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  • Author: Stewart Patrick
  • Publication Date: 01-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: A key motivation behind recent donor attention and financial resources devoted to developing countries is the presumed connection between weak and failing states, on the one hand, and a variety of transnational threats, on the other. Indeed, it has become conventional wisdom that poorly performing states generate multiple cross-border “spillovers,” including terrorism, weapons proliferation, organized crime, regional instability, global pandemics, and energy insecurity. What is striking is how little empirical evidence underpins such sweeping assertions. A closer look suggests that the connection between state weakness and global threats is less clear and more variable than typically assumed. Both the type and extent of “spillovers” depend in part on whether the weakness in question is a function of state capacity, will, or a combination of the two. Moreover, a preliminary review suggests that some trans-border threats are more likely to emerge not from the weakest states but from stronger states that possess narrower but critical gaps in capacity and will. Crafting an effective U.S. and international strategy towards weak states and the cross-border spillovers they sometimes generate will depend on a deeper understanding of the underlying mechanisms linking these two sets of phenomena. The challenge for analysts and policymakers will be to get greater clarity about which states are responsible for which threats and design development and other external interventions accordingly. This working paper represents an initial foray in this direction, suggesting avenues for future research and policy development.
  • Topic: Security, Globalization, Terrorism, Weapons of Mass Destruction
  • Author: Todd Moss, Nicolas Van de Walle, Gunilla Pettersson
  • Publication Date: 01-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: A number of proposals today support a substantial increase in foreign aid levels to sub-Saharan Africa even though this region already receives a historically unprecedented volume of aid. This essay reviews the evidence regarding the potentially negative effects of aid dependence on state institutions, a topic which has received relatively little attention. We note several pathways through which political institutions might be adversely affected and devote particular attention to fiscal and state revenue issues. In addition to reviewing the economic literature on the aid-revenue relationship, this essay brings in the long-standing political science literature on state-building to consider the potential impact of aid dependence on the relationship between state and citizen. We conclude that states which can raise a substantial proportion of their revenues from the international community are less accountable to their citizens and under less pressure to maintain popular legitimacy. They are therefore less likely to have the incentives to cultivate and invest in effective public institutions. As a result, substantial increases in aid inflows over a sustained period could have a harmful effect on institutional development in sub-Saharan Africa.
  • Topic: Development, Humanitarian Aid, Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Maureen Lewis
  • Publication Date: 01-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: What factors affect health care delivery in the developing world? Anecdotal evidence of lives cut tragically short and the loss of productivity due to avoidable diseases is an area of salient concern in global health and international development. This working paper looks at factual evidence to describe the main challenges facing health care delivery in developing countries, including absenteeism, corruption, informal payments, and mismanagement. The author concludes that good governance is important in ensuring effective health care delivery, and that returns to investments in health are low where governance issues are not addressed.
  • Topic: Corruption, Development, Health, Human Welfare
  • Author: Nancy Birdsall
  • Publication Date: 02-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: Openness is not necessarily good for the poor. Reducing trade protection has not brought growth to today's poorest countries, and open capital markets have not been good for the poorest households in emerging market economies. In this paper I present evidence on these two points. First, countries highly dependent on primary exports two decades ago, despite their substantial engagement in trade and a marked decline in their tariff rates in the 1990s, have failed to grow. Second, within high-debt emerging market economies the financial crises of the last decade, whether induced by domestic policy problems or global contagion, have been especially costly for the poor (in welfare terms if not in terms of absolute income losses). I discuss the asymmetries in the global economy that help explain why countries and people cannot always compete on equal terms on the “level playing field” of the global economy.
  • Topic: International Relations, Economics, Globalization, Political Economy
  • Author: Ngaire Woods
  • Publication Date: 04-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: The IMF and the World Bank have been effective engines of globalization. They employ the largest number of applied economists of any institution in the world, aggregating an awe-inspiring bank of economic data and applied research. Their data, standard-setting role, and global influence are prized by their wealthiest members. Poor countries borrow from them. In a globalizing world, we particularly need such institutions. So why are they now in decline?
  • Topic: Development, Political Economy, International Monetary Fund
  • Author: John Nellis
  • Publication Date: 03-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: In the last 25 years many thousands of formerly state-owned and operated firms have been privatized in developing and transition countries, generating over $400 billion (US) in sales proceeds. In addition, thousands of firms have been transferred by privatization processes in which no money was raised (though a surprising number of state-owned firms remain in these regions). The vast majority of economic studies praise privatization's positive impact at the level of the firm, as well as its positive macroeconomic and welfare contributions. Moreover, contrary to popular conception, privatization has not contributed to maldistribution of income or increased poverty——at least in the best-studied Latin American cases. In sum, the technical picture is generally positive. Nonetheless, public opinion in the less developed world is generally suspicious of, and often hostile to, privatization. A good part of the problem is that privatization has proven harder to launch, and is more likely to produce errant results, in low-income, institutionally weak states, particularly in the most important infrastructure sectors. Privatization is hard to sell politically; it has become a lightning rod and handy scapegoat for all discontent related to liberalization and globalization. What is needed are reform mechanisms that give incentives and comfort to reputable private investors, that create and sustain the policy and regulatory institutions that make governments competent and honest partners with the private operators, while at the same time protecting consumers, particularly the most disadvantaged, from abuse.</p
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Political Economy, Privatization
  • Political Geography: Latin America