IEG Fast Track Brief

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Fast Track Briefs inform the World Bank Group (WBG) managers and staff about new evaluation findings and recommendations.

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    Poverty Reduction Support Credits : An Evaluation of World Bank Support
    (Washington, DC, 2009-11) World Bank
    Poverty Reduction Support Credits (PRSCs) were intended to help countries implement comprehensive, country-owned development strategies to promote growth, improve social conditions, and reduce poverty. PRSCs were intended to ease conditionality, make annual flows to recipient countries predictable and integrated with their budgets, strengthen domestic budget processes, provide a framework for donor harmonization, and focus on achieving results. In terms of process, PRSCs have worked well. Findings show that they incorporated many envisaged changes in design and implementation. These include stronger country ownership, eased conditionality, and a shift of focus towards public sector management and pro-poor service delivery. PRSCs balanced tensions between predictability and program credibility. Although PRSCs differed from preceding adjustment loans, development policy lending today has converged towards a similar design. PRSCs today are subject to the same guidelines as other Development Policy Loans (DPLs). Differences remain in practice in terms of the association with PRSPs, broad scope, programmatic nature, and country performance. The evaluation recommends either that PRSCs be phased out as a separate brand name or that these differences be clearly spelled out.
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    Earnings Growth and Employment Creation : An Assessment of World Bank Support in Three Middle-Income Countries
    (Washington, DC, 2009-06) World Bank
    This assessment reviews earnings and employment outcomes in Colombia, Tunisia, and Turkey during 1998-2007, as well as five policy areas (the MILES framework) likely to affect those outcomes: macroeconomic conditions, investment climate, labor regulations, education, and social protection. Employment-related outcomes in the three countries were mixed, with notable progress in economic growth, earnings and poverty reduction, but not in the employment to- population ratio or unemployment rate. This underscores the desirability of focusing on the full set of employment-related variables Gross Domestic Product (GDP), poverty, employment, unemployment, and earnings - in an integrative fashion rather than just on employment when setting the objectives of Bank support. This focus will need better employment-related statistics, an area where the Bank can help further. Bank objectives in the three countries focused more on MILES components than on employment itself. Bank support in the three countries achieved differential progress in the individual MILES components, with the most progress on macro stabilization, followed in approximate order by progress on the investment climate, education, social protection, and labor taxation and regulations. The experience of the three countries illustrates how analytic and advisory activities can be the main instrument of support in those areas where progress in reform is difficult and the need for building engagement and consensus is critical.
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    Georgia Country Assistance Evaluation, 1993-2007
    (Washington, DC, 2008-06) World Bank
    Georgia's development path was highly uneven after the country gained independence in 1991. Civil war, secessionist movements, and economic crises resulted in a sharp and protracted fall in output and hyperinflation in the immediate post-independence years. In 1994-96 the country implemented a successful stabilization program, reining in hyperinflation and restoring growth. But in subsequent years the government failed to overcome problems arising notably from economic mismanagement and widespread corruption, leading to poor public services, a deepening energy crisis, and political and economic uncertainty. After the November 2003 raised revolution, the new government executed an ambitious reform program that quickly produced results: rapid economic growth, improved governance, and better living conditions. The World Bank's experience in Georgia closely followed the successes and failures of the country's development. Three distinct sub-periods can be identified, based on the timing of the Bank's country strategies, changes in government policy course, and exogenous factors: 1994-97, 1998-2003, and 2004-07. With Georgia now on the path to international Development Association (IDA) graduation and becoming eligible for International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) borrowing, the challenge for the Bank is to sustain a strong partnership with an emerging middle-income country.