Ideas to Action:

Independent research for global prosperity



February 5, 2015

The Face of African Infrastructure: Service Availability and Citizens' Demands - Working Paper 393

The need for infrastructure improvements is a top-tier economic, political, and social issue in nearly every African country. Although the academic and policy literature is extensive in terms of estimating the impact of infrastructure deficits on economic and social indicators, very few studies have examined citizen demands for infrastructure.

December 2, 2013

Is Anyone Listening? Does US Foreign Assistance Target People’s Top Priorities? - Working Paper 348

The United States government has made repeated declarations over the last decade to align its assistance programs behind developing countries’ priorities. By utilizing public attitude surveys for 42 African and Latin American countries, this paper examines how well the US has implemented this guiding principle. Building upon the Quality of Official Development Assistance Assessment (QuODA) approach, I identify what people cite most frequently as the ‘most pressing problems’ facing their nations and then measure the percentage of US assistance commitments that are directed towards addressing them. 

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
November 12, 2007

The Pentagon and Global Development: Making Sense of the DoD's Expanding Role - Working Paper 131

The recent creation of AFRICOM, a U.S. military command for Africa, is but one manifestation of the Pentagon's growing role in development. One-in-five dollars that the U.S. spends on development assistance is now handled by the Department of Defense (DoD) and the Pentagon share of U.S. development spending has increased three-fold in the past five years, to some $5.5 billion annually. In a new CGD working paper, research fellow Stewart Patrick and program associate Kaysie Brown find that while the vast bulk of Pentagon development aid is for Iraq and Afghanistan, the department is also increasingly involved in new initiatives that civilian agencies could undertake. They warn that DoD's growing role in foreign assistance could undermine a broader U.S. approach to development support, and they offer specific recommendations for restoring a more appropriate balance.

Learn More

Stewart Patrick and Kaysie Brown
August 14, 2006

Fragile States and U.S. Foreign Assistance: Show Me the Money - Working Paper 96

Analysis of the U.S. budget reveals a chasm between Washington rhetoric about the potentially large threats arising from weak and failing states and the paucity of resources devoted to engaging with these troubled countries. The authors argue that the U.S. should think creatively about how and when to engage and should boost the $1.1 billion requested for these countries in the 2007 budget, regarding it as a form of venture capital, with high risks but potentially high rewards. Learn more

Stewart Patrick and Kaysie Brown
July 24, 2006

A Primer on Foreign Aid - Working Paper 92

Controversies about aid effectiveness go back decades. This new working paper by CGD senior fellow Steven Radelet provides an introduction and overview of the basic concepts, data and key debates about foreign aid. It explores the range of views on the relationship between foreign aid and economic growth and discusses the reform of foreign aid, including selectivity, country ownership, the participatory approach, harmonization and coordination, and results-based management.Learn more

July 30, 2003

The Surprise Party: An Analysis of US ODA Flows to Africa - Working Paper 30

Conventional wisdom about US foreign policy toward Africa contains two popular assumptions. First, Democrats are widely considered the party most inclined to care about Africa and the most willing to spend resources on assistance to the continent. Second, the end of the Cold War was widely thought to have led to a gradual disengagement of the US from Africa and reduced American attention toward the continent. This paper analyzes OECD data on US foreign assistance flows from 1961-2000 and finds that neither of these assumptions is true.

Markus P. Goldstein and Todd J. Moss