Measuring the Digital Economy: A New Perspective

The growing role of the digital economy in daily life has heightened demand for new data and measurement tools. Internationally comparable and timely statistics combined with robust cross-country analyses are crucial to strengthen the evidence base for digital economy policy making, particularly in a context of rapid change.

Measuring the Digital Economy: A New Perspective presents indicators traditionally used to monitor the information society and complements them with experimental indicators that provide insight into areas of policy interest. The key objectives of this publication are to highlight measurement gaps and propose actions to advance the measurement agenda.

This book is published by Directorate for Science, Technology and Innovation, OECD

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World Development Report 2014: Risk and Opportunity – Managing Risk for Development

The last 25 years have witnessed unprecedented changes around the world – many of them for the better. In all continents, numerous countries have embarked on a path of international integration, economic reform, technological modernization, and democratic participation. As result, economies that had been stagnant for decades are growing, people who had suffered deprivation for generations are escaping poverty, and hundreds of millions are enjoying the benefits of improved living standards and scientific and cultural sharing across nations.

As the world changes, a host of opportunities arise constantly. With them, however, old and new risks appear, from the possibility of job loss and disease to the potential for social unrest and environmental damage. If ignored, these risks can turn into crises that reverse hard–fought gains and endanger the social and economic reforms that produced these gains.

World Development Report (WDR) 2014: Managing Risk for Development, contends that the solution is not to reject the changes that bring about opportunities along with risks, but to prepare for them in a proactive and holistic way. Thus, managing risks responsibly and effectively has the potential to bring about a sense of security and means of progress to people in developing countries and beyond.

Although individuals’ initiative and responsibility are essential for managing risk, their success can only be limited without a supportive social environment, especially when risks are large or systemic in nature. The WDR 2014 argues that a way in which people can successfully confront risks and opportunities that are beyond their means is to share their risk management with others. This can be done through naturally occurring social and economic systems that enable people to overcome the obstacles that individuals and groups suffer from, including lack of resources and information, cognitive and behavioral failures, missing markets and public goods, and social externalities and exclusion. These systems – from the household and the community to the state and the international community–have the potential to support people’s risk management in different yet complementary ways.

WDR 2014 presents a detailed approach and specific advice to improve resilience. For policy makers in developing (and developed) countries, the Report also provides strategic recommendations that cut across risks and social systems in an integrated framework. They attempt to provide both innovative solutions to long-standing problems in poor and emerging economies and ways to mainstream risk management into the development agenda. These recommendations should serve to guide the dialogue, operations, and contributions from key development actors –from civil society and national governments to the donor community and international development organizations.

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Doing Business 2014 (Report)

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Doing Business 2014: Understanding Regulations for Small and Medium-Size Enterprises assesses regulations affecting domestic firms in 189 economies and ranks the economies in 10 areas of business regulation, such as starting a business, resolving insolvency and trading across borders. This year’s report data cover regulations measured from June 2012 through May 2013. The report is the 11th edition of the Doing Business series.

Main Findings

  • Ukraine, Rwanda, the Russian Federation, the Philippines, Kosovo, Djibouti, Côte d’Ivoire, Burundi, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, and Guatemala are among the economies improving the most in 2012/13 in areas tracked by Doing Business.
  • Worldwide, 114 economies implemented 238 regulatory reforms in 2012/13 making it easier to do business as measured by Doing Business – 18% more reforms than in the previous year.
  • Sub-Saharan Africa is home to 9 of the 20 economies narrowing the gap with the regulatory frontier the most since 2009. Low-income economies narrowed this gap twice as much as high-income economies did.
  • Singapore topped the global ranking on the ease of doing business. Joining it on the list of the top 10 economies with the most business-friendly regulatory environments are Hong Kong SAR, China; New Zealand; the United States; Denmark; Malaysia; the Republic of Korea; Georgia; Norway; and the United Kingdom.
  • Doing Business collected data for the first time this year in four economies: Libya, Myanmar, San Marino, and South Sudan.
  • Case studies highlighting good practices in 6 of the areas measured by Doing Business indicator sets are featured in the report: the role of minimum capital requirements in starting a business; risk-based inspections in dealing with construction permits; the cost structure in getting electricity; single window systems in trading across borders; e-filing and e-payment in paying taxes; and e-courts in enforcing contracts.
  • This year’s report presents a separate chapter about research on the effects of business regulations. There is a rapidly growing body of empirical research examining the impact of improvements in many of the regulatory areas tracked by the Doing Business indicators, and this chapter provides a useful—and encouraging—synthesis.

 

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2012 Information and Communications for Development : Maximizing Mobile

image_miniWith some 6 billion mobile subscriptions in use worldwide, around three-quarters of the world’s inhabitants now have access to a mobile phone. Mobiles are arguably the most ubiquitous modern technology: in some developing countries, more people have access to a mobile phone than to a bank account, electricity, or even clean water. Mobile communications now offer major opportunities to advance human development from providing basic access to education or health information to making cash payments to stimulating citizen involvement in democratic processes. The developing world is ‘more mobile’ than the developed world. In the developed world, mobile communications have added value to legacy communication systems and have supplemented and expanded existing information flows. However, the developing world is following a different, ‘mobile first’ development trajectory. Many mobile innovations such as multi-SIM card phones, low-value recharges, and mobile payments have originated in poorer countries and are spreading from there. New mobile applications that are designed locally and rooted in the realities of the developing world will be much better suited to addressing development challenges than applications transplanted from elsewhere. In particular, locally developed applications can address developing-country concerns such as digital literacy and affordability. This 2012 edition of the World Bank’s information and communications for development report analyzes the growth and evolution of mobile telephony, and the rise of data-based services delivered to handheld devices, including apps. The report explores the consequences for development of the emerging ‘app economy.’ It summarizes current thinking and seeks to inform the debate on the use of mobile phones for development. This report looks at key ecosystem-based applications in agriculture, health, financial services, employment, and government, with chapters devoted to each.

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Reaping the Benefits of ICTs in Spain

This study examines the Spanish Information Society strategy plan Avanza 2. Upon request from Spain, focus has been on two selected perspectives corresponding to overall objectives of the Plan Avanza 2: Improving the communication infrastructures and  achieving a paperless administration. The e-government section on a paperless administration is grounded in the two areas of e-taxation and e-justice. Thus the study is not a comprehensive review of Plan Avanza 2 – only of selected parts.

Table of contents:

Executive summary
Executive summary in Spanish
Introduction
Chapter 1. Communication infrastructure
Chapter 2. E-government: Reforming through information and communication technologies

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OECD Economic Surveys: European Union 2012

OECD’s Economic Survey of the European Union for 2012 examines recent economic developments, policies and prospects. It also includes special chapters covering the single market and labour market mobility.

Table of contents:

 Executive summary

Assessment and recommendations
-The EU needs to tackle the economic crisis and reach a stronger sustainable growth path
-The new growth model should support a fairer and greener economy
-The Europe 2020 strategy sets out ambitious EU reform targets, but will they be achieved?
-The completion of the Single Market is a strong EU-level tool to boost growth
-Europe needs to innovate more and better
-Further progress in trade liberalisation and agriculture would boost growth and raise living standards
-Labour market reforms and removing barriers to intra-EU labour mobility would boost employment, growth and ease adjustments
-An EU-level immigration policy could ease skill shortages due to demographic changes
-Regional policy can contribute more to growth
-Bibliography
Chapter 1. A Single Market for Europe
-How far is the Single Market a single market?
-Deeper integration would have a large impact on growth and living standards
-EU policy to complete the Single Market is moving forward, but slowly
-The Single Market needs to move closer to a Single Rule Book
-Targeted sector-specific measures policies are needed to open some markets fully
-Bibliography
Chapter 2. Mobility and migration in Europe
-EU labour markets are fragmented between and within countries and overall mobility is low
-Mobility is held back by Europe’s diversity but also by administrative obstacles
-Migration from outside Europe can reduce labour market imbalances
-Bibliography
Glossary

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Combating Poverty and Inequality: Structural Change, Social Policy and Politics: UNRISD Flagship Report

Poverty reduction is a central feature of the international development agenda and contemporary poverty reduction strategies increasingly focus on “targeting the poor”, yet poverty and inequality remain intractable foes.

Combating Poverty and Inequality argues that this is because many current approaches to reducing poverty and inequality fail to consider key institutional, policy and political dimensions that may be both causes of poverty and inequality, and obstacles to their reduction. Moreover, when a substantial proportion of a country’s population is poor, it makes little sense to detach poverty from the dynamics of development. For countries that have been successful in increasing the well-being of the majority of their populations over relatively short periods of time, the report shows, progress has occurred principally through state-directed strategies that combine economic development objectives with active social policies and forms of politics that elevate the interests of the poor in public policy.

The report is structured around three main issues, which, it argues, are the critical elements of a sustainable and inclusive development strategy:

  • patterns of growth and structural change (whether in the agricultural, industrial or service sectors) that generate and sustain jobs that are adequately remunerated and accessible to all, regardless of income or class status, gender, ethnicity or location;
  • comprehensive social policies that are grounded in universal rights and that are supportive of structural change, social cohesion and democratic politics; and
  • protection of civic rights, activism and political arrangements that ensure states are responsive to the needs of citizens and the poor have influence in how policies are made.

The report seeks to explain why people are poor and why inequalities exist, as well as what can be done to rectify these injustices. It explores the causes, dynamics and persistence of poverty; examines what works and what has gone wrong in international policy thinking and practice; and lays out a range of policies and institutional measures that countries can adopt to alleviate poverty.

Download the full report.

Download by chapters.
Contents, acknowledgements, foreword and preface
Overview

Section 1: Socially Inclusive Structural Change
Chapter 1 – Towards Employment-Centred Structural Change
Chapter 2 – Income Inequality and Structural Change
Chapter 3 – Tackling Ethnic and Regional Inequalities
Chapter 4 – Gender Inequalities at Home and in the Market

Section 2: Transformative Social Policy and Poverty Reduction
Chapter 5 – Towards Universal Social Protection
Chapter 6 – Universal Provision of Social Services
Chapter 7 – Care and Well-Being in a Development Context
Chapter 8 – Financing Social Policy

Section 3: The Politics of Poverty Reduction
Chapter 9 – Business, Power and Poverty Reduction
Chapter 10 – Building State Capacity for Poverty Reduction
Chapter 11 – Democracy and the Politics of Poverty Reduction

Concluding Remarks
References, acronyms and list of boxes, figures and tables