Journal articles published externally

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These are journal articles by World Bank authors published externally.

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Now showing 1 - 10 of 2071
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Cooperative Membership and Exposure to Role Models: Implications for Income and Asset Aspirations

2023-12-01, Tabe-Ojong, Martin Paul Jr., Heckelei, Thomas, Baylis, Kathy, Rasch, Sebastian

Although it is increasingly recognized that aspirations drive economic behavior and outcomes, it is not fully understood how aspirations are formed (or eroded). However, it has been theoretically established that aspirations are socially constructed and formed under an aspiration window. An aspiration window refers to a cognitive zone of similar individuals based on age, gender, caste, geography, religion, ethnicity, and other social (self-help) groups. In these groups, individuals learn from each other through interaction and experimentation. We examine the relationship between group membership and aspirations. As a proxy for group membership, we use agricultural cooperatives that abound in many developing countries and have been associated with productivity and welfare gains. Given that farmers interact and are exposed to role models in these cooperatives, we also investigate the relationship between exposure to role models and aspirations. We show a positive association between cooperative membership and aspirations as well as between exposure to role models and aspirations. Interacting cooperative membership with exposure to role models, we find a larger association between cooperative membership and aspirations, highlighting the relevance of exposure to role models in these cooperatives. Given the growing evidence regarding the relevance of aspirations in achieving various developmental outcomes, our study highlights some entry points in improving aspirations.

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Regional Convergence in Bangladesh Using Night Lights (Published online: 10 Jul 2022)

2023-10-12, Basher, Syed Abul, Rashid, Salim, Uddin, Mohammad Riad

We analyse economic convergence across 64 districts of Bangladesh using newly harmonized satellite night light data over 1992–2018. The growth in night lights – taken as a proxy for regional economic activity – reveals overwhelming evidence of absolute convergence. Regional differences in night light (or income) growth have been shrinking at an annual convergence rate of 4.57%, corresponding to a half-life of 15 years. Net migration plays a relatively prominent role in the regional convergence process.

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The Importance of Political Selection for Bureaucratic Effectiveness (First published: 19 April 2023)

2023-08-14, Habyarimana, James, Khemani, Stuti, Scot, Thiago

Bureaucratic effectiveness has come to the fore in research as necessary for economic growth and development. This paper contributes empirical evidence to understand the building blocks of bureaucracy by gathering rich survey data in a typical institutional environment of the developing world. The data reveal a robust correlation between the selection of local politicians and bureaucratic effectiveness. In districts in Uganda where locally elected politicians have higher survey-based measures of integrity (or honesty), the bureaucracy is more effective in delivering public heath services. This evidence supports current research, and encourages future research on how the selection of political agents into government is an important determinant of bureaucratic effectiveness.

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Funding Dam Safety Regulation: An International Comparative Analysis and Example Application in Australia (Published online: 27 Aug 2022)

2023-08-11, Pisaniello, John D., Wishart, Marcus J., Lyon, Kimberley N., García, Esteban Boj

Dam failures that cause significant adverse downstream impacts continue to occur globally. Hence, effective, adequately resourced dam safety regulation is critical for the safety of dams and downstream communities. This paper explores options for regulatory funding and resourcing according to a selected set of relevant key factors along a continuum of dam safety assurance. An international comparative analysis of 15 jurisdictional case studies against the key factors identifies trends representing indicative precedents. A procedure is developed to help identify increasingly relevant precedents for guiding target jurisdictions on potentially suitable options. Illustrative application to a real case in Australia is provided.

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The effects of booster classes in protracted crisis settings: Evidence from Kenyan refugee camps (Published online: 13 Jul 2023)

2023-10-12, Brudevold-Newman, Andrew, De Hoop, Thomas, Holla, Chinmaya, Isaboke, Darius, Kinoti, Timothy, Ring, Hannah, Rothbard, Victoria

Students in protracted crisis settings often face a range of challenges which combine to yield low education outcomes. This paper presents the results from a randomised controlled trial of weekend and holiday booster classes for 7th and 8th grade girls in Kakuma refugee camp in Kenya, that aimed to improve girls’ education outcomes and increase transition rates from primary to secondary school. While qualitative results suggested numerous advantages of the booster classes, including more freedom to ask questions, smaller class sizes, and kinder teachers, the program did not yield statistically significant effects on learning outcomes, school attendance or noncognitive skills. Mixed-methods research suggests that the limited impacts may stem from implementation challenges including irregular booster class attendance and a lack of appropriate teaching materials. More broadly, the results show the importance of accounting for implementation challenges in the reporting of impact evaluation results.

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Impacts of Performance‑Based Financing on Health System Performance: Evidence From The Democratic Republic of Congo (Published: 04 October 2023)

2023-10-10, Shapira, Gil, Booto, Baudouin Makuma, Samaha, Hadia, Fritsche, György Bèla, Muvudi, Michel, Baabo, Dominique, Antwisi, Delphin, Ramanana, Didier, Benami, Saloua, Fink, Günther

Health systems’ weakness remains one of the primary obstacles towards achieving universal access to quality healthcare in low-income settings. Performance-based financing (PBF) programs have been increasingly used to increase access to quality care in LMICs. However, evidence on the impacts of these programs remains fragmented and inconclusive. We analyze the health system impacts of the PBF program in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), one of the largest such programs introduced in LMICs to date. We used a health systems perspective to analyze the benefits of PBF relative to unconditional financing of health facilities. Fifty-eight health zones in six provinces were randomly assigned to either a control group (28 zones) in which facilities received unconditional transfers or to a PBF program (30 zones) that started at the end of 2016. Follow-up data collection took place in 2021–2022 and included health facility assessments, health worker interviews, direct observations of consultations and deliveries, patient exit interviews, and household surveys. Using multivariate regression models, we estimated the impact of the program on 55 outcomes in seven health system domains: structural quality, technical process quality, non-technical process quality, service fees, facility management, providers’ satisfaction, and service coverage. We used random-effects meta-analysis to generate pooled average estimates within each domain. The PBF program improved the structural quality of health facilities by 4 percentage points (ppts) (95% CI 0.01–0.08), technical process quality by 5 ppts (0.03–0.07), and non-technical process by 2 ppts (0–0.04). PBF also increased coverage of priority health services by 3 ppts (0.02–0.04). Improvements were also observed for facility management (9 ppts, 0.04–0.15), service fee policies, and users’ satisfaction with service affordability (14 ppts, 0.07–0.20). Service fees and health workers’ satisfaction were not affected by the program. The results suggest that well-designed PBF programs can lead to improvements in most health systems domains relative to comparable unconditional financing. However, the large persisting gaps suggest that additional changes, such as allocating more resources to the health system and reforming the human resources for health management, will be necessary in DRC to achieve the ambitious global universal health coverage and mortality goals.

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The Portfolio Theory of Inflation and Policy (In)Effectiveness: A Revisitation (Published online: 14 Sep 2021)

2023-08-11, Bossone, Biagio

This article revisits the Portfolio Theory of Inflation (PTI), with a view to further articulating its findings and implications. The article adds to the micro-foundations of the PTI, framing more rigorously the role of global investors as international allocators of capital resources, and providing richer analysis of their interaction with macroeconomic policies at country level. The article explores how country credibility enters the capital allocation choice process of global investors and how global investor choices shape the space available to country policy making, determining the extent to which the effect of macro-policies dissipates into exchange rate depreciation and higher inflation.

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Scaling Education Innovations in Complex Emergencies: A Meta-Evaluation of Five Process and Three Impact Evaluations (Published online: 30 Sep 2022)

2023-10-12, De Hoop, Thomas, Coombes, Andrea, Ring, Hannah, Hunt, Kelsey, Rothbard, Victoria, Holla, Chinmaya

The papers in this special issue describe evaluations of the scaling journey of five different education programmes operating in humanitarian crises. This introduction first presents the research context for these evaluations followed by a synthesis of the overarching barriers and facilitators to scaling across three domains: (1) context, (2) business model, and (3) advocacy and ownership based on a qualitative synthesis. The synthesis showed that implementers often started multiple pilot projects in different contexts rather than scaling-up in one context. We also present a summary of impacts on learning outcomes from impact evaluations of three of the five education programmes.

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Long-Lived Consequences of Rapid Scale-Up? The Case of Free Primary Education in Six Sub-Saharan African Countries

2023-08-31, Filmer, Deon

This study explores whether Free Primary Education reforms in 6 Sub-Saharan Africa countries affected the quality of teachers in a way that can be detected several years after the reform. It does so by analyzing student- and teacher-level data collected between 5 (Togo) and 16 (Uganda) years after FPE was implemented and comparing outcomes for teachers were hired just before versus just after the policy. Across the 6 countries in the study, grade 4 students of teachers who were hired after the FPE reform perform worse on language and math tests than students of teachers who were hired before the reform. The effects are statistically significant for the language test. Teachers who were hired just after the reform also perform worse on tests of subject content knowledge than those hired before the reform. These average effects mask substantial variation across countries: the gaps are large and significant in some countries but negligible in others. There are few systematic differences associated with being hired pre- or post-reform in teacher demographic characteristics, education and training, or teacher classroom-level behaviors.

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Can Perceptions of Reduction in Physical Water Availability Affect Irrigation Behaviour? Evidence from Jordan (Published online: 23 Jun 2022)

2023-08-11, Kafle, Kashi, Balasubramanya, Soumya

Frequent droughts and rapidly depleting groundwater reserves have deepened the water scarcity crisis in Jordan. Even though most farms use ‘water-saving' technologies, groundwater depletion continues at an alarming rate. We investigate how farmers' past experiences of physical water availability are related to their current behaviour, by examining the frequency of irrigation and how farmers determine irrigation needs. Data came from a primary survey of 414 commercial farms. Using the seemingly unrelated regression estimator, we find that respondents who perceived a reduction in physical water availability and agricultural losses in the past irrigated more frequently and were more likely to use self-judgement in determining irrigation needs. These relationships were more pronounced for smaller farms than larger farms, farms with sandy soil, mono-cropping farms, and owner-managed farms. These effects were lower for farms that preferred in-person approaches for receiving irrigation advice. While the frequency of irrigation was higher among stone fruit farms, the probability of using self-judgement in determining irrigation needs was higher in olive farms and vegetable farms. We argue that farmers' irrigation behaviour must be considered for groundwater management policy and planning in Jordan, an important component of the country’s ability to adapt to climate change.