Ideas to Action:

Independent research for global prosperity



Publishing Government Contracts brief
November 11, 2014

Publishing Government Contracts: Addressing Concerns and Easing Implementation (Brief)

Government procurement worldwide is worth around $9.5 trillion a year. Oil, gas, and mining rents (the gap between the price of the goods produced and the cost of production) amount to around $5 trillion, which is 4.8 percent of global GDP. Governments routinely sign multibillion-dollar contracts regarding the use of public property including those natural resources. The resulting contracts are public documents, for which default practice should be in favor of publication.

publishing government contracts
November 10, 2014

Publishing Government Contracts: Addressing Concerns and Easing Implementation

Government contracts regarding the use of public property and finances should be published by default. Many jurisdictions already require that contracts be made public in response to requests for the information; some now publish contracts proactively. Doing so helps new entrants compete in the market for public contracts, helps governments model their projects on other successful examples, and allows citizens greater insight into how their taxes are being spent. This provides a practical outline for reaping the benefits of open contracts while addressing legitimate concerns about costs, collusion, privacy, commercial secrecy, and national security.

CGD Working Group on Contract Publication
Delivering on a Data Revolution in Sub-Saharan Africa brief
July 7, 2014

Delivering on a Data Revolution in Sub-Saharan Africa

Despite improvements in censuses and household surveys, the building blocks of national statistical systems in sub-Saharan Africa remain weak. Measurement of fundamentals such as births and deaths, growth and poverty, taxes and trade, land and the environment, and sickness, schooling, and safety is shaky at best. The Data for African Development Working Group’s recommendations for reaping the benefits of a data revolution in Africa fall into three categories: (1) fund more and fund differently, (2) build institutions that can produce accurate, unbiased data, and (3) prioritize the core attributes of data building blocks.

Amanda Glassman and Alex Ezeh
May 13, 2014

On the Distributed Costs of Drug-Related Homicides - Working Paper 364

Reliable estimates of the effects of violence on economic outcomes are scarce. We exploit the manyfold increase in homicides in 2008-2011 in Mexico resulting from its war on organized drug traffickers to estimate the effect of drug-related homicides on house prices. 

Nicolas Ajzenman , Sebastian Galiani and Enrique Seira
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.”

January 27, 2014

Political Economy of Development - Columbia University

My goal is to get students to think critically about development theory and practice. A slight majority of examples and readings will be drawn from sub-Saharan Africa, in part give the course some focus, and in part because it is my area of expertise. But in I will also bring in a considerable amount of material on Latin America, the early development of the US and Europe, and to a lesser extent Asia—an order determined largely by my knowledge or ignorance.