When the Global Development Council meets on May 17 it should identify three to five key moments when President Obama, with the advice of the Council, can make a development difference. Among the immediate possibilities: the June G-8 summit in the United Kingdom, the September G-20 summit in Russia, the UN General Assembly meeting, and President Obama’s upcoming trip to Africa.
In Greenprint, Aaditya Mattoo and Arvind Subramanian argued that only radical technological progress can reconcile climate-change goals with those of development and energy access. In this paper, they show how trade policy and trade rules can facilitate action on climate change.
Africa’s industrial progress has been disappointing. Part of the reason is that labor costs are higher than one might expect, given GDP per capita. Alan Gelb, Christian Meyer, and Vijaya Ramachandran distill the policy lessons.
Split Decisions: Household Finance When a Policy Discontinuity Allocates Overseas Work - Working Paper 324
A temporary-worker program that allows Filipinos to work in South Korea sets up unusually good circumstances for measuring the effects of migration. Michael Clemens and Erwin Tiongson take advantage the natural experiment to find that affected households spend more, borrow less, and invest more in their human capital.
Biometric identification is spreading rapidly across the developing world, where it is helping to close the “identification gap” that separates poor countries from rich ones. India’s Unique Identification (UID) project offers important lessons for other countries.
Most of the world’s children now live in countries on track to meet the Millennium Development Goal of universal primary completion by 2015. Countries have indeed made great progress getting kids in school, but behind that progress is a problem: many children are hardly learning anything in school. Some measures of learning are just dismal. In India, for example, only about one-third of children in grade 5 can perform long division. Nearly one-half cannot read a grade 2 text, and one in five cannot follow a grade 1 text.
What is to be done? Broadly speaking, schools, governments, and donors need to focus more on actual learning goals, not just filling seats. This report of the CGD Study Group on Measuring Learning Outcomes shows how to make some headway in that direction. Governments need to develop comparable, public learning assessments. Civil society should engage at the grassroots to demand accountability. Donors can play a secondary role by pegging funding to results or experimenting with different strategies. And the UN and other multilaterals should set global standards against which national efforts can be measured. One option is to establish a global learning goal as part of the post-2015 development agenda.
China's Development Finance to Africa: A Media-Based Approach to Data Collection - Working Paper 323
China’s presence in Africa is, beyond dispute, large in both trade and what can be called official finance to Africa. But how large, exactly? A new database from the College of William and Mary brings additional resources to help answer the question. This paper describes the new database, its key findings, and its possible applications and limitations of the data, which is being made publicly available for the first time.
The authors carry out a systematic review of studies on CCTs that report maternal and newborn health outcomes, including studies from eight countries. We find that CCTs have increased antenatal visits, skilled attendance at birth, delivery at a health facility, and tetanus toxoid vaccination for mothers, and reduced the incidence of low birth weight. The programs have not had a significant impact on fertility or Caesarean sections while impact on maternal and newborn mortality has not been well documented thus far.
This study is about recovering money stolen by corrupt politicians and officials. Asset recovery is a key element in deterring and punishing the corrupt, and the reduction of corruption is critical to development. The money can be put to better uses once recovered, and it amounts to billions.
Temporary Work Visas: A Four-Way Win for the Middle Class, Low-Skill Workers, Border Security, and Migrants
The US economy needs low-skill workers now more than ever, and that requires a legal channel for the large-scale, employment-based entry of low-skill workers. The alternative is what the country has now: a giant black market in unauthorized labor that hinders job creation and harms border security. A legal time-bound labor-access program could benefit the American middle class and low-skill workers, improve US border security, and create opportunities for foreign workers.
It’s All About MeE: Using Structured Experiential Learning (“e”) to Crawl the Design Space - Working Paper 322
Here we extend the basic idea of rigorous impact evaluation—the use of a valid counterfactual to make judgments about causality—to emphasize that the techniques of impact evaluation can be directly useful to implementing organizations (as opposed to impact evaluation being seen by implementing organizations as only an external threat to their funding).
Regional trade agreements such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership and Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership could leave some poor countries behind. Here are three policy changes to help Congress and President Obama avoid doing so.
Scaling Up What Works: Experimental Evidence on External Validity in Kenyan Education - Working Paper 321
We investigate heterogeneity across beneficiaries and implementers—in a randomized trial of contract teachers in Kenyan schools. The data show a stark contrast in success between the government and NGO arm that can be traced back to implementation constraints and political economy forces put in motion as the program went to scale.
Cash or Coupons? Testing the Impacts of Cash versus Vouchers in the Democratic Republic of Congo - Working Paper 320
Despite the increased use of conditional and unconditional cash-transfer programs worldwide, a majority of social protection programs in both developed and developing countries use in-kind transfers and vouchers. This paper reports the results of a randomized evaluation of an unconditional cash transfer and voucher program in the Democratic Republic of Congo, a country that has been plagued by intense civil war for much of the past two decades.
This paper discusses the potential usefulness of implementing macroprudential approach in Central America.
A number of Andean countries stand out in their successful use of macroprudential financial regulations. This paper focuses on three: countercyclical capital requirements, countercyclical loan-loss provisioning requirements, and liquidity requirements.
Foreign Workers Benefit Massively from Guest Work Opportunities, Submission to House Education and the Workforce Subcommittee on Workforce Protection
Michael Clemens’s “Foreign Workers Benefit Massively from Guest Work Opportunities” was entered into the Congressional Record by Chairman Tim Walberg, House Education and the Workforce Committee, Subcommittee on Workforce Protections, at a March 14, 2013, hearing, “Examining the Role of Lower-Skilled Guest Worker Programs in Today’s Economy.”
March 15, 2013
To: House Foreign Affairs Committee, Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific