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  • 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: Vijaya Ramachandran, Leonardo Iacovone, Martin Schmidt
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: Many countries in Africa suffer high rates of underemployment or low rates of productive employment; many also anticipate large numbers of people to enter the workforce in the near future. This paper asks the question: Are African firms creating fewer jobs than those located elsewhere? And, if so, why? One reason may be that weak business environments slow the growth of firms and distort the allocation of resources away from better-performing firms, hence reducing their potential for job creation.
  • Topic: Economics, Industrial Policy, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Fragile/Failed State
  • Political Geography: Africa, Israel
  • Author: Alex Cobham, Petr Janský, Alex Prats
  • Publication Date: 01-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: This paper assesses the role of Switzerland as the leading hub for global commodities trading, in terms of the patterns of prices received by original exporting countries and subsequently by Switzerland and other jurisdictions. We find support for the hypotheses that (i) the average prices for commodity exports from developing countries to Switzerland are lower than those to other jurisdictions; and that (ii) Switzerland declares higher (re-)export prices for those commodities than do other jurisdictions. This pattern implies a potential capital loss for commodity exporting developing countries and we provide a range of estimates of that loss - each of which suggests the scale is substantial (the most conservative is around $8 billion a year) and that the issue merits greater research and policy attention. An important first step would be a Swiss commitment to meet international norms of trade transparency.
  • Topic: Economics, Industrial Policy, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Developing World
  • Political Geography: Europe, Switzerland
  • Author: Vijaya Ramachandran, Alan Gelb, Christian J. Meyer
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: We consider economic development of Sub-Saharan Africa from the perspective of slow convergence of productivity, both across sectors and across firms within sectors. Why have "productivity enclaves", islands of high productivity in a sea of smaller low-productivity firms, not diffused more rapidly? We summarize and analyze three sets of factors: First, the poor business climate, which constrains the allocation of production factors between sectors and firms. Second, the complex political economy of business-government relations in Africa's small economies. Third, the distribution of firm capabilities. The roots of these factors lie in Africa's geography and its distinctive history, including the legacy of its colonial period on state formation and market structure.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Industrial Policy, Markets
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Dean Karlan, Jonathan Zinman, Aishwarya Lakshmi Ratan
  • Publication Date: 11-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: The poor can and do save, but often use formal or informal instruments that have high risk, high cost, and limited functionality. This could lead to undersaving compared to a world without market or behavioral frictions. Undersaving can have important welfare consequences: variable consumption, low resilience to shocks, and foregone profitable investments.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Globalization, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Poverty, Financial Crisis
  • Author: Laura E. Seay
  • Publication Date: 01-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: Although its provisions have yet to be implemented, section 1502 of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act is already having a profound effect on the Congolese mining sector. Nicknamed “Obama's Law” by the Congolese, section 1502 has created a de facto ban on Congolese mineral exports, put anywhere from tens of thousands up to 2 million Congolese miners out of work in the eastern Congo, and, despite ending most of the trade in Congolese conflict minerals, done little to improve the security situation or the daily lives of most Congolese. In this report, Laura Seay traces the development of section 1502 with respect to the pursuit of a conflict minerals-based strategy by U.S. advocates, examines the effects of the legislation, and recommends new courses of action to move forward in a way that both promotes accountability and transparency and allows Congolese artisanal miners to earn a living.
  • Topic: Security, Development, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Poverty, Natural Resources, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Africa, United States, Democratic Republic of the Congo
  • Author: Nancy Birdsall
  • Publication Date: 04-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: In this paper, written as the introduction to New Ideas on Development after the Financial Crisis (JHU Press, 2011), Nancy Birdsall discusses two themes. The first is the pre-crisis subtle shift in the prevailing model of capitalism in developing countries—away from orthodoxy or so-called market fundamentalism—that the crisis is likely to reinforce.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Globalization, Markets, Financial Crisis
  • Author: Vijaya Ramachandran, Benjamin Leo, Ross Thuotte
  • Publication Date: 04-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: In recent years, the World Bank Group has made increasingly strong and explicit commitments to fragile and conflict-affected states, putting them at the top of the development policy agenda. These commitments are promising, but give rise to significant operational challenges for the various arms of the World Bank Group, including the International Development Association (IDA), the International Finance Corporation (IFC), and the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA). The bank also faces steady pressure from shareholders to scale up involvement in fragile states while also improving absorptive capacity and project effectiveness.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Markets, Foreign Aid, World Bank
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • 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: Kimberly Ann Elliott
  • Publication Date: 02-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: The combination of relatively high American barriers to trade in textiles and apparel and the importance of the sector to the Pakistani economy make increased market access a potentially powerful tool of U.S. policy. Unfortunately, recent proposals to extend duty-free market access for Pakistani exports restrict the product and geographic coverage so severely that they would be meaningless in practice. Moreover, the analysis in this paper suggests that the concerns about job loss in the U.S. textile industry from broader coverage are exaggerated. A serious trade package for Pakistan would expand the geographic coverage to allow duty-free imports from all of Pakistan, expand the product coverage for clothing, and cover all other Pakistani exports as well.
  • Topic: International Trade and Finance, Markets
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, United States
  • Author: Jenny Ottenhoff
  • Publication Date: 09-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: The International Finance Corporation (IFC) is a multilateral financial institution that provides financial and technical assistance to the private sector in middle- and low- income countries. Unlike other international financial institutions, the IFC operates on a commercial basis and invests exclusively in for-profit projects that promote poverty reduction and development. Increasingly, the IFC is investing in the world's poorest countries and fragile states that have few private investors. IFC investments support a range of activities including agribusiness, manufacturing, health and education, microfinance programs, and infrastructure development.
  • Topic: Development, Markets, Poverty, Foreign Aid, Foreign Direct Investment
  • Author: David Wheeler, Robin Kraft, Dan Hammer
  • Publication Date: 12-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: In this paper, we develop and illustrate a prototype incentive system for promoting rapid reduction of forest clearing in tropical countries. Our proposed Tropical Forest Protection Fund (TFPF) is a cash-on-delivery system that rewards independently monitored performance without formal contracts. The system responds to forest tenure problems in many countries by dividing incentive payments between national governments, which command the greatest number of instruments that affect forest clearing, and indigenous communities, which often have tenure rights in forested lands. The TFPF incorporates both monetary and reputational incentives, which are calculated quarterly. The monetary incentives are unconditional cash transfers based on measured performance, while the reputational incentives are publicly disclosed, color-coded performance ratings for each country. The incentives include rewards for: (1) exceeding long-run expectations, given a country's forest clearing history and development status; (2) meeting or exceeding global REDD+ goals; and (3) achieving an immediate reduction in forest clearing. Drawing on monthly forest clearing indicators from the new FORMA (Forest Monitoring for Action) database, we illustrate a prototype TFPF for eight East Asian countries: Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam. A system with identical design principles could be implemented by single or multiple donors for individual or multiple forest proprietors within one or more countries, as well as national or local governments in individual countries, tropical regions, or the global pan-tropics. Our results demonstrate the importance of financial flexibility in the design of the proposed TFPF. Its incentives are calculated to induce a massive, rapid reduction of tropical forest clearing. If that occurs, a TFPF for East Asia will need standby authority for disbursements that may total $10–14 billion annually for the next two decades. This financial burden will not persist, however, because the TFPF is designed to self-liquidate once all recipient countries have achieved clearly specified benchmarks. We estimate that the TFPF can be closed by 2070, with its major financial responsibility discharged by 2040.
  • Topic: Agriculture, Economics, Globalization, Markets
  • Political Geography: China, Indonesia, Malaysia, East Asia, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Southeast Asia, Myanmar
  • Author: David Wheeler, Robin Kraft, Susmita Dasgupta, Dan Hammer, Brian Blankespoor
  • Publication Date: 12-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: This paper uses a large panel database to investigate the determinants of forest clearing in Indonesian kabupatens since 2005. Our study incorporates short-run changes in prices and demand for palm oil and wood products, as well as the exchange rate, the real interest rate, land-use zoning, forest protection, the estimated opportunity cost of forested land, the quality of local governance, the poverty rate, population density, the availability of communications infrastructure, transport cost, and local rainfall and terrain slope. Our econometric results highlight the role of dynamic economic factors in forest clearing. We find significant roles for lagged changes in all the short-run economic variables—product prices, demands, the exchange rate and the real interest rate—as well as communications infrastructure, some types of commercial zoning, rainfall, and terrain slope. We find no significance for the other variables, and the absence of impact for protected-area status is particularly notable. Our results strongly support the model of forest clearing as an investment that is highly sensitive to expectations about future forest product prices and demands, as well as changes in the cost of capital (indexed by the real interest rate), the relative cost of local inputs (indexed by the exchange rate), and the cost of land clearing (indexed by local precipitation). By implication, the opportunity cost of forested land fluctuates widely with changes in international markets and decisions by Indonesia's financial authorities about the exchange and interest rates. Our results suggest that forest conservation programs are unlikely to succeed if they ignore such powerful forces.
  • Topic: Agriculture, Economics, Globalization, Markets, Natural Resources
  • Political Geography: Indonesia
  • Author: Dean Karlan, John A. List
  • Publication Date: 04-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: We develop a simple theory which formally describes how charities can resolve the information asymmetry problems faced by small donors by working with large donors to generate quality signals. To test the model, we conducted two large-scale natural field experiments. In the first experiment, a charity focusing on poverty reduction solicited donations from prior donors and either announced a matching grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, or made no mention of a match. In the second field experiment, the same charity sent direct mail solicitations to individuals who had not previously donated to the charity, and tested whether naming the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation as the matching donor was more effective than not identifying the name of the matching donor. The first experiment demonstrates that the matching grant condition generates more and larger donations relative to no match. The second experiment shows that providing a credible quality signal by identifying the matching donor generates even more and larger donations than not naming the matching donor. Importantly, the treatment effects persist long after the matching period, and the quality signal is quite heterogeneous—the Gates\' effect is much larger for prospective donors who had a record of giving to "poverty-oriented" charities. These two pieces of evidence support our model of quality signals as a key mechanism through which matching gifts inspire donors to give.
  • Topic: Development, Government, Humanitarian Aid, Markets, Foreign Aid
  • Political Geography: United States