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  • Author: Nora Lustig
  • Publication Date: 03-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: This paper presents results on the impact of fiscal policy on inequality and poverty in sixteen Latin American countries around 2010. The countries that redistribute the most are Argentina, Brazil, Costa Rica and Uruguay, and the least, Guatemala, Honduras and Peru. At higher social spending, greater redistribution is achieved, but countries with a similar level of social spending show different levels of redistribution which suggests that other factors such as the composition and targeting of the expenditures are involved in determining the redistributive effect beyond its size. Fiscal policy reduces extreme poverty in twelve countries. However, the incidence of poverty after taxes, subsidies and monetary transfers is higher than the pre-fisc poverty rate in Bolivia, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua, even when fiscal policy does reduce inequality. Expenditure on pre-school and primary education is equalizing and pro-poor in all countries. Spending on secondary education is equalizing in all countries and also pro-poor in some countries but not all. Expenditure on tertiary education is never pro-poor, but it is equalizing, with the exception of Guatemala, where it is regressive and unequalizing and in Venezuela, where its redistributive effect is zero. Health spending is always equalizing but it is pro-poor only in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, Ecuador, the Dominican Republic, Uruguay and Venezuela.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Poverty, Capitalism, Income Inequality
  • Political Geography: Latin America
  • Author: Nora Lustig, Margarita Beneke, José Andrés Oliva
  • Publication Date: 01-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: We conducted a fiscal impact study to estimate the effect of taxes, social spending, and subsidies on inequality and poverty in El Salvador, using the methodology of the Commitment to Equity project. Taxes are progressive, but given their volume, their impact is limited. Direct transfers are concentrated on poor households, but their budget is small so their effect is limited; a significant portion of the subsidies goes to households in the upper income deciles, so although their budget is greater, their impact is low. The component that has the greatest effect on inequality is spending on education and health. Therefore, the impact of fiscal policy is limited and low when compared with other countries with a similar level of per capita income. There is room for improvement using current resources.
  • Topic: International Trade and Finance, Poverty, Income Inequality
  • Political Geography: El Salvador
  • Author: Peter Edward, Andy Sumner
  • Publication Date: 05-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: This paper makes new estimates of global poverty and inequality in 2012 using both ‘old’, 2005 and ‘new’, 2011 purchasing power parity (PPP) price data in order to assess systematically what difference PPP data makes to the estimates. The methodology for the 2011 PPP data is thought to be superior. However, contentions remain. We discuss the PPPs and justify the use of 2011 PPP data to estimate global poverty and inequality, at least for comparison purposes.
  • Topic: Poverty
  • Author: Peter Edward, Andy Sumner
  • Publication Date: 09-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: This paper considers the effectiveness and efficiency of global growth, as a route to poverty reduction, since 1990 and then demonstrates the redistributive challenges implicit in various poverty lines and scenarios: the significance being that this historical data can inform understanding and appreciation of what it would involve to end global poverty in the future. We find that a very modest redistribution of global growth could have ended poverty already at the lowest poverty lines. However, higher, but arguably more reasonable, poverty lines present radically different challenges to the current workings of national economic systems and to global (normative) obligations.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Humanitarian Aid, Poverty
  • Author: Nora Lustig
  • Publication Date: 08-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: This paper examines the redistributive impact of fiscal policy for Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Indonesia, Mexico, Peru and South Africa using comparable fiscal incidence analysis with data from around 2010. The largest redistributive effect is in South Africa and the smallest in Indonesia. While fiscal policy always reduces inequality, this is not the case with poverty.
  • Topic: Economics, Poverty, Social Stratification
  • Political Geography: Africa, South America, Latin America
  • Author: Nancy Birdsall, Christian J. Meyer
  • Publication Date: 01-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: We argue that survey-based median household consumption expenditure (or income) per capita be incorporated into standard development indicators, as a simple, robust, and durable indicator of typical individual material well-being in a country. Using household survey data available for low- and middle-income countries from the World Bank's PovcalNet tool, we show that as a measure of income-related well-being, it is far superior to the commonly used GDP per capita as well as survey-based measures at the mean. We also argue that survey-based median measures are "distributionaware", i.e. when used as the denominator of various widely available indicators such as mean consumption expenditure per capita they provide a "good-enough" indicator of consumption (or income) inequality. Finally, as a post-2015 indicator of progress at the country-level in promoting shared development and reducing inequality, we propose that the rate of increase in median consumption per capita after taxes and transfers exceed the rate of increase in average consumption in the same period.
  • Topic: Development, Diplomacy, Poverty, World Bank
  • Political Geography: United Nations
  • Author: Oeindrila Dube, Omar Garcia-Ponce, Kevin Thom
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: We examine how commodity price shocks experienced by rural producers affect the drug trade in Mexico. Our analysis exploits exogenous movements in the Mexican maize price stemming from weather conditions in U.S. maize-growing regions, as well as export flows of other major maize producers. Using data on over 2,200 municipios spanning 1990-2010, we show that lower prices differentially increased the cultivation of both marijuana and opium poppies in municipios more climatically suited to growing maize. This increase was accompanied by differentially lower rural wages, suggesting that households planted more drug crops in response to the decreased income generating potential of maize farming.
  • Topic: Agriculture, Economics, Poverty, War on Drugs, Narcotics Trafficking
  • Political Geography: Latin America, Mexico
  • Author: Michael Clemens, Timothy N. Ogden
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: It is time to fundamentally reframe the research agenda on remittances, payments, and development. We describe many of the research questions that now dominate the literature and why they lead us to uninformative answers. We propose reasons why these questions dominate, the most important of which is that researchers tend to view remittances as states do (as windfall income) rather than as families do (as returns on investment). Migration is, among other things, a strategy for financial management in poor households: location is an asset, migration an investment. This shift of perspective leads to much more fruitful research questions that have been relatively neglected. We suggest 12 such questions.
  • Topic: Economics, Migration, Political Economy, Poverty, Labor Issues, Immigration
  • Author: Liliana Rojas-Suarez, Maria Alejandra Amado
  • Publication Date: 05-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: This paper analyzes Latin America's Financial Inclusion Gap, the difference between the average financial inclusion for Latin America and the corresponding average for a set of comparator countries. At the country level, we assess four types of obstacles to financial inclusion: macroeconomic weaknesses, income inequality, institutional deficiencies and financial sector inefficiencies. A key finding of this paper is that although the four types of obstacles explain the absolute level of financial inclusion, institutional deficiencies and income inequality are the most important obstacles behind the Latin America's financial inclusion gap. From our analysis at the individual level, we find that there is a Latin America-specific effect of education and income. The results suggest that the effect of attaining secondary education on the probability of being financially included is significantly higher in Latin America than in its comparators. Furthermore, the difference in the probability of being financially included between the richest and the poorest individuals is significantly higher in Latin America than in comparator countries.
  • Topic: Economics, Education, Human Rights, Poverty
  • Political Geography: Latin America
  • Author: Alex Cobham, Andy Sumner
  • Publication Date: 09-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: There are normative or instrumental reasons why inequality may be said to matter (e.g. fairness and meritocracy). However, much global literature has taken an instrumentalist approach as to why high or rising inequality can hinder development. For example, Birdsall (2007) argues that income inequality in developing countries matters for at least three instrumental reasons: where markets are underdeveloped, inequality inhibits growth through economic mechanisms; where institutions of government are weak, inequality exacerbates the problem of creating and maintaining accountable government, increasing the probability of economic and social policies that inhibit growth and poverty reduction; and where social institutions are fragile, inequality further discourages the civic and social life that underpins the effective collective decision-making that is necessary to the functioning of healthy societies.
  • Topic: Economics, Poverty, Social Stratification, Labor Issues
  • 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: Dean Karlan, Jonathan Zinman, Aishwarya Lakshmi Ratan
  • Publication Date: 11-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: The poor can and do save, but often use formal or informal instruments that have high risk, high cost, and limited functionality. This could lead to undersaving compared to a world without market or behavioral frictions. Undersaving can have important welfare consequences: variable consumption, low resilience to shocks, and foregone profitable investments.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Globalization, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Poverty, Financial Crisis
  • Author: Mohammad Niaz Asadullah, Nazmul Chaudhury
  • Publication Date: 12-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: Using a primary school curricular standard basic mathematics competence test, this paper documents the low level of student achievement amongst 10-18 year old rural children in Bangladesh and tests the extent to which years spent in school increases learning. Our sample includes children currently enrolled in school as well as those out of school. About half of the children failed to pass the written competence test, a finding that also holds for those completing primary schooling. Even after holding constant a wide range of factors such as household income, parental characteristics, current enrollment status, and a direct measure of child ability, there remains a statistically significant correlation between schooling attained and basic mathematics competence above and beyond primary school completion. This pattern is more pronounced for girls who have lower competence compared to boys despite higher grade completion.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Islam, Poverty
  • Political Geography: South Asia
  • 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: Paul Wilson, Ya'ir Aizenman
  • Publication Date: 04-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: Although there have been studies of the cost-effectiveness of particular malaria interventions, there has been less analysis of broader aspects of value for money in malaria programming. In this paper, Paul Wilson and Ya'ir Aizenman examine opportunities for value for money in malaria control, extensively analyzing the effectiveness of interventions and current trends in spending. The authors conclude that on the whole resources for malaria control are well spent, but also note some areas where meaningful efficiencies might be possible, including (i) improving procurement procedures for bed nets, (ii) developing efficient ways to replace bed nets as they wear out, (iii) reducing overlap of spraying and bed net programs, (iv) expanding the use of rapid diagnostics, and (v) scaling up intermittent presumptive treatment for pregnant women and infants. In some ways, improving value requires increasing the quality of services—for example, while changing insecticides might increase the cost of spraying campaigns in the short run, it could save much larger amounts in the long run by forestalling resistance. In addition to these recommendations, this paper offers a framework for analyzing value for money in malaria and considers a comprehensive set of factors, from spatial heterogeneity in malaria transmission to mosquito resistance to insecticides. If better results can be achieved at lower cost—and often they can be—donors and recipients alike should better utilize such opportunities. This paper offers not only recommendations to achieve better results in malaria, but also a platform for evaluation of global health interventions that will be useful in future analyses.
  • Topic: Development, International Cooperation, Poverty, Health Care Policy
  • 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: Nancy Birdsall, Homi Kharas, Rita Perakis
  • Publication Date: 04-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: This report presents the results of the second edition of the Quality of Official Development Assistance (QuODA) assessment, with a focus on the changes that have occurred in donor performance since the first edition. These results were released in summary form in November, 2011, just before the Fourth High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness in Busan, South Korea.
  • Topic: International Relations, Development, Economics, Humanitarian Aid, Poverty, Foreign Aid
  • Political Geography: South Korea
  • Author: Victoria Fan, Anup Karan, Ajay Mahal
  • Publication Date: 06-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: In 2007, the state of Andhra Pradesh in southern India began rolling out the Aarogyasri health insurance to reduce catastrophic health expenditures in households “below the poverty line.” We exploit variation in program roll-out over time and districts to evaluate the impacts of the scheme using difference-in-differences. Our results suggest that, within the first year of implementation, Phase I of Aarogyasri significantly reduced out-of-pocket inpatient expenditures and, to a lesser extent, outpatient expenditures. These results are robust to checks using quantile regression and matching methods. No clear effects on catastrophic health expenditures or medical impoverishment are seen. Aarogyasri is not benefiting scheduled caste and scheduled tribe households as much as the rest of the population.
  • Topic: Health, Poverty, Health Care Policy
  • Political Geography: India, Asia, Andhra Pradesh
  • 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: Nancy Birdsall
  • Publication Date: 08-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: The Carbon Monitoring for Action (CARMA) database provides information about the carbon dioxide emissions, electricity production, corporate ownership, and location of more than 60,000 power plants in over 200 countries. Originally launched in 2007, CARMA is provided freely to the public at www.carma.org and remains the only comprehensive data source of its kind. This paper documents the methodology underpinning CARMA v3.0, released in July, 2012. Comparison of CARMA model output with reported data highlights the general difficulty of precisely predicting annual electricity generation for a given plant and year. Estimating the rate at which a plant emits CO2 (per unit of electricity generated) generally faces fewer obstacles. Ultimately, greater disclosure of plant-specific data is needed to overcome these limitations, particularly in major emitting countries like China, Russia, and Japan. For any given plant in CARMA v3.0, it is estimated that the reported value is within 20 percent of the actual value in 85 percent of cases for CO2 intensity, 75 percent for annual CO2 emissions, and 45 percent for annual electricity generation. CARMA's prediction models are shown to offer significantly better estimates than more naïve approaches to estimating plant-specific performance.
  • Topic: Democratization, Economics, Poverty, Social Stratification
  • Political Geography: Russia, Japan, China, America, Latin America
  • 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: 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: 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
  • Author: Rachel Nugent, Andrea B. Feigl
  • Publication Date: 01-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: Health conditions in developing countries are becoming more like those in developed countries, with non-communicable diseases (NCDs) predominating and infectious diseases declining. The increased awareness of changing health needs, however, has not translated into significant shifts in resources or policy-level attention from international donors or governments in affected countries. Driven by changes in lifestyle related to nutrition, physical activity, and smoking, the surging burden of NCDs in poor countries portends painful choices, particularly for countries with weak health systems that are struggling to manage persistent infectious disease burdens and to protect the poor from excessive out-of-pocket expenses.
  • Topic: Development, Health, Poverty, Third World, Foreign Aid
  • Author: David Wheeler
  • Publication Date: 01-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: This paper attempts a comprehensive accounting of climate change vulnerability for 233 states, ranging in size from China to Tokelau. Using the most recent evidence, it develops risk indicators for three critical problems: increasing weather-related disasters, sea-level rise, and loss of agricultural productivity. The paper embeds these indicators in a methodology for cost-effective allocation of adaptation assistance. The methodology can be applied easily and consistently to all 233 states and all three problems, or to any subset that may be of interest to particular donors. Institutional perspectives and priorities differ; the paper develops resource allocation formulas for three cases: (1) potential climate impacts alone, as measured by the three indicators; (2) case 1 adjusted for differential country vulnerability, which is affected by economic development and governance; and (3) case 2 adjusted for donor concerns related to project economics: intercountry differences in project unit costs and probabilities of project success. The paper is accompanied by an Excel database with complete data for all 233 countries. It provides two illustrative applications of the database and methodology: assistance for adaptation to sea level rise by the 20 island states that are both small and poor and general assistance to all low-income countries for adaptation to extreme weather changes, sea-level rise, and agricultural productivity loss.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Development, Poverty, Foreign Aid
  • Political Geography: China
  • Author: Alex Ergo, Ingo Puhl
  • Publication Date: 03-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: Development assistance is meant to improve the lives of poor people in developing countries, but the effectiveness of aid in meeting this goal is uncertain. Demonstrating failure—or success—is difficult because traditional donor financing mechanisms track inputs, not results. This is compounded by poor coordination between actors and a lack of transparency, accountability, and country ownership. Development assistance that is ineffective or has unknown outcomes wastes resources, erodes the constituency for aid, and most importantly fails to improve the lives of poor people as much as it could. TrAid+ is a new mechanism that aims to address these problems by creating a market for certified development outputs—outputs for which both the delivery and the quality have been verified. By ensuring that these outputs, such as safe deliveries or gas connections, meet certain standards, trAid+ acts as a third-party stamp of approval that donors, tax payers, recipient-country governments, service providers, and beneficiaries can trust to know that their aid is being used effectively and is contributing to the development objectives of the recipient country. And trAid+ makes all information accessible online, making it easier for funders to link with projects that are working and projects that are working to link with anyone interested in purchasing certified development outputs. TrAid+ can be tailored to any sector where outputs can be clearly defined and measured, whether health, education, infrastructure, or agriculture. This paper describes the trAid+ concept in detail and proposes practical steps to establish the trAid+ platform.
  • Topic: Development, Humanitarian Aid, Poverty, Foreign Aid
  • Author: Francis Fukuyama, Nancy Birdsall
  • Publication Date: 03-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: A clear shift in the development agenda is underway. Traditionally, an agenda generated in the developed world was implemented in—and, indeed, often imposed on—the developing world. The United States, Europe, and Japan will continue to be significant sources of economic resources and ideas, but the emerging markets will become significant players. Countries such as Brazil, China, India, and South Africa will be both donors and recipients of resources for development and of best practices for how to use them. In fact, development has never been something that the rich bestowed on the poor but rather something the poor achieved for themselves. It appears that the Western powers are finally waking up to this truth in light of a financial crisis that, for them, is by no means over.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Emerging Markets, Poverty, Foreign Aid
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan, China, Europe, India, South Africa, Brazil
  • Author: Charles Kenny, Ursula Casabonne
  • Publication Date: 05-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: Casabonne and Kenny argue that two major factors underlie improved global health outcomes: first, the discovery of cheap technologies that can dramatically improve outcomes; second, the adoption of these technologies, thanks to the spread of knowledge. Other factors have played a role. Increased income not only allows for improved nutrition, but also helps to improve access to more complex preventative technologies. Institutional development is a second key to the spread of such complex technologies. Nonetheless, evidence of dramatic health improvements even in environments of weak institutions and stagnant incomes suggests that the role of these factors may be secondary.
  • Topic: Development, Health, Poverty, Foreign Aid
  • Author: Nancy Birdsall, Nora Lustig, Darryl McLeod
  • Publication Date: 05-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: Latin America is known to have income inequality among the highest in the world. That inequality has been invoked to explain low growth, poor education, macroeconomic volatility, and political instability. But new research shows that inequality in the region is falling. In this paper we summarize recent findings on inequality, present and discuss an assessment of how the type of political regime matters and why, and investigate the relationship between changes in inequality and changes in the size of the middle class in the region. We conclude with some questions about whether and how changes in income distribution and in middle-class economic power will affect the politics of distribution in the future.
  • Topic: Economics, Poverty, Social Stratification
  • Political Geography: Latin America
  • Author: Michael Clemens
  • Publication Date: 08-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: Large numbers of people born in poor countries would like to leave those countries, but barriers prevent their emigration. Those barriers, according to economists' best estimates to date, cost the world economy much more than all remaining barriers to the international movement of goods and capital combined. Yet economists spend much more time studying the movement of goods and capital, and when they study migration at all, they focus on the effects of immigration on nonmigrants in destination countries. I ask why this is the case and sketch a four-point research agenda on the effects of emigration. Barriers to emigration deserve a research priority that is commensurate with their likely colossal economic effects.
  • Topic: Economics, Migration, Poverty, Immigration
  • Author: William Savedoff
  • Publication Date: 08-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: A new wave of development programs that explicitly use incentives to achieve their aims is under way. They are part of a trend, accelerating in recent years, to disburse development assistance against specific and measurable outputs or outcomes. With a proliferation of new ideas under names such as “payments for performance,” “output-based aid,” and “results based financing,” it is easy to lose sight of basic underlying similarities in these approaches and to miss some significant differences. This paper proposes a way of classifying and distinguishing the range of incentive programs being debated today, emphasizing two particular dimensions: the agent whose behavior the incentive seeks to change and the specificity of the output or outcome measure. It begins by characterizing a basic incentive arrangement, discussing the range of available contracts and how they appear in development programs, presents a classification of existing incentive programs and illustrates the scheme with examples. The paper concludes by identifying four broad categories that address different problems and offers some cautionary notes.
  • Topic: Development, International Political Economy, Poverty, Foreign Aid
  • Author: Nora Lustig
  • Publication Date: 08-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: Celebrated by academics, multilateral organizations, policymakers and the media, Mexico's Progresa/ Oportunidades conditional cash transfers program (CCT) is constantly used as a model of a successful antipoverty program. Here I argue that the transformation of well-trained scholars into influential practitioners played a fundamental role in promoting a new conceptual approach to poverty reduction, ensuring the technical soundness and effectiveness of the program, incorporating rigorous impact evaluation, and persuading politicians to implement and keep the program in place. The involvement of scholar-practitioners also helped disseminate the new CCT “technology” to many countries around the world quite rapidly.
  • Topic: Development, Poverty, Foreign Aid
  • Political Geography: Mexico
  • Author: Johnny West
  • Publication Date: 09-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: Although Iraq's oil industry is 80 years old, it has an opportunity to introduce an oil dividend based on the expansion of production currently being undertaken. Even assuming a conservative price for crude, the resulting predicted rise in revenues will allow the government to allocate a significant dividend which halves poverty, helps diversify the economy by creating demand at all income levels for goods and services, and stimulates capital formation—all without cutting into the government's capital spending plans. A dividend, starting at $220 per capita in October 2012 and rising with expanded production, could also cement the affiliation of all citizens to Iraqi territorial integrity, act as a powerful disincentive to secession in oil-producing regions, and create popular pressure among all sections of the population to discourage acts by the ongoing insurgency which disrupt economic reconstruction. Logistically, dividends could be mapped onto the nationwide and universal rationing system, as the electoral roll has been, and combined with Iraq's ubiquitous mobile phone networks and new biometric ID cards. A partial dividend would create a strong domestic political constituency for transparency to reinforce international technical efforts to help the government manage oil revenues and create efficient management structures. It would also help Iraq develop an alternative economic model to a future, which the country's present trajectory now threatens, of a bloated state as the country's only significant employer, with all the attendant problems of patronage networks, politicization of the civil service, and outright corruption. Support for an oil dividend policy is growing among some politicians, notably those seeking votes among the Iraqi poor such as the Sadrists and Fadhila party. International support could help the government structure a dividend which functions well and in the public interest.
  • Topic: Development, Oil, Poverty
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Vijaya Ramachandran, Julie Walz
  • Publication Date: 11-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: In this paper, we look at the scale and scope of emerging donors, many of which are developing economies themselves. On the basis of a survey of the literature, we find that estimates of annual aid flows from new donors (so-called non-DAC donors) vary greatly and are somewhere between $11 billion and $41.7 billion, or 8 and 31 percent of global gross ODA. We find that new donors are not a monolithic group but instead represent three distinct models of aid delivery, which we describe as the DAC Model, the Arab Model and the Southern Model.
  • Topic: Development, Poverty, International Affairs, Foreign Aid
  • Political Geography: Arabia
  • Author: Tessa Bold, Mwangi Kimenyi, Germano Mwabu, Justin Sandefur
  • Publication Date: 10-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: A large empirical literature has shown that user fees signicantly deter public service utilization in developing countries. While most of these results reflect partial equilibrium analysis, we find that the nationwide abolition of public school fees in Kenya in 2003 led to no increase in net public enrollment rates, but rather a dramatic shift toward private schooling. Results suggest this divergence between partial- and general-equilibrium effects is partially explained by social interactions: the entry of poorer pupils into free education contributed to the exit of their more affluent peers.
  • Topic: Education, Government, Poverty
  • Political Geography: Kenya, Africa
  • Author: Amanda Glassman, Andy Sumner, Denizhan Duran
  • Publication Date: 10-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: After a decade of rapid growth in average incomes, many countries have attained middle-income country (MIC) status. At the same time, the total number of poor people hasn't fallen as much as one might expect and, as a result, most of the world's poor now live in MICs. In fact, there are up to a billion poor people or a 'new bottom billion' living not in the world's poorest countries but in MICs. Not only has the global distribution of poverty shifted to MICs, so has the global disease burden. This paper examines the implications of this 'new bottom billion' for global health efforts and recommends a tailored middle-income strategy for the Global Fund and GAVI. The paper describes trends in the global distribution of poverty, preventable infectious diseases, and health aid response to date; revisits the rationale for health aid through agencies like GAVI and the Global Fund; and proposes a new MIC strategy and components, concluding with recommendations.
  • Topic: Development, Globalization, Health, Poverty
  • Author: Jenny C. Aker
  • Publication Date: 09-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: Agriculture can serve as an important engine for economic growth in developing countries, yet yields in these countries have lagged far behind those in developed countries for decades. One potential mechanism for increasing yields is the use of improved agricultural technologies, such as fertilizers, seeds and cropping techniques. Public-sector programs have attempted to overcome information-related barriers to technological adoption by providing agricultural extension services. While such programs have been widely criticized for their limited scale, sustainability and impact, the rapid spread of mobile phone coverage in developing countries provides a unique opportunity to facilitate technological adoption via information and communication technology (ICT)-based extension programs. This article outlines the potential mechanisms through which ICT could facilitate agricultural adoption and the provision of extension services in developing countries. It then reviews existing programs using ICT for agriculture, categorized by the mechanism (voice, text, internet and mobile money transfers) and the type of services provided. Finally, we identify potential constraints to such programs in terms of design and implementation, and conclude with some recommendations for implementing field-based research on the impact of these programs on farmers' knowledge, technological adoption and welfare.
  • Topic: Agriculture, Development, Poverty, Science and Technology, Foreign Aid, Foreign Direct Investment
  • Author: Tessa Bold, Mwangi Kimenyi, Germano Mwabu, Justin Sandefur
  • Publication Date: 12-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: Existing studies from the United States, Latin America, and Asia provide scant evidence that private schools dramatically improve academic performance relative to public schools. Using data from Kenya—a poor country with weak public institutions—we find a large effect of private schooling on test scores, equivalent to one full standard deviation. This finding is robust to endogenous sorting of more able pupils into private schools. The magnitude of the effect dwarfs the impact of any rigorously tested intervention to raise performance within public schools. Furthermore, nearly two thirds of private schools operate at lower cost than the median government school.
  • Topic: Development, Education, Government, Poverty
  • Political Geography: Kenya, United States, Asia, Latin America
  • Author: Charles Kenny, Andy Sumner
  • Publication Date: 12-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: What have the MDGs achieved? And what might their achievements mean for any second generation of MDGs or MDGs 2.0? We argue that the MDGs may have played a role in increasing aid and that development policies beyond aid quantity have seen some limited improvement in rich countries (the evidence on policy change in poor countries is weaker). Further, there is some evidence of faster-than-expected progress improving quality of life in developing countries since the Millennium Declaration, but the contribution of the MDGs themselves in speeding that progress is—of course—difficult to demonstrate even assuming the MDGs induced policy changes after 2002. The paper concludes with reflections on what the experience of MDGs in terms of global goal setting has taught us and how things might be done differently if there were to be a new set of MDGs after 2015. Any MDGs 2.0 need targets that are set realistically and directly link aid flows to social policy change and to results.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Humanitarian Aid, Poverty, Foreign Aid
  • Author: Paul Romer
  • Publication Date: 03-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: Non-resident fellow Paul Romer argues that the principal constraint to raising living standards in this century will come neither from scarce resources nor limited technologies. Rather it will come from our limited capacity to discover and implement new rules—new ideas about how to structure interactions among people, such as land titles, patents, and social norms. The central task of reducing global poverty is to find ways for developing countries to adopt new rules that are known to work better than the ones they have. Economists who advise leaders on policy have often overlooked why some good rules get adopted and others do not. But a better understanding of rules-that-change-rules could lead to breakthrough thinking about development policy. The special rules of China's Special Economic Zones, where new cities like Shenzhen could grow up, created small laboratories through which rules from Hong Kong spread to the mainland, helping unleash the largest and fastest reduction of poverty on record. Romer concludes that a new type of development policy would be to voluntarily charter new cities for the purpose of changing rules, using a range of new legal and political structures analogous to the ones that made Hong Kong and Shenzhen possible. The essay is adapted from a talk presented in Mexico City on October 2009, at the conference, “Challenges and Strategies for Promoting Economic Growth,” organized by Banco de México.
  • Topic: Development, Poverty, Science and Technology
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, Mexico, Hong Kong, Shenzhen
  • Author: Nancy Birdsall, Molly Kinder
  • Publication Date: 05-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: During the 1990s, the World Bank and several donor partners provided a “surge” in external aid to support Pakistan's social sectors. Despite the millions of donor dollars spent, the program failed. Poverty was higher in Pakistan in 2004 than it was a decade earlier when the antipoverty program began. This working paper re-releases a CGD analysis of the World Bank's program, which was prepared in 2005 by CGD researchers Nancy Birdsall, Milan Vaishnav, and Adeel Malik. The analysis reports the many problems donors faced while working with Pakistan's government to improve health and education outcomes. A new preface by Nancy Birdsall and Molly Kinder identifies the key lessons from this massive donor experiment that are relevant today, as the United States and other donors prepare to increase their assistance to Pakistan to historic levels.
  • Topic: Development, Poverty, Foreign Aid, World Bank
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, United States, Central Asia
  • Author: Nancy Birdsall
  • Publication Date: 03-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: Inclusive growth is widely embraced as the central economic goal for developing countries, but the concept is not well defined in the development economics literature. Since the early 1990s, the focus has been primarily on pro-poor growth, with the "poor" being people living on less than $1 day, or in some regions $2 day. The idea of pro-poor growth emerged in the early 1990s as a counterpoint to a concern with growth alone (measured in per-capita income) and is generally defined as growth which benefits the poor as much or more than the rest of the population. Examples include conditional cash transfers, which target the poor while minimizing the fiscal burden on the public sector, and donors' emphasizing primary over higher education as an assured way to benefit the poor while investing in long-term growth through increases in human capital. Yet these pro-poor, inclusive policies are not necessarily without tradeoffs in fostering long-run growth. In this paper I argue that the concept of inclusive growth should go beyond the traditional emphasis on the poor (and the rest) and take into account changes in the size and economic command of the group conventionally defined as neither poor nor rich, i.e., the middle class.
  • Topic: Economics, International Political Economy, Poverty, Foreign Aid
  • Author: Kimberly Ann Elliott
  • Publication Date: 04-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: Trade preference programs are an important and underused tool for stimulating exports, creating jobs, reducing poverty, and promoting prosperity and stability in poor countries. While many rich countries provide special access for exports from the least developed countries (LDCs) to promote these benefits, the trade preferences often do not extend to the products that matter most to LDCs, such as agriculture and clothing. Improving these programs could make a major difference in the lives of the poor, while having minimal effects on production or exports in preference-giving countries because the affected trade is so small: less than 1 percent of global exports are from LDCs. And, in the longer term, improved trade preferences for LDCs will promote shared prosperity and stability in rich and poor countries alike. Recognizing the role of trade in poverty reduction, the UN's Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) for poor countries call on high-income countries to provide duty-free, quota-free market access for the LDCs.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, International Political Economy, International Trade and Finance, Poverty, Third World
  • Author: Kimberly Elliott
  • Publication Date: 06-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: Feeding an additional three billion people over the next four decades, along with providing food security for another one billion people that are currently hungry or malnourished, is a huge challenge. Meeting those goals in a context of land and water scarcity, climate change, and declining crop yields will require another giant leap in agricultural innovation. The aim of this paper is to stimulate a dialogue on what new approaches might be needed to meet these needs and how innovative funding mechanisms could play a role. In particular, could “pull mechanisms,” where donors stimulate demand for new technologies, be a useful complement to traditional “push mechanisms,” where donors provide funding to increase the supply of research and development (R). With a pull mechanism, donors seek to engage the private sector, which is almost entirely absent today in developing country R for agriculture, and they pay only when specified outcomes are delivered and adopted.
  • Topic: Security, Agriculture, Development, Poverty
  • 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: 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