Ideas to Action:

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April 25, 2017

Annual Report 2016

This annual report marks two milestones in 2016: CGD’s 15th anniversary and, at the end of the year, its first leadership transition, with founding president Nancy Birdsall being succeeded by Masood Ahmed.

The Center for Global Development
March 22, 2016

Financial Regulations for Improving Financial Inclusion

As recently as 2011, only 42 percent of adult Kenyans had a financial account of any kind; by 2014, according to the Global Findex database, that number had risen to 75 percent, including 63 percent of the poorest two-fifths. In Sub-Saharan Africa as a whole, the share of adults with financial accounts, either a traditional bank account or a mobile account, rose by nearly half over the same period. Many countries in other developing regions have also recorded, if less dramatic, gains in access to the basic financial services that most people in richer countries take for granted. Much of this progress is being facilitated by the digital revolution of recent decades, which has led to the emergence of new financial services and new delivery channels.

by Carlos Lowry flic.kr/p/Abrxy
February 16, 2016

Middle-Class Heroes: The Best Guarantee of Good Governance

The two economic developments that have garnered the most attention in recent years are the concentration of massive wealth in the richest one percent of the world’s population and the tremendous, growth-driven decline in extreme poverty in the developing world, especially in China. But just as important has been the emergence of large middle classes in developing countries around the planet. This phenomenon—the result of more than two decades of nearly continuous fast-paced global economic growth—has been good not only for economies but also for governance. After all, history suggests that a large and secure middle class is a solid foundation on which to build and sustain an effective, democratic state. Middle classes not only have the wherewithal to finance vital services such as roads and public education through taxes; they also demand regulations, the fair enforcement of contracts, and the rule of law more generally—public goods that create a level social and economic playing field on which all can prosper.

April 28, 2015

Does the Rise of the Middle Class Lock in Good Government in the Developing World?

The current size of the income-secure middle class and its likely future growth, suggest that optimism is indeed warranted for many of today’s middle-income countries. But it is not warranted for all of them, and especially not for most of the low-income countries of South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa — even if they continue to grow at the relatively healthy rates they have enjoyed in the last decade and more.

May 13, 2014

On the Distributed Costs of Drug-Related Homicides - Working Paper 364

Reliable estimates of the effects of violence on economic outcomes are scarce. We exploit the manyfold increase in homicides in 2008-2011 in Mexico resulting from its war on organized drug traffickers to estimate the effect of drug-related homicides on house prices. 

Nicolas Ajzenman , Sebastian Galiani and Enrique Seira
January 27, 2014

Political Economy of Development - Columbia University

My goal is to get students to think critically about development theory and practice. A slight majority of examples and readings will be drawn from sub-Saharan Africa, in part give the course some focus, and in part because it is my area of expertise. But in I will also bring in a considerable amount of material on Latin America, the early development of the US and Europe, and to a lesser extent Asia—an order determined largely by my knowledge or ignorance.

June 12, 2013

Oil-to-Cash Won't Work Here! Ten Common Objections

This paper lists—and attempts to address—the most serious objections to Oil-to-Cash. The response to many objections is to ask about a plausible counterfactual (how do cash transfers compare to the alternative policy options?). Others warrant a clearer articulation of available evidence or ways to mitigate real worries through smart program design.

September 17, 2012

Global Citizens and the Global Economy

In this speech delivered to the UN General Assembly, Nancy Birdsall argues that in the absence of an activist global political entity to address these issues, global citizens should press their own governments to adopt policies that address these problems, domestically and internationally.

December 20, 2011

Direct Redistribution, Taxation, and Accountability in Oil-Rich Economies: A Proposal - Working Paper 281

To enhance efficiency of public spending in oil-rich economies, this paper proposes that some of the oil revenues be transferred directly to citizens, and then taxed to finance public expenditures. The argument is that spending that is financed by taxation—rather than by resource revenues accruing directly to the government—is more likely to be scrutinized by citizens and hence subject to greater efficiency.

Shantayanan Devarajan , Hélène Ehrhart , Tuan Minh Le and Gaël Raballand
March 29, 2011

TrAid+ Channeling Development Assistance to Results - Working Paper 247

Traditional donor financing mechanisms tend to track inputs instead of results, lack transparency, accountability, and country ownership. These inefficiencies waste resources, erode the trust of aid constituencies, and fail to improve the lives of the poor. TrAid+ is a new mechanism that aims to address these problems by acting as a third-party stamp of approval that all parties involved can trust to know that aid is being used effectively and is contributing to the development objectives of the recipient country. This paper describes the trAid+ concept in detail and proposes practical steps to establish the traAid+ platform.

Alex Ergo and Ingo Puhl
March 2, 2011

Failed States, Vicious Cycles, and a Proposal - Working Paper 243

Failed states often suffer the repeated return to power of former warlords who weaken institutions and make people poorer. In this working paper, Rajan argues that the only way to break the cycle of dictators is to empower the citizenry through economic growth. In the case of failed states, he proposes a unique solution to allow the electorate to choose an impartial foreigner to govern the country and lay the foundations for good governance and sustainable economic progress.

Raghuram G. Rajan

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