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. How did your country do this year?
Are USAID programs high impact and good value for money? Do they work? Do they generate more results for less cost than if the agency just gave poor people cash? We don’t always know the answers to those questions, but USAID is trying to find out.
DFIs are frequently asked to demonstrate their additionality—meaning that they make investments that the private sector would not—but what evidence of additionality would look like is rarely articulated. This paper examines potential quantitative and qualitative evidence.
The Impact of Civil Conflict on Child Malnutrition and Mortality, Nigeria, 2002-2013 - Working Paper 494
In this paper, we show a strong association between living close to a conflict zone and acute malnutrition in Nigerian children in 2013. This is related to the severity of the conflict, measured both in terms of the number of conflict deaths and the length of time the child was exposed to conflict.
Like a number of other countries, even in 2017, Malawi lacked a functioning national registry or identification system. This essay describes how a comprehensive multipurpose national ID system was implemented in 180 days, with the assistance of UNDP and other development partners.
How Do African Firms Respond to Unreliable Power? Exploring Firm Heterogeneity Using K-Means Clustering - Working Paper 493
While previous studies have found a positive relationship between the reliability of power and firm growth, we find that such a clear relationship seems not to prevail. In other words, some firms are able to cope with an unreliable supply of power while many others do not.
The rising popularity of randomized controlled trials (RCTs) in development applications has come with continuing debates on the pros and cons of this approach. The paper revisits the issues.
Many countries’ systems of basic education are in “stall” condition.
A recent paper of Beatty et al. (2018) uses information from the Indonesia Family Life Survey, a representative household survey that has been carried out in several waves with the same individuals since 2000 and contains information on whether individuals can answer simple arithmetic questions. Figure 1, showing the relationship between the level of schooling and the probability of answering a typical question correctly, has two shocking results.
Demand for and supply of “sustainable” coffee (and other commodities) have grown markedly for two decades, as has the literature analyzing the effects of voluntary sustainability standards for coffee. The evidence for assessing the impacts for smallholder producers and the environment remains relatively weak, however.
I argue that we did learn two very important things from growth research, and these were learned from research in the strong sense that they changed people’s views from a previous view that was incorrect.
An economic, political, and humanitarian crisis has driven more than one million Venezuelans across the border into Colombia in the past year. Countries hosting Venezuelans have done so with relative welcome, keeping their borders open and offering some services and protection to migrants. But additional significant financial and other support will be required to meet the needs of both migrants and hosts.
If You Build It, Will They Consume? Key Challenges for Universal, Reliable, and Low-Cost Electricity Delivery in Kenya - Working Paper 491
Kenya’s rapid electrification in the past decade has improved the lives of millions, but significant challenges remain. This paper provides analysis that shows electrification can be improved by considering cheaper options that still meet the needs of low consumers and that low consumption is a first-order problem for the sustainability of utilities.
Competing or Complementary Strategies? Protecting Indigenous Rights and Paying to Conserve Forests - Working Paper 490
In 2007, the UN General Assembly adopted the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the UNFCCC endorsed the Bali Action Plan to pay for reductions in tropical deforestation. This paper reviews the history of efforts to protect indigenous rights and to pay for conserving forests and analyzes how they might be competing or complementary strategies.
What Mining Can Learn from Oil: A Study of Special Transfer Pricing Practices in the Oil Sector, and their Potential Application to Hard Rock Minerals
Governments of mining countries are vulnerable to investors manipulating transfer prices as a means of avoiding paying taxes. This paper looks at whether special practices in the oil sector that provide materially greater protection against transfer pricing risk could be applied to hard rock minerals. These are (1) administrative pricing, where government, rather than the taxpayer sets the price for crude oil; and (2) the no-profit rule, which prevents joint venture partners from charging a profit mark-up on the cost of providing goods and services to the group.
The economic impacts of Donald Trump’s trade dispute with China have so far been limited, but the countries of Latin America are nonetheless paying an early price. For a region where many economies are already constrained by weakened fiscal positions, the additional uncertainty caused by rising protectionism is especially unwelcome.
Digital Governance in Developing Countries: Beneficiary Experience and Perceptions of System Reform in Rajasthan, India - Working Paper 489
India is at the forefront of the use of digital technology to transform the way in which citizens interact with states. This paper provides a picture of the perceived impact of digitization reforms in Rajasthan, based on a survey of beneficiaries of several benefit programs. We find that, on balance, the reforms appear to have improved perceptions of service delivery despite some difficulties during the digitization process and the possibility that there could have been some degree of exclusion.
In recent years, many global health institutions have adopted eligibility and transition frameworks for the countries they support, generating questions about how these frameworks apply in practice—and whether global health progress will be put at risk through premature or poorly planned transition processes.
Over the past 50 years, Pakistan’s record on macroeconomic management has been mixed. The next crisis is now approaching. Most economists agree that the post-election government will have no alternative but to approach the IMF yet again for another bailout with associated policy conditionality. Against this background, this note examines three questions that economists both within and outside Pakistan are asking.