COVID-19 Response: Reflections from the (Virtual) Trenches

Written by Rebecca Alcock // On June 3rd, 2018, a volcano erupted in the heart of Guatemala. Its ash plume was visible from space, and its name, Fuego, suddenly stung with honesty. The eruption delivered the deadliest volcanic byproduct: pyroclastic flow, a high-speed surge of lava, rock, ash, and gas. Pyroclastic flows reach temperatures up to … Continue reading COVID-19 Response: Reflections from the (Virtual) Trenches

Data & Development: A Journey Without Maps

Written by Ryan McGuine // The world is awash in data like never before, which is a good thing for global development — there are increasing returns to both more information, and better linkages across information types and sources. Indeed, the plight of the world’s poorest has improved considerably in many ways recently, partly because … Continue reading Data & Development: A Journey Without Maps

Troubled Waters for Emerging Markets

Written by Ryan McGuine // The global economy has faced a series of dramatic shocks related to the COVID-19 outbreak. While high-income countries have thrown money at their health systems and economies to dampen the hardship, many other countries lack the resources to do so. Emerging markets — a loose term that includes countries like … Continue reading Troubled Waters for Emerging Markets

This is America

Sparked by the death of George Floyd, who was killed by police officers in Minneapolis, protesters marched against systematic racial bias and police brutality in cities throughout America last week. The majority of attendees participated in the spirit of peaceful disobedience, but were met with police, and threats of military, intimidation, as well as attacks … Continue reading This is America

Long Story Short: Poverty, Development & Coronavirus

Written by Ryan McGuine // Poverty and development are intimately related, and COVID-19 provides an example of that connection as it continues to spread worldwide, including to ill-prepared regions like South America and Africa. Combating poverty typically involves short-term, programmatic interventions, while promoting development usually consists of long-term, macro policies. These were long considered two … Continue reading Long Story Short: Poverty, Development & Coronavirus

Avoiding the Resource Curse

Written by Ryan McGuine // Economic history is full of countries with abundant stocks of natural resources exporting them to generate revenue. Famous examples include agricultural products in Latin American countries, oil in Persian Gulf countries, and minerals in African countries. Despite this, economic history is short on countries that have successfully converted natural resource … Continue reading Avoiding the Resource Curse

Mr Kim Leaves Washington

Written by Ryan McGuine // In January, World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim announced his plans to resign after six years in the role, and begin work at Global Infrastructure Partners, an independent infrastructure fund manager. This decision surprised many, since he was only recently re-elected for a second five year term in 2017. … Continue reading Mr Kim Leaves Washington

Technology Dynamics and Growth

Written by Ryan McGuine // According to the Solow Model, productivity growth is the key to long-term, sustained economic growth. In practice, this is quantified by a blunt measure of economic efficiency called total factor productivity (TFP). Referred to as a "measure of our ignorance" by Robert Solow himself, TFP is calculated by summing up … Continue reading Technology Dynamics and Growth

Closing the Infrastructure Gap

Written by Ryan McGuine // In 2017 the McKinsey Global Institute estimated that the world would need to spend $67 trillion by 2035, or $3.7 trillion annually — roughly $1.3 trillion more than was spent in 2013 — on infrastructure in order to merely keep up with projected economic growth. This difference between current spending … Continue reading Closing the Infrastructure Gap

Premature Deindustrialization: Economic Growth Then & Now

Written by Ryan McGuine // The conventional path for economic development has been to use industrialization — the process of increasing industry's relative contribution to total GDP and employment, at the expense of those of agriculture and services — as a means to enable rapid convergence. "Convergence" refers to a catch-up effect whereby countries that … Continue reading Premature Deindustrialization: Economic Growth Then & Now