Ideas to Action:

Independent research for global prosperity

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Should Countries Be More Like Shopping Malls? A Proposal for Service Performance Guarantees for Africa

Should Countries Be More Like Shopping Malls? A Proposal for Service Performance Guarantees for Africa

9/17/14
Alan Gelb, Vijaya Ramachandran, and Alice Rossignol

Many developing countries have made progress in political openness and economic management but lag in terms of attracting private sector investments, at least outside of narrow resource-based enclaves.These countries may have recognized potential but have not yet established the reputation needed to sustain investment through the inevitable political and policy shocks that take place in most countries. The concerns that deter investors are many but can be broadly classified into high costs that that prevent global competitiveness and high actual or perceived risks.

The State of REDD+ Finance - Working Paper 378

9/16/14
Marigold Norman and Smita Nakhooda

This paper presents a thorough synthesis of available data to illuminate the current global state of finance for reducing emissions from deforestation and degradation (REDD+). It adds to a growing body of work that seeks to understand the size and composition of finance for REDD+ initiatives, as well as the delivery of climate finance more generally.

Birth Registration, Legal Identity, and the Post-2015 Agenda

Birth Registration, Legal Identity, and the Post-2015 Agenda

9/9/14

Universal legal identity through birth registration has consistently remained as a potential target for the post-2015 agenda through several rounds of negotiation. However, as it has been put forth, it conflates legal identity and birth registration. This policy note clarifies the differences between legal identity and birth registration and offers measurable, achievable target language for each component to ensure that this important issue remains in the post-2015 development agenda in an impactful way. 

deliberative polling

Deliberative Polling as a Catalyst for Action on Climate Change

8/21/14

This essay explains how Deliberative Polling works and offers examples of how it has led to unexpected policy successes. It then suggests ways in which the approach could be applied nationally, beginning in the United States, to raise the quality of public debate about climate change, opening the way for independent but possibly coordinated national responses. The brief is designed for potential funders, sponsoring organizations, and partners of various types who are seeking fresh strategies for breaking the political impasse that has so far prevented effective policy responses to reduce the risk of climate runaway disruptions.

AGOA: Is It About Opportunities or Arm-Twisting?

The African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) needs to be reauthorized next year and discussions about how to improve it are picking up steam. There is a lot that is unknown—when it will be renewed, for how long, and whether the renewal will be as “seamless” as everyone says they want.

How Has the Developing World Changed since the Late 1990s? A Dynamic and Multidimensional Taxonomy of Developing Countries - Working Paper 375

8/4/14

Many existing classifications of developing countries are dominated by income per capita (such as the World Bank’s low, middle and high income thresholds), thus neglecting the multidimensionality of the concept of ‘development’. Even those deemed to be the main ‘alternatives’ to the income-based classification have income per capita heavily weighted within a composite indicator.

AGOA agriculture barriers trade restrictions

AGOA’s Final Frontier: Removing US Farm Trade Barriers

7/28/14

If the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) is to remain as a key part of US development policy in Africa, it needs to embrace the sector on which so many of the poor in Africa depend. According to World Bank data, more than 60 percent of Africans live in rural areas, and they are more likely to be poor than their urban counterparts. Yet, while almost all manufactured goods enter duty-free under AGOA and other trade preference programs, US policy (unintentionally) discriminates against agricultural sectors in which Africa could be competitive.

Quality of Official Development Assistance (QuODA) brief

The Quality of Official Development Assistance 2014

7/21/14
Nabil Hashmi, Nancy Birdsall, and Homi Kharas

The Quality of Official Development Assistance (QuODA) measures donors’ performance on 31 indicators of aid quality to which donors have made commitments. The indicators are grouped into four dimensions associated with effective aid: maximizing efficiency, fostering institutions, reducing the burden on partner countries, and transparency and learning. The 2014 edition finds that donors are overall becoming more transparent and better at fostering partner country institutions but that there has been little progress at maximizing efficiency or reducing the burden on partner countries.

Delivering on a Data Revolution in Sub-Saharan Africa brief

Delivering on a Data Revolution in Sub-Saharan Africa

7/7/14
Amanda Glassman and Alex Ezeh

Despite improvements in censuses and household surveys, the building blocks of national statistical systems in sub-Saharan Africa remain weak. Measurement of fundamentals such as births and deaths, growth and poverty, taxes and trade, land and the environment, and sickness, schooling, and safety is shaky at best. The Data for African Development Working Group’s recommendations for reaping the benefits of a data revolution in Africa fall into three categories: (1) fund more and fund differently, (2) build institutions that can produce accurate, unbiased data, and (3) prioritize the core attributes of data building blocks.

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