Ideas to Action:

Independent research for global prosperity

CGD in the News

December 31, 2008

Voice of America News Interviews Todd Moss on African Development

Voice of America News interviews CGD senior fellow Todd Moss on his recent book African Development.

Listen to Todd Moss on VOA news show Upfront (Todd’s interview runs from 22:15 to 25:45)

December 22, 2008

From Doha to the Next Bretton Woods (Foreign Affairs)

Foreign Affairs publishes an article by CGD senior fellow Arvind Subramanian on global trade.

From the article:

"When the Doha Round of multilateral trade negotiations was launched, in 2001, the price of oil was $25 a barrel, a ton of rice cost $170, China's current account surplus was two percent of the country's GDP, U.S. financial institutions were at the vanguard of globalization, and the term "sovereign wealth fund" could have been mistakenly thought to refer to the retirement kitty of an aging monarch.

As of November 10, 2008, oil was going for $65 a barrel, and rice for $515 a ton. China and the oil-producing states have trillions of dollars at their disposal. The U.S. financial system, in the midst of the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, is teetering between socialization and oblivion. As all these changes have unfolded, the governments involved in the Doha talks have, Nero-like, spent too much time dwelling on minor issues while ignoring the burning questions. After the failure of the recent round of negotiations this past July in Geneva, the international community will be tempted to resuscitate the Doha process. Indeed, as part of calls to reshape the international financial system -- under a proposed Bretton Woods II -- British Prime Minister Gordon Brown has pushed for the completion of the Doha Round."

Read the article

December 16, 2008

Group Says U.S. Should Double Money Spent on Global Health (Voice of America)

In an interview with the Voice of America, CGD vice president and senior fellow Ruth Levine recommends a doubling of the global health commitment from $7.5 billion to $15 billion in the Obama Administration.

From the article:

"'We're recommending a doubling of the global health commitment from $7.5 billion to $15 billion,' said Dr. Ruth Levine of the Center for Global Development, who was on the board that released the report. 'Which sounds like a lot, but it would actually still be a drop in the bucket in terms of responding to the needs.'"

Read the article

December 12, 2008

Number of Children Immunized Has Been Inflated for Years (Washington Post)

The Washington Post quotes CGD vice president and senior fellow Ruth Levine on performance-based aid for child immunizations in developing countries.

From the article:

"GAVI is 'a global health program that learns. It experiments, looks for feedback, and changes," said Ruth Levine, a health economist at the Center for Global Development, a think tank in Washington. "This represents an opportunity to do that again.'"

Read the article

December 3, 2008

Trading Up (New Republic)

The New Republic quotes CGD senior fellow David Wheeler on Obama's proposed cap-and-trade policy.

From the article:

"As it turns out, a recession isn't a bad time to get started on climate legislation. Even if Congress raced to pass a cap-and-trade bill in 2009, it would take some time--likely a few years--just to set up a complex new regulatory regime. Moreover, as David Wheeler, a climate-policy expert at the Center for Global Development, points out, an economic slump actually offers a prime opportunity to start trading: If Congress sets the initial economy-wide cap at pre-recession levels, then pollution permits will be exceedingly cheap as long as the economy--and hence energy use--is still shrinking. (Indeed, the downturn in Europe has caused the price of carbon to hit rock-bottom levels.) This would give companies time to learn the system and plan for the future without being assailed right away by high prices."

Read the article

November 27, 2008

Immigrants are an Engine of Prosperity

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution printed Michael Clemens' op-ed on U.S. immigration-policy.

Immigrants are an Engine of Prosperity By Michael Clemens Thursday, November 27, 2008

Imagine telling Americans in 1900 that over the 20th century, about 60 million immigrants —- that is, 80 percent of the population at the time —- were going to come and stay in the United States. Tens of millions more were going to come for a while but not stay. Many at the time considered the country “full” and would have feared that such an enormous influx, combined with the vast financial crisis we were to experience a few decades later, would harm American prosperity.

Yet all of these things happened, and here we are today: even in the midst of new financial turmoil, still the richest nation the world has ever seen.

Throughout history, international migration has been a central force in reducing global poverty and inequality. But the recent heated political debate over immigration reform has spectacularly missed the important ways in which the international movement of people shapes the development process —- and how this process benefits everyone.

Although many Americans legitimately fear the effects of immigration on our economy, the best economic research reveals two surprising facts: It has not appreciably lowered the average American worker’s real earnings, and the impact of immigrants on funding for public services is roughly zero over their lifetimes: They contribute to the system roughly what they take out.

The Treasury secretary is working right now to make sure that American business has what it needs in the short run: functioning credit markets. But what American business needs to remain strong in the long run is energetic manual labor and brilliant, creative minds. Immigration to the U.S. will continue to be a rich source of both.

Far beyond our borders, the movement of people shapes economic development across the globe in ways that are not immediately obvious, or often discussed, but important to consider.

Also surprising is the fact that migration often creates positive spillovers in the sending countries. The Philippines, for example, sends large numbers of nurses to the United States and other countries. One result of this outward migration is that an enormous system of high-quality private nursing education has arisen in the Philippines to prepare low-income women to benefit from these opportunities. Since not all of the trained nurses leave, the Philippines today has more professional nurses per capita than richer countries like Thailand and Malaysia —- or even Great Britain.

Migrants also help build critical trade and investment ties between the United States and the rest of the world. From a development standpoint, when migrants come to the U.S. the temporary scarcity of labor in their home country can cause wages to rise. Many return home, particularly when there are legal ways for them to move back and forth, and they bring knowledge, skills and savings with them.

We must craft an economically sound policy toward guest workers. There are currently just 150,000 legal slots for authorized temporary low-skill workers to enter the country each year, but roughly three times that many workers enter the country each year without authorization. We need a legal pathway for energetic workers to supply their labor.

We need to greatly raise or eliminate caps on high-skill worker visas. Shutting the door to skilled workers, aside from eliminating hundreds of thousands of professional opportunities for highly productive people from developing countries who wish to work here, also lowers our productivity and threatens our ability to remain a center of innovation and job creation.

We should do our fair share for refugees. Hosting them is a global service we should be proud of, but the U.S. is no longer shouldering our load. Even doubling our current refugee admissions would merely return us to the level under the Reagan, Bush, and Clinton administrations. We can do better.

Finally, we need to know who is moving in and out. The president should direct the Bureau of the Census, the State Department, and Citizenship and Immigration Services to lead international efforts to generate migration statistics that are as good as our trade statistics.

A president who wants to be a true leader should treat migration policy not as a hot-button issue to be “managed” during short-run turbulence, but as part of a larger policy for maintaining our long-run prosperity and our key role in catalyzing global development. It is something liberals can embrace because it effectively reduces poverty, and it is something conservatives can embrace because it is one of our longest traditions. The next U.S. president has a historic opportunity to turn today’s shameful disarray into tomorrow’s win-win breakthrough.

Michael Clemens is a research fellow for the Center for Global Development, a Washington think tank.

Link to the article on the AJC Web site

November 27, 2008

Immigrants are an Engine of Prosperity (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Immigrants are an Engine of Prosperity By Michael Clemens

Imagine telling Americans in 1900 that over the 20th century, about 60 million immigrants —- that is, 80 percent of the population at the time —- were going to come and stay in the United States. Tens of millions more were going to come for a while but not stay. Many at the time considered the country “full” and would have feared that such an enormous influx, combined with the vast financial crisis we were to experience a few decades later, would harm American prosperity.

Yet all of these things happened, and here we are today: even in the midst of new financial turmoil, still the richest nation the world has ever seen.

Throughout history, international migration has been a central force in reducing global poverty and inequality. But the recent heated political debate over immigration reform has spectacularly missed the important ways in which the international movement of people shapes the development process —- and how this process benefits everyone.

Although many Americans legitimately fear the effects of immigration on our economy, the best economic research reveals two surprising facts: It has not appreciably lowered the average American worker’s real earnings, and the impact of immigrants on funding for public services is roughly zero over their lifetimes: They contribute to the system roughly what they take out.

The Treasury secretary is working right now to make sure that American business has what it needs in the short run: functioning credit markets. But what American business needs to remain strong in the long run is energetic manual labor and brilliant, creative minds. Immigration to the U.S. will continue to be a rich source of both.

Far beyond our borders, the movement of people shapes economic development across the globe in ways that are not immediately obvious, or often discussed, but important to consider.

Also surprising is the fact that migration often creates positive spillovers in the sending countries. The Philippines, for example, sends large numbers of nurses to the United States and other countries. One result of this outward migration is that an enormous system of high-quality private nursing education has arisen in the Philippines to prepare low-income women to benefit from these opportunities. Since not all of the trained nurses leave, the Philippines today has more professional nurses per capita than richer countries like Thailand and Malaysia —- or even Great Britain.

Migrants also help build critical trade and investment ties between the United States and the rest of the world. From a development standpoint, when migrants come to the U.S. the temporary scarcity of labor in their home country can cause wages to rise. Many return home, particularly when there are legal ways for them to move back and forth, and they bring knowledge, skills and savings with them.

We must craft an economically sound policy toward guest workers. There are currently just 150,000 legal slots for authorized temporary low-skill workers to enter the country each year, but roughly three times that many workers enter the country each year without authorization. We need a legal pathway for energetic workers to supply their labor.

We need to greatly raise or eliminate caps on high-skill worker visas. Shutting the door to skilled workers, aside from eliminating hundreds of thousands of professional opportunities for highly productive people from developing countries who wish to work here, also lowers our productivity and threatens our ability to remain a center of innovation and job creation.

We should do our fair share for refugees. Hosting them is a global service we should be proud of, but the U.S. is no longer shouldering our load. Even doubling our current refugee admissions would merely return us to the level under the Reagan, Bush, and Clinton administrations. We can do better.

Finally, we need to know who is moving in and out. The president should direct the Bureau of the Census, the State Department, and Citizenship and Immigration Services to lead international efforts to generate migration statistics that are as good as our trade statistics.

A president who wants to be a true leader should treat migration policy not as a hot-button issue to be “managed” during short-run turbulence, but as part of a larger policy for maintaining our long-run prosperity and our key role in catalyzing global development. It is something liberals can embrace because it effectively reduces poverty, and it is something conservatives can embrace because it is one of our longest traditions. The next U.S. president has a historic opportunity to turn today’s shameful disarray into tomorrow’s win-win breakthrough.

Michael Clemens is a research fellow for the Center for Global Development, a Washington think tank.

Link to the article on the AJC Web site

November 26, 2008

Obama's Economic Aides Praised (Chronicle of Philanthropy)

The Chronicle of Philanthropy quotes CGD president Nancy Birdsall on two CGD board members who were appointed to the Obama Administration.

From the article:

"Timothy Geithner, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, is Mr. Obama’s choice for secretary of the U.S. Treasury, while Lawrence Summers, a former Treasury secretary during the Clinton administration and a former president of Harvard University, was tapped to lead the White House National Economic Council.

Both are board members of the Center for Global Development, a think tank in Washington and “are tremendously knowledgeable about the problems and challenges faced by the world’s poor and are committed to policies to help address those problems — both in the interests of the poor in the developing world and of the United States itself,” writes Nancy Birdsall, the center’s president, on its blog."

Read the article

November 26, 2008

Change the World: Yes We Can! (Washington Post Blog)

The Washington Post Blog quotes CGD senior fellow Steve Radelet on reforming U.S. foreign assistance.

From the article:

"Today, there's no national voice inviting Americans to serve humanitarian interests around the world and no clear strategy for promoting democracy, economic development, health, education, and human rights. Experts like Steve Radelet, Senior Fellow at the Center for Global Development, have argued for a new Cabinet-level Department for Global Development to provide such a voice and such a strategy.

I'd propose an agency with an even broader mission, a new "Department of Development and Service" to serve needs at home and abroad. More than ever, citizen groups, philanthropies, businesses, and faith based organizations are willing to do more to promote basic education for all, opportunity for women and girls, inclusion for those with disabilities, and peace. More than ever, the ability exists to eradicate age old diseases of the body like malaria and age old diseases of the spirit like fear and intolerance. With Obama's inspirational power, the response to a Presidential call would be monumental.

Consider one small example of innovation in the service of promoting peace and development. Last year, The President of Liberia, Ellen Sirleaf joined with global activist Ed Scott and Radelet to launch the Scott Family Fellows, a team of six post-Masters level development workers who serve in Liberia for a year. Despite the modest salary and the difficulties of life in west Africa, more than 300 top applications poured in. Almost any of them could have been selected."

Read the article

November 24, 2008

Hemispheric Group Calls for Major Changes in Americas Policy (Inter Press Service)

The Inter Press Service mentions Nancy Birdsall in an article about U.S. policy toward Latin America.

From the article:

"Aside from Pickering, prominent U.S. members of the Commission included Nancy Birdsall, the president of the Washington-based Centre for Global Development; the assistant secretary of state for Inter-American Affairs under Clinton, Jeffrey Davidow; Clinton's U.S. Envoy to the Americas Thomas "Mack" McLarty; and Brookings president and Clinton's deputy secretary of state, Strobe Talbott."

Read the article

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