Ideas to Action:

Independent research for global prosperity

Publications

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November 11, 2011

Where Is the Virtue in the Middle Class?

It is widely agreed that the middle class is vital to progress because of its many virtues, but defining middle class in any meaningful way is difficult. And survey evidence suggests the middle class is not culturally unique, particularly socially progressive, or entrepreneurial.

November 1, 2011

Commitment to Development Index

The Commitment to Development Index ranks 22 of the world’s richest countries on their dedication to policies that benefit the 5.5 billion people living in poorer nations. Moving beyond standard comparisons of foreign aid volumes, the CDI quantifies a range of rich-country policies that affect poor people in developing countries.

October 27, 2011

Global Health and the New Bottom Billion: What Do Shifts in Global Poverty and the Global Disease Burden Mean for GAVI and the Global Fund? - Working Paper 270

After a decade of rapid growth in average incomes, many countries have attained middle-income country (MIC) status, while poverty hasn’t fallen as much as one might expect. As a result, there are up to a billion poor people or a ‘new bottom billion’ living not in the world’s poorest countries but in MIC. Not only has the global distribution of poverty shifted to MIC, so has the global disease burden. The paper describes trends in the global distribution of poverty, preventable infectious diseases, and health aid response to date and proposes a new MIC strategy and components, concluding with recommendations.

Amanda Glassman , Denizhan Duran and Andy Sumner
October 14, 2011

Migration as a Tool for Disaster Recovery: U.S. Policy Options in the Case of Haiti

The United States should take modest steps to create a legal channel for limited numbers of people fleeing natural disasters overseas to enter the United States. This would address two related problems: the lack of any systematic U.S. policy to help the growing numbers of people displaced across borders by natural disasters and the inability of U.S. humanitarian relief efforts to reduce systemic poverty or sustainably improve victims’ livelihoods. The aftermath of the 2010 Haiti earthquake presents a compelling case study of the administrative and legislative ways the U.S. government could address both problems. Migration is already a proven and powerful force for reducing Haitians’ poverty. A few modest changes in the U.S. approach could greatly aid Haiti’s recovery.

September 29, 2011

Dial "A" for Agriculture: A Review of Information and Communication Technologies for Agricultural Extension in Developing Countries - Working Paper 269

Agriculture can serve as an important engine for economic growth in developing countries, yet yields in these countries have lagged far behind those in developed countries for decades. One potential mechanism for increasing yields is the use of improved agricultural technologies, such as fertilizers, seeds and cropping techniques. Public-sector programs have attempted to overcome information-related barriers to technological adoption by providing agricultural extension services. While such programs have been widely criticized for their limited scale, sustainability and impact,the rapid spread of mobile phone coverage in developing countries provides a unique opportunity to facilitate technological adoption via information and communication technology (ICT)-based extension programs.

This article outlines the potential mechanisms through which ICT could facilitate agricultural adoption and the provision of extension services in developing countries. It then reviews existing programs using ICT for agriculture, categorized by the mechanism (voice,text, internet and mobile money transfers) and the type of services provided. Finally, we identify potential constraints to such programs in terms of design and implementation, and conclude with some recommendations for implementing field-based research on the impact of these programs on farmers’ knowledge, technological adoption and welfare.

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