Ideas to Action:

Independent research for global prosperity


Each year the Center for Global Development hosts more than 80 public and invitation-only events. These events range from private roundtables to small seminars to book launches and other large public forums. The Center continues to host two popular on-going event series, the CGD Invited Research Forum (formerly the Massachusetts Avenue Development Seminars) and Global Development Matters, our summer movie night series. If you would like more information about CGD events, please send us an e-mail. You can subscribe to an RSS feed of upcoming events, and view our event photo archives on flickr.

CGD Europe: Should Direct Cash Transfers to the Poor Be a Benchmark for Traditional Aid?


Should direct cash transfers to the poor be a benchmar for traditional aid? Cash transfer programs have shown mostly consistent success at improving conditions that matter for development; smoothing consumption, increasing school attendance and health care, sometimes improving nutritional status and helping with the accumulation of productive assets, among others. Moreover, our ability to deliver cash securely to the extreme poor is improving rapidly with the spead of modern payments infrastructure. Michael Faye and Paul Niehaus will discuss their work as co-founders of GiveDirectly and the role of cash transfers in development more broadly.

The Health Consequences of Aerial Spraying of Illicit Crops: The Case of Colombia


What are the unintended health consequences of the drug war? Adriana Camacho will present a recent paper exploiting the variation in aerial spraying on illicit crops across time and space in Colombia. The paper employs a panel of individual health records in order to study the causal effects of aerial spraying of herbicides (Glyphosate) on health-related outcomes.

Camacho and coauthor Daniel Mejia Londono find that an increase in the amount of aerial spraying in a municipality increases the number of medical consultations related to the exposure of Glyphosate for the municipality’s inhabitants. Moreover, while there is no evidence of effects on respiratory diseases, the paper finds strong negative effects on dermatological problems and miscarriages.

Getting Energy Prices Right: From Principle to Practice


Previous IMF studies set forth the basic principle that getting energy prices right means setting taxes at a level that reflects health and environmental costs. A new, path-breaking study will be presented by Managing Director Christine Lagarde shows what this would mean in practical terms for 150 developed and developing countries across the four most widely used fossil fuels: coal, natural gas, diesel and gasoline. The new study finds that fossil fuels are widely and substantially underpriced, and that correcting these market failures in a manner that balances environmental benefits with economic costs offers large health, environmental and fiscal benefits.

Following the presentation of the key findings, NYT columnist Thomas Friedman will discuss the difficult political challenges of taxing fossil fuels; World Resources Institute president Andrew Steer will describe how the new IMF study may change the international debate on policy responses to climate change. The event will conclude with questions from the floor.


A CGD Europe Research Seminar*: Migrant Networks and Trade


In the UK, the heated public debate over immigration does not always take account of all the evidence of the effects of migration on receiving countries. In this CGD Europe research seminar, Pierre-Louis Vezina discusses his recent research paper "Migrant Networks and Trade: The Vietnamese Boat People as a Natural Experiment", written with fellow Oxford scholar Chris Parsons, on the effects of large scale immigration on a destination country's trade. Pierre-Louis's work takes advantage of a unique natural experiment: the flight of thousands of Vietnamese refugees following the end of Vietnam war, their subsequent resettlement across the US and the knock-on effects on Vietnamese-American trade decades later.

*The CGD Europe Research Seminars are a series that brings some of the world's leading development scholars to discuss their new research and ideas. The presentations aim to meet an academic standard of quality and are at times technical, and retain a focus on a mixed audience of researchers and policy-makers.


Hospital Collaborative for Emerging Markets: Consultation Session


Despite their centrality to health systems, hospital policy and performance in low- and middle-income countries has largely been neglected by health policymakers and the development community. This session will introduce for the first time a proposed Collaborative for Hospital Performance in Emerging Economies, which aims to improve the performance of hospitals in emerging markets and promote their integration in the broader health delivery system. Discussants will briefly explain the concept and underlying research, and solicit input from participants. The session welcomes a diverse audience including researchers, private sector stakeholders, hospital managers, practitioners and policy makers, particularly from low- and middle-income countries.

Generating Accountability for People-Centered Health Systems: Strategies and Lessons from Think Tanks


Independent policy research organizations – or think tanks – play a potentially important role in translating evidence to action, lending both technical expertise and an objective evidence base to help strengthen policy behind people-centered health systems in the developing world. This panel will highlight successful and less successful efforts by think tanks around the world to bridge the gap between health systems research and policy impact, with emphasis on tried and tested strategies as well as “bloopers” that unite researchers, activists, practitioners and policy-makers and can be utilized in a variety of settings. Panelists will describe a specific experience and debate the issues related to driving a research agenda from concept to conclusion to policy impact, highlighting what worked – and what didn’t – along the way.