CGD in the News

Liberia’s Bold Experiment in School Reform (The Economist)


The first is that the PSL schools play by different rules. There is a cap of 65 on most of their class sizes, for example, which has prompted allegations that some operators are turfing out less clever pupils. That would be unfair and against the rules of the pilot. But even if it were happening, it would not alter the results of the evaluation. Justin Sandefur of the Centre for Global Development, the research group leading the trial, notes that operators will be held accountable for the results of all children originally at the pilot schools—including any who were later turned away. 

The Future of Not Working (New York Times)


A vast majority of aid — 94 percent — is noncash. Donor resistance is one reason for this; it is not easy to persuade American oligarchs, British inheritors and Japanese industrialists to fork over their money to the extremely poor to use as they see fit. “There’s the usual worries about welfare dependency, the whole ‘Give a man a fish’ thing,” said Amanda Glassman, a public health and development expert at the Center for Global Development. “It’s so powerful. It’s really a basic psychological feature of the landscape. You’ll start drinking. You’ll start lying around at home because you’re getting paid.”

How the U.S. Would Function without Immigrants (Chron)


One of the most interesting studies came from Michael Clemens of the Center for Global Development. He found that when Mexican braceros — farm workers brought in to work for a defined period of time — were suddenly expelled from the U.S. in the 1960s in an effort to raise wages for U.S. farm workers, nothing of the sort happened. Instead, farm owners invested in technology to do the work with fewer people. Wages stayed as low as ever.

Does Kicking out Mexicans Create Jobs? (Politico)


The president pledges to remove more than a third of the Mexicans who work in the United States. He says this will improve “the wage and employment conditions of domestic workers.” That’s obvious, researchers tell Congress, since not even lawmakers can “repeal the law of supply and demand.” If the supply of workers goes down, wages must go up, right? The administration and Congress act together, and within a few years, those Mexicans are gone.

Can Immigration Hurt the Economy? an Old Prejudice Returns (New York Times)


In a rebuttal of Mr. Collier’s and Mr. Borjas’s proposition, Michael A. Clemens of the Center for Global Development and Lant Pritchett from the Kennedy School at Harvard note that there is no meaningful relationship between the share of immigrants from poor countries and productivity growth in the rich countries they immigrated to.

What Happened When the U.S. Got Rid of Guest Workers? Farms Used Less Labor (The Wall Street Journal)


“We find that bracero exclusion failed to raise wages or substantially raise employment for domestic workers in the sector,” the Center for Global Development’s Michael Clemens and Hannah Postel, and Dartmouth College’s Ethan Lewis said. Instead, “employers adjusted to foreign-worker exclusion by changing production techniques where that was possible, and changing production levels where it was not, with little change to the terms on which they demanded domestic labor.”

U.S. Foreign Aid Boss Highlights Success in Exit Memo, but Critics Say It's Time to Overhaul the Agency (Los Angeles Times)


Scott Morris, a senior fellow at the Washington-based Center for Global Development, said much would depend on the Trump administration’s pick for leadership of USAID. “We just don’t know,” he said ... Morris, who also directs the Center for Global Development’s U.S. Development Policy Initiative, said Feed the Future and Power Africa stood out as key accomplishments. “Frankly, it would not have been obvious eight years ago that one would want to empower USAID with these major presidential initiatives in terms of the capacity of the agency,” Morris said. “I think that really has been a mark of change that they have successfully led these major presidential initiatives.”

Kicking out Immigrants Doesn’t Raise Wages (The Economist)


Michael Clemens and Hannah Postel of the Centre for Global Development, and Ethan Lewis of Dartmouth College, have used archived records of American agricultural jobs and wages to test whether Kennedy was right. Did ending the bracero scheme in 1964 in fact lead to higher wages and more work for Americans in the fields? 

Gambia Stands Up (Foreign Affairs)


As multiparty democracies come under increasing pressure around the world, West Africa has emerged as a bright spot. In recent years, Cote d'Ivoire, Liberia, and Sierra Leone have successfully used elections to help recover from civil conflicts. Ghana, Nigeria, and Senegal have experienced peaceful transitions of power between competing political parties. And just last month, Gambia, mainland Africa's smallest country, ousted a longtime tyrant, Yahya Jammeh, and installed a democratically elected president, Adama Barrow.

Trump's Expanded Mexico City Policy Could Affect Fight Against Zika, HIV/AIDS (NBC Washington)


Charles Kenny, a senior fellow at the Center for Global Development, noted that with the Mexico City Policy in place, foreign NGOs are forced to choose between private and European donors, who require full access to reproductive care that includes abortion, and American aid. This cuts the overall resources at their disposal. “You are asking them to make a choice about, ‘Are we going to let some of our clients die?’” he said. “It’s a moral conundrum that I think is horrible.” Kenny also recognized that restricting abortions usually doesn’t stem demand. Young women without legal options tend to seek illegal, unsafe, or traditional alternatives that often lead to health complications, he said. “It seems a policy without any kind of empirical justification and with all sorts of terrible effects,” Kenny said. “Just google stick abortions. It’s not pleasant.”