Ideas to Action:

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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.

October 27, 2004

2004 MCA Threshold Program: A Comment on Country Selection

In September, the Millennium Challenge Corporation named seven countries as eligible for the MCA Threshold Program: Albania, East Timor, Kenya, Sao Tome e Principe, Tanzania, Uganda and Yemen. This paper reviews the selection process and the countries selected, and offers recommendations for improving the program.

Sarah Lucas and Rikhil Bhavnani
October 12, 2004

Round Two of the MCA: Which Countries are Most Likely to Qualify

On August 31, 2004, the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) announced some modest changes in the process it will use to select countries for MCC eligibility in FY 2005. This note examines the new set of indicators and the countries most likely to qualify in round two.

Rikhil Bhavnani
September 27, 2004

Beyond HIPC: Secure Sustainable Debt Relief for Poor Countries - Working Paper Number 46

In 1999, the United States and other major donor countries supported an historic expansion of the heavily indebted poor country (HIPC) debt relief initiative. Three years after the initiative came into existence, we are beginning to see the apparent impact that HIPC is having, particularly on recipient countries' ability and willingness to increase domestic spending on education and HIV/AIDS programs. Yet it has also become clear that the HIPC program is not providing a sufficient level of predictability or sustainability to allow debtor countries (and donors) to reap the larger benefits, particularly in terms of sustained growth and poverty reduction, originally envisioned. After reviewing some of the main critiques and proposals for change, we offer here a new way forward -- a proposal to deepen, widen, and most importantly insure debt relief to poor countries.

Brian Deese
September 23, 2004

A Note on the MCC Selection Process for 2005

On August 31, 2004, the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) announced some modest changes in the process it will use to select countries for MCC eligibility in FY 2005. This note appraises those changes, focusing on the "school completion rate" and "inflation" indicators.

July 30, 2004

Whither Development Assistance? An Analysis of the President's 2005 Budget Request

This note reviews the President’s 2005 international affairs budget request and offers insight into the potential MCA allocations in the context of the broader development assistance budget. The authors note that requested funding for the MCA is lower than promised and may be indirectly coming at the expense of existing development assistance programs.

Rikhil Bhavnani
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.

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