Ideas to Action:

Independent research for global prosperity

CGD in the News

December 18, 2005

Neither Is the State [Newsweek]

This article is from the Dec. 26, 2005 - Jan 2, 2006 issue of Newsweek Magazine. The author, Rana Foroohar, quotes Senior Fellow Peter Timmer in this piece about governmental level reforms that would benefit development.

From the article:

While the protectionist politics of agriculture in the United States and Europe is holding up further progress on the Doha round, it's worth remembering that 70 percent of tariffs paid by developing countries are paid to other developing countries. Asian countries for example, could begin helping their poor by lowering regional tariffs on key products such as rice. This isn't easy because in most countries, agriculture is a highly sensitive issue. But the consequences of the trade status quo are high, because when rice prices go up, so does poverty. In Indonesia, for example, growth has been lagging for years in part because of an absolute ban on foreign rice. "Indonesia should use cheaper rice from Vietnam, Thailand or India to fuel diversification into higher-end products like meat and poultry," says Peter Timmer, a senior fellow at the Center for Global Development in Washington, D.C. Instead, the government continues to subsidize its own less productive growers. The reason is no surprise. Rice farmers are the largest identifiable voting bloc in the country.

December 18, 2005

Ending Aid to Rich Farmers May Hurt the Poor Ones [NYT]

Senior Fellow William Cline is cited in this New York Times article about the effects of agricultural subsidies on developing world farmers.

 

From the article:

William Cline, an economist at the Center for Global Development, argues that this analysis omits the fact that more than half the world's poor are in countries that are net agricultural exporters or that could become net exporters if the distortions were eliminated.

December 17, 2005

World Bank Reconsiders Trade's Benefits to Poor [WaPo]

Paul Blustein of the Washington Post cites Senior Fellow William Cline in his recent article on the World Trade negotiations in Hong Kong and the role of the World Bank in international trade regulation.

From the article:

"This is a windfall for anti-globalists," said William R. Cline, a scholar at the Center for Global Development. "They can say even the World Bank doesn't think free trade would do much for reducing poverty."

Cline's study, published last year, projected that full trade liberalization would lead to significant increases in income for developing countries, with roughly 440 million people rising out of poverty. Although some critics have attacked his work, Cline is sticking by his estimates and said he is perplexed that the World Bank, given its influence, is now using assumptions that he regards as excessively conservative.

December 12, 2005

USAID Chief Says He Witnessed Mass Burial in NK

This article from The Korea Times cites Andrew Natsios' speech from our December 9th Food Aid event.

November 29, 2005

France must see immigrants' future

By Audrey Singer and Gregory MichaelidisOriginally published November 20, 2005 by the Baltimore Sun

WASHINGTON // It took more than two weeks after rioting by young people in more than 300 French cities and towns for President Jacques Chirac to address his nation. He argued that a "deep malaise" was at the root of the violence tearing through low-income, heavily Muslim neighborhoods and that greater economic integration was needed to combat the unrest.

American critics have derided Mr. Chirac's slow response to the crisis and pointed to what they see as the irony of the French reaction to the images of Hurricane Katrina when their own record on equality appeared to be going up in flames on nightly television. But those who think that the rioting that has swept France is solely a French problem, or thatit can be easily diagnosed and quickly cured, are mistaken. What happened in France can happen elsewhere. Many other European nations are eyeing France and wondering if their countries will be next.

And American leaders looking abroad can hardly say with confidence, "That won't happen here." It already has. In 2001, Cincinnati witnessed riots following the shootings by police of more than a dozen black men over six years. In 1992, residents of Los Angeles burned property and rioted after the acquittal of four white police officers charged with the beating of an African American motorist. (But New York held togetherafter highly publicized incidents in 1999 and 1997 involving white police officers and nonwhite immigrant men.)

Overcoming economic inequality among the poor of any community - immigrant, racial or ethnic minority, or native born -is the work of decades. Despite the policies, programs, and practices dedicated to reducing poverty in the U.S., the number of people going without is again on the rise. We still have not managed to bring equality to all corners of the United States.

One area in which the United States has had greater success than France is in incorporating immigrants into the fold. Immigrants are admitted to the United States as presumptive citizens. The children of immigrants are granted automatic citizenship because they are expected to become full members of American society.

Of course, formal citizenship does not guarantee social and economic equality. But we have learned through successive generations that the offspring of immigrants become our workers, business owners, educators and political leaders. Not incidentally they also become police officers and border patrol agents. They become, in essence, American.

Even before making immigrants into citizens, the United States does a better job of learning about the size and scope of the challenge. The Census Bureau haschanged the way it classifies a person's race with each successive census, reflecting the changing composition of the nation, largely through immigration. But that it asks about race in the first place is important. It also collects information about other markers of identity such as language spoken at home, birthplace and ancestry.

Some criticize the limited choices the Census Bureau offers. Others lament that the census allows people to promote their racial or ethnic identity at the expense of their American one. But the risk of collecting the data on these categories has been worth it if one considers how it has been used to allocate federal contracts, and guide public spending on education and programs aimed at increasing economic mobility, including among racial minorities and immigrants.

Contrast this with France, where officials barely gather data on racial, ethnic and religious origins of French citizens. With little tracking of how these factors affect people's economic welfare, France has chosen to act as if saying all citizens are Frenchactually provides equality. The failure of French leaders to realize that race, religion and ethnicity do matter provided the dry underbrush for the fires that have raged in recent weeks.

France follows citizenship principles similar to America's. But French political leaders have not yet recognized the value of providing opportunities for the advancement of the second and third generation descendants of immigrants. While they offer the ideal that all citizens are fully French, this ideal does not match reality. While poverty, segregation, and discrimination are no excuse for violence, the message of the youth on the French street is, if not lawful, at least clear on just how excluded they feel.

France should stop thinking about these youth as immigrants and start thinking about them as their future. The U.S. immigration system is far from perfect. But it might have some lessons to offer France on ways to integrate newcomers and their children. And we Americans might learn a few things about ourselves along the way.

Audrey Singer is Immigration Fellow at the Brookings Institution. Her e-mail is asinger@brookings.edu. Gregory Michaelidis is a senior associate at the Center for Global Development and an adjunct professor of international affairs at George Washington University. His e-mail is gmichaelidis@CGDEV.org.

November 28, 2005

A New Drug Deal: Kremer Makes Case for Vaccines in Newsweek Interview

Harvard Professor Michael Kremer, a non-resident fellow at CGD, makes the case for an advance market commitment for vaccines for developing countries in an interview in the current issue of Newsweek. Kremer is a co-author of the CGD report Making Markets for Vaccines: Ideas to Action.

From the Interview:

Are there any precedents for your approach? Yes, in the U.K. in 1994 there was an outbreak of a bacterial infection causing brain swelling. The government said that if a treatment were produced, they’d buy it. It was, they did, and cases of infection went down by 90 percent.

November 21, 2005

Trade and Aid: Stars Are Aligned [WaPo]

Senior Fellow Steve Radelet was cited in this Washington Post editorial by Sebastian Mallaby about Brad Pitt's education in International Trade.

From the Article:

Across the table, Steve Radelet from the Center for Global Development is running through the standard arguments on trade: comparative advantage, infant industry protection, import substitution. Pitt keeps writing it all down, looking like the journalism major he once was.

November 20, 2005

France must see immigrants' future

By Audrey Singer and Gregory MichaelidisOriginally published November 20, 2005 by the Baltimore Sun

WASHINGTON // It took more than two weeks after rioting by young people in more than 300 French cities and towns for President Jacques Chirac to address his nation. He argued that a "deep malaise" was at the root of the violence tearing through low-income, heavily Muslim neighborhoods and that greater economic integration was needed to combat the unrest.

American critics have derided Mr. Chirac's slow response to the crisis and pointed to what they see as the irony of the French reaction to the images of Hurricane Katrina when their own record on equality appeared to be going up in flames on nightly television. But those who think that the rioting that has swept France is solely a French problem, or thatit can be easily diagnosed and quickly cured, are mistaken. What happened in France can happen elsewhere. Many other European nations are eyeing France and wondering if their countries will be next.

And American leaders looking abroad can hardly say with confidence, "That won't happen here." It already has. In 2001, Cincinnati witnessed riots following the shootings by police of more than a dozen black men over six years. In 1992, residents of Los Angeles burned property and rioted after the acquittal of four white police officers charged with the beating of an African American motorist. (But New York held togetherafter highly publicized incidents in 1999 and 1997 involving white police officers and nonwhite immigrant men.)

Overcoming economic inequality among the poor of any community - immigrant, racial or ethnic minority, or native born -is the work of decades. Despite the policies, programs, and practices dedicated to reducing poverty in the U.S., the number of people going without is again on the rise. We still have not managed to bring equality to all corners of the United States.

One area in which the United States has had greater success than France is in incorporating immigrants into the fold. Immigrants are admitted to the United States as presumptive citizens. The children of immigrants are granted automatic citizenship because they are expected to become full members of American society.

Of course, formal citizenship does not guarantee social and economic equality. But we have learned through successive generations that the offspring of immigrants become our workers, business owners, educators and political leaders. Not incidentally they also become police officers and border patrol agents. They become, in essence, American.

Even before making immigrants into citizens, the United States does a better job of learning about the size and scope of the challenge. The Census Bureau haschanged the way it classifies a person's race with each successive census, reflecting the changing composition of the nation, largely through immigration. But that it asks about race in the first place is important. It also collects information about other markers of identity such as language spoken at home, birthplace and ancestry.

Some criticize the limited choices the Census Bureau offers. Others lament that the census allows people to promote their racial or ethnic identity at the expense of their American one. But the risk of collecting the data on these categories has been worth it if one considers how it has been used to allocate federal contracts, and guide public spending on education and programs aimed at increasing economic mobility, including among racial minorities and immigrants.

Contrast this with France, where officials barely gather data on racial, ethnic and religious origins of French citizens. With little tracking of how these factors affect people's economic welfare, France has chosen to act as if saying all citizens are Frenchactually provides equality. The failure of French leaders to realize that race, religion and ethnicity do matter provided the dry underbrush for the fires that have raged in recent weeks.

France follows citizenship principles similar to America's. But French political leaders have not yet recognized the value of providing opportunities for the advancement of the second and third generation descendants of immigrants. While they offer the ideal that all citizens are fully French, this ideal does not match reality. While poverty, segregation, and discrimination are no excuse for violence, the message of the youth on the French street is, if not lawful, at least clear on just how excluded they feel.

France should stop thinking about these youth as immigrants and start thinking about them as their future. The U.S. immigration system is far from perfect. But it might have some lessons to offer France on ways to integrate newcomers and their children. And we Americans might learn a few things about ourselves along the way.

Audrey Singer is Immigration Fellow at the Brookings Institution. Her e-mail is asinger@brookings.edu. Gregory Michaelidis is a senior associate at the Center for Global Development and an adjunct professor of international affairs at George Washington University. His e-mail is gmichaelidis@CGDEV.org.

November 4, 2005

Not just for profit, or not just?

Michael Kremer and CGD's work on Advance Market Commitment's for Vaccines is cited in this editorial by the Guardian.

From the article:

"The idea has been fleshed out by Harvard's Michael Kremer and by economists at the Centre for Global Development in Washington. Kremer's research has shown that even at $40 per immunised person, vaccines against malaria and HIV would be cost-effective in poor countries.

But because private firms don't expect to receive even a tenth of that amount in the form of revenue from those countries, they have no incentive to develop vaccines. Kremer argues that governments or private foundations can step in, make an advance commitment to purchase a certain quantity at a particular price, if it were invented. The commitment would be binding, with strict stipulations and requirement of quality control.

The pre-committed buyer could then make the vaccine available to developing countries in return for payments the country can bear. Essentially, the model transfers the risk from the company (which does not want to lose profits) and countries (which don't want to miss out on medicines) to an intermediary who can afford to absorb the risk. "This is highly cost-effective relative to other health programmes," Kremer writes in an academic paper clarifying his concept. Such a purchase commitment "would be highly cost-effective even if it covered vaccines that departed significantly from the ideal," he adds."

November 4, 2005

Don't Scream at Me Argentina, trade with me

Senior Fellow William Cline was cited in this article, about the recent Summit of the Americas in Argentina, by the National Review online.

From the article:

"For many years, development economists have stressed that “trade, not aid” is the best way to help countries to climb out of poverty. U.S. subsidies are particularly galling for those countries that tried to make market reforms work, only to see their agricultural producers playing on an uneven field. William R. Cline, senior fellow at the Institute for International Economics and the Center for Global Development, estimated that industrial countries could convey economic benefits to developing countries worth about twice the amount of their yearly development aid by removing protectionist barriers against developing-country exports."

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