Ideas to Action:

Independent research for global prosperity

Publications

 

Stock photo of a lightbulb on a black background
August 10, 2020

The UK as an Effective Altruist

The prime minister’s most influential advisor, Dominic Cummings, is a champion of “effective altruism”—the use of evidence and careful reasoning to work out how to maximize the good with a given unit of resources. With the UK government in the midst of a major “Integrated Review” of its foreign, development, and defence policy—and the recent the formation of a merged Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office confirming it isn’t afraid of change—now’s a good time to consider whether the effective altruism movement can or should find great traction in UK aid programmes.

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April 22, 2020

Projecting Global Emissions for Lower-Income Countries

This note updates and builds on analysis from 2014 by Stefan Dercon, which projects carbon dioxide emissions by the poorest countries to understand their likely future contribution to global emissions. Whilst these countries’ emissions are currently very low, there is concern that rapid economic growth could alter this picture.

Cover of Policy Paper 140
April 17, 2019

The Quality of UK Aid Spending, 2011–2018: An Analysis of Evaluations by the Independent Commission on Aid Impact

This paper analyses the grades awarded in the 65 primary reviews undertaken by the UK Independent Commission for Aid Impact (ICAI) over its first eight years of operation, from 2011 to 2018. It finds that ICAI has directly evaluated £28bn of UK aid over the period. Around four-fifths of spend assessed was graded as “satisfactory” (amber/green) or “strong” (green). The findings from ICAI reviews, and this report, should inform the UK Government’s aid allocations between departments at the forthcoming spending review. 

Cover of Policy Paper 134
December 18, 2018

UK Aid Quality Indicators

This paper discusses the United Kingdom’s foreign aid quality based on an updated assessment of the Quality of Official Development Assistance (QuODA) published by the Center for Global Development. We find UK aid quality has decreased from 2012 to 2016 and now ranks 15th out of the 27 countries assessed.

September 5, 2017

Commitment to Development Index 2017

The Commitment to Development Index ranks 27 of the world's richest countries on policies that affect more than five billion people living in poorer nations. Because development is about more than foreign aid, the Index covers seven distinct policy areas: Aid, Finance, Technology, Environment, Trade, Security, and Migration.

January 12, 2017

Beyond Brexit: Four Steps to Make Britain a Global Leader on Trade for Development

This paper looks at how the UK can, after Brexit, develop a world-leading trade for development policy. It uses a systematic assessment of how rich country trade policies affect developing countries to identify the leading approaches used elsewhere. It then identifies and describes four key steps: i) eliminating or lowering tariffs; ii) improving preferential access for the very poorest countries; iii) cutting red tape at the border; and iv) enhancing the effectiveness of its aid for trade. These steps would enable the UK to improve substantially on the approach taken by the EU and other countries, benefit UK consumers and businesses, and set a new standard in trade policy for development.