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  • 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: Todd Moss, Stephanie Majerowicz
  • Publication Date: 07-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: Ghana's largest and most important creditor for the past three decades has been the International Development Association (IDA), the soft loan window of the World Bank. That will soon come to an end. The combination of Ghana's rapid economic growth and the recent GDP rebasing exercise means that Ghana suddenly finds itself above the income limit for IDA eligibility. Formal graduation is imminent and comes with significant implications for access to concessional finance, debt, and relations with other creditors. This paper considers the specific questions related to Ghana's relationship with the World Bank, as well as the broader questions about the country's new middle-income status.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Poverty, Foreign Aid, Foreign Direct Investment
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Lant Pritchett, Michael Woolcock, Matt Andrews
  • Publication Date: 06-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: Many reform initiatives in developing countries fail to achieve sustained improvements in performance because they are merely isomorphic mimicry—that is, governments and organizations pretend to reform by changing what policies or organizations look like rather than what they actually do. In addition, the flow of development resources and legitimacy without demonstrated improvements in performance undermines the impetus for effective action to build state capability or improve performance. This dynamic facilitates “capability traps” in which state capability stagnates, or even deteriorates, over long periods of time even though governments remain engaged in developmental rhetoric and continue to receive development resources. How can countries escape capability traps? We propose an approach, Problem-Driven Iterative Adaptation (PDIA), based on four core principles, each of which stands in sharp contrast with the standard approaches. First, PDIA focuses on solving locally nominated and defined problems in performance (as opposed to transplanting preconceived and packaged “best practice” solutions). Second, it seeks to create an authorizing environment for decision-making that encourages positive deviance and experimentation (as opposed to designing projects and programs and then requiring agents to implement them exactly as designed). Third, it embeds this experimentation in tight feedback loops that facilitate rapid experiential learning (as opposed to enduring long lag times in learning from ex post “evaluation”). Fourth, it actively engages broad sets of agents to ensure that reforms are viable, legitimate, relevant, and supportable (as opposed to a narrow set of external experts promoting the top-down diffusion of innovation).
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Political Economy, Foreign Aid, Foreign Direct Investment, Governance
  • Author: Dean Karlan, Ryan Knight, Christopher Udry
  • Publication Date: 11-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: We show how financial and managerial constraints impede experimentation and thus limit learning about the profitability of investments. Imperfect information about one's own type, but willingness to experiment to learn one's type, leads to short-run negative expected returns to investments, with some outliers succeeding. We find in an experiment that entrepreneurs invest randomized grants of cash and adopt advice from randomized grants of consulting services, but both lead to lower profits on average. In the long run, they revert back to their prior scale of operations. In a meta-analysis, results from 19 other experiments find mixed support for this theory.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Markets, Foreign Aid, Foreign Direct Investment
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Dean Karlan, Robert Osei, Christopher Udry, Isaac Osei-Akoto
  • Publication Date: 11-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: The investment decisions of small-scale farmers in developing countries are conditioned by the farmers' financial environment. Binding credit-market constraints and incomplete insurance can reduce investment in activities with high expected profits. We conducted several experiments in northern Ghana in which farmers were randomly assigned to receive cash grants, grants of or opportunities to purchase rainfall-index insurance, or a combination of the two. Demand for index insurance is strong, and insurance leads to significantly larger agricultural investment and riskier production choices in agriculture. The salient constraint to farmer investment is uninsured risk: when provided with insurance against the primary catastrophic risk they face, farmers are able to find resources to increase expenditure on their farms. Demand for insurance in subsequent years is strongly increasing in a farmer's own receipt of insurance payouts, and with the receipt of payouts by others in the farmer's social network. Both investment patterns and the demand for index insurance are consistent with the presence of important basis risk associated with the index insurance, and with imperfect trust that promised payouts will be delivered.
  • Topic: Agriculture, Economics, Markets, Food, Foreign Direct Investment
  • Author: John Gorlorwulu
  • Publication Date: 07-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: Countries emerging from protracted and devastating conflicts are often seen as needing significant external intervention in their financial markets to rebuild their private sector and promote quick and effective economic recovery. Despite enormous challenges, the provision of credit or the implementation of various lending schemes often dominate efforts to promote domestic private-sector recovery in the immediate aftermath of conflict. This approach raises a number of questions: First, how effective are loan programs in the development of domestic enterprises in the immediate aftermath of conflicts? Second, can loan programs work without significant improvements in the business climate? How sensitive is the design of lending programs to the success of domestic enterprise development projects following devastating conflicts? This paper explores the experience of the Liberian Enterprise Development Finance Company, which was established in 2007 to provide medium-and long-term credit to small and medium domestic enterprises. In addition to shedding light on the challenges such an enterprise faces in a post conflict environment, the paper explores whether the strategies employed are effective and if there are opportunities for effecting remedial changes that could improve the outcomes of such a program in post-conflict environments generally.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Civil War, Development, Foreign Aid, Foreign Direct Investment
  • Political Geography: Africa, Liberia
  • Author: Jenny C. Aker
  • Publication Date: 09-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: Agriculture can serve as an important engine for economic growth in developing countries, yet yields in these countries have lagged far behind those in developed countries for decades. One potential mechanism for increasing yields is the use of improved agricultural technologies, such as fertilizers, seeds and cropping techniques. Public-sector programs have attempted to overcome information-related barriers to technological adoption by providing agricultural extension services. While such programs have been widely criticized for their limited scale, sustainability and impact, the rapid spread of mobile phone coverage in developing countries provides a unique opportunity to facilitate technological adoption via information and communication technology (ICT)-based extension programs. This article outlines the potential mechanisms through which ICT could facilitate agricultural adoption and the provision of extension services in developing countries. It then reviews existing programs using ICT for agriculture, categorized by the mechanism (voice, text, internet and mobile money transfers) and the type of services provided. Finally, we identify potential constraints to such programs in terms of design and implementation, and conclude with some recommendations for implementing field-based research on the impact of these programs on farmers' knowledge, technological adoption and welfare.
  • Topic: Agriculture, Development, Poverty, Science and Technology, Foreign Aid, Foreign Direct Investment