Ideas to Action:

Independent research for global prosperity

Publications

 

American Agriculture's Long Reach Brief Cover
June 26, 2017

American Agriculture’s Long Reach: Why the Farm Bill Matters for Development

A healthy US agricultural sector is critical to global food security. American farmers help keep food affordable around the world, but they also receive public assistance that too often comes at the expense of American taxpayers and consumers, as well as millions of poor farmers in developing countries. While the farm bill is not the primary vehicle for setting policy on biofuels or antibiotic use, Congress could use the legislation to advance smart policy changes that set the stage for broader reforms.

Global Agriculture book cover
June 26, 2017

Global Agriculture and the American Farmer: Opportunities for US Leadership

In Global Agriculture and the American Farmer, Kimberly Elliott focuses on three policy areas that are particularly damaging for developing countries: traditional agricultural subsidy and trade policies that support the incomes of American farmers at the expense of farmers elsewhere; the biofuels mandate, which in its current form can contribute to market volatility while doing little if anything to mitigate climate change; and weak regulation of antibiotic use in livestock, which contributes to the global spread of drug-resistant super bugs. While noting that broad reforms are needed to fix these problems, Elliott also identifies practical steps that US policymakers could take in the relatively short run to improve farm policies—for American taxpayers and consumers as well as for the poor and vulnerable in developing countries.

June 21, 2017

Measuring Rents from Public Employment: Regression Discontinuity Evidence from Kenya - Working Paper 457

Public employees in many developing economies earn much higher wages than similar private-sector workers. These wage premia may reflect an efficient return to effort or unobserved skills, or an inefficient rent causing labor misallocation. To distinguish these explanations, we exploit the Kenyan government’s algorithm for hiring eighteen-thousand new teachers in 2010 in a regression discontinuity design. Fuzzy regression discontinuity estimates yield a civil-service wage premium of over 100 percent (not attributable to observed or unobserved skills), but no effect on motivation, suggesting rent-sharing as the most plausible explanation for the wage premium.

Nicholas Barton , Tessa Bold and Justin Sandefur
June 20, 2017

“The Evidence” About “What Works” in Education: Graphs to Illustrate External Validity and Construct Validity

Currently, the bulk of the new empirical work on estimating the impact on learning of various education projects/ programmes/policies, while based on sound principles of estimating causal impacts, is far too inadequately theorised and specified to be of much immediate and direct use in formulating effective action to accelerate learning. The RISE research agenda is moving forward by: (a) embedding research into a prior diagnostic of the overall system, (b) evaluating on-going attempts at education reform at scale, (c) specifying the details of programme/project/policy design, and (d) acknowledging that policy relevant learning is itself part of the system.

Results Not Receipts book cover
June 19, 2017

Results Not Receipts: Counting the Right Things in Aid and Corruption

Results Not Receipts explores how an important and justified focus on corruption is damaging the potential for aid to deliver results. Noting the costs of the standard anticorruption tools of fiduciary controls and centralized delivery, Results Not Receipts urges a different approach to tackling corruption in development: focus on outcomes.

Cover of Results Not Receipts Brief
June 19, 2017

Results Not Receipts: Counting the Right Things in Aid and Corruption (Brief)

Results Not Receipts explores how an important and justified focus on corruption is damaging the potential for aid to deliver results. Noting the costs of the standard anticorruption tools of fiduciary controls and centralized delivery, Results Not Receipts urges a different approach to tackling corruption in development: focus on outcomes.

Women Peacekeepers brief cover
June 14, 2017

Safer Women, Safer World

Having more women peacekeepers is linked with large reductions in sexual misconduct by peacekeepers and more sustainable peace. The UN could potentially raise the proportion of women peacekeepers to 20 percent for around $75 million.A small multilateral trust fund would offer supplementary payments to troop contributingcountries for each woman peacekeeper provided.

June 13, 2017

Five Key Findings from Why Forests? Why Now? The Science, Economics, and Politics of Tropical Forests and Climate Change

1. Achieving climate stability requires conservation of tropical forests. 2. Protecting tropical forests could lower the overall costs and accelerate the achievement of global climate stability. 3. Forests generate many non-climate goods and services that are essential to meeting sustainable development goals. 4. Advances in technology have made stopping forest loss feasible. 5. Rich countries and international organizations should act now to scale up REDD+ payment-for-performance agreements.

June 8, 2017

Investing UK Aid in a Global Skills Partnership: Better Health at Home and Abroad

 A Global Skills Partnership combines training funded by donors with pre-agreed arrangements for qualified graduates to work temporarily overseas, usually in the donor country. This paper shows through one hypothetical example how a GSP for a specific sector (nursing) financed by a specific donor (the UK) delivering training in a specific country (Malawi) addresses critical nursing shortages in both countries.