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Ms. Pritha Mitra, Eric M. Pondi Endengle, Ms. Malika Pant, and Luiz F. Almeida
Global attention to ending child marriage and its socio-economic consequences is gaining momentum. Ending child marriage is not only critical from a development perspective but it also has important economic implications. This paper is the first to quantify the relationship between child marriage and economic growth. Applying a simultaneous equations model, the analysis shows that eliminating child marriage would significantly improve economic growth—if child marriage were ended today, long-term annual per capita real GDP growth in emerging and developing countries would increase by 1.05 percentage points. The results also provide insights on policy prioritization in developing comprehensive strategies to end child marriage. For example, the strong interdependent relationship between education and child marriage suggests that education policies and the budgets that support them should place greater emphasis on reducing child marriage.
Ata Can Bertay, Ljubica Dordevic, and Can Sever
We study whether higher gender equality facilitates economic growth by enabling better allocation of a valuable resource: female labor. By allocating female labor to its more productive use, we hypothesize that reducing gender inequality should disproportionately benefit industries with typically higher female share in their employment relative to other industries. Specifically, we exploit within-country variation across industries to test whether those that typically employ more women grow relatively faster in countries with ex-ante lower gender inequality. The test allows us to identify the causal effect of gender inequality on industry growth in value-added and labor productivity. Our findings show that gender inequality affects real economic outcomes.
Sriram Balasubramanian and Mr. Paul Cashin
This paper examines the origins and use of the concept of Gross National Happiness (or subjective well-being) in the Kingdom of Bhutan, and the relationship between measured well-being and macroeconomic indicators. While there are only a few national surveys of Gross National Happiness in Bhutan, the concept has been used to guide public policymaking for the country’s various Five-Year Plans. Consistent with the Easterlin Paradox, available evidence indicates that Bhutan’s rapid increase in national income is only weakly associated with increases in measured levels of well-being. It will be important for Bhutan to undertake more frequent Gross National Happiness surveys and evaluations, to better build evidence for comovement of well-being and macroeconomic concepts such as real national income.
Ms. Anja Baum
Despite starting as one of the poorest countries in the mid-1980s, Vietnam has achieved rapid developmental progress, reaching lower middle-income status in 2010. In line with rapid economic growth, Vietnam has achieved impressive progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) during this time. This paper sheds light on some elements of Vietnam’s success story, highlighting crucial policies in education and electricity sectors. It undertakes a forward-looking costing exercise that focusses on five sectors – education, health, roads, water, and electricity infrastructure. Achieving the remaining SDGs in Vietnam will be a challenge, with total annual additional spending needs in the 5 subsectors estimated at 7 percent of GDP by 2030.