Weekend list #2

We can reduce extreme global poverty by three-fourths — right now

Suppose someone said you could cut global poverty by three-quarters within a year or so — without waiting for economic growth to do the job. Sound unbelievable? A generation ago it may have been, but today it’s entirely possible, given the new public and private financial situations emerging in developing countries.

How satellite images are helping find the world’s hidden poor

In 2011, economists at Brown used night lights from space to show economic fluctuations, like how Indonesia’s economy slowed during the Asian financial crisis. In 2014, economists at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York used a similar technique to measure India’s growth. In a paper newly published in the journal Science, Jean and other researchers have echoed these techniques and expanded on them in an important way.

Poverty Measurement: We Know Less Than Policy Makers Realize

There has been an explosion of poverty measurement in the last two decades enabled by the growing availability of household survey data. These measurements are used by policymakers to assess progress towards national and global goals for inclusive growth and poverty reduction. But the evidence base rests on shaky foundations, and policy-makers may have undue confidence in poverty and inequality estimates.

Hours worked in Europe and the US: New data, new answers

Europeans work fewer hours than Americans. This column uses new survey data to disentangle the demographic dimensions and the drivers of this gap. In Eastern and Southern Europe, the gap is driven by lower employment rates, while in Western Europe and Scandinavia it is driven by fewer hours worked per person per week. Europe’s more generous holiday allowance alone accounts for between a third and a half of the gap.

Does Wallonia’s veto of CETA spell the beginning of the end of EU trade policy?

Under Belgium’s constitutional system, all five regional governments must give their consent to the federal government to sign a trade agreement. In addition to fearing increased competition for Walloon farmers, the socialist minister-president also cited the well-known concerns of the anti-CETA camp, such as the investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) mechanism and the potential negative impact on EU food safety, social and environmental standards.