CGD Policy Blogs
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.
Angus Deaton’s new book The Great Escape is a must-read for those interested in development simply because it is written by Professor Deaton, a world-leading expert in trends in global quality of life. I’m not all of the way through it but have found it fascinating so far, including his argument that aid doesn’t work (mostly).
Afghanistan has seen the most rapid increase in life expectancy worldwide 2004–2010, a rise from 42 to 62 years driven by a drop in child mortality of 100,000 kids each year.
This week (September 25th), the UN General Assembly will hold a Special Event on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Alongside exhortations regarding the last two years of the current set of goals, the draft outcome document of the event calls for “a single framework and set of Goals” for the post-2015 development agenda.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.