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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.


Free Access to the Data You Paid For

The World Bank announced this week that it will providing “free, open and easy access to World Bank statistics and indicators about development.” It is an important step for the Bank. First and foremost because it will facilitate more research and better-informed writing about development issues; but also because it recognizes that this kind of information is exactly the kind of public good that the World Bank should be producing.

COD Aid, Maternal Mortality, and the G-8—A Good Recipe?

This is a joint post with Katherine Douglas.

One of the exciting things about the Cash on Delivery Initiative is that once people understand the concept, they frequently come up with all kinds of new ideas for applying it. This happened most recently at the CGD-hosted book launch for Cash on Delivery: A New Approach to Aid this week. Within the course of an hour, the conversation shifted from skeptical questions to prospective applications of COD Aid. While the book outlines a proposal for channeling aid to countries that accelerate their progress toward accomplishing the Millennium Development Goal of universal primary completion, people have asked about applying it to water, deforestation, malaria and to another Millennium Development Goal: reducing maternal mortality.

Out of the Tranches

Proposition #1: Details matter

Proposition #2: People hear what they expect to hear

Lemma #1: People often misunderstand details

Theorem: Foreign aid agencies continue to use tranched operations even when a small modification would work better.

I leave the proof to the reader, but this theorem came to mind during recent discussions about Cash on Delivery Aid (COD Aid) as it would apply to financing primary education.

Will People in Developing Countries Be Invisible in the Future of Statistical Computing?

In "The Future of Statistical Computing," Leland Wilkinson argues that technological advances are going to shape the future of statistical analysis more than most other factors. The article is a helpful overview of today's statistical analysis, let alone predicting the future, for someone who remembers doing his first statistical models in Gauss (does anyone else even remember that package?).