WASHINGTON, January 10, 2012 – During economic recessions, policymakers and economists tend to focus on how the crisis affects growth, employment, overall household incomes and tax revenues. The local, individual story is often missed in such big-picture analysis.
The lack of “micro” data is especially acute in developing countries where household surveys are often sporadic and out of date. That makes it difficult for governments to retool existing poverty programs, much less predict who is likely to be pushed into poverty during an economic shock.
A new book published by the World Bank outlines a comprehensive approach for estimating data at the individual and household level to help policymakers target their responses in a more timely and effective manner. It also offers suggestions for how they can better plan for future crises.
The book, Knowing, When You Do Not Know, came in response to demands from World Bank staff who worked in countries and national governments following the 2008 – 2009 global financial crisis. Many of them felt that existing analysis lacked critical information on employment, poverty, and social impacts needed to design responses to the crisis.