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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.

 

Does Jim Kim Get Water?

Over the past week World Bank president Jim Kim’s mind seems to have been on water and development.  But what does he mean by “water” and how does this relate to the huge water-related development challenges faced by the World Bank’s borrowers?

Reflections and What’s Ahead—CGD Founding Board Chair Ed Scott

“Many of you will know that Ed Scott, who is a co-founder and the founding chair of CGD, is also the initial generous benefactor that made CGD possible,” CGD president Nancy Birdsall told a standing-room only lunchtime crowd in the Center’s new conference center. “We would not be here today without what he did.”

World Bank’s Flagging Leadership on Contract Transparency

Over the last few years, the World Bank has put a lot of thought and resources behind making contracting more transparent and to build up the capacity of citizens to get what they are paying for through government procurement.  The bank has designed and financed innovative community-driven projects that publish contracts, it has backed programs like the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative and the Construction Sector Transparency Initiative alongside Open Contracting, it has put together a powerful database of road costs based on World Bank contracts, and it has put out a lot more data on bank-financed contracts themselves.

How Well Are Performance-Based Payments Working? Lessons from Guyana

What if international development finance paid for outcomes, like children educated or diseases avoided, rather than inputs like classrooms built or medicines procured?  That’s the premise of CGD’s longstanding work on Cash-on-Delivery Aid.  By paying only for the verified progress on measured outcomes, donors are assured of value for money, and recipients have the flexibility and incentive to innovate.  This idea is taking hold in educationhealth, and other sectors.

NASCAR, Race Horses, and Tropical Deforestation? What Congress Could Do (Again) With Our Tax Dollars

I’ll admit that I’m not a Nascar fan, and I only watch horse racing during the Triple Crown (usually only the first two legs). But I am a big baseball fan and I still don’t think that my taxpayer dollars should be used to subsidize the building of fancy new stadiums, any more than they should be used to support race tracks or race horses. But what really disturbs me is that, with almost no scrutiny, my taxpayer dollars and yours might end up contributing to tropical deforestation and climate change.

Using “Value of Information” Concepts to Prioritize the Data Revolution

I recently proposed that any assessment of a country’s statistical capacity be structured around the functions of government, such as those offered by the UN statistical office here.  When this list is fully expanded, it includes all of the data that advanced countries like the US or Japan use to manage government and inform citizens.  Most developing countries will fall below such an ambitious standard.  So how should investments in improved statistical capacity be prioritized?

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