Ideas to Action:

Independent research for global prosperity



December 2, 2013

Is Anyone Listening? Does US Foreign Assistance Target People’s Top Priorities? - Working Paper 348

The United States government has made repeated declarations over the last decade to align its assistance programs behind developing countries’ priorities. By utilizing public attitude surveys for 42 African and Latin American countries, this paper examines how well the US has implemented this guiding principle. Building upon the Quality of Official Development Assistance Assessment (QuODA) approach, I identify what people cite most frequently as the ‘most pressing problems’ facing their nations and then measure the percentage of US assistance commitments that are directed towards addressing them. 

August 20, 2013

Moving Beyond Mines and Mobiles: How Can IFC Add Value in Fragile States?

The International Finance Corporation wants to increase its development impact in fragile states. Currently, the IFC’s fragile-state portfolio mirrors that of overall foreign direct investment stocks in such countries: focused in extractive industries and mobile telephony. That suggests potentially limited value-added from the Corporation’s investments in terms of crowding in private capital. If the IFC is trying to increase its portfolio and development impact in fragile states, it should look for sectoral opportunities that share some of the features of mines and mobile investments but currently attract limited FDI.

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.

January 24, 2013

Wanted: A Climate Agency for a Bottom-Up World—A Proposal for a New Arm of the World Bank

Climate negotiations have focused on reaching a top-down international agreement and on mobilizing a pool of financial resources. This brief explains the urgent need for a new entity to provide nonfinancial services to faciliate and augment climate action that any nations and private actors take. It explores one possible path for filling the gap: the creation of a new arm of the World Bank.