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.

 

World Bank Results Initiative: The U.S. Should Support It – But with Independent Verification Please

For more than two years, the staff of the World Bank have been developing a new lending instrument that would link financing to measurable results within countries. If approved, it would be the third instrument at the World Bank; the two that exist now are “investment loans” under which inputs, not results, are financed; and policy based loans, under which policy changes are financed.

Go On, Hug a Failure

Back in June, I blogged about a meeting with Dr Maura O’Neill Chief Innovation Officer at USAID, and a very interesting discussion of the importance of learning from failure.  The possibility of a USAID FailFaire –or even Fail Summit— was mooted.  We’re not quite there yet.  And maybe we won’t be until there’s a grand bargain o

How 28 Poor Countries Escaped the Poverty Trap

This is a joint post with Charles Kenny

Zambia and Ghana are the 27th and 28th countries the World Bank has reclassified as middle-income since the year 2000

Doctors perform cataract surgery at the Lusaka Eye Hospital in Zambia. It's inexpensive and it changes people's lives instantly, so it's a good example of how just a little bit more money can make a huge difference to the world's poorest people. Photograph: Per-Anders Pettersson/Getty Images

Remember the poverty trap? Countries stuck in destitution because of weak institutions put in place by colonial overlords, or because of climates that foster disease, or geographies that limit access to global markets, or simply by the fact that poverty is overwhelmingly self-perpetuating. Apparently the trap can be escaped.

B-Span and a Broader Vision of Public Information from the World Bank

This is a joint post with Michele de Nevers.

The World Bank’s expanding public information mandate is the focus of Stephanie Strom’s excellent article in Saturday’s New York Times. During Robert Zoellick’s tenure as the Bank’s president, he has promoted free public access to databases that formerly required a paid subscription, such as the World Development Indicators, or were simply unavailable (such as detailed information on the location, design, objectives and performance of Bank projects). We have no doubt that this excellent initiative will be a boon to development analysts and scholars worldwide.

Shortcut to Accountability? A World Bank Call to Try Cash Transfers

This is a joint post with Stephanie Majerowicz

The World Bank’s Shanta Devarajan and Marcelo Giugale in yesterday’s Guardian Poverty Matters blog write:

Except for Botswana, the track record of Africa's mineral and hydrocarbon exporters is sobering. While Africa's central banks are today better equipped to deal with currency appreciation, and its civil society more alert to environmental hazards, the institutions that control graft are not strong. They must be improved. However, this will take time. Is there a shortcut to better accountability in the management of natural resources? Yes, there is: direct transfers of resource dividends to citizens.

What WOULD It Take for the US and Europe to Give Up Control of World Bank and IMF Leadership?

This is a joint post with David Roodman.

The Dominique Strauss-Kahn debacle has unexpectedly forced the first leadership turnover at a Bretton Woods institution since the global financial crisis—the first leadership transition in what we might call the G-20 world. The tacit deal that has long put an American atop the World Bank and a European in charge of the IMF, rooted in the geopolitics of the 1940s, looks more archaic than ever. That’s why this time around, the calls have grown even louder to make the leadership selection process of the World Bank and IMF open, transparent, and meritocratic. Owen Barder suggests on his widely read blog that transparency and merit are key to maintain the reputation and relevancy of these international institutions, and Nancy Birdsall agrees that the decision needs to be based on merit, not nationality. The Financial Times and others news media say that it is time for everyone to acknowledge that we are in the 21st century with several emerging powers that must have a larger role in the Bank, the Fund and other multilateral organizations. One of us (Vij) has made this argument too, constructing a model of global governance that factors in GDP and population as of 2011, not 1941.

A Quick Guide to the Upcoming Contest for the Next MD of the IMF

This is a joint post with Nicolas Véron that first appeared on the Peterson Institute's Real Time Economic Issues Watch.

This note provides a quick guide—in the form of a table—to the likely candidates to succeed Dominique Strauss-Kahn as next Managing Director (MD) of the IMF, assuming that he resigns shortly. It also highlights some key points that must guide the process of selecting the next MD.

Need for urgent action. The IMF is at a critical juncture with lots of problems to solve, not least in Europe. A leadership vacuum and uncertainty must be avoided, which requires urgent initiatives by the larger players—the United States, Europe, China, Brazil, India, South Africa and others.

Pages