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Featuring Tina Søreide
Senior Researcher and Economist
Chr. Michelsen Institute, Norway
Moderated by Charles Kenny
Center for Global Development
In Tanzania, travel-related per diems amount to 4% of the total government budget. Abuse of travel compensation is a common phenomenon. A new paper by Tina Søreide discusses explanatory factors driving ‘per diem misuse,’ first by addressing characteristics of state administration and then the role of the donor community. At a CGD brownbag on Monday, April 9, Søreide will present the paper's arguments and findings, based on country case studies of Ethiopia, Malawi and Tanzania, where around 120 interviews were conducted with key informants across multiple institutions. The findings show that risks of per diem misuse are prevalent in all three countries. While similar formal systems are in place, including control mechanisms, the contexts differ leading to diverging practices and consequences. Although the study describes an administrative issue widely perceived to be trivial, in the aggregate it can have macroeconomic implications. The problem is compounded by the donor community which does not adhere to the Paris Declaration’s principles of harmonization and alignment with respect to per diem rates and regulations.
In a recent paper, Kate Ambler and coauthors studied the impact of one-season cash transfers for agricultural investment in Senegal and Malawi, using data from a randomized control trial (RCT) in each country. They found evidence that transfers reduced both the number of decision makers and female decision making in Senegal in the short-run, particularly for measures directly related to agriculture. However, the effects disappeared two years after the transfers. Conversely, the authors find transfers in the Malawi program led to robust transitory increases in these measures, seeing a greater impact related to the number of decision makers in the household persisting after two year period. Join us for the latest CGD Invited Research Forum to discuss these opposing findings on the effects of cash transfers on household decision making.
Indian agriculture remains vulnerable to the vagaries of weather, and the looming threat of climate change may expose this vulnerability further. Using district-level data on temperature, rainfall and crop production, Siddharth Hari’s paper first documents a long-term trend of rising temperatures, declining average precipitation and increase in extreme precipitation events. One key finding is that the impact of temperature and rainfall are felt only in the extreme: when temperatures are much higher, rainfall is significantly lower, and the number of “dry days” greater is than normal. He also finds that these impacts are significantly more adverse in unirrigated areas (and hence rainfed crops) compared to irrigated areas. Can policy makers react to the challenges of climate change and find ways to get “more crop for every drop?"
Estimating intergenerational mobility in developing countries is difficult because matched parent-child income records are rarely available and education is measured very coarsely. In particular, there are no established methods for comparing educational mobility for subsamples of the population when the education distribution is changing over time.
In their recent paper, Sam Asher and coauthors present new methods and new administrative data to overcome this gap, and study intergenerational mobility across groups and across space in India. They find that the intergenerational mobility for the population as a whole has remained constant since liberalization, but cross-group changes have been substantial. Rising mobility among historically marginalized "Scheduled Castes" is almost exactly offset by declining intergenerational mobility among Muslims, a comparably sized group that has few constitutional protections. These findings contest the conventional wisdom that marginalized groups in India have been catching up on average. The paper also explores heterogeneity across space, generating the first high-resolution geographic measures of intergenerational mobility across India, with results across 5600 rural subdistricts and 2300 cities and towns.