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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.

 

A map of Nigerian conflict deaths in 2012 by state

Another Hidden Horror of 21st Century Conflict: Children’s Suffering

This year’s Nobel Peace Prize, awarded last week to Denis Mukwege and Nadia Murad, calls attention to sexual violence during war and civil conflicts—a horror too often unstated and wished away. There’s another largely hidden horror the world needs to reckon with: the toll that civil conflicts, some so local that they rarely make the news, takes on children.

On Global Public Goods: It’s Not Big Money but It’s a Big Breakthrough

There is much to cheer about in last week’s announcement by the World Bank’s shareholders to increase its paid-in capital by $13 billion. It is a healthy signal that multilateralism is alive and well, at least in the development space. And on a practical level it is sufficient to ensure that at a minimum World Bank lending to sovereign borrowers can be sustained at current levels, and private sector operations can continue to grow.

On the Equity-Friendly Property Tax: Time for Developing Countries to Invest?

A large proportion of revenue gains over the last two decades has come from countries’ efforts to improve the design and compliance of consumption and other indirect taxes, particularly the VAT (value-added tax); in doing so, the objective has been to  minimize VAT’s regressive effects by exempting sales of small businesses below a threshold (where the poor typically tend to buy) as well as imposing zero tax on certain food and other products which take up a large proportion of consumption of poor households. Less attention has gone to expanding the coverage of potentially more progressive taxes, such as personal income and property taxes.

Percentage of respondents who agreed that one or more reasons justify wife-beating by husband.

Globalism and “Wife-Beating”

Globalization of the economic sort is often maligned. But then there is globalism: of norms, values, culture, and attitudes. Are norms and values, even “culture”, being globalized? Is the idea, for example, that women have equal rights, as in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), gaining ground as a universal norm? And might changing norms and values affect legal regimes and behavior (sometimes, maybe)?

Strugglers: The New Poor of the 21st Century

Mohamed Bouazizi is the man whose protest sparked the Arab Spring in December 2010. Bouazizi was a typical “struggler,” as in the title of my keynote speech at the Australasian Aid conference several weeks ago: “Strugglers: This Century’s New Development Challenge.” Below is a rough summary of my talk.

Sub-Saharan Africa Can Multiply Its Success Stories and Donors Can Help

Many of the world’s poorest countries in sub-Saharan Africa have shown they can reform and improve governance. But the momentum is fizzling out. In a new round of tough reforms, African leaders will need to do the heavy lifting. Africa is still poor, and not yet able to finance the investments critical to a new round of growth and poverty reduction. Here’s what donors could do.

Measuring the Reproductive Ecosystem: Modern Contraception and Women’s Empowerment in the Developing World

Modern contraception may be the single most important technology for development—it liberates women to think ahead, as men have always been able to do. Last month, CGD hosted the Third Annual Birdsall House Conference on Women: “Reproductive Choices to Life Chances: New and Existing Evidence on the Impact of Contraception on Women’s Empowerment.” The conference featured presentations from some of the world’s top scholars.

Getting to Yes on a World Bank Recapitalization

World Bank President Jim Kim is hoping the bank’s 189 shareholders will agree to increase the current capital of the bank’s “hard” window sometime in 2018. But the US wants to link any support for a recapitalization to World Bank “graduating” China—and perhaps other member countries with good access to private capital markets who don’t seem to “need” the World Bank. There are sensible arguments on both sides of this divide.

The IMF on Protecting the Poor during Fiscal “Consolidations”: Better Late Than Never

Inequality and inclusive growth were high on the agenda of the Annual Meetings of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank earlier this month. We are glad about that, but the under-reported story here is that this prominence marks a dramatic shift in the IMF over the last two decades in the IMF’s approach to the relevant challenges for the poorest countries, including on the issue of social safety nets and social expenditures.

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