Ideas to Action:

Independent research for global prosperity

Publications

 

Guarantees, Subsidies, or Paying for Success? Choosing the Right Instruments to Catalyze Private Investment in Developing Countries - Working Paper 402
May 5, 2015

Guarantees, Subsidies, or Paying for Success? Choosing the Right Instrument to Catalyze Private Investment in Developing Countries - Working Paper 402

Governments, donors, and public sector agencies are seeking productive ways to ‘crowd in’ private sector involvement and capital to tackle international development challenges. The financial instruments that are used to create incentives for private sector involvement are typically those that lower an investment’s risk (such as credit guarantees) or those that lower the costs of various inputs (such as concessional loans, which subsidise borrowing).

April 28, 2015

The Aid Ring Fence: Protection or Prison?

The development landscape between now and 2030 will be look completely different from the last fifteen years. The Sustainable Development Goals which look likely to be agreed in September, including a commitment to eradicate absolute poverty by 2030, will be addressed against a very different backdrop to the relatively successful period of the Millennium Development Goals. There are three challenges we are going to have to address.

January 12, 2015

In Defence of Britain’s Overseas Aid

When Sir Tim Lankester defends the aid programme against charges that it can sometimes be misused for other things, he knows what he is talking about. He was the most senior civil servant in Britain’s aid ministry (then called ODA, now known as DFID), and in 1991 he bravely blew the whistle on a project to finance a dam in Malaysia because it was not a good use of development money (and indeed turned out to be connected to agreements to buy British arms).

Tim Lankester
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.

March 9, 2012

A New Tool for Syria: Pressuring Assad with Preemptive Contract Sanctions

The Syrian regime of Bashar Assad has killed thousands of people since protests began last year. The Arab League, United States and European Union have condemned the violence and imposed strong sanctions against Syria’s oil sector and central bank, but they have not adequately hindered the regime. It’s time to try a new tool that would strengthen existing sanctions: preemptive contract sanctions.

July 13, 2011

Can Aid Work? Written Testimony Submitted to the House of Lords

The main body of this short essay comprises written testimony that Owen Barder submitted to Britain’s House of Lords in response to a question about the effectiveness of foreign aid. In a brief introduction Barder draws upon his recent experience living in Ethiopia for three years to shed light on how he thinks about the question of aid effectiveness.

October 15, 2009

Beyond Planning: Markets and Networks for Better Aid - Working Paper 185

International aid works, but it could work much better. Reform efforts focused on better planning often ignore what constrains aid agencies and takes the bite out of their commitments. In this working paper, Owen Barder shows how forming a "collaborative market" around aid—one marked by transparency and collective regulation—would pave the way for more effective aid.

April 21, 2009

What Is Poverty Reduction? - Working Paper 170

In this working paper, Owen Barder raises fundamental questions about the purpose of aid transfers. For many donors the purpose is "poverty reduction" in the narrow sense of growth that reduces poverty. Barder argues that such a focus ignores key trade-offs, such as between reducing current and future poverty and between addressing the causes and symptoms of poverty, and results in less effective aid. This is an important paper for practitioners as well as students of how the aid system works.

December 4, 2006

Payments for Progress: A Hands-Off Approach to Foreign Aid - Working Paper 102

The aid business has long grappled with the trade-off between showing results and supporting a country's own institution-building. Donors want to be sure that their money makes a difference, and often quickly. But close monitoring raises costs and pushing for quick results leads to projects that bypass or even undermine domestic institutions that are crucial to development. In Payments for Progress: A Hands-Off Approach to Foreign Aid, Owen Barder, now director of Global Development Effectiveness at the United Kingdom Department for International Development, and CGD president Nancy Birdsall propose solving this problem by having donors pay for proven progress towards such agreed goals as additional children completing school and additional kilometers of roads built. How to achieve these goals would be left to the aid recipient government. They suggest this approach may be particularly useful in fragile states. Learn more

July 11, 2006

A Policymakers' Guide to Dutch Disease - Working Paper 91

It is sometimes claimed that big surges in aid might cause Dutch Disease--an appreciation of the real exchange rate which can slow the growth of a country's exports--and that aid increases might thereby harm a country's long-term growth prospects. In this new working paper CGD senior program associate Owen Barder argues that it is unlikely that a long-term, sustained and predictable increase in aid would, through the impact on the real exchange rate, do more harm than good. Learn more

July 6, 2006

Are the planned increases in aid too much of a good thing? - Working Paper 90

Donor countries have pledged to increase aid by 60 percent over the next five years, and larger increases would be needed to meet the Millennium Development Goals. Can developing countries use more aid effectively? In this new working paper, CGD senior program associate Owen Barder argues that the obstacles to effective use of significantly increased aid can be overcome by a small number of practical improvements in how aid is provided and used. Learn More

April 20, 2006

Vaccines for Development

While the importance of vaccines is increasingly well-understood, significant challenges inhibit increases in basic immunization coverage, introduction of underused vaccines and development of new vaccines. In this brief, Owen Barder describes these challenges and analyses five innovative policy responses. He argues that these constitute a consistent package of measures that benefit from the institutional umbrella of the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization—and suggests that there may be lessons for other types of development aid. Learn More

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
April 7, 2005

Making Markets for Vaccines: Ideas to Action

Making Markets for Vaccines: Ideas to Action presents the proposal from theory to practice, by showing how a commitment can be consistent with ordinary legal and budgetary principles. A draft contract term sheet is included, highlighting the key elements of a credible guarantee.

Advance Market Commitment Working Group

Pages