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  • Author: Diana Ngo, Sebastian Bauhoff
  • Publication Date: 11-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: Rwanda’s performance-based incentives were effective for some indicators, but unconditional financing also induced improvements. The incentive effects persisted in the mediumrun and as the program was scaled-up. Additionally, the analysis demonstrates how observational research methods and secondary data can generate new insights on existing evaluations
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Guillermo Calvo
  • Publication Date: 12-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: The last presidential elections in Argentina (2015) and in Brazil (2018), represent a change from populism towards more orthodox economic policies in two important countries in the region. This shift is not only economic but also reflects other fundamental changes in the electorate, in particular the growing dissatisfaction of the population with issues such as weak security and growing corruption in political institutions. In both countries, there are significant fiscal problems and adjustment is needed. But in modern democracies, the success or failure of economic policy is closely tied to political developments. Notably, both countries face their macroeconomic challenges under a parliamentary minority; a situation that is common to many countries in the region at present. Economies highly integrated into the international capital markets, with macroeconomic imbalances inherited from populist governments, face a particularly difficult challenge. On the one hand, the required fiscal tightening entails the execution of policies that may result in greater social unrest, thus encouraging a gradual approach. On the other hand, a gradual approach requires a greater funding stream of financial funds thus exposing the economy to higher financial risk. The dilemma of choosing between a shock adjustment and a gradual approach has been central to understanding what has happened in Argentina and is essential to assessing the options available to the next government in Brazil. The dilemma about the optimal speed of fiscal adjustment has been faced by other countries in the region in the past. In some successful cases of gradualism, the presence of a clear commitment mechanism over the fiscal path, including the implementation of goals agreed with the IMF, has played a decisive role in mitigating the credibility gap typically linked to gradual approaches. One question that the Committee puts forward throughout this statement is to what extent does Argentina's experience entail relevant lessons for Brazil? In order to thoroughly understand these possible lessons and the challenges that both countries face, it is important to consider the similarities and differences between Argentina and Brazil. There is no doubt that both countries are dealing with formidable fiscal challenges. In both countries, there is a primary fiscal deficit and public debt levels are high in relation to GDP. Also, both economies face low or negative growth rates, partly because of cyclical or temporary factors and partly because of low productivity levels due to complex regulatory regimes and tax systems that hinder investment. On the other hand, the realities of Argentina and Brazil are very different in some important aspects. Brazil has not had to cope with a currency crisis and external financing problems such as those of Argentina; the latter has had to reduce its hefty deficit in the current account of the balance of payments. In contrast, Brazil’s external public debt and external financing needs of the public sector are low. However, while the private sector’s foreign indebtedness is quite moderate in Argentina, it is relatively high in the case of Brazil. As regards to monetary policy and inflation, the situation in both countries is also very different. Whereas the inflation rate in Argentina has suffered a substantial increase throughout this year in the context of low credibility in its monetary policy, Brazil has kept a low and stable inflation rate and has significantly improved its central bank’s credibility. These similarities and differences require a differentiated discussion of each country, even if some challenges facing Argentina and Brazil are shared, and whether their experiences provide lessons for each other. The international context plays a fundamental role for both economies in determining the results of economic policy. Before embarking on a more detailed analysis of the challenges facing Argentina and Brazil during the next year, we will analyze how the international context has recently changed, in the next section.
  • Topic: Economics, Globalization, Populism, Local
  • Political Geography: Brazil, Argentina, South America
  • Author: Lorcan Clarke, Kalipso Chalkidou, Cassandra Nemzoff
  • Publication Date: 12-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: As of December 2018, seven development impact bonds (DIBs) have been launched across seven countries with nearly US$55million in cumulative outcome funding. DIBs fund public services through contracts where private investors provide upfront flexible funding to service providers and outcome funders repay these investors based on the outcomes achieved by people receiving services. Three DIBs specifically target health outcomes: the Humanitarian Impact Bond, the Utkrisht Impact Bond, and the Cameroon Cataract Bond. The three “health DIBs” involve US$26.5 million in upfront investment, US$38.1 million in outcome funding and aim to impact the health of at least 31,600 people. Using publicly available information, we describe all seven DIBs, and evaluate the three “health DIBs” in more detail, comparing their stakeholders, implementation, and outcome structures. Building on a scoping review of relevant literature, we outline health DIBs in the pipeline and note that the potential of DIBs as a funding structure is hindered by the lack of publicly available information on their estimated impact and value for money. We offer three recommendations to improve evaluation and inform development of DIBs in the future: (1) publish plans and evaluations, (2) create and use consistent reporting guidelines, and (3) allocate funding to evaluate impact and value for money.
  • Topic: Development, Health, Humanitarian Intervention
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Scott Morris
  • Publication Date: 12-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) face a key dilemma . Although major multilateral institutions like the World Bank and the other core multilateral devel- opment banks (MDBs) have played a leadership role in shaping the SDG financing framework, there is a sig- nificant misalignment between the structure of these institutions and SDG financing needs . Specifically, the SDGs put countries, not multilateral institutions or foreign donors, at the forefront in achieving desired outcomes . Further, the SDG financing agenda identi- fies an important role for the private sector and other nonsovereign actors . Although the MDBs will remain key players in SDG financing, other leading actors—and particularly, other ways of organizing across institu- tions—will be needed to meet the SDGs . The International Development Finance Club (IDFC) is uniquely positioned to play a leadership role on the SDGs . A diverse group of development finance insti- tutions (DFIs), IDFC members collectively embrace a strong country-led focus and private-sector orienta- tion . Members represent a variety of models . Some act as national banks, focused primarily on domestic financing . Others act as bilateral aid agencies and DFIs . Still others act as regional and multilateral develop- ment institutions . Together they bring considerable financial and strategic resources to meet SDG financing needs, and they appear to be well matched to respond to key SDG requirements, including the call for nation- ally led development strategies and the need for sub- stantial private-sector and nonsovereign investment, particularly in infrastructure . This report surveys 22 IDFC member institutions to identify the club’s role in meeting SDG financing needs . Through institutional snapshots, aggregated financial data, qualitative inputs, and case studies, the report reveals a high degree of SDG relevance in these development institutions . We find that the total assets of IDFC institutions are significantly greater than the total assets of core MDBs, indicating that as an orga- nization, IDFC has untapped power as an organiz- ing platform for the SDG agenda . We also find a high degree of alignment between IDFC-reported activities and the full range of SDGs, though only a minority of IDFC members inform their operations with an explicit SDG strategy . Most relevant to the question of leveraging private financing for the SDGs, especially infrastructure, our survey indicates that as a group, IDFC members primarily finance nonsovereign enti- ties, especially private firms, in the course of pursuing development objectives . The IDFC could play a stronger leadership role on behalf of its membership by better aligning its mandate with the SDG agenda . We see a future in which IDFC members adopt common standards for SDG frame- works and for tracking the inputs and outputs relevant to the SDGs . Members should consider the degree to which they wish to make the club a meaningful plat- form for coordination, deliberation, and visibility for the broader SDG agenda . This agenda implies a wid- ening set of demands on members and may require a more robust secretariat to support a wider range of reporting activities, information gathering, agenda setting, and convening . Through a greater commitment to SDG-oriented activ- ities, IDFC members could demonstrate the value of organizing around national, bilateral, and multilateral development institutions to address the leading devel- opment challenges in the years ahead .
  • Topic: Development, Finance, Sustainable Development Goals, Sustainability
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Caitlin McKee, Ian Mitchell, Arthur Baker
  • Publication Date: 12-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: This paper discusses the United Kingdom’s foreign aid quality based on an updated assessment of the Quality of Official Development Assistance (QuODA) published by the Center for Global Development. QuODA uses 24 quantitative indicators based on how aid is given, grouped into four themes: maximizing efficiency, fostering institutions, reducing the burden on recipient countries, and transparency and learning. These are based on principles which donor and recipient countries agreed to in a series of high-level meetings on aid effectiveness. We find UK aid quality has decreased from 2012 to 2016 and now ranks 15th out of the 27 countries assessed. The quality of its multilateral aid is relatively strong with significant contributions to EU institutions who score in the top half of multilateral agencies, and well-above the UK’s bilateral aid. We analyse the UK’s bilateral aid in detail, identifying areas of relative strength but also four recommendations for the UK Government to improve aid effectiveness
  • Topic: Development, International Cooperation, Foreign Aid, Multilateralism
  • Political Geography: United Kingdom, Europe
  • Author: Stefan Dercon, Owen Barder
  • Publication Date: 04-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: Millions of people face hazards like cyclones and drought every day. International aid to deal with disasters after they strike is generous, but it is unpredictable and fragmented, and it often fails to arrive when it would do the most good. We must stop treating disasters like surprises. Matching finance to planning today will save lives, money, and time tomorrow.
  • Topic: Humanitarian Aid, Foreign Aid, International Development
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Cindy Huang, Nazanin Ash
  • Publication Date: 04-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: The world is witnessing higher levels of displacement than ever before. The statistics tell the story. Today, an unprecedented 65 million people—including 21 million refugees—are displaced from their homes. Since the start of the Syrian crisis in 2011, 5 million people have fled to nearby Turkey, Lebanon, Iraq, and Jordan. And refugees now spend an average of 10 years away from their countries. Equally striking as the scale of the crisis are the consequences of an inadequate response. Individual lives hang in the balance; refugees are struggling to rebuild their lives, find jobs, and send their children to school. Developing countries that are hosting the overwhelming majority of refugees— and at the same time trying to meet the needs of their own citizens—are shouldering unsustainable costs. We are seeing global stability and hard-won development gains threatened.
  • Topic: War, Refugee Issues, Territorial Disputes, Refugee Crisis
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Matt Collin, Theodore Talbot
  • Publication Date: 06-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: Child marriage is associated with bad outcomes for women and girls. Although many countries have raised the legal age of marriage to deter this practice, the incidence of early marriage remains stubbornly high. We develop a simple model to explain how enforcing minimum age-of-marriage laws creates differences in the share of women getting married at the legal cut-off. We formally test for these discontinuities using multiple rounds of the Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS) in over 60 countries by applying statistical tests derived from the regression discontinuity literature. By this measure, most countries are not enforcing the laws on their books and enforcement is not getting better over time. Separately, we demonstrate that various measures of age-of-marriage discontinuities are systematically related to with existing, widely-accepted measures of rule-of-law and government effectiveness. A key contribution is therefore a simple, tractable way to monitor legal enforcement using survey data. We conclude by arguing that better laws must be accompanied by better enforcement and monitoring in to delay marriage and protect the rights of women and girls.
  • Topic: Development, Gender Issues
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Justin Sandefur, Tessa Bold, Nicholas Barton
  • Publication Date: 06-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: Public employees in many developing economies earn much higher wages than similar private-sector workers. These wage premia may reflect an efficient return to effort or unobserved skills, or an inefficient rent causing labor misallocation. To distinguish these explanations, we exploit the Kenyan government’s algorithm for hiring eighteen-thousand new teachers in 2010 in a regression discontinuity design. Fuzzy regression discontinuity estimates yield a civil-service wage premium of over 100 percent (not attributable to observed or unobserved skills), but no effect on motivation, suggesting rent-sharing as the most plausible explanation for the wage premium.
  • Topic: Employment, Global Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Kenya
  • Author: Michael Clemens, Jennifer Hunt
  • Publication Date: 05-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: An influential strand of research has tested for the effects of immigration on natives’ wages and employment using exogenous refugee supply shocks as natural experiments. Several studies have reached conflicting conclusions about the effects of noted refugee waves such as the Mariel Boatlift in Miami and post-Soviet refugees to Israel. We show that conflicting findings on the effects of the Mariel Boatlift can be explained by a sudden change in the race composition of the Current Population Survey extracts in 1980, specific to Miami but unrelated to the Boatlift. We also show that conflicting findings on the labor market effects of other important refugee waves can be produced by spurious correlation between the instrument and the endogenous variable introduced by applying a common divisor to both. As a whole, the evidence from refugee waves reinforces the existing consensus that the impact of immigration on average native-born workers is small, and fails to substantiate claims of large detrimental impacts on workers with less than high school.
  • Topic: Refugee Issues, Financial Markets, Global Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Global Focus