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Sarah Rose is a policy fellow at the Center for Global Development. Her work, as part of the Center’s US Development Policy Initiative, focuses on US government aid effectiveness. Areas of research and analysis include US development policy in fragile states, the use of evaluation and evidence to inform programming and policy, the implementation of country ownership principles, the policies and operation of the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), and aid transition processes. Previously, Rose worked for the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) in Mozambique as a specialist in strategic information and monitoring and evaluation. She also worked at MCC, focusing on the agency’s country selection and eligibility processes. She holds a Masters degree in public policy and a BS in foreign service, both from Georgetown University.
When MCC was founded, there was widespread skepticism about the effectiveness of foreign assistance. Many observers, both external and internal to development institutions, agreed that too much aid was being spent on poor projects in service of poorly defined objectives with correspondingly little understanding of what these funds were achieving.
The Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) was established to provide large-scale grant funding to poor, well-governed countries to support their efforts to reduce poverty and generate economic growth. However, the statutory definition of which countries are “poor” for the purposes of MCC candidacy is inadequate. Based solely on GNI per capita with a rigid graduation threshold, it does not portray a clear picture of broad-based well-being in a country. Using a new, comprehensive country-level dataset of median consumption/income, the authors explore the merits and limitations of such a measure and suggest how it might be applied as an additional determinant of MCC candidacy.