PREM Notes

176 items available

Permanent URI for this collection

This note series is intended to summarize good practices and key policy findings on poverty reduction and economic management (PREM) topics.

Items in this collection

Now showing 1 - 10 of 35
  • Publication
    Reducing Court Delays : Five Lessons from the United States
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 1999-12) Messick, Richard; Shuker, Nan; Pace, Nicholas; Ostrom, Brian
    For almost 50 years judges, lawyers, and policymakers in the United States have experimented with ways to speed up the processing of civil and criminal cases. Several lessons have emerged from this effort: a) Delays cannot be legislated away. b) Commitment is essential. c) Incentives must be addressed. d) Solid empirical analysis is crucial. e) Successful programs may not reduce delays. Perhaps the most surprising is that a well-conceived delay reduction program can improve the quality of the justice system even if it ultimately has little effort on case processing times.
  • Publication
    An Anticorruption Strategy for Revenue Administration
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 1999-10) Das-Gupta, Arindam; Engelschalk, Michael; Mayville, William
    The World Bank defines corruption as the abuse of public office for private gain. Corrupt actions include the unilateral theft of public property by its steward and multi-party transactions in which beneficiaries bribe officials. Corruption can exist at all levels of public administration--from the highest officeholder to the lowest functionary. Because tax and customs administration often figure among the corrupt government agencies in developing countries, Bank projects that reform these administrations should include anti-corruption efforts. Any strategy to combat corruption must limit the motives and opportunities for public officeholders to abuse their positions. This should be done directly for unilateral corruption, while for multi-party corruption it can also be done indirectly by focusing on the supply side of bribes. Although we do not know enough to identify optimal anti-corruption strategies for different country situations, there is no one-size-fits-all strategy. Various elements from the menu of possibilities must be integrated into a coherent package. The Bank's approach in this area, outlined in this report, is in broad agreement with that of the International Monetary Fund. This report examines the motives and opportunities for corruption, and discusses incorporating strategies in reform projects, current country approaches, and lessons learned from experience.
  • Publication
    Rethinking Civil Service Reform
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 1999-10) Nunberg, Barbara
    A gnawing critique of civil service reform efforts persists, intimating that these civil service reform operations of the World Bank have boosted neither efficiency nor effectiveness. The outlines of the problem are fairly clear: civil service pay and employment reforms have had only limited achievements, and there have been difficulties with government ownership and oversight--especially in Africa. At the same time, an emerging agenda for government reform includes standard personnel management and pay and employment reforms, but also tries to link these activities with fundamental tasks of transforming the state. The main problem with the Bank's conventional approach to civil service reform is that it has tried to use palliative measures to solve problems that require major surgery. Technical administrative fixes have been applied to fundamental problems of political economy. And even the technical side of the focus has been narrow, ignoring crucial links with other parts of the larger system. Overcoming the limitiations of this approach will require a more comprehensive and realistic framework for reform--as well as new instruments of support.
  • Publication
    Mobilizing Civil Society to Fight Corruption in Bangladesh
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 1999-10) Landell-Mills, Pierre
    A successful anti-corruption strategy must have a free press to voice public opinion and report cases of corruption, an effective and politically neutral mechanism to investigate and prosecute corruption, and a reliable judicial process to punish wrongdoing when it is proved. It is rare to find all these elements in a developing country. without considerable public pressure, governments are unlikely to foster the transparency and accountability needed to curb malfeasance by public officials. Consequently there is a major role for civil society organizations to campaign for such reforms. This is the mission of the national chapters of Transparency International. This Note discusses the crucial role played by the Bangladesh chapter of Transparency International in pressing for the implementation of corruption reform, publicizing well-researched facts about corruption, and lobbying for additional measures.
  • Publication
    Understanding Poverty Reduction Impacts with Innovative Monitoring and Evaluation
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 1999-10) Garcia, Marito; Alderman, Harold; Rudqvist, Anders
    Monitoring and evaluation systems are often the least addressed component of project design, and implementation. Yet, such systems have considerable potential for enhancing the impact of projects, and the understanding of poverty reduction impacts. This note addresses what makes effective monitoring and evaluation, where both quantitative, and participatory methods are needed to assess a project's impact on poverty. It examines the case of the Uganda Nutrition and Early Childhood Development Project, a process-driven, locally prioritized program, being implemented by a network of nongovernmental organizations, that motivates communities, and provide information to project participants. The project relies on systematic monitoring of inputs and outputs, and, community participation in planning, and monitoring facilitates bottom-up feedback. The note further highlights a randomized experimental design, i.e., a baseline and follow-up surveys, that assess the impact of project activities, of communication and information, and of grassroots management training, and income generation activities for community welfare. The benefits of proactive monitoring and evaluation are that it enables timely inputs into management decision making, and that the quantitative methods used, are important determinants for assessing, and verifying a project's impact.
  • Publication
    Private Participation in Port Facilities : Recent Trends
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 1999-09) Sommer, Dirk
    The private sector has become increasingly involved in the operation of common-user port facilities during the 1990s, following public sector dominance of the sector since the 1940s. During the past decade the reform of port administration has gained momentum in industrial and developing countries alike. Between 1990 and 1998, 112 port projects with private participation reached financial closure in twenty-eight developing countries, with investment commitments totaling more than US$9 billion. Most projects are in East Asia and Latin America, and most are long-term concessions. This Note provides an overview of the emerging trends in developing countries and outlines the main issues for the future. These issues include sustaining competition at a regional level, across networks, and with other transport sectors, such as road and rail.
  • Publication
    Assessing Political Commitment to Fighting Corruption
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 1999-09) Heilbrunn, John; Keefer, Philip
    Rarely discussed 15 years ago, the commitment of political leaders to reform--that is, their willingness to implement and sustain reform--is now widely accepted as crucial for aid effectiveness. Nowhere is political commitment more important--and more difficult to sustain--than in implementing reforms to fight corruption. Governments increasingly seek external assistance to meet this challenge. More than any other public sector reform, reducing corruption may threaten poltical coalitions and a government's survival--and threats to political survival weaken the resolve of even the most committed leaders. This Note describes methods that might be used to objectively evaluate a government's political commitment to reducing corruption, whether petty, grand or systemic.
  • Publication
    Saving - What Do We Know, and Why Do We Care?
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 1999-08) Servén, Luis; Schmidt-Hebbel, Klaus
    In principle, there is little reason people, and countries facing different shocks, and income streams should strive for optimal saving rates. But in practice, the inter-temporal choices that underlie saving, are subject to externalities, market failures, and policy distortions, that can cause saving rates to differ from welfare-maximizing levels. The social value of saving could also exceed its private value, because of imperfections in global financial markets. Still, a national saving rate broadly in line with an economy's investment rate, reduces vulnerability to sudden shifts in international capital flows, driven by uncontrollable behavior, or self-fulfilling investor expectations. Yet, as shown by the recent East Asia crisis, high saving alone does not provide complete insurance against the consequences of weak financial systems, or unsustainable exchange rate policies. This is the subject analyzed in this note, through a recent Bank research project, that shows savings has important interactions with income and growth, with resulting implications for policy. Such policies that spur development are an indirect, but effective way to raise private saving. The note further examines this private saving, and public policy, outlining fiscal issues, financial liberalization, and the impact of pension reform. The note reflects on situations where reforms both invite aid, and induce higher investment and growth - so that aid and saving rise together - concluding that aid need not invariably crowd out national saving.
  • Publication
    Lessons from Large Adjustment Loans
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 1999-08) Morrow, Daniel
    This note presents the lessons from the assessments that are likely to be most useful to country directors, and task teams preparing new adjustment operations. The five adjustment loans (two in Argentina, and one each in Korea, Malaysia, and Russia) show that applying basic lessons is not always straightforward, however, and, sometimes involves making tradeoffs among Bank objectives. It is stipulated policy objectives are more likely to be achieved, if there is substantial borrower ownership. To this end, support for new policies should be established, towards generating broad political ownership, including engaging key players in incoming administrations, to help build ownership of reforms. Moreover, combined, the Bank's country knowledge and global expertise, can generate quality operations, that forge local partnerships, draws on prior experience, and maintains a minimum knowledge base. This is to say, setting priorities, and sequencing reforms should be carefully included during the design phase, with particular attention to avoid excessively broad conditionality, which may reduce the probability of real progress on key reforms.
  • Publication
    The Law and Economics of Judicial Systems
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 1999-07) Shavell, Steven
    The economic analysis of law is an indispensable conceptual tool for designing and reforming legal systems. It does not necessarily deal with markets, prices, and what are conventionally thought to be economic concepts. Rather, it is an approach to analyzing the law and legal institutions that focuses on systematic, empirical analyses of the incentives and effects created by alternative legal constraints. The economic analysis of law can also be a valuable tool in considering alternative models for reforming legal institutions. Three broad principles of reform are suggested by this approach: reducing the scope of the law, simplifying the law, and using incentives to alter access to the legal system. Reformers and social planners should always consider the possibility of reducing the scope of the law. Reducing the demand for legal services can free much human talent for other things--the practice of medicine, the construction of roads, and so on. Since legal rules can become very complicated, simplifying them may save scarce resources. One way to drastically reduce the amount of litigation is to use predetermined schedules or tables to calculate the damages that accident victims can collect rather than making the amount a subject for legal adjudication. Lastly, there are important externalities to the use of legal services, and policymakers should not allow private actors alone to determine when they want to bring suits.