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Reflections on the 2019 Nobel Prize in Economics

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The award of the 2019 Nobel Prize in Economics to Abhijit Banerjee and Esther Duflo of MIT, and Michael Kremer of Harvard University, has led to a flurry of blogs and op-ed pieces. Some of these have rightly been congratulatory of the Nobel Committee’s decision to award the Prize to a set of scholars which includes both the youngest and only second-ever female recipient, and an economist from a developing country. Others have, also correctly, pointed out the limitations of the method...

Randomized control trials – why they deserve the Nobel and what should happen next

This year’s Nobel Prize in Economics was awarded to Abhijit Banerjee, Esther Duflo, and Michael Kremer for their experimental approach — randomized control trials (RCTs) — to alleviating global poverty. Thanks to Banerjee, Duflo, and Kremer and their networks, the RCT method, which uses field trials to test development interventions, has come to dominate the field of development economics. RCTs provide a solution to the data gap A key challenge in empirical development...

How (not) to build state capability

court room
Effective and capable states are essential for the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Such states can raise the necessary resources for spending on the crucial government programmes that matter for the achievement of the SDGs, as well as implement these programmes efficiently. This is why the development of effective, accountable and transparent institutions is itself an important element of the 2030 Agenda, as reflected in SDG 16. However, building state capability in...

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Social mobility in developing countries: Research and policy gaps

Are the chances of a child growing up in China reaching higher income or occupational levels than their parents any higher than those of a child in India?...

Research Brief
Revenue losses from tax-motivated mispricing in South Africa November 2019

New research provides the first direct evidence of tax-motivated transfer mispricing in a developing country...

Tax International taxation Profit shifting
Blog
Randomized control trials – why they deserve the Nobel and what should happen next

This year’s Nobel Prize in Economics was awarded to Abhijit Banerjee, Esther Duflo, and Michael Kremer for their experimental approach — randomized control trials (RCTs) — to alleviating global poverty...

Development Economics Nobel Prize
Blog
Reflections on the 2019 Nobel Prize in Economics

The award of the 2019 Nobel Prize in Economics to Abhijit Banerjee and Esther Duflo of MIT, and Michael Kremer of Harvard University, has led to a flurry of blogs and op-ed pieces ...

Nobel Prize Development Economics Structural transformation
Blog
How multinationals continue to avoid paying hundreds of billions of dollars in tax: New research
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Tax havens have become a defining feature of the global financial system. Multinational companies can use various schemes to avoid paying taxes in countries where they make vast revenues...

corporate income tax Taxation Profit shifting
Blog
Nobel prize in economics: experiments are no substitute for diagnosis

Sitting in front of a class of 20 young students at a private technical-vocational college on the edge of Maputo, the capital city of Mozambique, I cannot help but reflect on the fervent social media debates regarding the Royal Swedish Academy of Sci...

Blog
Indonesia's huge fires and toxic haze will cause health problems for years to come

Indonesia is currently in the throes of an environmental emergency. Thousands of hectares of forest are burning across the vast country, causing toxic smoke to be released into the atmosphere...

Maternal and child health Health outcomes Environment and climate
Blog
How Asia transformed from the poorest continent in the world into a global economic powerhouse

In 1820, Asia accounted for two-thirds of the world’s population and more than one-half of global income. The subsequent decline of Asia was attributed to its integration with a world economy shaped by colonialism and driven by imperialism...

Policy Brief
Annual Lecture Brief - Informality: The Achilles Heel of Social Protection in Latin America: Making a case for universal social protection in Latin America October 2019

The 2019 WIDER Annual Lecture discusses the challenges of social protection in economies with large informal sectors, such as in Latin America...

Research Brief
The impact of tax havens on South African revenue October 2019

The study uses a comparative analysis of foreign-owned firms operating in South Africa to show that firms with a parent registered in a tax haven tend to report 80% less in profits than similar firms without a parent in a tax haven...

Tax International taxation Profit shifting
Policy Brief
Social protection, government revenue and microsimulation in developing countries October 2019

Social protection has attracted increasing interest in developing countries in recent decades and policies have been initiated in all developing regions...

SOUTHMOD Microsimulation modelling Tax-benefit microsimulation
Policy Brief
Aid effectiveness: Growth and beyond October 2019

The questions of whether aid has impact and is effective have been the subject of considerable attention...

Aid effectiveness aid and growth Development aid
Policy Brief
Horizontal inequality: Global trends and data challenges October 2019

Inequality—both vertical (between individuals and households) and horizontal (between groups)—is a core concern in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development...

Group-based inequality Horizontal inequality Ethnic group
Policy Brief
Can legal empowerment help to address ethnic exclusion? October 2019

‘Legal empowerment’ is defined as a process of systemic change through which the poor and excluded become able to use the law to protect and advance their rights and interests as citizens and economic actors...

Legal empowerment Group-based inequality Property rights
Research Brief
Firms with high-growth episodes in South Africa: Are they persistently high-growth firms? October 2019

The analysis of firm growth has been a topic of consistent economic interest as a growing body of literature has lent support to the possibility that the majority of growth and new employment creation is the result of a small sub-sector of high-growt...

Firm growth High-growth firms Regression analysis
Blog
Highlights from the 2019 WIDER Development Conference

The World Bank recently estimated that two-thirds of all jobs in developing countries are at risk of automation...

Jobs sdg8 Economic transformation
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