Ideas to Action:

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CGD Policy Blogs



The Untapped Potential of Behavioral Design

In the United Kingdom and elsewhere in high-income countries, behavioral economics informed policies are all the rage. The argument justifying behavioral approaches is well-known: traditional economics assumes that humans are rational and will make decisions that maximize their well-being, whereas in fact, many people still make decisions with harmful, self-defeating consequences.

The Global Fund and Value for Money – Amanda Glassman

This Wonkcast was originally recorded in September 2012.

In this austere budget climate, generating “value for money” (VFM) is a top concern for global health funding agencies and their donors, who want the biggest bang for their buck in terms of lives saved and diseases controlled. To this end, CGD has convened a working group to help shape the VFM agenda for global health funding agencies, with a particular focus on the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. Leading these efforts is my guest this week, Amanda Glassman, a senior fellow and director of the global health policy program at the Center for Global Development.

Forward with USAID Procurement Reform?

President Obama isn't the only government official who promised to deliver change. Two years ago, USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah launched USAID Forward, a blueprint for reforming the way America’s largest foreign aid agency does business. Among the changes: Implementation and Procurement Reform (IPR) to triple USAID funding directly to and through developing country governments, businesses and NGOs by 2015. This could be a good thing – less expensive contracts in some cases may deliver good or even better results – but as USAID puts the new policies into practice, the agency’s leadership should keep an eye on  program quality, competition and capacity.

Can We At Least Contain Ethanol’s Damage?

“Corn ethanol is a done deal…. There’s no stopping it.”

Princeton University scholar, Tim Searchinger, on The Grist blog in 2009

In response to this year’s severe drought and surging corn prices, the governors of North Carolina and Arkansas asked the Environmental Protection Agency to waive the mandate for blending ethanol into gasoline. Governor Perry of Texas filed a similar request during the price spikes of 2008 that the EPA rejected. After that, global debate over the implications of crop-based renewable fuels for food prices and climate change escalated. Some policymakers responded, but only by tinkering around the margins: the US Congress allowed $6 billion in subsidies to expire last year in the face of intense budget pressures, and the European Commission recently proposed halving its mandate for food-based biofuels.