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Bragging by the President

The CGD authors (Clark and Roodman) of this paper use five quantitative measures to rank the public profile of think tanks: social media fans, incoming links, web traffic, media mentions, and scholarly citations.  They are careful and modest about the profile of CGD that emerges compared to other US-based think tanks and compared to other development think tanks.  T

Global Citizens on the Rise

This is a joint post with Christian Meyer.

Last year I (Nancy) was asked to contribute to the inaugural project of the Global Citizen Foundation (GCF), a new Geneva-based organization that aims to support “research and educational programs that reveal the preferences, capabilities, and choices of the world’s citizens.”  Other researchers on the project include Franklin Allen, a professor at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania; three CGD Advisory Group members, Jere Behrman, Dani Rodrik, and Andrew Steer; and Arvind Subramanian, a CGD senior fellow. Together we have compiled a set of six thematic studies on finance, demographic challenges, economic growth, resource scarcity, trade integration,

Is a US Carbon Tax Hopeless – Forever?

Recently I participated in a roundtable on the future of carbon markets at the Center for American Progress. The discussion, co- sponsored by Climate Advisers, was co-chaired by former U.S. senator Tom Daschle and former EPA administrator Carol Browner, and included CAP chair John Podesta. Jim Kim, the president of the World Bank, made opening remarks.  In other words, the participants included lots of insiders who know a thing or two about how Washington works—and doesn’t.

Pakistan’s Elections: A Victory for Development? (And What the US Should Do Next)

This is a joint post with Alexis Sowa.

Last weekend marked the first time in Pakistan's 60-plus year history that a democratically elected government completed its term. This is a major achievement for Pakistan. It also raises the possibility of a new chapter in US-Pakistan relations because a new civilian government led by the PML-N (Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz, the winning party) might prove to be surprisingly open to US help in addressing Pakistan's huge development challenges.

A Missed Opportunity for Sensible US Action on IMF—And Why It Matters

This week Senate appropriators failed to include an OK for an International Monetary Fund quota increase in the Senate version of the continuing resolution—the spending bill to keep open the US government for the remaining six months of the fiscal year 2013. The administration had requested Senate appropriators approve a transfer of previous US commitments from one IMF account to another -- a transfer involving virtually no cost for US taxpayers.

World Bank Study Explores Options on Global Public Goods

Many obstacles to development transcend national borders and therefore cannot be adequately addressed within a single country. These include issues such as drug resistance and other cross-border health risks, financial crises contagion, money laundering, water scarcity, fisheries collapse and, of course, climate change. Economists call efforts to address these problems Global Public Goods (GPGs). Like other public goods, funding for GPGs is chronically in short supply: of $125 billion in annual official development assistance (ODA ) only about $3 billion goes to GPGs.

A Critical Moment for COD Aid or “The Trouble with Targets”

As mentioned in our last post, aid agencies are experimenting with programs that incorporate the main features of COD Aid: paying for outputs and outcomes, giving the recipient greater discretion to spend as they see fit, independent verification, and transparency. Once these results-based programs are up and running, they face a critical test when the first results are reported. In particular, most programs create expectations by setting annual targets and are then judged relative to those targets rather than to their baseline. And this means that even successful programs will be viewed as failures (a point also made in an earlier blog). By refusing to set targets, a results-based program can avoid this pitfall. How is it that targets can create such a problem?

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