Ideas to Action:

Independent research for global prosperity

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A registration officer in Malawi's National Registration and Identification System
August 19, 2020

Malawi’s Journey Towards Transformation: Lessons from its National ID Project

This essay lays out the story of how the UNDP team with its development partners achieved universal ID registration in Malawi, the challenges we faced, the roadblocks, how UNDP coordinated with other stakeholders and community development partners, and highlights the synergies that helped us achieve success.

Tariq Malik
Cover of working paper 542
August 19, 2020

Education in Africa: What Are We Learning?

Countries across Africa continue to face major challenges in education. In this review, we examine 142 recent empirical studies (from 2014 onward) on how to increase access to and improve the quality of education across the continent, specifically examining how these studies update previous research findings.

Cover of working paper 543
August 19, 2020

Social Protection Amidst Social Upheaval: Examining the Impact of a Multi-Faceted Program for Ultra-Poor Households in Yemen

We study the impact of a multi-faceted social protection program, often referred to as a “graduation” model program, in Yemen during a period of civil unrest. After four years we find positive impacts on asset accumulation and savings behavior, albeit substantially less than the amount the household originally received.

Stock photo of a lightbulb on a black background
August 10, 2020

The UK as an Effective Altruist

The prime minister’s most influential advisor, Dominic Cummings, is a champion of “effective altruism”—the use of evidence and careful reasoning to work out how to maximize the good with a given unit of resources. With the UK government in the midst of a major “Integrated Review” of its foreign, development, and defence policy—and the recent the formation of a merged Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office confirming it isn’t afraid of change—now’s a good time to consider whether the effective altruism movement can or should find great traction in UK aid programmes.

A piggy bank under water. Adobe Stock.
August 5, 2020

Restructuring Sovereign Debt to Private Creditors in Poor Countries: What’s Broken?

Two out of five low-income countries were in the grips of, or moving rapidly toward, unsustainable debt levels before the global pandemic. But the economic, financial, and fiscal effects of the pandemic have brought the day of reckoning for many countries much closer. The global financial community is likely entering another period of messy, prolonged, costly, and contentious debt defaults and restructurings. It does so with no more—and in some ways less—consensus on the principles that should govern collective action by public and private creditors, debtor governments, and the IFIs.

A hedgehog and a fox
August 5, 2020

The Hedgehog, the Fox, and the Hounds: How the FCDO Can Deliver Its Vision for Development

Being a force for good in the world is more than about branding, or even good intentions: it requires impact and an organisation capable of it. The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office’s vision offers a good starting point for being a values-driven force for good in the world, but within that vision there are potential tensions that need to be managed, rather than left to seethe.

Aerial view of Bogota. Photo via Adobe Stock
July 24, 2020

COVID-19 in Colombia: Impact and Policy Responses

In this note, we review Colombia's handling of the COVID-19 crisis. The first line of policy response slowed down the pace of contagion and avoided excess deaths, providing additional time to strengthen the health system and increase ICU capacity. However, the challenges that remain are significant. We provide some policy recommendations for the next stages of the pandemic.

July 24, 2020

Testimony on Critical US Supply Chains Amid the COVID-19 Pandemic

On July 23, 2020, CGD Senior Fellow Prashant Yadav appeared before the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Trade at a hearing titled “Trade, Manufacturing, and Critical Supply Chains: Lessons From COVID-19.” Yadav’s testimony noted the vulnerabilities in supply chains for medical products clearly exposed by the COVID-19 pandemic and outlined key considerations for US policy toward medical supply chains moving forward.

A worker with a container ship at the port of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Photo by Rob Beechey, World Bank
July 22, 2020

A Manifesto for Globalization

Globalization is under attack.US isolationism is part of a worldwide phenomenon: anti-globalizers have risen to power in countries from Brazil and Hungary to the UK. And they led efforts to build walls real and virtual against trade and exchange. From the intellectual right, globalization is blamed for cultural decay. From the left it is attacked as a source of inequality and repression.

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