It’s evolution, baby – how institutions can improve without critical junctures

December 3, 2018 | Otaviano Canuto - Executive Director, World Bank
Daron Acemoglu and James Robinson caught policymaker’s attention to the critical role of institutions for development. Their work gives too much emphasis to the prospects of revolution, however. A reading of the World Bank’s World Development Report of 2017 points to directions that all actors involved in the process, whether domestic or international, elite or non-elite, can take to improve societies.

Benefits and costs of Islamic finance

November 14, 2018 | Otaviano Canuto - Executive Director, World Bank
Islamic finance is a way of doing finance while respecting Islamic ban on interest-based transactions and ensuring risk sharing between parties in all operations.

Threat of ‘currency bullying’

November 9, 2018 | Otaviano Canuto - Executive Director, World Bank
On 24 July the International Monetary Fund released its 2018 External Sector Report, its latest assessment of the current account balances of the world’s 30 largest economies. There was no major change relative to previous years, and the configuration of global surpluses and deficits that has prevailed since 2013 endures. However, there are reasons to expect more abrupt alterations ahead, particularly in the light of US fiscal easing at a time of high employment in the country. In the context of US-led trade wars, as well as recent bouts of Chinese exchange rate depreciation, it is possible that currencies will be subjected to their own war or ‘currency bullying’.

How to Heal the Brazilian Economy

November 2, 2018 | Otaviano Canuto - Executive Director, World Bank
The Brazilian economy is suffering from a combination of ‘productivity anemia’ and ‘public sector obesity’. The crisis, followed by slow recovery in recent years, reflects the advanced stage of evolution of the disease, preceded by an incubation period during which its symptoms were disguised. Improving productivity performance, reforms in the governance model of the Brazilian public sector, and a review of public spending might cure the disease that is afflicting the Brazilian economy.

How History Matters in Post-Socialist Economies

October 29, 2018 | Aleksandr Gevorkyan - Assistant Professor of Economics, St. Johns University
Despite the independence premium in national policy and in parallel with evidence suggesting recent strong economic growth the post-socialist economies are yet to achieve the ideals announced at the outset of market reforms. Ironically, the most unfortunate economic plan was the 1990s script of transition from planned economy to free market in the EE and FSU...

The Parrot and Commodity Prices

October 28, 2018 | Otaviano Canuto - Executive Director, World Bank
“Teach a parrot the terms ‘supply and demand’ and you’ve got an economist.” That parrot can explain to us what is happening with commodity prices. While, on the demand side, factors common across commodities can be highlighted, different supply conditions have mattered predominantly in most commodity price trajectories.

Econ 101: Trade deficits

October 16, 2018 | Warren Coats - Monetary Policy Expert, Advisor for Central Banks
To understand the relationship between our fiscal deficit and trade balance, it is essential to understand the macro level relationship of our trade deficit to the other broad categories of our national income and expenditures.

No Women, No Growth – The Case for Increasing Women’s Leadership in Latin America

October 5, 2018 | Otaviano Canuto - Executive Director, World Bank