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  • Author: David Roodman, Cindy Prieto
  • Publication Date: 07-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: The Commitment to Development Index (CDI) ranks 22 rich countries on their dedication to policies that benefit poor nations. Looking beyond standard comparisons of foreign aid flows, the CDI measures national policies on aid, trade, investment, migration, environment, security, and technology. The United States ranked 17th overall in 2009, strong in trade and security but less competitive in aid and environment. This memo describes how to boost the U.S. score and links to CGD materials with more detail.
  • Topic: Development, Foreign Aid, Foreign Direct Investment
  • Political Geography: United States
  • 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: Benjamin Leo
  • Publication Date: 10-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: This paper focuses on how budgetary scorekeeping systems affect governments' ability or willingness to support innovative development finance initiatives and explores several options to overcome the restrictions the systems often impose. As a starting point, it assumes that donor governments, such as the United States, will not reform their budgetary system regulations to accommodate innovative development finance commitments due to political and budget policy concerns. In general, each option outlined entails important financial, political, and bureaucratic challenges and tradeoffs. In other words, there are no silver bullets. However, there are possible approaches that may merit further exploration by donor governments that want to support specific innovative development finance initiatives but are constrained by existing budgetary systems.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Foreign Aid
  • Political Geography: United States
  • 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: Kenneth Rogoff
  • Publication Date: 10-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: It is a great honor to present the fifth annual Richard H. Sabot lecture at the Center for Global Development. In this talk, I will take up a relatively narrow but absolutely fundamental question in the international monetary system, particularly in developing countries: Is the International Monetary fund (the IMF) guilty of bringing excessive austerity to the countries that turn to it for bailout funding? Should the IMF instead put much more weight on encouraging countercyclical fiscal policy, as it does in rich countries? Extremely difficult and complex issues underlie these seemingly straightforward questions. My modest aim in this lecture is to help clarify the issues so as to promote rational dialogue.
  • Topic: Economics, International Organization, International Monetary Fund, Foreign Aid
  • Author: Susan Prowse
  • Publication Date: 09-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: Aid-for-trade programs can help strengthen low-income countries' supply capacity and knowledge of trade preferences, which will allow them to take fuller advantage of these preferences. Aid for trade to support preference reform can be divided into three categories: (i) creation of information-sharing mechanisms to ensure that governments, SMEs and other businesses are aware of the opportunities that preferential market access offers; (ii) capacity-building support to overcome supply-side and policy constraints; and (iii) support to ease the adjustments to preference erosion that will inevitably occur. As with other aid initiatives, coordination and cohesion among assistance programs is critical for success. Delivery mechanisms such as the Enhanced Integrated Framework (EIF), the Trade Facilitation Facility (TFF), and the Standards and Trade Development Facility (STDF), are aimed at facilitating such coordination, but more could be done. And, as preference programs are intended to be temporary, aid for trade can also facilitate graduation from these programs and compensate beneficiaries for preference erosion. Unfortunately, this area is still lacking the level of innovation and financial support needed.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Foreign Aid
  • Author: Alan Gelb
  • Publication Date: 10-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: International Development Association (IDA) donors and others operating a country performance-based allocation system face two difficult problems: how to strengthen incentives to produce and document development results and how to increase flexibility for fragile states. Fragile states have the greatest need for projects, but their projects tend to rate poorly in performance-based allocations systems, which provide little incentive to produce successful projects in fragile states or other countries.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Foreign Aid
  • Author: Benjamin Leo
  • Publication Date: 10-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: Over the last 25 years, the international community has pursued a series of measures to address unsustainable debt burdens in low-income countries. Early actions focused on debt relief for official bilateral claims—initially by rescheduling—followed by increasing levels of debt stock reduction. During this period, the Paris Club repeatedly reduced or rescheduled the debts of a number of countries.
  • Topic: Debt, Development, Foreign Aid
  • Author: David Roodman
  • Publication Date: 10-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: The Jubilee 2000 movement, which called for the cancellation of the foreign debts of the poorest nations, reached its zenith in the late 1990s and 2000-and then, by design, shut down. In the space of a few years, it became one of the most successful international, nongovernmental movements in history. As part of a larger, ongoing project to understand the consequences and lessons of the episode, David Roodman provides thumbnail assessments of Jubilee 2000 from several perspectives, deemphasizing anecdotes and statistics in favor of major themes.
  • Topic: Debt, Development, Economics, Non-Governmental Organization
  • Author: Charles Kenny
  • Publication Date: 12-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: There has been considerable progress in school construction and enrollment worldwide. Paying kids to go to school can help overcome remaining demand-side barriers to enrollment. Nonetheless, the quality of education appears very poor across the developing world, limiting development impact. Thus we should measure and promote learning not schooling. Conditional cash transfers to students on the basis of attendance and scores, school choice, decentralization combined with published test results, and teacher pay based on attendance and performance may help. But learning outcomes are primarily affected by the broader environment in which students live, suggesting a learning agenda that stretches far beyond education ministries.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Education, Poverty
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, East Asia
  • Author: Kevin Ummel
  • Publication Date: 12-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: This paper provides high-resolution estimates of the global potential and cost of utility-scale photovoltaic and concentrating solar power technologies and uses a spatially explicit model to identify deployment patterns that minimize the cost of greenhouse gas abatement. A global simulation is run with the goal of providing 2,000 TWh of solar power (-7% of total consumption) in 2030, taking into account least-cost siting of facilities and transmission lines and the effect of diurnal variation on project profitability and required subsidies. The American southwest, Tibetan Plateau, Sahel, and Middle East are identified as major supply areas. Solar power consumption concentrates in the United States over the next decade, diversifying to Europe and India by the early 2020's, and focusing in China in the second half of the decade—often relying upon long-distance, highvoltage transmission lines. Cost estimates suggest deployment on this scale is likely to be competitive with other prominent abatement options in the energy sector. Further development of spatially explicit energy models could help guide infrastructure planning and financing strategies both nationally and globally, elucidating a range of important questions related to renewable energy policy.
  • Topic: International Relations, Climate Change, Energy Policy, Globalization, Science and Technology
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Middle East, Sahel
  • Author: Lant Pritchett, Michael Woolcock, Matt Andrews
  • Publication Date: 12-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: Many countries remain stuck in conditions of low productivity that many call “poverty traps.” Economic growth is only one aspect of development; another key dimension of development is the expansion of the administrative capability of the state, the capability of governments to affect the course of events by implementing policies and programs. We use a variety of empirical indicators of administrative capability to show that many countries remain in “state capability traps” in which the implementation capability of the state is both severely limited and improving (if at all) only very slowly. At their current pace of progress countries like Haiti or Afghanistan or Liberia would take hundreds (if not thousands) of years to reach the capability of a country like Singapore and decades to reach even a moderate capability country like India. We explore how this can be so. That is, we do not attempt to explain why countries remain in capability traps; this would require a historical, political and social analysis uniquely applied to each country. Rather, we focus on how countries manage to engage in the domestic and international logics of “development” and yet consistently fail to acquire capability. What are the techniques of failure? Two stand out. First, 'big development' encourages progress through importing standard responses to predetermined problems. This encourages isomorphic mimicry as a technique of failure: the adoption of the forms of other functional states and organizations which camouflages a persistent lack of function. Second, an inadequate theory of developmental change reinforces a fundamental mismatch between expectations and the actual capacity of prevailing administrative systems to implement even the most routine administrative tasks. This leads to premature load bearing, in which wishful thinking about the pace of progress and unrealistic expectations about the level and rate of improvement of capability lead to stresses and demands on systems that cause capability to weaken (if not collapse). We conclude with some suggestive directions for sabotaging these techniques of failure.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Poverty
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, India, Liberia
  • Author: Benjamin Leo
  • Publication Date: 12-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: The people of Southern Sudan are scheduled to vote in a referendum on whether to remain unified with the central government in Khartoum or break away to form a new, fully independent country. While the Khartoum government remains committed to a unified Sudan, all indications suggest that the Southern Sudanese will vote for secession by an overwhelming majority. Khartoum's willingness to accept the potential losses remains unclear. Many suspect that its ultimate actions will depend, at least in part, upon the resolution of key outstanding issues, such as oil and debt. This paper contributes to ongoing discussions about the role of Sudan's $35 billion in external debt obligations – both for a unified Sudan and a possible Southern secession. First, it examines Sudan's existing debt dynamics and the potential eligibility for traditional debt relief and multilateral debt relief initiatives. Second, it outlines potential options for dividing Sudan's external debt obligations in the event of a Southern secession. Third, it estimates external indebtedness ratios under each debt division scenario and the potential relevance of traditional debt relief treatments. Lastly, the paper provides an indicative roadmap for clearing Sudan's loan arrears of $30 billion and potentially securing comprehensive debt relief in the future.
  • Topic: Civil War, Debt, Ethnic Conflict, Territorial Disputes
  • Political Geography: Africa, Sudan
  • Author: David Wheeler
  • Publication Date: 12-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: The failure of carbon regulation in the U.S. Congress has undermined international negotiations to reduce carbon emissions. The global stalemate has, in turn, increased the likelihood that vulnerable developing countries will be severely damaged by climate change. This paper asks why the tragic American impasse has occurred, while the EU has succeeded in implementing carbon regulation. Both cases have involved negotiations between relatively rich “Green” regions and relatively poor “Brown” (carbon-intensive) regions, with success contingent on two factors: the interregional disparity in carbon intensity, which proxies the extra mitigation cost burden for the Brown region, and the compensating incentives provided by the Green region. The European negotiation has succeeded because the interregional disparity in carbon intensity is relatively small, and the compensating incentive (EU membership for the Brown region) has been huge. In contrast, the U.S. negotiation has repeatedly failed because the interregional disparity in carbon intensity is huge, and the compensating incentives have been modest at best. The unsettling implication is that an EU-style arrangement is infeasible in the United States, so the Green states will have to find another path to serious carbon mitigation. One option is mitigation within their own boundaries, through clean technology subsidies or emissions regulation. The Green states have undertaken such measures, but potential free-riding by the Brown states and international competitors seems likely to limit this approach, and it would address only the modest Green-state portion of U.S. carbon emissions in any case. The second option is mobilization of the Green states' enormous market power through a carbon added tax (CAT). Rather than taxing carbon emissions at their points of production, a CAT taxes the carbon embodied in products at their points of consumption. For Green states, a CAT has four major advantages: It can be implemented unilaterally, state-by-state; it encourages clean production everywhere, by taxing carbon from all sources equally; it creates a market advantage for local producers, by taxing transport-related carbon emissions; and it offers fiscal flexibility, since it can either offset existing taxes or raise additional revenue.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Energy Policy, Environment, Politics
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe
  • 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: Alexandra Gillies
  • Publication Date: 11-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: The governments of resource rich states have several options for how to allocate oil and mineral revenues, including the direct distribution of revenues to their citizens. This paper discusses the political feasibility and political implications of such cash transfers in the specific context of resource-rich states. Identifying the contexts in which this policy is mostly likely to emerge, and understanding the potential governance risks and benefits, will help policymakers to consider the desirability of cash transfers as an allocation choice.
  • Topic: Development, Humanitarian Aid, Poverty, Foreign Aid, Foreign Direct Investment
  • 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
  • Author: Michael Kremer, Alaka Holla
  • Publication Date: 01-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: This paper surveys evidence from recent randomized evaluations in developing countries on the impact of price on access to health and education. The debate on user fees has been contentious, but until recently much of the evidence was anecdotal. Randomized evaluations across a variety of settings suggest prices have a large impact on take-up of education and health products and services. While the sign of this effect is consistent with standard theories of human capital investment, a more detailed examination of the data suggests that it may be important to go beyond these models. There is some evidence for peer effects, which implies that for some goods the aggregate response to price will exceed the individual response. Time-inconsistent preferences could potentially help explain the apparently disproportionate effect of small short-run costs and benefits on decisions with long-run consequences.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Education, Health, Human Welfare, Markets
  • Author: Benjamin P. Eifert
  • Publication Date: 01-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: The role of regulatory barriers in inhibiting entrepreneurship, investment and employment creation is an old topic in economics. This study utilizes a five-year panel of data on regulations and procedures from the World Bank's Doing Business project, along with Arellano-Bond dynamic panel estimators, looking for evidence that regulatory reforms lead to higher aggregate investment rates (roughly, factor demand) or GDP growth conditional on investment rates (roughly, factor productivity). It looks both at individual regulatory indicators and more aggregate measures of the incidence of reforms, finding some evidence of positive impacts of regulatory reforms in countries which are relatively poor (conditional on governance) and relatively well-governed (conditional on income). Relatively poor and relatively well-governed countries grow about 0.4 and 0.2 percentage points faster in the year immediately following one or more reforms, respectively. In both subsets of countries, investment rates accelerate by about 0.6 percentage points in the subsequent year.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Markets, Poverty, Third World
  • Author: Vijaya Ramachandran, Enrique Rueda-Sabater, Robin Kraft
  • Publication Date: 02-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: The geopolitical world of the 21st century is very different than that of the post–World War II era. In this new world order, what constitutes a system of global governance? We argue that it has to balance representation, which is made credible by the inclusion of key parts of the global community, and effectiveness, which means involving as small a number of actors as possible while having access to the resources—and clout—to turn decisions/intentions into action/results. In this paper, we propose simple, fundamental criteria—based on global shares of GDP and population—around which global governance might be organized. We analyze the role that these criteria would assign to different countries and compare them with some of the key components of the system of governance currently in place—the Bretton Woods institutions and the United Nations. We also examine the implications of our analysis for membership in the G-20 and the OECD. We find major disparities, which suggest the need for fundamental changes in sharp contrast to the incremental changes that are currently being considered. Overall, our analysis points to the need for a more comprehensive approach, and for much more than incremental solutions.
  • Topic: Globalization, Government, International Organization, International Political Economy, Political Theory
  • Political Geography: United Nations
  • Author: Mead Over
  • Publication Date: 02-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: The slower spread of AIDS in South Asian countries, combined with the fact that most South Asian countries have higher per capita incomes than the most severely affected countries of other regions imply that the various impacts of the disease will be smaller in South Asia than in the worst affected countries in other regions. While justified with respect to the impact of the disease on economic output, on poverty, or on orphanhood, this conclusion does not follow with respect to the health sector, where the relatively minor public role in health care delivery and the entrepreneurial and heterogeneous private health and pharmaceutical sectors combine to magnify the potential impact of the epidemic.
  • Topic: Health, Humanitarian Aid
  • Political Geography: South Asia, Asia
  • Author: Peter Timmer
  • Publication Date: 03-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: There is great interest among policy makers in how to influence the behavior of supermarkets in ways that serve the interests of important groups in society, especially small farmers and the owners of traditional, small-scale food wholesale and retail facilities. Two broader issues are also important: (1) finding a way for food prices to “internalize” the full environmental costs of production and marketing; and (2) finding a way for supermarkets to be part of the solution, rather than part of the problem, to the health problems generated by an “affluent” diet and lifestyle. There are concerns over the growing concentration in global food retailing and the potential market power that concentration implies. But the evidence of fierce competition at the retail level, and the high contestability for food consumers' dollars, have kept this issue in the background.
  • Topic: Agriculture, Markets, Political Economy, Post Colonialism, Third World
  • Author: Tom Slayton
  • Publication Date: 03-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: The world rice market was aflame last spring and for several months it looked as if the trading edifice that had exhibited such resilience over the last two decades was going to burn to the ground. World prices trebled within less than four months and reached a 30- year inflation-adjusted high. Many market observers thought the previous record set in 1974 would soon be toast. The fire was man-made, not the result of natural developments. While the governments in India, Vietnam, and the Philippines did not to set the world market on fire, that was the unintended result of their actions which threatened both innocent bystanders (low-income rice importers as far away as Africa and Latin America) and, ultimately, poor rice consumers at home. This paper describes what sparked the fire and the accelerants that made a bad situation nearly catastrophic. Fortuitously, when the flames were raging at peak intensity, rain clouds appeared, the winds [market psychology] shifted, and conditions on the ground improved, allowing the fire to die down. It remains to be seen, however, if the trading edifice has been seriously undermined by the actions of decision makers in several key Asian rice exporting and importing countries. In describing the cascading negative effects of these seemingly rational domestic policies, this paper aims to help policy makers in the rice exporting and importing nations to avoid a repeat of the disastrous price spike of 2008.
  • Topic: Agriculture, Economics, Health, Humanitarian Aid, Markets, Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Africa, India, Asia, Latin America
  • Author: Nora Lustig
  • Publication Date: 03-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: Rising food prices cause considerable policy dilemmas for developing country governments. Letting domestic prices adjust to reflect the full change in international prices generates inflationary pressures and causes severe hardship for poor households lacking access to social safety nets. Alternatively, governments can use food subsidies or export restrictions to stabilize domestic prices, yet this exacerbates global food price increases and undermines a rules-based trading system. The recent episode shows that many countries chose to shift the burden of adjustment back to international markets. The use of corn and oilseed for the production of biofuel will result in a recurrence of such episodes in the foreseeable future.
  • Topic: Agriculture, Development, Humanitarian Aid, Markets
  • Author: Nancy Birdsall, Gunilla Pettersson, Jere R. Behrman
  • Publication Date: 03-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: Latin America is characterized by high and persistent schooling, land, and income inequalities and extreme income concentration. In a highly unequal setting, powerful interests are more likely to dominate politics, pushing for policies that protect privileges rather than foster competition and growth. As a result, changes in policies that political elites resist may be postponed in high-inequality countries to the detriment of overall economic performance.
  • Topic: Economics, Education, Globalization, Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Latin America
  • Author: Christopher Blattman, Edward Miguel
  • Publication Date: 03-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: Most nations have experienced an internal armed conflict since 1960. The past decade has witnessed an explosion of research into the causes and consequences of civil wars, belatedly bringing the topic into the economics mainstream. This article critically reviews this interdisciplinary literature and charts productive paths forward. Formal theory has focused on a central puzzle: why do civil wars occur at all when, given the high costs of war, groups have every incentive to reach an agreement that avoids fighting? Explanations have focused on information asymmetries and the inability to sign binding contracts in the absence of the rule of law. Economic theory has made less progress, however, on the thornier (but equally important) problems of why armed groups form and cohere, and why individuals decide to fight. Likewise, the actual behavior of armed organizations and their leaders is poorly understood. On the empirical side, a vast cross-country econometric literature has aimed to identify the causes of civil war. While most work is plagued by econometric identification problems, low per capita incomes, slow economic growth and geographic conditions favoring insurgency are the factors most robustly linked to civil war. We argue that micro-level analysis and data are needed to truly decipher war's causes, and understand the recruitment, organization, and conduct of armed groups. Recent advances in this area are highlighted. Finally, turning to the economic legacies of war, we frame the literature in terms of neoclassical economic growth theory. Emerging stylized facts include the ability of some economies to experience rapid macroeconomic recoveries, while certain human capital impacts appear more persistent. Yet econometric identification has not been adequately addressed, and there is little consensus on the most effective policies to avert conflicts or promote postwar recovery. The evidence is weakest where it is arguably most important: in understanding civil wars' effects on institutions, technology, and social norms.
  • Topic: Economics, Peace Studies, Political Economy, War
  • Author: Jean-Michel Severino, Olivier Ray
  • Publication Date: 03-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: The world of international development assistance is undergoing three concomitant revolutions, which concur to the emergence of a truly global policy. First, it is living through a diversification of the goals it is asked to pursue: to its traditional objective of ushering convergence between less and more developed economies have progressively been adjoined those of financing access to essential services and protecting global public goods. Secondly, faced with this new array of challenges, the world of development aid has demonstrated an impressive capacity to increase the number and diversity of its players, generating a governance conundrum for this eminently fragmented global policy. Thirdly, the instruments used by this expanding array of actors to achieve a broader range of policy objectives have themselves mushroomed, in the wake of innovations in mainstream financial markets. Yet surprisingly, this triple revolution in goals, actors and tools has not yet impacted the way we measure both the financial volumes dedicated to this emerging global policy nor the concrete impacts it aims to achieve. This paper argues for the need to move from the conventional measure of Official Development Assistance to the construction of clearer benchmarks for what ultimately matters: resources and results that concur to 21st century international development.
  • Topic: Development, Humanitarian Aid, Post Colonialism, Poverty, Third World
  • Author: David Roodman
  • Publication Date: 04-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: At the heart of many econometric models is a linear function and a normal error. Examples include the classical small-sample linear regression model and the probit, ordered probit, multinomial probit, Tobit, interval regression, and truncated-distribution regression models. Because the normal distribution has a natural multidimensional generalization, such models can be combined into multi-equation systems in which the errors share a multivariate normal distribution. The literature has historically focused on multi-stage procedures for estimating mixed models, which are more efficiently computationally, if less so statistically, than maximum likelihood (ML). But faster computers and simulated likelihood methods such as the Geweke, Hajivassiliou, and Keane (GHK) algorithm for estimating higher-dimensional cumulative normal distributions have made direct ML estimation practical. ML also facilitates a generalization to switching, selection, and other models in which the number and types of equations vary by observation. The Stata module cmp fits Seemingly Unrelated Regressions (SUR) models of this broad family. Its estimator is also consistent for recursive systems in which all endogenous variables appear on the right-hand-sides as observed. If all the equations are structural, then estimation is full-information maximum likelihood (FIML). If only the final stage or stages are, then it is limited-information maximum likelihood (LIML). cmp can mimic a dozen built-in Stata commands and several user-written ones. It is also appropriate for a panoply of models previously hard to estimate. Heteroskedasticity, however, can render it inconsistent. This paper explains the theory and implementation of cmp and of a related Mata function, ghk2(), that implements the GHK algorithm.
  • Topic: Development, Humanitarian Aid, Poverty, Third World
  • Author: James Habyarimana, William Jack
  • Publication Date: 04-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: In economies with weak enforcement of traffic regulations, drivers who adopt excessively risky behavior impose externalities on other vehicles, and on their own passengers. In light of the difficulties of correcting inter-vehicle externalities associated with weak third-party enforcement, this paper evaluates an intervention that aims instead to correct the intra-vehicle externality between a driver and his passengers, who face a collective action problem when deciding whether to exert social pressure on the driver if their safety is compromised. We report the results of a field experiment aimed at solving this collective action problem, which empowers passengers to take action. Evocative messages encouraging passengers to speak up were placed inside a random sample of over 1,000 long-distance Kenyan minibuses, or matatus, serving both as a focal point for, and to reduce the cost of, passenger action. Independent insurance claims data were collected for the treatment group and a control group before and after the intervention. Our results indicate that insurance claims fell by a half to two-thirds, from an annual rate of about 10 percent without the intervention, and that claims involving injury or death fell by at least 50 percent. Results of a driver survey eight months into the intervention suggest passenger heckling was a contributing factor to the improvement in safety.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Political Economy, Third World
  • Political Geography: Kenya, Africa
  • Author: Owen Barder
  • Publication Date: 04-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: There is a healthy debate about how to achieve poverty reduction in developing countries, but not enough discussion of what we mean by “poverty reduction.” “Poverty reduction” is often used as a short-hand for promoting economic growth that will permanently lift as many people as possible over a poverty line. But there are many different objectives that are consistent with “poverty reduction,” and we have to make choices between them. There are trade-offs between tackling current and future poverty, between helping as many poor people as possible and focusing on those in chronic poverty, and between measures that tackle the causes of poverty and those which deal with the symptoms. Because donors focus on just one dimension of poverty reduction (growth) they marginalise other legitimate objectives such as reducing chronic poverty or providing social services in countries that cannot otherwise afford them.
  • Topic: Development, Environment, Humanitarian Aid, Poverty, Third World, Foreign Aid
  • Author: Michael Clemens, Samuel Bazzi
  • Publication Date: 05-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: Despite intense concern that many instrumental variables used in growth regressions may be weak, invalid, or both, top journals continue to publish studies of economic growth based on problematic instruments. Doing so risks pushing the entire literature closer to irrelevance. We illustrate hidden problems with identification in recent prominently published and widely cited growth studies using their original data. We urge researchers to take three steps to overcome the shortcomings: grounding research in somewhat more generalized theoretical models, deploying the latest methods to test sensitivity to violations of the exclusion restriction, and opening the “black box” of the Generalized Method of Moments (GMM) with supportive evidence of instrument strength.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Political Economy
  • Author: C. Peter Timmer
  • Publication Date: 05-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: This paper analyzes price formation on the world's rice market using simple supply and demand models as a start, but moving to “supply of storage” models—a staple of commodity-market analysis for more than half a century—to explain hoarding behavior and its subsequent impact on prices. The supply of storage model, however, does not account adequately for the influence that “outside” speculators have on prices. This paper quantifies the impact of financial factors and actors on commodity-price formation using very short-run prices and Granger causality analysis for a wide range of financial and commodity markets, including rice. The results are highly preliminary but are also very provocative. Speculative money seems to surge in and out of commodity markets, strongly linking financial variables with commodity prices during some time periods, but these periods are often short and the relationships disappear for long periods of time. Finally, the paper addresses the long-run (since 1900) relationships among the prices of the three basic cereal staples, rice, wheat and corn (maize), which have declined more than 1 percent per year over the past century. The decline accelerated after the mid-1980s; only the recent run-up in cereal prices in 2007–08 returned them to the long-run downward trend. Despite these common features and important cross-commodity linkages, however, price formation for rice has several unique dimensions worthy of further study.
  • Topic: Agriculture, Markets, Food, Financial Crisis
  • Author: John Gibson, David McKenzie
  • Publication Date: 05-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: A unique survey which tracks worldwide the best and brightest academic performers from three Pacific countries is used to assess the extent of emigration and return migration among the very highly skilled, and to analyze, at the microeconomic level, the determinants of these migration choices. Although we estimate that the income gains from migration are very large, not everyone migrates and many return. Within this group of highly skilled individuals the emigration decision is found to be most strongly associated with preference variables such as risk aversion, patience, and choice of subjects in secondary school, and not strongly linked to either liquidity constraints or to the gain in income to be had from migrating. Likewise, the decision to return is strongly linked to family and lifestyle reasons, rather than to the income opportunities in different countries. Overall the data show a relatively limited role for income maximization in distinguishing migration propensities among the very highly skilled, and a need to pay more attention to other components of the utility maximization decision.
  • Topic: Economics, Migration, Political Economy, Immigration
  • Political Geography: Australia/Pacific
  • Author: David Roodman, Jonathan Morduch
  • Publication Date: 06-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: The most-noted studies on the impact of microcredit on households are based on a survey fielded in Bangladesh in the 1990s. Contradictions among them have produced lasting controversy and confusion. Pitt and Khandker (PK, 1998) apply a quasi-experimental design to 1991–92 data; they conclude that microcredit raises household consumption, especially when lent to women. Khandker (2005) applies panel methods using a 1999 resurvey; he concurs and extrapolates to conclude that microcredit helps the extremely poor even more than the moderately poor. But using simpler estimators than PK, Morduch (1999) finds no impact on the level of consumption in the 1991–92 data, even as he questions PK's identifying assumptions. He does find evidence that microcredit reduces consumption volatility. Partly because of the sophistication of PK's Maximum Likelihood estimator, the conflicting results were never directly confronted and reconciled. We end the impasse. A replication exercise shows that all these studies' evidence for impact is weak. As for PK's headline results, we obtain opposite signs. But we do not conclude that lending to women does harm. Rather, all three studies appear to fail in expunging endogeneity. We conclude that for non-experimental methods to retain a place in the program evaluator's portfolio, the quality of the claimed natural experiments must be high and demonstrated.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Foreign Aid, Foreign Direct Investment
  • Political Geography: Bangladesh, South Asia, Asia
  • Author: Vijaya Ramachandran, Manju Kedia Shah, Alan Gelb, Taye Mengistae
  • Publication Date: 07-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: Why do firms choose to locate in the informal sector? Researchers often argue that the high cost of regulation prevents informal firms from becoming formal and productive. Our results point to a more nuanced story.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Markets, Labor Issues
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Arvind Subramanian, Aaditya Mattoo
  • Publication Date: 08-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: This paper documents an unusual and possibly significant phenomenon: the export of skills, embodied in goods, services or capital from poorer to richer countries. We first present a set of stylized facts. Using a measure which combines the sophistication of a country's exports with the average income level of destination countries, we show that the performance of a number of developing countries, notably China, Mexico and South Africa, matches that of much more advanced countries, such as Japan, Spain and USA. Creating a new combined dataset on FDI (covering greenfield investment as well as mergers and acquisitions) we show that flows of FDI to OECD countries from developing countries like Brazil, India, Malaysia and South Africa as a share of their GDP, are as large as flows from countries like Japan, Korea and the US. Then, taking the work of Hausmann et al (2007) as a point of departure, we suggest that it is not just the composition of exports but their destination that matters. In both cross-sectional and panel regressions, with a range of controls, we find that a measure of uphill flows of sophisticated goods is significantly associated with better growth performance. These results suggest the need for a deeper analysis of whether development benefits might derive not from deifying comparative advantage but from defying it.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Foreign Direct Investment
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan, Malaysia, India, South Africa, Brazil, Spain, Korea
  • Author: Jan von der Goltz
  • Publication Date: 08-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: Developing countries with large greenhouse gas emissions play a decisive role in negotiating a post-Kyoto climate agreement. No effective program to reduce global emissions is possible without their support. At the same time, developing countries face a delicate task in balancing their growing responsibility for a livable climate with the pursuit of continued economic development. This article discusses the negotiating positions major developing country emitters are taking on core issues. Among the most vital unsettled questions are burden sharing between developed and developing countries, the role of the market in the international climate architecture, as well as implementation arrangements. An annex discusses current mitigation policies of major developing country emitters, and argues that developing countries are already taking meaningful action to limit the growth of their greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Development, Environment, Treaties and Agreements, Third World
  • Author: Lant Pritchett, Martina Viarengo
  • Publication Date: 08-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: Does the government control of school systems facilitate equality in school quality? There is a trade-off. On the one hand, government direct control of schools, typically through a large scale hierarchical organization, could produce equalization across schools by providing uniformity in inputs, standards, and teacher qualifications that localized individually managed schools could not achieve. But there is a tendency for large scale formal bureaucracies to “see” less and less of localized reality and hence to manage on the basis of a few simple, objective, and easily administratively verified characteristics (e.g. resources per student, formal teacher qualifications). Whether centralized or localized control produces more equality depends therefore not only on what “could” happen in principle but what does happen in practice. When government implementation capacity is weak, centralized control could lead to only the illusion of equality: in which central control of education with weak internal or external accountability actually allows for much greater inequalities across schools than entirely “uncontrolled” local schools. Data from Pakistan, using results from the LEAPS study, and from two states of India show much larger variance in school quality (adjusted for student characteristics) among the government schools—because of very poor public schools which continue in operation. We use the PISA data to estimate school specific learning achievement (in mathematics, science, and reading) net of individual student and school average background characteristics and compare public and private schools for 34 countries. For these countries there is, on average, exactly the same inequality in adjusted learning achievement across the private schools as across the public schools. But while inequality is the same on average, in some countries, such as Denmark, there was much more equality within the public sector while in others, such as Mexico, there was much more inequality among the public schools. Among the 18 non-OECD participating PISA countries the standard deviation across schools in adjusted quality was, on average, 36 percent higher in government than in private schools. In cases with weak states the proximate cause of high inequality again was that the public sector distribution of performance had a long left tail—schools with extremely poor performance. Relying on blinded weak states for top-down control of educational systems can be lose-lose relative to localized systems relying on bottom-up control—producing worse average performance and higher inequality.
  • Topic: Economics, Education, Government, Political Economy, Social Stratification
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, India
  • Author: Ethan B. Kapstein, Josh Busby
  • Publication Date: 08-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: This paper examines the role of policy entrepreneurs and global activists in shaping the international market for antiretroviral drugs to combat HIV/AIDS. When ARVs first came on the market in the 1990s they were exceedingly expensive; the cost of treatment was upwards of $10,000 per year. These drugs were thus accessible only to those patients who had high incomes. But in 2006, the “international community,” meeting at a United Nations General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS), made an astonishing pledge to those who were infected with HIV. It proclaimed that there should be universal access to ARV treatment. This UNGASS, following up on an earlier historic UN special session devoted entirely to AIDS in 2001, marked the first time in history that the international community pledged itself to chronic care for the ill, which in this case includes the approximately 30 million people around the world estimated to be HIV positive. How do we explain the transformation of ARVs from private goods, which only a few could afford, into merit goods that were (at least declaratively) to be made available to everyone? In other words, how does a norm of “universal access to treatment”—that no person should be denied these life-extending drugs—become the ethical basis for global public policy with respect to pharmaceutical allocation? What are the lessons of the ARV story for other global issues? These are the primary questions we explore in this paper. Briefly, we argue that the policy entrepreneurs and activists who promoted the creation of a universal access to treatment regime—of the transformation of ARVs into global merit goods—relied on a combination of moral arguments and ideas with favorable material circumstances. From the ethical perspective, the task of these entrepreneurs was to convince the “international community” that access to ARVs was a “human right,” or conversely to convince decision-makers that it was morally wrong to allocate these life-enhancing drugs solely on the basis of ability to pay. But from a material standpoint, these arguments were greatly facilitated by the lowering prices of ARVs caused by a combination of differential pricing (that is, lower prices for drugs in the developing world than in the advanced welfare states) and competition from generics producers, coupled with increases in foreign aid spending devoted to HIV/AIDS and other diseases.
  • Topic: Globalization, Health, Markets
  • Political Geography: United Nations
  • Author: Todd Moss, Lauren Young
  • Publication Date: 10-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: Ghana can be considered a relative success story in Africa. We cite six variables—peace and stability, democracy and governance, control of corruption, macroeconomic management, poverty reduction, and signs of an emerging social contract—to suggest the country's admirable political and economic progress. The expected arrival of sizeable oil revenues beginning in 2011–13, however, threatens to undermine that progress. In fact, numerous studies have linked natural resources to negative outcomes such as conflict, authoritarianism, high corruption, economic instability, increased poverty, and the destruction of the social contract. The oil curse thus threatens the very outcomes that we consider signs of Ghana's success. This paper draws lessons from the experiences of Norway, Botswana, Alaska, Chad, and Nigeria to consider Ghana's policy options. One common characteristic of the successful models appears to be their ability to encourage an influential constituency with an interest in responsible resource management and the means to hold government accountable. The Alaska model in particular, which was designed explicitly to manufacture citizen oversight and contain oil-induced patronage, seems relevant to Ghana's current predicament. We propose a modified version of Alaska's dividend program. Direct cash distribution of oil revenues to citizens is a potentially powerful approach to protect and accelerate Ghana's political and economic gains, and a way to strengthen the country's social contract. We show why Ghana is an ideal country to take advantage of this option, and why the timing is fortuitous. We conclude by confronting some of the common objections to this approach and suggest that new technology such as biometric ID cards or private mobile phone networks could be utilized to implement the scheme.
  • Topic: Corruption, Economics, Oil, Poverty
  • Political Geography: Africa, Ghana
  • Author: Owen Barder
  • Publication Date: 10-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: The political economy of aid agencies is driven by incomplete information and multiple competing objectives and confounded by principal-agent and collective-action problems. Policies to improve aid rely too much on a planning paradigm that tries to ignore, rather than change, the political economy of aid. A considered combination of market mechanisms, networked collaboration, and collective regulation would be more likely to lead to significant improvements. A “collaborative market” for aid might include unbundling funding from aid management to create more explicit markets; better information gathered from the intended beneficiaries of aid; decentralized decision-making; a sharp increase in transparency and accountability of donor agencies; the publication of more information about results; pricing externalities; and new regulatory arrangements to make markets work. The aid system is in a political equilibrium, determined by deep characteristics of the aid relationship and the political economy of aid institutions. Reformers should seek to change that equilibrium rather than try to move away from it. The priority should be on reforms that put pressure on the aid system to evolve in the right direction rather than on grand designs.
  • Topic: Development, Political Economy, Foreign Aid
  • Author: Kimberly Ann Elliott
  • Publication Date: 10-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: Despite six decades of trade liberalization, trade policies in rich countries still discriminate against the exports of the world's poorest countries. Preferential market access programs were designed to spur larger and more diversified exports from developing countries, but product exclusions and burdensome rules undermined their usefulness, especially for the poorer countries. Most rich countries have made reforms since the UN Millennium Declaration in 2000 called for duty-free, quota-free market access for the least-developed countries. After the World Trade Organization ministerial communiqué called upon developing countries “in a position to do so” to also provide such access, key countries have moved toward that goal. But much remains to be done to achieve the goal of meaningful market access for the poorest countries, including reformed rules of origin that facilitate rather than inhibit trade.
  • Topic: International Trade and Finance, Poverty, United Nations
  • Author: Prashant Yadav
  • Publication Date: 09-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: The emergence and spread of drug resistance is draining available resources and threatening our ability to treat infectious diseases in developing countries. Countering drug resistance requires pharmaceutical companies, government regulators, doctors, and patients to make difficult choices about drug treatment in order to balance efficacy, cost, safety, and sustainability of drugs. These complex tradeoffs are faced along the drug supply chain from the development of new products, procurement of drugs for donor and government distribution, distribution steps to ensure treatment heterogeneity along with quality and availability, and dispensing and use that requires affordability, patient adherence and rational use of drugs and diagnostics. An analysis of the incentives and risks in the drug supply chain reflects that many stakeholders who can influence optimal prescribing of existing drugs; affect higher patient compliance; and ensure the quality of drugs have weak incentives to carry out these activities optimally. This implies a high potential for drug resistance to accelerate. This paper recommends specific measures to better align the incentives of these stakeholders with resistance- countering activities.
  • Topic: Development, Health, Human Welfare, Third World
  • Author: David Wheeler, Susmita Dasgupta, Benoit Laplante, Siobhan Murray
  • Publication Date: 09-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: As the climate changes during the 21st century, larger cyclonic storm surges and growing populations may collide in disasters of unprecedented size. As conditions worsen, variations in coastal morphology will magnify the effects in some areas, while largely insulating others. In this paper, we explore the implications for 84 developing countries and 577 of their cyclone-vulnerable coastal cities with populations greater than 100,000. Combining the most recent scientific and demographic information, we estimate the future impact of climate change on storm surges that will strike coastal populations, economies and ecosystems. We focus on the distribution of heightened impacts, because we believe that greater knowledge of their probable variation will be useful for local and national planners, as well as international donors. Our results suggest gross inequality in the heightened impact of future disasters, with the most severe effects limited to a small number of countries and a small cluster of large cities.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Development, Economics
  • Author: Aila M. Matanock
  • Publication Date: 09-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: A potential solution for weak or failing states is to enact a delegation agreement whereby a host relinquishes authority over some governance function to an external actor. Through case studies in Melanesia, I find that these arrangements can be implemented as treaties, rather than contracts, so that the external actor remains somewhat exempt from the normal procedure or law of the host state. I also generate hypotheses about the conditions under which host states and external actors enact these self-enforcing equilibria: host states request these agreements either where a major law and order problem leads to a loss of monopoly on the use of force, or where extortion or corruption leads to budgetary crisis. External actors agree to them only under the latter circumstances since this makes the reputational and actual costs of the mission lower, as judged against alternative methods for resolving the problem, and where that state also poses a specific transnational security threat.
  • Topic: Corruption, Debt, Fragile/Failed State, Governance
  • Author: Michael Clemens
  • Publication Date: 08-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: Large numbers of doctors, engineers, and other skilled workers from developing countries choose to move to other countries. Do their choices threaten development? The answer appears so obvious that their movement is most commonly known by the pejorative term “brain drain.” This paper reconsiders the question, starting from the most mainstream, explicit definitions of “development.” Under these definitions, it is only possible to advance development by regulating skilled workers' choices if that regulation greatly expands the substantive freedoms of others to meet their basic needs and live the lives they wish. Much existing evidence and some new evidence suggests that regulating skilled-worker mobility itself does little to address the underlying causes of skilled migrants' choices, generally brings few benefits to others, and often brings diverse unintended harm. The paper concludes with examples of effective ways that developing countries can build a skill base for development without regulating human movement. The mental shift required to take these policies seriously would be aided by dropping the sententious term “brain drain” in favor of the neutral, accurate, and concise term “skill flow.”
  • Topic: Development, Migration, Labor Issues, Brain Drain
  • Author: Ethan Kapstein, Josh Busby
  • Publication Date: 08-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: This paper examines the role of policy entrepreneurs and global activists in shaping the international market for antiretroviral drugs to combat HIV/AIDS. When ARVs first came on the market in the 1990s they were exceedingly expensive; the cost of treatment was upwards of $10,000 per year. These drugs were thus accessible only to those patients who had high incomes. But in 2006, the “international community,” meeting at a United Nations General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS), made an astonishing pledge to those who were infected with HIV. It proclaimed that there should be universal access to ARV treatment. This UNGASS, following up on an earlier historic UN special session devoted entirely to AIDS in 2001, marked the first time in history that the international community pledged itself to chronic care for the ill, which in this case includes the approximately 30 million people around the world estimated to be HIV positive. How do we explain the transformation of ARVs from private goods, which only a few could afford, into merit goods that were (at least declaratively) to be made available to everyone? In other words, how does a norm of “universal access to treatment”—that no person should be denied these life-extending drugs—become the ethical basis for global public policy with respect to pharmaceutical allocation? What are the lessons of the ARV story for other global issues? These are the primary questions we explore in this paper. Briefly, we argue that the policy entrepreneurs and activists who promoted the creation of a universal access to treatment regime—of the transformation of ARVs into global merit goods—relied on a combination of moral arguments and ideas with favorable material circumstances. From the ethical perspective, the task of these entrepreneurs was to convince the “international community” that access to ARVs was a “human right,” or conversely to convince decision-makers that it was morally wrong to allocate these life-enhancing drugs solely on the basis of ability to pay. But from a material standpoint, these arguments were greatly facilitated by the lowering prices of ARVs caused by a combination of differential pricing (that is, lower prices for drugs in the developing world than in the advanced welfare states) and competition from generics producers, coupled with increases in foreign aid spending devoted to HIV/AIDS and other diseases.
  • Topic: Health, Human Welfare, Humanitarian Aid, Political Economy
  • Author: Arvind Subramanian, Raghuram G. Rajan
  • Publication Date: 12-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: We examine the effects of aid on the growth of manufacturing, using a methodology that exploits the variation within countries and across manufacturing sectors, and corrects for possible reverse causality. We find that aid inflows have systematic adverse effects on a country\'s competitiveness, as reflected in the lower relative growth rate of exportable industries. We provide some evidence suggesting that the channel for these effects is the real exchange rate appreciation caused by aid inflows. We conjecture that this may explain, in part, why it is hard to find robust evidence that foreign aid helps countries grow.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Foreign Aid
  • Political Geography: Washington
  • Author: Nancy Birdsall, Jan von der Goltz
  • Publication Date: 12-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: In the run-up to the December 2009 Copenhagen climate conference, the authors surveyed members of the international development community with a special interest in climate change on three sets of detailed questions: (1) what action different country groups should take to limit climate change; (2) how much non-market funding there should be for emissions reductions and adaptation in developing countries, and how it should be allocated; and (3) which institutions should be involved in delivering climate assistance, and how the system should be governed. About 500 respondents from 88 countries completed the survey between November 19–24, 2009. About a third of the respondents grew up in developing countries, although some of them now live in developed countries. A broad majority of respondents from both developing and developed countries held very similar views on the responsibilities of the two different country groups, including on issues that have been very controversial in the negotiations. Most favored binding commitments now by developed countries, and commitments by 2020 by \'advanced developing countries\' (Brazil, China, India, South Africa and others), limited use of offsets by developed countries, strict monitoring of compliance with commitments, and the use of trade measures (e.g. carbon-related tariffs) only in very narrow circumstances. Respondents from developing countries favored larger international transfers than those from developed countries, but the two groups share core ideas on how transfers should be allocated. Among institutional options for managing climate programs, a plurality of respondents from developed (48 percent) and developing (56 percent) countries preferred a UN-managed world climate fund, while many from both groups also embraced the UN Adaptation Fund\'s approach, which is to accredit national institutions within countries which are eligible to manage implementation of projects that the Fund finances. Among approaches to governance, the most support went to the Climate Investment Fund model—of equal representation of developing and developed countries on the board.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Energy Policy, Treaties and Agreements
  • Political Geography: China, India, South Africa, Brazil, United Nations