Ideas to Action:

Independent research for global prosperity

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December 18, 2009

Aid, Dutch Disease, and Manufacturing Growth - Working Paper 196

Decades of research have been unable to conclusively show either a positive or negative effect of aid on economic growth in poor countries. CGD senior fellow Arvind Subramanian and Raghuram G. Rajan use a new technique in their latest working paper that suggests aid slows the manufacturing sector by appreciating the exchange rate and making the production of manufacturing goods less profitable. And if aid slows the manufacturing sector, the implications for overall growth could be adverse.

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Raghuram G. Rajan and Arvind Subramanian
December 7, 2009

It's One Climate Policy World Out There--Almost - Working Paper 195

With the Copenhagen climate talks finally underway, a CGD survey of 500 development and climate aficionados in 88 countries finds unexpected agreement about what should be done—and important differences between respondents from developed and developing countries about how an agreement should be financed and managed. Jan von der Goltz and CGD president Nancy Birdsall examine the survey results to shed light on some of the ingredients of a successful climate agreement.

Jan von der Goltz
December 1, 2009

Development Assistance, Institution Building, and Social Cohesion after Civil War: Evidence from a Field Experiment in Liberia - Working Paper 194

Previous research on post-conflict reconstruction holds that sustainable institution building is an indigenous process. This paper, however, contributes to a new understanding of small-scale external interventions. Through a randomized field study in Liberia, the authors find that the IRC’s community-driven development projects positively impact social cohesion and democratic decision-making in villages.

James Fearon , Macartan Humphreys and Jeremy M. Weinstein
November 23, 2009

Will World Bank and IMF Lending Lead to HIPC IV? Debt Deja-Vu All Over Again - Working Paper 193

Benjamin Leo, formerly of the U.S. Treasury and National Security Council and a key behind-the-scenes player in the inception and implementation of Multilateral Debt Relief Initiatives, examines the potential risk of renewed debt re-accumulation by countries that have only recently completed the HIPC/MDRI process that was to prevent a repeat of excessive debt accumulation.

November 17, 2009

FORMA: Forest Monitoring for Action--Rapid Identification of Pan-tropical Deforestation Using Moderate-Resolution Remotely Sensed Data - Working Paper 192

In this paper, we introduce FORMA (Forest Monitoring for Action), a prototype system for monitoring real-time deforestation from publicly available satellite data at a resolution of one square kilometer. Maps of the data showing probable areas of deforestation will be available on Google Earth and Google Maps, allowing open, public, on-the-ground verification of the results. The system is a model of a transparent, credible, and frequently updated source to aid and measure the success of forest conservation efforts.

Dan Hammer , Robin Kraft , Ernesto Zedillo and David Wheeler
November 16, 2009

Is Newer Better? Penn World Table Revisions and Their Impact on Growth Estimates - Working Paper 191

In this working paper, the authors shed light on systemic problems of variability and valuation in the Penn World Table GDP estimates that distort cross-country comparisons of the data. They propose creating a new chained series that values all data at PPP prices and makes better use of disaggregated data for different benchmark years to overcome the limitations.

Arvind Subramanian and et al.
October 15, 2009

Beyond Planning: Markets and Networks for Better Aid - Working Paper 185

International aid works, but it could work much better. Reform efforts focused on better planning often ignore what constrains aid agencies and takes the bite out of their commitments. In this working paper, Owen Barder shows how forming a "collaborative market" around aid—one marked by transparency and collective regulation—would pave the way for more effective aid.

September 24, 2009

Climate Change and the Future Impacts of Storm-Surge Disasters in Developing Countries - Working Paper 182

As temperatures rise this century, massive tropical storm surges and growing populations may collide in disasters of unprecedented size. CGD senior fellow David Wheeler and co-authors explore the implications for 84 developing countries, providing new data for 577 cyclone-vulnerable coastal cities with populations greater than 100,000. Bottom line: carefully targeted international assistance will be essential to protect population centers.

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Susmita Dasgupta , Benoit Laplante , Siobhan Murray and David Wheeler
August 27, 2009

Skill Flow: A Fundamental Reconsideration of Skilled-Worker Mobility and Development - Working Paper 180

The emigration of skilled workers from developing countries is often referred to as brain drain and considered something that should be limited. In this paper, resident fellow Michael Clemens takes the term to task and shows instead that a more open skill flow—a more accurate and neutral label—would both benefit home countries and guarantee workers the freedom that is the hallmark of development.

August 19, 2009

Making Markets for Merit Goods: The Political Economy of Antiretrovirals - Working Paper 179

Before a 2006 UN Special Session proclaimed there should be universal access to antiretrovirals (ARV), the life-saving drugs were far too expensive for most people with AIDS. In a new CGD working paper, Ethan Kapstein and Josh Busby examine how activists transformed ARVs from expensive private goods into so-called merit goods—products that society agrees should be accessible to all. In a related blog post they discuss the implications of their analysis for AIDS and other global challenges.

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Ethan Kapstein and Josh Busby

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