Ideas to Action:

Independent research for global prosperity

Publications

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April 23, 2007

Performance-based Incentives for Health: Demand- and Supply-Side Incentives in the Nicaraguan Red de Protección Social - Working Paper 119

Nicaragua was one of the first low-income countries to try a conditional cash transfer (CCT) program. Under the program, poor families are paid for keeping their children in school and visiting preventive healthcare providers. Healthcare providers are paid based on their performance against predetermined targets. A rigorous evaluation of the program shows that the CCT program significantly increased the use of health services among the poor.

Ferdinando Regalía and Leslie Castro
April 16, 2007

Inexcusable Absence: Why 60 Million Girls Still Aren't in School and What to do About It (Brief)

Remarkable increases in primary schooling over the past decade have brought gender equity to the education systems of many poor countries. But some 60 million girls are still not attending school. In this CGD brief, non-resident fellow Maureen Lewis and visiting fellow Marlaine Lockheed explain the key discovery of Inexcusable Absence, their recent book: three out of four girls not in school belong to ethnic, religious, linguistic, racial or other minorities. Based on this important finding, the authors present new practical solutions to achieve universal primary education for girls and boys. Learn more

April 16, 2007

Liberia's External Debt: Moving Towards Comprehensive Debt Relief

In this essay, CGD senior fellow Steve Radelet describes Liberia's debt situation and the key issues in moving forward on debt relief with the IMF, World Bank, African Development Bank and bilateral creditors. He explains why it is important for Liberia's recovery that the international community act quickly and outlines the key steps necessary for Liberia to achieve a debt deal before the end of 2007.

April 9, 2007

Will the Poor Be Flooded Out? The IPCC's Predicted Flood Disasters and Their Implications for Development Aid

The April 5, 2007 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report predicts that droughts and floods will become more frequent and severe as a result of global warming. In this CGD Note senior fellow David Wheeler shows that citizens of poor countries are much more likely than citizens in rich countries to suffer homelessness, injury and death from flood. He urges the international community to help low-income countries develop stronger protective institutions, greater resources for flood protection, and affordable insurance.

April 9, 2007

What Have IMF Programs With Low-Income Countries Assumed About Aid Flows? - Working Paper 116

This paper examines IMF projections of donor aid to low-income countries and whether these projections changed after world leaders pledged at the 2005 Gleneagles G8 summit to double aid to Africa by 2010. The authors find that IMF projections since the post-Gleneagles Summit have shown little change for countries in sub-Saharan Africa: only two out of 30 such projections showed increases consistent with the commitment to double aid to Africa by 2010. The authors also explore the role of IMF aid projections and argue for greater clarity about the role of the IMF in the aid architecture.

David Goldsbrough and Ben Elberger
March 14, 2007

Pathways Out of Poverty During an Economic Crisis: An Empirical Assessment of Rural Indonesia - Working Paper 115

How do people escape poverty? In this working paper, CGD senior fellow Peter Timmer and his co-authors describe pathways out of poverty in Indonesia from 1993 to 2000, a period of economic and political turmoil. They find that most rural poor people who escaped poverty did so without moving to cities. From this experience they distill three policy recommendations: boost agricultural productivity, improve the investment climate for the rural non-agricultural sector, and make education a cornerstone of the government anti-poverty strategy. Learn more

Neil McCulloch and Julian Weisbrod
March 9, 2007

Do Visas Kill? Health Effects of African Health Professional Emigration - Working Paper 114

Large numbers of African nurses and doctors are emigrating to the U.S., U.K., Australia and other rich countries. These movements strain local health systems and deprive sick people of urgently needed care. Right? Think again. What if wages and working conditions in city slums and rural villages are so dismal that trained health workers are unwilling to work there, regardless of migration options? What if the possibility of migration actually causes more people in developing countries to train as health care workers? Drawing on a new database of health worker emigration from Africa, CGD research fellow Michael Clemens finds that the conventional wisdom about the impact of doctors and nurses migration is entirely wrong. Visas, he concludes, do not kill. Learn more

March 8, 2007

Do No Harm: Aid, Weak Institutions, and the Missing Middle in Africa - Working Paper 113

Does aid to Africa undermine the emergence of a robust African middle class? If so, what can be done about it? In this new working paper, CGD president Nancy Birdsall argues that high and unpredictable aid flows could be making life harder for Africa's small and medium-sized businesses by, for example, inflating wages and making governments less reliant on domestic revenue—and hence less accountable to taxpayers. She urges that donors systematically monitor such impacts in aid-dependent countries and suggests ways that aid could help to bolster Africa's crucial but fragile middle-income groups. Learn more

March 5, 2007

A Trickle or a Flood: Commitments and Disbursement for HIV/AIDS from the Global Fund, PEPFAR, and the World Bank's Multi-Country AIDS Program (MAP)

In response to both public health imperative and unprecedented political pressure, aid to fight HIV/AIDS has increased massively in recent years: global funding to combat the disease in low- and middle-income countries has more than tripled since 2001, from $2.1 billion to an estimated $8.9 billion in 2006. This paper, by Michael Bernstein and Myra Sessions, discusses the increase in aid commitments by the three main financing agencies--the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, and the World Bank's Multi-Country HIV/AIDS Program (MAP)--and the receiving countries' ability, or lack thereof, to absorb the aid. It is one in a series of analyses of the sources of funding for HIV/AIDS programs in developing countries conducted under the Center for Global Development’s HIV/AIDS Monitor.

Michael Bernstein and Myra Sessions
March 5, 2007

African Development: Making Sense of the Issues and Actors

Bill Easterly calls Moss's new introduction to Africa "compulsively readable and accessible" and "a masterpiece of clear thinking." Each chapter is organized around three fundamental questions: Where are we now? How did we get to this point? What are the current debates?

February 26, 2007

New Data on African Health Professionals Abroad

In CGD working paper 95, research fellow Michael Clemens and Gunilla Petterrsson estimate the number of African-born doctors and professional nurses working abroad in a developed countries circa 2000 using destination-country census data. They then compare this to the stocks of these workers in each country of origin. These numbers are the first standardized, systematic, occupation-specific measure of skilled professionals working in developed countries and born in a large number of developing countries. Compilation of the dataset is a part of CGD's ongoing research on the links between international labor mobility and global development.

February 20, 2007

Why Doesn't Africa Get More Equity Investment? Frontier Stock Markets, Firm Size and Asset Allocations of Global Emerging Market Funds - Working Paper 112

Africa receives only a tiny fraction of global investments in emerging markets. But the problem is not that fund managers are scared away by a seemingly steady stream of bad news out of Africa, nor is a general marketing of Africa to global investors the solution. Instead the authors of this new CGD working paper find that the small size of African markets and low levels of liquidity are a binding deterrent for foreign institutional investors. Drawing on firm surveys to explore why African firms remain small, the authors offer practical recommendations for increasing portfolio investment in Africa. Learn more

Todd Moss , Vijaya Ramachandran and Scott Standley
January 29, 2007

Group Versus Individual Liability: A Field Experiment in the Philippines - Working Paper 111, updated May 2009

Group liability--wherein individuals are both borrowers and guarantors of other client's loans--is often described as the key innovation that led to the explosion of microcredit. It is thought to create incentives for peers to screen, monitor and enforce each other's loans. But some argue that group liability actually discourages good clients from borrowing, jeopardizing growth and sustainability. In this working paper, CGD non-resident fellow Dean Karlan and his co-author discuss the results of a field experiment at a bank in the Philippines, where they randomly reassigned half of the existing group liability centers as individual liability centers. They find that converting group liability to individual liability, while keeping aspects of group lending like weekly repayments and common meeting place, does not affect the repayment rate, and actually attracts new clients. This paper is one in a series of six CGD working papers by Dean Karlan on various aspects of microfinance (Working Paper Nos. 106 –111).

Dean Karlan and Xavier Giné
January 25, 2007

U.S. Aid to Africa After the Midterm Elections? A "Surprise Party" Update

U.S. aid to Africa soared during President Bush's first term, to more than twice the level of any previous administration. But the newly divided government--Democratic Congress, Republican White House--could mean a cut in aid. In this CGD Note senior fellow Todd Moss uses just-released data from the first term of the Bush administration to explore patterns in U.S. official development assistance. He finds that aid to Africa is higher when the same party controls both the White House and Congress and that an all-Republican government gives more aid than an all-Democratic one.

Read Moss' 2003 Surprise Party working paper

January 22, 2007

AIDS Treatment and Intrahousehold Resource Allocations: Children's Nutrition and Schooling in Kenya - Working Paper 105

Treating poverty-stricken AIDS patients with antiretrovirals (ARVs) extends their lives and enables them to retun to work. It seems reasonable to expect that their children would benefit, too. Now there is research to support this idea. CGD post-doctoral fellow Harsha Thirumurthy and his co-authors use household surveys from western Kenya to show that children of adults who receive ARVs experience large and rapid improvements in schooling and nutritional outcomes. Specifically, children of treated adults work significantly less and spend more time in school; and very young children are better nourished.

Harsha Thirumurthy
January 16, 2007

Why Are There So Few Black-Owned Firms in Africa? Preliminary Results from Enterprise Survey Data - Working Paper 104

Countries cannot grow without a vibrant domestic private sector, yet most growth in sub-Saharan Africa in the past decade has come from extractive industries, not private, entrepreneurial activity. Furthermore, non-extractive activity in the private sector is often dominated by firms owned by minority ethnic entrepreneurs--of Asian, Middle Easterner or Caucasian descent--not indigenous Africans. In this working paper, CGD visiting fellow Vijaya Ramachandran and her co-author analyze the constraints faced by domestic firms in five countries in sub-Saharan Africa. They offer policy recommendations to help indigenous entrepreneurs enter and survive in the private sector, including increasing university education and building networks among business professionals.Learn more

Vijaya Ramachandran and Manju Kedia Shah
December 6, 2006

Freetown to Hollywood: The Kimberley Process Takes on Africa's 'Blood Diamonds'

Diamonds, long seen as symbols of love and prosperity, are now blamed for war and corruption in some of the poorest places on earth. But do all diamonds fuel conflict and strife? In this CGD Note program associate Kaysie Brown and senior fellow Todd Moss consider the strengths and limitations of industry efforts to break the deadly link between diamonds and conflict, most notably through the Kimberley Process, which certifies that a diamond has been obtained legitimately. They find that the Kimberley Process, which has helped turn conflict diamonds into development diamonds, is a good thing but it could be even better. They also offer consumers tips on how to buy conflict-free diamonds.

Kaysie Brown and Todd Moss
Cover of Delivering on Doha: Farm Trade and the Poor
December 5, 2006

Delivering on Doha: Farm Trade and the Poor

Agricultural market liberalization is the linchpin for a successful conclusion to the Doha Round of World Trade Organization (WTO) negotiations because these are the most protected markets remaining in most rich countries. But the implications for developing countries, especially the poorest, are more complex than the current debate suggests. In her new book, Delivering on Doha: Farm Trade and the Poor, Kimberly Ann Elliott, a joint senior fellow at CGD and the Peterson Institute for International Economics, examines the structure of agricultural support in rich countries and the challenges and opportunities for reviving and completing the Doha Round of trade negotiations.

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