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.

 

UNESCO’s Decision to Accept Money from One of Africa’s Worst Dictators is Outrageous

This posting is joint with Julia Barmeier

According to its website, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has stopped accepting nominations for its UNESCO-Obiang Nguema Mbasogo International Prize for Research in the Life Sciences. But we are guessing that the applicant pool remains quite small. Frankly, who would want his or her name affiliated with one of Africa’s worst dictators? Besides UNESCO, that is.

Fresh Ideas for Haiti Begin to Take Hold

Following the devastating earthquake in January, CGD experts offered fresh ideas on how the U.S. and the international community could help Haiti rebuild, particularly through non-aid channels. Several recent developments in the U.S. legislative branch reflect or build upon these ideas:

Trade

Evolutionary Rule Changes Won’t Necessarily Doom a “Charter City”: An Analogy With the Dynamic Rules of “Open-Source Chess”

On Monday March 15, Paul Romer gave an impassioned presentation here of his proposal that donor countries add a new tool to their toolkit for helping the world’s poorest – the establishment of “charter cities”.  As you can learn in more detail here, such cities are conceived as contracts between three parties: a poor country which provides the land, one or more rich countries which establish the rules and norms and invest in the infrastructure and entrepren

A New Kind of Degree for Development Professionals

Get ready for a new kind of training in development.  We are about to see massive expansion of a new graduate degree—Master’s in Development Practice (MDP)—all over the world.  Today the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation announced a grant of $5.6 million in support for the creation of such programs at ten universities, doubling the worldwide number of these programs.

Kristof on Cash on Delivery: Bravo, But It's About Us, Not Them

This is a joint post with William Savedoff.

Of course we agree with NYTimes development columnist par excellence Nicholas Kristof that our proposal for Cash on Delivery Aid should be tried. So we are sorry to quibble, but on a couple of points cannot resist.

First Kristof wrote: “The basic truth of foreign aid is that helping people is far, far harder than it looks.” And he’s right. But a big part of the difficulty is with us, not them.

More HOPE, and HELP, for Haiti, but Congress Still Holds Back

Nearly four months after the earthquake that devastated Haiti, and after receiving a letter from former Presidents William Clinton and George W. Bush, the U.S. Congress seems prepared to expand access for Haitian apparel exports with the Haiti Economic Lift Program (HELP) Act. This is important because apparel is one of the few sectors, outside of construction, that can quickly create formal sector jobs for thousands of desperate Haitians, particularly women.

Esther Duflo’s Clark Medal Is a Great Sign for Development Research and Policy

This is a joint post with Vijaya Ramachandran.

A hearty congratulations to Esther Duflo, winner of this year’s John Bates Clark Medal! Since 1947 the American Economic Association has awarded the medal to “that American economist under the age of forty who is judged to have made the most significant contribution to economic thought and knowledge.” In our profession, the Clark Medal ranks second only to the Nobel Prize, and about 40 percent of medal winners have gone on to win a Nobel. Esther, a 37-year-old native of France, richly deserves this platinum honor.

Where Have All the Flowers Gone? (Short Time Passing)

This is a joint post with Christopher Ksoll.

Since the volcanic eruption in Iceland on April 14th, we have been inundated with stories about flight disruptions. Demi Moore can no longer travel to the premiere of her new movie in London. The opening of “Iron Man 2” has been moved from Europe to Los Angeles. Millions of passengers have been stranded in the US, Europe, Africa and Asia, as airports from Manchester to Munich to Milan were closed. And now the International Air Transport Association (IATA) is urging European governments to find ways to “compensate” the airlines for over USD$ 1 billion in lost revenues.

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