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CGD Policy Blogs


U.S. Foreign Assistance and Corruption: It’s All Relative

This is a joint post with Sarah Jane Staats.

Corruption remains a major concern of foreign aid policymakers. The Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) was created, in part, to address this concern by working with well-governed, poor countries that must pass a control of corruption indicator. This also means the MCC is held to a higher standard and is often the first aid agency forced to respond to corruption concerns. Our message to the policymakers: keep in mind that corruption, especially in poor countries, is relative.

Reps. Nita Lowey (D-NY) and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) raised concerns about corruption with MCC CEO Daniel Yohannes in recent hearings before the House foreign aid appropriators and authorizers. Both Lowey and Ros-Lehtinen are right to focus on corruption and to have concerns especially in MCC countries. But it is important to unpack what corruption means in—and across—developing countries to calibrate responses to these concerns.

Nancy Birdsall on Cash on Delivery (COD) Aid

Nancy Birdsall A little over a year ago, I invited Nancy Birdsall, founding president of the Center for Global Development, to join me on the Wonkcast to talk about her big new idea, Cash on Delivery Aid (COD Aid), an innovative approach to the delivery of foreign assistance. COD Aid has since gained a lot of traction, so I invited Nancy back to update us on recent developments, including a planned pilot program in Ethiopia.

Three Cheers for 3ie: Annual Report Provides a Chance to Evaluate the Evaluators

This is a joint post with Christina Droggitis.

This week’ NONIE conference in Paris is focusing on lessons learned in impact evaluations. At the two-day conference, the executive director of the International Initiative for Impact Evaluation (3ie), Howard White, will present his organization’s Policy Window – a grant piloted this past year that seeks to improve the relevance of impact evaluations by first soliciting proposals from developing country government agencies and NGOs regarding the policy questions that they wish to have rigorously evaluated. To coincide with the conference, 3ie released its annual report which highlights the success of the Policy Window pilot, along with the other achievements of 3ie’s second operational year.