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.

 

Try Something New in Syria

The conflict in Syria has dragged on for 26 months, and the international community has seemingly exhausted its options for non-lethal aid and support to the Syrian opposition.  Now, with new allegations that chemical weapons were likely used by the Assad regime, the United States and others may be inching closer to putting boots on the ground.       

Schooling Isn’t Learning

In 2010, World Bank statistics report that Guinea-Bissau had a youth literacy rate of 72%.  That means seven in ten people aged 15-24 were estimated to be able to read and write a simple paragraph.  The estimate was probably made on the basis of that many kids having been in school long enough that they should have easily mastered such a basic skill.  The official net enrollment rate was 74% --about three quarters of primary-age kids were enrolled in school.

Reinhart-Rogoff: The Problem and Solutions

Paraphrasing "jesting Pilate", "what is truth when academic superstars supposedly produce it?" is possibly the most important yet neglected question raised by the recent Reinhart-Rogoff (R-R) affair.

The essential facts of this episode are these: two Harvard professors, Carmen Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff, used their academic research to become strong advocates in the policy realm, although not among fellow academics, of the need for fiscal austerity when economies approach a threshold level of debt-to-GDP ratio of 90 per cent. Their superstar reputations (deservedly earned through previous work) rendered their advocacy influential, even highly so, in the charged policy debates in the United States and all over Europe. The research - especially the critical and attention-grabbing finding of a sharp growth discontinuity at that 90 per cent threshold - was subsequently exposed as flawed.

On Taxes, Trade, Transparency—and Turf

This is a joint post with Owen Barder.

In January, David Cameron nailed his colours to the mast with a speech in Davos that set out the three Ts agenda for the UK’s chairing of the June G8 meeting: taxes, trade and transparency. Since then, there has been much discussion of how serious the agenda is and what the G8 can actually deliver.

Beware the Duck of Doom

A recent post by Steve Weissman of Berkeley Law on Legal Planet, an environmental law and policy blog, highlights a chart that looks like a duck. The duck chart was produced by the California Independent System Operator, the organization in charge of managing the state's power grid. Weissman calls it the "Duck of Doom" -- with good reason.

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