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  • Author: Megan O'Donnell
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: Existing accountability mechanisms focused on global gender equality are largely retrospective in nature. Where mechanisms do probe at governments’ commitments to future progress, they often lack accompanying incentive structures (“carrots and sticks”) to encourage ambition. Countries re- port their progress implementing the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women and the Beijing Platform for Action, participate in annual Commission on the Status of Women sessions, and touch on gender equality as part of voluntary national review reporting for the Sustainable Development Goals. Although these processes, among others, provide an opportu- nity for country reflection and for civil society engagement, they do not mandate that governments establish and adhere to forward-looking, specific commitments detailing how they aim to promote gender equality. The absence of future commitments makes it difficult for civil society actors to hold governments to account according to well-defined metrics. At the same time, governments and women’s rights advo- cates worldwide are increasingly discussing and adopting “feminist foreign policies” and “gender-re- sponsive budgeting.” There is a need to clearly define with robust and transparent metrics what these terms mean and how to hold countries who claim to be “feminist” and “gender-responsive” account- able for ambitious progress, while also encouraging other countries to increasingly prioritize gender equality.
  • Topic: Development, Gender Issues, Inequality, Feminism, Equality
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Thorsten Beck, Liliana Rojas-Suarez
  • Publication Date: 04-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: A sound financial regulatory framework is critical for minimizing the risk imposed by financial system fra­gility. In the world’s emerging markets and developing economies (EMDEs), such regulation is also essential to support economic development and poverty reduc­tion. Meanwhile, it is increasingly recognized that global financial stability is a global public good: recent decades have seen the development of new inter­national financial regulatory standards, to serve as benchmarks for gauging regulation across countries, facilitate cooperation among financial supervisors from different countries, and create a level playing field for financial institutions wherever they operate. For the worldwide banking industry, the international regulatory standards promulgated by the Basel Com­mittee on Banking Supervision (BCBS) stand out for their wide-ranging scope and detail. Even though the latest Basel recommendations, adopted in late 2017 and known as Basel III, are, like their predecessors, calibrated primarily for advanced countries, many EMDEs are in the process of adopting and adapting them, and many others are considering it. They do so because they see it as in their long-term interest, but at the same time the new standards pose for them new risks and challenges. This report assesses the implica­tions of Basel III for EMDEs and provides recommen­dations for both international and local policymakers to make Basel III work for these economies.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Emerging Markets, Markets
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Michael Pisa
  • Publication Date: 05-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: As the organization responsible for setting international standards on anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT), the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) has encouraged countries to design measures that protect the integrity of the financial system and support financial inclusion. But it has also received criticism that poor implementation of its standards can undermine financial access. One of the FATF’s main tools for compelling effective use of its standards is the mutual evaluation process, which relies on peer reviews to assess countries’ level of compliance with the FATF Recommendations. We explore whether these reviews have been conducted in a way that helps or hinders national efforts to promote financial inclusion by reviewing the 33 developing country mutual evaluations that took place between 2015-2018. Overall, these findings suggest that assessment teams have conducted mutual evaluations in a way that supports efforts to promote financial inclusion and the flexible use of simplified measures. There is, however, inconsistency in how assessors treat risks emanating from financial exclusion, which suggests the need for a more systematic approach to evaluating these risks.
  • Topic: Development, Terrorism, Finance, Financial Integrity
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Publication Date: 05-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: Internationally set goals and guidelines directly influ­ence the setting of health care priorities at the national level, affecting how limited resources are generated and allocated across health care needs. The influence of global priority setting, such as through the formu­lation of overarching goals or normative guidelines for specific disease areas, is particularly significant in low- and middle-income countries that rely heavily on overseas development assistance. Because no sys­tematic approach exists for dealing with resource con­straints, however, which vary across countries, goals and guidance are often inappropriate for some country contexts; their implementation can, therefore, reduce the efficiency and equity of health care spending. The Working Group on Incorporating Economics and Modelling in Global Health Goals and Guidelines, co-convened by the Center for Global Development, Thanzi la Onse, and the HIV Modelling Consortium, has brought together disease specialists, policymakers, economists, and modelers from national governments, international organizations, and academic institutions across the globe to address these issues, to take stock of current approaches, and make recommendations for better practice. The Working Group deliberated on the roles and purposes of goals and guidelines and consid­ered how economic evidence might be formally incor­porated into policy recommendations and health care decision making. The target audiences for this report are international health institutions, large stakehold­ers in disease programs across the world, and national governments.
  • Topic: Development, Health, Health Care Policy, Public Health
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Lauren Post, Cindy Huang, Sarah Charles
  • Publication Date: 06-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: In its 18th replenishment of the International Development Association (IDA18, covering 2017–2020), the World Bank made a game-changing decision to create a US$2 billion financing window to support low-income countries hosting large numbers of refugees.[1] This financing is significant for two key reasons. First, in its scale and scope, the Refugee Sub-Window (RSW) is responsive to both the programmatic and policy needs of protracted refugee crises. Second, in supporting both refugees and their host communities, the RSW aligns refugee responses with host countries’ national development plans.
  • Topic: Development, World Bank, Refugees, Humanitarian Crisis
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Nancy Lee, Asad Sami
  • Publication Date: 07-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: Interest in mobilizing private finance for SDG investments is surging in a world of stagnating aid, limited fiscal space, and rising LIC debt. But is more reliance on private finance realistic for LICs? This paper explores the performance since the global financial crisis of one source of private finance for LICs: cross-border private capital inflows. Much of the evidence is encouraging, and some of it flies in the face of conventional wisdom. For LICs, private capital inflows are an important and growing source of finance. For the median LIC, private capital inflows are now as large as ODA as a share of GDP. And the FDI component—most of LIC inflows—has been stable and resilient throughout the post-crisis period. Importantly, inflows are not all captured by resource-rich LICs. In 2017, more than half of capital inflows to LICs went to non-resource-rich LICs. Increasingly, policies, not just resource endowments, shape LIC destinations for foreign capital. The relation between median capital inflows/GDP and median regulatory quality is significantly positive for non-resource-rich LICs. And sources of FDI are diversifying. In 2016, China’s stock of FDI in Africa was almost as large as that of the traditional investors: the US, UK, and France. But there is also not-so-good news. Median private capital inflow/GDP ratios are not positively correlated with median private domestic investment/GDP in LICs. Nor is there a significant relationship with median public investment/GDP. The apparent lack of complementarity between foreign and domestic investment may point to problems related to investment enclaves and/or the role of the state in LIC economies. As in other countries, non-FDI inflows to LICs are volatile and sensitive to global commodity prices and interest rates. We find no relation between median country per capita income levels and private inflows/GDP, highlighting the need for caution in IDA graduation policies.
  • Topic: Development, Capital Flows, Interest Rates, Private Sector, Capital
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Owen Barder, Euan Ritchie, Andrew Rogerson
  • Publication Date: 07-2019
  • Content Type: Case Study
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: We revisit the policy dilemmas thrown up by so-called Multi-bi funding (earmarked bilateral aid routed via multilateral channels), based on a case study of World Bank trust funds, given their industry-leading overall size and relative transparency. We update patterns of sources and uses of Multi-bi using the 2019 Trust Funds Directory and use this to derive a new Index of Responsible Multi-bi Donorship. We consider complementary donor motivations for Multi-bi, highlighting their perceived need to shift the focus of a multilateral institution faster than they believe possible through its core systems. We examine potential negative effects of Multi-bi on the distortion of funding choices available to client countries, and above all on the risk of “hollowing out” of the multilateral itself, as the locus of power and accountability shifts from the wider collective toward a narrower set of contracting relationships. We find that current trust fund reform efforts can at best partly address these dynamics, while the growing trend toward creation of sub-windows within the main core funding instrument could potentially make things worse. Instead, we offer a pragmatic two-track solution that could significantly reduce tensions between funder needs and institutional integrity. This involves (a) developing an improved battery of output indicators mapped to donor core contributions, to enhance visibility and results reporting and (b) routing new Multi-bi proposals increasingly through core governance processes, focusing initially on greater transparency and on demonstrating their additionality to donors’ core funding.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Finance, Banks, Donors, Funding
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Jeremy Konyndyk
  • Publication Date: 08-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: The world’s humanitarian aid architecture is growing outdated. Relief programs are most effective when they are integrated, locally owned, and demand driven. But humanitarian action in the 21st century remains constrained by a 20th-century aid model: siloed, supply driven, and centered on the individual mandates and sectors of major international aid agencies. This makes aid both less effective and less responsive than it could be. In a world where displacement is at the highest levels in generations, climate disasters are increasing, and humanitarian funding is beginning to level off, this disconnect is no longer tenable. But fixing it is not a simple matter—multiple rounds of humanitarian reform over the past 15 years have made progress but fallen short of fundamental change. Earlier this summer in Geneva, CGD convened two high-level private roundtables, one with leaders from humanitarian donor institutions and another with senior executives from major humanitarian aid agencies (both multilaterals and NGOs), to discuss how to make humanitarian aid more cohesive and user-centered. The meetings were part of a multiyear research initiative exploring how modernizing the humanitarian business model and humanitarian governance are integral to improving field-level humanitarian impact. CGD teed up the conversation with three emerging ideas from our research (you can see the presentation slides here). These ideas—the subjects of several forthcoming papers CGD is developing —explore ways of better aligning aid delivery around enhanced impact toward affected people’s priorities
  • Topic: Development, Humanitarian Aid, International Cooperation, Reform, Humanitarian Intervention
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Scott Morris
  • Publication Date: 08-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: This note proposes a new Research Ventures Fund (RVF) at the World Bank to better prioritize R&D investments in support of development progress. The RVF would employ financing mechanisms that are consistent with research needs: significant scale and scope, patience, and tolerance for failure. Existing development-oriented research consortia like CGIAR would provide a promising start for RVF funding allocations. Donors to the IDA-19 replenishment should take the first step in securing funding for the new fund in 2019.
  • Topic: Development, International Cooperation, Science and Technology, World Bank, Finance, Research, Banking
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Jeremy Konyndyk, Rose Worden
  • Publication Date: 09-2019
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: The notion that humanitarian response should center on the people it serves, rather than the aid agencies serving them, has been repeatedly codified in humanitarian commitments as far back as the early 1990s. Yet the mainstream humanitarian system has struggled to translate these commitments into practice: corresponding reform efforts have failed to systemically broaden accountability to and participation of aid recipients in response efforts. Major constraints have included misaligned incentive structures between donors and aid agencies, power imbalances between aid providers and aid recipients, and operational and political complexities arising at field level. To produce real systemic change, the aid system must move beyond technical and rhetorical approaches to accountability and begin reshaping the power and incentive structures that influence aid decision-making. This paper proposes a set of mutually reinforcing recommendations centered around three imperatives: enshrining the influence of aid recipients at all levels of aid decision-making; developing independent channels for soliciting the priorities and perspectives of crisis-affected people; and institutionalizing a set of enabling changes to humanitarian operational and personnel practices.
  • Topic: Development, Humanitarian Aid, Institutionalism, Humanitarian Crisis
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Charles Kenny
  • Publication Date: 09-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: Development finance institutions have positioned themselves as key agencies to help the world meet the Sustainable Development Goals. It is doubtful that they can deliver. This paper outlines the challenges facing DFIs in achieving (anywhere near) such an expansion in their impact, particularly in infrastructure and particularly in the poorest countries. It notes that private investment in SDG priority areas is low in the poorest countries, and the record of private investment in rolling out services is mixed. These issues are linked in part to significant supply side constraints based on country characteristics. DFIs do better than the market as a whole at investing in challenging infrastructure–but not by much. And while the scale of their ‘leverage’ in terms of attracting dollars that would otherwise not have been invested is hard to determine, in the poorest markets in infrastructure it is certainly low. Finally, DFIs and donors more broadly have long tried to improve deal flow with limited success, suggesting there are few deals on the margin of occurring which only require small extra incentives to materialize.
  • Topic: Development, Finance, Institutions, Sustainability
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Anna Popova, David Evans, Mary E. Breeding, Violeta Arancibia
  • Publication Date: 09-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: Many teachers in low- and middle-income countries lack the skills to teach effectively, and professional development (PD) programs are the principal tool that governments use to upgrade those skills. At the same time, few PD programs are evaluated, and those that are evaluated show highly varying results. In this paper, we propose a set of indicators—the In-Service Teacher Training Survey Instrument—to standardize reporting on teacher PD programs. Applying the instrument to 33 rigorously evaluated PD programs, we find that programs that link participation to career incentives, have a specific subject focus, incorporate lesson enactment in the training, and include initial face-to-face training tend to show higher student learning gains. In qualitative interviews, program implementers also report follow-up visits as among the most effective characteristics of their professional development programs. We then use the instrument to present novel data on a sample of 139 government-funded, at-scale professional development programs across 14 countries. The attributes of most at-scale teacher professional development programs differ sharply from those of programs that evidence suggests are effective, with fewer incentives to participate in PD, fewer opportunities to practice new skills, and less follow-up once teachers return to their classrooms.
  • Topic: Development, Education, Labor Issues, Academia, Teaching
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Publication Date: 10-2019
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: There is a significant and ongoing ramp-up in support for explicitly subsidized official development finance to the private sector around the world, but its role remains poorly defined. Lessons from the aid effectiveness literature as a whole and principles on effective use of aid suggest the need for approaches that do not merely finance the marginal private investment. Regarding experience of government intervention in markets, subsidies are only one of many options to incentivize the private sector, and bespoke subsidies provided by outside actors are rarely likely to be the most efficient form. This paper discusses where outside subsidy of the private sector may make sense and develops principles for the use of aid in subsidies based on that analysis. Subsidies should be allocated on the basis of necessity in meeting public policy goals; the norm for subsidy allocations should be competitive approaches or open offers; non-competitive subsidies should only support market making; subsidy levels should be capped; and subsidy levels should be transparent. Much of the content of these “new” principles is already implied or specified by the existing Multilateral Development Bank Principles to Support Sustainable Private Sector Operations, but they suggest that development finance institutions should not use their standard business model when using subsidies.
  • Topic: Development, Privatization, Foreign Aid, Private Sector, Subsidies
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: William Savedoff
  • Publication Date: 10-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: The aid literature and high-level accords like the Paris Declaration argue that “country ownership” is critical to the effectiveness of aid. In response, donors and recipients renamed themselves “development partners,” obscuring the tendency for country ownership benefits (i.e. more successful and sustainable programs) to come at the expense of satisfying the funding countries’ priorities. This paper illustrates the tradeoff between country ownership and funders’ priorities with a formal model in which aid is governed by a contract to produce a jointly desired outcome. The model generalizes the Principal-Agent approaches for studying aid which treat countries as having multiple objectives. The new model illustrates how a recipient country’s rational resource allocation choices vary with different aid contracts, whether based on lump sum payments, input-based payments, conditional payments, matching grants or outcome payments. It reveals two critical aspects of the country ownership debate. First, even when funders and recipients agree on project goals, funders can only achieve their priorities through distorting domestic allocative choices. Second, funders are likely to fully embrace country ownership only in cases where they believe alternative uses of domestic funds have integrity (as defined by the funder). The model also shows that when funders put higher priority on achieving their goals than accommodating recipient allocation preferences, they should prefer conditional payments, matching grants, or outcome payments. Among these, the donor’s preferences would depend on the relative observability of expenditures to outcomes. If instead funders embrace country ownership and seek to maximize the country’s welfare, lump sum grants are better. In terms of Paris Declaration goals of sustainability, the aid contracts which are least aligned with recipient country priorities will not be sustained after aid ends unless domestic preferences are altered by a process of hysteresis.
  • Topic: Development, Diplomacy, International Cooperation, Foreign Aid
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Kimberly Ann Elliott
  • Publication Date: 11-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: For nearly 50 years, the world’s “least developed countries” have received extra financial support and preferential trade treatment to help them grow and develop. In the first three decades after the Unit- ed Nations (UN) created the LDC category in 1971, only one country—diamond-rich Botswana—out- grew that status. Since then, four more countries have graduated, and the pace is set to accelerate over the coming decade. Moreover, the countries approaching graduation in the next decade will pose different adjustment challenges than those that preceded them. When a country successfully graduates, it loses access to the special finance and trade programs that come with LDC status. In the case of trade, that can mean the graduating country’s exporters sudden- ly face the higher tariffs that their more advanced competitors face, so-called most-favored nation (MFN) tariffs. Even if these countries remain eligible for the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) that is available to developing countries, those programs are typically much less generous than the duty-free, quota-free market access that most advanced economies provide for LDCs.1 Moreover, out- side the European Union (EU), few countries provide transition measures for graduating LDCs (see Annex A). Nor does there appear to be much planning to prepare for the coming wave of graduations. The United Kingdom has already committed to provide barrier-free market access for LDCs, similar to the EU’s Everything But Arms (EBA) program.2 But British policymakers have a unique opportunity to improve on that model as part of post-Brexit trade and development planning, including to ad- dress the coming wave of graduations. And if the UK remains in the customs union, it can work with EU policymakers to improve the graduation process as part of the review of the GSP regulation that expires in 2023.
  • Topic: Development, International Cooperation, European Union, Trade, Transition
  • Political Geography: Europe, Global Focus
  • Author: Ruth Lopert
  • Publication Date: 11-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: Around the world, development economists and researchers are exploring proposals to tax excise goods, and several have produced models demonstrating that such taxes can generate substantial revenues. This note attempts to list the organizations and research initiatives currently addressing taxation of tobacco, alcohol, and sugar-sweetened beverages—the “bads”—to help navigate the landscape of existing research and identify gaps and opportunities for further work.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Tax Systems, Revenue Management
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Scott Morris, Jessie Lu
  • Publication Date: 11-2019
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: Donor support for agriculture development is not keeping pace with developing country demand or the need for finance implied by Sustainable Development Goal 2. In order to increase the overall volume of resources available for these needs, IFAD is pursuing a reform agenda that considers providing loans on harder terms to its client countries. This study assesses whether this hardening of lending terms will affect country demand for projects. Using the World Bank experience as a proxy, this paper examines whether graduation from the International Development Association to the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development affects the sector portfolios of countries and the types of investment demands within agriculture through both statistical and qualitative country case study analysis. We find that as countries graduate, there is a relative shift away from “soft” sector investments and a different mix of investments within the agricultural sector. We argue that IFAD’s consideration of harder lending terms should also include consideration of how to respond to a different mix of country demand within the agricultural sector. Specifically, the fund should consider some scaling up of projects, increased emphasis on capital investments, and a greater emphasis on policy engagement with client countries.
  • Topic: Agriculture, Development, Investment, Sustainability, Banking
  • Political Geography: Global Focus