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.

 

India Prime Minister Enacts Bold Policy to Cut Down on “Black Money”

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s announced a bold measure on Wednesday to reduce the role of unaccounted for cash or “black money” in the country’s economy by “de-monetizing” higher-denomination currency notes. The new policy bans the use of 500 rupee and 1,000 rupee currency notes. While this measure may have the positive (though potentially temporary) effect of forcing illicit activity out of the regulated economy, the process could be disorderly, with the poorest members of society bearing the brunt of the disruption.

Beyond Brexit: Is Unilateral Tariff Reduction Really Such a Crazy Idea?

If the UK leaves the EU (as unfortunately seems most likely), the single market, and customs union, it will need to decide on a new schedule of tariffs for imported goods from both Europe and other countries. One of the options being touted is the unilateral removal of tariffs on all goods, as Hong Kong and Singapore do. There are three main possible objections to this approach based on UK interests, and one for developing countries, none of which are entirely convincing.

Implementing the Paris Agreement is Not Just about NDCs: Focus on Adaptation Too

The city of Marrakech is all dressed up for the negotiations and festivities of the 22nd Conference of Parties to the UNFCCC. From horse-drawn carriages spinning the COP22 logo around their wheels, to banners waving "Act” in five languages posted across streetlamps and Moroccan flags lining the storefronts of the medina, the anticipation is both visible and palpable, even with the backdrop of recent political protests across the country. As a model for clean energy transition and an example of the need to adopt drastic adaptation measures, Morocco is an appropriate setting for this year's two-week decision-making marathon.

Global Efforts to Combat Financial Exclusion Forge Ahead

In November 2015, CGD published a report on the unintended consequences of anti-money laundering policies for poor countries, focusing on three groups: migrant workers who send remittances to their families, vulnerable people who are displaced by conflict or natural disasters and are in need of foreign assistance, and businesses that rely on cross-border trade. Since then, the international community has made several efforts to address the problem of financial exclusion created in part by these policies. 

Blockchain Tech Adoption Makes Progress, But Is Still No Magic Bullet for Global Financial Inclusion

Distributed ledger technology, like Bitcoin’s blockchain, has the potential to transform cross-border payments, boost financial inclusion, and lessen the unintended consequences of anti-money laundering enforcement. Ripple, a fintech company using distributed ledger technology, made headlines recently, as did the appearance of a new cryptocurrency, Zcash. If you’ve gotten swept up in the enthusiasm around emerging financial technologies (fintech), you may think that the creaking system of international transfers in fiat currencies, and the problems of global financial exclusion associated with it, will soon come to an end. However, as we’ve said before, these innovations may not have as much of an impact as you expect.

To Improve Learning Outcomes, Look at Teacher Practice

Contrary to popular opinion, there is little reliable evidence showing strong links between student achievement and teachers’ formal qualifications. On the other hand, numerous studies document the relationship between teachers’ classroom performance and student learning outcomes. Getting high-level and consistent performance from teachers in the classroom is central to improving delivery of education services. Yet the performance and effectiveness of teachers varies widely across and within education systems—and even within schools.

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