Ideas to Action:

Independent research for global prosperity

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.

 

How 28 Poor Countries Escaped the Poverty Trap

This is a joint post with Charles Kenny

Zambia and Ghana are the 27th and 28th countries the World Bank has reclassified as middle-income since the year 2000

Doctors perform cataract surgery at the Lusaka Eye Hospital in Zambia. It's inexpensive and it changes people's lives instantly, so it's a good example of how just a little bit more money can make a huge difference to the world's poorest people. Photograph: Per-Anders Pettersson/Getty Images

Remember the poverty trap? Countries stuck in destitution because of weak institutions put in place by colonial overlords, or because of climates that foster disease, or geographies that limit access to global markets, or simply by the fact that poverty is overwhelmingly self-perpetuating. Apparently the trap can be escaped.

Can Aid Work? Written Testimony Submitted to the House of Lords

Living in Ethiopia for the last three years, I saw aid working every day. I saw children going to school, health workers in rural villages, and food or cash preventing hunger for the poorest people.  The academic debates about aid effectiveness seem surreal when you are surrounded by tangible, visible evidence of the huge difference aid makes to people’s lives.

Connecting with Central America through Research

Central America experienced almost a decade of economic progress between 2003 and 2008, when GDP per capita growth averaged 3 percent per year. Yet the region’s five countries–Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua–still lag other middle income economies. Their high dependence on their primary commodities and the U.S. economy makes the growth slow and volatile. Even more worrying are high levels of poverty and inequality.  Significant structural changes are urgently needed to secure sustained and inclusive growth.

Good News: History Does Not Equal Destiny

Five years ago, probably the most positive you could be about global development was to argue that, despite a sluggish performance in reducing global income poverty connected to slow-changing institutions, broader quality of life in areas like education and  health had improved everywhere.  That’s pretty much the story I told in Getting Better.  But since then, what we have learned about development progress suggests su

Don’t Do Impact Evaluations Because…

Recently, I was called for advice by someone who will be running a workshop attended by people who implement and evaluate programs. She asked me to help her anticipate the main objections raised against doing impact evaluations—evaluations that measure how much of an outcome can be attributed to a specific intervention--and to suggest possible responses.

The United States Can Give Better Aid to Haiti

This commentary also appeared on The Huffington Post and Global Post

Last week at a United Nations conference, donors pledged more than $10 billion to finance reconstruction and development investments in Haiti. The United States promised a hefty $1.15 billion.

But pledging money is the easy part. The United States, the lead donor and friend with the greatest interest in Haiti's future development, can do much more, in two ways: its own aid programs can be more effective; and it can take steps beyond aid that are far more critical to long-run prosperity for Haiti's people.

Mitch Smith Wins Trip to Africa with Nick Kristof!

This is a joint post with Katherine Douglas and Sandy Stonesifer.

After three months, 893 applications, and a lot of effort by bright university students across the United States, New York Times columnist Nick Kristof selected Nebraska native Mitch Smith to join him on a reporting trip to Africa.

Those of you who entered or follow the yearly Win-a-Trip contest know that Nick asked CGD to vet the first round of applications. We jumped at the opportunity to lend some elbow grease to Nick’s contest and quickly realized how persuasively and passionately these students communicated about poverty and development.

CGD Screening Applications for Nick Kristof's "Win a Trip" Contest

New York Times columnist Nick Kristof just announced his 2010 Win a Trip contest. The lucky winner will accompany Kristof on a reporting trip to Africa to cover global poverty. This contest is a rare opportunity for a university student to experience a part of the world that few Americans see with such a seasoned expert like Kristof.

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