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CGD Policy Blogs


Revised Chapter 2

In my editing pass through the book, I've just finished with chapter 2, How the Other Half Finances (.docx, .pdf). I'm not entirely satisfied---I worry that it meanders---but I'll leave it for now. This chapter starts the book's approach to the grand question of whether microfinance works by looking at things from the clients' point of view.

Deforestation Is Already Declining in Indonesia – Someone Tell President Obama!

This is a joint post with Robin Kraft and Dan Hammer.

President Obama is in Indonesia today, and according to Reuters he will make forest conservation a focus of his first official visit to the country. The president is expected to pledge more than $100 million for programs aiming at a 50% reduction of deforestation and forest degradation (e.g. selective logging) by 2014. But we wonder what the benchmark will be for a 50% reduction.

Up Next on Obama’s Post-Election Road Trip: Indonesia (and the MCC?)

Post-midterm elections, President Obama is reacting in the same way Presidents Ford, Reagan, Clinton and Bush (43) did to the rough results: road trip!  Obama’s ten-day trip to India, Indonesia, South Korea and Japan shifts attention away from the domestic politics that ruled election day and onto foreign policy. His arrival in Indonesia could also throw the U.S. Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) into the limelight.

Five CGD Experts on the Seoul G-20 Summit

G-20 SeoulG-20 leaders gathering in Seoul this week face a full plate of issues, most prominently the effort to stave off beggar-thy-neighbors currency devaluations. This week on the Global Prosperity Wonkcast, we've distilled highlights from a private briefing I organized where five CGD experts shared their views on key issues facing the G-20, and their implications for poor people not represented at the table.

President Obama’s India Visit: A Book and Movie List

This post originally appeared on

President Obama is heading to India today on a state visit that is fraught with expectations and hopes on both sides. His two predecessors, each in his own way, made a lasting impression on India. President Clinton’s reaching out to the Indian people nearly ten years ago erupted in a spontaneous dance with a group of illiterate rural women in Rajasthan, and the president etched himself in the Indian psyche as the modern day Lord Krishna—the legendary lover-god of Indian mythology. President Bush endeared himself to Indians by pushing through the civil nuclear deal, whose real import was the signal that: “You, India, are one of us.” Lacking the natural press-fleshing charms of Clinton, and the goodies that Bush had to offer, President Obama will have to find his own, cerebral, route to winning the hearts and minds of Indians. Here’s a book and movie list for President Obama that might help understand four dimensions of India: society and culture, history, religion, and cricket.

Who Passes the Corruption Indicator? MCA Monitor Previews FY2011 Selection

The MCA Monitor’s annual corruption note is out, officially kicking off our coverage of the FY2011 MCC country selection season.  Take a look at the full note to see how all low income and lower middle income countries score on the MCC’s control of corruption indicator. Countries must pass the control of corruption indicator to be considered eligible for MCC assistance, making it the one so-called “hard hurdle” for MCC compact eligibility.