Ideas to Action:

Independent research for global prosperity

Publications

Topic

 

August 14, 2013

Promoting Millennium Development Ideals: The Risks of Defining Development Down - Working Paper 338

The approach of 2015, the target date of the Millennium Development Goals, sets the stage for a global reengagement on the question of “what is development?” We argue that the post-2015 development framework for development should include Millennium Development Ideals which put into measurable form the high aspirations countries have for the well-being of their citizens.

August 13, 2013

A UN Declaration on the Post-2015 Development Agenda

In 2000, the UN General Assembly endorsed the Millennium Declaration, a statement that provided the source and inspiration for the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The effects of the declaration—and the MDGs—are difficult to measure, but it certainly framed important global discussions about development.

In 2015, the UN’s world leaders will likely agree to a new set of goals to follow the Millennium Declaration. In this essay, Charles Kenny proposes that—instead of getting bogged down hammering out details of how to measure progress—the UN craft a new consensus statement to replace the Millennium Declaration. Kenny proposes such a statement in the pages that follow and provides commentary in the margins.

August 8, 2013

The Strugglers: The New Poor in Latin America? - Working Paper 337

In this paper we identify a group of people in Latin America and other developing countries that are not poor but not middle class either. We define them as the vulnerable “strugglers”, people living in households with daily income per capita between $4 and $10 (at constant 2005 PPP dollar). They are well above the international poverty line, but still vulnerable to falling back into poverty and hence not part of the secure middle class. In a first step, we use long-term growth projections to show that in Latin America about 200 million people will likely be in the struggler group in 2030, accounting for about a third of the total population.

August 7, 2013

Data Set for The Financial Flows of PEPFAR: A Profile

This is the data set for Policy Paper 27 , “The Financial Flows of PEPFAR: A Profile,” in which Victoria Fan, Rachel Silverman, Denizhan Duran, and Amanda Glassman track the financial flows of the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) from donor agencies via intermediaries and to pr

Victoria Fan , Denizhan Duran and Amanda Glassman
August 7, 2013

Context Matters for Size: Why External Validity Claims and Development Practice Don't Mix - Working Paper 336

In this paper we examine how policymakers and practitioners should interpret the impact evaluation literature when presented with conflicting experimental and non-experimental estimates of the same intervention across varying contexts. We show three things. First, as is well known, non-experimental estimates of a treatment effect comprise a causal treatment effect and a bias term due to endogenous selection into treatment. When non-experimental estimates vary across contexts any claim for external validity of an experimental result must make the assumption that (a) treatment effects are constant across contexts, while (b) selection processes vary across contexts. This assumption is rarely stated or defended in systematic reviews of evidence. Second, as an illustration of these issues, we examine two thoroughly researched literatures in the economics of education—class size effects and gains from private schooling—which provide experimental and non-experimental estimates of causal effects from the same context and across multiple contexts.

August 2, 2013

US Development Assistance to Pakistan: 2014 and Beyond

In this note, CGD senior policy analyst Alexis Sowa outlines three recommendations for US development assistance to Pakistan: name the leader of US development efforts, clarify the mission, and finance what is already working.

Alexis Sowa
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

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 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 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

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