Views from the Center

CGD experts offer ideas and analysis to improve international development policy. Also check out our Global Health blog and US Development Policy blog.

 

A Third Wave of Intellectual Leadership on Development at the UN?

In the lead-up to the UN General Assembly convening this week, CGD hosted a roundtable with the Stimson Center on human development and global institutions. It was an opportunity to take the long view on how intellectual and practical leadership came together to lay the foundation for the Millennium Development Goals and then the Sustainable Development Goals.

The Real Economic Cost of Accepting Refugees

The arrival of more than a million refugees and migrants in Europe has brought widespread concern they will become an economic drain on the countries that welcome them. When economists have studied past influxes of refugees and migrants they have found the labor market effects, while varied, are very limited, and can in fact be positive.

Fragile Gains in a Fragile State: Economic Development in Afghanistan

When NATO forces entered Afghanistan following the attacks of September 11, 2001, much of the country’s infrastructure, as well as its public institutions and underlying social fabric, had been destroyed by more than two and a half decades of conflict. At the time, landmines were still killing an average of 40 Afghans a day. Over the last 15 years, the international community, led by the United States, has invested massive resources in an attempt to transform Afghanistan into a more stable, modern, and prosperous country.

Helping Women Entrepreneurs: Worth the Effort, but Complicated

A consistent but perhaps unsurprising theme of CGD’s September 7 panel discussion, "Women Entrepreneurs: What Really Helps Them Start and Grow Businesses?" was that neither the challenges nor the solutions are simple. Access to finance—frequently emphasized—is not the only issue. And even within access to finance, it is important to look at both supply and demand, at both debt and equity, and at the behavior and attitudes of loan officers as well as bank managers.

Is USAID Set Up to Fail on Disaster Reconstruction?

With Hurricane Irma now pushing a devastating path through the Caribbean, USAID is gearing up to do what it does best. Its Disaster Assistance Response Teams (DARTs) do amazing work—deploying rapidly in the wake of natural hazards like hurricanes and often bringing the logistical might of the US military with them. These teams go in big and fast to save lives, distribute food, set up emergency shelter, and prevent secondary impacts like disease outbreaks. But then things begin to falter. 

Can Outsourcing Improve Liberia's Schools? Preliminary RCT Results

Last summer, the Liberian government delegated management of 93 public elementary schools to eight different private contractors. Given the intense controversy around the program, the government—with some encouragement from our colleagues at Ark Education Partnership Group, who helped manage the program—agreed to randomize the allocation of schools during the pilot, and the three of us partnered with Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA) to evaluate its impacts.

Trade and Commitment to Development: Which Is More Damaging to Development, Agricultural Subsidies or Trade Tariffs?

On September 5, we launched the results of the 2017 Commitment to Development Index (CDI), which scores 27 countries on how development-friendly their policies are. This year, we include two new indicators assessing how rich-country “tariffs” (taxes on imports) and “subsidies” (payments to domestic producers) inhibit development. But which is more damaging, and therefore deserves a greater weight in the Index?

Using the approach embedded in previous CDI calculations, we calculate that tariffs may be over three times as damaging as agricultural subsidies in inhibiting developing country trade. Below, we look at how tariffs and subsidy inhibit development, and assess their respective impact.

Illicit Financial Flows and Trade Misinvoicing: Time to Reassess

You might remember the UNCTAD report on trade misinvoicing published last year which alleged that the majority of gold exports leave South Africa unreported. If not, you will more than likely have heard the billion dollar estimates of illicit financial flows as a source of resources for financing the SDGs. It is increasingly clear that these calculations, based on gaps and mismatches in trade are not reliable.

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