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Office of the Chief Economist, South Asia Region

Publications

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SERIAL PUBLICATIONS Oct 06, 2022

Coping with Shocks: Migration and the Road to Resilience

In short order, a series of once-in-a-lifetime shocks has hit South Asia. Elevated inflation, balance of payments pressures, a slowdown in the global economy, and monetary tightening in other countries present renewed challenges, while the scars from the COVID pandemic continue to weigh down on the economic recovery. This report describes recent economic developments, analyzes the economic impact of the internal and external shocks, presents growth forecasts, provides risk scenarios, examines the impact of COVID on migration, and discusses policy recommendations.

SERIAL PUBLICATIONS Apr 13, 2022

Reshaping Norms: A New Way Forward

South Asia’s growth rate has returned to pre-pandemic levels. However, the uneven recovery from the pandemic has left countries in South Asia with multiple policy challenges, which are exacerbated by the impact of the war in Ukraine. This report describes recent economic developments, analyzes the economic impact on South Asia of the war in Ukraine, presents growth forecasts, provides risk scenarios, and concludes that reshaping economies goes hand in hand with reshaping norms.

SERIAL PUBLICATIONS Oct 07, 2021

Shifting Gears: Digitization and Services-Led Development

The emergence of a new services economy creates an opportunity for the region to shift gears and to move towards a services-led development model. This new services economy comprises not just the ICT sector, but also business and professional services that are increasingly critical inputs into manufacturing and other sectors, and digital platforms that are creating new markets.

REPORT Jun 29, 2021

Hidden Debt : Solutions to Avert the Next Financial Crisis in South Asia

Hidden Debt examines the trade-off between tackling development challenges through direct state presence in the market and avoiding unsustainable debt due to economic inefficiencies of such off–balance sheet operations, which greatly leverage public capital.

REPORT Jun 03, 2021

Glaciers of the Himalayas: Climate Change, Black Carbon, and Regional ...

This report investigates the extent to which the BC reduction policies of South Asian countries may affect glacier formation and melt within the context of a changing global climate. It assesses the relative impact of each source of black carbon on snow and glacier dynamics.

SERIAL PUBLICATIONS Mar 31, 2021

South Asia Vaccinates

Prospects of an economic rebound in South Asia are firming up as growth is set to increase, climbing from historic lows in 2020 and putting the region on a path to recovery. But growth is uneven and economic activity well below pre-COVID-19 estimates, as many businesses need to make up for lost revenue and millions of workers, most of them in the informal sector, still reel from job losses, falling incomes, worsening inequalities, and human capital deficits.

SERIAL PUBLICATIONS Oct 08, 2020

Beaten or Broken? Informality and COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic, which is still impacting South Asia, has temporarily brought the region to a near standstill. Governments proactively stabilized activity through monetary easing, fiscal stimulus, and supportive financial regulation, but the situation is fragile amid weak buffers and exhausted policy tools. South Asia’s GDP is expected to contract 7.7 percent this year, by far the largest decline on record, but uncertainty around the forecast is substantial.

SERIAL PUBLICATIONS Apr 12, 2020

The Cursed Blessing of Public Banks

The unprecedented COVID-19 crisis comes with a dire economic outlook. South Asia might well experience its worst economic performance in 40 years. On top of the deterioration of the international environment, the lockdown in most countries has frozen large parts of the domestic economy. Public banks, discussed in the focus chapter of this edition, were at the center of weaknesses in financial sectors that accumulated during recent years.

SERIAL PUBLICATIONS Oct 13, 2019

Making (De)centralization Work

In many countries across the region, further decentralization is a high policy priority. These policies are part of a global decentralization trend, which aims to improve local service delivery. Empirical evidence of the effectiveness of decentralization is mixed, a result which is often attributed to partial decentralization. Successful development requires both decentralization and centralization at the same time. In the interplay between central and local governments, the allocation of resources plays a crucial role.

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