The Annual Bank Conference on Development Economics (ABCDE), organized by the World Bank’s Development Economics (DEC) Vice Presidency, is one of the world's best-known conferences for the presentation and discussion of new knowledge on social and economic development. The conference aims to promote the exchange of cutting-edge knowledge among researchers, policymakers, and development practitioners.
The theme of ABCDE 2022 is "Recovery, Reform, and Business Environment", with a key focus on how enterprises are recovering from the pandemic crisis, how the business environment was affected by the pandemic, and reform prospects for the future. It will be held completely online, using a Zoom platform. It will take place over 4 days, June 21–24, from 9:00 am–12:00 pm (EST).
The COVID-19 pandemic crisis produced an unprecedent shock to the global economy. Firms of all sizes and sectors were deeply impacted by the measures to reduce the likelihood of contagion (e.g., lockdowns and travel restrictions) and the consequent disruptions in both local and global value chains. Most governments worldwide acted by changing the regulatory environment aimed to enhance markets functioning, easing access to credit, and/or through targeted policies envisaged to attenuate the negative effects on firms’ performance and consequently on the labor market. The crisis also created new opportunities. The use of digital technologies and platforms, which the World Bank has been advocating for in the last few years, skyrocketed. Firms have been pressed to innovate and adapt their business models to expand markets or simply survive. The steadily increasing pace of digitization is expected to ease production of high-frequency data that can be used for faster and better-informed decision-making and to identify market frictions.
Independently of the pandemic crisis, the regulatory environment and the provision of public services necessary for the functioning of markets continue to play an important role in the growth and development of businesses and the private sector in general. Reforms in the business environment are fundamental to achieve the larger goals of poverty reduction and shared prosperity. They continue to be a challenge, especially for developing countries. Moreover, the issues raised by the pandemic crisis have accentuated the need for reforms.
For both “recovery and reform” several questions are of keen interest for academics and policy makers. For instance, to what extent do regulatory reforms contribute to enhance the business environment and market functioning? What public services, policies and institutions are most conducive to spur private sector dynamism? Which specific policies targeting firms during the crisis (particularly the micro, small and medium-sized ones - MSMEs) actually had an impact on firm survival, businesses’ models, and performance outcomes? How deep has the effect of the pandemic been on businesses’ financial needs? How innovations in the credit market can impact access of underserved firms and what are their implications to businesses’ performance and productivity? How is the labor market responding to transformational changes produced by the pandemic crisis? What are the underlying political economy issues driving regulatory changes for crisis management and long-term development?
The conference will feature an introduction by Carmen Reinhart (World Bank Group Senior Vice President and Chief Economist), and keynote addresses by Laura Alfaro (Harvard Business School), and Steven Davis (Chicago Booth). The ABCDE program committee members are Mohammad Amin, Caio Piza, Colin Xu, Mike Peng, and Daniela Scur.