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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.

 

Mapping Development Trends in Google N-Grams

A few days ago, Google put online a tool designed as a time-suck for the holiday season (HT to Marginal Revolution for the link).  Google N-gram viewer allows you to type in some search terms and it spits out how often those terms appear in Google Books by year of publication.  Google books now contains 5,195,769 digitized books –or about 4% of all books ever published—so that it’s a pretty powerful tool to monitor cultural trends.

Climate: Is a Big Technology Push Really Enough?

I’ve been mulling over this problem ever since I finished this paper with Arvind Subramanian. We conclude that to deal with the climate change threat to human well-being and livelhoods as we know them today requires an extraordinary technological revolution – not just reducing carbon content but completely eliminating it, i.e. completely severing the link between burning fossil fuel and generating energy.

Fingerprint Haiti Now: Biometrics in Haiti, One Year Later

This is a joint post with Caroline Decker.

Less than a month until the anniversary of the earthquake that devastated the Haitian capital, 1.3 million still live in tents, clean water remains an issue with cholera rapidly spreading, and millions of cubic meters of debris litter the streets, hampering rebuilding efforts. But Haiti was hardly in great shape before the earthquake. Despite years of assistance, 80% of its population was living under the poverty line, 2 out of 3 Haitians did not have a formal job, and infrastructure was minimal.

An Uncertain Future for U.S. Trade Preferences Programs

This is a joint post with Kaci Farrell.

Here we are in the final days of a congressional session, so it must be time to extend whichever trade preference programs are set to expire. This year, the 111th Congress must act (soon!) to extend the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) program and the Andean Trade Promotion and Drug Eradication Act (ATPDEA). Important parts of the Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) program, which provides benefits and services to American workers who lose their jobs due to trade, is also set to expire at the end of 2010.

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