Tag: Transparency

 

Criminal Finances: Should the UK Be Imposing Public Registers of Beneficial Ownership on Its Ex-Colonies?

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A new Criminal Finances Bill is making its way through the UK House of Commons which aims to make it harder for criminals and kleptocrats to use the UK financial system to launder ill-gotten gains, while minimising the burden on legitimate businesses and individuals. The bill gives expanded powers to law enforcement agencies and makes banks and other businesses liable for prosecution if they fail to prevent facilitation of tax evasion. It also introduces ‘Unexplained Wealth Orders’ (UWOs). These would allow the authorities to demand explanations about any assets that appear suspicious. These measures should have both domestic and international benefits in tackling illicit financial flows.

Extractive Industry Transparency Rule Subject to Long Battle, Poised to Meet a Quick End

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President Trump and many congressional Republicans have made no secret of their strong interest in dismantling “Dodd-Frank,” a law signed in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis to strengthen regulation of the financial industry in the United States. But it’s a small, seemingly peripheral, transparency provision focused on developing countries that’s poised to be one of the law’s earliest casualties. Congress quietly voted last week to torpedo implementation of a rule that would require U.S. firms to disclose payments made to foreign governments for the commercial development of oil, natural gas, or minerals.

Time for a Global Gender Equality Partnership

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This year’s Open Government Partnership (OGP) summit just wrapped up in Paris, and it looks to have been a great success. The OGP is a partnership of countries that make voluntary but concrete commitments to promote transparency and empower citizens, with the oversight of a steering committee that includes government and civil society representatives. It is time to replicate the model—and a focus on gender equality would be a great place to start.

How Can Digital Payments Strengthen State Capacity? Four Areas with High Potential

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These recent developments in identification, combined with rising mobile phone ownership, broadening Internet access, and innovative payment delivery mechanisms, can be harnessed to transform the way states implement poverty-reduction programs and improve the lives of their citizens. Digital payments promise faster, more transparent, and lower-cost delivery for existing cash-based government transfers, and can also transform the way governments deliver subsidies. In a new background paper, Dan Radcliffe reviews the evidence on the gains from digital payments and pinpoints four ways in which they can improve development outcomes.

How to Help Haiti in the Aftermath of Hurricane Matthew

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In Haiti, already the poorest country in the western hemisphere, Hurricane Matthew’s devastation is still being calculated. We know that hundreds of people have died, and the damage to Haiti’s already-fragile infrastructure is immense. So what can people in rich countries do to help? Based on the latest research on humanitarian disaster relief and on the lessons learned in the wake of the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, here are some do’s and some don’ts for policymakers and individuals.

Transparency Is an Agency-Level Game and DOD Is Coming Up Last

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ForeignAssistance.gov is a great idea in theory—a one-stop shop for information about all US foreign assistance spending. In practice, the site has struggled to become a useful and reliable tool due to missing data and poor quality information. But if you look closely, the Department of Defense (DOD), which by some measures is one of the biggest players in US foreign assistance, truly stands out for its reporting gap. 

Publications

Governments buy about $9 trillion worth of goods and services a year, and their procurement policies are increasingly subject to international standards and institutional regulation. Using a database of World Bank financed contracts, we explore the impact of a relatively minor procurement rule governing advertising on competition using regression discontinuity design and matching methods. Our findings suggest the potential for more significant and strongly enforced transparency initiatives to have a sizeable effect on procurement outcomes.

Trade Policy under Siege

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A key argument for trade liberalization is that benefits are generally large enough to compensate the losers and leave no one worse off. In practice, compensation rarely occurs. So part of what is happening is the chickens are coming home to roost for policymakers, especially in the United States, who paid too little heed to the losers from trade. But there is more to the opposition to trade agreements, especially in Europe where the safety nets and adjustment programs are more robust.

The Senate Tackles Corruption in US Foreign Assistance

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Maryland Senator Ben Cardin recently introduced legislation to establish a tiered system of countries with respect to levels of corruption by their governments and their efforts to combat such corruption. It is great to see Senator Cardin looking for ways the United States can contribute to the global fight against corruption, and there is some smart language in the bill. Of course, it wouldn’t be a CGD blog if I didn’t also have some suggestions on how to make the bill even better.

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