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.

 

needle on measuring device

Do Indices Move the Needle on Gender Equality?

The broad scope of the Sustainable Development Goals acknowledges that human development is multifaceted and that gender equality is crosscutting.

In the drive to measure these concepts and gauge progress, there has been a proliferation of indices in recent years. The allure of indices is twofold: they reduce complex concepts and multiple indicators into one number, and this number can be used to rank countries and, so the theory goes, drive change. In one fell swoop then, indices seem to bring simplicity, order, and transformative potential.

A chart of aid quantity (ODA/GNI) vs. aid quality score

How Do You Measure Aid Quality and Who Ranks Highest?

Donors have lost their focus on aid effectiveness in the last decade, limiting aid’s impact. Aid effectiveness still matters enormously to the world’s poor; donors should revisit effective aid principles and agree measures which take better account of today’s challenges and context.

Chart of unemployment rates by nationality in Sweden -- showing higher rates for foreign nationalities than Swedes.

Policies, Outcomes, and Populism: The Integration of Migrants in Sweden

Sweden doesn’t seem to be immune to the Europe-wide trend of hostility to migration, as a significant 17.5 percent of the vote went to the Sweden Democrats, a populist, anti-immigration party. This is even more surprising given Sweden’s reputation for openness and successful integration, a perception supported by data; the country tops both this year’s Commitment to Development Index (CDI) and its migration component. So is the CDI wrong?

Abstract graphic of different connections and nodes

Development Agencies: Fit for the Future?

Official bilateral and multilateral development agencies are under strain from opposing forces: on the one hand, they are confronted with a world in which the development challenges are interconnected and daunting, and the risks are systemic and increasing; on the other, they are grappling with a world in which ardent nationalism, protectionism, and populism are rising, and rules-based multilateralism is declining.

Indonesia

When Foes Become Friends: Indigenous Rights and REDD+ in Indonesia

Last year, Indonesia’s tree cover loss declined by 60 percent to its lowest level since 2003. This kept some 0.2 gigatons of carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere which, by itself, represented about 0.5 percent of all global greenhouse gas emissions that year. Many factors were involved, but one was a tentative shift in domestic politics toward protecting the country’s forests and its indigenous peoples’ rights. This shift could not have been confidently envisioned even a decade ago.

smiling woman at sewing machine

Helping Poor Women Grow Their Businesses with Mobile Savings, Training, and Something More?

Growing a business is not easy, and for women firm owners the challenges can be acute, especially when they are poor and run subsistence level firms. In developing countries, 22 percent of women discontinue their established businesses due to a lack of funds, and women are more likely than men to report exiting their businesses over finance problems, according to the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor. Meanwhile, personal savings are a crucial source of entrepreneurial financing, and nearly 95 percent of entrepreneurs globally state that they used their own funds to start or scale up their businesses. Women, however, face unique constraints in accumulating savings to invest in growing their firms.

computer chip

What Robopocalypse?

The Future of Work is all the rage—the latest World Bank World Development Report is dedicated to the issue, the World Economic Forum and McKinsey have issued multiple reports, and "your job is being stolen by a robot" articles are being churned out at a rate that suggests IBM’s Watson has been reprogrammed to deliver 50 think pieces a day. We’ve been here before, of course: dire warnings of a machine age of mass unemployment have been around for at least a century. Is this time different?

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