World Bank Discussion Papers

17 items available

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Informal documents that present unpolished results of research or country analysis. They are circulated to encourage discussion and comment. Papers for which rapid publication is particularly important were often issued in this series. This series was superseded by the World Bank Working Papers series in 2003 and the World Bank Studies series in 2010.

Items in this collection

Now showing 1 - 10 of 17
  • Publication
    The Indian Pharmaceutical Sector : Issues and Options for Health Sector Reform
    (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2002-09) Govindaraj, Ramesh
    This report assesses the pharmaceutical sector in India, particularly focusing on four key issues related to the production, procurement, and distribution of drugs in India: a) availability, b) affordability; c) quality, and d) the rational use of drugs. The results of a survey of three states indicate considerable variation across states in the above four areas in both public and private sectors. The report concludes that problems with the availability, affordability, and rational use of good quality, cost-effective, essential drugs have persisted in most parts of India, and that these health-related issues need be addressed as a priority. An overarching recommendation is the need to focus on strengthening the implementation and regulation of the pharmaceutical sector at the state level, rather than on simply introducing new regulations. Adequate pharmaceutical quality assurance needs to be particularly emphasized as, in its absence, other reform measures could be rendered moot. Similarly, the rational use of drugs needs to be emphasized as it is likely to yield significant cost savings to the government and to consumers, in addition to its positive impact on health.
  • Publication
    The Environmental Implications of Privatization : Lessons for Developing Countries
    (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2002-04) Lovei, Magda; Gentry, Bradford S.
    Governments worldwide have increasingly recognized the economic potential and fiscal advantages of privatization. What is less well recognized is that, under the right conditions, privatization can also yield environmental benefits and contribute to sustainable development. This report reviews a number of case studies to draw lessons about the environmental implications of privatization. It emphasizes that privatization offers an opportunity for making strategic decisions with longer-term impacts; streses that integrating environmental and social considerations into the privatization process leads to better, more sustainable outcomes; and recommends approaches to building on the positive linkages between privatization and environmental protection.
  • Publication
    Electronic Finance : A New Approach to Financial Sector Development ?
    (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2002-03) Claessens, Stijn; Glaessner, Thomas; Klingebiel, Daniela
    In recent years, electronic finance, especially online banking, and brokerage services, has reshaped the financial landscape. This paper reviews these developments, and analyzes their implications for consumers, governments, and financial service providers. First, it reviews the e-finance (r)evolution in emerging, and other markets, and projects its future growth. It then analyzes e-finance impact on the structure of, and competition in the financial services industry. After that, it assesses how e-finance, and globalization more generally, affects financial sector policies in emerging markets, including the need for changes in the approach to financial sector development. The paper then examines governments' changing role in the financial sector, and identifies opportunities that e-finance offers countries to leapfrog. Finally, the paper includes for policymakers, and others involved in financial sector reform in emerging markets, detailed information, and Web links on public policy activities related to e-finance.
  • Publication
    Unleashing Russia's Business Potential : Lessons from the Regions for Building Market Institutions
    (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2002-03) Broadman, Harry G.; Broadman, Harry G.
    This analyzes, based on more than seventy company case studies across 13 Russian regions during the spring, summer, and fall of 2000, and the summer of 2001, examines four key issues that Russian firms face in carrying out business transactions in Russia's regional markets: 1) the state of enterprise competition; 2) the regulatory regime governing the delivery of infrastructure services (with a focus on the telecom, and Internet sector); 3) the sources, and use of corporate finance; and, 4) the efficacy of the court system in fostering the settlement of commercial disputes. The study formulates policy recommendations for each of the areas analyzed. In so doing, it sheds light on salient inter-regional differences in existing policy frameworks, and in the structure, and nature of the country's enterprise sector, as well as on how regional governments, and firms both respond to, and shape these differences. The study also highlights the evolution of inter-regional policy, and economic changes over time, assessing the extent to which, two years after the 1998 crisis, enterprise restructuring at the local level, has been affected by the devaluation of the ruble.
  • Publication
    Closing the Gap in Access to Rural Communications : Chile 1995-2002
    (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2002-02) Wellenius, Bjorn
    The study documents, and reviews the Chilean experience in rural telecommunications, by focusing on the principles, practical organization, basic design, and outstanding issues for extension of a more advanced form of approach to communication, and access to information. It examines in depth the results, and success factors of the Telecommunications Development Fund, established in 1994, a success largely due to the extensive reliance on market forces to determine, and allocate subsidies, to minimal regulatory intervention, and relatively simple processing. The design of the Fund proved robust, and remains the leading example of a cost-effective solution to reduce access gaps in basic communication in emerging economies. However, questions remain on the sustainability of services for the long run, on how to support the small, but still excluded rural population, and on potential, further needs in urban areas.
  • Publication
    Managing the Real and Fiscal Effects of Banking Crises
    (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2002-01) Klingbiel, Daniela; Laeven, Luc; Klingbiel, Daniela; Laeven, Luc
    The study provides two recent analyses, spurred by the recent East Asian crisis, of government responses to financial distress, and, also presents a comprehensive database on systemic, and borderline banking crises. In the first chapter, the authors review the tradeoffs involved in public policies for systemic, financial, and corporate sector restructuring. They find that consistent policies are crucial for success, though such consistency is often missing. This consistency covers many dimensions, and entails among other things, ensuring that there are sufficient resources for absorbing losses, and, that private agents face appropriate incentives for restructuring. The authors also find that sustainable restructuring, requires deep structural reforms, facing upfront, political economy factors. In the second chapter, the authors use cross-country evidence to determine whether specific crisis containment, and resolution policies, systematically influence the fiscal costs of resolving a crisis. They find that accommodating policies - such as blanket deposit guarantees, debtor bailouts, and regulatory forbearance, etc. - significantly increase fiscal costs. The third chapter, is a comprehensive database on systemic banking crises that have occurred since the late 1970s. The database also includes information on borderline (non-systemic) banking crises during the same period.
  • Publication
    Telecommunications and Information Services for the Poor : Toward a Strategy for Universal Access
    (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2002) Navas-Sabater, Juan; Dymond, Andrew; Juntunen, Niina
    Access to information, and communications technologies has become crucial to a sustainable agenda of economic development, and poverty reduction, and yet access remains concentrated in a few regions and population groups, with the contours of this new "digital divide" closely following, and supplementing existing income, and economic divides. However, technological innovations, economic pressures, and regulatory reforms, are making access to information, and communications technologies more affordable, and, providing opportunities to close the digital divide. This discussion paper outlines a number of policy, and regulatory measures, including incentives to attract investors to high cost, or challenging areas, that can be used under different scenarios, to close the digital divide. While Bank Group experience shows an increasing number of projects with specific universal access components, this paper proposes alternatives for Bank Group support for universal access policies, through an appropriate mix of technical assistance, and investments.
  • Publication
    Trade and Transport Facilitation : A Toolkit for Audit, Analysis, and Remedial Action
    (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2001-12) Raven, John
    This document is an expanded version of the paper published in 2000 under the title "Trade and Transport Facilitation: An Audit Methodology." It seeks to improve the effectiveness of diagnosis and corrective activities in the field of trade and transport facilitation by providing beyond guidelines on how to carry out the preliminary audit, insights on how to go over analysis, and preparation of appropriate remedial action.
  • Publication
    Facets of Globalization : International and Local Dimensions of Development
    (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2001-10) Yusuf, Shahid; Wu, Weiping; Yusuf, Shahid; Evenett, Simon; Wu, Weiping
    The chapters in this volume underscore the transformative role of globalization and urbanization, and show the interplay between these forces. Trade reform and liberalized foreign investment regimess have contributed to the spatial reallocation of economic activity toward cities, especially those cities that can attract and nurture human capital and strong connections to other markets. Global factors have, therefore, reinforced agglomeration economies in shifting economic clout toward cities, and in so doing they may be exacerbating regional disparities in incomes. The rise of cities is changing political dynamics in developing nations. It is forcing a reappraisal of existing constitutional structures and center-local relations, as well as the important--and perhaps more mundane-- arrangements for funding and organizing investment by subnational entities. At the same time, democratization is reinforcing the pressures for local autonomy. This perspective shifts the debate away from whether or not globalization is undermining the role of the central state and toward one about the appropriate allocation of responsibilities and resources to different layers of government. Strong arguments support the position that municipalities can, with the appropriate resources and political structures to ensure their responsiveness to local needs, make substantial improvements in the well-being of urban residents. Experience suggests that some state functions ought to remain with government.
  • Publication
    Agricultural Trade Liberalization in a New Trade Round : Perspectives of Developing Countries and Transition Economies
    (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2001-09) Ingco, Merlinda; Winters, L. Alan; Ingco, Merlinda; Winters, L. Alan
    This discussion paper contains seven studies, designed to a) review, and assess the impact of the implementation of the Uruguay Round (UR) Agreement on Agriculture, and, b) to analyze the key issues, interests, and options for developing countries in the new World Trade Organization's (WTO) round of multilateral trade negotiations in agriculture. Six regional case studies are presented: Sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia, Latin America, Eastern Asia, Central and Eastern Europe, and industrial countries. A quantitative analysis of the dynamics of multilateral liberalization in food, and agricultural trade is also presented. Among some of the key conclusions, it is suggested that much preparatory work was achieved in bringing agriculture fully into the multilateral trading system during the UR, and, a significant achievement was the development of a broad framework for reductions in trade-distorting policies. The UR was also successful in negotiating reduced volumes of subsidized exports, and in providing at least, minimum levels of access to markets. There were, however, a number of limitations in both what was agreed to, and in how the Agreement in Agriculture has actually been implemented, as the analyses show that the work achieved during the UR, will be of limited value, unless market distortions in agriculture can be reduced substantially. If liberal agricultural trade is to succeed, its limitations should be addressed, and policy induced distortions to agricultural production, be substantially reduced.