Ideas to Action:

Independent research for global prosperity

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.

 

Pallet of USAID crates and boxes. Photo by Ellie Van Houtte/USAID

The Case Against Branding Development Aid in Fragile States

While donor countries have poured significant resources into branding aid—emblazing a donor’s flag or aid agency logo on everything from food aid to bridges—the benefits of branding are iffy at best and counterproductive at worst. Studies of its impact tend to pay little attention to how branding affects the relationship between recipient governments and their publics, but evidence shows that it can have corrosive systemic impacts.

What I Want to Hear from the UK Development Secretary: How to Improve Whole-of-Government Aid Spending

Successive governments have long felt that UK Department for International Development (DFID) needs to work better with the rest of Whitehall. There have been efforts to join up better in government, sometimes successfully, but there remains a feeling in Whitehall that DFID is too tribal, too protective of its budget, and unwilling to roll up its sleeves to contribute to the government’s wider priorities including security, economic opportunities, and influence.

The Importance of Domestic Resource Mobilization for Debt Sustainability

Even for countries that are far away from graduating from foreign aid, the importance of domestic resource mobilization for maintaining macroeconomic stability and sustained economic growth is well documented. A look at the experience of countries that have received HIPC debt relief validates this point and underlines the need for attaching a high priority to tax policies and practices in international assistance programs for low income countries.

Last, Best Chance for Food Aid Reform?

Senator Bob Corker (R-TN) and Representative Ed Royce (R-CA) have teamed up with Democratic colleagues Senator Chris Coons (D-DE) and Representative Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) to introduce new legislation that would reform US international food aid to deliver more help to more people in crisis, faster.

Chart of the Week #4: Angus Deaton and the Location of Poverty

On Wednesday, Angus Deaton published an op-ed in the New York Times that paints a compelling picture of the depth of poverty in America, and the need for more money and more policy attention to fix it. It's a sobering read, and we strongly agree that America’s most destitute deserve far more support. But in comparing US poverty to poverty in developing countries, we think he’s got his numbers wrong.

What Does UK Law Say on Aid?: How New Development Secretary Mordaunt Can Meet her Aid Effectiveness Pledge

The new UK Secretary of State for International Development has committed to “find new ways to help other departments make their spend more effective” as one of her five pledges for UK aid. Here we look at why the law underpinning the UK’s aid expenditure is weaker on poverty and gender equality outside of the Department for International Development (DFID) and identify four things the government should do to improve aid effectiveness.

Four Practical Steps to Jump-Start Foreign Assistance Reform

The White House, State Department, and US Agency for International Development (USAID) reviews have rightly emphasized addressing duplication and inefficiency. But rather than focusing on a State/USAID merger, as has been widely rumored, the administration should look at something that leads to some of the biggest duplications, triplications, and even quadruplications of capacity that exists in the US government: the severe fragmentation of US development assistance.

Making Blockchain Technology Work for Development: The Need for Data and Dialogue

While blockchain-based solutions have the potential to increase efficiency and improve outcomes dramatically in some use cases and more marginally (if at all) in others, key constraints must be resolved before blockchain technology can meet its full potential in this space. Overcoming these constraints will require increased dialogue between the development and technology communities and a stronger commitment to collecting and sharing data about what’s working and what isn’t in pilot projects that use the technology.

Making US Agricultural Policy More Efficient, Effective, and Fair

The United States is a major player in global agricultural markets. American farmers account for around 25 percent of world exports of wheat and corn, and are also among the largest producers and exporters of beef, pork, and poultry. This success is partly the result of those farmers having access to abundant land, deep financial markets, and modern technologies. But as I explore in my new book, Global Agriculture and the American Farmer: Opportunities for U.S. Leadership, it is also the result of government policies that distort markets and undermine the provision of global public goods. The poor in developing countries are particularly vulnerable to the negative spillovers of these policies.

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