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  • Author: Gisela Robles Aguilar, Andy Sumner
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: Who are the world’s poor? This paper presents a new global profile of multidimensional poverty using three specifications of multidimensional poverty. The paper draws comparisons with the global monetary poverty profile and with the new World Bank measure of combined monetary and non-monetary poverty; discusses how global poverty differs by specification, the extent of multidimensionality, and presents a set of estimates of the disaggregated characteristics of global multidimensional poverty in 2015. We find the following: (i) at an aggregate level, the overall characteristics of global multidimensional poverty are similar to those of global monetary poverty at $1.90 per day; (ii) at a disaggregated level, we find that poverty in rural areas tends to be characterized by overlapping deprivations in education and access to decent infrastructure (water, sanitation, electricity, and housing) and counterintuitively, given the proximity, in principle, to better health care and economic opportunities, it is child mortality and malnutrition that is more frequently observed within urban poverty; and (iii) the extent of the multidimensionality of poverty differs substantially by region; moreover, some deprivations frequently overlap while others do not.
  • Topic: Poverty, World Bank, Inequality, Rural
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Pamela Jakiela, Owen Ozier
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: Languages use different systems for classifying nouns. Gender languages assign nouns to distinct sex-based categories, masculine and feminine. We construct a new data set, documenting the presence or absence of grammatical gender in more than 4,000 languages which together account for more than 99 percent of the world’s population. We find a robust negative cross-country relationship between prevalence of gender languages and women’s labor force participation and educational attainment. We replicate these associations in four countries in sub-Saharan Africa and in India, showing that educational attainment and female labor force participation are lower among those whose native languages use grammatical gender.
  • Topic: Gender Issues, Language, Masculinity , Femininity
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Michael Pisa, John Polcari
  • Publication Date: 02-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: en years ago, only 6 percent of the population in low-income and lower-middle-income countries had access to the internet. Today, nearly one in every three people there does. The rapid expansion of internet access across the globe is a welcome development, but it raises new policy challenges. And while there is broad agreement in the development community on the importance of getting digital policy “right,” too little attention has been paid to how policymakers in the developing world can best engage with the companies who dominate the digital landscape. As governments reassess their relationship with these companies, an increasing number are enacting policies that raise barriers to the cross-border flow of data and put the largely global and open nature of the internet at risk. In this paper, we review how internet use has evolved in the developing world over the last decade, with a focus on initiatives by big tech companies to reach the “Next Billion Users.” We then examine how concerns about data privacy, disinformation, and market concentration have manifested in lower-income countries and how policymakers have begun to respond. We close by considering ways the development community can support policymakers seeking to maximize the benefits of an open internet while minimizing its risks.
  • Topic: Science and Technology, Governance, Inequality, Privacy, Internet, Emerging Technology
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Andrew Rogerson, Owen Barder
  • Publication Date: 02-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: n 2019/2020 donor governments are anticipated to pledge up to $170 billion to various multilateral organisations as part of their replenishment cycles. In the past, these large replenishments have been approached piecemeal and characterised by path dependency, which arguably has led to underperformance of the multilateral system as a whole. This unusual bunching of replenishments of some of the largest organisations in 2019 provides an opportunity to think more coherently about multilateral funding and to address key systemic problems, such as overlapping mandates and under-funding of some parts of the system. In this paper we recognise that it is unlikely that donors will take a formal, system-wide approach to the replenishments, but instead provide three suggestions that could nudge donors toward better coordinating the effect of their decisions. These are (1) multilaterals should be invited to set out in advance, and in a common format, their “offer” on a number of key issues, (2) donors should increase the envelope for core multilateral funding by diverting money away from earmarked funds, and (3) donors should provide a confidential forecast of their likely replenishments to a trusted intermediary, so that the “business as usual” baseline scenario is known.
  • Topic: International Cooperation, Multilateral Relatons, Multilateralism
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Thiemo Fetzer, Stephan Kyburz
  • Publication Date: 02-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: Can institutionalized transfers of resource rents be a source of civil conflict? Are cohesive institutions better at managing conflicts over distribution? We exploit exogenous variation in revenue disbursements to local governments and use new data on local democratic institutions in Nigeria to answer these questions. There is a strong link between rents and conflict far away from the location of the resource. Conflict over distribution is highly organized, involving political militias, and concentrated in the extent to which local governments are non-cohesive. Democratically elected local governments significantly weaken the causal link between rents and political violence. Elections produce more cohesive institutions, and vastly limit the extent to which distributional conflict between groups breaks out following shocks to the rents. Throughout, we confirm these findings using individual level survey data.
  • Topic: Political Violence, Violence, Institutions, Human Resources
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Charles Kenny
  • Publication Date: 02-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: There is a lot we don’t know about what automation will mean for jobs in the future, including its impact (if any) on gender inequality. This note reviews evidence and forecasts on that question and makes four main points: Past automation has been (broadly) positive for women’s average quality of life, economic empowerment, and equality. Forecasts of the gendered impact of automation and AI going forward based on the current distribution of employment suggest considerable uncertainty and a gender inequality of impact that is marginal compared to the potential impact overall. The bigger risk—and/or opportunity—is likely to be in the combined impact of automation, policy, and social norms in changing the type of work that is seen as male or female. Minimizing any potential aggravating impact of automation and AI on inequalities in economic power in the future can best be achieved by maximizing economic equality today.
  • Topic: Gender Issues, Labor Issues, Employment, Inequality, Feminism
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Michael Pisa, Denise McCurdy
  • Publication Date: 02-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: In many low- and lower-middle-income countries (LMICs) where disease burdens are highest, health supply chains function poorly, resulting in frequent stockouts and a high prevalence of substandard and even falsified medications. In response to these concerns, the global health initiatives have stepped up their efforts to improve supply chain management. At the same time, a growing number of rich country pharmaceutical companies are investing in digital technologies that help them “track and trace” the movement of medicines through the supply chain at the package-level. Drawing from interviews with over thirty experts, we find that traceability offers a realistic solution to some of the problems found in LMIC health supply chains but that implementing the approach is a huge logistical endeavor that requires a strong political commitment. We close by discussing how donors can support committed governments, by taking an evidence-based approach to determine what traceability methods work best.
  • Topic: International Cooperation, Health Crisis, Pharmaceuticals , Tracing
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Publication Date: 03-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: Transparency by design: Transparency should be the norm for all government contracts, particularly regarding information on what is being exchanged and for what price. Contracting systems should be designed to support proactive publication of contracts as open data. Public contracting should be designed for transparency and efficiency. Full contract publication should be the norm. Information needed to judge value for money should be disclosed. Exceptions in the public interest: Redactions on the basis of commercial sensitivity should only be justified where the public interest in withholding information is greater than the public interest in having that information published. The assessment should take into account both any commercial harm to the contractor and the broader benefits of transparency to markets and public trust. Where exceptions to publication are considered: Information should only be redacted for reasons of commercial sensitivity when the public interest in withholding information is greater than the public interest in disclosure. The public interest test should take into account the wider economic benefits of the sharing of commercial information, as well as the case for accountability and the public’s right to know. All redactions should be clearly marked with the reason for redaction. A clear and robust process: Governments should issue detailed guidance on commercial sensitivity principles and exemptions, put in place systems to support publication, ensure that redaction is time-limited, and use other oversight mechanisms to compensate for information withheld from publication. Governments should issue clear guidance to public entities, agencies, and firms on contract publication and when information may be exempted from publication for commercial sensitivity reasons. Where redaction is potentially allowed, there should be a clear process for determining what is redacted, why, for how long, and with what appeals process. There should be a system for ensuring that contracts and contract information are in fact disclosed in practice. Where exemption to disclosure of information is granted for commercial sensitivity reasons, this should be grounds for increased scrutiny through other oversight mechanisms.
  • Topic: Government, Transparency, Public Service, Contracts
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Bright Simons
  • Publication Date: 03-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: In 1981, a former sheep farmer took a one-week crash course in computing, had an epiphany, and teamed up with a car tyres millionaire to form DJ AI. DJ AI announced a new artificial intelligence platform for sale at $600 that could build computer programs for customers. They named their game-changer “The Last One.” All users had to do was follow a set of screen menus, plug, and play, and bingo, they could do away with all those pesky system administrators and programmers. $6 million was spent marketing this powerful piece of magic on both sides of the Atlantic, sometimes to comic effect. Such dreams of software building software, literally cutting out the middleman, have recurred regularly since the 1960s in peaks and troughs, but we are still waiting. From the late 90s onwards, however, new data-driven approaches to automation, particularly so-called deep learning, and the involvement of many of the world’s smartest and most loaded companies, have begun to convince many level-headed analysts that this time it is going to be different. The technologies, we are told, can learn, and so it is about time we paid critical attention to the pace at which they are already and could even further turn upside down the world of work as we know it. Some of the most elegant attempts to evaluate and categorise the impact of these new capabilities on employment and income inequality can be found in papers by David Autor and his co-authors on labour market polarisation and the effect of computerisation on the market demand for skills. More than a decade after these papers were written, their core ideas and the schemas they proposed continue to inspire the framing of the issues in influential circles, making them the most cited in their writers’ corpus. The Economist is right to describe Autor’s seminal work as enormously influential. The elegance and rigorous use of data in these two persuasive treatises are not, however, enough to prevent one major convenient generalisation from weakening their key arguments. The generalisation in question emanates from the conflation of several different patterns of computerisation with “automation,” the replacement of human actors in the chain of work, which is then used as a proxy for technology diffusion and infusion into various modes of work, following in a tradition that also encompasses Goldin and Katz’s equally elegant formulation of the automation question as one of a contention between returns to skills versus returns to algorithms. Having taken “automation” as the predominant form in which modern technology manifests itself in the workplace, Autor and his collaborators then proceed to construct a spectrum of possibilities for technology’s infusion: complement, substitute, or bypass (CSB). In the CSB paradigm, modern technology in the workplace tends to complement super-skilled, high-earning, workers, in complex, adaptive, operations, thereby boosting their productivity and bargaining power; substitute for the contribution of most medium-skilled workers in many routine tasks, thus depressing their wage potential; and bypass low-skilled workers, such as drivers, waiters, and janitors, thus rendering their fate somewhat indeterminate even if their numbers grow. It is not difficult to see why Autor et al.’s extensive use of crosswalking across census-based industrial classification schemes and the Dictionary of Occupational Titles should encourage this neat stratification. Once something is coded, it acquires a hardness that confers rigour and opacity.
  • Topic: Science and Technology, Automation, Emerging Technology
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Kalipso Chalkidou, Adrian Towse
  • Publication Date: 04-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: spending on pharmaceuticals and other healthcare commodities is high and makes up a large proportion of healthcare spending in rich and poorer markets alike. A popular response to the problem of escalating drugs budgets has been transparency of drug pricing within and across borders. In a rare alignment of policy priorities, the Trump administration, the US Senate, and the World Health Organisation are calling for more transparency of the prices paid for prescription drugs as a means of tackling the ever-growing pharmaceuticals bill. Recently Italy’s health minister joined in, calling for a World Health Assembly resolution which would mandate WHO to “provide governments with a forum for sharing information on drug prices, revenues, research and development costs, public sector investments and research and development subsidies, marketing costs and other related information.” But is price transparency really the answer to healthcare systems’ fiscal sustainability challenges as they strive to expand access to new technologies or even merely sustain provision within strained public budgets? Well, it depends!
  • Topic: Transparency, Medicine , Pharmaceuticals , Price
  • Political Geography: Global Focus