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Theo worked with Owen Barder and the CGD Europe team. His work focuses on finance for development, with an emphasis on novel contracts and financing structures that enable development actors to deliver social returns by collaborating effectively with the private sector. Theo grew up in India and Ethiopia and has a Bachelor’s in economics, finance, and politics and an MSc and PhD in economics. During his PhD, he was an Overseas Development Institute (ODI) Fellow in the Pacific, where he worked as an economist for the Government of Vanuatu. Before joining CGD, he worked at the Ministry of Planning and Investment in Hanoi.
Australia’s recent election has ended in a stalemate, with neither party scraping together enough seats to form a majority government. But amidst the flurry of election promises, one topic was conspicuous by its absence from both major parties’ platforms: the expensive, embarrassing problem of the country’s offshore detention centres for migrants and refugees.
Cash transfers might be the next big thing in international development. Yet our analysis of new survey data suggests that public support for cash transfers is modest and fragile. Donors—who are poised to leverage a promising new way of delivering aid to do more good for less money—must continue to make the public case for cash transfers, and continue to present the remarkably strong evidence that they are not misspent.
When it comes to development aid, you might think that there is a trade-off between head and heart: that more generous donors would be less serious about making sure that their aid is used properly. But in a new CGD working paper, we find that In general, more generous donors tend also to be the most effective. One possible explanation of this correlation is that much of what we consider to be effective aid involves donors putting the interests of the intended beneficiaries of aid ahead of the interests of the donor country.
Nine thousand delegates gathered in Istanbul for the first World Humanitarian Summit. There was no shortage of great commentary in advance, all of which pointed to the pivotal role that the WHS could play in the future of humanitarian aid. Depending on who you ask, the humanitarian system is either broke or broken. How could the Summit have tackled the system's mounting problems?
Although the real value of global aid has grown 9% in the last five years, all of that increase has been eaten up by the rising costs of humanitarian aid and refugees. Instead of condemning more and more people to a long-term future as aid-dependent refugees, what if we turned the support they would receive from donors over many years into an endowment that would enable them to start a new life in a new country?
We at CGD recently hosted a series of events illuminating the case for smarter gender policy in the private sector, a triple win that would benefit consumers, firms, and emerging economies. Change in private firms is important — but what about the world’s public sector? To create more opportunities for women and create valuable spillover effects, we might start with central banks.
Unpredictable funding undermines effective response to natural disasters. Two key innovations pre-agree funding for future disaster risks to save lives, money, and time: pivot existing funding to enable goverments and agencies to pre-enroll for quick-fire sup[port aganist predicatable future costs
After Brexit, can the UK pursue its own national interest while still benefiting global development? A Global Skills Partnership (GSP) is a bilateral arrangement linking skill creation and skill mobility. The two countries participating in a Partnership craft a pre-migration agreement: targeting a specific skills gap, deciding how to allocate and finance training for potential migrants, and agreeing on employment terms and conditions for participants.
Aid for countries after a disaster is rooted in our best impulses, but the way we provide it urgently needs to be reformed. We spend too little on reducing the costs of future disasters, aid shows up too late, and calls for reform are met with replies of “too bad” because the poorest people bear the greatest costs. But this is a problem that we can fix.
Philip Hammond, Chancellor of the Exchequer, has assured people that post-Brexit labour policy will be about the “cream of the crop,” making sure that high-skilled workers won’t face excessive red tape or heavy-handed visa rules if they want to work in the UK. The “migration problem,” in Hammond’s words, is not with “computer professors, brain surgeons, or senior managers.” A migration policy built on that creaky premise misses at least three key points: gains from trade, mutual productivity, and huge welfare gains.
In an earlier blog post, we explained why we think that donors and development finance institutions are getting it wrong by issuing guarantees and cheap loans to the private sector. We argue they should instead be increasing the returns for firms when they succeed. Today, a former CGD Visiting Fellow, John Simon, disagrees.