Ideas to Action:

Independent research for global prosperity

Publications

 

June 19, 2013

Is Information Power? Using Mobile Phones and Free Newspapers during an Election in Mozambique - Working Paper 328

Jenny Aker and co-authors present the results of a field experiment implemented in Mozambique based on three interventions providing information to voters and calling for their participation in the elections: an SMS civic education campaign centered on the elections, an SMS hotline to which citizens were able to report electoral misconduct, and the distribution of a free newspaper door-to-door focusing on voter education.

Jenny Aker , Paul Collier and Pedro C. Vicente
June 18, 2013

A Robust and Nuanced US Policy Response to Zimbabwe’s Narrow Democratic Window

After 33 years in power, Robert Mugabe is running for yet another term. To put this in perspective, jump forward to the year 2041 and imagine that President Obama is still President, has deployed the FBI, CIA, and US Marines to crush his domestic opponents, and is then running again for another term. Unthinkable? That’s the situation in Zimbabwe today. This is therefore a timely opportunity to shape U.S. policy, not only because Zimbabwe is facing a critical juncture, but also because I am increasingly concerned our government may be sleepwalking down the wrong path. Before making recommendations for U.S. policy, let me make three analytical points.

June 12, 2013

Oil-to-Cash Won't Work Here! Ten Common Objections

This paper lists—and attempts to address—the most serious objections to Oil-to-Cash. The response to many objections is to ask about a plausible counterfactual (how do cash transfers compare to the alternative policy options?). Others warrant a clearer articulation of available evidence or ways to mitigate real worries through smart program design.

June 10, 2013

The Early Success of India’s Health Insurance for the Poor, RSBY

In just five years, India’s Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana (RSBY, translated as “National Health Insurance Programme”) has expanded health-care access. Where dozens of “microinsurance” and NGO pilots failed to scale up, RSBY has already provided more than 110 million people (almost 10 percent of India’s population) with heavily subsidized health insurance, providing up to US$550 annually to finance secondary hospital care. Although the research evidence on RSBY is still developing, early results are encouraging: increased utilization and hospitalization; some indication of reduced out-of-pocket payments for healthcare; and a means of identification with a clearly linked entitlement. While RSBY still faces challenges, particularly on the quality of care of increased hospitalization rates, RSBY has aligned incentives for both public and private hospitals to deliver better care.

In this essay, Victoria Fan tells the story of how RSBY came into being under the leadership of Anil Swarup—whom she describes as an “unassuming officer of the Indian Administrative Service”—and outlines the program’s early successes and opportunities for future progress.

June 4, 2013

The Future of Global Poverty in a Multi-Speed World: New Estimates of Scale and Location, 2010–2030 - Working Paper 327

In this working paper, Peter Edward and Andy Sumner introduce new model of growth, inequality, and poverty that comparison of a wide range of input assumptions. They find that it is plausible that $1.25 and $2 global poverty will reduce substantially by 2030 and the former – $1.25 poverty – could be very low by that time. However, this depends a lot on economic growth and inequality trends—up to almost an extra billion $2 poor people in one scenario.

Peter Edward and Andy Sumner