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.

 

Post-2015: A $1 Trillion Financing Package?

A $1 trillion financing partnership to support ending extreme poverty, stopping avoidable child deaths, and meeting other widely supported post-2015 development goals sounds far-fetched.  But improbable action is what will be needed if we’re going to come close to making such historically unprecedented progress.  Indeed, delivering on proposed zero goals is going to take a broad and deep global partnership that’s about far more than aid.

Philippines Launches Aid Transparency Hub, Encourages Donor Transparency

This is a joint post with Lawrence MacDonald.

Struggling to provide relief and reconstruction assistance in the wake of super typhoon Haiyan (a.k.a. Yolanda), the Philippines has launched a foreign aid information hub and gently encouraged donors to follow through on their own transparency pledges, with a top official reported in the Philippine press as saying that the two efforts "should go hand in hand."

Which Country Has the Most Development Friendly Policies? (Hint: Tillykke!)

This is a joint post with Petra Krylová.

For the second year in row, the winner of the Commitment to Development Index (CDI) is Denmark. (Tillykke!) Denmark does not have the highest score in any individual component, but it has the most consistently development-friendly policies across the board. Its Scandinavian neighbors, Sweden and Norway, are second and third respectively. The G-7 country with the most pro-development policies is the UK, in seventh place.

Does US Food Aid Have to Pit the Philippines Against Syria?

This is a joint post with Will McKitterick.

On NPR this morning, Dan Charles told Morning Edition Host Renee Montagne that the Philippines is fortunate that the typhoon struck early in the US government’s fiscal year, when “there's plenty of cash available to spend” for food aid. That means that the US Agency for International Development (USAID) was able to immediately provide $8 million for World Food Programme (WFP) relief operations, with a promise of $10 million to $15 million more later. Had the typhoon struck a few months earlier, however, cash for such crises would have been exhausted by relief operations in Syria.

Filipinos Like Typhoon Relief Transparency

Something surprising happened this week after my colleagues Vijaya Ramachandran and Owen Barder posted a call for donors providing help in the wake of Typhoon Haiyan (a.k.a Yolanda) to rapidly post data on their plans and actions. Their post, Let’s Not Help the Philippines Like We Helped Haiti, which argued for helping the Philippines better through aid transparency, went viral overnight as thousands of Filipinos around the world visited the page and “liked” it on Facebook.

How Long Can You Live with This Kind of “Modern” Energy?

Lant Pritchett lambasts the donor focus on eliminating extreme poverty because getting the income of poor people to the $1.25/day threshold is a pathetic definition of success.  A decade ago Lant had proposed $15/day as more sensible minimum for human wellbeing. Today, he worries that setting our sights too low prevents us from meeting the real goal of development—to build modern, prosperous societies.

RCTs in Development, Lessons from the Hype Cycle

Last month, I was on my way to speak at an IDB sponsored conference on evaluation.  Getting on the shuttle to DC I bumped into a friend of mine who is the head of a technology related company.   On the plane I was telling him I was on my way to talk about the fad of doing RCTs in my field of development.  He told me he had a great slide from the tech consulting company Gartner about the “Hype Cycle” in tech industries.  As you see, this wonderful graphic shows a typical cycle of a tech idea or tech

Financial Secrecy and the Commitment to Development Index

Many people cite corruption as the biggest obstacle to development, but corruption has many faces.  Viewed primarily as a poor country problem, corruption can be the basis for arguing against aid, on the grounds that it will be stolen or wasted. Seeing the global nature of corruption in practice, however, reveals the responsibility of aid donors and other rich countries to address their own culpability. Turns out that rich country financial secrecy can facilitate illicit transfers and even make possible grand corruption, to the tune of billions of dollars.

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