Ideas to Action:

Independent research for global prosperity

Publications

 

What Drives Deforestation and What Stops It? A Meta-Analysis of Spatially Explicit Econometric Studies - Working Paper 361

4/17/14
Forests provide a wealth of public services and private goods, yet forested land is being steadily converted to other uses, including cropland, pasture, mining, and urban areas, which can generate greater private economic returns.  Public concern over the benefits of forests lost due to deforestation has led to a variety of deliberate policies intended to slow the rate of deforestation.  These efforts benefit from research to understand what factors drive deforestation and what policies can effectively stop it. 

Does Development Reduce Migration? - Working Paper 359

3/18/14

Basic economic theory suggests that as poor countries get richer, fewer people want to leave. This idea captivates policymakers in international aid and trade diplomacy. But a long research literature and recent data suggest something very different: Over the course of a “mobility transition”, emigration typically rises with economic development—at least until poor countries reach upper-middle income level, like Algeria or El Salvador. Emigration typically falls only as countries become even richer. This note measures the mobility transition in every decade since 1960, surveys 45 years of research on why it happens, and suggests five questions for further study.

From Maize to Haze: Agricultural Shocks and the Growth of the Mexican Drug Sector - Working Paper 355

2/24/14
Oeindrila Dube, Omar Garcia-Ponce, and Kevin Thom

We examine how commodity price shocks experienced by rural producers affect the drug trade in Mexico. Our analysis exploits exogenous movements in the Mexican maize price stemming from weather conditions in U.S. maize-growing regions, as well as export flows of other major maize producers. Using data on over 2,200 municipios spanning 1990-2010, we show that lower prices differentially increased the cultivation of both marijuana and opium poppies in municipios more climatically suited to growing maize.

Rethinking the Financial Design of the World Bank - Working Paper 352

1/27/14
Devesh Kapur and Arjun Raychaudhuri

Since their inception, through 2012, the institutions comprising the World Bank group have been involved in lending nearly a trillion dollars. In this paper, we focus on the IBRD, which is the core of the World Bank. The IBRD has the potential to continue to grow and be an important player in official financial flows, supporting critical long-term development projects with large social returns, in sectors ranging from infrastructure, social sectors, or environment. 

Primary Schooling, Student Learning, and School Quality in Rural Bangladesh - Working Paper 349

12/17/13
Mohammad Niaz Asadullah and Nazmul Chaudhury

This present paper, by Mohammad Niaz Asadullah and Nazmul Chaudhury therefore makes an important contribution to the literature in a key area of CGD concern. Using a representative sample of 2400 households producing data on 3323 children aged 10 to 17 they assess ability to answer simple arithmetic question (either oral or written).

Is Anyone Listening? Does US Foreign Assistance Target People’s Top Priorities? - Working Paper 348

12/2/13

The United States government has made repeated declarations over the last decade to align its assistance programs behind developing countries’ priorities. By utilizing public attitude surveys for 42 African and Latin American countries, this paper examines how well the US has implemented this guiding principle. Building upon the Quality of Official Development Assistance Assessment (QuODA) approach, I identify what people cite most frequently as the ‘most pressing problems’ facing their nations and then measure the percentage of US assistance commitments that are directed towards addressing them. 

Supplementing REDD+ with Biodiversity Payments: The Paradox of Paying for Multiple Ecosystem Services - Working Paper 347

11/14/13
An international mechanism to reduce emissions from deforestation using carbon payments (REDD+) can be leveraged to make payments for forests’ biodiversity as well. Paradoxically, under conditions consistent with emerging REDD+ programs, money spent on a mixture of carbon payments and biodiversity payments has the potential to incentivize the provision of greater climate benefits than an equal amount of money spent only on carbon payments.  

Can Results-Based Payments Reduce Corruption? - Working Paper 345

10/2/13

A common objection to results-based programs is that they are somehow more vulnerable to corruption. This paper explains why results-based approaches to foreign aid may be less vulnerable to corruption than traditional approaches which track inputs and activities. The paper highlights corruption costs associated with failing to generate benefits and outlines the conditions under which one approach or another might be preferable. It concludes that results-based programs may be less vulnerable to corruption costs associated with failure because they limit the capacity of dishonest agents to divert funds unless those agents first improve efficiency and outputs.

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