Ideas to Action:

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August 10, 2020

The UK as an Effective Altruist

The prime minister’s most influential advisor, Dominic Cummings, is a champion of “effective altruism”—the use of evidence and careful reasoning to work out how to maximize the good with a given unit of resources. With the UK government in the midst of a major “Integrated Review” of its foreign, development, and defence policy—and the recent the formation of a merged Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office confirming it isn’t afraid of change—now’s a good time to consider whether the effective altruism movement can or should find great traction in UK aid programmes.

A piggy bank under water. Adobe Stock.
August 5, 2020

Restructuring Sovereign Debt to Private Creditors in Poor Countries: What’s Broken?

Two out of five low-income countries were in the grips of, or moving rapidly toward, unsustainable debt levels before the global pandemic. But the economic, financial, and fiscal effects of the pandemic have brought the day of reckoning for many countries much closer. The global financial community is likely entering another period of messy, prolonged, costly, and contentious debt defaults and restructurings. It does so with no more—and in some ways less—consensus on the principles that should govern collective action by public and private creditors, debtor governments, and the IFIs.

A hedgehog and a fox
August 5, 2020

The Hedgehog, the Fox, and the Hounds: How the FCDO Can Deliver Its Vision for Development

Being a force for good in the world is more than about branding, or even good intentions: it requires impact and an organisation capable of it. The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office’s vision offers a good starting point for being a values-driven force for good in the world, but within that vision there are potential tensions that need to be managed, rather than left to seethe.

Aerial view of Bogota. Photo via Adobe Stock
July 24, 2020

COVID-19 in Colombia: Impact and Policy Responses

In this note, we review Colombia's handling of the COVID-19 crisis. The first line of policy response slowed down the pace of contagion and avoided excess deaths, providing additional time to strengthen the health system and increase ICU capacity. However, the challenges that remain are significant. We provide some policy recommendations for the next stages of the pandemic.

July 24, 2020

Testimony on Critical US Supply Chains Amid the COVID-19 Pandemic

On July 23, 2020, CGD Senior Fellow Prashant Yadav appeared before the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Trade at a hearing titled “Trade, Manufacturing, and Critical Supply Chains: Lessons From COVID-19.” Yadav’s testimony noted the vulnerabilities in supply chains for medical products clearly exposed by the COVID-19 pandemic and outlined key considerations for US policy toward medical supply chains moving forward.

A worker with a container ship at the port of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Photo by Rob Beechey, World Bank
July 22, 2020

A Manifesto for Globalization

Globalization is under attack.US isolationism is part of a worldwide phenomenon: anti-globalizers have risen to power in countries from Brazil and Hungary to the UK. And they led efforts to build walls real and virtual against trade and exchange. From the intellectual right, globalization is blamed for cultural decay. From the left it is attacked as a source of inequality and repression.

Cover of working paper 536
July 10, 2020

Trade Liberalization and Chinese Students in US Higher Education

We highlight a lesser known consequence of China’s growth and integration into the world economy in relation to the United States: the rise of services trade. We demonstrate that the US’s trade deficit in goods cycle back as a surplus in exports of education services. Focusing on China’s accession to the World Trade Organization, we show that Chinese cities more exposed to this trade liberalization episode sent more students to US universities.

July 9, 2020

China’s Foreign Aid: A Primer for Recipient Countries, Donors, and Aid Providers

This note aims to help recipient countries understand Chinese aid management and structures by providing an overview of those structures and what they mean for the future of aid from China. The note takes into account two key shifts in Chinese aid management in recent years: the formation of CIDCA, and the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). We hope this note will also be of interest to development practitioners seeking to better engage with China or to learn from China’s experience.

Leah Lynch , Sharon Andersen and Tianyu Zhu
Cover of Policy Paper 179
July 9, 2020

China’s Aid from the Bottom Up: Recipient Country Reporting on Chinese Development Cooperation Flows

This policy paper aims to fill this gap by shedding light on China’s global impact “from the bottom up.” The paper uses three rounds of data submitted since 2014 by countries receiving Chinese aid to a process known as the “Global Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation.” To supplement the data, the paper also includes results of surveys and a series of interviews with key individuals involved in reporting Chinese development cooperation data within recipient countries.

Jonathan Glennie , Peter Grinsted and Hannah Ryder
July 8, 2020

Locked Down and Left Behind: The Impact of COVID-19 on Refugees’ Economic Inclusion

Refugees living in low- and middle-income countries are especially vulnerable to the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Based on data from eight hosting countries before COVID-19, we find that refugees are 60 percent more likely than host populations to be working in highly impacted sectors, such as accommodation and food services, manufacturing, and retail.

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