Miscellaneous Knowledge Notes

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    Ukraine - Human Development Update, February 2023
    (Washington, DC, 2023-04-10) World Bank
    The full-scale invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022, has resulted in tens of thousands of civilian casualties, internal displacement of millions of people, widespread destruction of infrastructure, and disruption of services that are essential to human capital formation and protection. This Ukraine Human Development Update summarizes the cumulative effects of the war, highlights recent government responses, and provides an overview of World Bank support.
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    Exploring Two Years of Labor Market Policy Responses to COVID‑19: A Global Effort to Protect Workers and Jobs
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2023-01) Kamran, Mareeha ; Mujica, Ingrid ; Fonteñez, María Belén ; Newhouse, David ; Rodriguez-Alas, Claudia ; Weber, Michael
    To mitigate the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, countries have responded with an unprecedented number of social protection and jobs interventions. This brief is based on the COVID-19 social protection and jobs policy inventory and provides information on over 3,400 labor market policies in the inventory launched or announced between January 2020 and January 2022.
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    Public Services and COVID-19 - Reflections from the Pacific: Sustainable Wage Bills
    (Washington, DC, 2022-12) World Bank
    The purpose of this note is to identify good practice in public sector management drawn from Pacific Island public service experiences of navigating the COVID-19 pandemic. These experiences were brought together through a World Bank engagement with Pacific Island countries in 2021 and 2022. The engagement identified five core aspects of Pacific Island public service management in response to COVID-19: trust, preparation, adaptable system settings, adaptable operating models, and sustainable wage bills. This first note in the series of five focuses on the importance of trust. The primary audience is public service leaders in Pacific Islands. The note will also be of interest to anyone working on designing and leading public sector management systems through rapid change, uncertainty and crises.
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    The Road Not Taken?: Responding to the Energy Price Shock in East Asia
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2022-11-17) Pollitt, Hector ; Islamaj, Ergys ; Kitchlu, Rahul ; Le, Duong Trung ; Mattoo, Aaditya
    Several countries in East Asia have increased fossil fuel subsidies to keep consumer prices lower than currently high international prices. These subsidies are discouraging the shift in consumption away from fossil fuels, while high prices are encouraging investment in new fossil fuel infrastructure. Providing income transfers instead of price subsidies would encourage consumption of cleaner alternatives, while softening the welfare loss. And subsidizing investment in renewables would avert the risk of being locked in to fossil fuels. The total cost need not be higher than that of fossil fuel subsidies.
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    Facilitating the School to Work Transition of Young Women
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2022-11) Ubfal, Diego
    In Latin America and the Caribbean, the school-to-work transition is more challenging for girls than boys due to societal norms. Young women who drop out of school are more likely to be employed in less stable, lower-paid jobs in the informal sector. Work-study programs can help to address the gender gaps in the school-to-work transition. In Uruguay, a national work-study program offered by a lottery system significantly improved the school-to-work transition for young girls and boys. Key features of the program included providing high-quality jobs with a focus on human capital accumulation that is compatible with schooling.
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    Disaster Risk Financing: What it is and What it isn’t for Adaptive Social Protection In the Sahel - Debunking Myths About DRF in the Sahel
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2022-11) Lung, Felix
    Adaptive safety nets are cash transfer programs that can rapidly increase beneficiary coverage, or the cash amounts they provide in response to disasters. Disaster risk financing (DRF) provides a set of tools and instruments that can efficiently help finance the costs of such responses. In the West Sahel, where chronic food insecurity and vulnerability are high and safety net coverage, data availability, and government fiscal space often remain limited, some of the common approaches to DRF meet their limitations. This note draws out some of these limitations and suggests ways for policymakers to address them. Among these, it suggests that governments in the Sahel focus on building reliable social protection delivery systems before turning to DRF; design DRF strategies that account for continued external assistance; focus first on more frequent, lower severity shocks rather than the extreme ones; and start their DRF engagements with sectoral DRF strategies rather than comprehensive national ones that try to address all disaster risks, costs, and sectors.
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    Targeting in Ultra-Poor Settings: Evidence from Six Countries in Rural Sahel
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2022-10-21) Schnitzer, Pascale ; Guardia, Anne Della ; Lake, Milli
    The main insights of this note are as follows: first, to significantly reduce poverty higher budgets for safety net interventions are needed, and expanding coverage is far more important than fine-tuning targeting methods. After geographical targeting, most PMT and CBT methods perform close to a random allocation of benefits when trying to identify food insecure households. While PMT consistently outperforms CBT in identifying households with the lowest consumption, differences are small when distances to the poverty line are considered. While non-beneficiaries experience significant indirect economic benefits from the program, there is mixed and limited evidence on social cohesion and fairness perceptions of targeting methods. Finally, costs are relatively minor as a share of total resources transferred. The policy note concludes with policy and research implications for contexts with high poverty rates, low inequality levels, and insufficient budgets.
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    Philippines Monthly Economic Developments: October 2022
    (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2022-10) World Bank
    Headline inflation accelerated in September driven by higher food and energy prices. In addition, core inflation remained elevated, indicating continuing price pressures and strong domestic demand. Robust domestic activity, amid declining COVID-19 cases, contributed to double-digit and broad-based growth of goods imports. Meanwhile, factory output accelerated in August, but goods exports contracted for the second consecutive month amid lingering weakness among main trading partners. Although the unemployment rate remained low in August, underemployment worsened.
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    The Importance of Designing Gender and Disability Inclusive Laws: A Survey of Legislation in 190 Economies
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2022-09-12) Braunmiller, Julia Constanze ; Dry, Marie
    Women with disabilities face additional barriers to their participation in the economy and society compared to men, with and without disabilities, and relative to nondisabled women, resulting in unequal parental rights, discrimination in their private life and the workplace, reduced employment opportunities, lower earnings, and high exposure to gender-based violence. The legal recognition of multiple forms of discrimination is a vital first step to address and, ultimately, enforce the human rights of women with disabilities and protect them from discriminatory practices. The law is thus one key element to achieve their full inclusion and enable societies to thrive in the long run. This Brief presents data collected by the World Bank’s Women, Business, and the Law project on the legal barriers that women with disabilities face when accessing economic opportunities in 190 economies. The new data suggest that only one-quarter of economies worldwide explicitly protect and promote the rights of women with disabilities.
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    Measuring Women’s Economic Empowerment in Payment Projects: A Short Module to Complement Context-Specific Measures
    (Washington, DC, 2022-07) World Bank
    Cash transfers and digital payments hold promise for women’s economic empowerment through their potential to enhance women’s privacy, financial autonomy, decision making and labor force participation. Yet, despite this potential, gaps in data and evidence persist. This brief aims to provide actionable advice on measurement for project teams working on digital government-to-person (G2P) projects, as well as practitioners and researchers working on cash transfer payments and financial inclusion more broadly. It is not meant to serve as a comprehensive guide to women’s economic empowerment. Instead, the brief provides short measures focused on key outcomes related to women’s economic empowerment as a complement to more in-depth context-specific measures. The indicators suggested in this guide can be used for measurement in impact evaluations, monitoring and evaluation, or general population descriptions.