Journal Issue: World Bank Research Observer, Volume 19, Issue 2

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Oil, Macroeconomics, and Forests : Assessing the Linkages
(World Bank, 2004-01-01) Wunder, Sven ; Sunderlin, William D.
This article focuses mainly on the five primary case study countries. For forest impacts, the concentration is on forest conversion to other land uses and deforestation, defined as a (temporary or permanent) removal of trees to less than 10 percent crown cover, which is similar to the Food and Agricultural Organization's (FAO's) definition. Selective logging is thus not deforestation but may degrade forests and enable conversion. All of the case study countries are tropical countries that export oil, a choice made for two reasons. First, the macroeconomic 'laboratory' of oil exporters offers a good opportunity to study links between external economic changes and forests. Oil economies often fluctuate dramatically due to heavy reliance on a single export commodity with unstable world market prices. Second, earlier studies provide support for the hypotheses that on average oil- and mineral-exporting tropical countries have more forests left and lose them at a slower rate than non-mineral-exporting countries. The article briefly reviews hypotheses and methodologies and outlines the deforestation data problems and how they were dealt with. It presents empirical results for the five primary case study countries and takes a closer look at three of the key causal linkages in the model. It then examines the role of different policy instruments and finally discusses policy insights that extend beyond the oil exporting countries.
Much Ado about Nothing? Do Domestic Firms Really Benefit from Foreign Direct Investment?
(World Bank, 2004-09-01) Görg, Holger ; Greenaway, David
Governments the world over offer significant inducements to attract investment, motivated by the expectation of spillover benefits to augment the primary benefits of a boost to national income from new investment. There are several possible sources of induced spillovers from foreign direct investment. This article evaluates the empirical evidence on productivity, wage, and export spillovers in developing, developed, and transition economies. Although theory can identify a range of possible spillover channels, robust empirical support for positive spillovers is at best mixed. The article explores the reasons and concludes with a review of policy aspects.
How Have the World's Poorest Fared since the Early 1980s?
(World Bank, 2003-01) Chen, Shaohua ; Ravallion, Martin
A new assessment is made of the developing world’s progress against poverty. By the frugal $1 a day standard there were 1.1 billion poor people in 2001—almost 400 million fewer than 20 years earlier. During that period the number of poor people declined by more than 400 million in China, though half the decline was in the early 1980s and the number outside China rose slightly. At the same time the number of people in the world living on less than $2 a day rose, so that there has been a marked bunching up of people living between $1 and $2 a day. Sub-Saharan Africa has become the region with the highest incidence of extreme poverty and the greatest depth of poverty. If these trends continue, the 1990 aggregate $1 a day poverty rate will be halved by 2015, meeting the Millennium Development Goal, though only East and South Asia will reach this goal.
Vouchers for Basic Education in Developing Economies : An Accountability Perspective
(World Bank, 2003-01-01) Gauri, Varun ; Vawda, Ayesha
Advocates argue that voucher programs can correct the incentive problems of education systems in developing economies. An accountability perspective, based on a principal-agent framework, was developed to clarify the arguments for and against education vouchers. An assessment of findings on voucher programs in industrial countries and a review of voucher or quasi-voucher experiences in Bangladesh, Chile, Colombia, Côte d'Ivoire, and the Czech Republic support the usefulness of the analytic framework. The assessment concludes that the policy relevance of voucher programs for developing economies remains uncertain. Major voucher initiatives have been attempted only in countries with a well-developed institutional infrastructure. Some studies find favorable benefits for at least some population groups, but others find limited effects and evidence of increasing social stratification in schools. Whether vouchers lead to better outcomes or greater stratification appears related to specific contexts, institutional variables, and program designs.
Policies on Managing Risk in Agricultural Markets
(World Bank, 2004-09-01) Larson, Donald F. ; Anderson, Jock R. ; Varangis, Panos
Over the past dozen years, policymakers have largely abandoned long-standing popular approaches for addressing risk in agriculture without fully resolving the question of how best to manage the negative consequences of volatile agricultural markets. The article reviews the transition from past policies and describes current approaches that distinguish between the trade-related fiscal consequences of commodity market volatility and the consequences of price and production risks for vulnerable rural households and communities. Current policies rely more heavily on markets, even though markets for risk are incomplete in numerous ways. The benefits and limitations of market-based instruments are examined in the context of risk management strategies, and innovative approaches to extend the reach of risk markets are discussed.