Ideas to Action:

Independent research for global prosperity

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December 17, 2013

Let the People Go: The Problem with Strict Migration Limits

Originally published in Foreign Affairs. 

On May 29, 2013, British immigration officers raided the Alternative Tuck Shop, a café just down the road from Oxford University’s economics department, where South Asian and Middle Eastern employees serve tea, scones, and sandwiches. The agents seized two young men, one from Bangladesh and one from Algeria, under suspicion of working in the United Kingdom without authorization. And they shuttered the business temporarily, meaning that hungry Oxford economists would have to walk farther down Holywell Street for their midday panini.

December 17, 2013

Primary Schooling, Student Learning, and School Quality in Rural Bangladesh - Working Paper 349

This present paper, by Mohammad Niaz Asadullah and Nazmul Chaudhury therefore makes an important contribution to the literature in a key area of CGD concern. Using a representative sample of 2400 households producing data on 3323 children aged 10 to 17 they assess ability to answer simple arithmetic question (either oral or written).

Mohammad Niaz Asadullah and Nazmul Chaudhury
December 16, 2013

Illicit Financial Flows and the 2013 Commitment to Development Index

In recent years there has been growing recognition of the harm done to development by illicit financial flows, and the role of rich countries in providing an environment which tolerates or discourages them. To investigate whether indicators of illicit finance should be included in the CDI, the Center for Global Development commissioned this background paper from Petr Janský, a Czech academic economist from the Charles University and CERGE-EI in Prague.

Petr Janský
December 16, 2013

Clear Direction for a New Decade: Priorities for PEPFAR and the Next US Global AIDS Coordinator

PEPFAR is at a critical turning point in its decade-long existence. The next US Global AIDS Coordinator is uniquely positioned to set the course for the program’s future. A change in leadership at the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief creates an opportunity to ask questions about the organization and reflect in more general terms on the US response to the global AIDS epidemic.

December 2, 2013

Is Anyone Listening? Does US Foreign Assistance Target People’s Top Priorities? - Working Paper 348

The United States government has made repeated declarations over the last decade to align its assistance programs behind developing countries’ priorities. By utilizing public attitude surveys for 42 African and Latin American countries, this paper examines how well the US has implemented this guiding principle. Building upon the Quality of Official Development Assistance Assessment (QuODA) approach, I identify what people cite most frequently as the ‘most pressing problems’ facing their nations and then measure the percentage of US assistance commitments that are directed towards addressing them. 

November 14, 2013

Supplementing REDD+ with Biodiversity Payments: The Paradox of Paying for Multiple Ecosystem Services - Working Paper 347

An international mechanism to reduce emissions from deforestation using carbon payments (REDD+) can be leveraged to make payments for forests’ biodiversity as well. Paradoxically, under conditions consistent with emerging REDD+ programs, money spent on a mixture of carbon payments and biodiversity payments has the potential to incentivize the provision of greater climate benefits than an equal amount of money spent only on carbon payments.  
October 23, 2013

HIV/AIDS Intervention Packages in Five Countries: A Review of Budget Data

More than ever, global health funding agencies must get better value for money from their investment portfolios; to do so, each agency must know the interventions it supports and the sub-populations targeted by those interventions in each country. In this study we examine the interventions supported by two major international AIDS funders: the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria (‘Global Fund’) and the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR).

October 17, 2013

Getting to Yes on Expanded US Markets for the Poorest Countries

Opening markets to trade with poor countries was a key part of the eighth Millennium Development Goal and its global partnership for development. Countries recognized that development is about more than aid and that the poorest countries needed to be more integrated with the global economy to help them create jobs and opportunities for growth. In 2005, the World Trade Organization embraced this goal and developing country members agreed that those of them “in a position to do so” should also open their markets to the least developed countries (LDCs). Since then, most developed countries have removed barriers on at least 98 percent of all goods for LDC exporters, while China and India adopted less expansive programs to improve market access for these countries.

October 15, 2013

Here’s the Best Thing the United States Has Done in Afghanistan

Afghanistan’s progress against mortality reflects the success of providing health aid that differed radically from the bulk of American aid to Afghanistan during the war. The USAID program that contributed to the decline was a multilateral effort coordinated by Afghanistan’s own Ministry of Public Health. Results were verified by random sampling, and some funding was linked to measures of performance. This internal policy experiment, however, was destined to provoke resistance. More surprising is the source of resistance to an aid program that attempted to stop simply throwing money at a problem and focus on building sustainable systems: auditors.

October 7, 2013

Investing in Social Outcomes: Development Impact Bonds

This report explains how Development Impact Bonds (DIBs) can increase the efficiency and effectiveness of development funding. Based on Social Impact Bonds in industrialized countries, a DIB creates a contract between private investors and donors or governments who have agreed upon a shared development goal. The investors pay in advance for interventions to reach the goals and are remunerated if the interventions succeed. Returns on the investment are linked to verified progress.

October 3, 2013

Making Large-Scale Wind and Solar Power a Reality

South Africa and many other countries hope to aggressively expand wind and solar power (WSP) in the coming decades. This presents significant challenges for power system planning. Success hinges largely on the question of how and where to deploy WSP technologies. Well-designed deployment strategies can take advantage of natural variability in resources across space and time to help minimize costs, maximize benefits, and ensure reliability.  

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