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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.

 

The (Sometime) Tyranny of (Somewhat) Arbitrary Income Lines

As Lant Pritchett reports, the World Bank has introduced two new poverty lines: $3.20 for lower middle income countries, and $5.50 for upper middle income countries. I’m with Lant that this is broadly a good thing. But the process by which the World Bank came up with its new poverty lines suggests it might be worth revisiting some of the pitfalls of income thresholds at the individual or national level. 

How Much Aid is Really Lost to Corruption?

One of the questions reportedly from the Presidential transition team to the State Department was: “With so much corruption in Africa, how much of our funding is stolen?” During the nomination hearings for Rex Tillerson to be Secretary of State, Senator Rand Paul provided one answer: seventy percent of aid is “stolen off the top.” The question is a fair one to ask. The bad news is that the short answer is “we don’t know.” The better news is that the slightly longer answer is “nowhere near 70 percent.” And the best news is that if we spent more time tracking the results of aid projects, we’d have a much better idea of where corruption was a problem and if our efforts to reduce it were working.

Post-2015: Taking Zero Goals to the Body Shop

Up to now, the High Level Panel on the Post-2015 Development Agenda (sadly still not widely AKA the HiPoPoDomAe) has done a pretty good job of displaying public collegiality.  But in the lead-up to today’s Panel meetings in New York, that began to break down.  A story in the Guardian suggested that drafts of the report have been described as “absolutely awful&