Ideas to Action:

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March 10, 2014

Hating on the Hurdle: Reforming the Millennium Challenge Corporation’s Approach to Corruption

The Millennium Challenge Corporation is a US agency that provides results-oriented assistance to low- and lower-middle income countries that exhibit strong performance on a number of measures of development. Among these measures is the Worldwide Governance Indicator for control of corruption. A country must score in the top half of its income group on control of corruption to pass the overall selection procedure. This paper examines the empirical underpinning of this “corruption hard hurdle.”

December 16, 2013

Clear Direction for a New Decade: Priorities for PEPFAR and the Next US Global AIDS Coordinator

PEPFAR is at a critical turning point in its decade-long existence. The next US Global AIDS Coordinator is uniquely positioned to set the course for the program’s future. A change in leadership at the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief creates an opportunity to ask questions about the organization and reflect in more general terms on the US response to the global AIDS epidemic.

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. 

October 17, 2013

Getting to Yes on Expanded US Markets for the Poorest Countries

Opening markets to trade with poor countries was a key part of the eighth Millennium Development Goal and its global partnership for development. Countries recognized that development is about more than aid and that the poorest countries needed to be more integrated with the global economy to help them create jobs and opportunities for growth. In 2005, the World Trade Organization embraced this goal and developing country members agreed that those of them “in a position to do so” should also open their markets to the least developed countries (LDCs). Since then, most developed countries have removed barriers on at least 98 percent of all goods for LDC exporters, while China and India adopted less expansive programs to improve market access for these countries.

August 14, 2013

OPIC Unleashed: Strengthening US Tools to Promote Private-Sector Development Overseas

A strengthened OPIC—more efficiently deploying existing tools at no additional budget cost—would (1) increase US commercial access in emerging economies, (2) reflect economic, social, and political priorities in developing countries, (3) promote flagship US initiatives during austere budget conditions, and (4) support stability in fragile or frontline states.

May 14, 2013

Hitching the Global Development Council and President Obama’s Policy Vision

When the Global Development Council meets on May 17 it should identify three to five key moments when President Obama, with the advice of the Council, can make a development difference. Among the immediate possibilities: the June G-8 summit in the United Kingdom, the September G-20 summit in Russia, the UN General Assembly meeting, and President Obama’s upcoming trip to Africa.

February 28, 2013

Getting to Normal with the Two Sudans

After more than a decade of US special envoys (Danforth, Zoellick, Natsios, Williamson, Gration, and Lyman) and the independence of South Sudan in July 2011, it is time for the United States to reevaluate what it is trying to achieve in its relations with the two Sudans and how best it can do that.

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