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Research and Publications

Women, Business and the Law 2019: A Decade of Reform introduces a new index measuring legal rights for women throughout their working lives in 187 economies. The index is composed of 35 data points grouped into eight indicators. The data covers a 10-year period not only to understand the current situation but to see how laws affecting women’s equality of opportunity have evolved over time.

Global economic prospects have darkened. Financing conditions have tightened, industrial production has moderated, and trade tensions remain elevated. The recovery in emerging market and developing economies has stalled, and some countries have experienced significant financial stress. Downside risks have increased, including the possibility of disorderly financial market movements and escalating trade disputes.

Doing Business 2019: Training for Reform, a World Bank Group flagship publication, is the 16th in a series of annual reports measuring the regulations that enhance business activity and those that constrain it. Doing Business presents quantitative indicators on business regulations and the protection of property rights that can be compared across 190 economies—from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe—and over time.

Work is constantly reshaped by technological progress. New ways of production are adopted, markets expand, and societies evolve. But some changes provoke more attention than others, in part due to the vast uncertainty involved in making predictions about the future. The 2019 World Development Report looks at how the nature of work is changing as a result of advances in technology today.

Beyond the Gap: How Countries Can Afford the Infrastructure They Need while Protecting the Planet aims to shift the debate regarding investment needs away from a simple focus on spending more and toward a focus on spending better on the right objectives, using relevant metrics. It does so by offering a careful and systematic approach to estimating the funding needs to close the service gaps in water and sanitation, transportation, electricity, irrigation, and flood protection.

Electricity Access in Sub-Saharan Africa shows that the fundamental problem is poverty and lack of economic opportunities rather than power. The solution lies in understanding that the overarching reasons for the unrealized potential involve tightly intertwined technical, financial, political, and geographic factors. The ultimate goal is to enable households and businesses to gain access to electricity and afford its use, and utilities to recover their cost and make profits.

New and Noteworthy

A small business owner in Mexico City. ? Jessica Belmont/World Bank

Despite Gains, Women Face Setbacks in Legal Rights Affecting Work

Globally, women are accorded only three-quarters of the legal rights that men enjoy according to a new index released by the World Bank today, constraining their ability to get jobs or start businesses and make economic decisions that are best for them and their families.

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Emerging, Developing Economies to Face Challenges if Global Inflation Rises

The adverse effects of high inflation can fall disproportionately on the poor, who hold most of their assets in cash and rely heavily on wage income, welfare benefits, and pensions, says new report on Inflation in Emerging and Developing Economies: Evolution, Drivers, and Policies.

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Nearly Half the World Lives on Less than $5.50 a Day

Economic advances around the world mean that while fewer people live in extreme poverty, almost half the world’s population — 3.4 billion people — still struggles to meet basic needs.

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