Knowledge Economy Study

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  • Publication
    Competing in the Digital Age: Policy Implications for the Russian Federation
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2018-09) World Bank Group
    This report provides an overview of the role of emerging technologies in digital transformation and the global best practices in policy responses to the disruptions they cause across a broad spectrum of economic activity. It analyzes the successes and challenges of digital transformationin Russia and attempts to develop key recommendations to help policy makers accelerate the pace of digital transformation across the main sectors of the Russian economy. In its current version, the report starts with discussing the results of the Russia DECA and offers an analysis of international best practice in formulating policy approaches to stimulate digital adoption while easing the disruption caused by the rapid emergence of new technologies. The objective is to help policy makers think through ways to harness the opportunities created by emerging technologies to enable Russia to accelerate the pace of digital transformation. The report then discusses the emergence of digital platforms as key enablers of digital transformation and proceeds to explore sectoral dynamics in the key digital transformation areas outlined in the Russia Digital Economy Program, including digital government, digital business, as well as digital innovation and skills building. Sector-oriented chapters follow a similar structure by analyzing international best practice in the transformation of a sector, offering an assessment of the current state of transformation of that sector in Russia and concluding with proposing a set of recommendations that may help accelerate the digital transformation of the sector in light of international best practice and the local experience. Due to the rapid pace of technological change and space limitations, this report does not pretend to offer in-depth analysis of Russian digital transformation at the sectoral level but is rather an attempt to analyze global best practice to inform Russian policy making and an invitation to the policy-maker and expert community to continue the digital co-creation experience started two years ago in the hope that it is an effective way to share the just-in-time global expertise of the World Bank whenever and wherever it is needed most in order to help accelerate Russia’s digital transformation process.
  • Publication
    Coding Bootcamps for Youth Employment: Evidence from Colombia, Lebanon, and Kenya
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2018-01) World Bank
    Coding bootcamps are intensive short-term programs designed to train participants in programming skills to make them immediately employable. They combine characteristics of traditional vocational training programs with the intensity of military bootcamps for new recruits, intermingling socio emotional and tech skills learning in an intense and experiential manner, in what could be referred to as skills accelerators. The authors refer to coding bootcamps in this report as the ready-to-work model. The initiative aims to collect and share examples and lessons of bootcamps in emerging markets, and measure the impact of bootcamp training on youth employment in selected countries. The program seeks to establish a framework of best practice for future projects in technology upskilling in the developing world. This report highlights the results of a randomized controlled trial (RCT) carried out in Medellín (Colombia), complemented with qualitative studies in Beirut (Lebanon) and Nairobi (Kenya). This report is arranged as follows: Chapter 1 starts with introduction; Chapter 2 describes the intervention in Medellín,including the experimental allocation of training slots to the bootcamp; Chapters 3 and 4 present the qualitative studies in Beirut and Nairobi; The main findings from the three interventions are presented in Chapter 5; and lessons for future impact evaluations are described in Chapter 6.
  • Publication
    Coding Bootcamps: Building Future-Proof Skills through Rapid Skills Training
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2017-08-01) World Bank
    This report studies coding bootcamps. A new kind of rapid skills training program for the digital age. Coding bootcamps are typically short-term (three to six months), intensive and applied training courses provided by a third party that crowdsources the demand for low-skills tech talent. Coding bootcamps aim at low-entry level tech employability (for example, junior developer), providing a new tool for entry into the new world of digital jobs. This report studies the characteristics, methodologies, business models and impact of five coding bootcamps operating directly or through partners in developing countries. High employability and employment rates in low-entry tech positions (for example, junior developer, freelancer, and so on) reported by coding bootcamps suggest an untapped potential of this form of rapid tech skills training. From the case studies, there are two factors that seem to exert a major influence over employment outcomes: 1. selection criteria, and 2. extent of links with the local tech ecosystem. However, there is also criticism around bootcamp programs, which have been grounded in three key arguments: quality of programming skills, employability, and "short termism." Early evidence, which is based on a limited number of sources and mostly based on the data from bootcamp providers themselves, calls for additional, more representative, and holistic research.
  • Publication
    IT Skills Assessment in Armenia
    (Washington, DC, 2014-06) World Bank
    The IT and high-technology sector is one of the fastest growing sectors in the Armenian economy. Since 2006, the sector, excluding Internet service providers, has grown with a CAGR of 22% reaching a total output of US$294 million in 2013. The number of companies operating in the sector is 380, the number of employees 8,000. About 13% of the companies operate in the high-technology domain, while the rest are IT companies. One of the driving factors of sector growth was its attractiveness for foreign companies to establish branches in Armenia. The prime competitiveness factor was the availability of relatively cheap and competitive human resources in Armenia. Currently, Armenia seems to be on the verge of losing this competitive advantage. Due to the growing number of IT companies in Armenia, demand for IT specialists will continue to increase. According to conservative estimates, if the market and productivity continue to grow with an average rate of 18% and 1% respectively, the absorption potential of additional IT specialists will grow at a rate of 17% annually and reach 15,000 by 2017. The sector is currently undergoing a major transformation: there is an increasing shift from the outsourcing model to the model of own product development and entrepreneurship in the sector. This model of growth requires a higher level of knowledge, new skills (such as sales and entrepreneurship skills), and entrepreneurial knowledge.
  • Publication
    Global Stock-Take of Social Accountability Initiatives for Budget Transparency and Monitoring : Key Challenges and Lessons Learned
    (Washington, DC, 2013-09) World Bank
    Budgets are key documents that lay out a government's economic priorities in terms of policies and programs. Budget transparency refers to the extent and ease with which citizens can access information about and provide feedback on government revenues, allocations, and expenditures. Budget monitoring entails using such information to analyze, critique, and track government finances in order to provide this feedback. Budget transparency is a prerequisite for public participation and accountability, which are instrumental for a democratic and legitimate budget process. Both budget transparency and monitoring efforts also help remove institutional bottlenecks that result in delayed budget allocations, thereby jeopardizing the delivery of vital services to people. Even though they have a far-reaching impact on the lives of people, opening up budgets beyond the exclusive domain of policy makers and administrators is a relatively recent phenomenon that has gained momentum in the last two decades. The stock taking exercise illustrates the range of mechanisms involved in Budget Transparency and Monitoring (BT&M) in different contexts and demonstrates significant promise of influencing governance processes and outcomes. Finally, there is a dearth of literature on initiatives that have not achieved their goals, which would allow lessons to be drawn from these failures. There are incentives to document successes rather than failures, but there is value in documenting failures because this allows for a better understanding of the challenges and opportunities that may be useful to consider when designing future BT&M interventions.
  • Publication
    Competitive Small and Medium Enterprises : A Diagnostic to Help Design Smart SME Policy
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2013-05) Tewari, Parth S.; Skilling, David; Kumar, Pranav; Wu, Zack
    Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) account for a lion's share of the enterprises in most economies and are also thought to be an engine of new growth and innovation. The focus of this paper is to take the insights on SME mix and segments to practical implications for developing countries around the world. The paper attempts to do this by providing a diagnostic approach that client countries and regions can use to assess their SME sectors and tease out firms' contribution to the local economy. Guidelines and specific examples of policies based on the insights in the paper have been provided. Lastly, the paper includes some areas of future research that are required on the subject. This paper proceeds in three steps. The first is to better understand the economic contribution of SMEs. This analysis complements the existing policy focus and takes it further to direct attention to a more specific set of growth drivers to enable the firms that matter disproportionately, the competitive SMEs, while remaining inclusive and avoiding market distortion. The second step is to develop a perspective on how best to complement the policy focus on competitive SMEs with that on larger firms. Policy-makers need to structure policy appropriately to develop a healthy eco-system of firms. The third step is to make this analysis actionable by policy-makers. This paper provides an initial SME policy diagnostic. A better understanding of how to encourage SME growth has the potential to make a substantial contribution to national economic performance.
  • Publication
    Dealing with GAC Issues in Project Lending : The Special Case of Fragile and Conflict-Affected States
    (Washington, DC, 2013) World Bank
    The principal objective of the Bank's governance work should be to help develop capable and accountable states to deliver services to the poor, promote private-sector-led growth, and tackle corruption effectively. The agenda for action has been defined, new tools and approaches have been developed, and governance and anticorruption (GAC) issues and concerns are increasingly being mainstreamed in the Bank's operational work at the country, sector, and project levels. With the introduction of the operational risk assessment framework (ORAF), the Bank has undertaken a major effort to improve how it manages GAC risks in the development projects and programs it supports. This note provides principles-based advice and guidance to task teams working at the sector and project levels on fragile and conflict-affected states (FCS) countries in Africa. It aims to provide a common conceptual framework for understanding the challenges and opportunities they face in project design, implementation, and supervision; highlight key lessons learned and good practice examples from others working in this area; and suggest some topics where further work is needed to understand and mitigate key operational risks. A communications strategy that frames GAC issues in a constructive way, seeks to take into account the concerns and perspectives of all stakeholders involved, enhances the understanding of constraints and opportunities, and strengthens the project's incentives for improving governance and reducing corruption. In FCS countries, constraints are likely to include severe weaknesses in institutional capacity; thus the project design should include an explicit strategy and action plan for institutional strengthening, as well as explicit, measurable indicators of progress.
  • Publication
    A Worldwide Overview of Facts and Figures
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2012-06) Pallares-Miralles, Montserrat; Romero, Carolina; Whitehouse, Edward
    This paper presents and explains cross country data for mandatory publicly and privately managed pension systems around the world. Relevant World Bank demographic projections and other indicators previously reported in International Patterns of Pension Provision (2000) are updated, and relationships between key indicators are highlighted. For more than a decade, the World Bank has compiled and maintained a database on pension systems around the world. The process of collecting data began in the early 1990s when the Bank's first major research volume on the subject was published. Subsequently, expanding World Bank lending and technical assistance on pensions resulted in the collection of additional information, particularly in Eastern Europe and Latin America. In addition to providing more recent data, this update includes new and standardized information on system parameters. The aim of this document is to capture much of the relevant cross-country information and indicators. This is intended to provide decision makers with a general view of the current patterns of pension provision worldwide to support their efforts to develop well-informed frameworks for implementing and/or reforming pension systems.
  • Publication
    Task Managers' ICT Toolkit : Good Practice for Planning, Delivering, and Sustaining ICT Products
    (Washington, DC, 2012-01) World Bank
    The toolkit is made up of two parts. In part 1, a route map is aimed at raising awareness. It attempts to give direction by helping to categorize information and communication technologies (ICT) components in terms of complexity and walks through the different stages of preparation, implementation, and supervision. In part 2, the toolkit goes into greater detail. It is intended that this second part would: For task managers and task teams provide a summary of the various disciplines relevant to the conceptualization, planning, delivery, and sustainability of ICT-based products; for project implementation units provide guidelines that will help them better prepare for and monitor ICT components; for borrowers and beneficiaries provide a primer on good practice; and for expert implementers provide orientation and nomenclature, and an aide-memoire for the formulation of project plans, expanding the focus beyond mere technology. The information contained here pertains to complex ICT components which may require tailored information systems, have a wide impact, have several subcomponents, have a significant management dimension, have relatively high financial worth, or are important to the success of the loan.
  • Publication
    Connecting to Compete 2012 : Trade Logistics in the Global Economy
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2012) Arvis, Jean-François; Ojala, Lauri; Shepherd, Ben; Saslavsky, Daniel
    This is the third edition of connecting to compete: trade logistics in the global economy. At its heart is the Logistics Performance Index (LPI), which the World Bank has produced every two years since 2007. The LPI measures on-the-ground trade logistics performance this year, in 155 countries helping national leaders, key policymakers, and private sector traders understand the challenges they and their trading partners face in reducing logistical barriers to international commerce. Logistics, organizing the movement of goods over time and space, has evolved from its 19th century military roots to today's international supply chains. As the backbone of international trade, logistics encompasses freight transportation, warehousing, border clearance, payment systems, and many other functions. These functions are performed mostly by private service providers for private traders and owners of goods, but logistics is also important for the public policies of national governments and regional and international organizations. The LPI provides a simple, global benchmark to measure logistics performance, filling gaps in datasets by providing systematic, cross-country comparisons. A joint venture of the World Bank, logistics service providers, and academics, the LPI is built around a survey of logistics professionals. By asking freight forwarders to rate countries on key logistics issues such as customs clearance efficiency, infrastructure quality, and the ability to track cargo it captures a broad set of elements that affect perceptions of the efficiency of trade logistics in practice.