Ideas to Action:

Independent research for global prosperity




April 17, 2014

What Drives Deforestation and What Stops It? A Meta-Analysis of Spatially Explicit Econometric Studies - Working Paper 361

Forests provide a wealth of public services and private goods, yet forested land is being steadily converted to other uses, including cropland, pasture, mining, and urban areas, which can generate greater private economic returns.  Public concern over the benefits of forests lost due to deforestation has led to a variety of deliberate policies intended to slow the rate of deforestation.  These efforts benefit from research to understand what factors drive deforestation and what policies can effectively stop it. 
April 7, 2014

Assessing Performance-Based Payments for Forest Conservation: Six Successes, Four Worries, and Six Possibilities to Explore of the Guyana-Norway Agreement

In 2009, Guyana created a Low Carbon Development Strategy to develop economically while keeping its entire forest intact, and signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Norway to receive performance-based payments in the tens of millions of dollars annually contingent upon holding nationwide deforestation to a near-zero rate. In mid-February, 2014, we visited Guyana as part of a three-country study to attempt to gain insights of value to the future expansion of performance-based payments in other countries and other sectors. 

April 3, 2014

Meeting the Challenge of Drug Resistant Diseases in Developing Countries

The US has an untapped opportunity to offer global leadership against drug resistance through the major global health programs it already supports, namely PEPFAR, the Global Fund, and the Presidents Malaria Imitative. In this memo, Victoria Fan and Amanda Glassman highlight considerations for Congress with respect to oversight of these key channels of US development assistance for health that greatly affect drug resistance.

April 3, 2014

Balancing Energy Access and Environmental Goals in Development Finance: The Case of the OPIC Carbon Cap

The international community has ambitious goals for responding to climate change and increasing global access to energy services. To date, these agendas have been viewed to be largely complementary. However, policy makers are now facing more explicit interactions between environment, energy, and economic and social development objectives and associated trade-offs.

Todd Moss , Roger Pielke, Jr. and Morgan Bazilian
March 18, 2014

Does Development Reduce Migration? - Working Paper 359

Basic economic theory suggests that as poor countries get richer, fewer people want to leave. This idea captivates policymakers in international aid and trade diplomacy. But a long research literature and recent data suggest something very different: Over the course of a “mobility transition”, emigration typically rises with economic development—at least until poor countries reach upper-middle income level, like Algeria or El Salvador. Emigration typically falls only as countries become even richer. This note measures the mobility transition in every decade since 1960, surveys 45 years of research on why it happens, and suggests five questions for further study.

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.”

February 24, 2014

From Maize to Haze: Agricultural Shocks and the Growth of the Mexican Drug Sector - Working Paper 355

We examine how commodity price shocks experienced by rural producers affect the drug trade in Mexico. Our analysis exploits exogenous movements in the Mexican maize price stemming from weather conditions in U.S. maize-growing regions, as well as export flows of other major maize producers. Using data on over 2,200 municipios spanning 1990-2010, we show that lower prices differentially increased the cultivation of both marijuana and opium poppies in municipios more climatically suited to growing maize.