Ideas to Action:

Independent research for global prosperity

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January 23, 2008

From Violence to Voting: War and Political Participation in Uganda - Working Paper 138

Over the past two decades tens of thousands of children were forcibly recruited or abducted by the Lord's Resistance Army in Uganda. What happens to these former child soldiers when they return to civilian life? This new working paper by CGD post-doctoral fellow Chris Blattman shows that the popular perception of former child soldiers as social misfits and possible threats to society is generally contrary to the facts. His research shows that the experience of forced recruitment generally leads to greater political participation, more than doubling the likelihood that a young person will become a community leader.

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Christopher Blattman
Cover of Fair Growth: Economic Policies for Latin America's Poor and Middle-Income Majority
January 17, 2008

Fair Growth: Economic Policies for Latin America's Poor and Middle-Income Majority

In an increasingly globalized world, inequality is an issue of rising concern, especially in Latin America, home to many of the world's most unequal societies. This new book, co-published by the Center for Global Development and the Inter-American Dialogue, describes the links between recent growth trends, changing patterns of inequality, and rising cynicism and frustration with the political leadership across the region. The authors, Nancy Birdsall, Augusto de la Torre, and Rachel Menezes, present a dozen economic policy tools to make life fairer for the great majority of people--without sacrificing economic growth.

Nancy Birdsall , Augusto de la Torre and Rachel Menezes
December 13, 2007

Putting the Power of Transparency in Context: Information's Role in Reducing Corruption in Uganda's Education Sector - Working Paper 136

One story popular in development circles tells how Uganda slashed corruption simply by publicly disclosing the amount of monthly grants to schools--thus making it harder for officials to siphon off money for their own enrichment. This working paper finds that while the percentage of funds being diverted did indeed drop, the real value of funds diverted only fell by a modest 12 percent over six years. And the information campaign was no panacea; other policies and reforms also contributed to the improvement.

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November 26, 2007

Reviving Economic Growth in Liberia - Working Paper 133

In this new CGD working paper, CGD senior fellow Steve Radelet explores the challenges Liberia faces in revitalizing economic growth after 25 years of gross economic mismanagement and 14 years of brutal civil war. He examines the new government's progress, including the major steps it has taken in its first 18 months and the unique way that it has organized government-donor relations. Based upon patterns of post-conflict recovery in several other African countries, he suggests that Liberia's recovery is likely to proceed in three phases: an immediate phase driven by aid and rebounding urban services; renewal of traditional natural resource-based activities; and, finally, processed products and other goods and services that can compete on global markets. Radelet writes from a unique perspective: he is serving as an advisor to Liberian president Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.

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October 24, 2007

Reflections on the Macro Foundations of the Middle Class in the Developing World - Working Paper 130

Shared growth—growth that helps to build a middle class—is now widely embraced as a central economic goal for developing countries. In this new working paper CGD president Nancy Birdsall reviews how macroeconomic policies shape incentives for inclusive growth, focusing on fiscal discipline; fair revenue and expenditure practices; and a business-friendly exchange rate. Relying heavily on the experience in Latin America and drawing lessons for other parts of the developing world, Birdsall argues that growth that strengthens the middle classes helps poor people, too.

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October 10, 2007

Following the Funding for HIV/AIDS: A Comparative Analysis of the Funding Practices of PEPFAR, the Global Fund and World Bank MAP in Mozambique, Uganda and Zambia

Donor funding for HIV/AIDS has skyrocketed in the last decade: from US$ 300 million in 1996 to US$ 8.9 billion in 2006. Yet, surprisingly little is known about how this money is spent. Following the Funding for HIV/AIDS, by CGD's HIV/AIDS Monitor team, analyzes the policies and practices of the world's largest AIDS donors—the U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, and the World Bank's Multi-Country HIV/AIDS Program for Africa (MAP)—as they are applied in three case study countries: Mozambique, Uganda and Zambia. The report urges all three funders to improve country-level coordination, tracking of funds, and the collection and disclosure of data. It also identifies the strengths and shortcomings of each of the funders and offers suggestions for improvement.

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Nandini Oomman , Michael Bernstein and Steven Rosenzweig
October 10, 2007

How Do the BRICs Stack Up? Adding Brazil, Russia, India, and China to the Environment Component of the Commitment to Development Index - Working Paper 128

In this working paper CGD research fellow David Roodman explains how the four biggest developing countries -- Brazil, Russia, India and China, a group Goldman Sachs dubbed the "BRICs" -- stack up to their rich-country counterparts on the environment component of the annual Commitment to Development Index (CDI). He finds they generally perform well on greenhouse gas emissions, consumption of ozone-depleting substances, and tropical timber imports. Major weaknesses include low gas taxes, Amazon deforestation and heavy fossil fuel use.

October 1, 2007

Does Influence-Peddling Impact Industrial Competition? Evidence from Enterprise Surveys in Africa - Working Paper 127

CGD visiting fellow Vijaya Ramachandran and co-authors Manju Kedia Shah and Gaiv Tata used firm-level survey data from more than 1,500 enterprises in six African countries to discover how and why African firms lobby. Their working paper concludes that larger, entrenched firms lobby to protect their market share, and that this inhibits competition, reducing efficiency and growth. The authors suggest that regional integration could be one way out of this trap, because it expands the number of enterprises in the marketplace as well as the size of the market, thus making it both harder and less worthwhile for domestically entrenched enterprises to lobby to protect their market share.

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Vijaya Ramachandran , Manju Kedia Shah and Gaiv Tata
September 17, 2007

Global Warming and Agriculture: New Country Estimates Show Developing Countries Face Declines in Agriculture Productivity

This CGD Brief, based on Global Warming and Agriculture: Impact Estimates by Country, by senior fellow William Cline, explores the implications of global warming for world agriculture, with special attention to China, India, Brazil, and the poor countries of the tropical belt in Africa and Latin America. The brief shows that the long-term effects on world agriculture will be substantially negative: India could see a drop in agricultural productivity of 30 to 40 percent; China's south central region would be in jeopardy; and the United States may see reductions of 25 to 35 percent in the southeast and the southwestern plains.

September 17, 2007

Aiding Transparency: What We Can Learn About China Exim Bank's Concessional Loans - Working Paper 126

Aid experts interested in China's rapidly expanding development assistance program—particularly in Africa—have been frustrated by lack of information. How much aid is Beijing giving, and to whom? In this new working paper, Paul Hubbard fills in a piece of the puzzle by using Chinese-language sources to review the concessional lending program of China's Export-Import Bank. He finds that more than 48 countries have agreements with China's Exim Bank for concessional loans, and that the average loan of US$20-30 million is typically made available to Chinese exporting firms to develop infrastructure and facilities in developing countries.

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Cover of Global Warming and Agriculture: Impact Estimates by Country
September 12, 2007

Global Warming and Agriculture: Impact Estimates by Country

In this new book, Bill Cline, a joint senior fellow at CGD and the Peterson Institute for International Economics, provides the first ever estimates of the impact on agriculture by country, with a particular focus on the social and economic implications in China, India, Brazil, and the poor countries of the tropical belt in Africa and Latin America. His study shows that the long-term negative effects on world agriculture will be severe, and that developing countries will suffer first and worst.

September 10, 2007

Poverty and Inequality in Latin America: How the U.S. Can Really Help

For the past decade, U.S. attention to Latin America has focused mainly on promotion of free trade and opposition to narcotics trafficking and security threats. But there are signs that Washington is beginning to recognize the importance of helping the region tackle longstanding poverty and social inequality. Candidates at this weekend's Democratic presidential debate called for a robust foreign policy in Latin America and the Bush administration has recently shown a renewed interest in promoting development and improving Washington's image in the region. This new brief by CGD president Nancy Birdsall and Inter-American Dialogue president Peter Hakim sets forth a practical agenda for how the U.S. can help. Examples: buttress free trade agreements with aid programs that compensate losers; include land redistribution and alternative employment programs in the so-called "war against drugs."

Peter Hakim
August 27, 2007

We Fall Down and Get Up: Carol Lancaster Reports on Elections in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone, where a brutal decade-long civil war finally ended in 2002, has just held remarkably fair, peaceful and well-organized elections. CGD visiting fellow Carol Lancaster, a former deputy administrator of USAID, was there as an election observer. In a new CGD Essay, she reflects on what democracy means in a country with a mere 35 percent literacy rate, a 70 percent unemployment rate, and life expectancy of only 40 years. She writes that progress will depend upon the new government's ability to tackle corruption, rebuild infrastructure and encourage investment. It will also require the emergence of a domestic constituency with the knowledge, power and commitment to hold new leaders accountable.

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Carol Lancaster
July 23, 2007

Does the IMF Constrain Health Spending in Poor Countries? (Brief)

This brief summarizes the findings of the CGD working group on IMF Programs and Health Spending, convened in fall 2006 to investigate the effect of International Monetary Fund (IMF) programs on health spending in low-income countries. The report offers clear, practical recommendations for improvements—for the IMF, the World Bank, the governments of countries working within IMF programs, and civil society organizations.

David Goldsbrough
July 23, 2007

Does the IMF Constrain Health Spending in Poor Countries? Evidence and an Agenda For Action

This report of the CGD working group on IMF Programs and Health Spending explores the controversy that surrounds IMF-supported programs in low-income countries and their effect on the health sector. Critics contend that programs unduly constrain health spending though macroeconomic, especially fiscal, policies that are too restrictive towards government spending and wage bill ceilings preventing a scaling up of the health workforce. The working group, chaired by CGD visiting fellow David Goldsbrough, examined the evidence through detailed case studies and cross-country data to make recommendations for the IMF and other relevant actors. They urge the IMF to explore a broader range of options on the fiscal deficit and government spending; clarify the role of the IMF with regards to aid projections; constrain the use of wage bill ceilings to very specific circumstances; and give greater emphasis to the smoothing of expenditures.

David Goldsbrough
July 9, 2007

A White House Focus on Social Justice in Latin America?

A White House conference on social justice in Latin America this week may signal a shift to U.S. engagement with the region that goes beyond security, free trade, and anti-narcotics efforts. CGD president Nancy Birdsall and Peter Hakim, president of the Inter-American Dialogue, suggest seven ways that the U.S. could more effectively support Latin American efforts to address persistent inequality--starting with a more effective approach on trade and drugs.

Peter Hakim
June 27, 2007

The Chinese Aid System

Chinese foreign aid is rising fast and Western aid agencies are concerned: will Chinese aid undermine efforts to promote reform in Africa and elsewhere? Will Chinese loans burden poor countries with fresh debt? In this new essay, CGD visiting fellow Carol Lancaster provides a concise and accessible overview of what is known--and not known--about the Chinese aid system. She advises aid agencies in Europe, North America and Japan to increase communication and to seek opportunities for collaboration with Beijing.

Carol Lancaster
June 25, 2007

The Provision of Banking Services in Latin America: Obstacles and Recommendations - Working Paper 124

Access to financial services -- ranging from credit to the use of electronic means of payment -- is crucial for growth and poverty reduction. This new working paper by CGD senior fellow Liliana Rojas-Suarez tells why access to financial services is low in Latin America and suggests innovative solutions. Among the recommendations: public-private partnerships to improve financial literacy; training specialized juries to adjudicate financial disputes in ways that protect the rights of borrowers and creditors; and regulatory changes to speed the spread of technology offering financial services to low-income families and small firms.

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