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Economy

The Future of Work in Africa : Harnessing the Potential of Digital Technologies for All

Date of Editorial Board meeting: 
Publication date: 
Thursday, August 1, 2019
Abstract in English: 
This companion report to the World Development Report (WDR) 2019: The Changing Nature of Work addresses the key themes of creating productive jobs and addressing the needs of those left behind. It builds on and contextualizes some of WDR 2019’s main messages to key specificities of the sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) region. It focuses on how global trends especially the adoption of digital technologies (DTs) may change the nature of work in SSA by creating new opportunities and challenges. The report is structured around three main issues that will shape the future of work in Africa, namely the human capital needs of a young and rapidly growing largely low-skilled labor force, the prevalence of informal workers and enterprises and the social protection policies to mitigate risks resulting from disruptions to labor markets. The report highlights important unanswered policy questions where new research, supplemented by new data, could yield learnings with high policy payoffs in the SSA context.
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188
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The future of work in America: People and places, today and tomorrow

Date of Editorial Board meeting: 
Publication date: 
Monday, July 15, 2019
Abstract in English: 
The US labor market looks markedly different today than it did two decades ago. It has been reshaped by dramatic events like the Great Recession but also by a quieter ongoing evolution in the mix and location of jobs. In the decade ahead, the next wave of automation technologies may accelerate the pace of change. Millions of jobs could be phased out even as new ones are created. More broadly, the day-to-day nature of work could change for nearly everyone as intelligent machines become fixtures in the American workplace.

Until recently, most research on the potential effects of automation, including our own, has focused on the national-level effects. Our previous work ran multiple scenarios regarding the pace and extent of adoption. In the midpoint case, our modeling shows some jobs being phased out but sufficient numbers being added at the same time to produce net positive job growth for the United States as a whole through 2030.
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28
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What is DARPA? How to Design Successful Technology Disruption

Date of Editorial Board meeting: 
Publication date: 
Sunday, July 14, 2019
Abstract in English: 
Throughout history, humanity’s successes and failures and the survival of societies and nations have derived in large parts from technical innovations and disruptive technologies that have replaced the status-quo with new and better ways of doing things. It is thus understandable, indeed necessary, that nations and governments ask what mechanisms and instruments they should put in place to encourage scientific discoveries and to create technical breakthroughs, particularly for technologies with a transformative, strategic dimension that a nation can ill-afford to miss or fail to understand, control and
shape.

Many funding schemes and government programs already exist around the world that aim to support scientific discovery and societal innovation. Many are curiosity driven scientific endeavors that -like artadvance our understanding of the world and our lives and our identity as humans. Others attempt to promote more pragmatic goals and improve engineering and development processes. All are important and necessary mechanisms to drive science forward.
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18
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Data Science in the New Economy: A new race for talent in the Fourth Industrial Revolution

Date of Editorial Board meeting: 
Publication date: 
Tuesday, July 2, 2019
Abstract in English: 
As the Fourth Industrial Revolution unfolds, led by advances in technologies such as data science and artificial intelligence, the labour market is again changing in a fundamental fashion. In 2018 the Future of Jobs Survey and Report revealed that business leaders believe that by 2022, human workers and automated processes are set to share the workload of current tasks equally, while a range of new roles is expected to emerge simultaneously as digital innovation is absorbed across industries and regions. While the new labour market is changing at a rapid pace, emerging data sources are shedding light on its composition with a new depth and dynamism that has not previously existed. This Report focuses on data science, among the most competitive skills of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, in collaboration with Burning Glass Technologies, LinkedIn and Coursera to shed light on how data science talent is being developed and deployed across today’s labour market.
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OECD Sovereign Borrowing Outlook 2019

Date of Editorial Board meeting: 
Publication date: 
Tuesday, April 23, 2019
Abstract in English: 
More than a decade on from the Global Financial Crisis, while debt-to-GDP ratios are back around pre-crisis levels in some countries, debt burdens have continued to climb in others, exceeding 100% of GDP in some cases. The challenges sovereign debt managers are confronting in an environment of high debt burdens and relatively tighter financial conditions have been compounded by recent political uncertainties. OECD governments will also need to refinance around 40% of their outstanding marketable debt over the next three years. This means that most countries are focused on mitigating refinancing risk, maintaining flexibility in funding programmes, and broadening the investor base. In countries where financing requirements are limited and declining, sovereign debt managers face a “positive” set of challenges. For example, the minimal optimal size of outstanding sovereign debt required to maintain a vibrant government bond market and facilitate the implementation of monetary policy is currently under discussion in a few countries.
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OECD Economic Outlook

Date of Editorial Board meeting: 
Publication date: 
Tuesday, May 21, 2019
Abstract in English: 
A year ago, the OECD warned about how trade and policy uncertainties could significantly damage the world economy and further contribute to the growing divide between people. A year later, global momentum has weakened markedly and growth is set to remain subpar as trade tensions persist. Trade and investment have slowed sharply, especially in Europe and Asia. Business and consumer confidence have faltered, with manufacturing production contracting. In response, financial conditions have eased as central banks have moved towards more accommodative monetary stances, while fiscal policy has been providing stimulus in a handful of countries. At the same time, low unemployment and a slight pickup in wages in the major economies continue to support household incomes and consumption. Overall, however, trade tensions are taking a toll and global growth is projected to slow to only 3.2% this year before edging up to 3.4% in 2020, well below the growth rates seen over the past three decades, or even in 2017-18. While growth was synchronised eighteen months ago, divergence has emerged between sectors and countries depending on their exposure to trade tensions, the strength of fiscal responses and policy uncertainties. The manufacturing sector, where global value chains prevail, has been hit hard by tariffs and the associated uncertainty on the future of trade relationships, and is likely to stay weak. Business investment growth, also strongly linked to trade, is set to slow to a mere 1¾ per cent per year over 2019-20, from around 3½ per cent per year during 2017-18. However, services, less subject to trade jitters and where most job creation takes place, continue to hold up well. In parallel, growth has weakened in most advanced economies, especially those where trade and manufacturing play an important role, such as Germany and Japan, with GDP growth projected to be below 1% in both countries this year. In contrast, the United States has maintained its momentum thanks to sizeable, albeit waning, fiscal support. Divergence is also visible among emerging-market economies, with Argentina and Turkey struggling to recover from recession, while India and others are benefitting from easier financial conditions and in some instances fiscal or quasi-fiscal support.
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ESPAS Report 2019 : Global Trends to 2030

Date of Editorial Board meeting: 
Publication date: 
Friday, April 5, 2019
Abstract in English: 
For something as unknown as the future, it appears to have become surprisingly predictable. A Google search of ‘future 2030’ yields more than 97 million results, all more or less claiming similar things: that 2030 will see a more connected, yet fragmented world, with hazardous shifts in demography and energy, and dangerous changes in technology, environment, and politics.
The future, while overall negative, appears to be a rather certain place.
This illusion of definitiveness is created by two dynamics: first, the pessimistic tone that runs through the vast majority of foresight reports. This is a common feature when it comes to future thinking, with one study showing that all studies undertaken on the future over the last 70 years have one thing in common; pessimism. The reason for this is simple: although both optimism and pessimism are natural human dispositions, the latter is more prevalent by far. Humans are, genetically speaking, biased towards the negative – some studies even indicate that this is particularly the case for Europeans. Second, pessimism in foresight is encouraged by the grave air that surrounds it: in general, negative statements are given more attention than positive ones. That said, more pessimism in foresight does not equal greater accuracy, as one study shows.
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52
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How ICT Can Restore Lagging European Productivity Growth

Date of Editorial Board meeting: 
Publication date: 
Monday, October 15, 2018
Abstract in English: 
Notwithstanding the emergence of artificial intelligence (AI), robotics, and the Internet of Things (IOT), European productivity growth has slowed, and continues to lag U.S. growth.1 Since the financial crisis, labor productivity in the 28 EU member states has grown just 0.7 percent annually. At this rate, it will take a century for Europe’s per capita incomes to double. No wonder there is political unrest across the continent. And while Europe decreased the productivity gap with the United States before 1995, since then, the gap has only widened. Reversing that trend is critical if Europe is going to be able to effectively cope with its demographic challenges, particularly a rapidly aging population, and be able to more effectively compete in global markets. To do that it needs more ubiquitous use—as distinct from production—of information and communication technologies (ICTs) by all organizations (for-profit, nonprofit, and government) throughout all of Europe.
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63
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Europe Should Embrace the Data Revolution

Date of Editorial Board meeting: 
Publication date: 
Monday, February 29, 2016
Abstract in English: 
Data-driven innovation is unlocking new opportunities for Europe to grow its economy and address pressing social challenges. While Europe has achieved some early successes in data-driven innovation, including in areas such as education, energy, environmental management, health care, open data, smart cities, and smart manufacturing, it has not yet come close to reaching its full potential. The primary obstacle is that Europe’s policymakers, both in its capital cities and in Brussels, have not yet fully embraced data-driven innovation as a core driver of economic and social progress. To inject new leadership into this debate, Member States should appoint national chief data officers to not only champion data innovation domestically, but also serve on a new, independent advisory panel charged with counseling the European Commission on how to seize opportunities to innovate with data.
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23
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The State of Data Innovation in the EU

Date of Editorial Board meeting: 
Publication date: 
Sunday, October 15, 2017
Abstract in English: 
Data innovation—the innovative use of data to create social and economic benefits—is making a significant mark in Europe.In economic terms, data innovation contributed about €300 billion to Europe’s economy in 2016 (or approximately 2 percent of GDP), and its value will likely more than double by 2020. Across society, data innovation is creating more responsive governments, better health care, and safer cities. But EU nations differ in the degree to which they are harnessing the benefits of data. This report uses a variety of indicators to rank EU member states and discusses why some countries are ahead and what others can do to catch up.
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116
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