Ideas to Action:

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December 12, 2016

An Agenda for Harmful Cultural Practices and Girls' Empowerment

Harmful cultural practices and norms—even the seemingly non-violent ones that consign girls to bear the brunt of household labor—have consequences for nutrition, health, educational achievement, sexual abuse, and child marriage. Accordingly, it is critical to develop a research agenda that places girls aged 0 to 10 at the center of policy to address harmful practices. Both as an issue of gender-based violence and as an impediment to girls reaching their potential, we need greater commitments to country-level data, informed and enforced legislative action, and innovative methods to challenging and shifting socially shared definitions of girlhood.

Old-World Humanitarianism Faces New-World Challenges
June 16, 2015

Old-World Humanitarianism Faces New-World Challenges

In fact refugees and victims of natural disasters account for such a small fraction of the world population, less than half a percent. There is no excuse for not providing adequate timely funding for disasters whose numbers if not locations are relatively predictable. The costs are manageable, or at least they are a fraction of, say, the costs of ending poverty or combating climate change. This is at the easier end of world problems. And therefore fashioning the political will to act in a timely and effective way should be possible.

Mark Malloch Brown
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 15, 2013

Here’s the Best Thing the United States Has Done in Afghanistan

Afghanistan’s progress against mortality reflects the success of providing health aid that differed radically from the bulk of American aid to Afghanistan during the war. The USAID program that contributed to the decline was a multilateral effort coordinated by Afghanistan’s own Ministry of Public Health. Results were verified by random sampling, and some funding was linked to measures of performance. This internal policy experiment, however, was destined to provoke resistance. More surprising is the source of resistance to an aid program that attempted to stop simply throwing money at a problem and focus on building sustainable systems: auditors.

August 31, 2011

Incentive Proliferation? Making Sense of a New Wave of Development Programs

A new wave of development programs that explicitly use incentives to achieve their aims is under way.They are part of a trend, accelerating in recent years, to disburse development assistance against specific and measurable outputs or outcomes. With a proliferation of new ideas under names such as “payments for performance,” “output-based aid,” and “results based financing,” it is easy to lose sight of basic underlying similarities in these approaches and to miss some significant differences.

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.

February 1, 2011

Getting to a “Grand Bargain” for Aid Reform: The Basic Framework for U.S. Foreign Assistance

Arkedis focuses on understanding why long-term development is often subjugated to other objectives in the day-to-day planning processes of the U.S. government. She proposes one way to ensure that funding choices are made more rationally and systematically: by aligning the differing goals of aid more explicitly with redefined foreign assistance budget accounts.

Jean Arkedis
January 14, 2011

Shared Goals: Measuring Overall Development Progress in Pakistan

A new focus on measuring development results would have far-reaching benefits for U.S. development strategy, for U.S. public diplomacy efforts, and for the strength of Pakistan’s democratic institutions. In this essay, Nancy Birdsall and Wren Elhai suggest five possible indicators that illustrate the type of measurable targets that could help the United State and Pakistan meet shared goals for effective and transparent development.

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