How does the World Bank design a quick yet sustainable disaster recovery solution? (World Bank blogs)

On March 15, Cyclone Idai hit Zimbabwe and we were faced with a twofold challenge. First, how would we design a disaster recovery solution that could deliver both quick yet sustainable results to put the cyclone affected people back on the path of resilient and sustainable recovery? And secondly, how would we efficiently and effectively implement this in a fragile country where the Government cannot receive direct funding from us?



How good are pre-analysis plans in practice? and lessons for writing/reviewing your next one (World Bank blogs)

The use of pre-analysis plans (PAPs) has grown rapidly over the past five or so years, with this usage intended to enhance the transparency and credibility of research. In a new working paper, George Ofosu and Daniel Posner look at a large sample of these plans to examine the extent to which their actual use in practice matches up with these goals. This is a useful exercise, both for understanding where progress is made and where improvements are still possible, as well as for helping us to understand where there are still outstanding issues to deal with.


Towards better public financial management for health (World Bank blogs)

The U.S. public financial management (PFM) system evolved out of various controversies. One of these controversies was a dispute between Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson about how much discretion the executive branch of the U.S. government should exercise over the spending of public funds. Jefferson’s victory enabled Congress to assert its authority by making appropriations so highly specific as to hinder executive action. Had Hamilton won, the Executive would have attained extraordinary budgetary powers – an arrangement similar to that in some of our client countries today.



Taking the pulse of digital government in China (World Bank blogs)

Digital government initiatives at the national and sub-national levels in China are evolving at a rapid pace. With the first generation of basic digitization of government operations now complete, Chinese authorities are looking at how leading-edge technologies and big data can further improve the performance of government, both in terms of data-driven decision making and public services.



The policy footprint of RCTs (World Bak blogs)

Like many readers of this blog, I was over the moon about this year’s Nobel Prize in Economics, awarded to Abhijit Banerjee, Esther Duflo, and Michael Kremer “for their experimental approach to alleviating global poverty.” As David wrote the day of the announcement, randomized control trials (RCTs) have fundamentally changed the way we do research. The research implemented and inspired by the winners, as some journalists have noted (NPR and NYTimes), has also changed our understanding of the constraints that poor people face around the world.


It’s getting easier to do business in Africa—but there’s room to do more (World Bank blogs)

Togo, a small country in West Africa known for its glimmering phosphate reserves and sandy beaches, just earned its place among the world’s top 10 reformers on the World Bank Group’s Doing Business 2020 report.



Rosie the Robot: Social accountability one tweet at a time (World Bank blogs)

Every month in Brazil, the government team in charge of processing reimbursement expenses incurred by congresspeople receives more than 20,000 claims. This is a manually intensive process that is prone to error and susceptible to corruption. Under Brazilian law, this information is available to the public, making it possible to check the accuracy of this data with further scrutiny. But it’s hard to sift through so many transactions. Fortunately, Rosie, a robot built to analyze the expenses of the country’s congress members, is helping out.