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  • Author: William Easterly, Janina Matuszeski, Alberto Alesina
  • Publication Date: 10-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: Artificial states are those in which political borders do not coincide with a division of nationalities desired by the people on the ground. We propose and compute for all countries in the world two new measures how artificial states are. One is based on measuring how borders split ethnic groups into two separate adjacent countries. The other one measures how straight land borders are, under the assumption the straight land borders are more likely to be artificial. We then show that these two measures seem to be highly correlated with several measures of political and economic success.
  • Topic: International Relations, Demographics, Economics, Politics
  • Author: Devesh Kapur, Richard Webb
  • Publication Date: 09-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: A consensus has developed that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is not fulfilling its role, prompting multiple proposals for reform. However, this paper argues that the focus on reform should be complemented with an exploration of alternatives outside the IMF which hold the potential to not only give developing countries greater bargaining leverage with the Fund but also, by increasing competition, spurring the institution to better performance. The paper argues that most of the IMF's functions are being carried out in part through alternative institutional arrangements. It focuses in particular on the insurance role of the Fund and argues that developing countries are developing alternative insurance mechanisms, from a higher level of reserves, to regional co-insurance facilities to remittances as a counter-cyclical source of foreign exchange. The de facto exit of its clientele has been driven by the high political costs associated with Fund borrowing and now poses unprecedented challenges for the Fund, in particular pressures on its income. The paper argues for a rapid restructuring and significant cuts of the Fund's administrative budget with the budget savings instead directed to lower the interest rates charged to borrowers.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Third World
  • Author: Rachel Glennerster, Heidi Williams, Georg Weizsacker, Ruth Levine, Jean Lee, Michael R. Kremer, Ernst R. Berndt
  • Publication Date: 08-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: The G8 is considering committing to purchase vaccines against diseases concentrated in low-income countries (if and when desirable vaccines are developed) as a way to spur research and development on vaccines for these diseases. Under such an “advance market commitment,” one or more sponsors would commit to a minimum price to be paid per person immunized for an eligible product, up to a certain number of individuals immunized. For additional purchases, the price would eventually drop to close to marginal cost. If no suitable product were developed, no payments would be made. We estimate the offer size which would make revenues similar to the revenues realized from investments in typical existing commercial pharmaceutical products, as well as the degree to which various model contracts and assumptions would affect the cost-effectiveness of such a commitment. We make adjustments for lower marketing costs under an advance market commitment and the risk that a developer may have to share the market with subsequent developers. We also show how this second risk could be reduced, and money saved, by introducing a superiority clause to a commitment. Under conservative assumptions, we document that a commitment comparable in value to sales earned by the average of a sample of recently launched commercial products (adjusted for lower marketing costs) would be a highly cost-effective way to address HIV/AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis. Sensitivity analyses suggest most characteristics of a hypothetical vaccine would have little effect on the cost-effectiveness, but that the duration of protection conferred by a vaccine strongly affects potential cost-effectiveness. Readers can conduct their own sensitivity analyses employing a web-based spreadsheet tool.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Health, Markets
  • Author: Lant Pritchett, Amer Hasan, Deon Filmer
  • Publication Date: 08-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: The Millennium Development Goal for primary schooling completion has focused attention on a measurable output indicator to monitor increases in schooling in poor countries. We argue the next step, which moves towards the even more important Millennium Learning Goal, is to monitor outcomes of learning achievement. We demonstrate that even in countries meeting the MDG of primary completion, the majority of youth are not reaching even minimal competency levels, let alone the competencies demanded in a globalized environment. Even though Brazil is on track to the meet the MDG, our estimates are that 78 percent of Brazilian youth lack even minimally adequate competencies in mathematics and 96 percent do not reach what we posit as a reasonable global standard of adequacy. Mexico has reached the MDG—but 50 percent of youth are not minimally competent in math and 91 percent do not reach a global standard. While nearly all countries' education systems are expanding quantitatively nearly all are failing in their fundamental purpose. Policymakers, educators and citizens need to focus on the real target of schooling: adequately equipping their nation's youth for full participation as adults in economic, political and social roles. A goal of school completion alone is an increasingly inadequate guide for action. With a Millennium Learning Goal, progress of the education system will be judged on the outcomes of the system: the assessed mastery of the desired competencies of an entire age cohort—both those in school and out of school. By focusing on the learning achievement of all children in a cohort an MLG eliminates the false dichotomy between “access/enrollment” and “quality of those in school”: reaching an MLG depends on both.
  • Topic: International Relations, Development, Economics, Education
  • Political Geography: Brazil, Mexico
  • 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: Owen Barder
  • Publication Date: 07-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: It is sometimes claimed that an increase in aid might cause Dutch Disease—that is, an appreciation of the real exchange rate which can slow the growth of a country's exports— and that aid increases might thereby harm a country's long-term growth prospects. This essay argues that it is unlikely that a long-term, sustained and predictable increase in aid would, through the impact on the real exchange rate, do more harm than good, for three reasons. First, there is not necessarily an adverse impact on exports from Dutch Disease, and any impact on economic growth may be small. Second, aid spent in part on improving the supply side—investments in infrastructure, education, government institutions and health—result in productivity benefits for the whole economy, which can offset any loss of competitiveness from the Dutch Disease effect. Third, the welfare of a nation's citizens depends on their consumption and investment, not just output. Even on pessimistic assumptions, the additional consumption and investment which the aid finances is larger than any likely adverse impact on output. However, the macroeconomic effects of aid can cause substantial harm if the aid is not sustained until its benefits are realized. The costs of a temporary loss of competitiveness might well exceed the benefits of the short-term increase in aid. To avoid doing harm, aid should be sustained and predictable, and used in part to promote economic growth. This maximizes the chances that the long-term productivity and growth benefits will offset the adverse effects—which may be small if they exist at all—that big aid surges may pose as a result of Dutch Disease.
  • Topic: Economics, Health, Humanitarian Aid
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: David Roodman
  • Publication Date: 06-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: The proliferation of aid projects may overburden recipient governments with reporting requirements, donor visits, and other administrative overhead, siphoning off scarce domestic recipient resources, such as tax revenue or the time of skilled government officials, from directly productive use. But greater oversight may also improve the administration of projects, increasing development. I present a model of aid projects that reflects both sides of this coin. It posits a distinction between national-level governance and project-level governance. A donor can raise project-level governance above the baseline national level by requiring oversight activities of the recipient, although the benefits from doing so are less where national-level governance is already high. The model assumes that larger projects demand proportionally less oversight activity from the recipient. Comparative statics analysis suggests that to maximize development, projects should be larger where aid volume is higher, to avoid overburdening recipient administrative capacity; where recipient resources are scarcer, for the same reason; and where national governance is good, since the marginal benefit of oversight is then lower. A multi-donor generalization shows how donors that are imperfectly altruistic, caring most about the success of their own projects, will tend to sink into competitive proliferation, in which each donor subdivides its aid budget into smaller projects to raise the marginal productivity of the recipient's resources in those projects and attract them away from other donors. The inefficiency arises from the lack of a market among donors for recipient resources. In a Nash equilibrium, competitive proliferation reduces overall development. But the smallest (selfish) donors can gain. This would discourage them from cooperating with other donors to contain competitive proliferation.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Government, Humanitarian Aid
  • Author: Todd Moss
  • Publication Date: 05-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: The Multilateral Debt Relief Initiative (MDRI) is the latest phase of debt reduction for poor countries from the World Bank, the IMF, and the African Development Bank. The MDRI, which will come close to full debt reduction for at least 19 (and perhaps as many as 40) qualifying countries, is being presented as a momentous leap forward in the battle against global poverty. However, the analysis in this paper suggests that the actual gains may be more modest and elusive. This is not because, as some anti-debt campaigners fear, that the initiative is a mere accounting trick. Rather, the limited short-term financial impact of the MDRI on affected countries is because the debt service obligations being relived were themselves relatively insignificant. For example, in 2004 the average African country in the program paid $19 million in debt service to the World Bank, but received 10 times that amount in new Bank credit and more than 50 times as much in total aid. Just as importantly, finances are rarely the binding constraint on poverty and other development outcomes. This is not to say that the MDRI is futile. Indeed the impact could be considerable over the long-term, especially on the ability of creditors to be more selective in the future. But most of the impact of the MDRI will be long-term and difficult to measure. As such, expectations of the effect on indebted countries and development indicators should be kept modest and time horizons long.
  • Topic: Debt, Development, Economics, International Organization
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: John Nellis
  • Publication Date: 03-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: In the last 25 years many thousands of formerly state-owned and operated firms have been privatized in developing and transition countries, generating over $400 billion (US) in sales proceeds. In addition, thousands of firms have been transferred by privatization processes in which no money was raised (though a surprising number of state-owned firms remain in these regions). The vast majority of economic studies praise privatization's positive impact at the level of the firm, as well as its positive macroeconomic and welfare contributions. Moreover, contrary to popular conception, privatization has not contributed to maldistribution of income or increased poverty——at least in the best-studied Latin American cases. In sum, the technical picture is generally positive. Nonetheless, public opinion in the less developed world is generally suspicious of, and often hostile to, privatization. A good part of the problem is that privatization has proven harder to launch, and is more likely to produce errant results, in low-income, institutionally weak states, particularly in the most important infrastructure sectors. Privatization is hard to sell politically; it has become a lightning rod and handy scapegoat for all discontent related to liberalization and globalization. What is needed are reform mechanisms that give incentives and comfort to reputable private investors, that create and sustain the policy and regulatory institutions that make governments competent and honest partners with the private operators, while at the same time protecting consumers, particularly the most disadvantaged, from abuse.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Government, Privatization
  • Political Geography: Latin America
  • 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