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PublicationThe Global Financial Crisis : Comparisons with the Great Depression and Scenarios for Recovery(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2009-08) Brahmbhatt, Milan; Da Silva, Luiz PereiraA recent paper has highlighted some close correspondences between economic performance during the present world recession and that during the early months of the great depression that began in late 1929. World industrial production from April 2008 to April 2009 fell as rapidly as during the first year of the great depression, while stock market prices and world trade volumes have fallen more rapidly than in the comparable period. These comparisons lead Eichengreen and O'Rourke to draw the alarming conclusion that 'it's a depression alright.' They note, however, that fiscal and monetary policies are likely to be much more supportive of economic activity in the next 1-2 years than they were during the first few years of the great depression. The first part of this note outlines some other important structural differences between the world economy today and in the 1930s that are likely to affect how the present recession plays out relative to the great depression. The second part of the note discusses possible recovery paths out of the current crisis. PublicationThe Global Macroeconomic Situation and Policy Implications(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2008-08) Brahmbhatt, MilanThis PREM note provides some perspectives on the ongoing financial turmoil and the present complicated situation in the world economy. Two unifying themes can help to organize the discussion. First, the world economy is working its way through the aftershocks of a major global credit boom-and-bust cycle. A second cross-cutting theme is the emergence of developing countries as major players in the world economy. The combination of these trends could, over time, undermine existing structures of international economic cooperation. PublicationAccess to Preshipment Export Finance : Do Guarantees Help?(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2007-04) Alavi, HamidMany small- and medium-sized emerging exporters in developing countries have inadequate access to short-term working capital to finance their export transactions. This is mainly due to a market failure resulting from informational asymmetries on the part of banks about exporters' ability to execute export orders according to buyers' standards of quality, cost, and delivery. Several countries have established pre-shipment export finance guaranty facilities to help alleviate this market failure. Their aim is to act as catalyst to temporarily share nonperformance risks of exporters with the banks, allowing the banks to evaluate nonperformance risks of emerging exporters. Some countries have implemented these facilities successfully encouraging banks to provide pre-shipment finance without guarantees, while others have not. This note draws on Tunisia's experience to outline the necessary conditions for the success of these facilities. PublicationDecentralization and the Challenge of Hard Budget Constraints(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2000-07) Rodden, JonathanSince the early 1980s fiscal and political decentralization have spread around the world. But decentralization can encourage dangerous opportunistic behavior by state and local officials. Left unrestricted, such opportunism can undermine macroeconomic stability and other objectives. The most pressing manifestation of this problem is the softening of subnational budget constraints. The impact of decentralization on public sector efficiency and macroeconomic stability depends on a country's ability to prevent lower-level governments from passing on their liabilities to higher-level governments. This note draws on 11 countries to identify institutional factors associated with hard and soft budget constraints and extract policy lessons for other countries.