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.

 

Is the World Bank Excusing Mugabe’s Human Rights Abuses? Read for Yourself.

The World Bank is supposed to work with poor countries in distress. When it all goes well, the Bank supports reformers with advice and money. Sometimes, however, the Bank prolongs a country’s pain by throwing a lifeline to recalcitrant regimes. The difference between a helping hand and a counterproductive crutch requires the Bank to understand the trends inside a country and how its own actions might affect those dynamics. Often, it’s difficult to discern these subtleties.

Can Poll Results Sway Elite Opinion on Tanzania's Resource Boom?

Even the most ardent defenders of democracy sometimes worry that populist pressure may lead to short-sighted (or populist) economic policy choices. So after polling 2,000 ordinary Tanzanians in 2015 about their views on the use of expected natural gas revenue, we decided to follow up with an experiment polling Tanzanian “elites,” to see whether they are aligned with citizens, or could be swayed by citizens’ views.

For a Clean Energy Breakthrough to Save the Planet, It Cannot Forget the Developing World

Most people accept that we will only achieve sustainable energy patterns with a substantial investment in research and development, but where the research will take place and where energy will be consumed doesn’t necessarily match up. Within 25 years, non-OECD countries will account for two-thirds of global energy consumption. To that end, the climate and energy challenge is primarily about finding ways to bring clean energy to Rio and Lagos, not to San Francisco or Berlin. 

Five Women Who Could Lead the World Bank

Last week the World Bank announced the process for choosing the next president of the organization. Minutes after midnight on the first day nominations were to be accepted, the US formally nominated the incumbent Jim Kim. Other nominations are possible in what is, allegedly, an “open, merit-based, and transparent” process, but which will only be “open” for three weeks. Here are five women who could ably lead the World Bank.

Aadhaar-Based Cash Transfers: Promising Reform, but More Data Needed

India’s shift towards direct benefit transfers (DBTs) is on the fast track. According to official statements, in the 2015-16 fiscal year the central government deposited nearly $5 billion of subsidy and welfare payments directly into the bank accounts of 300 million beneficiaries. It has also set an ambitious target to transfer all payments to the Aadhaar-based biometric DBT platform by the end of 2017. This will surely be the greatest subsidy reform in the world, but we need more data to accurately evaluate its impact.

Please Avoid Unintended Consequences When Designing New Anti-Money Laundering Policies

A recent flurry of legislative activity has seen the introduction of four bills that aim to crack down on the financing of terrorism. While it is very important to combat money laundering and the financing of terror, the actions can result in unintended negative consequences for poor countries as well. We like some things in these new bills, but they also leave a lot to be desired.

Improving Learning through Simple Teaching Innovations

Could absenteeism be caused by the poor learning taking place in classrooms? After all, with years of schooling without gains in basic foundational skills in reading and math, it is hardly surprising when children struggle to perform. But what would happen if children were taught by their actual learning levels rather than their grade?

Dude, Where’s My Cat Bond?

 “Cat” bonds are effectively a cheaper source of large-scale insurance coverage against clearly measured risks like earthquakes, storms, or even disease outbreaks. Generally, though, coverage hasn’t trickled down to the poorer and most at-risk countries—precisely those which are most vulnerable when aid fails to arrive or arrives piecemeal. Scaling up this market for lower-income countries would provide better shielding against many risks that undermine development overseas.

Identification & Development: What Have We Learnt and Where Are We Going? Comments Requested for Upcoming Book

Effective identification is increasingly seen as a crucial step towards the achievement of several other development goals. In fact, developing countries have been implementing new ID programs at a breakneck speed. To provide a relatively comprehensive picture of these rapidly changing trends, fast-evolving systems, and mushrooming applications is no easy feat, but we have tried to assemble a rough overview of those ID- and development-related topics that struck us as most relevant in the form of a Preliminary Discussion Paper.

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