Ideas to Action:

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CGD Policy Blogs

 

Barron's Africa Mess

Gifted travel writer Paul Theroux has written a piece on “Africa’s Aid Mess” in Barron’s Magazine.  It is certainly an entertaining read, but factual errors make it a misleading piece –and suggest a lack of due diligence on the part of Barron’s.

Post-2015: A $1 Trillion Financing Package?

A $1 trillion financing partnership to support ending extreme poverty, stopping avoidable child deaths, and meeting other widely supported post-2015 development goals sounds far-fetched.  But improbable action is what will be needed if we’re going to come close to making such historically unprecedented progress.  Indeed, delivering on proposed zero goals is going to take a broad and deep global partnership that’s about far more than aid.

Better Aid? Yes, Minister

A year ago, ActionAid Italy and and BOND came out with a report on aid agency independence.  Comparing the performance of independent aid ministries with aid agencies that function under another ministry (foreign affairs, as it might be), the report made the case that “there is a positive correlation between a cabinet rank minister and better development systems including aid commitments being honored, aid levels that are less volatile and an increase in aid quality and effectiveness.” 

It’s Not That Complicated

It is a lesson that (development) economists need to relearn every generation: stuff is complicated and “best practices” don’t always work.  But in a well-meaning attempt to find universal solutions to (seemingly) intractable problems, the development industry does seem to like proclaiming new panaceas, however poorly the last panacea played out. I’m a card-carrying member of the “stuff is complicated” party—it is one big reason why cross-country regressions haven’t taught us terribly much about the causes of economic growth.

What Comes After the Millennium Development Goals? – Charles Kenny

The UN is gearing up for discussions about what international development goals should come after the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which expire in 2015.  My guest on this week’s Wonkcast is CGD senior fellow Charles Kenny, who recently published a working paper, written jointly with CGD visiting fellow Andy Sumner, that assesses the impact of the MDGs and offers suggestions for what should come next.

The Post-2015 Bandwagon: The Wheels Are Still On, and the Band Is Playing in Tune

I admit, I didn’t think things would look so good right now.  This summer of post-2015 reports has been as unexpectedly pleasant as comparatively decent August weather in DC.  Surprised by the depth and reach of the High Level Panel report on the post-2015 development agenda, then taken off guard by the healthy overlap between the Sustainable Development  Solutions Network report and the High Level Panel’s recommendations, now I’ve been mildly shocked—in a good way—by the first interim report of the Sustainable Development Goals Working Group. 

One Size Doesn’t Fit All: Lant Pritchett on Mimicry in Development

This podcast was originally recorded in March 2011. Development is easy, right? All poor countries have to do is mimic the things that work in rich countries and they’ll evolve into fully functional states. If only it were that simple. My guest this week is Lant Pritchett, a non-resident fellow at the Center for Global Development and chair of the Harvard Kennedy School’s Master’s program in international development. His latest work looks at how the basic functions of government fail to improve in some developing countries (a dynamic he defines as a “state capability trap”). Part of the problem, says Lant, is that donors often insist on transplanting institutions that work in developed countries into environments where those institutions don’t fit at all.

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