Miscellaneous Knowledge Notes

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  • Publication
    Case Studies of Successful Reforms to Address the Challenges of Financing Education Systems Effectively: Increasing the Adequacy of Education Finance through Private Sector Resource Mobilization - The Case of Côte d’Ivoire
    (Washington, DC, 2023-11-20) World Bank
    Many low, and middle-income countries in Sub-Saharan Africa face an education financing crisis. Exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, rapid improvements in access place severe pressure on the adequacy of public education expenditure, with average per-student public expenditure in the region being less than one-tenth that in Europe and Central Asia (World Bank, 2022). Some countries have successfully mobilized private sector finance to support education beyond the financing provided by government. These efforts have been particularly common in technical and vocational education and training (TVET), where countries including Tanzania and Zambia have introduced skills levies on businesses, which are channeled into dedicated funds to support TVET. However, such efforts are much rarer in basic education, which typically relies on conventional taxation, public debt, and development assistance for funding. This case study presents the example of Côte d’Ivoire, where a partnership between the government, private foundations, and the cocoa industry has mobilized significant amounts of finance to support the provision of basic education in cocoa-growing communities.
  • Publication
    Effectively Engaging the Private Sector in the Business Reform Process
    (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2022-12-09) Arlet, Jean Nicolas; Eknath, Varun; Popova, Oleksandra
    This brief discusses critical considerations for engaging the private sector in the process of reforming and implementing business regulations, along with channels and mechanisms that have been successfully used around the world. Using novel data from the Business Reform Committee project (BRC) covering 160 economies, the Brief presents global trends across income groups on the existence of reform committees and stages of engaging the private sector while reforms are being implemented. The brief further draws from experiences across countries on making policy decisions and the implementation of reforms more consultative, while providing critical caveats so that policy makers can determine what mechanisms are best suited for their country.
  • Publication
    Replicating Local Good Practices in Regulating the Business Environment at the National Level: What Italy’s Experience Reveals
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2022-06-04) Bettarelli, Luca; Rooms, Tommaso
    Excessive bureaucracy at any time is a burden on companies. In the context of the recovery from the COVID-19 crisis, it is an additional hurdle that jeopardizes the ability of small and medium enterprises to survive. Using the example of Italy, and drawing on primary data from the World Bank’s Subnational Doing Business studies, this brief highlights how identifying local good practices in regulating the business environment and promoting them to national standards is one of the most powerful tools policy makers have to sustain firms’ creation and growth, reduce spatial inequality, and help create economic opportunities.
  • Publication
    COVID-19 in Papua New Guinea: Economic and Social Impacts - Insights from the Fifth Round of High Frequency Phone Surveys
    (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2022-05-31) World Bank
    The fifth round of the high frequency phone survey (HFPS) interviewed 2,630 households in June 2022 on the socioeconomic impacts of COVID-19, including employment and income, community trust and security and COVID-19 vaccination. It follows four rounds of surveys conducted from June 2020 to December 2021. The previous round of the HFPS (round 4), found that recovery was weak in 2021, with household incomes falling, and highlighted persistently low COVID-19 vaccination rates. While the third wave of COVID-19 was over by June 2022, PNG remains the least vaccinated country in the EAP region and could be vulnerable to future outbreaks of COVID-19. The World Bank estimates that the PNG economy contracted by 3.5 percent in 2020 before returning to positive economic growth of 1 percent in 2021. Stronger economic growth is projected for 2022, of 4 percent. In particular, strong growth is projected for the extractive sector (6.8 percent). However, the trajectory of economic recovery remains highly uncertain.
  • Publication
    Who’s the BOSs: Shedding New Light on Businesses of the State
    (Washington, DC, 2022) World Bank
    Supporters of state presence in economic activities cite the potential for catalyzing growth in new sectors or ensuring the wider availability of goods or services for the public, particularly in response to crisis. However, firms owned by the state are a potential source of market distortions and crowding out of the private sector through subsidies and preferential access to finance and land. The risks are even higher when state-owned enterprises (SOEs), a subset of businesses of the state, have the dual role of market player and regulator by controlling prices and licenses and raising barriers to potential competitors. Before addressing the contributions and difficulties generated by firms with state participation regarding the functioning of markets, counting the full extent of the state’s presence in the economy is critical. The World Bank’s new global Businesses of the the State database marks a big leap forward in gathering the necessary information for analysis. Comprehensive mapping of state ownership captures the extent of a state’s footprint and its links across firms and markets. The BOS database is the first systematic attempt to capture the decision of the state to participate in firms across the corporate sector. Seven new facts extracted from the World Bank’s new Businesses of the State (BOS) Global Database Project show the state’s footprint in commercial activities is bigger than previously captured, and in unexpected places.
  • Publication
    How Financial Market Development Can Encourage Innovation Activity
    (World Bank, Malaysia, 2021-11-01) Cao, Yu
    Innovation is crucial to improving productivity and fostering sustainable growth, especially among countries that are moving toward or are at the cutting edge of technological advances (technology frontier). Innovation is usually underfinanced due to its high uncertainty nature and market failures caused by mismatches in information about the value of an investment between inventors and outside investors (information asymmetry). The development of financial markets can reduce such frictions and channel financing to innovation. The Brief first examines the recent trend in innovation activities in advanced and emerging markets economies, and then explores the underlying mechanisms through which financial market development may encourage innovation at both the firm and aggregate levels. Lastly, this Brief discusses the relevant policies that can be implemented by policy makers to boost innovation activities.
  • Publication
    The Importance of Facilitating Imports for International Trade Flows: Evidence from the Auto Industry
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2021-09-28) Ereshchenko, Viktoriya; Eknath, Varun; Zabalbeitia Mugica, Ines
    Imports are becoming more important than ever in world trade in the face of rapid globalization and the spread of global supply chains. One way to boost imports is through efficient regulations and practices. While the impact of regulatory restrictions is well established for exports, their effect on imports has been studied to a lesser extent across countries. This brief aims to help fill that gap. Focusing on the auto industry, it analyzes the relationship between efficient import procedures and international trade flows in 190 economies. An analysis of the data at the global level suggests that economies where importing auto parts is relatively fast and inexpensive tend to have not only higher imports of auto parts (in terms of volume and value) and a higher ratio of imports of auto parts to total GDP, but also a higher ratio of imports of overall manufactured products to total GDP. Similarly, economies with efficient procedures when importing auto parts tend to have a greater share of automobile exports of total GDP. The Brief does not provide a causal interpretation and more analysis will be needed to understand the direction of the relationships. But given the strong positive association between the efficiency of import procedures and international trade, streamlining import regulations appears to be an important aspect for policy makers to focus on in formulating trade policy.
  • Publication
    Female-Owned Firms during the COVID-19 Crisis
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2021-07-29) Hyland, Marie; Muzi, Silvia; Viganola, Domenico
    This brief use firm-level data collected between May 2020 and May 2021 in 41 countries, to provide descriptive evidence on the differential effect of the Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) crisis on female- and male-owned firms. Data suggest that while female-owned and male-owned businesses closed permanently at the same rates, female-owned firms were more likely to have temporarily closed during the crisis and to have closed for a longer duration. When able to stay in business, female-owned firms were more likely to experience a decrease in demand for their products or services and supply of intermediate inputs than male-owned firms. They also reduced the size of their workforce more than their male counterparts and were more likely to reduce hours worked. Finally, female-owned firms suffered deeper financial distress than male-owned firms. Nevertheless, female and male-owned firms show similar optimism of returning to normal levels of sales or workforce in the near future.
  • Publication
    Impacts of COVID-19 on Firms in Malaysia: Results from the 3rd Round of COVID-19 Business Pulse Survey
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2021-07) Kuriakose, Smita; Tran, Trang; Ting, Kok Onn; Hebous, Sarah
    The COVID-19 Business Pulse Survey (BPS) is a rapid survey designed to measure the various channels of impact of COVID-19 on firms, firm adjustment strategies, and public policy responses. The World Bank, in collaboration with a private survey company, conducted the 3rd round of survey in July 2021, following the 1st round in October 2020 and 2nd round of the Malaysia BPS in Mid-January to February 2021. Firms were sampled randomly from an online business panel database, which consists of 100,000+ companies in all sectors and sizes, across Peninsular and East Malaysia. A minimum sample size was obtained for sectors that are important to Malaysia’s economy and are sensitive to the COVID-19 crisis (export-oriented activities: electronics, automotive, tourism related activities) while preserving the sectoral shares in the sampling frame. The survey was conducted online and yielded 1,500 responses from respondents in senior management positions at their company (i.e. owners, C-suite or Director level).
  • Publication
    Leadership Training Toolkit for State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs): Boards and Owners
    (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2021-06-30) World Bank; International Finance Corporation
    The Leadership Training Toolkit for State-Owned Enterprises (‘SOE Leadership Toolkit’) was developed jointly by the World Bank and IFC (World Bank Group) to support countries’ efforts to build capacity of State ownership entities, SOE boards, and SOE senior management. It addresses the growing need for curricula specifically adapted for SOEs, considering the significant role and impact of SOEs on public finances, the economy and delivery of public services. The SOE Leadership Toolkit is a global public good that can be used by different training providers, such as government training institutions, Institutes of Directors, corporate governance and ESG associations, and professional bodies or universities. It is designed to: • Advance corporate governance reforms by instilling in participants leadership values that can help them work within their companies or organizations to adopt the best practices • Foster a common understanding between state ownership and oversight entities and SOE leadership, by raising awareness of the respective roles and perspectives • Provide flexibility through a modular curriculum that allows a country and training institution to easily tailor programs to suit their specific context and target audience • Engage executive learners through experiential learning and interactive exercises, based on internationally recognized good practices and global priorities such as climate change and gender • Minimize training providers’ investment of time and resources for curriculum development by providing a comprehensive, standardized curriculum that includes handouts, and case studies The 15 training modules are structured in four parts. Each module includes specific topics, case studies and exercises. Cutting across these modules are four themes assuming an important place in today’s corporate governance landscape: 1) gender and diversity, 2) climate risk and resilience, 3) Maximizing Finance for Development, 4) corruption and integrity.