Ideas to Action:

Independent research for global prosperity



December 18, 2009

Aid, Dutch Disease, and Manufacturing Growth - Working Paper 196

Decades of research have been unable to conclusively show either a positive or negative effect of aid on economic growth in poor countries. CGD senior fellow Arvind Subramanian and Raghuram G. Rajan use a new technique in their latest working paper that suggests aid slows the manufacturing sector by appreciating the exchange rate and making the production of manufacturing goods less profitable. And if aid slows the manufacturing sector, the implications for overall growth could be adverse.

Read the Working Paper

Raghuram G. Rajan and Arvind Subramanian
December 7, 2009

Introduction to Microfinance for Development, Georgetown University (Syllabus)

This course explores the role of microfinance in economic development. It will discuss how poor people in poor countries use financial services such as credit and savings; the history and practice of delivering such services; what is known about their contribution to development; and how stories and statistical studies shape public perceptions of microfinance.

November 23, 2009

Will World Bank and IMF Lending Lead to HIPC IV? Debt Deja-Vu All Over Again - Working Paper 193

Benjamin Leo, formerly of the U.S. Treasury and National Security Council and a key behind-the-scenes player in the inception and implementation of Multilateral Debt Relief Initiatives, examines the potential risk of renewed debt re-accumulation by countries that have only recently completed the HIPC/MDRI process that was to prevent a repeat of excessive debt accumulation.

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.

July 16, 2009

Development Aid and Its Criticisms: The View from Zambia

CGD policy analyst Lindsay Morgan explores the reality of aid-supported development in Zambia from three (very different) perspectives of people working there, in light of Dambisa Moyo's book, Dead Aid. She sheds light on a fundamental paradox of the aid business (huge donor efforts, much good, and massive unfulfilled need) and explores the paradox of three peoples’ lives—of believing they can fight injustice and suffering, and knowing there are significant limits to what they can do.

Lindsay Morgan
Cover of Performance Incentives for Global Health: Potential and Pitfalls
June 15, 2009

Performance Incentives for Global Health: Potential and Pitfalls

Donor spending on global health has surged, yet for many poor people in developing countries even basic prevention and treatment remain elusive. CGD’s newest book, Performance Incentives for Global Health: Potential and Pitfalls, shows how modest payments in cash or kind can get more health from health care spending. Informed by case studies and the Working Group on Performance-Based Incentives, co-authors Rena Eichler and CGD vice president Ruth Levine tell how to design and implement effective incentive programs—and what to avoid.

Rena Eichler , Ruth Levine and the Performance-Based Incentives Working Group
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.

March 25, 2009

The End of ODA: Death and Rebirth of a Global Public Policy - Working Paper 167

In this paper, part of the Innovations in Aid series, Jean-Michel Severino and Olivier Ray describe shifts in the objectives of overseas development assistance (ODA) over time and conclude that it is time to put the concept itself to bed—in favor of what they propose should be called “Global Policy Finance.”

Jean-Michel Severino and Olivier Ray