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  • Author: Frances Zelazny
  • Publication Date: 08-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: India has embarked on an ambitious new program to provide its citizens and residents a unique, official identity. The UID (Universal ID) program aims to improve the delivery of government services, reduce fraud and corruption, facilitate robust voting processes, and improve security. It is by far the largest application of biometric identification technology to date and will have far-reaching implications for other developing countries that are looking to adopt national ID programs to further social and economic development. This paper discusses the evolution of the UID program, the innovative organization and pathbreaking technology behind it, how it is being rolled out, and how robust ID is beginning to be used.
  • Topic: Corruption, Crime, Democratization, Development, Science and Technology
  • Political Geography: India
  • Author: David Wheeler
  • Publication Date: 07-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: This paper introduces ƐCPR, country performance ratings that support Norway's Energy+ initiative by monitoring the progress of 153 countries in reducing the CO2 emissions intensity of energy consumption. It develops annual ƐCPR ratings for the period from 2001 to 2010.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Development, Energy Policy, Foreign Aid
  • Author: Andy Sumner
  • Publication Date: 09-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: This paper updates the distribution of global poverty data and makes projections up to 2020. The paper asks the following question: Do the world's extreme poor live in poor countries? It is argued that many of the world's extreme poor already live in countries where the total cost of ending extreme poverty is not prohibitively high as a percentage of GDP. And in the not-too-distant future, most of the world's poor will live in countries that do have the domestic financial scope to end at least extreme poverty. This would imply a reframing of global poverty as largely a matter of domestic distribution.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Poverty
  • Author: Andy Sumner
  • Publication Date: 10-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: Middle-income countries (MICs) are now home to most of the world's extreme poor—the billion people living on less than $1.25 a day and a further billion people living on between $1.25 and $2. At the same time, many MICs are also home to a drastically expanding emerging middle or nonpolar group, called here the “buoyant billions.” This group includes those (mostly in MICs) living on between $2 and $4 a day and another billion people (also mostly in MICs) between $4 and $10 a day. Although they are above the average poverty line for developing countries, many people in these new “middle classes” may be insecure and at risk of falling into poverty. This paper outlines indicative data on trends relating to poverty and the nonpoor by different expenditure groups, and critically reviews the recent literature that contentiously labels such groups as “middle class.” The paper argues that such groups are neither extremely poor nor secure from poverty and that such groups are worthy of closer examination because their expansion may potentially have wider societal implications related, for example, to taxation, governance, and—ultimately—domestic politics.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Emerging Markets, Poverty
  • Author: Michael D. Cooper
  • Publication Date: 10-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: Over the last decade, a series of devastating natural disasters have killed hundreds of thousands of people, displaced millions, and decimated the built environment across wide regions, shocking the public imagination and garnering unprecedented financial support for humanitarian relief efforts. Some suggest that disaster migration must be supported by the international community, first as an adaption strategy in response to climate-change, and second, as a matter of international protection.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Development, Environment, Humanitarian Aid, Natural Disasters
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Nora Lustig, Luis F. Lopez-Calva, Eduardo Ortiz-Juarez
  • Publication Date: 10-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: Between 2000 and 2010, the Gini coefficient declined in 13 of 17 Latin American countries. The decline was statistically significant and robust to changes in the time interval, inequality measures, and data sources. In-depth country studies for Argentina, Brazil, and Mexico suggest two main phenomena underlie this trend: a fall in the premium to skilled labor and more progressive government transfers. The fall in the premium to skills resulted from a combination of supply, demand, and institutional factors. Their relative importance depends on the country.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Emerging Markets, Globalization, International Trade and Finance, Poverty, Social Stratification
  • Political Geography: Brazil, Argentina, Latin America, Mexico
  • 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: Nora Lustig
  • Publication Date: 11-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: We apply a standard tax-and-benefit-incidence analysis to estimate the impact on inequality and poverty of direct taxes, indirect taxes and subsidies, and social spending (cash and food transfers and in-kind transfers in education and health). The extent of inequality reduction induced by direct taxes and transfers is rather small (2 percentage points on average), especially when compared with that found in Western Europe (15 percentage points on average). What prevents Argentina, Bolivia, and Brazil from achieving similar reductions in inequality is not the lack of revenues but the fact that they spend less on cash transfers—especially transfers that are progressive in absolute terms—as a share of GDP. Indirect taxes result in that net contributors to the fiscal system start at the fourth, third, and even second decile on average, depending on the country. When in-kind transfers in education and health are added, however, the bottom six deciles are net recipients. The impact of transfers on inequality and poverty reduction could be higher if spending on direct cash transfers that are progressive in absolute terms were increased, leakages to the nonpoor reduced, and coverage of the extreme poor by direct transfer programs expanded.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Education, Health, Poverty
  • Political Geography: Brazil, Argentina, Latin America, Mexico, Peru, Bolivia
  • Author: David Roodman, Owen Barder, Julia Clark, Alice Lépissier, Liza Reynolds
  • Publication Date: 12-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: European countries pride themselves on being leaders in spurring development within poor countries. We find that Europe's approach to development could be characterised as energetically tackling the symptoms of poor economic opportunities for developing countries by providing effective aid, while doing relatively little to tackle the underlying structural causes of poverty. We use the Center for Global Development Commitment to Development Index (CDI) as a tool to examine Europe's performance overall. We combine the scores for the twenty-one European countries which are included in the 2012 edition of the Commitment to Development Index to calculate the single score they would have obtained if they had been a single country. This represents the combined commitment to development of these countries, by giving appropriate weight to the larger, more populous countries in Europe, which tend to have less development-friendly policies than the Nordic countries and the Netherlands. Our calculations show that compared to the other countries in the CDI, Europe as a whole performs better than most CDI countries on aid and environment, but less well in other dimensions such as trade and security. This paper provides the background to a series of more detailed studies of the policies of European countries, individually and collectively through the European Union, in each dimension of the CDI, which the Center for Global Development in Europe is coordinating.
  • Topic: Development, Political Economy, Poverty, Foreign Aid
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Todd Moss
  • Publication Date: 01-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: Many of the world's poorest and most fragile states are joining the ranks of oil and gas producers. These countries face critical policy questions about managing and spending new revenue in a way that is beneficial to their people. At the same time, a growing number of developing countries have initiated cash transfers as a response to poverty, and these programs are showing some impressive results. In this paper, I propose putting these two trends together: countries seeking to manage new resource wealth should consider distributing income directly to citizens as cash transfers. Beyond serving as a powerful and proven policy intervention, cash transfers may also mitigate the corrosive effect natural resource revenue often has on governance.
  • Topic: Development, Energy Policy, Oil, Poverty, Natural Resources