Will Defunding Hungary and Poland Backfire? (Sławomir Sierakowski, Project-Syndicate)

Since 2014, when the European Union last adopted its seven-year budget, the governments of Poland and Hungary have been captured by populists who have little regard for EU values and institutions. But while it stands to reason that the EU is considering a suspension of both governments’ funding, whether it should do so is not straightforward.


The Value of Measuring Financial Inclusion (Kaushik Basu, Project-Syndicate)

Most financial policy decisions are based on observed regularities in data, which makes the World Bank’s Global Findex database a goldmine for analysis. Beyond supporting evidence-based policymaking, the report also spurs healthy competition among countries in areas that ultimately improve citizens’ wellbeing.


A New Keeper of Putin’s Secrets (Nina L. Khrushcheva, Project-Syndicate)

Even before Russian President Vladimir Putin won reelection to another six-year term, there was growing speculation about how he intends to preserve his power and legacy after 2024. But with the nomination of Alexei Kudrin to the government’s central budgeting body, Putin’s long-term plan seems to be taking shape.


An Economic Platform for US Democrats (Jeffrey Frankel, Project-Syndicate)

A driving force behind Donald Trump’s election as US president was the median household’s perception that it had been left behind by globalization and technological change. Fortunately, from an economist’s perspective, it isn’t difficult to think of proposals that would expand the economic pie and distribute the slices more equitably.


Intermodal connectivity in the Western Balkans: What’s on the menu? (World Bank blogs)

As in most other regions, trucks reign supreme on freight transport across the Western Balkans, a region that encompasses six countries including: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, FYR Macedonia, Montenegro, and Serbia.


A new Toyota-sponsored startup shakes up Bamako’s public transit (World Bank blogs)

Like many African cities, Bamako’s population of 2.3 million is growing rapidly by roughly 5% a year. As people increasingly flock to the city, its road network is coming under increased pressure, especially when it comes to public transportation.


The 2018 Atlas of Sustainable Development Goals: an all-new visual guide to data and development (World Bank blogs)

“The World Bank is one of the world’s largest producers of development data and research. But our responsibility does not stop with making these global public goods available; we need to make them understandable to a general audience.

When both the public and policy makers share an evidence-based view of the world, real advances in social and economic development, such as achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), become possible.” – Shanta Devarajan


Cigarettes or the Greek Islands? Did the deal my dad offer me have lasting effects? (World Bank blogs)

In the first part of this blog, I went down memory lane and told you about my teenage years and how my parents had managed to make sure I abstained from tobacco by offering to pay for a high school graduation trip if I did not take up smoking.