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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.

 

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Take a Vacation from Economics: Anthropology Books to Read This Winter

Like many development economists, anthropologists organize their own data collection activities and spend a considerable amount of time “in the field.” But unlike economists, anthropologists often manage to present their findings in accessible, largely jargon-free prose that ordinary human beings might read voluntarily. 

Imran Khan at a WEF event. Photo by Remy Steinegger

Pakistan’s Economic Prospects: A CGD Roundtable has Advice for Imran Khan’s New Economic Team

Although the new government has yet to take office, Imran Khan, who as of Monday has won the most seats in parliament, is expected to realize his long-term aim of becoming prime minister. Having run on a platform of ending corruption and promoting human development, expectations are high especially amongst his younger urban supporters. However, he takes over at a time when Pakistan faces a serious economic challenge and its relations with key global players are under strain.

Engaging Young Africans on Four Immediate Challenges on the Road to Sub-Saharan Africa’s Continental Free Trade Area and “Agenda 2063”

As at countless events on sub-Saharan Africa’s economy over the past two weeks, discussions at Harvard University’s “Africa Development Conference”—where I delivered a keynote address—were animated by the signing of the Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA) agreement by 44 sub-Saharan African countries two days before.

Increasing External Debt and Electoral Cycles in Emerging Markets: How Do They Affect Prospects for Long-Term Growth?

Recently, the World Bank published its latest Global Economic Prospects report, which highlights a welcomed cyclical recovery for all major regions of the world following recent slow growth. I was pleased to participate in a panel discussion at CGD analyzing the report’s findings, and to share my perspectives both on its implications and on future global outlooks—­­especially for emerging market and developing economies.

Do Weak Governments Doom Developing Countries to Poverty?

When you read what economists have to say about development, it is easy to be disheartened about the prospects for poor countries. One big reason is that slow changing institutional factors are seen as key to development prospects. I’ve just published a CGD book that’s a little more optimistic: Results Not Receipts: Counting the Right Things in Aid and Corruption.

Three Reasons the Spring Meetings Remained Glum—Despite Better Global Economic News

Each year, as ministers gather from all corners of the world for the World Bank/IMF Spring Meetings, Washington DC resounds with a cacophony of differing perspectives on future prospects, like a giant, multinational orchestra tuning up. Yet this time, in both public and private gatherings, with both developed and developing country dignitaries, as well as leading technocrats from the international financial institutions, one refrain kept recurring, defining the mood of the whole symphony. I would summarize it as 'The numbers are looking better, so why don't I feel good about them?'

The Informal Sector: What Do We Know So Far?

The informal sector is a major source of economic activity and job opportunities in poor countries as well as emerging economies. In sub-Saharan Africa, the size of the informal sector is estimated to employ over 70 percent of the population. Why do businesses remain informal? What gains in productivity or profitability do they forego by as a result of that choice?

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