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Publication(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2023-12-07)Hidden hunger, or micronutrient deficiencies, is a serious public health issue affecting approximately 2 billion people worldwide. Identifying areas with high prevalence of hidden hunger is crucial for targeted interventions and effective resource allocation. However, conventional methods such as nutritional assessments and dietary surveys are expensive and time-consuming, rendering them unsustainable for developing countries. This study proposes an alternative approach to estimating the prevalence of hidden hunger at the commune level in Madagascar by combining data from the household budget survey and the Demographic and Health Survey. The study employs small area estimation techniques to borrow strength from the recent census and produce precise and accurate estimates at the lowest administrative level. The findings reveal that 17.9 percent of stunted children reside in non-poor households, highlighting the ineffectiveness of using poverty levels as a targeting tool for identifying stunted children. The findings also show that 21.3 percent of non-stunted children live in impoverished households, reinforcing Sen's argument that malnutrition is not solely a product of destitution. These findings emphasize the need for tailored food security interventions designed for specific geographical areas with clustered needs rather than employing uniform nutrition policies. The study concludes by outlining policies that are appropriate for addressing various categories of hidden hunger.
Publication(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2023-12-07)Migration changes how families form and dissolve, and how one should conceptualize the family. This has implications for thinking about how the migration decision is modelled when individuals are unable to picture the counterfactual families they may have. Differences in marital status can induce two otherwise identical individuals to make different migration decisions. It also has implications for attempts to causally estimate impacts of migration, when the family composition changes with the migration decision itself. This paper shows empirically that changing marital status after migration is widespread, and that the traditional model of a fixed family sending off a migrant who remains part of that same family only describes a minority of migrants moving from developing countries to the U.S. The authors draw out lessons from thinking about counterfactual families for empirical research and for migration policy.
Publication(Washington, DC: World Bank, 2023-12-07)Sri Lanka has confronted and is grappling with a number of exogenous shocks, including the devastating 2004 tsunami; the 2008 global recession; the COVID-19 global pandemic; and, more recently, the ongoing “triple crisis” (fuel, food, fiscal). The country is now at a crossroads. An ongoing process of strengthening skills and improving education will be crucial to Sri Lanka’s economic recovery. Sri Lanka is transitioning from a rural-based to a modern, urbanized economy, and better jobs are being created, especially in services. To remain globally competitive, the Sri Lankan workforce must gain the technical competencies and higher-order cognitive skills that meet the needs of local and foreign labor markets. As a result, Sri Lanka will need to transform its current skills development system and processes to align them to emerging jobs; improve their market relevance; and develop an effective, inclusive, and accessible education and training system for skilling, reskilling, and upskilling the stock and flow of the workforce. "Enhancing Skills in Sri Lanka for Inclusion, Recovery, and Resilience" addresses these urgent issues and provides recommendations for educators and policy makers.
Publication(Washington, DC: World Bank, 2023-12-07)The motivation for this report started with a focus on the MENA region—a region at the epicentre of multiple crises. Beyond recent shocks associated with Covid-19 and turbulent oil prices, the region has long been suffering from anemic growth and poor labor market outcomes. MENA also faces a jobs and youth unemployment crisis, and urban centers are on the frontlines of climate change. And it faces enormous demand for reforms in the wake of the Arab Spring, as policymakers across the region try to find pragmatic policy reforms to change their countries’ growth and job paths. The report builds on the recent World Bank report, "Convergence: Five Critical Steps Toward Integrating Lagging and Leading Areas in the Middle East and North Africa". It explains why MENA cities are not benefiting from agglomeration, migration, and specialization. It identifies the underlying causes of spatial fragmentation, limited economic mobility of its people, and walled-off national economies from regional and global markets. It provides further evidence on inequality within cities and intergenerational mobility in urban slums and informal settlements. And it also tackles the questions: When is inequality an outcome of the urbanization process, and when is it a systemic reflection of unfairness linked to a person’s origin and family?
Publication(Washington, DC: World Bank, 2023-12-07)This poverty diagnostic reviews welfare outcomes in the Islamic Republic of Iran between 2011 and 2020, with a focus on poverty and shared prosperity. Iran is the only country in the Middle East and North Africa region (MENA) that collects high quality household budget survey data on an annual basis and makes them publicly available. Drawing from this data, this diagnostic will look at the trends, determinants, and drivers of poverty in Iran at the national, subnational, and household levels. Two further deep dives will be published in early 2024, one on the differential impact of the reimposition of sanctions and of COVID-19 on household welfare: and the second on the welfare implications of drought and water scarcity. The analysis in this report outlines a dramatic increase in poverty in Iran, against the backdrop of a lost decade of economic growth. Subject to on-again, off-again sanctions, swings in international oil prices, and the COVID-19 pandemic, the country saw its per-capita GDP contract by 0.6 percentage points each year, on average, over the past decade. Better management of volatile oil revenues and continued efforts to diversify may help mitigate the economic impact of these fluctuations in the future. Addressing the underlying drivers of inflation will also ensure that earnings are not eroded by increasing prices. The country has seen almost 10 million people slide into poverty, exacerbating social inequities. Forty percent of Iranians are vulnerable to falling into poverty. The lack of growth offers a partial explanation for this dismal welfare trend, but it is not the whole story. Indeed, during Iran’s short period of economic expansion, poverty rates barely budged. The benefits of growth accrued to households in the top consumption quintiles while households in the bottom quintiles were left behind. There is also evidence of persistent structural inequities between rural and urban residents, men, and women, and those with and without a secondary education. Looking forward, there is scope to address structural inequities in the country.