Ideas to Action:

Independent research for global prosperity

Publications

 

December 12, 2008

Rainfall Shocks, Markets, and Food Crises: Evidence from the Sahel - Working Paper 157

Post-doctoral fellow Jenny Aker assesses the impact of weather shocks on grain markets in Niger. Droughts and crop failures occurred in Niger in both 2000 and 2004, but only the 2004 drought resulted in a severe food crisis. Many were quick to cite market failure and hoarding as causes of the crisis, but other factors such as the spatial distribution of drought, temporary trade restrictions, and inadequate incentives to import from Nigeria may have played a larger role.

December 12, 2008

Toward Measuring the Impact of the World Food Program's Purchase for Progress Initiative

Post-doctoral fellow Jenny C. Aker supports the innovation of the World Food Program's new Purchase-for-Progress initiative but argues that it might not be the panacea that others claim. She questions some of the assumptions of the P4P and cites some potential unintended consequences, especially for the thin grain markets of the Sahel. Aker provides five concrete suggestions for the WFP to consider during the pilot phase of this program.

December 12, 2008

Desert Power: The Economics of Solar Thermal Electricity for Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East - Working Paper 156

Senior fellow David Wheeler and Kevin Ummel argue for rapid, very large-scale deployment of existing solar thermal technology. Using maps of solar radiation and project finance calculations, they show that with modest subsidies solar power generated in North Africa and the Middle East could meet the needs of 35 million Europeans by 2020. At that point, solar power would be cheaper than fossil fuels and future projects would no longer require subsidies.

December 10, 2008

The Fate of Young Democracies

Why do some young democracies fail? Drawing on a unique data set of every democratization episode since 1960, The Fate of Young Democracies explores the underlying reasons for backsliding and reversal in the world’s fledgling democracies and offers proposals for ways that the international community can help these states stay on track toward political stability.

December 8, 2008

What's Behind the Recent Declines in U.S. Foreign Assistance?

Total U.S. development assistance has fallen 22 percent since 2005 from $27.9 billion to $21.8 billion in 2007. In real terms, this was the smallest amount since 2002, excluding assistance to Iraq, Afghanistan, and HIV/AIDS programs. Senior fellow Steve Radelet and his coauthors examine the decline, and ask whether President Bush's pledge to double assistance to Africa is likely to be realized or not.

December 4, 2008

The 2008 Commitment to Development Index: Components and Results

This CGD brief summarizes the results of the 2008 Commitment to Development Index (CDI), which ranks 22 of the world's richest countries on their dedication to policies that benefit the five billion people living in poorer nations. The Netherlands comes in first on the 2008 CDI on the strength of ample aid-giving, falling greenhouse gas emissions, and support for investment in developing countries. Close behind are three more big aid donors: Sweden, Norway, and Denmark.

November 24, 2008

Round Six of the MCA: Which Countries Are Most Likely to Be Selected for FY2009?

The MCA Monitor team presents its predictions for the MCC's selection of countries eligible to apply for funding in 2009. Steve Radelet and Amy Crone take a hard look at the tough choice the MCC has to make, and they offer suggestions to help the MCC to weather a tight budget and political transition, to increase transparency, and clarify criteria for Threshold Program elegibility.

Amy Crone
November 17, 2008

The Age of Turbulence and Poor Countries: The Case for MDB Help with Risk Management

The global financial crisis and economic slowdown are subjecting poor countries to increased financial, price, and output volatility. How can the multilateral development banks help? A new CGD brief by visiting fellow Nancy Lee, non-resident fellow Guillermo Perry, and CGD president Nancy Birdsall makes the case for a broad range of new and expanded activities to help developing countries manage risk.

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November 4, 2008

Tripping Over Health: U.S. Policy on Patents and Drug Access in Developing Countries (White House and the World Policy Brief)

The United States can play an important role in promoting global development while simultaneously advancing American interests and prosperity. Intellectual property (IP) rights, such as patents and copyrights, provide protection against unauthorized copying and are therefore fundamental to creating a policy environment conducive for innovation. But this protection creates challenges for developing countries by limiting access to needed products and by misaligning incentives for innovation. The next U.S. president should come down clearly in favor of a new policy that better balances public health needs in developing countries with private incentives for innovative activities.

Carsten Fink
November 4, 2008

More Growth with More Income Equality in the Americas: Can Regional Cooperation Help? (White House and the World Policy Brief)

The next U.S. president has a great opportunity to lead regional economic integration in the Americas, to the benefit of both the United States and Latin America. For the Americas, the high hopes of a decade ago for a hemispheric trade agreement have faded, along with confidence in the region’s ability to act collectively to address fundamental economic challenges. The model for integration outlined here is a regional investment standards agreement—a collective effort to set common standards for key microeconomic policies affecting both domestic and foreign businesses.

November 4, 2008

Aid for Education: More Bang for the Buck (White House and the World Policy Brief)

Improving education should be a part of the global development agenda of the next U.S. president. While aid for primary education has always appealed to U.S. policymakers and the public and is consistent with American values of expanding opportunity for all, U.S. aid for education has languished in the past two decades. Aid for health has increased six-fold while aid for education has grown by only a third. The next president should consider announcing U.S. support for a big international push to expand quality primary schooling in low-income countries so that all children have the chance to learn.

Kate Vyborny
November 4, 2008

Why Global Development Matters and What the Next U.S. President Should Do About It (White House and the World Policy Brief)

The need for a fresh American approach to development has never been more urgent. The economic crisis at home, the threat of failed states and hostile countries acquiring nuclear weapons, our inability to solve critical global problems like climate change alone—all these mean that America needs to find ways to engage with the developing world that go beyond our outdated aid mechanisms and our narrow focus on such issues as terrorism, narcotics, and illegal immigrants. Our economic growth, our security, and our ability to shape the new multilateral system all depend on our readiness to forge new, mutually beneficial alliances with a broad range of developing countries. To engage effectively, we must offer these countries more effective partnerships on their own development challenges.

November 4, 2008

Thought for Food: The Challenges of Coping with Soaring Food Prices - Working Paper 155

World food prices risen over the past five years at an alarming pace after decreasing for three consecutive decades. CGD visiting fellow Nora Lustig argues that despite some relief since July 2008, the price hikes significantly set back poverty reduction, upset social stability, promote inflation, compromise rules-based trading systems, and hurt poor net consumers. Nonetheless, too many developing countries lack the instruments, administrative capacity, and fiscal space to implement safety nets fast enough and in the required scale.

November 4, 2008

Getting the Focus Right: U.S. Leadership in the Fight against Global Corruption (White House and the World Policy Brief)

The United States has played a leadership role in the fight against global corruption, and there aremany reasons to be hopeful about this effort. Nonetheless, corruption continues to seriously impede development efforts around the world, and the critical task of combating it will require both long-term commitment and strong support from the next U.S. administration.

Dennis de Tray and Theodore Moran
November 4, 2008

U.S. Trade Policy and Global Development (White House and the World Policy Brief)

Many Americans see trade openness as a threat. Yet access to rich-country markets is crucial for poor people in developing countries to improve their lives. In a new CGD brief based on her essay in The White House and the World: A Global Development Agenda for the Next U.S. President, senior fellow Kimberly Elliott suggests a trade policy approach that would address Americans’ concerns and still be pro-poor. One ingredient: treat market access for the world’s poorest countries as a development issue, not trade policy.

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