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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.

 

Cannes G-20 Summit Founders on Europe’s Woes (Will Los Cabos Be Better?)

This is a joint post with Owen Barder

Whether future historians remember last week’s G-20 Summit in Cannes will depend on what happens in the weeks and months ahead. If the eurozone problems spiral out of control, Cannes will be to the coming crash as the 1933 London Economic Conference was to the Great Depression: a lost chance to avert calamity. If Europe muddles through, the brief association of Cannes with the G-20 will be soon forgotten and the resort will again be famous for its film festival.

Cash at Your Fingertips: Biometric Technology for Transfer Systems

This is a joint post with Caroline Decker

Last week CGD published our working paper on the use of fingerprint and iris scans for cash transfers. As we continue to look into this topic, we are even more convinced of the potential this technology has for transfer systems, particularly those in resource-rich countries.

Cash transfers are increasingly being used by developing countries and development agencies to address a range of economic and social problems, including human investment and greater equality. But the option to directly distribute natural rent to citizens of resource-rich developing countries may also be especially relevant. Such an approach could encourage better resource management and head off the governance problems associated with the concentration of large rents in the hands of the state. Unfortunately, it is often difficult to establish efficient transfer programs in developing countries, many with a record of corruption and leakage. Evidence suggests that even well designed transfer programs experience 10-20 percent leakage, if not higher.

Zedillo Warns of a “Frightening Failure” of Global Institutions

The wake-up call came as a bit of a shock. Ernesto Zedillo, the highly regarded former president of Mexico and director of the Yale Center for the Study of Globalization, was discussing the record of international institutions and the powerful countries that run them. On their response to unprecedented international cooperation and coordination challenges, he was in no mood to mince words.

Good News: History Does Not Equal Destiny

Five years ago, probably the most positive you could be about global development was to argue that, despite a sluggish performance in reducing global income poverty connected to slow-changing institutions, broader quality of life in areas like education and  health had improved everywhere.  That’s pretty much the story I told in Getting Better.  But since then, what we have learned about development progress suggests su

Don’t Do Impact Evaluations Because…

Recently, I was called for advice by someone who will be running a workshop attended by people who implement and evaluate programs. She asked me to help her anticipate the main objections raised against doing impact evaluations—evaluations that measure how much of an outcome can be attributed to a specific intervention--and to suggest possible responses.

United States Should Boost Trade with Poorest Countries

The United States could help developing countries by opening its trade with poorest countries.

WASHINGTON — With a complex and difficult situation grinding on in Libya, the uprising in Syria, war in Afghanistan and fresh uncertainty about U.S. assistance to Pakistan, many Americans feel beleaguered about international involvement.

At the same time, they recognize that the U.S. cannot disengage from a globalized world. If only there were a simple, low-cost way for the United States to intervene for good in the world.