Ideas to Action:

Independent research for global prosperity

Publications

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March 8, 2006

The Economics of Young Democracies: Policies and Performance--Working Paper 85

In this new working paper, CGD visiting fellow Ethan Kapstein and Nathan Converse analyze the economic performance of young democracies around the world and find that stagnating economic performance is a good indicator of imminent democratic reversal. The authors also find evidence suggesting that the design of political institutions significantly influence their probability of survival.

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Ethan Kapstein and Nathan Converse
March 7, 2006

Ghana: Field Report

Ghana is expected to sign the largest MCA compact to date--upwards of $500 million over 5 years--by the end of July. 

Sarah Lucas
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.

January 23, 2006

Enhancing Transparency and Communications of MCC Operations: An Action Agenda

One of the Millennium Challenge Corporation’s (MCC) key innovations is its transparency criteria for country selection. But is the MCC as transparent in its decision-making process, particularly in decisions that are exceptions to rules? This paper argues that the MCC should deepen its transparency agenda, particularly with the consistency and clarity of the country selection decisions and the compact and threshold program development process.

January 20, 2006

A Stability and Social Investment Facility for High Debt Countries-Working Paper 77

Nancy Birdsall and Kemal Dervis propose that a "Stability and Social Investment Facility" be housed either at the IMF or the World Bank to offer emerging market economies with high debt-burdens lonas on a concessional basis. Read this CGD Working Paper to see how this Facility would be a useful step forward in promoting pro-poor growth.

Kemal Dervis
January 20, 2006

Does the Private Sector Care About AIDS?-Working Paper 76

How do employers decide whether to provide their employees with HIV/AIDS prevention services? CGD Visiting Fellow Vijaya Ramachandran's data from 860 firms and 4,955 workers in Uganda, Tanzania, and Kenya shows that larger firms, and those with more highly skilled workers, invest more in HIV/AIDS prevention. Firms in which more than 50 percent of workers are unionized also are more likely to provide more prevention services.

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Vijaya Ramachandran , Manju Kedia Shah and Ginger Turner
January 19, 2006

A New Era at the Inter-American Development BankSix Recommendations for the New President

This new report by a group comprising several of Latin America's most influential economic policymakers, CGD senior fellow Liliana Rojas Suarez, and CGD president Nancy Birdsall suggests ways for the IDB to become more flexible and to step up its support for market oriented reforms. The IDB's new president, Luis Alberto Moreno, warmly endorsed the recommendations, calling them "a key agenda."

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January 12, 2006

Reforming U.S. Development Policy

As the Bush Administration prepares to announce the reorganization of U.S. foreign assistance, Nancy Birdsall, Stewart Patrick and Milan Vaishnav argue in a new essay that making a dent in global poverty will require that the U.S. address four flaws: low volume and poor quality of aid; incoherence in non-aid development policies; lack of a strategy for weak and failing states; and a penchant for unilateral over multilateral action. Related event: Transformational Diplomacy, a talk by Steve Krasner, Director of the State Department’s Policy Planning Staff.

January 11, 2006

Aid Project Proliferation and Absorptive Capacity-Working Paper 75

At a time when the international dialogue surrounding development is focused on increasing the quantity of aid, this paper focuses on how each dollar of foreign assistance can be more effective in reducing poverty. Using a sophisticated mathematical modeling process, the author explores the phenomena of project proliferation and absorptive capacity in foreign aid delivery.

January 10, 2006

An Aid-Institutions Paradox? A Review Essay on Aid Dependency and State Building in Sub-Saharan Africa- Working Paper 74

Does foreign aid help develop public institutions and state capacity in developing countries? In this Working Paper, the authors suggest that despite recent calls for increased aid to poor countries by the international community, there may be an "aid-institutions paradox." While donor intentions may be sincere, the authors conclude that it is possible that aid could undermine long-term institutional development, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa.

Todd Moss , Gunilla Pettersson and Nicolas van de Walle
January 3, 2006

Weak States and Global Threats: Assessing Evidence of Spillovers-Working Paper 73

In this new working paper, CGD Research Fellow Stewart Patrick urges analysts and policymakers to look more deeply at the links between failed states and global threats such terrorism, weapons proliferation, organized crime, and global pandemics. He then provides the tools: a framework for determining which types of states are associated with which dangers.

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