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  • Author: Nora Lustig, Timothy Smeeding, Sean Higgins, Whitney Ruble
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: We perform the first comprehensive fiscal incidence analyses in Brazil and the US, including direct cash and food transfers, targeted housing and heating subsidies, public spending on education and health, and personal income, payroll, corporate income, property, and expenditure taxes. In both countries, primary spending is close to 40 percent of GDP. The US achieves higher redistribution through direct taxes and transfers, primarily due to underutilization of the personal income tax in Brazil and the fact that Brazil's highly progressive cash and food transfer programs are small while larger transfer programs are less progressive. However, when health and non-tertiary education spending are added to income using the government cost approach, the two countries achieve similar levels of redistribution. This result may be a reflection of better-off households in Brazil opting out of public services due to quality concerns rather than a result of government effort to make spending more equitable.
  • Topic: Economics, Political Economy, Monetary Policy, Food
  • Political Geography: United States, Brazil
  • Author: Michael Clemens
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: The most basic economic theory suggests that rising incomes in developing countries will deter emigration from those countries, an idea that captivates policymakers in international aid and trade diplomacy. A lengthy literature and recent data suggest something quite different: that over the course of a "mobility transition", emigration generally rises with economic development until countries reach upper-middle income, and only thereafter falls. This note quantifies the shape of the mobility transition in every decade since 1960. It then briefly surveys 45 years of research, which has yielded six classes of theory to explain the mobility transition and numerous tests of its existence and characteristics in both macro- and micro-level data. The note concludes by suggesting five questions that require further study.
  • Topic: Economics, Migration, Social Stratification, Social Movement, Developing World
  • Political Geography: United States, Canada, Mexico
  • Author: William Savedoff, Victoria Fan
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: Almost every country exhibits two important health financing trends: health spending per person rises and the share of out-of-pocket spending on health services declines. We describe these trends as a "health financing transition" to provide a conceptual framework for understanding health markets and public policy. Using data over 1995-2009 from 126 countries, we examine the various explanations for changes in health spending and its composition with regressions in levels and first differences. We estimate that the income elasticity of health spending is about 0.7, consistent with recent comparable studies. Our analysis also shows a significant trend in health spending - rising about 1 percent annually - which is associated with a combination of changing technology and medical practices, cost pressures and institutions that finance and manage healthcare. The out-of-pocket share of total health spending is not related to income, but is influenced by a country's capacity to raise general revenues. These results support the existence of a health financing transition and characterize how public policy influences these trends.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Health, Governance
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Nancy Birdsall, Homi Kharas, Nabil Hashmi
  • Publication Date: 07-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: The Quality of Official Development Assistance (QuODA) measures donors' performance on 31 indicators of aid quality to which donors have made commitments. The indicators are grouped into four dimensions associated with effective aid: maximizing efficiency, fostering institutions, reducing the burden on partner countries, and transparency and learning. The 2014 edition finds that donors are overall becoming more transparent and better at fostering partner country institutions but that there has been little progress at maximizing efficiency or reducing the burden on partner countries. The World Bank's concessional lending arm, the International Development Association (IDA), performs very well in QuODA, ranking in the top 10 of 31 donors on all four dimensions. The United States ranks in the bottom half of all donors on three of the four dimensions of aid quality and last on reducing the burden on partner countries. The United Kingdom ranks in the top third on three of four dimensions of aid quality and scores particularly well on transparency and learning. The Global Fund ranks in the bottom third on fostering institutions but ranks in the top third on the other three dimensions of aid quality, including the top spot in maximizing efficiency.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Development, Economics, Foreign Aid, Foreign Direct Investment
  • Political Geography: United States, United Kingdom
  • Author: Lant Pritchett, Marla Spivack
  • Publication Date: 08-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: How much larger are the consumption possibilities of an urban US household with per capita expenditures of 1,000 US dollars per month than a rural Indonesian household with per capita expenditures of 1,000,000 Indonesian Rupiah per month? Consumers in different markets face widely different consumption possibilities and prices and hence the conversion of incomes or expenditures to truly comparable units of purchasing power is extremely difficult. We propose a simple supplement to existing purchasing power adjusted currency conversions.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Political Economy, Political Theory, Social Stratification, Socialism/Marxism
  • Political Geography: United States, Southeast Asia
  • Author: Benjamin Leo
  • Publication Date: 12-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: The United States government has made repeated declarations over the last decade to align its assistance programs behind developing countries' priorities. By utilizing public attitude surveys for 42 African and Latin American countries, this paper examines how well the US has implemented this guiding principle. Building upon the Quality of Official Development Assistance Assessment (QuODA) approach, I identify what people cite most frequently as the 'most pressing problems' facing their nations and then measure the percentage of US assistance commitments that are directed towards addressing them. By focusing on public surveys over time, this analysis attempts to provide a more nuanced and targeted examination of whether US portfolios are addressing what people care the most about. As reference points, I compare US alignment trends with the two regional multilateral development banks (MDBs) – the African Development Bank and the Inter-American Development Bank. Overall, this analysis suggests that US assistance may be only modestly aligned with what people in Sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America cite as their nation's most pressing problems. By comparison, the African Development Bank – which is majority-led by regional member nations – performs significantly better than the United States. Like the United States, however, the Inter-American Development Bank demonstrates a low relative level of support for people's top concerns.
  • Topic: Security, Crime, Development, Economics, Foreign Aid
  • Political Geography: Africa, United States, America, Latin America
  • Author: Laura E. Seay
  • Publication Date: 01-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: Although its provisions have yet to be implemented, section 1502 of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act is already having a profound effect on the Congolese mining sector. Nicknamed “Obama's Law” by the Congolese, section 1502 has created a de facto ban on Congolese mineral exports, put anywhere from tens of thousands up to 2 million Congolese miners out of work in the eastern Congo, and, despite ending most of the trade in Congolese conflict minerals, done little to improve the security situation or the daily lives of most Congolese. In this report, Laura Seay traces the development of section 1502 with respect to the pursuit of a conflict minerals-based strategy by U.S. advocates, examines the effects of the legislation, and recommends new courses of action to move forward in a way that both promotes accountability and transparency and allows Congolese artisanal miners to earn a living.
  • Topic: Security, Development, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Poverty, Natural Resources, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Africa, United States, Democratic Republic of the Congo
  • Author: 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: 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: Vijaya Ramachandran, Gregory Johnson, Julie Walz
  • Publication Date: 09-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: The U.S. military has become substantially engaged in economic development and stabilization and will likely continue to carry out these activities in in-conflict zones for some time to come. Since FY2002, nearly $62 billion has been appropriated for relief and reconstruction in Afghanistan. The Commander's Emergency Response Program (CERP), which provides funds for projects to address urgent reconstruction and relief efforts, is one component of the military's development operations. In this analysis, we take U.S. military involvement in development as a given and concentrate on providing recommendations for it to operate more efficiently and effectively. By doing so, we are not advocating that the U.S. military become involved in all types of development activities or that CERP be used more broadly; rather, our recommendations address the military's capacity to carry out what it is already doing in Afghanistan and other in-conflict situations.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Development, Economics, War, Foreign Aid
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States
  • Author: Michael Clemens
  • Publication Date: 06-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: This study uses a unique natural experiment to test a simple model of international differences in workers' wages and productivity. Large differences in wages across countries could arise from several sources. These include barriers to trade in outputs, differences in technology, differences in workers, or differences in the other factors of production accessible in different countries. To measure the relative importance of these sources in one setting, this study exploits the randomized processing of U.S. visas for a group of Indian workers who produce software within a single multinational firm. In this setting, international barriers to trade in outputs, barriers to technology transfer, and all observable or unobservable differences between workers are extremely low. The results indicate that location outside of India causes a sixfold increase in the wages of the same worker using the same technology to produce a highly tradable good. Under plausible assumptions about competition in the industry, this suggests that country-of-work by itself is responsible—in this industry—for roughly three-quarters of the gap in productivity between workers in India and workers in the richest countries. These findings have implications for open questions in labor, growth, international, and development economics.
  • Topic: Economics, Labor Issues
  • Political Geography: United States, India
  • 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: 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: Michael Clemens, Lant Pritchett
  • Publication Date: 03-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: It is easy to learn the average income of a resident of El Salvador or Albania. But there is no systematic source of information on the average income of a Salvadoran or Albanian. We create a first estimate a new statistic: income per natural—the mean annual income of persons born in a given country, regardless of where that person now resides. If income per capita has any interpretation as a welfare measure, exclusive focus on the nationally resident population can lead to substantial errors of the income of the natural population for countries where emigration is an important path to greater welfare. The estimates differ substantially from traditional measures of GDP or GNI per resident, and not just for a handful of tiny countries. Almost 43 million people live in a group of countries whose income per natural collectively is 50% higher than GDP per resident. For 1.1 billion people the difference exceeds 10%. We also show that poverty estimates are very different for national residents and naturals; for example, 26 percent of Haitian naturals who are not poor by the two-dollar-a-day standard live in the United States. These estimates are simply descriptive statistics and do not depend on any assumptions about how much of observed income differences across naturals is selection and how much is a pure location effect. Our conservative, if rough, estimate is that three quarters of this difference represents the effect of international migration on income per natural. This means that departing one's country of birth is today one of the most important sources of poverty reduction for a large portion of the developing world. If economic development is defined as rising human well being, then a residence-neutral measure of well-being emphasizes that crossing international borders is not an alternative to economic development, it is economic development.
  • Topic: Demographics, Development, Economics, Migration, Poverty, Population
  • Political Geography: United States, Albania
  • Author: Carsten Fink
  • Publication Date: 06-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: Over the past fifteen years, the United States and other developed countries have employed trade agreements to substantially strengthen the protection of intellectual property rights for pharmaceutical products in the developing world. The associated rules changes have already had an effect on pharmaceutical prices in developing countries, prompting conflicts between developing country governments seeking to promote drug access and Western pharmaceutical companies wishing to protect their exclusive rights. If anything, such conflicts are bound to intensify as more patent protected drugs enter pharmaceutical markets outside rich countries. This paper describes the global shift in intellectual property policies and employs economic analysis to evaluate its consequences for developing countries. It also puts forward several recommendations for policymakers in developing countries and in the United States, seeking to better reconcile innovation incentives and access needs.
  • Topic: Economics, Health, Science and Technology
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Michael Clemens, Lant Pritchett, Claudio E. Montenegro
  • Publication Date: 07-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: We compare the wages of workers inside the United States to the wages of observably identical workers outside the United States—controlling for country of birth, country of education, years of education, work experience, sex, and rural-urban residence. This is made possible by new and uniquely rich microdata on the wages of over two million individual formal-sector wage-earners in 43 countries. We then use five independent methods to correct these estimates for unobserved differences between the productivity of migrants and non-migrants, as well as for the wage effects of natural barriers to international movement in the absence of policy barriers. We also introduce a selection model to estimate how migrants' wage gains depend on their position in the distribution of unobserved wage determinants both at the origin and at the destination, as well as the relationship between these positions. For example, in the median wage gap country, a typical Bolivian-born, Bolivian-educated, prime-age urban male formal-sector wage worker with moderate schooling makes 4 times as much in the US as in Bolivia. Following all adjustments for selectivity and compensating differentials we estimate that the wages of a Bolivian worker of equal intrinsic productivity, willing to move, would be higher by a factor of 2.7 solely by working in the United States. While this is the median, this ratio is as high as 8.4 (for Nigeria). We document that (1) for many countries, the wage gaps caused by barriers to movement across international borders are among the largest known forms of wage discrimination; (2) these gaps represent one of the largest remaining price distortions in any global market; and (3) these gaps imply that imply allowing labor mobility can reduce a given household's poverty to a much greater degree than most known in situ antipoverty interventions.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Industrial Policy
  • Political Geography: United States, Nigeria, Bolivia
  • Author: David Wheeler
  • Publication Date: 06-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: In May 2007 CGD launched an online survey of the global development community on three issues: the selection process for the next World Bank president; criteria for rating the candidates; and actual ratings for nine candidates who had been named by the international media. Between May 22 and May 31, CGD received nearly 700 responses from people whose characteristic s reflect the diversity of the international development community. Survey participants represent 71 nations; all world regions; high-, middle- and low-income countries; a variety of professional affiliations; and all adult age groups. About 30% of respondents are women.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, International Organization, Politics
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: David Roodman
  • Publication Date: 11-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: The Commitment to Development Index of the Center for Global Development rates 21 rich countries on the “development-friendliness” of their policies. It is revised and updated annually. The component on foreign assistance combines quantitative and qualitative measures of official aid, and of fiscal policies that support private charitable giving. The quantitative measure uses a net transfers concept, as distinct from the net flows concept in the net Official Development Assistance measure of the Development Assistance Committee. The qualitative factors are: a penalty for tying aid; a discounting system that favors aid to poorer, better-governed recipients; and a penalty for “project proliferation.” The charitable giving measure is based on an estimate of the share of observed private giving to developing countries that is attributable to a) lower overall taxes or b) specific tax incentives for giving. De-spite the adjustments, overall results are dominated by differences in quantity of official aid given. This is because while there is a seven-fold range in net concessional transfers/GDP among the scored countries, variation in overall aid quality across donors appears far lower, and private giving is generally small. Denmark, the Netherlands, Norway, and Sweden score highest while the largest donors in absolute terms, the United States and Japan, rank at or near the bottom. Standings by the 2006 methodology have been relatively stable since 1995.
  • Topic: International Relations, Development, Economics, Humanitarian Aid
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan, Norway, Netherlands
  • Author: Stewart Patrick, Kaysie Brown
  • Publication Date: 08-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: The Bush administration has increasingly acknowledged that weak and failing states represent the core of today's global development challenge. It has also recognized that such states are potential threats to international peace and security. But despite the rhetoric, it has yet to formulate a coherent strategy around fragile states or commit adequate resources towards engaging them. Excluding funding for Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and HIV/AIDS, the administration's FY07 budget request proposes to spend just $1.1 billion in direct bilateral assistance to fragile states—little more than a dollar per person per year. In this new working paper, CGD research fellow Stewart Patrick and program associate Kaysie Brown urge U.S. policymakers to consider increasing aid to fragile states and to think creatively about how and when to engage these troubled countries. The authors also call for the policy community to integrate non-aid instruments into a more coherent government strategy. To put its money where its mouth is, the U.S. should treat aid to weak and failing states as a form of venture capital, with high risk but potentially high rewards.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, Humanitarian Aid
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Afghanistan, United States, Iraq
  • Author: William R. Cline
  • Publication Date: 03-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: In the absence of US fiscal adjustment and a further correction of the dollar, the current account deficit is headed to $1.3 trillion by 2010 (8 to 8.5 percent of GDP) and net US foreign liabilities to over $8 trillion (50 percent of GDP). According to CGD/IIE Senior Fellow William R. Cline, the rising trade deficit and associated borrowing from abroad are now financing a decline in personal saving and a rise in the government deficit. This imbalance will increasingly put the US economy—and the developing countries—at risk. This working paper focuses on the impact that the US external deficit and a possible “hard landing” for the US and world economies will have on developing countries. Cline finds that these countries are at risk since they have relied heavily on a continuing expansion of trade surpluses with the United States as a source of demand. Developing countries with high borrowing abroad are also doubly sensitive to a spike in world interest rates—once directly from higher US interest rates, and once indirectly through higher risk spreads—that might be associated with a hard landing. This Working Paper is based on The United States as a Debtor Nation, a book published in 2005 by the Center for Global Development and the Institute for International Economics.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Third World
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: David Roodman, Scott Standley
  • Publication Date: 02-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: Researchers have written hundreds of papers on the causes and consequences of official foreign aid, while paying almost no attention to private overseas giving, by individuals, universities, foundations, and corporations. Yet private giving is significant—some $15.5 billion/year, compared to more than $60 billion/year in public giving—and is in no small part an outcome of public policy. In most rich countries, tax deductions and credits lower the “price” of charity to donors. And governments with low tax revenue/GDP ratios leave more money in private pockets for private charity. To correct the near-complete lack of information on this de facto aid policy, we survey officials of 21 donor nations on the use of tax incentives to promote private charity. From the results, we develop an index of the overall incentive for private charity, expressed as a percentage increase over the hypothetical giving level absent incentives. France's tax code creates the largest price incentive while those of Austria, Finland, and Sweden offer none. Factoring in the income effect of the tax ratio, Australia, Ireland, Germany, and the United States move to the top, with combined price and income effects sufficient to double private giving. As a result, tax policy appears to have nearly doubled private overseas giving from donor countries in 2003, from a counterfactual $8.0 billion. Two-thirds of the $7.5 billion increase occurred in the United States. Of that, nearly 40% appears to be U.S. charity to Israel. According to 21-country scatter plots, countries with lower church attendance and more faith in the national legislature have lower taxes (stronger income effect), but average levels of targeted tax incentives. Income (GDP/capita) does correlate with private overseas aid/capita, but also with public aid/capita, so that the two aid flows are complementary in magnitude.
  • Topic: Debt, Economics, Humanitarian Aid, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: United States, Finland, Germany, Australia, Sweden, Ireland, Austria
  • Author: Theodore H. Moran
  • Publication Date: 02-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: How effective are G-8 and OECD efforts to combat bribery and corrupt payments when multinational companies bid on concessions in the developing world? Have the rich countries – and the United States, in particular – done what is necessary to restrain multinational investors from paying off daughters of Presidents and cronies of Ministers to secure favors for their activities?
  • Topic: International Relations, Corruption, Economics
  • Political Geography: United States