:28:20 +0000


In spite of recent progress in the usage of alternative financial services by adult populations, Latin America’s financial inclusion gaps have not reduced, relatively to comparable countries, and, in some cases, have even increased during the period 2011-2014. Institutional weaknesses play the most salient role through direct and indirect effects. Lack of enforcement of the rule of law directly reduces depositors’ incentives to entrust their funds to formal financial institutions. Indirectly, low institutional quality reinforces the adverse effects of insufficient bank competition on financial inclusion.

India’s States Increase Health Spending, But Will They Spend Effectively?

Tue, 18 Oct 2016 14:10:58 +0000


Since 2015, India has devolved an increasing share of its national tax yield to state governments and undertaken reforms to other kinds of centre-to-state grants. For many, the increased revenue via the tax devolution was considered good news but some health experts worried that states would give little priority to health under these conditions of greater autonomy. We find that at least two states, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, have much more to spend in general and are budgeting more for health in 2015-2016 as compared to previous fiscal years.

Responding to AIIB: U.S. Leadership at the Multilateral Development Banks in a New Era

Mon, 17 Oct 2016 23:44:31 +0000


In the face of growing U.S. indifference to multilateral development institutions, China is stepping up. The circumstances around the creation of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) have usefully brought to light a longer trend that will ultimately lead to a diminution of U.S. leadership in the multilateral development system.

Using Financial Incentives to Increase the Number of Women in UN Peacekeeping

Mon, 17 Oct 2016 15:16:53 +0000


At present rates of progress, it will take more than three centuries for the UN to see the same number of women as men in peacekeeping operations, even though evidence suggests that increasing the proportion of women in operations will improve the success rate of peacekeeping missions and reduce levels of sexual misconduct. One method to speed up the march to equality could be financial incentives directed at troop contributing countries.  These could significantly increase the proportion of women peacekeepers, potentially for as little as $77 million per year.

Refugee Compacts: An Initial Framework

Mon, 03 Oct 2016 20:50:01 +0000


The global community is facing extraordinary shifts in forced displacement. Today, more people than ever before—65 million, including 21 million refugees—are displaced by conflict. Host countries are taking on great responsibility for these displaced populations, but with insufficient support. New partners and new models are required to meet the displacement challenge. This brief outlines a compact model with critical components, including shared outcomes for refugees, host country ownership and focus on longer-term transition, best practices for program design and management, and commitment to policy reforms.

To Control Migration Flows and Defeat Human Smuggling, Sell Visas

Thu, 29 Sep 2016 18:35:04 +0000


Policymakers in most OECD countries face the challenge that they must fight people smuggling while retaining control of migration flows. An innovative policy of selling visas combined with enforced sanctions on employers and employees for illegal working can control migration flows and put smugglers out of business.

Glimpsing the End of Economic History? Unconditional Convergence and the Missing Middle Income Trap - Working Paper 438

Thu, 29 Sep 2016 17:44:11 +0000


This paper suggests a reinterpretation of global growth—encompassing notions of unconditional convergence and the middle income trap—in the past 50 years through the lens of growth theory. The last 20-30 years have been a golden era of convergence, challenging the new conventional wisdom of secular stagnation.

Maximizing USAID's Impact under the Next Administration

Tue, 20 Sep 2016 18:59:50 +0000


Since its establishment more than 54 years ago, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has expanded into an $18-billion-a-year agency, operating in over 145 countries and in nearly every development sector. But USAID is often constrained in its ability to adapt to emerging development challenges due to differing political priorities among key stakeholders and resource constraints. This memo is the result of a roundtable discussion in July 2016 on how the next US administration, in close concert with Congress, can build upon and maximize the development impact of USAID.

Results Through Transparency: Does Publicity Lead to Better Procurement? - Working Paper 437

Governments buy about $9 trillion worth of goods and services a year, and their procurement policies are increasingly subject to international standards and institutional regulation. Using a database of World Bank