Journal Issue: World Bank Economic Review, Volume 25, Issue 2

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Corruption and Confidence in Public Institutions : Evidence from a Global Survey
(World Bank, 2011-05-31) Clausen, Bianca ; Kraay, Aart ; Nyiri, Zsolt
Well-functioning institutions matter for economic development. In order to operate effectively, public institutions must also inspire confidence in those they serve. We use data from the Gallup World Poll, a unique and very large global household survey, to document a quantitatively large and statistically significant negative correlation between corruption and confidence in public institutions. This suggests an important indirect channel through which corruption can inhibit development: by eroding confidence in public institutions. This correlation is robust to the inclusion of a large set of controls for country and respondent-level characteristics. Moreover we show how it can plausibly be interpreted as reflecting at least in part a causal effect from corruption to confidence. Finally, we provide evidence that individuals with low confidence in institutions exhibit low levels of political participation, show increased tolerance for violent means to achieve political ends, and have a greater desire to “vote with their feet” through emigration.
Are The Poverty Effects of Trade Policies Invisible?
(World Bank, 2011-05-31) Verma, Monika ; Hertel, Thomas W. ; Valenzuela, Ernesto
Beginning with the WTO's Doha Development Agenda and establishment of the Millennium Development Goal of reducing poverty by 50 percent by 2015, poverty impacts of trade reforms have become central to the global development agenda. This has been particularly true of agricultural trade reforms due to the importance of grains in the diets of the poor, presence of relatively higher protection in agriculture, as well as heavy concentration of global poverty in rural areas where agriculture is the main source of income. Yet some in this debate have argued that, given the extreme volatility in agricultural commodity markets, the additional price and therefore poverty impacts due to trade liberalization might well be indiscernible. This paper formally tests the “invisibility hypothesis” using the method of stochastic simulation in a trade-poverty modeling framework. The hypothesis test is based on the comparison of two samples of price and poverty distributions. The first originates solely from the inherent variability in global staple grains markets, while the second combines the effects of inherent market variability with those of trade reform in these same markets. Results, at the national and stratum level indicate that the short-run poverty impacts of full trade liberalization in staple grains trade worldwide, are distinguishable in only four of the fifteen countries, suggesting that impacts of more modest agricultural trade reforms are indeed likely to be invisible in short run. Countries that show statistically significant short run impacts are the ones characterized by high staple grains tariffs and/or a moderate degree of grain markets variability. Within each country, results are heterogeneous. In two thirds of the sample countries, agriculturally self-employed poor experience statistically significant poverty impacts from trade liberalization. However, this figure is under a third for all the other strata.
Agricultural Distortions in Sub-Saharan Africa : Trade and Welfare Indicators, 1961 to 2004
(World Bank, 2011-05-31) Croser, Johanna L. ; Anderson, Kym
For decades, agricultural price and trade policies in Sub-Saharan Africa hampered farmers' contributions to economic growth and poverty reduction. This paper draws on a modification of so-called trade restrictiveness indexes to provide theoretically precise partial-equilibrium indicators of the trade and welfare effects of agricultural policy distortions to producer and consumer prices in 19 African countries since 1961. Annual time series estimates are provided not only by country but also, for the region, by commodity and by policy instrument. The findings reveal the considerable extent of policy reform over the past two decades, especially through reducing export taxation; but they also reveal that national policies continue to reduce trade and economic welfare much more in Sub-Saharan Africa than in Asia or Latin America.
Thresholds in the Finance-Growth Nexus : A Cross-Country Analysis
(World Bank, 2011-05-31) Yilmazkuday, Hakan
Thresholds of inflation, government size, trade openness, and per capita income for the finance-growth nexus are investigated using five-year averages of standard variables for 84 countries from 1965 to 2004. The results suggest that (i) high inflation crowds out positive effects of financial depth on long-run growth, (ii) small government sizes hurt the finance-growth nexus in low-income countries, while large government sizes hurt high-income countries, (iii) low levels of trade openness are sufficient for finance-growth nexus in high-income countries, but low-income countries need higher levels of trade openness for similar magnitudes of the finance-growth nexus, (iv) catch-up effects through the finance-growth nexus are higher for moderate per capita income levels.
The Value of Vocational Education : High School Type and Labor Market Outcomes in Indonesia
(World Bank, 2011-05-31) Newhouse, David ; Suryadarma, Daniel
This paper examines the relationship between the type of senior high school attended by Indonesian youth and their subsequent labor market outcomes. This topic is timely in light of a recent policy shift that aims to dramatically expand vocational education. The analysis controls for an unusually rich set of predetermined characteristics, and exploits longitudinal data spanning fourteen years to separately identify cohort and age effects. There are four main findings. First, the estimated wage premium for vocational graduates, relative to general graduates, is greater for women than men. Second, the returns to public vocational school for men have plummeted for the most recent cohort, and male vocational graduates now face a large wage penalty. Third, the generally favorable outcomes of public school graduates can be partly explained by non-random sorting of students with higher test scores and better-educated parents into public schools. Finally, these peer effects appear to be particularly important for students with above-average test scores, as men with high scores earn a surprisingly small premium from graduating from vocational or private general school. These small returns for high-scoring men, as well as the dramatic fall in the earnings premium for all male vocational graduates, raise important concerns about the current expansion of public vocational education and the relevance of the male vocational curriculum in an increasingly service-oriented economy.
Disability and Poverty in Vietnam
(World Bank, 2011-05-31) Mont, Daniel ; Cuon, Nguyen Viet
Disability is significantly correlated with poverty in Vietnam, according to data from the 2006 Vietnam Household Living Standards Survey, especially when the extra costs of living with a disability are taken into account. This disability-poverty link is also associated with lower educational attainment, an important factor in determining poverty and productive economic activity in general, both for household-based businesses and wage employment. Not taking into account these associations and the extra costs of disability will make some poor disabled people invisible in poverty statistics and impede efforts to reduce poverty.
Has India’s Economic Growth Become More Pro-Poor in the Wake of Economic Reforms?
(World Bank, 2011-05-31) Datt, Gaurav ; Ravallion, Martin
The extent to which India's poor have benefited from the country's economic growth has long been debated. A new series of consumption-based poverty measures spanning 50 years, including a 15-year period after economic reforms began in earnest in the early 1990s, is used to examine that issue. Growth has tended to reduce poverty, including in the postreform period. There is no robust evidence of more or less poverty responsiveness to growth since the reforms began, although there are signs of rising inequality. The impact of growth is higher when using poverty measures that reflect distribution below the poverty line and when using growth rates calculated from household surveys rather than national accounts. The urban-rural pattern of growth matters for the pace of poverty reduction. However, in marked contrast to the period before the reforms, urban economic growth in the period after the reforms has brought significant gains to the rural poor as well as the urban poor.