Ideas to Action:

Independent research for global prosperity

Publications

 

Cover of The Rebirth of Education: Schooling Ain't Learning
September 24, 2013

The Rebirth of Education: Schooling Ain’t Learning

With abundant data, sound analysis, and first-hand experience, Lant Pritchett shows that the way to turn underperforming schools around is to allow functional systems to evolve locally out of an environment pressured for success. Schools systems need to be open to variety and experimentation, locally operated, and flexibly financed. The only main cost is ceding control; the reward would be the rebirth of education suited for today’s world.

September 5, 2013

Subsidizing Farmers and Biofuels in Rich Countries: An Incoherent Agenda for Food Security

At the beginning of the new millennium, a key development concern was the impact of agricultural policies in high-income countries on poor farmers in the rest of the world. Over the ensuing decade, the focus swung from the role of price-suppressing farm subsidies to the role biofuel policies play in driving food prices up. While development advocates are right to criticize the trade-distorting costs and environmental risks of current biofuel policies, agricultural subsidies and trade barriers in rich countries remain in place and the distorting impact of those policies will rise again when prices decline.

September 5, 2013

The Development Space Goes Global: A New Role for Global Citizens

In this speech delivered at the 2012 Annual Conference of the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation, Nancy Birdsall shares her observations about the changing development space and offers three proposals to help the development community tap the potential for informed and empowered citizens push for better local and global politics. Her remarks were prepared after delivering a 2012 speech to the 2012 UN General Assembly, "Global Citizens and the Global Economy," and foreshadowed her 2013 working paper , "Global Markets, Global Citizens, and Global Governance in the 21st Century."

September 4, 2013

Planning for Large-Scale Wind and Solar Power in South Africa: Identifying Cost-Effective Deployment Strategies Using Spatiotemporal Modeling - Working Paper 340

South Africa and many other countries hope to aggressively expand wind and solar power (WSP) in coming decades. The challenge is to turn laudable aspirations into concrete plans that minimize costs, maximize benefits, and ensure reliability. Success hinges largely on the question of how and where to deploy intermittent WSP technologies. This study develops a 10-year database of expected hourly power generation for onshore wind, solar photovoltaic, and concentrating solar power technologies across South Africa. A simple power system model simulates the economic and environmental performance of different WSP spatial deployment strategies in 2040, while ensuring a minimum level of system reliability.