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CGD Policy Blogs

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Using “Random” Right: New Insights from IDinsight Team

The unfolding of “thesis, antithesis, synthesis” about the use of randomized control trials (RCTs) as a tool in improving development policies and practices has reached the “synthesis” stage.  A new paper in the 3ie working paper series “Evaluations with Impact” by Shah, Wang, Fraker and Gastfriend (hereafter IDinsight team and, full disclosure, three of which were students of mine) (2015) does an excellent job both in laying out the debate

More on Cash Transfers to Reduce HIV among Adolescents

My recent blog on cash transfers as a tool for HIV prevention among adolescent girls and young women left out results from a number of recent evaluations that illustrate the importance of program design and, in particular, targeting the transfers to the poorest households in getting results in wellbeing. Tia Palermo, a social policy specialist with the Transfer Project at UNICEF Office of Research-Innocenti and UNC-Chapel Hill, wrote with an update, which I’m pleased to share with her permission.

A Social Impact Bond without the Impact? Critics Question Success of Early Childhood Development Program

The most essential feature of a social impact bond (SIB) is measuring impact. But what happens if the impact metric is questioned or unclear? A recent dispute over measuring the impact of a SIB for early childhood development in Utah yields two important practical lessons for this innovative financing tool. First, SIB implementers should be careful not to exaggerate the precision of their success indicators. Second, they need to be clear to everyone about which objectives they are pursuing.

Gayle Smith Confirmed as USAID Administrator: Four Goals for 14 Months

Yesterday the US Senate voted to confirm Gayle Smith as USAID’s new administrator. Despite the rapidly expiring clock on this administration, filling USAID’s top post is critical for both the agency and for US leadership in global crises and development efforts abroad. The Syrian refugee crisis shows no sign of abating, just last week Liberia found new Ebola cases, and 700 million people still live on less than $1.25 each day. In all of these challenges (among many others), USAID is the leading US actor for response, prevention, and results.  

Right Idea on Ross Malaria Funding, Wrong Execution

The United Kingdom, in its new Aid Strategy out this week, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation have jointly announced the creation of a £1 billion Ross Fund (named after a pioneering scientist) to fight malaria and neglected tropical diseases. But why not use the existing Global Fund for the new initiative instead of creating yet another health-related fund, of which the world is already lumbered with too many?

Four Challenges for Blended Finance and Development Finance Institutions

Overseas development assistance amounts to about $135 billion dollars annually, but the cost of paying for the Sustainable Development Goals will be in the trillions. As a result, blended finance is something of a buzz phrase these days. I left a workshop on blended finance last week in Paris excited about the potential of these new structures and instruments to deliver social returns. But I was also struck by the challenges DFIs and their advocates must overcome in order to fully realize that potential. 

Family Planning Commitments: Much Achieved, But Short of Goal

Since the start of FP2020’s endeavor to mobilize increased global effort on family planning as a means to empower women and improve health, about 24 million more women with reported unmet need are using contraception. But much remains to be done; a comparison of commitments and baselines in 2012 to mid-2015 makes clear that the global effort must overcome several hurdles to meet its 2020 aspirations.

Are Anti–Money Laundering Policies Hurting Poor Countries? – New CGD Working Group Report

Next week, the G-20 Leaders will meet in Antalya, Turkey, to continue their conversation about the importance of financial inclusion in achieving strong, sustainable, balanced economic growth. One item on the agenda will be the cost of remittances. In 2009, G-8 Leaders set a goal of reducing remittance costs to 5 percent within 5 years, roughly a 5 percentage point decrease.

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