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  • Author: Vijaya Ramachandran, Alan Gelb, Christian J. Meyer
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: We consider economic development of Sub-Saharan Africa from the perspective of slow convergence of productivity, both across sectors and across firms within sectors. Why have "productivity enclaves", islands of high productivity in a sea of smaller low-productivity firms, not diffused more rapidly? We summarize and analyze three sets of factors: First, the poor business climate, which constrains the allocation of production factors between sectors and firms. Second, the complex political economy of business-government relations in Africa's small economies. Third, the distribution of firm capabilities. The roots of these factors lie in Africa's geography and its distinctive history, including the legacy of its colonial period on state formation and market structure.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Industrial Policy, Markets
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Amanda Glassman, Justin Sandefur
  • Publication Date: 07-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: Across multiple African countries, discrepancies between administrative data and independent household surveys suggest official statistics systematically exaggerate development progress. We provide evidence for two distinct explanations of these discrepancies. First, governments misreport to foreign donors, as in the case of a results-based aid program rewarding reported vaccination rates. Second, national governments are themselves misled by frontline service providers, as in the case of primary education, where official enrollment numbers diverged from survey estimates after funding shifted from user fees to per pupil government grants. Both syndromes highlight the need for incentive compatibility between data systems and funding rules.
  • Topic: Development, Foreign Aid, Foreign Direct Investment, Governance, Developing World
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Dean Karlan, Pia Raffler, Greg Fischer, Margaret McConnell
  • Publication Date: 11-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: In a field experiment in Uganda, we find that demand after a free distribution of three health products is lower than after a sale distribution. This contrasts with work on insecticide-treated bed nets, highlighting the importance of product characteristics in determining pricing policy. We put forward a model to illustrate the potential tension between two important factors, learning and anchoring, and then test this model with three products selected specifically for their variation in the scope for learning. We find the rank order of shifts in demand matches with the theoretical prediction, although the differences are not statistically significant.
  • Topic: Development, Health
  • Political Geography: Uganda, Africa
  • Author: Michael Clemens, Gabriel Demombynes
  • Publication Date: 09-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: The Millennium Villages Project is a high profile, multi-country development project that has aimed to serve as a model for ending rural poverty in sub-Saharan Africa. The project became the subject of controversy when the methodological basis of early claims of success was questioned. The lively ensuing debate offers lessons on three recent mini-revolutions that have swept the field of development economics: the rising standards of evidence for measuring impact, the “open data” movement, and the growing role of the blogosphere in research debates.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Poverty, Foreign Aid
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Benjamin Leo
  • Publication Date: 12-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: The United States government has made repeated declarations over the last decade to align its assistance programs behind developing countries' priorities. By utilizing public attitude surveys for 42 African and Latin American countries, this paper examines how well the US has implemented this guiding principle. Building upon the Quality of Official Development Assistance Assessment (QuODA) approach, I identify what people cite most frequently as the 'most pressing problems' facing their nations and then measure the percentage of US assistance commitments that are directed towards addressing them. By focusing on public surveys over time, this analysis attempts to provide a more nuanced and targeted examination of whether US portfolios are addressing what people care the most about. As reference points, I compare US alignment trends with the two regional multilateral development banks (MDBs) – the African Development Bank and the Inter-American Development Bank. Overall, this analysis suggests that US assistance may be only modestly aligned with what people in Sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America cite as their nation's most pressing problems. By comparison, the African Development Bank – which is majority-led by regional member nations – performs significantly better than the United States. Like the United States, however, the Inter-American Development Bank demonstrates a low relative level of support for people's top concerns.
  • Topic: Security, Crime, Development, Economics, Foreign Aid
  • Political Geography: Africa, United States, America, Latin America
  • Author: Laura E. Seay
  • Publication Date: 01-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: Although its provisions have yet to be implemented, section 1502 of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act is already having a profound effect on the Congolese mining sector. Nicknamed “Obama's Law” by the Congolese, section 1502 has created a de facto ban on Congolese mineral exports, put anywhere from tens of thousands up to 2 million Congolese miners out of work in the eastern Congo, and, despite ending most of the trade in Congolese conflict minerals, done little to improve the security situation or the daily lives of most Congolese. In this report, Laura Seay traces the development of section 1502 with respect to the pursuit of a conflict minerals-based strategy by U.S. advocates, examines the effects of the legislation, and recommends new courses of action to move forward in a way that both promotes accountability and transparency and allows Congolese artisanal miners to earn a living.
  • Topic: Security, Development, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Poverty, Natural Resources, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Africa, United States, Democratic Republic of the Congo
  • Author: Lant Pritchett, Amanda Beatty
  • Publication Date: 04-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: Learning profiles that track changes in student skills per year of schooling often find shockingly low learning gains. Using data from three recent studies in South Asia and Africa, we show that a majority of students spend years of instruction with no progress on basics. We argue shallow learning profiles are in part the result of curricular paces moving much faster than the pace of learning. To demonstrate the consequences of a gap between the curriculum and student mastery, we construct a simple, formal model, which portrays learning as the result of a match between student skill and instructional levels, rather than the standard (if implicit) assumption that all children learn the same from the same instruction. A simulation shows that two countries with exactly the same potential learning could have massively divergent learning outcomes, just because of a gap between curricular and actual pace—and the country which goes faster has much lower cumulative learning. We also show that our simple simulation model of curricular gaps can replicate existing experimental findings, many of which are otherwise puzzling. Paradoxically, learning could go faster if curricula and teachers were to slow down.
  • Topic: Development, Education, Poverty
  • Political Geography: Africa, South Asia
  • Author: Nigel Purvis, Abigail Jones
  • Publication Date: 04-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: Worldwide, about 1.3 billion people lack access to electricity (one in five people), while unreliable electricity networks serve another 1 billion people. Roughly 2.7 billion—about 40 percent of the global population—lack access to clean cooking fuels. Instead, dirty, sometimes scarce and expensive fuels such as kerosene, candles, wood, animal waste, and crop residues power the lives of the energy poor, who pay disproportionately high costs and receive very poor quality in return. More than 95 percent of the energy poor are either in sub-Saharan Africa or developing Asia, while 84 percent are in rural areas—the same regions that are the most vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Development, Economics, Energy Policy, Environment, Poverty
  • Political Geography: Africa, United States, Asia
  • Author: Vijaya Ramachandran, Benjamin Leo, Ross Thuotte
  • Publication Date: 04-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: The World Bank Group faces significant operational changes over the near to medium term. More than half of poor countries are projected to graduate from the World Bank's International Development Association (IDA) concessional assistance over the next 15 years. As a result, IDA's country client base is projected to become dominated by African fragile states. To its credit, the World Bank Group recognizes these coming changes and the unique needs and constraints present in fragile environments. It has publicly expressed a plan to develop an organization-wide strategy tailored specifically for fragile and conflict-affected situations.
  • Topic: Development, Foreign Aid, Fragile/Failed State, World Bank
  • Political Geography: Africa, South Sudan
  • Author: Todd Moss, Stephanie Majerowicz
  • Publication Date: 07-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: Ghana's largest and most important creditor for the past three decades has been the International Development Association (IDA), the soft loan window of the World Bank. That will soon come to an end. The combination of Ghana's rapid economic growth and the recent GDP rebasing exercise means that Ghana suddenly finds itself above the income limit for IDA eligibility. Formal graduation is imminent and comes with significant implications for access to concessional finance, debt, and relations with other creditors. This paper considers the specific questions related to Ghana's relationship with the World Bank, as well as the broader questions about the country's new middle-income status.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Poverty, Foreign Aid, Foreign Direct Investment
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Dean Karlan, Ryan Knight, Christopher Udry
  • Publication Date: 11-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: We show how financial and managerial constraints impede experimentation and thus limit learning about the profitability of investments. Imperfect information about one's own type, but willingness to experiment to learn one's type, leads to short-run negative expected returns to investments, with some outliers succeeding. We find in an experiment that entrepreneurs invest randomized grants of cash and adopt advice from randomized grants of consulting services, but both lead to lower profits on average. In the long run, they revert back to their prior scale of operations. In a meta-analysis, results from 19 other experiments find mixed support for this theory.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Markets, Foreign Aid, Foreign Direct Investment
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Todd Moss, Benjamin Leo
  • Publication Date: 03-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: Even under conservative assumptions, IDA will likely face a wave of country graduations by 2025. We project that it will lose more than half of its client countries and that the total population living in IDA-eligible countries will plunge by two-thirds. The remaining IDA-eligible countries will be significantly smaller in size and overwhelmingly African, and a majority are currently considered fragile or post-conflict. This drastically altered client base will have significant implications for IDA's operational and financial models. We conclude with three possible options for IDA and recommend that World Bank shareholders and management begin frank discussions on its future sooner rather than later.
  • Topic: Demographics, Development, Health, World Bank, Health Care Policy
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: John Gorlorwulu
  • Publication Date: 07-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: Countries emerging from protracted and devastating conflicts are often seen as needing significant external intervention in their financial markets to rebuild their private sector and promote quick and effective economic recovery. Despite enormous challenges, the provision of credit or the implementation of various lending schemes often dominate efforts to promote domestic private-sector recovery in the immediate aftermath of conflict. This approach raises a number of questions: First, how effective are loan programs in the development of domestic enterprises in the immediate aftermath of conflicts? Second, can loan programs work without significant improvements in the business climate? How sensitive is the design of lending programs to the success of domestic enterprise development projects following devastating conflicts? This paper explores the experience of the Liberian Enterprise Development Finance Company, which was established in 2007 to provide medium-and long-term credit to small and medium domestic enterprises. In addition to shedding light on the challenges such an enterprise faces in a post conflict environment, the paper explores whether the strategies employed are effective and if there are opportunities for effecting remedial changes that could improve the outcomes of such a program in post-conflict environments generally.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Civil War, Development, Foreign Aid, Foreign Direct Investment
  • Political Geography: Africa, Liberia
  • Author: Rachid Boumnijel, Amanda McClelland, Niall Tierney, Jenny C. Aker
  • Publication Date: 09-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: Conditional and unconditional cash transfers have been effective in improving development outcomes in a variety of contexts, yet the costs of these programs to program recipients and implementing agencies are rarely discussed. The introduction of mobile money transfer systems in many developing countries offers new opportunities for a more cost-effective means of implementing cash transfer programs. This paper reports on the first randomized evaluation of a cash transfer program delivered via the mobile phone. In response to a devastating drought in Niger, households in targeted villages received monthly cash transfers as part of a social protection program. One-third of targeted villages received a monthly cash transfer via a mobile money transfer system (called zap), whereas one-third received manual cash transfers and the remaining one-third received manual cash transfers plus a mobile phone. We show that the zap delivery mechanism strongly reduced the variable distribution costs for the implementing agency, as well as program recipients' costs of obtaining the cash transfer. The zap approach also resulted in additional benefits: households in zap villages used their cash transfer to purchase a more diverse set of goods, had higher diet diversity, depleted fewer assets and grew more types of crops, especially marginal cash crops grown by women. We posit that the potential mechanisms underlying these results are the lower costs and greater privacy of the receiving the cash transfer via the zap mechanism, as well as changes in intra-household decision-making. This suggests that m-transfers could be a cost-effective means of providing cash transfers for remote rural populations, especially those with limited road and financial infrastructure. However, research on the broader welfare effects in the short- and long-term is still needed
  • Topic: Agriculture, Development, Science and Technology
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Nicholas Eubank
  • Publication Date: 01-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: Since its secession from Somalia in 1991, the east-African nation of Somaliland has become one of the most democratic governments in eastern Africa. Yet Somaliland has never been recognized by the international community. This paper examines how this lack of recognition—and the consequent ineligibility for foreign financial assistance—has shaped Somaliland's political development. It finds evidence that Somaliland's ineligibility for foreign aid facilitated the development of accountable political institutions and contributed to the willingness of Somalilanders to engage constructively in the state-building process.
  • Topic: Development, Foreign Aid
  • Political Geography: Africa, Somalia
  • Author: Benjamin Lee, Julia Barmeier
  • Publication Date: 08-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: In September, world leaders will assemble in New York to review progress towards the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Ahead of the ensuing discussions, we examine how individual countries are faring towards achieving the highly ambitious MDG targets. We outline a new MDG Progress Index, which compares country performance against the core MDG targets on poverty, hunger, gender equality, education, child mortality, health, and water. Overall, we find evidence of dramatic achievements by many poor countries such as Honduras, Laos, Ethiopia, Uganda, Burkina Faso, Nepal, Cambodia, and Ghana. In fact, these countries' performance suggests that they may achieve most of the highly ambitious MDGs. Moreover, sub-Saharan Africa accounts for many of the star MDG performers. Interestingly, poor countries perform nearly on par with middle-income countries. Not surprisingly, the list of laggards largely consists of countries devastated by conflict over the last few decades, such as Afghanistan, Burundi, the DRC, and Guinea-Bissau. Most countries fall somewhere in between, demonstrating solid progress on some indicators and little on others.
  • Topic: Development, Human Welfare, Poverty, Third World, United Nations
  • Political Geography: Uganda, Africa, New York, Cambodia, Nepal, United Nations, Ethiopia
  • Author: Michael Clemens, Gabriel Demombynes
  • Publication Date: 10-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: When is the rigorous impact evaluation of development projects a luxury, and when a necessity? We study one high-profile case: the Millennium Villages Project (MVP), an experimental and intensive package intervention to spark sustained local economic development in rural Africa. We illustrate the benefits of rigorous impact evaluation in this setting by showing that estimates of the project's effects depend heavily on the evaluation method. Comparing trends at the MVP intervention sites in Kenya, Ghana, and Nigeria to trends in the surrounding areas yields much more modest estimates of the project's effects than the before-versus-after comparisons published thus far by the MVP. Neither approach constitutes a rigorous impact evaluation of the MVP, which is impossible to perform due to weaknesses in the evaluation design of the project's initial phase. These weaknesses include the subjective choice of intervention sites, the subjective choice of comparison sites, the lack of baseline data on comparison sites, the small sample size, and the short time horizon. We describe how the next wave of the intervention could be designed to allow proper evaluation of the MVP's impact at little additional cost.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Foreign Aid
  • Political Geography: Africa, Nigeria
  • Author: Tony Blair
  • Publication Date: 12-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: Country ownership has become the new watchword in development. The problem for traditional donors is that ownership is too often code for convincing developing country governments to adopt the donors' agenda as their own: a way of securing influence without imposing conditionality. What is really needed is genuine country leadership. As President Obama said when he announced the United States' new development policy at the UN Millennium Development Goals summit in New York in September, “We will partner with countries that are willing to take the lead. Because the days when your development was dictated in foreign capitals must come to an end.”
  • Topic: Development, Human Welfare, Humanitarian Aid, Foreign Aid
  • Political Geography: Africa, United States, New York, United Nations
  • Author: Benedicte Vibe Christensen
  • Publication Date: 11-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: In recent years, China has dramatically expanded its financing and foreign direct investment to Africa. This expansion has served the political and economic interests of China while providing Africa with much-needed technology and financial resources. This paper looks at China's role in Africa from the Chinese perspective. The main conclusion is that China, as an emerging global player and one of Africa's largest trading and financial partners, can no longer ignore the macroeconomic impact of its operations on African economies. Indeed, it is in China's interest that its engagement leads to sustainable economic development on the continent. Trade, financing, and technology transfer must continue at a pace that African economies can absorb without running up against institutional constraints, the capacity to service the costs to future budgets, or the balance of payments. A key corollary is that China should show good governance in its own operations in Africa. Finally, macroeconomic analysis needs to be supported by better analytical data and organization of decision making to support China's engagement in Africa.
  • Topic: Development, Foreign Direct Investment
  • Political Geography: Africa, China
  • Author: David Wheeler, Dan Hammer
  • Publication Date: 11-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: Female education and family planning are both critical for sustainable development, and they obviously merit expanded support without any appeal to global climate considerations. However, even relatively optimistic projections suggest that family planning and female education will suffer from financing deficits that will leave millions of women unserved in the coming decades. Since both activities affect fertility, population growth, and carbon emissions, they may also provide sufficient climate-related benefits to warrant additional financing from resources devoted to carbon emissions abatement. This paper considers the economic case for such support. Using recent data on emissions, program effectiveness and program costs, we estimate the cost of carbon emissions abatement via family planning and female education. We compare our estimates with the costs of numerous technical abatement options that have been estimated by Nauclér and Enkvist in a major study for McKinsey and Company (2009). We find that the population policy options are much less costly than almost all of the options Nauclér and Enkvist provide for low-carbon energy development, including solar, wind, and nuclear power, second-generation biofuels, and carbon capture and storage. They are also cost-competitive with forest conservation and other improvements in forestry and agricultural practices. We conclude that female education and family planning should be viewed as viable potential candidates for financial support from global climate funds. The case for female education is also strengthened by its documented contribution to resilience in the face of the climate change that has already become inevitable.
  • Topic: Agriculture, Climate Change, Development, Gender Issues, Third World
  • Political Geography: Africa