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CGD Policy Blogs

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Better Value in Health Spending Is a Four-Letter Word – Podcast with Amanda Glassman

No one really understands why the first letter is lower case and the rest are in capitals. But one thing that is clear to anyone who has heard of iDSI is that it fills a growing gap in how developing countries decide how to allocate their strained health budgets. The International Decision Support Initiative is a network of expert organizations that helps policymakers make effective, efficient, and ethical decisions about how to prioritize limited resources.

Changes at the Rethink Initiative

After two and a half great years as director of CGD’s Rethinking US Development Policy initiative, I’m handing over the reins to my colleague Scott Morris.  Many of you will know Scott as a CGD Senior Fellow with deep experience from the Treasury and on Capitol Hill.  He’s a thought leader on many US development issues, especially the multilateral development banks and international debt.  Rethink could not be in better hands as we start thinking about a new administration and Con

The World Bank’s Poverty Statistics Lack Median Income Data, So We Filled In the Gap Ourselves — Download Available

PovcalNet, the World Bank’s global poverty database, provides all kinds of country statistics, including mean income, the share (and number) of the population living in absolute poverty ($1.90), the poverty gap and several measures of income inequality, such as the Gini coefficient. But one thing it doesn’t provide is median income or consumption. The median is a better measure of “typical” well-being than the mean, which is always skewed to the right.

We’ve been waiting for the World Bank to add these medians to its PovcalNet database, but we got impatient and did it ourselves. By manually running a few hundred queries in PovcalNet, we now have (and can share with you) the latest median income/consumption data for 144 countries (using 2011 PPPs — more on our methods below).

El Niño vs El Tío: What’s Causing Food Insecurity in Southern Africa?

The UN’s World Food Program now estimates that some three million Zimbabweans, or roughly one-quarter of the population, may require food aid this year. Zimbabwe is suffering from erratic rainfall this year, blamed in large part on the El Niño weather phenomena. An estimated 70% of Zimbabweans rely on agriculture, so the impact on poverty and human welfare will no doubt be severe. But in reading about Zimbabwe’s current predicament, something struck me:  neighboring Zambia seems to have no urgent food aid requirements.

Run, Lagarde, Run

Last week, within a few hours of announcing she was running for a second term as head of the IMF, it appeared that Christine Lagarde had the nomination sewn up. That’s little surprise given the incumbent’s track record. But what better time than now — when Europe’s candidate would most likely win without a stitch-up — to push reform?

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