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Multiple crises in the Latin American past, including severe banking crises, have been accompanied by sharp and persistent devaluations. This time around, the impressively large currency depreciations (over 50 percent in some countries) resulting from the ongoing commodity price shock and volatile international capital markets have resulted in contraction in output growth (and even recession in Brazil), but no financial crisis.
Why not? And can Latin America muddle through this episode of adverse international conditions and avoid the severe financial crises that distinguished the region in the 1980s and 1990s? Or will cumulative shocks eventually expose domestic financial vulnerabilities and cause severe crises to ensue?
In a short report accompanying the event, CLAAF members will seek to answer these questions, as well as:
Will an eventual increase in the Fed’s rates be the straw that breaks the camel's back in the region or will the expected series of small Fed rate hikes calm markets and induce a renewal of inflows to Latin America?
Increased flexibility in exchange rates has certainly helped absorb external shocks in the region. But, as most Latin American countries lack strong institutional quality, has this policy unintentionally resulted in a false sense of security and fostered postponement of needed reforms in other key areas?
Is now the time for tight monetary/fiscal policies even if they are pro-cyclical?
Guillermo Calvo, Professor, Columbia University; former Chief Economist, Inter-American Development Bank Carmen Reinhart, Minos A. Zombanakis Professor of the International Financial System at Harvard Kennedy School Liliana Rojas-Suarez, President, CLAAF and Senior Fellow and Director, Latin America Initiative, Center for Global Development Laura Alfaro, Professor, Harvard Business School; former Minister of National Planning and Economic Policy, Costa Rica Pedro Carvalho de Mello, Professor, Universidade de Sao Paulo; former Commissioner, Comissao de Valores Mobiliarios, Brazil Roque Fernandez, Professor, Universidad del CEMA; former Minister of Finance, Argentina Pablo Guidotti Dean and Professor, School of Government, Universidad Torcuato di Tella; Former Vice-Minister of Finance, Argentina Enrique Mendoza, Presidential Professor of Economics at the University of Pennsylvania and Director of Penn Institute for Economic Research Guillermo Perry, Non-resident fellow, Center for Global Development; Professor, Universidad de los Andes; Former Minister of Finance, Colombia Ernesto Talvi, Director of the Brookings-CERES Economic and Social Policy in Latin America Initiative
China's Belt and Road Initiative aims to connect countries that account for 60 percent of the world's people and 30 percent of global GDP. How can we make sure it produces real and lasting benefits for developing countries that are involved? At this special mini-summit, co-hosted by CGD, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, and the Reinventing Bretton Woods Committee, we will bring together global leaders, including governments, multilateral development finance institutions and private banks to identify and discuss practical considerations for BRI partners, as well as challenges and solutions.
A new contribution from the Center for Global Development and the International Decision Support Initiative (iDSI)—What’s In, What’s Out: Designing Benefits for Universal Health Coverage, edited by Amanda Glassman, Ursula Giedion and Peter Smith—argues that an explicit health benefits package (HBP), to be funded with public monies, is an essential element of a sustainable and effective health system, and considers the institutional, fiscal, methodological, legal, and ethical dimensions of their design and implementation. This event—a private policy breakfast and release of the book—aims to gather leading voices for universal health coverage, effective health financing, and evidence-based health policy to discuss and debate the book’s key findings and messages. Hard copies of the book will be available for all attendees.
Long-simmering conflict in Myanmar’s Rakhine state has exploded in recent weeks, leading to the rapid flight of more than 400,000 members of the country’s Rohingya population into neighboring Bangladesh. The pace of this flight has few precedents in recent history, faster even than the massive flight of Albanians from Kosovo during the 1999 war. The Rohingya are fleeing what appears to be a conscious campaign of violence by Myanmar’s security forces, in what numerous observers argue constitutes a policy of ethnic cleansing. Those who have survived the violence and escaped to Bangladesh face enormous humanitarian needs, and uncertain prospects for ever returning to their now-razed villages and homes. Refugees International, Human Rights Watch, and numerous other agencies are assessing and documenting the violence and have deployed personnel to the border region to interview survivors.
Can teacher quality explain the low learning levels observed in many African countries? Survey data spanning seven countries in sub-Saharan African shows that after four years of schooling, the majority of students fail to master tasks covered in the second year curriculum. In their new paper, Tessa Bold and her co-authors show these low learning levels can be partly explained by teachers’ limited knowledge of curriculum content. Many teachers struggle with tasks that their students should master in lower primary. If all students had been taught by teachers who had mastered the lower secondary curriculum, students would have acquired the equivalent of an additional three quarters of a year of schooling after four years, and the observed gap in effective education after four years would have been reduced by one third.
This event will serve as an opportunity to discuss and celebrate the launch of a special supplement to the American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene that reports on nine new contributions on the impact of malaria control interventions. Specifically, the articles document the success of various malaria control efforts (including the causal link between malaria intervention scale-up and reductions in malaria morbidity and mortality) and new methods for evaluating the impact of large-scale malaria control programs. Taken together, the articles represent a conceptual and practical framework for planning and executing a new generation of impact evaluations, with possible applications to other health conditions in low-resource settings.
Effectiveness sounds dull. But what if an extra dollar or rupee in a budget could feed ten people instead of one? Or if $100,000 of international aid spending could be tweaked so it would save ten times as many lives? When the stakes are this high, efficiency in spending becomes a moral imperative. Moreover, unlike debates over ideology or religion, debates over efficiency can actually get somewhere, because there is a straightforward mechanism for resolving them: compare the predictable costs and benefits of different courses of action and see which yields more bang for the buck.
With plans for a redesign of the State Department and United States Agency for International Development well under way, this is a critical moment for an informed discussion of the latest reforms proposals that will make US foreign assistance more effective and efficient. Please join us for a bipartisan debate featuring authors of four recent reports that outline options for reform and reorganization of US global development functions. The event will bring to light key areas of consensus and divergence among experts, and will aim to highlight emerging organizing principles for the future of US foreign assistance, potential structural changes to the US global development architecture, and opportunities for building momentum in a fluid political and legislative environment.
In 2014, unprecedented numbers of children and families began crossing the southern border of the United States, sparking an ongoing debate on what was driving them and how the U.S. should respond. Using data provided by the Department of Homeland Security, new research by Michael Clemens finds the flow of unaccompanied child migrants to the United States has been driven by a complex mix of violence and economic forces. How do these elements interact, and how can foreign policy be a form of migration policy?