Ideas to Action:

Independent research for global prosperity

Publications

 

July 29, 2013

The Financial Flows of PEPFAR: A Profile

Little is known about the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) financial flows within the United States (US) government, to its contractors, and to countries. We track the financial flows of PEPFAR – from donor agencies via intermediaries and finally to prime partners. We reviewed and analyzed publicly available government documents; a Center for Global Development dataset on 477 prime partners receiving PEPFAR funding in FY2008; and a cross-country dataset to predict PEPFAR outlays at the country level. We present patterns in Congressional appropriations to US government implementing agencies; the landscape of prime partners and contractors; and the allocation of PEPFAR funding by disease burden as a measure of country need.

July 18, 2013

First Steps toward a Quality of Climate Finance Scorecard (QUODA-CF) - Working Paper 335

Are climate finance contributor countries, multilateral aid  agencies and specialized funds using widely accepted best  practices in foreign assistance? How is it possible to measure and compare international climate finance contributions when there are as yet no established metrics or agreed  definitions of the quality of climate finance? As a subjective  metric, quality can mean different things to different stakeholders, while of donor countries, recipients and institutional  actors may place quality across a broad spectrum of objectives. 

Katherine Sierra , Timmons Roberts , Michele de Nevers , Claire Langley and Cory Smith
July 15, 2013

When Is Prevention More Profitable than Cure? The Impact of Time-Varying Consumer Heterogeneity - Working Paper 334

We argue that in pharmaceutical markets, variation in the arrival time of consumer heterogeneity creates differences between a producer’s ability to extract consumer surplus with preventives and treatments, potentially distorting R&D decisions. If consumers vary only in disease risk, revenue from treatments—sold after the disease is contracted, when disease risk is no longer a source of private information—always exceeds revenue from preventives. The revenue ratio can be arbitrarily high for sufficiently skewed distributions of disease risk. Under some circumstances, heterogeneity in harm from a disease, learned after a disease is contracted, can lead revenue from a treatment to exceed revenue from a preventative. Calibrations suggest that skewness in the U.S. distribution of HIV risk would lead firms to earn only half the revenue from a vaccine as from a drug. Empirical tests are consistent with the predictions of the model that vaccines are less likely to be developed for diseases with substantial disease-risk heterogeneity

Michael Kremer and Christopher M. Snyder
July 12, 2013

Thinking Through When the World Bank Should Fund Coal Projects

The World Bank should be ambitious in working toward clean energy approaches in its development strategies, but it would be a mistake to definitively rule out coal in all circumstances. Such a decision would be bad for development and would also undermine the very goals that the bank’s coal critics espouse by further pitting developing and developed countries against each other in the climate debate occurring within the bank. The key challenges are to identify the relevant development needs related to coal-fired generation, to define the role of the bank, and to elaborate guidelines to direct decisions. In this essay, we discuss the broad issues and then summarize what the guidelines likely would mean in practice.

July 11, 2013

Mixed Method Evaluation of a Passive Health Sexual Information Texting Service in Uganda - Working Paper 332

We evaluate the impact of a health information intervention implemented through mobile phones, using a clustered randomized control trial augmented by qualitative interviews. The intervention aimed to improve sexual health knowledge and shift individuals towards safer sexual behavior by providing reliable information about sexual health. The novel technology designed by Google and Grameen Technology Center provided automated searches of an advice database on topics requested by users via SMS. It was offered by MTN Uganda at no cost to users.

Julian Jamison , Dean Karlan and Pia Raffler
July 11, 2013

The Case for Direct Transfers of Resource Revenues in Africa - Working Paper 333

Noting that Africa’s resource-rich countries have not translated their wealth into sustained economic growth and poverty reduction, this paper shows that by transferring a portion of resource-related government revenues uniformly and universally as direct payments to the population, some countries could increase both private consumption and the provision of public goods, and thereby reduce poverty and enhance social welfare. We make the case based on theoretical considerations and explore how these direct dividend payments would look in practice in a group of selected African countries.

Shantayanan Devarajan and Marcelo Giugale
July 10, 2013

Win Some Lose Some? Evidence from a Randomized Microcredit Program Placement Experiment by Compartamos Banco - Working Paper 330

Theory and evidence have raised concerns that microcredit does more harm than good, particularly when offered at high interest rates. We use a clustered randomized trial, and household surveys of eligible borrowers and their businesses, to estimate impacts from an expansion of group lending at 110% APR by the largest microlender in Mexico.

Manuela Angelucci , Dean Karlan and Jonathan Zinman
July 10, 2013

Long-Run Price Elasticities of Demand for Credit: Evidence from a Countrywide Field Experiment in Mexico - Working Paper 331

The long-run price elasticity of demand for credit is a key parameter for intertemporal modeling, policy levers, and lending practice. We use randomized interest rates, offered across 80 regions by Mexico’s largest microlender, to identify a 29-month dollars-borrowed elasticity of -1.9. This elasticity increases from -1.1 in year one to -2.9 in year three.

Dean Karlan and Jonathan Zinman