Europe and Central Asia Knowledge Brief

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This is a regular series of notes highlighting recent analyses, good practices, and lessons learned from the development work program of the World Bank’s Europe and Central Asia Region.

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Now showing 1 - 10 of 14
  • Publication
    Tajikistan : Reinvigorating Growth in Khatlon Oblast
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2014-06) Carneiro, Francisco
    This report supports a joint World Bank-IFC initiative to review and evaluate economic growth prospects for Khatlon oblast in order to develop a private sector-driven strategy for accelerating the region's growth over the medium term.
  • Publication
    A New Model for Job Creation in Armenia: Promoting More Effective Accumulation, Competition, and Connectivity
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2013-11) Bartsch, Ulrich
    In Armenia, more effective accumulation, together with greater competition and better connectivity with the rest of the world, will increase pressures on firms to compete and innovate and will thus reinvigorate job creation. In order to more effectively channel savings into investment in those industrial sectors with the best potential for growth and employment creation, a more sophisticated financial system is required. A recently released World Bank report1 finds that Armenias State Commission for the Protection of Competition (SCPEC) needs to be given better tools to carry out its work, and it also needs to shift its focus from price levels to more vigorously pursuing anticompetitive conduct. A liberalization of aviation would boost growth and job creation by better connecting people, ideas, and markets.
  • Publication
    Employment Recovery Stalls in Europe and Central Asia
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2013-04) Koettl, Johannes; Saiovici, Gady; Santos, Indhira
    Employment recovery stalls in Europe and Central Asia (ECA) and Gross Domestic Product (GDP) continues to recover in most ECA countries, but the recovery remains fragile. Growth prospects remain poor in a number of countries where GDP continues to decline. This slowdown in the economic recovery is also evident at the sub-regional level. Unemployment has stabilized, with an average unemployment rate of 12 percent across the ECA region. Since the start of the crisis, men have been disproportionally hit by unemployment. The recent pace of job creation has not been sufficient to absorb the large pool of unemployed, resulting in growing long-term unemployment. Despite the rise in long-term unemployment, activity rates have increased or remained constant in most countries since 2008. ECA labor markets adjusted to the crisis not only through higher unemployment, but also through fewer work hours. Given the already low levels of employment in the region and a bleak demographic outlook, avoiding labor market detachment among the long-term unemployed, the inactive, and youth is the main challenge for policy makers in the near term.
  • Publication
    Serbia Country Economic Memorandum : Productivity and Exports
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2013-01) Sestovic, Lazar; Miovic, Peter
    In order to have both dynamic and better balanced growth, Serbia needs to rely more on exports. In the last decade, Serbia's growth has depended primarily on demand that was fueled by excessive debt finance. In the future, the Serbian economy would be better served by increasing its reliance on exports as a new, potentially powerful source of growth. Serbia's export share of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is currently 25 percent, but that figure should be closer to 50-75 percent, considering that all European Union (EU) comparator countries1 have export shares of GDP of 60-80 percent. Some sectors of the economy are already better positioned than others to export. For example, sectors in the traditional export base of Serbia, such as food and some chemical products still have vast potential for growth. Agriculture is widely considered to have significant potential for improvement. Although Serbia has recently become a net food exporter, these exports could be substantially higher. The Serbian government's number one task is to accelerate reforms to create an environment that is highly conducive to export-led growth. Serbia will need to fundamentally alter its growth model in order to compete effectively in world markets. The past model of relying on excessive inflows of capital and credit coupled with a consumption boom has run its course in all European countries, including Serbia.
  • Publication
    Active Labor Market Programs : How, Why, When, and To What Extent are they Effective?
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2012-12) Brown, Alessio J.G.; Koettl, Johannes
    Active labor market programs (ALMPs) aim to keep workers employed, bring them into employment, increase their productivity and earnings, and improve the functioning of labor markets. ALMPs to retain employment, for example, work-sharing schemes, should be used only for short periods during severe recessions. More cost-effective and useful during recoveries are ALMPs to create employment, which strengthen outsiders labor market attachment and support the outflow out of unemployment. Training programs are especially effective over the long term, particularly the more they target disadvantaged outsiders. ALMPs that improve labor market matching are highly beneficial, but effective only in the short run. ALMPs in general might be more cost effective over the long term (3-10 years) and some may even be self-financing, suggesting that long-term evaluations are needed to better ascertain the impact of individual policies.
  • Publication
    A New Jobs Data Tool : Introducing BuDDy--A Business Diagnostics and Dynamics Tool
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2012-10) Merotto, Dino; Boccardo, Jessica
    The Business Diagnostics and Dynamics Tool (BuDDy) tool uses formal sector business data that governments already collect to analyze patterns and trends in employment and diagnose constraints to growth and job creation. BuDDy gives governments the understanding of business dynamics needed to develop policies that help businesses create jobs. BuDDy quickly and robustly identifies the types of firms that are growing, hiring, investing, raising productivity, and raising real wages, and does this at the national or regional level, or by product. BuDDy is simple and adaptable; it has been developed with varying data sets, and can been linked to spatial information, trade data, and household data sets.
  • Publication
    Accountability in State Noncommercial Organizations in Armenia : An Approach
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2012-09) Vatyan, Arman
    A World Bank-supported project in Armenia was successful in developing a control framework that balances the need to increase the transparency and accountability of the country s state noncommercial organizations (SNCOs), while also recognizing their financial, administrative, and managerial independence. An innovative approach involving the use of earlier results to guide later ones was used to address the dire need for SNCOs, which account for 70 percent of the total number of state organizations, to make greater efforts to responsibly administer and safeguard the government s assets. The aim was to reduce the market distortions caused by SNCOs that are engaged in significant commercial activities by addressing SNCOs heterogeneity and the need for specific fiduciary control requirements for distinct groups.
  • Publication
    Social Safety Nets in Europe and Central Asia : Preparing for Crisis, Adapting to Demographic Change, and Promoting Employability
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2012-04) Williams, Penny; Larrison, Jennica; Strokova, Victoria; Lindert, Kathy
    Social safety nets in the Europe and Central Asia (ECA) region responded to protect people's incomes during the global recession, especially in countries where systems were developed before the crisis. As population's age and labor forces shrink, the elderly will increasingly rely on general revenues to supplement contributory pensions, competing with assistance for other vulnerable groups. Social safety nets that link to employment and other services can help people transition from reliance on social transfers to employability. Countries should not wait to confront these challenges. To further strengthen social safety nets, governments in ECA should consolidate and harmonize benefits, invest in systems improvements for greater efficiency, link social assistance and employment services, and actively communicate these reforms to their populations.
  • Publication
    Employment Recovery in Europe and Central Asia
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2011-06) Koettl, Johannes; Santos, Indhira
    Despite high unemployment in most Eastern Europe and Central Asia (ECA) countries, people have not withdrawn from the labor market but continue to actively look for jobs. Unemployment increased significantly in ECA countries during the crisis, particularly among youth. However, young people are also the ones benefiting most from the recovery. Labor market recovery remained sluggish up to the third quarter of 2010. Many countries have seen only a slight recovery in unemployment rates, although output is recovering everywhere. Up to the third quarter of 2010, the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) upturn in most ECA countries appeared to be driven by increases in productivity and hours worked; however, these are still below pre-crisis levels. This suggests that there is room in most countries for further increases in productivity and hours worked, which could delay the recovery in employment.
  • Publication
    Unemployment Registration and Benefits in ECA Countries
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2011-04) Kuddo, Arvo
    Public Employment Services (PES) in several Europe and Central Asia (ECA) countries are severely limited by underfunded labor market programs, understaffing, and fragmented networks of employment offices. Cash benefits and other entitlements like health insurance often act as incentives to job seekers to register with PES. However, such benefits can and often do encourage unemployment registration by economically inactive individuals. Registered unemployment exceeds survey based unemployment rates in about half of ECA countries (mostly Central Europe and Western Balkans). Registered unemployment is much lower than survey-based unemployment in the Baltic States and Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) countries, primarily due to low access to unemployment benefits and active labor market programs (ALMPs). The numbers of unemployment assistance beneficiaries vary significantly across ECA. In 2009, for example, 85 percent of the registered unemployed in Russia received benefits but, in eight ECA countries, less than 10 percent of the registered unemployed received such assistance.