Ideas to Action:

Independent research for global prosperity



August 12, 2009

Global Nutrition Institutions: Is There an Appetite for Change?

Undernutrition kills more than three million mothers and children annually, and millions more children suffer irreversible, long-term damage to their bodies and minds. Yet nutrition is too often a low priority for rich-world donors and even for governments in the most affected countries. A new CGD essay by Ruth Levine and Danielle Kuczynski shows why and offers two practical suggestions for improvement.


Ruth Levine and Danielle Kuczynski
August 10, 2009

Climate Change Negotiating Positions of Major Developing Country Emitters - Working Paper 177

What do developing countries want from global climate negotiations? A new CGD working paper by Jan von der Goltz outlines the negotiating stances of the developing world’s major emitters ahead of December talks in Copenhagen. It shows that developing countries have floated compromises on key issues including burden sharing, monitoring, and implementation; an annex describes how developing countries are already acting to limit the growth of their emissions.



Jan von der Goltz
August 6, 2009

Criss-Crossing Globalization: Uphill Flows of Skill-Intensive Goods and Foreign Direct Investment - Working Paper 176

What happens when capital and sophisticated goods flow uphill, from poorer to richer countries? With a new dataset of foreign direct investment and a measure of the sophistication of exports, CGD senior fellow Arvind Subramanian and his co-author Aaditya Mattoo find that developing countries sending goods and services uphill experience economic growth and other development benefits.

Aaditya Mattoo and Arvind Subramanian
July 29, 2009

MCA Monitor: Burkina Faso Report from the Field

Burkina Faso was the first country to sign a threshold program with the MCC and the second nation to transition from a threshold program to compact implementation. In CGD’s latest MCA Monitor Report from the Field, Rebecca Schutte examines the implementation successes and challenges of the MCC’s programs in Burkina Faso at every level of society


Rebecca Schutte
July 23, 2009

Climate Change and Vulnerable Societies: Achieving Sustainable Security

CGD senior fellow David Wheeler testifies before the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Asia, the Pacific and the Global Environment about the potential effects of climate change on vulnerable societies. Wheeler urges Congress to view climate change preparedness broadly and focus U.S. assistance on human and institutional development.

July 20, 2009

To Formalize or Not to Formalize? Comparisons of Microenterprise Data from Southern and East Africa - Working Paper 175

Why do so many businesses choose to remain informal? Vijaya Ramachandran and co-authors discover that the answer is more nuanced than often believed. In East Africa, for instance, the difference in productivity between formal and informal firms is often indistinguishable, while in Southern Africa productivity it is more differentiated. Policies to encourage formalization and increase productivity are likely to be more successful in East Africa, whereas an emphasis on job training and vocational skills might be more appropriate in Southern Africa.


Alan Gelb , Taye Mengistae , Vijaya Ramachandran and Manju Kedia Shah
July 16, 2009

Development Aid and Its Criticisms: The View from Zambia

CGD policy analyst Lindsay Morgan explores the reality of aid-supported development in Zambia from three (very different) perspectives of people working there, in light of Dambisa Moyo's book, Dead Aid. She sheds light on a fundamental paradox of the aid business (huge donor efforts, much good, and massive unfulfilled need) and explores the paradox of three peoples’ lives—of believing they can fight injustice and suffering, and knowing there are significant limits to what they can do.

Lindsay Morgan
June 29, 2009

Moving Beyond Gender as Usual

Gender inequality drives the HIV epidemic, increasing the burden on women and girls and undermining the global response to the disease. A new HIV/AIDS Monitor report finds that despite well-meaning language and admirable broad goals, three of the biggest HIV/AIDS funders have yet to translate their concern for women and girls into systematic, effective programming. The report shows how to make that happen.

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Kim Ashburn , Nandini Oomman , David Wendt and Steven Rosenzweig
June 18, 2009

The Impact of Microcredit on the Poor in Bangladesh: Revisiting the Evidence - Working Paper 174 (June 2013 revision)

CGD fellow David Roodman and Jonathan Morduch a landmark evaluation of the impact of microcredit on poor households in Bangladesh. They replicate the study's statistical analysis and put an end to the controversy surrounding it by showing that it fails to rule out reverse causation. A positive association between microcredit and household spending, for example, may merely indicate that richer families borrow more. With these studies in doubt, solid academic evidence that microcredit reduces poverty is even scarcer than previously understood.

Cover of Performance Incentives for Global Health: Potential and Pitfalls
June 15, 2009

Performance Incentives for Global Health: Potential and Pitfalls

Donor spending on global health has surged, yet for many poor people in developing countries even basic prevention and treatment remain elusive. CGD’s newest book, Performance Incentives for Global Health: Potential and Pitfalls, shows how modest payments in cash or kind can get more health from health care spending. Informed by case studies and the Working Group on Performance-Based Incentives, co-authors Rena Eichler and CGD vice president Ruth Levine tell how to design and implement effective incentive programs—and what to avoid.

Rena Eichler , Ruth Levine and the Performance-Based Incentives Working Group
June 2, 2009

Performance Incentives for Global Health: Potential and Pitfalls - Brief

Rena Eichler and Ruth Levine summarize the findings of their book, Performance Incentives for Global Health: Potential and Pitfalls. Through numerous case studies, they show that carefully designed and implemented performance-based incentive programs can improve developing country health care in many areas and strengthen overall health systems.

Rena Eichler and Ruth Levine
May 28, 2009

The Microeconomic Determinants of Emigration and Return Migration - Working Paper 173

CGD visiting fellow John Gibson and David McKenzie investigate the economic determinants behind decisions to migrate and decisions to return home. Using Pacific island countries as case studies, they find that expected gains in income may not be as influential as other expectations and preferences.

John Gibson and David McKenzie
May 25, 2009

Migrants Count: Five Steps Toward Better Migration Data

In this CGD report, the Commission on International Migration Data for Development Research and Policy presents their five recommendations to remedy the lack of good data on migration and its effects on development. The recommendations are politically and technically practical and would allow countries to greatly improve their migration data at low cost, and with existing mechanisms. The first step: ask basic census questions and make the data publicly available.

Commission on International Migration Data for Development Research and Policy
May 21, 2009

Rice Price Formation in the Short Run and the Long Run - Working Paper 172

Billions of people depend on rice to survive. During the 2007–08 rice price crisis, the international community increased funding for food aid and governments tried to stabilize their domestic prices—only to further destabilize the world market. In the newest of three CGD working papers on the crisis, non-resident fellow Peter Timmer untangles the factors affecting world grain prices, from simple supply and demand to hoarding, the availability of storage, and the influence of speculation.