After many decades of expansion, incomes and standards of living have never been better in many parts of the world. Yet, global trade and the prospects of growth still seem uncertain, and protectionism seems to be on the rise. In developed countries, there is anxiety over the loss of the manufacturing jobs that once absorbed a large share of the labor force and created a middle class that formed the core of democracy. Most middle-income countries have not yet been able to make the transition to the high-income group despite the decades of growth. Progress among low-income countries, particularly the sub-Saharan African countries, in achieving productivity growth and structural change—key features of economic development—has not been encouraging, and reverse structural transformation or deindustrialization has occurred in some countries.
Is Education in crisis worldwide? It surely is a fundamental issue of national and international development for Morocco’s policy makers. Recent reforms point to a key moment and momentum builder in public policy and policy implementation for the Kingdom. Policy makers agree that Education touches on fundamental themes of development economics as well as cognitive growth and ethics. It is behind human capital accumulation, and thus productivity and economic growth benefits from international trade and cooperation, facilitates the absorption of new technologies and therefore influences how our lives and working processes evolve. It also relates to a moral concern to provide opportunities for all individuals and social improvement. Education illustrates the challenges to link progress in theoretical development economics to practical policy design and operationalization. Naturally, working on Education reform involves: (i) analytical work testing the appropriate models with the best data; (ii) project or policy design using the previous results; (iii) implementation of the most effective project or policy; and (iv) evaluation of outcomes. But Education is more: it also has (v) an ethical dimension, providing quantity and quality educational opportunities for all. In sum, Education - as part of poverty and inequality reduction strategies - needs to be effective and socially inclusive. It is rarely a one-size-fits-all, which is why its projects and policies need to be designed by assessing local conditions, collaborating with communities and always understanding issues from different cultural standpoints. In some instances, a common “blueprint” or a “good recipe” can be retained and adapted to local circumstances. For example, in many developing countries, the objective is to increase universal coverage in primary and secondary education while reducing poverty. However, as noticed in both Morocco, middle-income countries, and industrialized economies, this widespread enrollment strategy is now putting tremendous pressures on labor markets that show too little absorptive capacity.
After a strong rising tide starting in the 1990s, financial globalization seems to have reached a plateau since the global financial crisis. However, that apparent stability has taken place along a deep reshaping of cross-border financial flows, featuring de-banking and an increasing weight of non-banking financial cross-border transactions. Sources of potential instability and long-term funding challenges have morphed accordingly.
Dual transitions are under way in Cuba. The island is slowly opening its economy, and a new crop of younger political leaders, potentially more open to democratic norms, waits in the wings. A third transition, the rise of digital access, is also in an early stage. But it is this third transition that arguably has the most momentum and could significantly accelerate the first two.
Brazil’s labor and total-factor productivity (TFP) have featured anemic increases in the last decades (Canuto, 2016). As we illustrate here, contrary to common view, sector structures of the Brazilian GDP and employment cannot be singled out as major determinants of productivity performance. Horizontal, cross-sector factors hampering productivity increases seem to carry more weight.
The best way I can describe my feelings about trade these days is as an unstable anxiety disorder. Following on November 8 2016, the date of the US election, my anxiety level rose markedly as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) was buried. Shortly thereafter it touched a maximum when a dangerous idea called the Border Adjustment Tax was gaining traction, and the North-American Free Trade Agreement seemed headed the way of TPP. Then I became a little less prone to panic attacks, as various checks and balances on Presidential action seemed to kick in. Executive Orders now command the preparation of studies of why trade agreements are not working instead of commanding immediate departure from them. That gives me hope.
Last week the World Bank released a Staff Note (2017) analyzing the pension reform proposal sent last December by Brazil’s Federal Government to Congress. It concludes that (p.16, our emphasis):
“… the proposed pension reform in Brazil is necessary, urgent if Brazil is to meet its spending rule, and socially balanced in that the proposal mostly eliminates subsidies received under the current rules by formal sector workers and civil servants who belong to the top 60 percent of households by income distribution.”
Turkey has been approaching a crossroads for some time now. Soon enough it will have to choose a direction.
On April 16, 2017 Turks will vote in a referendum on President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s proposed constitutional amendment that would shift the country’s power center from a parliamentary system to a presidential one.