Ideas to Action:

Independent research for global prosperity



February 21, 2006

Back to the Future for African Infrastructure? Why State-Ownership Is No More Promising the Second Time Around - Working Paper 84

African state-owned enterprises, particularly those in infrastructure, have a long history of poor performance. But moves in the 1990s to rely instead on private-sector participation and ownership have yet to deliver the hoped-for improvements. Is the solution to return to a strategy of improving state firms under public management? In this new CGD working paper, John Nellis argues that that Africa's SOEs are no more promising now than before and that private firms still have not been given a real chance.

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John Nellis
February 21, 2006

The Role of the IMF in Well-Performing Low-Income Countries - Working Paper 83

CGD senior fellow Steven Radelet discusses how the IMF can be helpful to low-income countries that have maintained macroeconomic stability for several years and no longer require IMF financing. He suggests that the Fund move toward greater use of non-funded programs and play a less dominant role in overall conditionality, while continuing to work with countries to ensure an appropriate macroeconomic framework. He argues, however, that the Fund should not provide grants to these countries.

In a related paper (A Stability and Growth Facility -Working Paper 77), Nancy Birdsall and Kemal Dervis propose an IMF Stability and Growth Facility to help high-debt, mostly middle-income countries maintain credibility in the markets through fiscal discipline, in part to reduce their debt burden, while also addressing longstanding social needs.

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February 16, 2006

Stormy Days on an Open Field: Asymmetries in the Global Economy - Working Paper 81

Does openness in trade and the free flow of capital promote growth for the poor? In this new working paper, CGD president Nancy Birdsall describes asymmetries in globalization and their implications for poverty reduction. She argues that poor countries lack effective social contracts, progressive tax systems, and laws and regulations that rich capitalist societies use to manage markets so that free trade and commerce more equally benefit all. These asymmetries also exist at the global level, where poor countries are especially susceptible to the risks of free trade and the vagaries of volatile capital flows.

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February 13, 2006

How Countries Get Rich

Ever since Adam Smith, economists have debated what conditions are required for nations to become wealthy. In a new CGD brief, senior fellow Peter Timmer argues that the "Smithian conditions" – low taxes, good government, and peace – are necessary but far from sufficient. He shows how investments in education, technology, and trade have contributed to the rapid progress of countries like South Korea, Singapore, and Brunei. The "miracle" of getting rich, Timmer concludes, lies in creating durable institutions that perpetuate both sets of policies over many decades.

February 8, 2006

The Costs and Benefits of Front-loading and Predictability of Immunization - Working Paper 80

This new working paper by Owen Barder and Ethan Yeh analyzes the benefits and costs of frontloading and predictability, two innovative features of the International Finance Facility for Immunization (IFFIm). The paper concludes that taken together, predictability and front-loading increase the health impact of vaccine coverage by 22 percent, even taking account of the additional cost of finance. By delivering the same money better, about two million extra lives will be saved.

Owen Barder and Ethan Yeh
February 3, 2006

How Multinational Investors Evade Developed Country Laws - Working Paper 79

The G-8 has endorsed sweeping efforts to combat bribery and corrupt payments by international investors. Are these efforts effective? A new working paper by Theodore H. Moran says no. In How Multinational Investors Evade Developed Country Laws, Moran presents evidence that multinational corporations evade anti-corruption laws by making payments to relatives and cronies of developing country rulers. The findings will be discussed at a CGD event on Thursday, Feb. 16.