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Last week I gave a speech at the UN General Assembly (UNGA). I was the keynote speaker for a session on the global economy and the Millennium Development Goals. I came away with mixed feelings. On one hand, the inefficiency of the UN can be maddening—the place is badly overdue for a good skewering on The Daily Show.
Last week our CGD and Peterson Institute colleague Arvind Subramanian called on the IMF to speak truth to power, in an elegant cri de coeur in the Financial Times. The IMF, he notes: “has not provided independent intellectual leadership, most evidently on the eurozone crisis. And it is unprepared to provide stability for the next big global crisis.”
Today with Francis Fukuyama, I participated in a Council on Foreign Relations “Academic Conference Call” (listen here) with undergraduate and graduate students from over 40 universities. We answered questions about our March/April Foreign Affairs article, The Post-Washington Consensus: Development after the Crisis. (The article is based on a book due out any day now from Johns Hopkins University Press: New Ideas on Development
The U.S. House and Senate passed the $105.9 billion war supplemental last week, which includes $5 billion to secure $108 billion in additional lending by the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Congress’s approval for increased IMF lending supports President Obama’s G20 commitments and paves the way to unlock the $1 trillion (mostly contributions from other high-income countries) for emerging and developing countries coping with the economic crisis.
The U.S. should do more to support the International Monetary Fund and its efforts to stabilize the global economy, CGD president Nancy Birdsall and three other witnesses told the House Financial Services Subcommittee on International Monetary Policy and Trade last week.
Eldis, the online aggregator of development policy, practice and research at the Institute of Development Studies in Sussex, is conducting a survey to identify "the most significant new piece of development research of 2008." This strikes me as having roughly the same statistical validity as American Idol does for when it comes to finding new singing talent. Still, as with Idol and other talent shows, the entertainment value of a popularity contest is hard to dispute!
Our former postdoc Chris Blattman has terrific advice for aspiring graduate students wondering if they should get into the business (via a Ph.D) of impact evaluation via randomized controlled trials (RCTs) -- RCTs have apparently become all the rage. For development aficionados an RCT-based Ph.D. has many benefits: field work in exotic settings, a rationale for doing applied empirical work while also being visibly rigorous and scientific (!) and apparently, a straightforward path to a journal publication.
We are at the start of what promises to be an unusually difficult year in the global economy. Policy decisions in the United States and other rich world countries will matter immensely for poor and vulnerable people living in developing countries.