Ideas to Action:

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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.

 

Literacy of Adults in Developing Countries: New Data from a Skills Survey

Recently, Lant Prichett blogged about the latest round of the OECD international assessment of adult skills (PIAAC), which included for the first time measures for Jakarta, showing the dismally low levels of skills even in the capital city of a typical middle income country like Indonesia. This prompted me to look at the World Bank’s new skill survey of working age adults in urban areas of developing countries (STEP) that includes a literacy assessment calibrated to the same scale as PIAAC, thus allowing for comparisons. Two striking findings emerge.

Why School Systems Matter, and How We Can Fix Them

Accountability in school systems is essential to deliver better learning and accelerate progress in developing countries. What is still really lacking—and what RISE is working towards—is a coherent and complete analytical framework capturing the key elements of a system of school accountability that can explain the divergent experiences we have seen in school reform.

What’s Next for the UK on Climate Change after Brexit? Lemons to Lemonade.

In the short run, the uncertainty about future national policy may discourage private investment in renewable energy and other low carbon technologies. At the same time, the freedom to forge its own climate policy and to step out ahead of the EU may open opportunities for more ambitious action and creative intellectual leadership in UK support to developing countries.

Brexit: Bad News for Remittances

The British public’s shock decision to leave the European Union (EU) has wide-ranging implications, including for remittance flows. In this blog, we explore the plausible consequences of Brexit for those who depend on remittances from the UK.

Brexit: Threats and Opportunities for Global Development

There is much uncertainty now about how the UK will respond to Thursday’s referendum result calling for Britain to leave the European Union. The effects on developing countries—and development cooperation—will depend in part on what is agreed in the coming months and years. But here is some speculation about the possible threats that Brexit implies, and a (rather shorter) list of the possible opportunities.

Asylum Seekers or Economic Migrants? And How Many Angels Can Stand on a Pinhead?

Europe has been caught off guard by recent asylum-seeker arrivals, prompting what some have called a threat to the survival of the EU. However, we have shown that Europe has admitted and integrated much larger numbers of refugees in the past. So why have countries been so overwhelmed this time around? One major hurdle has been assessing the validity of such large numbers of asylum claims.

Using Aid for Cash Transfers: What Do 10,000 People in 28 Countries Think?

Cash transfers might be the next big thing in international development. Yet our analysis of new survey data suggests that public support for cash transfers is modest and fragile. Donors—who are poised to leverage a promising new way of delivering aid to do more good for less money—must continue to make the public case for cash transfers, and continue to present the remarkably strong evidence that they are not misspent.

Head and Heart: Are More Generous Donors Less Effective?

When it comes to development aid, you might think that there is a trade-off between head and heart: that more generous donors would be less serious about making sure that their aid is used properly. But in a new CGD working paper, we find that In general, more generous donors tend also to be the most effective. One possible explanation of this correlation is that much of what we consider to be effective aid involves donors putting the interests of the intended beneficiaries of aid ahead of the interests of the donor country.

Do Middle-Income Countries Get More Aid than Low-Income Countries?

In a recent TV documentary, Professor Hans Rosling suggested that middle-income countries (MICs) get three times as much aid per person in poverty as countries which are further back in their development. Is aid being spent disproportionately in MICs? As you would expect, countries are diverse, and so too is the amount of aid they each receive. We show that the apparent under-allocation of aid to low-income countries (LICs) calculated by ODI, which is cited by Rosling, depends heavily on the choice of averages.

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