ECA Talks

ECA talks showcase policy and research papers relevant for the region. These events facilitate a dialogue between researchers and practitioners on issues of policy interest.




kids sitting on stairs in Tallinn, Estonia
November 10, 2023

ECA Talk: Estonia’s Education Miracle - Higher Social Mobility, More Innovation
Join our ECA Talk to learn more about Estonia’s education system and what policy lessons other countries can draw from its success.

card with speakers photos
October 12, 2023

Fall 2023 ECA Economic Update "Sluggish Growth, Rising Risks" 
Watch the recording of this ECA Talk to learn about the latest economic forecasts for countries in Europe and Central Asia as well as key opportunities and challenges for the region in the face of overlapping crises.

ECA Talk presentation slide on EU Convergence
June 21, 2023

Growing United: Upgrading Europe's Convergence Machine
This ECA Talk presents work on convergence, development traps and the geography of discontent in Europe, then looks at the challenges this raises for policies aiming at national and regional convergence. 

Zoom call with Lionel Fontagne on the front.
May 16, 2023

Firms, Energy Efficiency and Responses to High Prices
This ECA Talk explores firm level data in the French manufacturing sector to see the impact of energy shocks and energy prices on businesses.

Panelists at the ECA Talk in April 2023
April 20, 2023

Weak Growth, High Inflation, and a Cost-of-Living Crisis
Economic growth slowed sharply in 2022 across Europe and Central Asia, as the region faced overlapping crises including Russia's invasion of Ukraine and a surge in inflation. 

Light blue background
March 29, 2023

"Returns to Education" Turns 50
2023 marks 50 years since the publication of Returns to Education: An International Comparison. This event recognizes this milestone and reassesses the progress in measuring the benefits of education. 

A collapsed bridge in Chernihiv, Ukraine
March 28, 2023

Decentralization and Conflict
During this ECA Talk, University of Pittsburgh Professor Jennifer Murtazashvili presented on decentralization and conflict, discussing lessons from Afghanistan, Ukraine, and beyond. 

Ivailo Izvorski and University of Chicago Professor Luis Martinez at the February 2023 ECA Talk
February 15, 2023

How Much Should We Trust the Dictator’s GDP Growth Estimates?
In this discussion, we explore evidence on how significantly autocracies overestimate their economic growth, specifically data derived from nighttime lights (NTL) recorded by satellites. The research suggests autocratic regimes overstate their annual GDP growth by 35%. 

Ufuk Akcigit, Harry A. Patrinos, and Ivailo Izvorski at the January 2023 ECA Talk
January 18, 2023
Education and Innovation

How do innovation and education policy affect individual career choice and aggregate productivity? This talk discusses the various layers that connect R&D subsidies and higher education policy to productivity growth. We put the development of scarce talent and career choice at the center of a new endogenous growth framework with individual-level heterogeneity in talent, frictions, and preferences. Education and innovation policies not only alleviate different frictions, but also impact innovation at different time horizons.

Nine photos of speakers and discussants at the ECA Talk on Forced Displacement
June 23, 2022
Forced Displacement

How do initial socio-economic conditions shape refugees’ integration into labor markets? How does individuals’ exposure to conflict correlate with contemporary social inequalities? What are the long-term effects of integration policies? These questions and related policy implications will be discussed during this session.

photo collage with four persons
June 16, 2022
Foreign Aid to Countries in Conflict

How does conflict influence which countries with good or bad governance receive official development aid flows? What is the effect of aid on conflict? There is some evidence indicating that aid on average might make conflict worse. But there is hope that aid to countries in conflict may now have a more positive role.

Photo of speakers and moderator at the ECA Talk "Good Economics for Warmer Times"
May 19, 2022
Good Economics for Warmer Times: Evidence for Effective and Equitable Climate Action 

During this ECA Talk, Professor Duflo discussed the disproportionate impact of climate change on people in poverty, and why countries need to invest in policy innovation, not just technological innovation, to confront climate change.

March 17, 2022
Digital Currencies and the Challenges for Central Banks 
The foundation of the monetary system is trust in the currency. Central bank digital currencies (CBDCs) build on this trust, offering in digital form the unique advantages of central bank money. 


February 17, 2022
Just Give People Money. But How and When? Implications for the Pandemic Recovery
This ECA Talk brought together lessons from household finance and policy on cash transfers. The focus is on distinguishing between flows and lumps, and building policy around the distinct saving and liquidity challenges faced by low-income households.


January 20, 2022
Monetary Policy under Heterogeneity: Lessons From SMEs and COVID-19 Pandemiс
Does monetary policy work the same way for SMEs and large listed firms in terms of credit borrowed and interest rate paid? Do firms and banks with high or low leverage respond similarly to monetary policy surprises? Do different types of collateral pledged by different firms have any effect? These questions and related policy implications were discussed during this ECA Talk.


November 10, 2021
Jobs and Mobility
This ECA Talk presents a series of recent research papers focusing on different aspects of the relationship between jobs and mobility. How often do workers change jobs in recent years? Which type of jobs requires a physically mobile labor force? What role does the international mobility of workers play in local labor markets? What can governments do to address the labor mobility challenges emerging from the pandemic? These questions and related policy implications were discussed during the session.


September 23, 2021
Market Power and Business Dynamism in the US and around the World
This talk will summarize the empirical findings on market power and business dynamism,  make an attempt to understand potential common forces behind these empirical regularities and discuss their policy implications.


July 1, 2021
Building a Greener Recovery: Implications for Emerging and Developing Economies
This ECA Talk will discuss the potential cost-effective and innovative policy mechanisms that could be considered by emerging and developing countries to yield progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).


June 16, 2021
Firm-level Barriers on the Path to Net Zero: How Firms Can Make or Break the Green Transition

This ECA Talk will draw on a variety of firm-level data sources in Europe and Central Asia region to explore how financial and managerial constraints are holding back firms from making green investments and how this may thwart countries’ ambitions to become carbon neutral over the next decades.


March 3, 2021
Joint ECA Talk -Poverty&Equity Seminar “COVID-19 and Global Income Inequality”

There is a widespread belief that the COVID-19 pandemic has increased global income inequality, reducing per capita incomes by more in poor countries than in rich. This supposition is reasonable but false.


February 3, 2021
The Design of Competitive Markets
Many economists think that in the absence of any government intervention, markets naturally become competitive, and that being bigger is associated with being better. However, superstar firms are increasingly receiving attention from policymakers.


January 20, 2021
Mobile Broadband Internet and Confidence in Government
How does mobile broadband internet affect the approval of the government? The research based on Gallup World Poll surveys shows that, on average, an increase in mobile broadband internet access reduces government approval.


Dec 7, 2020
Europe 4.0 and Digital Divide
Europe faces a digital dilemma. This discussion focused on how Europe can meet its "triple objective" to improve competitiveness while fostering market inclusion for smaller firms and economic convergence for citizens and regions, impact of COVID-19 and application of the framework in Turkey.


Nov 18, 2020
Zombie Lending, Fiscal Dominance and Financial Stability - Some Implications for the Post-Pandemic World
How has the pandemic affected financial stability in advanced and emerging markets? What do the stabilization policies adopted during the pandemic imply for the post-pandemic financial sectors?


Sep 23, 2020
What to Expect from the Post-COVID State
The social, economic, and political consequences of the COVID-19 crisis will go far beyond what we have already experienced, as many societies around the world witness a new page turn in state-society relations, as well as the changing role of technology in our lives.


July 9, 2020
Future of Banking in the Post COVID-19 World
The impacts of the COVID-19 crisis have come on top of a combination of persistently low interest rates, regulatory changes, and competition from shadow banks and new digital entrants that have challenged the traditional bank business model over the past decade.


June 1, 2020
Debt and COVID-19
This seminar will offer an assessment of some of the current and future risks, and discuss some policies that could tackle pre-existing or new debt problems.


May 4, 2020
Will COVID-19 Reshape the Global Economy?
The COVID-19 crisis could have profound long-term economic consequences. The crisis is likely to have a major impact on globalization and global value chains, and it could bring about a rethinking of the social contract and the role of the state.


 March 5, 2020
Gender Inequality in Europe and Central Asia: Challenges and Opportunities

The Europe and Central Asia region has a complex landscape with regard to gender equality. How can the narrative on the relationship between gender gaps and the region’s development be elevated? What are some of the trade-offs that should be considered in policy and regulatory reforms?


February 20, 2020
Have Robots Grounded the Flying Geese? Automation and Offshoring in Europe’s Manufacturing Sector
A discussion around the impact of automation on offshoring and how patterns of automation are affecting greenfield foreign direct investment (FDI) decisions.


 December, 2019
 HBO's "It Will Be Chaos" Screening
The screening of the 2019 Emmy-award winning documentary “It Will Be Chaos” was followed by the discussion with the film directors Filippo Piscopo and Lorena Luciano. The movie features two refugee stories of human strength while capturing in real time the escalating tension between newcomers and locals.


November 21, 2019
A Market for Work Permits 
While citizens have a right to accept any job offer in their country, that right is not marketable nor extended to foreigners. There is a missing market. One solution is to allow people to rent out their right-to-work for a period of their choice.


 October 15, 2019
Can Foreign Direct Investment Facilitate Green Transition?
What is the impact of foreign acquisitions on plant-level energy intensity? Do foreign divestments reverse these effects? Is the effect of FDI inflows visible at the industry level? Why is there relatively little green investment in local firms in the ECA region? 


September 4, 2019
The Race Between Education and Technology:  Higher Education in Europe and Central Asia 
A panel discussion that explores the development impact of education and technology, including implications for higher education development policies in Europe and Central Asia.


 July 10, 2019
Globalization: The Future of Trade and Value Chains
Global value chains are being reshaped by rising demand and new industry capabilities in the developing world as well as a wave of new technologies. Globalization is in the midst of a transformation. Yet the public debate about trade is often about recapturing the past rather than looking toward the future. 


 April 11, 2019
Migration in Europe and Central Asia 
This panel discussion addressed the sharp increase in asylum seekers and undocumented migrants, which has greatly exacerbated public concerns in Europe and Central Asia over immigration in general.


 March 6, 2019
Corporate Debt: Lessons from Europe for Asia
The extensive rise in corporate leverage in Europe during the 2000s led to sluggish recovery aftermath of the 2008 crisis. As the corporate debt is on the rise in Asian countries, there are important lessons from Europe in terms of the detrimental effects of high corporate leverage. 

 February 21, 2019
Belt and Road Initiative in Central Asia and South Caucasus
China’s ambitious Belt and Road Initiative is widely expected to help promote Eurasian economic integration. How can countries gain the most economic benefits of BRI while managing the financial and social risks? 

Disclaimer: The views expressed by panelists are their own and do not represent the position of the World Bank

Contact Information
Suzette Dahlia Samms-Lindsay
Senior Executive Assistant
Tel : (202) 473-0750