Ideas to Action:

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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.

 

Five Questions (and Answers) for USAID Administrator Nominee Mark Green

Ambassador Mark Green—President Trump’s pick to lead the US Agency for International Development (USAID)—is slated to appear before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee for his nomination hearing on Thursday morning. Drawing on themes of efficiency, effectiveness, accountability, and results, here are a few questions we’d pose to Ambassador Green (and a few of the things we’d love to hear in response).

Leaving the Paris Climate Agreement Would Be a Shameful Act of Self-Harm

A decision by President Trump to remove the United States from the 2015 Paris climate agreement would be a shameful act of self-harm. The decision would hurt everyone in the world, and poor people most, by making it harder to avoid a future of bigger storms and fires, disappearing coastlines, and tougher crop-growing conditions. But the most severe and immediate harm would be to the United States, which by banishing itself from the community of nations trying to prevent dangerous climate change would irrevocably damage its global standing.

Trump’s Retrogressive Executive Order on Climate Change: A Development Perspective in Three Charts

On Tuesday the Trump Administration dropped a long-feared executive order on climate change. There’s no sugarcoating it—this order is an attempted assault by the administration on the climate we all depend on, the world’s poorest people most of all. Nevertheless, just how bad things get depends not just on vigorous opposition to these moves within the US, but more and more on other countries.

Refusing Visas, Refusing Income?

In 2015, there were 77,470,857 visits to the United States from other countries. These visitors brought tremendous benefit: not only did they each spend an average of $4,400 on US goods and services during their stay, but also they helped US firms engage with foreign markets, raise the quality of students here, and help with the diffusion of knowledge. We should want more of these tourists and businesspeople, and the above suggests a real cost to inaccurate visa screening mechanisms—of which blanket bans are a prime example.

Tougher Visa Policies Could Carry Heavy US Economic Cost

The Trump administration has imposed a number of entry restrictions through executive order, justifying them on national security grounds. But one additional set of concerns regards the economic costs of tightening visa restrictions, which can be considerable even when looking solely at temporary visitors. While the current bans would likely have a limited economic impact on the US through reduced tourist and business travel, the extension of restrictions could carry increasingly heavy economic costs.

How the US Immigration Ban Hurts Students, Universities, and the US Economy

Several recent articles about President Trump’s executive order on immigration from seven Muslim-majority countries have looked at how it affects thousands of international students all across the US. At stake here is not only their ability to benefit from a US education, but also how the US benefits from having students from those countries at American institutions, in terms of revenue, future productivity, and jobs. My own research, using both administrative and survey data, shows that the costs of this ban to the US will include costs to public universities and lost global talent from abroad. The US is the largest "exporter" of higher education services, and the ban could hit universities with a revenue loss of around $200 million a year, with larger impacts on the local economies around campuses.

How Will President Trump’s Executive Orders Affect Development? CGD Experts Consider the Evidence

Kellyanne Conway called him a “man of action” after a whirlwind first week in which President Trump signed 14 Executive Orders and presidential memoranda, covering most of his key campaign issue areas from health to immigration to trade. In a series of blogs, CGD experts have been examining how some of these specific policy intentions could impact development progress. As you would expect from a group of economists, we believe in—and encourage—evidence-based policymaking, and here we look at what the existing evidence and research tell us about how likely these Executive Orders are to achieve the president’s stated goals.

A Microcosm of US Border Policy toward Mexico

Boquillas del Carmen is a tiny village just over the Rio Grande from Big Bend National Park in Texas that experienced a tremendous decline when US authorities closed the border in 2002. For decades, the town’s economy depended on tourists crossing over to enjoy spectacular views of the Chisos Mountains while eating homemade enchiladas at the one or two restaurants in town. Then, some months after the attacks of September 11, 2001, the US government shut down all unofficial, unmanned border crossings with Mexico, including the one at Boquillas. Suddenly there were no more tourists.

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