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Why isn’t the entire world developed? No question is more central to economic historians and scholars of development, with the elusive answer directly impacting billions of people living in underdevelopment and poverty.
While income growth has been labeled "the holy grail of development," new analysis from Owen Barder, Lee Robinson, and Euan Ritchie suggests that there is just as much value in focusing on promoting innovation and the spread of technology.
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.
Americans have three choices regarding the low-paying, often hazardous jobs most don’t want: keep foreign labor here, continue to import the needed products, or use robots. To pretend otherwise is doing everyone a disservice.
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.
“Innovation” is popping up everywhere you turn these days. In her recent speech at the Center for Global Development, Secretary Clinton cited “innovation” as one of the priorities of U.S. development policy. Both the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and the Department of Treasury are exploring ways to more systematically include “innovation” in the development agenda. The G8 is rumored to be launching an “innovation and development” initiative for Africa at its next meeting.