Finance, Competitiveness, and Innovation in Focus

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The series captures the experience, innovative approaches and solutions for development of the World Bank Group covering financial sector topics of relevance to both the public and private sectors. The series is comprised of short knowledge notes, policy notes, case studies, lessons learned or a combination therein. This series was formerly known as Finance in Focus.

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    Coding Bootcamps for Female Digital Employment: Evidence from a Randomized Control Trial in Argentina and Colombia
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2021) Aramburu, Julian ; Goicoechea, Ana
    The increase in female labor force participation is among the most salient economic and social transformations in the world over the last fifty years, and Latin America is no exception. In this regard, the gender gap in educational attainment has not only narrowed, but it has reversed itself in most countries of the region. Despite this, two important gaps remain. First, wages of female workers are, on average, thirty percent lower than those of males. Second, a high degree of occupational and educational segregation remains, with men and women being concentrated in different fields of occupations and study. This study pilots a comprehensive female-targeted computer programming training (bootcamp) in Buenos Aires, Argentina and Bogotá, Colombia. Bootcamps have become a policy instrument to tackle the following two objectives. First, they provide training on coding skills at a time when the rapid spread of new digital technologies is increasing demand for such skills. Second, when training on coding skills is specifically targeted toward women, it reduces the gender gap in terms of access to effective training on coding skills.
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    Less Burden, More Transparency, and Higher Quality: Electronic System for Business Safety Inspections in Peru
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2020-07-21) Barron, Manuel ; Bedoya, Guadalupe ; Garcia Montufar, Diego ; Goicoechea, Ana
    Business safety inspections are commonly cited as one of the most important bureaucratic barriers to doing business around the developing world (World Bank 2019, 2020). In Peru, the business safety inspection system is characterized by low compliance with established norms, misaligned incentives and high transaction costs. These inefficiencies affect micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) disproportionally, as they do not have the resources or know-how to navigate the inspection procedures. MSMEs constitute 99.5 percent of firms, employ up to 89 percent of the population, and contribute up to 31 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) in the country (Ministry of Production 2017). Thus, the inefficiencies in the inspection system hamper the business environment, adversely affecting shared prosperity and economic growth. The World Bank Group is conducting a rigorous impact evaluation study in collaboration with the Ministry of Housing of Peru.1 Specifically, it will assess how the deployment of an electronic system for inspections, in combination with the improved monitoring of inspector performance and optimized firm auditing, can be used to address key constraints in the inspection system. This work will shed light on whether these mechanisms can reduce the compliance burden on firms by improving regulatory efficiency while also ensuring safety. In addition, it will provide evidence about how such systems could operate when implemented at scale. This note provides an overview of the policy problem that Peru faces, and describes the solutions to be tested. It then focuses on lessons from developing and implementing the electronic system to solve the policy problem, with an emphasis on those lessons related to the constraints and inputs to improving regulatory efficiency and accountability.