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  • Author: Michael Clemens
  • Publication Date: 09-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: This paper critiques the last decade of research on the effects of high-skill emigration from developing countries, and proposes six new directions for fruitful research. Design/methodology/approach: The study singles out a core assumption underlying much of the recent literature, calling it the Lump of Learning model of human capital and development, and describes five ways that research has come to challenge that assumption. It assesses the usefulness of the Lump of Learning model in the face of accumulating evidence. The axioms of the Lump of Learning model have shaped research priorities in this literature, but many of those axioms do not have a clear empirical basis. Future research proceeding from established facts would set different priorities, and would devote more attention to measuring the effects of migration on skilled-migrant households, rigorously estimating human capital externalities, gathering microdata beyond censuses, and carefully considering optimal policy—among others. The recent literature has pursued a series of extensions to the Lump of Learning model: This study urges instead discarding that model, pointing toward a new paradigm for research on skilled migration and development.
  • Topic: Migration, Refugee Issues, Developing World
  • 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: Katharina Hauck, Peter C. Smith
  • Publication Date: 09-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: Many health improving interventions in low-income countries are extremely good value for money. So why has it often proven difficult to obtain political backing for highly cost-effective interventions such as vaccinations, treatments against diarrheal disease in children, and preventive policies such as improved access to clean water, or policies curtailing tobacco consumption? We use economic models of public choice, supported by examples, to explain how powerful interests groups, politicians or bureaucrats who pursue their own objectives, or voting and institutional arrangements in countries have shaped health priority setting. We show that it may be perfectly rational for policy makers to accommodate these constraints in their decisions, even if it implies departing from welfare maximizing solutions.
  • Topic: Health, Political Economy, Health Care Policy
  • Author: Lant Pritchett, Yamini Aiyar
  • Publication Date: 08-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: There are two dominant narratives about taxation. In one, taxes are the “price we pay for a civilized society” (Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.). In this view taxes are not a necessary evil (as in the pairing of “death and taxes” as inevitable) but a positive good: more taxes buy more “civilization.” The other view is that taxes are “tribute to Leviathan”—a pure involuntary extraction from those engaged in economic production to those who control coercive power producing no reciprocal benefit. In this view taxes are a bane of the civilized. We consider the question of taxes as price versus tribute for contemporary India.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Economics, Governance, Budget
  • Political Geography: India
  • Author: Jonah Busch, Jens Engelmann
  • Publication Date: 08-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: An area of tropical forest the size of India will be deforested in the next 35 years, burning through more than one-sixth of the remaining carbon that can be emitted if global warming is to be kept below 2 degrees Celsius (the “planetary carbon budget”), but many of these emissions could be cheaply avoided by putting a price on carbon.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Environment, Natural Resources
  • 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: Rachel Silverman, Mead Over, Sebastian Bauhoff
  • Publication Date: 12-2015
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: Founded in 2002, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (the Global Fund) is one of the world’s largest multilateral health funders, disbursing $3–$4 billion a year across 100-plus countries. Many of these countries rely on Global Fund monies to finance their respective disease responses—and for their citizens, the efficient and effective use of Global Fund monies can be the difference between life and death. Many researchers and policymakers have hypothesized that models tying grant payments to achieved and verified results—referred to in this report as next generation financing models—offer an opportunity for the Global Fund to push forward its strategic interests and accelerate the impact of its investments. Free from year-to-year disbursement pressure (like government agencies) and rigid allocation policies (like the World Bank’s International Development Association), the Global Fund is also uniquely equipped to push forward innovative financing models. But despite interest, the how of new grant designs remains a challenge. Realizing their potential requires technical know-how and careful, strategic decisionmaking that responds to specific country and epidemiological contexts—all with little evidence or experience to guide the way. This report thus addresses the how of next generation financing models—that is, the concrete steps needed to change the basis of payment from expenses to something else: outputs, outcomes, or impact. For example, when and why is changing the basis of payment a good idea? What are the right indicators and results to purchase from grantees? How much and how should grantees be remunerated for their achievements? How can the Global Fund verify that the basis of payment is sound—that the reported results are accurate and reliable and represent real progress against disease control goals? And what is needed to protect communities against coercion or other human rights abuses, ensuring that these new incentives do not drive unintended consequences?
  • Topic: International Trade and Finance, Global Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Publication Date: 12-2015
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: Most money and responsibility for health in large federal countries like India rests with subnational governments — states, provinces, districts, and municipalities. The policies and spending at the subnational level affect the pace, scale, and equity of health improvements in countries that account for much of the world’s disease burden: India, Indonesia, Nigeria, and Pakistan. Fiscal transfers between levels of government can — but do not always — play an important role in turning money into outcomes at the subnational level. Well designed, transfers can help put states on a level financial playing field by equalizing spending across states and adjusting allocations for the health risks of each state’s population. Transfers can increase accountability and create incentives for greater spending or effectiveness in service delivery. But transfers are rarely designed with attention to their desired outcomes. To get to better outcomes, international experience suggests that transfers need to be reexamined and reformed along three dimensions. First, central government’s allocation of national revenues to subnational governments should respond to needs and population size. Second, transfers should generate incentives to improve subnational governments’ spending quality and performance on outcomes. Third, independent systems to monitor, evaluate, and provide feedback data on subnational performance can generate greater accountability to the central government, parliaments, and legislatures as well as to citizens. These insights are seemingly simple and suggestive, but each country starts from its own unique history that requires careful technical analysis and political savvy to define reforms with genuine potential to improve health.
  • Topic: International Political Economy, International Trade and Finance, Financial Markets
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Publication Date: 11-2015
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: Hospitals are central to building and maintaining healthy populations around the world. They serve as the first point of care for many, offer access to specialized care, act as loci for medical education and research, and influence standards for national health systems at large. Yet despite their centrality within health systems, hospitals have been sidelined to the periphery of the global health agenda as scarce financial resources, technical expertise, and political will instead focus on the expansion of accessible primary care. As a result, many hospitals in low- and middle-income countries have failed to evolve and modernize, both in operations and infrastructure, while the knowledge base on hospital effectiveness and efficiency remains small and inadequate. In turn, the standard of care and efficiency achieved by these hospitals has stagnated. The gap in treatment capacity and quality between wealthier and poorer countries—and between hospitals serving wealthier and poorer populations—is widening, just as emerging economies are poised to expand the range and depth of healthcare through universal health coverage.
  • Topic: World Health Organization, Health Care Policy
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Vijaya Ramachandran, Leonardo Iacovone, Martin Schmidt
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: Many countries in Africa suffer high rates of underemployment or low rates of productive employment; many also anticipate large numbers of people to enter the workforce in the near future. This paper asks the question: Are African firms creating fewer jobs than those located elsewhere? And, if so, why? One reason may be that weak business environments slow the growth of firms and distort the allocation of resources away from better-performing firms, hence reducing their potential for job creation.
  • Topic: Economics, Industrial Policy, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Fragile/Failed State
  • Political Geography: Africa, Israel
  • Author: Devesh Kapur, Arjun Raychaudhuri
  • Publication Date: 01-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: Since their inception, through 2012, the institutions comprising the World Bank group have been involved in lending nearly a trillion dollars. In this paper, we focus on the IBRD, which is the core of the World Bank. The IBRD has the potential to continue to grow and be an important player in official financial flows, supporting critical long-term development projects with large social returns, in sectors ranging from infrastructure, social sectors, or environment.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Environment, Foreign Aid, Infrastructure, World Bank
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • 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: Alex Cobham, Petr Janský, Alex Prats
  • Publication Date: 01-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: This paper assesses the role of Switzerland as the leading hub for global commodities trading, in terms of the patterns of prices received by original exporting countries and subsequently by Switzerland and other jurisdictions. We find support for the hypotheses that (i) the average prices for commodity exports from developing countries to Switzerland are lower than those to other jurisdictions; and that (ii) Switzerland declares higher (re-)export prices for those commodities than do other jurisdictions. This pattern implies a potential capital loss for commodity exporting developing countries and we provide a range of estimates of that loss – each of which suggests the scale is substantial (the most conservative is around $8 billion a year) and that the issue merits greater research and policy attention. An important first step would be a Swiss commitment to meet international norms of trade transparency.
  • Topic: United Nations
  • Political Geography: Switzerland
  • Author: Alex Cobham, Petr Janský, Alex Prats
  • Publication Date: 01-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: This paper assesses the role of Switzerland as the leading hub for global commodities trading, in terms of the patterns of prices received by original exporting countries and subsequently by Switzerland and other jurisdictions. We find support for the hypotheses that (i) the average prices for commodity exports from developing countries to Switzerland are lower than those to other jurisdictions; and that (ii) Switzerland declares higher (re-)export prices for those commodities than do other jurisdictions. This pattern implies a potential capital loss for commodity exporting developing countries and we provide a range of estimates of that loss - each of which suggests the scale is substantial (the most conservative is around $8 billion a year) and that the issue merits greater research and policy attention. An important first step would be a Swiss commitment to meet international norms of trade transparency.
  • Topic: Economics, Industrial Policy, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Developing World
  • Political Geography: Europe, Switzerland
  • Author: Charles Kenny, William Savedoff
  • Publication Date: 01-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: Why don't foreign aid programs simply pay recipients for attaining agreed upon results? The idea has been around for decades, but it continues to meet resistance. Some donors worry that programs that pay for outputs or outcomes would not be able to control how funds are used and would thus be vulnerable to corruption. This brief explains why results-based payment systems are actually likely to be less vulnerable to corruption than traditional input-tracking approaches by making the effects of corruption-the failure of programs to deliver results-more visible.
  • Topic: Corruption, Development, Foreign Aid
  • Author: Juan Camilo Castillo, Daniel Mejia, Pascual Restrepo
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: Using the case of the cocaine trade in Mexico as a relevant and salient example, this paper shows that scarcity leads to violence in markets without third party enforcement. We construct a model in which supply shortages increase total revenue when demand is inelastic. If property rights over revenues are not well defined because of the lack of reliable third party enforcement, the incentives to prey on others and avoid predation by exercising violence increase with scarcity, thus increasing violence. We test our model and the proposed channel using data for the cocaine trade in Mexico. We found that exogenous supply shocks originated in changes in the amount of cocaine seized in Colombia (Mexico's main cocaine supplier) create scarcity and increase drug-related violence in Mexico.
  • Topic: Crime, Economics, War on Drugs, Narcotics Trafficking, Law Enforcement
  • Political Geography: Colombia, Latin America, Mexico
  • Author: Vijaya Ramachandran, Alan Gelb, Christian J. Meyer
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: We consider economic development of Sub-Saharan Africa from the perspective of slow convergence of productivity, both across sectors and across firms within sectors. Why have "productivity enclaves", islands of high productivity in a sea of smaller low-productivity firms, not diffused more rapidly? We summarize and analyze three sets of factors: First, the poor business climate, which constrains the allocation of production factors between sectors and firms. Second, the complex political economy of business-government relations in Africa's small economies. Third, the distribution of firm capabilities. The roots of these factors lie in Africa's geography and its distinctive history, including the legacy of its colonial period on state formation and market structure.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Industrial Policy, Markets
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • 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: Jonah Busch, Kalifi Ferretti-Gallon
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: We have constructed a comprehensive database of 117 spatially explicit econometric studies of deforestation published in peer-reviewed academic journals from 1996-2013. We present a metaanalysis of what drives deforestation and what stops it, based on the signs and significance of 5909 coefficients in 554 multivariate analyses. We find that forests are more likely to be cleared where economic returns to agriculture and pasture are higher, either due to more favorable climatological and topographic conditions, or due to lower costs of clearing forest and transporting products to market. Timber activity, land tenure security, and community demographics do not show a consistent association with either higher or lower deforestation. Population is consistently associated with greater deforestation, and poverty is consistently associated with lower deforestation, but in both cases endogeneity makes a causal link difficult to infer. Promising approaches for stopping deforestation include reducing the intrusion of road networks into remote forested areas; targeting protected areas to regions where forests face higher threat; tying rural income support to the maintenance of forest resources through payments for ecosystem services; and insulating the forest frontier from the price effects of demand for agricultural commodities.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Environment, Industrial Policy
  • Political Geography: United Nations
  • 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: Juan Camilo Castillo, Daniel Mejia, Pascual Restrepo
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: Using the case of the cocaine trade in Mexico as a relevant and salient example, this paper shows that scarcity leads to violence in markets without third party enforcement. We construct a model in which supply shortages increase total revenue when demand is inelastic. If property rights over revenues are not well defined because of the lack of reliable third party enforcement, the incentives to prey on others and avoid predation by exercising violence increase with scarcity, thus increasing violence. We test our model and the proposed channel using data for the cocaine trade in Mexico. We found that exogenous supply shocks originated in changes in the amount of cocaine seized in Colombia (Mexico's main cocaine supplier) create scarcity and increase drug-related violence in Mexico.
  • Topic: Crime, War on Drugs, Narcotics Trafficking
  • Political Geography: Colombia, Mexico
  • Author: Michael Clemens
  • Publication Date: 05-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: Skilled workers have a rising tendency to emigrate from developing countries, raising fears that their departure harms the poor. To mitigate such harm, researchers have proposed a variety of policies designed to tax or restrict high-skill migration. Those policies have been justified as Pigovian regulations to raise efficiency by internalizing externalities, and as non-Pigovian regulations grounded in equity or ethics. This paper challenges both sets of justifications, arguing that Pigovian regulations on skilled emigration are inefficient and non-Pigovian regulations are inequitable and unethical. It concludes by discussing a different class of policy intervention that, in contrast, has the potential to raise welfare.
  • Topic: Economics, Human Rights, Human Welfare, Immigration, Monetary Policy
  • Political Geography: India
  • Author: Jonah Busch, Kalifi Ferretti-Gallon
  • Publication Date: 05-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: A new Center for Global Development meta-analysis of 117 studies has identified the key factors that drive or deter deforestation. Some findings confirm conventional wisdom. Building roads and expanding agriculture in forested areas, for example, worsen deforestation, whereas protected areas deter deforestation. Encouragingly, payments for ecosystem services (PES) programs that compensate people who live in or near forests for maintaining them are consistently associated with lower rates of deforestation. But contrary to popular belief, poverty is not associated with greater deforestation, and the rising incomes brought about by economic growth do not, in themselves, lead to less deforestation. Community forest management and strengthening land tenure, often thought to reduce deforestation while promoting development, have no consistent impact on deforestation.
  • Topic: Agriculture, Economics, Environment, Poverty
  • 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: Vijaya Ramachandran
  • Publication Date: 05-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: In 2012, the Center for Global Development (CGD) convened the Working Group on Food Security, bringing together 22 experts in food policy, nutrition, agriculture, and economic development from around the world. The group's task was to review pressing challenges to agricultural development and food security and take stock of the Rome-based United Nations food agencies charged with addressing them. The working group decided to focus on the largest of those agencies—the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)—and has two key recommendations.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Human Welfare, International Organization, Food
  • Author: Alan Gelb, Anton Dobronogov, Fernando Brant Saldanha
  • Publication Date: 07-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: Natural resources are being discovered in more countries, both rich and poor. Many of the new and aspiring resource exporters are low-income countries that are still receiving substantial levels of foreign aid. Resource discoveries open up enormous opportunities, but also expose producing countries to huge trade and fiscal shocks from volatile commodity markets if their exports are highly concentrated. A large literature on the "resource curse" shows that these are damaging unless countries manage to cushion the effects through countercyclical policy. It also shows that the countries least likely to do so successfully are those with weaker institutions, and these are most likely to remain as clients of the aid system. This paper considers the question of how donors should respond to their clients' potential windfalls. It discusses several ways in which the focus and nature of foreign aid programs will need to change, including the level of financial assistance. The paper develops some ideas on how a donor like the International Development Association might structure its program of financial transfers to mitigate volatility. The paper outlines ways in which the International Development Association could use hedging instruments to vary disbursements while still working within a framework of country allocations that are not contingent on oil prices. Simulations suggest that the International Development Association could be structured to provide a larger degree of insurance if it is calibrated to hedge against large declines in resource prices. These suggestions are intended to complement other mechanisms, including self-insurance using Sovereign Wealth Funds (where possible) and the facilities of the International Monetary Fund.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Natural Resources, Foreign Aid
  • Political Geography: Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Ghana
  • Author: Amanda Glassman, Justin Sandefur
  • Publication Date: 07-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: Across multiple African countries, discrepancies between administrative data and independent household surveys suggest official statistics systematically exaggerate development progress. We provide evidence for two distinct explanations of these discrepancies. First, governments misreport to foreign donors, as in the case of a results-based aid program rewarding reported vaccination rates. Second, national governments are themselves misled by frontline service providers, as in the case of primary education, where official enrollment numbers diverged from survey estimates after funding shifted from user fees to per pupil government grants. Both syndromes highlight the need for incentive compatibility between data systems and funding rules.
  • Topic: Development, Foreign Aid, Foreign Direct Investment, Governance, Developing World
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Amanda Glassman, Alex Ezeh
  • Publication Date: 07-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: Despite improvements in censuses and household surveys, the building blocks of national statistical systems in sub-Saharan Africa remain weak. Measurement of fundamentals such as births and deaths, growth and poverty, taxes and trade, land and the environment, and sickness, schooling, and safety is shaky at best. The challenges are fourfold: (1) national statistics offices have limited independence and unstable budgets, (2) misaligned incentives encourage the production of inaccurate data, (3) donor priorities dominate national priorities, and (4) access to and usability of data are limited. The Data for African Development Working Group's recommendations for reaping the benefits of a data revolution in Africa fall into three categories: (1) fund more and fund differently, (2) build institutions that can produce accurate, unbiased data, and (3) prioritize the core attributes of data building blocks.
  • Topic: Development
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • 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: Andy Sumner, Sergio Tezanos Vázquez
  • Publication Date: 08-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: Many existing classifications of developing countries are dominated by income per capita (such as the World Bank's low, middle, and high income thresholds), thus neglecting the multidimensionality of the concept of 'development'. Even those deemed to be the main 'alternatives' to the income-based classification have income per capita heavily weighted within a composite indicator. This paper provides an alternative perspective: clusters of developing countries. We take 4 'frames' on the meaning of development: economic development, human development, better governance, and environmental sustainability. We then use a cluster procedure in order to build groups of countries that are to some extent internally 'homogeneous', but noticeably dissimilar to other groups. The advantage of this procedure is that it allows us identify the key development characteristics of each cluster of countries and where each country fits best. We then use this taxonomy to analyze how the developing world has changed since the late 1990s in terms of clusters of countries and the country groupings themselves.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Governance, Reform
  • Author: Paul Novosad, Eric Werker
  • Publication Date: 09-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: National governments frequently pull strings to get their citizens appointed to senior positions in international institutions. We examine, over a 60 year period, the nationalities of the most senior positions in the United Nations Secretariat, ostensibly the world's most representative international institution. The results indicate which nations are successful in this zero-sum game, and what national characteristics correlate with power in international institutions. The most overrepresented countries are small, rich democracies like the Nordic countries. Statistically, democracy, investment in diplomacy, and economic/military power are predictors of senior positions, even after controlling for the U.N. staffing mandate of competence and integrity. National control over the United Nations is remarkably sticky; however the in influence of the United States has diminished as US ideology has shifted away from its early allies. In spite of the decline in US influence, the Secretariat remains pro-American relative to the world at large.
  • Topic: Demographics, International Cooperation, International Organization
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Marigold Norman, Smita Nakhooda
  • Publication Date: 09-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: This paper presents a thorough synthesis of available data to illuminate the current global state of finance for reducing emissions from deforestation and degradation (REDD+). It adds to a growing body of work that seeks to understand the size and composition of finance for REDD+ initiatives, as well as the delivery of climate finance more generally. The analysis shows that aggregate pledges of both public and private finance are significant, at more than US $8.7 billion for the period between 2006 and March 2014, but the pace of new pledges slowed after 2010. The public sector contributes nearly 90% of reported REDD+ finance, with the preponderance of funding concentrated among a relatively small number of donors and recipient countries. The paper analyzes early experience with performance-based finance, although such finance represents less than two-fifths of pledges to date. The extent to which new institutions in the climate finance architecture such as the Green Climate Fund will provide a new and effective channel for increasing support for REDD+ remains to be seen.
  • Topic: Economics, Environment, International Cooperation, Politics
  • Author: Dean Karlan, Bram Thuysbaert, Christopher Udry, Lori Beaman
  • Publication Date: 09-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: We partnered with a micro-lender in Mali to randomize credit offers at the village level. Then, in no-loan control villages, we gave cash grants to randomly selected households. These grants led to higher agricultural investments and profits, thus showing that liquidity constraints bind with respect to agricultural investment. In loan-villages, we gave grants to a random subset of farmers who (endogenously) did not borrow. These farmers have lower – in fact zero – marginal returns to the grants. Thus we find important heterogeneity in returns to investment and strong evidence that farmers with higher marginal returns to investment self-select into lending programs.
  • Topic: Agriculture, Economics
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Katrina Mullan
  • Publication Date: 10-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: This paper assesses the scale of the potential co-benefits for residents of developing countries of protecting forest ecosystems in order to mitigate climate change. The objective is to improve understanding among development practitioners of the ways in which services provided by forest ecosystems can also make important contributions to achieving development objectives such as improvements to health and safety, and maintenance of food and energy security. This is achieved by reviewing empirical studies that estimate the value of specific ecosystem services derived from forests in order to evaluate and describe the current state of knowledge on how the wellbeing of local people is likely to be affected by the introduction of global mechanisms for avoided deforestation in developing countries. There are four main ways in which wellbeing can be affected: 1) forests provide soil protection and water regulation services, which in turn reduce waterborne diseases, maintain irrigation water supply, and mitigate risks of natural disaster; 2) forests provide habitat for birds, fish, mammals and insects that affect human health and income generation opportunities; 3) clearing forest through use of fire can lead to respiratory illness and property damage, particularly if the fires spread accidentally; and 4) tropical forests are particularly high in biodiversity, making them important locally as well as globally as a potential source of genetic material for new crop varieties and pharmaceuticals. Evidence on the size of these benefits suggests that while they are highly variable, households in or near forests and poor households benefit most from forest ecosystem services.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Energy Policy, Environment, Natural Resources, Water, Food
  • Author: Katrina Brandon
  • Publication Date: 10-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: Tropical forests exert a more profound influence on weather patterns, freshwater, natural disasters, biodiversity, food, and human health–both in the countries where forests are found and in distant countries–than any other terrestrial biome. This report explains the variety of environmental services tropical forests provide and the science underlying how forests provide these services. Tropical deforestation and degradation have reduced the area covered by tropical forests from 12 percent to less than 5 percent of Earth's land area. Forest loss and degradation has reduced or halted the flows of a wide range of ecosystem goods and services, increasing the vulnerability of potentially billions of people to a variety of damaging impacts. Established and emerging science findings suggest that we have substantially underestimated the global importance of tropical forests and the impacts of their loss on human well-being.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Environment, Natural Disasters, Natural Resources
  • Author: Kevin Ummel
  • Publication Date: 10-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: This paper describes the creation of a database providing estimated greenhouse gas (GHG) footprints for 6 million US households over the period 2008-2012. The database allows analysis of footprints for 52 types of consumption (e.g. electricity, gasoline, apparel, beef, air travel, etc.) within and across geographic regions as small as individual census tracts. Potential research applications with respect to carbon pricing and tax policy are discussed. Preliminary analysis reveals:
  • Topic: Energy Policy, Environment, Natural Resources
  • Political Geography: United States, America
  • Author: Amanda Glassman, Juan Ignacio Zoloa
  • Publication Date: 10-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: As Latin American countries seek to expand the coverage and benefits provided by their health systems under a global drive for universal health coverage (UHC), decisions taken today–whether by government or individuals-will have an impact tomorrow on public spending requirements. To understand the implications of these decisions and define needed policy reforms, this paper calculates long-term projections for public spending on health in three countries, analyzing different scenarios related to population, risk factors, labor market participation, and technological growth. In addition, the paper simulates the effects of different policy options and their potential knock-on effects on health expenditure.
  • Topic: Health, Governance, Reform
  • Political Geography: Brazil, Latin America, Mexico, Chile
  • Author: Gabriel Demombynes, Justin Sandefur
  • Publication Date: 10-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: The lack of reliable development statistics for many poor countries has led the U.N. to call for a “data revolution” (United Nations, 2013). One fairly narrow but widespread interpretation of this revolution is for international aid donors to fund a coordinated wave of household surveys across the developing world, tracking progress on a new round of post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals. We use data from the International Household Survey Network (IHSN) to show (i) the supply of household surveys has accelerated dramatically over the past 30 years and that (ii) demand for survey data appears to be higher in democracies and more aid-dependent countries. We also show that given existing international survey programs, the cost to international aid donors of filling remaining survey gaps is manageable--on the order of $300 million per year. We argue that any aid-financed expansion of household surveys should be complemented with (a) increased access to data through open data protocols, and (b) simultaneous support for the broader statistical system, including routine administrative data systems.
  • Topic: Development, Human Welfare, Infrastructure
  • Political Geography: Asia, United Nations
  • Author: Martin Persson, Sabine Henders, Thomas Kastner
  • Publication Date: 10-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: This paper aims to improve our understanding of how and where global supply-chains link consumers of agricultural and forest commodities across the world to forest destruction in tropical countries. A better understanding of these linkages can help inform and support the design of demand-side interventions to reduce tropical deforestation. To that end, we map the link between deforestation for four commodities (beef, soybeans, palm oil, and wood products) in eight case countries (Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Paraguay, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Papua New Guinea) to consumption, through international trade. Although few, the studied countries comprise a large share of the internationally traded volumes of the analyzed commodities: 83% of beef and 99% of soybean exports from Latin America, 97% of global palm oil exports, and roughly half of (official) tropical wood products trade. The analysis covers the period 2000-2009. We find that roughly a third of tropical deforestation and associated carbon emissions (3.9 Mha and 1.7 GtCO2) in 2009 can be attributed to our four case commodities in our eight case countries. On average a third of analyzed deforestation was embodied in agricultural exports, mainly to the EU and China. However, in all countries but Bolivia and Brazil, export markets are dominant drivers of forest clearing for our case commodities. If one excludes Brazilian beef on average 57% of deforestation attributed to our case commodities was embodied in exports. The share of emissions that was embodied in exported commodities increased between 2000 and 2009 for every country in our study except Bolivia and Malaysia.
  • Topic: Energy Policy, Environment, Natural Resources
  • Political Geography: China, Europe, Malaysia, Brazil, Argentina, Latin America, Bolivia
  • Author: Rosa C. Goodman, Martin Herold
  • Publication Date: 11-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: Tropical forests have the highest carbon density and cover more land area than forests in any other biome. They also serve a vital role as a natural buffer to climate change ―capturing 2.2–2.7 Gt of carbon per year. Unfortunately, tropical forests, mangroves, and peatlands are also subjected to the highest levels of deforestation and account for nearly all net emissions from Forestry and Other Land Use (FOLU) (1.1–1.4 Gt C / year). Net emissions from FOLU accounted for only 11% of total anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions or 14% of total carbon emissions in 2010, though these figures are somewhat misleading and do not reflect the full potential of tropical forests to mitigate climate change. First, net FOLU emissions have reduced only slightly while emissions from all other sectors have skyrocketed. Secondly, the FOLU net flux is made up of two larger fluxes —deforestation emissions (2.6–2.8 Gt C / year) minus sequestration from forest regrowth (1.2–1.7 Gt C / year). Additionally, intact tropical forests also appear to be capturing at least 1.0 Gt C/ year. Gross deforestation, therefore, accounts for over a quarter of all carbon emissions, and tropical forests have removed 22–26% of all anthropogenic carbon emissions in the 2000s. If deforestation were halted entirely, forests were allowed to regrow, and mature forests were left undisturbed, tropical forests alone could have captured 25–35% of all other anthropogenic carbon emissions. On the other hand, if climate change continues unabated, forests could turn from net sinks to net sources of carbon. Forestrelated activities are among the most economically feasible and cost-effective mitigation strategies, which are important for both short- and long-term mitigation strategies. Action is needed immediately to utilize these natural mitigation solutions, and we need coordinated and comprehensive forest-related policies for mitigation. An international mechanism such as REDD+ is essential to realize the great natural potential for tropical forests to stabilize the climate.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Energy Policy, Environment, Natural Resources, Reform
  • Political Geography: Africa, South Asia, Latin America
  • Author: Charles Kenny
  • Publication Date: 11-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: Government contracts regarding the use of public property and finances should be published by default. Many jurisdictions already require that contracts be made public in response to requests for the information; some now publish contracts proactively. Doing so helps new entrants compete in the market for public contracts, helps governments model their projects on other successful examples, and allows citizens greater insight into how their taxes are being spent. This brief, summarizing the conclusions of the Working Group on Government Contract Publication, provides a practical outline for reaping the benefits of open contracts while addressing legitimate concerns about costs, collusion, privacy, commercial secrecy, and national security.
  • Topic: Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: United Kingdom
  • Author: Nancy Birdsall, Frances Seymour, William Savedoff
  • Publication Date: 08-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: In March 2004, the Brazilian government initiated a range of policies and enforcement actions (under the Action Plan for Preservation and Control of Deforestation in the Legal Amazon) that brought sharp reductions in the rate of deforestation. In 2008, Brazil signed an agreement with Norway to receive payments during a 5-year period for bringing greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation below a 10-year average (1996–2005). Norway pledged up to US$1 billion for this agreement, which stipulated that these funds would be donated to the Amazon Fund (Fundo Amazônia), managed by the Brazilian National Development Bank and invested in actions to prevent deforestation and to promote the conservation and sustainable use of the Amazon biome.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Treaties and Agreements, Natural Resources
  • Political Geography: Norway, Brazil
  • Author: Jesse Lueders, Cara Horowitz, Ann Carlson, Sean B. Hecht, Edward A. Parson
  • Publication Date: 11-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: For the last several years, California has considered the idea of recognizing, within its greenhouse gas cap-and-trade program, offsets generated by foreign states and provinces through reduced tropical forest destruction and degradation and related conservation and sustainability efforts, known as REDD+. During their deliberations on the issue, state policymakers have heard arguments from stakeholders in favor of crediting REDD+ offsets, and those against. After years of planning and cooperative efforts undertaken with states in Brazil, Mexico, and elsewhere, California is still determining whether to embrace REDD+ offsets. The most salient and potentially persuasive arguments in favor stem from the opportunity to influence and reduce international forest-related emissions contributing to climate change, while simultaneously reducing the costs imposed by the state's climate change law. The state is still grappling, however, with serious questions about the effectiveness of REDD+ in addressing climate change, as well as the impacts of REDD+ on other social and environmental objectives. The suitability of the state's cap-and-trade program as a tool for reducing emissions outside the state, given the co-benefits that accrue to local communities from in-state reductions, remains another key area of debate. The outcome of this policy discussion will depend on interrelated questions of program design, future offset supply and demand, and the weight given to the importance of prioritizing in-state emissions reductions and co-benefits.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Energy Policy, Environment, Natural Resources
  • Political Geography: United States, Brazil, California, Mexico
  • Author: Dean Karlan, Pia Raffler, Greg Fischer, Margaret McConnell
  • Publication Date: 11-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: In a field experiment in Uganda, we find that demand after a free distribution of three health products is lower than after a sale distribution. This contrasts with work on insecticide-treated bed nets, highlighting the importance of product characteristics in determining pricing policy. We put forward a model to illustrate the potential tension between two important factors, learning and anchoring, and then test this model with three products selected specifically for their variation in the scope for learning. We find the rank order of shifts in demand matches with the theoretical prediction, although the differences are not statistically significant.
  • Topic: Development, Health
  • Political Geography: Uganda, Africa
  • Author: Antonio G.M. La Viña, Alaya de Leon
  • Publication Date: 12-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: This paper provides an analysis of the international political dynamics around the reduction of tropical deforestation and forest degradation as a climate mitigation strategy, emphasizing the necessity of an enabling environment and sustainable financing to support the scaling up of these efforts globally. After describing the evolution from the 1990s of international cooperation to combat tropical deforestation, the paper focuses principally on the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), and how it provided an impetus for a renewed effort on this issue. The paper describes the complex process through which the climate and tropical forest agenda got inserted into UNFCCC processes, from its marginal role in the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) created by the Kyoto Protocol to the emergence of REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation and the Role of Conservation, Sustainable Management of Forests and Enhancement of Forest Carbon Stocks) as the forum where decisions have been made on climate and tropical forests. The paper dissects the issues that have dominated the REDD+ negotiations, identifies and characterizes the actors and constituencies that have been influential in the process, analyzes lessons learned from the successes of this UNFCCC agenda, and suggests recommendations to move the REDD+ and overall tropical forests and climate agenda forward. The paper concludes with an anticipation of what to expect in the future, in the light especially of what could possibly be a new climate change agreement in 2015.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Energy Policy, Natural Resources
  • Political Geography: United Nations
  • Author: Erlend A. T. Hermansen, Sjur Kasa
  • Publication Date: 12-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: Norway – a small northern country with only 5 million inhabitants – is at present a global leader in REDD+ financing. In this paper, we explain why and how this happened by telling the story about the emergence of Norway's International Climate and Forest Initiative (NICFI) in 2007 and its institutionalization in the following years. We emphasize how a set of Norwegian climate policy characteristics prepared the ground for NICFI. These characteristics were the relative absence of less expensive potential emission cuts domestically, a tradition of seeking cheaper emission reduction options abroad, and few fiscal constraints due to high petroleum revenues. When the domestic demand for a more proactive climate policy started to increase from 2006 onward, two Norwegian environmental NGOs, The Rainforest Foundation Norway and Friends of the Earth Norway, exploited the window of opportunity that emerged from the tension between high domestic abatement costs and increasing domestic climate policy demands by proposing a large-scale Norwegian rainforest effort. This proposal resonated well with the new emphasis on reduced deforestation as a promising climate policy measure internationally. Towards the end of 2007, these ENGOs managed to convince a broad majority in Parliament that large-scale financing of measures to reduce deforestation globally should become an important part of Norwegian climate policy. Financing NICFI through the growth in the steadily increasing development aid budget dampened opposition from more fiscally conservative actors and facilitated the rapid set-up of a flexible implementing organization directly linked to some of the most proactive politicians. Several agreements with key rainforest countries were rapidly established, and including ENGOs in policy formulation and implementation helped maintaining the momentum and legitimacy for NICFI as a more permanent solution to Norway's climate policy dilemmas. NICFI's robustness and high level of legitimacy are illustrated by the fact that the initiative has survived the recent 2013 change of government quite intact. However, we also suggest that the long-time survival of the initiative may be dependent on the future of the UNFCCC process as well as the destiny of the national projects.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Energy Policy, Environment, Natural Resources
  • Political Geography: Europe, Norway
  • Author: Dean Karlan, Greg Fischer, Margaret McConnell, Pia Raffler
  • Publication Date: 12-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: In a field experiment in Uganda, we find that demand after a free distribution of three health products is lower than after a sale distribution. This contrasts with work on insecticide-treated bed nets, highlighting the importance of product characteristics in determining pricing policy. We put forward a model to illustrate the potential tension between two important factors, learning and anchoring, and then test this model with three products selected specifically for their variation in the scope for learning. We find the rank order of shifts in demand matches with the theoretical prediction, although the differences are not statistically significant.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Environment, Governance
  • Political Geography: Uganda, Europe, Germany