Ideas to Action:

Independent research for global prosperity

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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 3, 2005

No Child Left Behind-Anywhere

"No Child Left Behind" could move from a national program to a global mission if several current policies and initiatives converge: the Education for All Fast Track Initiative, the U.S. Millennium Challenge Account, and the renewed declarations of the Bush administration, supported by U.S. public opinion.

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
Cover of A Better Globalization: Legitimacy, Governance, and Reform
March 1, 2005

A Better Globalization: Legitimacy, Governance, and Reform

A Better Globalization: Legitimacy, Governance, and Reform by Kemal Dervis is a reformist manifesto that argues that gradual institutional change can produce beneficial results if it is driven by an ambitious long-term vision and by a determination to continually widen the limits of the possible.

Kemal Dervis and Ceren Özer
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.

February 18, 2005

Business Environment and Comparative Advantage in Africa: Evidence from the Investment Climate Data - Working Paper 56

This paper ties together the macroeconomic and microeconomic evidence on the competitiveness of African manufacturing sectors. The conceptual framework is based on the newer theories that see the evolution of comparative advantage as influenced by the business climate—a key public good—and by external economies between clusters of firms entering in related sectors. Macroeconomic data from purchasing power parity (PPP), though imprecisely measured, estimates confirms that Africa is high-cost relative to its levels of income and productivity. This finding is compared with firm-level evidence from surveys undertaken for Investment Climate Assessments in 2000-2004.

February 9, 2005

Primary Health Care in Practice: Is It Effective? - Working Paper 55

Primary health care is accepted as the model for delivering basic health care to low income populations in developing countries. Using El Salvador as a case study, the paper draws on three data sets and a qualitative survey to assess health care access and utilization across public and private sector options (including NGOs).

Maureen Lewis , Gunnar Eskeland and Ximena Traa-Valerezo
February 5, 2005

From Pushing Reforms to Pulling Reforms: The Role of Challenge Programs in Foreign Aid Policy - Working Paper Number 53

This paper considers what role pull instruments or challenge programs (such as the World Bank's Poverty Reduction Support Credits or the United States' Millennium Challenge Account) could play within the overall framework of foreign aid, asking how they could be designed to function as effective and efficient incentive instruments and how they could best complement other aid modalities.

February 1, 2005

A Better Globalization: Legitimacy, Governance, and Reform (Brief)

This brief summarizes five key recommendations from the CGD book A Better Globalization: Legitimacy, Governance, and Reform by Kemal Dervis. It presses for reform on a broad front with a renewed, more legitimate, and more effective United Nations as the overarching framework for global governance based on global consent.

Kemal Dervis and Ceren Özer
December 28, 2004

Behavioral Foundations of Democracy and Development - Working Paper Number 52

Since 1974 the world has experienced a “third wave” of democratization. Ensuring that these new democracies consolidate is critical to both global prosperity and peace. Unfortunately, the academic literature that might help policy-makers shape appropriate foreign assistance programs remains underdeveloped, in that it lacks strong behavioral foundations, or explanations of why people act the way they do. This paper argues that the process of democratic consolidation requires a transition from clientelistic to contractual exchange relationships. Without that transition, efforts to promote democratic consolidation are unlikely to succeed.

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.

December 13, 2004

Food Security and Economic Growth: An Asian Perspective - Working Paper Number 51

Paradoxically, in most successfully developing countries, especially those in the rice-based economies of Asia, the public provision of food security quickly slips from its essential role as an economic stimulus into a political response to the pressures of rapid structural transformation, thereby becoming a drag on economic efficiency. The long-run relationship between food security and economic growth thus tends to switch from positive to negative over the course of development. Because of inevitable inertia in the design and implementation of public policy, this switch presents a serious challenge to the design of an appropriate food policy.

December 8, 2004

Seven Deadly Sins: Reflections on Donor Failings - Working Paper Number 50

In the face of continuing development challenges in the world's poorest countries, there have been new calls throughout the donor community to increase the volume of development aid. Equal attention is needed to reform of the aid business itself, that is, the practices and processes and procedures and politics of aid. This paper sets out the shortcomings of that business on which new research has recently shed light, but which have not been adequately or explicitly incorporated into the donor community's reform agenda. It outlines seven of the worst "sins" or failings of donors, including impatience with institution building, collusion and coordination failures, failure to evaluate the results of their support, and financing that is volatile and unpredictable. It suggests possible short-term practical fixes and notes the need ultimately for more ambitious and structural changes in the overall aid architecture.

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
Cover of the first edition of Millions Saved: Proven Successes in Global Health
November 30, 2004

Millions Saved: Proven Successes in Global Health

Millions Saved: Proven Success in Global Health details 17 cases in which large-scale efforts to improve health in developing countries have succeeded, saving millions of lives and preserving the livelihoods and social fabric of entire communities.

Ruth Levine and the What Works Working Group
November 23, 2004

Underfunded Regionalism in the Developing World - Working Paper Number 49

This paper argues that regional public goods in developing countries are under-funded despite their potentially high rates of return compared to traditional country-focused investments. In Africa the under-funding of regional public goods is primarily a political and institutional challenge to be met by the countries in this region. But the donor community ought to consider the opportunity cost – for development progress itself, in Africa and elsewhere – of its relative neglect, and explore changes in the aid architecture that would encourage more attention to regional goods.

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