Ideas to Action:

Independent research for global prosperity

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September 17, 2007

Global Warming and Agriculture: New Country Estimates Show Developing Countries Face Declines in Agriculture Productivity

This CGD Brief, based on Global Warming and Agriculture: Impact Estimates by Country, by senior fellow William Cline, explores the implications of global warming for world agriculture, with special attention to China, India, Brazil, and the poor countries of the tropical belt in Africa and Latin America. The brief shows that the long-term effects on world agriculture will be substantially negative: India could see a drop in agricultural productivity of 30 to 40 percent; China's south central region would be in jeopardy; and the United States may see reductions of 25 to 35 percent in the southeast and the southwestern plains.

September 10, 2007

Poverty and Inequality in Latin America: How the U.S. Can Really Help

For the past decade, U.S. attention to Latin America has focused mainly on promotion of free trade and opposition to narcotics trafficking and security threats. But there are signs that Washington is beginning to recognize the importance of helping the region tackle longstanding poverty and social inequality. Candidates at this weekend's Democratic presidential debate called for a robust foreign policy in Latin America and the Bush administration has recently shown a renewed interest in promoting development and improving Washington's image in the region. This new brief by CGD president Nancy Birdsall and Inter-American Dialogue president Peter Hakim sets forth a practical agenda for how the U.S. can help. Examples: buttress free trade agreements with aid programs that compensate losers; include land redistribution and alternative employment programs in the so-called "war against drugs."

Peter Hakim
July 23, 2007

Does the IMF Constrain Health Spending in Poor Countries? (Brief)

This brief summarizes the findings of the CGD working group on IMF Programs and Health Spending, convened in fall 2006 to investigate the effect of International Monetary Fund (IMF) programs on health spending in low-income countries. The report offers clear, practical recommendations for improvements—for the IMF, the World Bank, the governments of countries working within IMF programs, and civil society organizations.

David Goldsbrough
April 16, 2007

Inexcusable Absence: Why 60 Million Girls Still Aren't in School and What to do About It (Brief)

Remarkable increases in primary schooling over the past decade have brought gender equity to the education systems of many poor countries. But some 60 million girls are still not attending school. In this CGD brief, non-resident fellow Maureen Lewis and visiting fellow Marlaine Lockheed explain the key discovery of Inexcusable Absence, their recent book: three out of four girls not in school belong to ethnic, religious, linguistic, racial or other minorities. Based on this important finding, the authors present new practical solutions to achieve universal primary education for girls and boys. Learn more

June 15, 2006

U.S. Assistance for Global Development

U.S. "development assistance" refers to the transfer of resources from the United States to developing countries and to some strategic allies. It is delivered in the form of money (via loans or grants), contributions of goods (such as food aid), and technical assistance.Learn more about Rich World, Poor World: A Guide to Global Development

June 15, 2006

Why Global Development Matters for the U.S.

Development refers to improvements in the conditions of people’s lives, such as health, education, and income. It occurs at different rates in different countries. The U.S. underwent its own version of development since the time it became an independent nation in 1776.Learn more about Rich World, Poor World: A Guide to Global Development

June 15, 2006

Global HIV/AIDS and the Developing World

HIV/AIDS is one of the largest challenges facing the global community. The disease has reduced life expectancy by more than a decade in the hardest hit countries and slashed productivity, making it even harder for poor countries to escape poverty. Global HIV/AIDS and the Developing World, a CGD Rich World, Poor World brief, provides an overview of the impact of HIV/AIDS in the developing world and the U.S. response.Learn more about Rich World, Poor World: A Guide to Global Development

June 15, 2006

Global Trade, the United States, and Developing Countries

The collapse of the Doha trade talks puts at risk one of the rich world's most important commitments to developing countries: to reform policies that make it harder for poor countries to participate in global commerce. Trade has the potential to be a significant force for reducing global poverty by spurring economic growth, creating jobs, reducing prices and helping countries acquire new technologies. Global Trade and Development, a Center for Global Development Rich World, Poor World brief, explains how the U.S. engages in global trade and how trade affects development and global poverty. Learn more about Rich World, Poor World: A Guide to Global Development

July 20, 2005

Costs and Causes of Zimbabwe's Crisis

Zimbabwe has experienced a precipitous collapse in its economy over the past five years. The government blames its economic problems on external forces and drought. We assess these claims, but find that the economic crisis has cost the government far more in key budget resources than has the donor pullout. We show that low rainfall cannot account for the shock either. This leaves economic misrule as the only plausible cause of Zimbabwe’s economic regression, the decline in welfare, and unnecessary deaths of its children.

April 28, 2005

Adjusting to the MFA Phase-Out: Policy Priorities

In this brief we focus on potential disruptions in poor countries and the policy priorities for coping with them. In particular, we recommend that the United States, which is the only rich country that does not grant tariff-free access for imports from all least-developed countries, provide this access as quickly as possible. In addition, to take advantage of any resulting opportunities, beneficiary countries must adopt domestic reforms to encourage greater productivity.

Debapriya Bhattacharya and Kimberly Ann Elliott
March 23, 2005

Overcoming Stagnation in Aid-Dependent Countries - Brief

Traditional economic theory predicts that capital mobility and international trade will push the world's national economies to one income level. As poorer nations race ahead, richer ones should slow down. Eventually, theory says, national economies would reach equilibrium. The reality of the last few decades, however, defies this notion; most of the poorest economies continue to lag far behind. For 50 years, foreign aid has been the main way the international community has promoted economic development. Yet it has not proven to be a silver bullet.

March 1, 2005

Double Standards on IDA and Debt: The Case for Reclassifying Nigeria

Although nearly all poor countries are classified by the World Bank as IDA-only, Nigeria stands out as a notable exception. Indeed, Africa’s most populous country is the poorest country in the world that is not classified as IDA-only. Under the World Bank’s own criteria, however, Nigeria has a strong case for reclassification. IDA-only status would have two potential benefits for Nigeria. First, it would expand Nigeria’s access to IDA resources and make the country eligible for grants. Second, it would strengthen Nigeria’s case for debt reduction. With a renewed economic reform effort getting under way and the emerging use of debt reduction as a tool for assisting economic and political transitions, the UK, the US, and other official creditors should support such a move as part of a broader strategy for encouraging progress in one of Africa’s most important countries.

Todd Moss and Scott Standley
February 28, 2005

On the Road to Universal Primary Education

Education is an end in itself, a human right, and a vital part of the capacity of individuals to lead lives they value. It gives people in developing countries the skills they need to improve their own lives and to help transform their societies. Women and men with better education earn more throughout their lives and participate more fully in the civic and political lives of their communities and countries. Particularly for women, education confers the skills and behaviors that lead to healthier lives. Education that reaches women, the poor, and marginalized ethnic groups not only benefits them directly; it contributes to a more equitable and just society.

December 28, 2004

Toward a New Social Contract in Latin America

his policy brief proposes a new job-based social contract, geared to the aspirations of the region’s vast majority of near-poor “middle” households, whose participation is key to achieving growth and strengthening democracy.

November 30, 2004

Millions Saved: Proven Successes in Global Health (Brief)

This Brief is based on the CGD book Millions Saved: Proven Successes in Global Health. The book book features 17 success stories. These cases describe some large-scale efforts to improve health in developing countries that have succeeded - saving millions of lives and preserving the livelihoods and social fabric of entire communities.

Ruth Levine and the What Works Working Group

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