Ideas to Action:

Independent research for global prosperity

Publications

 

December 8, 2004

Seven Deadly Sins: Reflections on Donor Failings - Working Paper Number 50

In the face of continuing development challenges in the world's poorest countries, there have been new calls throughout the donor community to increase the volume of development aid. Equal attention is needed to reform of the aid business itself, that is, the practices and processes and procedures and politics of aid. This paper sets out the shortcomings of that business on which new research has recently shed light, but which have not been adequately or explicitly incorporated into the donor community's reform agenda. It outlines seven of the worst "sins" or failings of donors, including impatience with institution building, collusion and coordination failures, failure to evaluate the results of their support, and financing that is volatile and unpredictable. It suggests possible short-term practical fixes and notes the need ultimately for more ambitious and structural changes in the overall aid architecture.

November 30, 2004

Millions Saved: Proven Successes in Global Health (Brief)

This Brief is based on the CGD book Millions Saved: Proven Successes in Global Health. The book book features 17 success stories. These cases describe some large-scale efforts to improve health in developing countries that have succeeded - saving millions of lives and preserving the livelihoods and social fabric of entire communities.

Ruth Levine and the What Works Working Group
Cover of the first edition of Millions Saved: Proven Successes in Global Health
November 30, 2004

Millions Saved: Proven Successes in Global Health

Millions Saved: Proven Success in Global Health details 17 cases in which large-scale efforts to improve health in developing countries have succeeded, saving millions of lives and preserving the livelihoods and social fabric of entire communities.

Ruth Levine and the What Works Working Group
November 23, 2004

Underfunded Regionalism in the Developing World - Working Paper Number 49

This paper argues that regional public goods in developing countries are under-funded despite their potentially high rates of return compared to traditional country-focused investments. In Africa the under-funding of regional public goods is primarily a political and institutional challenge to be met by the countries in this region. But the donor community ought to consider the opportunity cost – for development progress itself, in Africa and elsewhere – of its relative neglect, and explore changes in the aid architecture that would encourage more attention to regional goods.

July 22, 2004

Counting Chickens When They Hatch: Timing and the Effects of Aid on Growth - Working Paper 44

Recent research offers differing assessments of the overall, worldwide effect of foreign aid on economic growth in the countries that receive aid. To understand these differences, we re-analyze the same data and same regressions used in the three most influential aid-growth studies. In all three, increases in aid have been followed on average by modest increases in investment and growth. The most plausible explanation is that aid causes some degree of growth in recipient countries, though the magnitude of this relationship is modest, varies greatly across recipients, and diminishes at high levels of aid.

Michael Clemens , Steven Radelet , Rikhil Bhavnani and Samuel Bazzi
July 1, 2004

Anarchy of Numbers data set

CGD working paper 32, "The Anarchy of Numbers: Aid, Development, and Cross-country Empirics" submits seven aid-growth studies to robustness testing and finds that most are fragile. The data used in the paper are in Excel (data set) and Stata formats (4-year and 5-year aggregates). Full results are available in Excel format. All are included in the zip file.

June 22, 2004

An Index of Donor Performance - Working Paper 42

The Commitment to Development Index of the Center for Global Development rates 21 rich countries on the “development-friendliness” of their policies. It is revised and updated annually. In the 2004 edition, the component on foreign assistance combines quantitative and qualitative measures of official aid, and of fiscal policies that support private charitable giving.

June 10, 2004

Is Africa’s Skepticism of Foreign Capital Justified? Evidence from East African Firm Survey Data - Working Paper 41

The world has increasingly recognized that private capital has a vital role to play in economic development. African countries have moved to liberalize the investment environment, yet have not received much FDI. At least part of this poor performance is because of lingering skepticism toward foreign investment, owing to historical, ideological, and political reasons. Results from our three-country sample suugest that many of the common objections to foreign investment are exaggerated or false. Africa, by not attracting more FDI, is therefore failing to fully benefit from the potential of foreign capital to contribute to economic development and integration with the global economy.

Todd J. Moss , Vijaya Ramachandran and Manju Kedia Shah
May 1, 2004

The Trouble with the MDGs: Confronting Expectations of Aid and Development Success - Working Paper 40

*REVISED Version September 2004

The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) are unlikely to be met by 2015, even if huge increases in development assistance materialize. The rates of progress required by many of the goals are at the edges of or beyond historical precedent. Many countries making extraordinarily rapid progress on MDG indicators, due in large part to aid, will nonetheless not reach the MDGs. Unrealistic targets thus may turn successes into perceptions of failure, serving to undermine future constituencies for aid (in donors) and reform (in recipients). This would be unfortunate given the vital role of aid and reform in the development process and the need for long-term, sustained aid commitments.

March 16, 2004

The Long Walk to School: International Education Goals in Historical Perspective - Working Paper 37

This work quantifies how long it has taken countries rich and poor to make the transition towards high enrollments and gender parity. It finds that many countries that have not raised enrollments fast enough to meet the Millennium Development Goals have in fact raised enrollments extraordinarily rapidly by historical standards and deserve celebration rather than condemnation. The very few poor countries that have raised enrollment figures at the rates envisioned by the goals have done so in many cases by accepting dramatic declines in schooling quality, failing large numbers of students, or other practices that cast doubt on the sustainability or exportability of their techniques.

January 22, 2004

The Illusion of Sustainability - Working Paper 35

The history of foreign development assistance is one of movement away from addressing immediate needs to a focus on the underlying causes of poverty. A recent manifestation is the move towards "sustainability," which stresses community mobilization, education, and cost-recovery. This stands in contrast to the traditional economic analysis of development projects, with its focus on providing public goods and correcting externalities.

Michael Kremer and Edward Miguel