Working Papers

Displaying 1 - 12 of 188
Financing for Development

Lack of fiscal space and the risk of sovereign debt distress remain key stumbling blocks to achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in developing countries. Because the allocation of concessional funds and debt relief is essentially reserved to Low Income countries (LICs), official financing strategies and mechanisms to support developing countries provide insufficient support to non-LICs that may need and deserve special consideration concerning official financing. This paper discusses how official financial support allocation could consider countries’ vulnerabilities in critical dimensions, with special reference to Small Island Developing States (SIDS). It explores how a…

Economic Analysis and Policy, Financing for Development, Social Development

The pandemic has progressed differently across the world. Using monthly data on COVID-19 cases and fatalities, we evaluate whether income inequality is an important factor in explaining cross-country differences in the spread and mortality of the virus. The results show that income inequality is positively correlated with the number of COVID-19 cases. Higher income inequality is associated with a more rapid spread of the virus and an increase in the number of cases, indirectly increasing mortality rates as well. Also, higher levels of inequality are associated with reduced effectiveness of social distancing measures in containing new infections. Thus, elevated inequalities place…

Sustainable Development

As developing countries pursue infrastructure projects, they should aim to address a combination of the pandemic, climate, inequality, and other crises with the right mix of economic and social infrastructure. To do this, governments must invest in a national infrastructure planning process, align planning with the SDGs, and prioritize sustainable infrastructure over infrastructure that does not put people and the planet first. There is no silver bullet for all the challenges; however, incremental changes based on innovative precedents can potentially make a difference on the ground. This paper proposes an analytical framework to consider these challenges and concludes with possible…

Economic Analysis and Policy, Sustainable Development

Does digitalization reduce corruption? What are the benefits of data-driven digital government innovations to strengthen public integrity and advance the Sustainable Development Goals? While the correlation between digitalization and corruption is well established, there is less actionable evidence on the effects of specific digitalization reforms on different types of corruption and the policy channels through which they operate. This paper unbundles the integrity dividends of digital reforms that the pandemic has accelerated. It analyses the rise of integrity-tech and integrity analytics in the anticorruption space, deployed by data-savvy integrity institutions. It also assesses the…

Financing for Development

The pandemic-induced global economic crisis has contributed to the re-emergence of sovereign default risk, especially for emerging and developing economies, and has directed attention to the impact of the institutions that are tasked with attempting to predict defaults: the international credit rating agencies. This paper describes four main challenges posed by credit rating agencies, especially from a developing and emerging economies perspective: potential bias in ratings, pro-cyclicality of ratings, governance issues and conflicts of interest, and incorporation of climate risk. It concludes with potential policy solutions addressed at ratings agencies, regulators, and policy makers.…

Population, Sustainable Development

This paper discusses challenges and policies to address health in the context of population ageing. It reviews a wide range of data and evidence about policies and good practices based on work by international organizations, experts and country implementation experiences. It includes an analysis of how older people are addressing their health care needs, the various programmes in place, as well as consideration of the additional risks and challenges brought about by the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. Ageing is a salient characteristic of the world’s population in this century, and this paper explores traditional and new approaches and policies aimed at fostering active,…

Population, Sustainable Development

Many indicators point to an increase in the life span of adults in the developed world since the middle of the twentieth century. For example, the number of people reaching the age of 100 years has never been greater than it is today. These demographic changes raise two main types of questions. The first is whether life expectancy in good health can increase as much as total life expectancy or whether this increase in longevity comes at the cost of an increase in years of life in poor health and/or disability. The second type of question is whether these demographic changes are simply a new transition, after the elimination of infant mortality and premature mortality of young adults,…

Economic Analysis and Policy

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused the most universal health and socio-economic crisis in recent history. However, the magnitude of the economic damage has differed widely; some countries were hit particularly hard, while others have managed to weather the storm much better. In this paper, we use cross-country regression analysis to identify factors that help explain the differences in the growth impact of the COVID-19 shock. Our findings underscore the critical role of balancing health and economic concerns in managing the pandemic as both a country’s exposure to the coronavirus and the stringency of containment measures are strongly correlated with its growth performance. In addition,…

Social Development, Economic Analysis and Policy

In Article 25 (1) of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the United Nations recognized in 1948 the basic human right to “security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond ... control.” This paper examines how economic insecurity is related to, yet different from, poverty and inequality, why it matters for human well-being and how it has been changing in different countries around the world in recent years. The paper concludes with discussion of how economic insecurity has been and will be affected by the Covid-19 pandemic/recession.

Population

Within the framework of the biennial publication the World Population Prospects (WPP), the United Nations Population Division has been producing estimates and projections of populations by age and sex and other demographic indicators for all countries of the world for several decades. The information included in these datasets is used widely by the United Nations system, academia and civil society, among others, including for the monitoring of several indicators of the Sustainable Development Goals. As part of this work, the Population Division has been deriving estimates and projections of fertility indicators using standard demographic techniques and approaches. Starting in the 2010…

Population

The household living arrangements of older persons – whether living alone, with a spouse or partner, with their children or in multi-generational households –are associated with the older persons’ economic well-being, physical and psychosocial health, life satisfaction and mortality. Understanding the patterns and trends in older persons’ living arrangements is particularly relevant to achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development related to poverty eradication (SDG 1), the promotion of healthy lives and wellbeing at all ages (SDG 3), and the promotion of gender equality (SDG 5). The United Nations Database on the Households and Living Arrangements of Older Persons 2019 presents…

Economic Analysis and Policy

This paper examines the experience of a set of countries that performed relatively well in coping with the COVID-19 crisis. The goal is to garner insights and lessons that can help countries that may experience initial or second-round outbreaks of the pandemic in the future. The paper finds healthcare, social protection, and overall governance systems as the three main determinants of COVID-19 strategies and their success. Though unique country-specific factors played an important role in confronting the pandemic in some countries, their role was generally mediated through one or the other of the above three main determinants. The findings of the paper suggest that establishing universal…