Ideas to Action:

Independent research for global prosperity

Publications

 

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 12, 2007

PEPFAR Reauthorization: Improving Transparency in U.S. Funding for HIV/AIDS

The President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) provides more than $5 billion per year to prevent and treat HIV/AIDS. Exactly how is that money spent? Donors, recipients, and even PEPFAR staff are often left guessing, because much of the extensive data the U.S. government collects on the program isn't released. In this new CGD note, Michael Bernstein and Sarah Jane Staats (Hise) urge the U.S. Congress to require that PEPFAR regularly release this data. They argue that this would improve coordination between PEPFAR and other donors, help PEPFAR staff assess progress and hold recipients accountable, and increase cost-effectiveness. Some of the data will soon be available anyway: CGD's HIV/AIDS Monitor is preparing to release PEPFAR funding data for Fiscal Years 2004-2006 obtained by a partner organization through a Freedom of Information Act request.

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Michael Bernstein and Sarah Jane Staats (Hise)
October 22, 2007

Which Countries Might Trip on the Millennium Challenge Account Corruption Hurdle?

The Millennium Challenge Corp. (MCC) will soon release performance data that will form the basis of its FY2008 country selection round. The only indicator that countries must pass to qualify for MCC money is Control of Corruption. CGD's Sheila Herrling and Sarah Rose have crunched the numbers for the corruption indicator data and offer an early preview of which countries will clear the hurdle—and which are likely to trip. In early November the MCA Monitor team will release their predictions of which countries will be deemed eligible for Millennium Challenge funding. The MCC Board is scheduled to announce its decision on December 4.

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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

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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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 20, 2007

The U.S. Response to Precarious States: Tentative Progress and Remaining Obstacles to Coherence

The Bush administration has declared that fragile states are a threat to international security and an obstacle to global development. But Washington is struggling with how to respond to this challenge effectively. In this new CGD Essay, research fellow Stewart Patrick suggests ways that the U.S. can improve its performance in conflict prevention, crisis response, and post-conflict state-building. Among the recommendations: establish criteria for determining when and where to engage and improve civil-military planning and coordination.

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June 25, 2007

Greater Than the Sum Of Its Parts? Assessing "Whole of Government" Approaches to Fragile States (Brief)

Fragile states--countries defined by poverty, weak governance and often violent conflict--represent a major development challenge for today's global aid community and a significant threat to global security. This CGD Brief offers recommendations for how donors can best engage weak countries, including by experimenting with pooled funding arrangements, developing unified national strategies and by evaluating the impact of their interventions.

Stewart Patrick and Kaysie Brown
Cover of Greater Than the Sum Of Its Parts? Assessing "Whole of Government" Approaches to Fragile States
June 15, 2007

Greater Than the Sum Of Its Parts? Assessing "Whole of Government" Approaches to Fragile States

Experience shows that outside efforts to help reform or reconstruct fragile states must simultaneously address issues of security, governance, and economic growth. Greater than the Sum of Its Parts? looks at how seven governments—the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, Germany, France, and Sweden—are seeking to integrate their approach to fragile states. The authors find that "whole of government" approaches remain a work in progress and provide recommendations for how donors can best engage weak countries, including by experimenting with pooled funding arrangements, developing unified national strategies and by evaluating the impact of their interventions.

Stewart Patrick and Kaysie Brown
May 17, 2007

Following the Money: Toward Better Tracking of Global Health Resources

Developing countries, donor agencies, and private philanthropies devote about $500 billion a year to improve the health of people in the developing world. But the lack of timely, accurate information about how this money is spent is undermining its impact. This problem can be solved. A working group organized by CGD's Global Health Policy Research Network offers four specific recommendations. Among the findings: place the highest priority on responding to the needs of in-country decision makers and make full use of modern information management technology.

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The Global Health Resource Tracking Working Group
March 30, 2007

Will the Millennium Challenge Account Be Caught in the Crosshairs? A Critical Year for Full Funding

As Congress gears up to allocate some $36 billion in the international affairs budget across a multitude of foreign aid programs, CGD senior policy analyst Sheila Herrling and research assistant Sarah Rose ask whether the MCA should receive the full $3 billion requested by the president for the initiative. The authors applaud the MCA as one of the few U.S. foreign aid programs specifically dedicated to long-term global growth and poverty reduction and argue that reduced funding could jeopardize its core credibility.

March 16, 2007

Billions for War, Pennies for the Poor: Moving the President's FY2008 Budget from Hard Power to Smart Power

President Bush's FY2008 budget request provides a first glimpse into how the administration's new foreign assistance framework and transformational diplomacy agenda translate into who gets how much for what. In this CGD essay, authors Samuel Bazzi, Sheila Herrling and Stewart Patrick, show that the U.S. continues to devote a tiny fraction of national wealth to alleviate poverty and promote growth in the developing world. They recommend reform of U.S. development assistance include: a comprehensive national strategy for global development; a hard look at the top recipients; impact evaluation; a cabinet-level development agency; and rewriting the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961. Learn more

Samuel Bazzi , Sheila Herrling and Stewart Patrick
March 8, 2007

Do No Harm: Aid, Weak Institutions, and the Missing Middle in Africa - Working Paper 113

Does aid to Africa undermine the emergence of a robust African middle class? If so, what can be done about it? In this new working paper, CGD president Nancy Birdsall argues that high and unpredictable aid flows could be making life harder for Africa's small and medium-sized businesses by, for example, inflating wages and making governments less reliant on domestic revenue—and hence less accountable to taxpayers. She urges that donors systematically monitor such impacts in aid-dependent countries and suggests ways that aid could help to bolster Africa's crucial but fragile middle-income groups. Learn more

March 5, 2007

African Development: Making Sense of the Issues and Actors

Bill Easterly calls Moss's new introduction to Africa "compulsively readable and accessible" and "a masterpiece of clear thinking." Each chapter is organized around three fundamental questions: Where are we now? How did we get to this point? What are the current debates?

Cover of Harnessing Foreign Direct Investment: Policies for Developed and Developing Countries
January 12, 2007

Harnessing Foreign Direct Investment: Policies for Developed and Developing Countries

Does foreign direct investment (FDI) channel capital and know-how to developing countries? Or does it bring corruption and abuse of labor standards? Harnessing Foreign Direct Investment shows that FDI's contribution to development can be extremely powerful but that some forms of FDI, especially infrastructure, have serious adverse consequences. CGD non-resident fellow Theodore H. Moran shows for the first time how some investors circumvent the U.S. and host country laws and international treaties outlawing corrupt payments without risking prosecution, and offers recommendations on what to do about it.