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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.

 

CGD’s New President: A Message From Lawrence Summers

As Chair of the Board of the Center for Global Development, I am delighted to announce that, following a competitive international search, Masood Ahmed is to become the Center’s next president. He will succeed Nancy Birdsall who has been an outstanding founding president during CGD’s first fifteen years. 

How Should Countries Distribute the “Burden” of Accepting Refugees Fleeing the Syrian Conflict?

The evidence is compelling that countries benefit from immigration, particularly if immigrants are already well-educated, working-age adults, as is the case with most of the Syrians fleeing war at home. Still, there are real economic, security, and political costs of hosting refugees when, as with the Syrians, the arrivals are sudden and substantial. Given those costs, how should we think about the obligations of potential host countries? 

CGD and IMF Join Forces to Discuss Financial Inclusion

Does broadening financial access to large segments of the population pose risks to financial stability? Not necessarily, according to recent remarks by IMF managing director Christine Lagarde. Increasing access to basic financial transactions such as payments does not threaten financial stability, especially when appropriate supervisory and regulatory frameworks are in place. In fact, with the right regulatory supervision, increased access to financial services can result in both micro and macro benefits. Recognizing the macroeconomic and regulatory dimensions of financial inclusion, CGD and the IMF joined forces for a seminar to kick off the IMF Spring Meetings 2016.

Nancy Birdsall to Deliver Kapuscinski Development Lecture in Berlin

On February 23, CGD President Nancy Birdsall will deliver the first Kapuscinski Development Lecture of 2016 in Berlin, Germany. Her lecture, “The New Middle Class in the Developing World: Does It Matter?” will take a hard look at what it means to be middle class in developing countries and explore the role of strugglers, the rapidly expanding group of people caught between extreme poverty and the middle class.

The World Bank’s Poverty Statistics Lack Median Income Data, So We Filled In the Gap Ourselves — Download Available

PovcalNet, the World Bank’s global poverty database, provides all kinds of country statistics, including mean income, the share (and number) of the population living in absolute poverty ($1.90), the poverty gap and several measures of income inequality, such as the Gini coefficient. But one thing it doesn’t provide is median income or consumption. The median is a better measure of “typical” well-being than the mean, which is always skewed to the right.

We’ve been waiting for the World Bank to add these medians to its PovcalNet database, but we got impatient and did it ourselves. By manually running a few hundred queries in PovcalNet, we now have (and can share with you) the latest median income/consumption data for 144 countries (using 2011 PPPs — more on our methods below).

Seven Development Policy Wishes for 2016

Sometimes it feels like Groundhog Day. Every twelve months or so, I sit down to write about my main wishes for the forthcoming year in development, and every list for the last few years has included my desire to see the US make good on its commitment to IMF quota reform (which would be of little extra cost to the US taxpayer as the US share of IMF funds could be augmented from existing monies already set aside for global financial crises). Dear reader, you can share my past frustration here, here and here.

How the United States Can Lead on Global Goods and Bads

Climate change is one of many global problems that pose risks to well-being for everybody in the world – and bigger, scarier, and harder to manage risks for poor people in poor countries.  As with non-state terrorism, pandemic diseases, cybercrime, war refugees and microbial resistance to antibiotics, no one country, rich or poor, wants to act alone in dealing with these “global public goods” (in this case bads) since other countries will free-ride on its efforts. Dealing with these development challenges requires America’s leadership.

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