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publication October 12, 2017

Development Digest: Insights for Global Development Solutions


Issue 3, October 2017

The World Bank Group Global Knowledge and Research Hub in Malaysia is pleased to present the third issue of the Development Digest, a publication that features key research conducted by various specialists across the World Bank Group over the past six months.

List of articles in this issue:

  1. Welcome to Issue Three
  2. Islamic Finance for Development 
    Income growth is not the sole aim of economic development. To many, an equally important, albeit less quantifiable, outcome is a sense of progress for the entire community, and a confidence that prosperity is shared equitably – and sustainably – across society for the long term.
    Victoria Kwakwa
  3. Data for Development
    Data is becoming increasingly relevant for economic development. For Malaysia to achieve high-income status by 2020, improving the availability and quality of data can further drive productivity in the private sector, in academic research, as well as help make public service delivery more efficient.
  4. Counting GDP
    The recent debate in Malaysia on whether it makes more sense to measure Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in ringgit or in dollars is a healthy one. It reflects a sound interest by many segments of Malaysian society in statistics that measure economic development and how it changes people’s living standards.
    Faris Hadad-Zervos and Richard Record
  5. ASEAN at 50
    The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is 50 years old in 2017. Created as a loosely-constructed regional organization by five countries at the height of the Cold War, ASEAN has come far. Today’s 10 member countries have transformed ASEAN into a rapidly growing and vibrant community stretching across the Southeast Asian region.
    Ulrich Zachau
  6. Migrating to Opportunity
    Migration has been growing in Southeast Asia. The mismatch in the region’s supply of and demand for labor encourages workers to seek employment around the region. Migrants can earn substantially more when working abroad, with remittances benefiting their households at home and helping to reduce poverty. When migrants return home, they bring back capital, knowledge, and skills. Migrants can also help address labor market shortages, boost production and stimulate competitiveness.
    Mauro Testaverde and Harry Moroz
  7. Immigrants and Productivity
    How exactly do unskilled immigrant workers – with at most secondary education –fit into a dialogue about national productivity growth? Such a discussion would revolve around the components of labor productivity improvements - total factor productivity (TFP) growth, a rise in the average skill level, and physical capital deepening (keeping in mind that TFP growth can be facilitated by the other two components).
    Sharmila Devadas
  8. Learning from Malaysia
    The World Bank Group Global Knowledge and Research Hub draws from Malaysia’s development experience that can serve as valuable lessons for other countries. Vietnam and Lao PDR are just two of the countries that have benefited from this model of capacity development through knowledge exchanges with the Hub.
    Jana Kunicova, Huong Thi Lan Tran, Fanny Weiner and Soren Davidsen
  9. Microfinance Revolution
    The Global Symposium on Microfinance “Revolutionizing Microfinance: Insight. Innovation. Inclusion”, held in May 2017 in Kuala Lumpur, was an opportunity to develop a better understanding of how microfinance institutions (MFIs) can be a part of the evolving financial services ecosystem.
    Djauhari Sitorus, Nisha Singh and Ahmad Hafiz Abdul Aziz
  10. Women in Private-Sector Malaysia
    Using firm-level survey data collected by the World Bank’s Enterprise Surveys (ES), the overall level of women’s presence in Malaysia’s formal private sector is analyzed as well as its distribution across different firm-types. Malaysia’s experience is benchmarked against the average for the following comparator groups: other countries in the East Asia & Pacific (EAP) region, upper-middle-income countries and lower-middle-income countries.
    Mohammad Amin and Amanda Zarka
  11. Industrial Policies Vs Public Goods
    In the last decade, there has been a revival of interest in industrial policies among policymakers around the world. In principle, industrial policymakers should eliminate relative distortions across sectors, resolving or taking advantage of externalities and spillovers in some sectors relative to others.
    Norman Loayza, Constantino Hevia and Claudia Meza-Cuadra
  12. Assessing Forecast Uncertainty
    Assessments of uncertainty embedded in forecasts are often missing. Accounting for this uncertainty around baseline predictions, particularly in policymaking and investment, is critical in making better and more informed decisions. Here, a procedure to assess risks associated with an economic or social random variable is introduced. The procedure relies on a Bayesian information-theoretical approach, which allows the inclusion of judgment and forecaster expertise.
    Fabian Mendez-Ramos