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Financing for Whom by Whom? Complexities of Advancing Energy Access in India

7/26/17

This paper finds that end-user financing (i.e. consumer subsidies and tax rebates) is relatively ineffective at enhancing sales of off-grid solar technologies in India. If the government is to make meaningful progress toward its national goal to extend a constant supply of electricity to every household in the coming years, it will need to learn from and adapt its current financing structures for off-grid solar (and other renewable energy) technologies.

Photo of stack of renminbi

What the AIIB Can Do for the Multilateral System

7/24/17

The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) has enjoyed considerable success in its young life. The challenge going forward is to translate this resounding political success into operational effectiveness and sound strategy. Given the political dimensions of this new institution, it is also worth considering what it will mean for other MDBs like the World Bank and the ADB. There are large questions of political leadership in the multilateral “system” but also an array of issues on which the AIIB could help shape a new system-wide approach, whether defined by some division of labor among the MDBs or by introducing institutional innovations.

Five Approaches to Doing Better in Foreign Assistance during Times of Budget Cutting

7/24/17

CGD’s US Development Policy Initiative (DPI) has assembled five proposals to do foreign assistance better, drawing on both new and long-standing work and analysis from the Center. We believe there should be a shift in mindset to embrace “doing better” in a way that can be applied in times of budget-cutting or even budget expansion. The ideas we promote here offer ways in which our aid enterprise can pursue qualitative improvement alongside budgetary savings.

Cover of Policy Paper 107: Blockchain and Economic Development: Hype vs. Reality

Blockchain and Economic Development: Hype vs. Reality

7/20/17

Increasing attention is being paid to the potential of blockchain technology to address long-standing challenges related to economic development. This paper provides a clear-eyed view of the technology’s potential in the context of development. It focuses on identifying the questions that development practitioners should be asking technologists, and challenges that innovators must address for the technology to meet its potential.

Global Agriculture book cover

Global Agriculture and the American Farmer: Opportunities for US Leadership

6/26/17

In Global Agriculture and the American Farmer, Kimberly Elliott focuses on three policy areas that are particularly damaging for developing countries: traditional agricultural subsidy and trade policies that support the incomes of American farmers at the expense of farmers elsewhere; the biofuels mandate, which in its current form can contribute to market volatility while doing little if anything to mitigate climate change; and weak regulation of antibiotic use in livestock, which contributes to the global spread of drug-resistant super bugs. While noting that broad reforms are needed to fix these problems, Elliott also identifies practical steps that US policymakers could take in the relatively short run to improve farm policies—for American taxpayers and consumers as well as for the poor and vulnerable in developing countries.

American Agriculture's Long Reach Brief Cover

American Agriculture’s Long Reach: Why the Farm Bill Matters for Development

6/26/17

A healthy US agricultural sector is critical to global food security. American farmers help keep food affordable around the world, but they also receive public assistance that too often comes at the expense of American taxpayers and consumers, as well as millions of poor farmers in developing countries. While the farm bill is not the primary vehicle for setting policy on biofuels or antibiotic use, Congress could use the legislation to advance smart policy changes that set the stage for broader reforms.

Measuring Rents from Public Employment: Regression Discontinuity Evidence from Kenya - Working Paper 457

6/21/17
Nicholas Barton , Tessa Bold and Justin Sandefur

Public employees in many developing economies earn much higher wages than similar private-sector workers. These wage premia may reflect an efficient return to effort or unobserved skills, or an inefficient rent causing labor misallocation. To distinguish these explanations, we exploit the Kenyan government’s algorithm for hiring eighteen-thousand new teachers in 2010 in a regression discontinuity design. Fuzzy regression discontinuity estimates yield a civil-service wage premium of over 100 percent (not attributable to observed or unobserved skills), but no effect on motivation, suggesting rent-sharing as the most plausible explanation for the wage premium.

“The Evidence” About “What Works” in Education: Graphs to Illustrate External Validity and Construct Validity

6/20/17

Currently, the bulk of the new empirical work on estimating the impact on learning of various education projects/ programmes/policies, while based on sound principles of estimating causal impacts, is far too inadequately theorised and specified to be of much immediate and direct use in formulating effective action to accelerate learning. The RISE research agenda is moving forward by: (a) embedding research into a prior diagnostic of the overall system, (b) evaluating on-going attempts at education reform at scale, (c) specifying the details of programme/project/policy design, and (d) acknowledging that policy relevant learning is itself part of the system.

Results Not Receipts book cover

Results Not Receipts: Counting the Right Things in Aid and Corruption

6/19/17

Results Not Receipts explores how an important and justified focus on corruption is damaging the potential for aid to deliver results. Noting the costs of the standard anticorruption tools of fiduciary controls and centralized delivery, Results Not Receipts urges a different approach to tackling corruption in development: focus on outcomes.

Women Peacekeepers brief cover

Safer Women, Safer World

6/14/17

Having more women peacekeepers is linked with large reductions in sexual misconduct by peacekeepers and more sustainable peace. The UN could potentially raise the proportion of women peacekeepers to 20 percent for around $75 million.A small multilateral trust fund would offer supplementary payments to troop contributingcountries for each woman peacekeeper provided.

Five Key Findings from Why Forests? Why Now? The Science, Economics, and Politics of Tropical Forests and Climate Change

6/13/17

1. Achieving climate stability requires conservation of tropical forests. 2. Protecting tropical forests could lower the overall costs and accelerate the achievement of global climate stability. 3. Forests generate many non-climate goods and services that are essential to meeting sustainable development goals. 4. Advances in technology have made stopping forest loss feasible. 5. Rich countries and international organizations should act now to scale up REDD+ payment-for-performance agreements.

Investing UK Aid in a Global Skills Partnership: Better Health at Home and Abroad

6/8/17

 A Global Skills Partnership combines training funded by donors with pre-agreed arrangements for qualified graduates to work temporarily overseas, usually in the donor country. This paper shows through one hypothetical example how a GSP for a specific sector (nursing) financed by a specific donor (the UK) delivering training in a specific country (Malawi) addresses critical nursing shortages in both countries.

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The Labor Market Effects of Refugee Waves: Reconciling Conflicting Results - Working Paper 455

5/22/17

An influential strand of research has tested for the effects of immigration on natives’ wages and employment using exogenous refugee supply shocks as natural experiments. Several studies have reached conflicting conclusions about the effects of noted refugee waves such as the Mariel Boatlift in Miami and post-Soviet refugees to Israel. As a whole, the evidence from refugee waves reinforces the existing consensus that the impact of immigration on average native-born workers is small, and fails to substantiate claims of large detrimental impacts on workers with less than high school.

Gender Matters in Economic Empowerment Interventions: A Research Review - Working Paper 456

5/22/17

A review of the recent evaluation evidence on financial services and training interventions questions their gender neutrality and suggests that some design features in these interventions can yield more positive economic outcomes for women than for men. These include features in savings and ‘Graduation’ programs that increase women’s economic self-reliance and self-control, and the practice of repeated micro borrowing that increases financial risk-taking and choice. Subjective economic empowerment appears to be an important intermediate outcome for women that should be promoted and more reliably and accurately measured. Lastly, whenever possible, results should be sex-disaggregated and reported for individuals as well as households.

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