An afternoon links edition compiled on my way back to DC – let’s start with financing! Low and low-middle income countries currently collect $1.4 trillion in public revenues, or about $389 per person (just over $1 per person/day). While some measures could bring domestic revenues to nearly $444/person/year, the overall tax systems are becoming more regressive. A new Oxfam report discusses the rationale and options for more progressive taxes to tackle inequality (h/t Duncan Green). Bonus on taxes: Londono-Velez has a nice blog discussing the challenges of tax disclosure and enforcement in Colombia.
Speaking of Latin America (and the Caribbean), the region is highly exposed to natural hazards and climate-related shocks. A recent event in Lima reviewed and deepened how social protection could be adapted and attuned to countries’ risk profiles. For instance, broad issues around identification and implementation were explored alongside case studies from Chile, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, and El Salvador, while sectoral questions around productive inclusion and financing were illustrated with the experience of Mexico, Peru, and Trinidad and Tobago, among others.
More on resilience: flood management is hard, but what do we know about how climatic shocks affect urban areas? A new blog by Das discusses a note, co-authored with Majumbar, on connecting resilience and social inclusion in cities (see full report here). And what about Nepal? An interesting brief by Holmes et al assess how Nepal’s allowances programs (for the elderly, widows, etc.) could be leveraged in flood disaster response, with a particular emphasis on managing its national registry (see full report).
A compilation of resources on humanitarian cash transfers! Check out work on multi-purpose cash in Iraq by Westerman, Sloane’s IRC piece on transitioning from survival to livelihoods, Allen on mapping programs that pursue a protection objective, and Tromans discussing beneficiaries’ feedback.
Let’s turn to human capital in tough situations. Dinarte and Egana-del Sol present behavioral and neurophysiological evidence on the effects of an after-school program in El Salvador. About 1,056 at-risk students aged 10-18 years attended two sessions per week that lasted 1.5 hours each. Session combined a discussion to help children’s conflict management, violence awareness, and social skills, as well as activities such as scientific experiments and artistic performances. The paper finds positive effects on both academic performance and a reduction in stress among the most vulnerable students. Bonus on health: new report by UNICEF and WHO shows that 15% of babies worldwide are born with low birthweight.
What’s new on mobility? A working paper by Christiaensen frame the future migration agenda around five types of interventions, namely (i) active labor market programs that serve local, regional, and foreign markets; (ii) remittances and investment subsidies to promote job creation and labor productivity growth; (iii) social insurance programs that cover all jobs and facilitate labor mobility; (iv) labor taxes to internalize the social costs of migration in receiving regions; and (v) more flexible private sector driven schemes to regulate the flow of migrants and minimize irregular migration. Bonus: Bernstein et al show that about 20% of poor immigrants in the US don’t apply to public benefits because the are afraid of losing future green cards. For SNAP, such rate is 40%.
Since I mentioned jobs… a new Urban Institute paper by Karpman discusses the huge barriers to employment making Medicaid work requirements tantalizing. In fact, 60% of those with potential work requirements work less 20 hours/week. Why? Barriers in skills, health, criminal records, neighborhood where they live, transport, and connectivity.
Let’s wrap up with some poverty issues. Lakner et al present estimates for global poverty in 2030 under different growth and inequality scenarios. When holding scenarios unchanged from current levels, the number of people living below $1.90/day will remain above 550 million in 2030, resulting in a global extreme poverty rate of 6.5%. If instead the Gini index in each country decreases by 1% per year, the global poverty rate would dwindle to 5.4% in 2030, equivalent to 100 million fewer people living in extreme poverty. In a Brookings blog, Revenga and Dooley discuss how to make market-driven growth more pro-poor and inclusive. And what about qualitative aspects of poverty? Barrantes reflects on attitudes toward poverty and designing ‘shame-proof’ social protection.