CGD Policy Blogs
How USAID’s Demographic and Health Surveys Overestimate Literacy around the World—and How to Fix That
Three cheers for the DHS! However, the value of the DHS literacy data is significantly undermined by a small, easily fixable flaw in the way the survey is administered.
Ivanka Trump Spearheads New Fund for Women Entrepreneurs: Four Questions to Answer Before the Cheers
At a recent G20 dialogue in Berlin, Angela Merkel unveiled plans for a new fund—spearheaded by Ivanka Trump—to promote women’s entrepreneurship. But given that President Trump’s draft FY2018 budget proposes major cuts across development accounts, including on spending and activities central to women’s empowerment, there are significant questions to ask about what appears to be a major new development initiative championed by his Administration. Here are four core considerations.
Each year, as ministers gather from all corners of the world for the World Bank/IMF Spring Meetings, Washington DC resounds with a cacophony of differing perspectives on future prospects, like a giant, multinational orchestra tuning up. Yet this time, in both public and private gatherings, with both developed and developing country dignitaries, as well as leading technocrats from the international financial institutions, one refrain kept recurring, defining the mood of the whole symphony. I would summarize it as 'The numbers are looking better, so why don't I feel good about them?'
How can the world find realistic, workable solutions to bridge the divide between humanitarian response and development assistance? This question was front and center at a high-level discussion, co-hosted by CGD and the International Rescue Committee (IRC), in the run up to last week’s Spring Meetings. The event marked the launch of a new CGD-IRC report, which puts forth one emerging solution to the refugee crisis—compact agreements between host governments and development and humanitarian actors. The discussion featured three global leaders on the frontline of today’s displacement challenge: Jordan’s Minister of Planning and International Cooperation Imad Fakhoury, World Bank CEO Kristalina Georgieva, and IRC President and CEO David Miliband. Here are three takeaways.
Demonetization is yesterday’s news. The India of today is going full steam ahead towards a digital economy powered by financial inclusion, the mobile revolution, and Aadhaar—the biometric ID system that now covers 90 percent of its 1.3 billion population. And the social compact of the future will restructure subsidies and provide a basic income for the poor.
The Indian Ministry of Finance’s 2017 Economic Survey considers—though does not commit to—the idea of a large-scale experiment in UBI, or universal basic income. How would it work? What effects would it have? Arvind Subramanian—lead author of the Survey, chief economic adviser to the government of India, and a CGD senior fellow on leave—joins me to discuss the big ideas currently shaping India’s economy.
Cost-effectiveness analysis (CEA) can help countries attain and sustain universal health coverage (UHC), as long as it is context-specific and considered within deliberative processes at the country level. Institutionalising robust deliberative processes requires significant time and resources, however, and countries often begin by demanding evidence (including local CEA evidence as well as evidence about local values), whilst striving to strengthen the governance structures and technical capacities with which to generate, consider and act on such evidence. In low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), such capacities could be developed initially around a small technical unit in the health ministry or health insurer. The role of networks, development partners, and global norm setting organisations is crucial in supporting the necessary capacities.
Health technologies can reduce healthcare spending. On average, they don’t. Prominent examples—like the way polio vaccines eliminated the need for iron lungs—seem to drive a common faith in healthcare technology as a tool to “cure” costly health systems. But it actually works the other way around—health systems (policies, institutions, and markets) and human responses to them determine whether these tools will (or won’t) increase spending.
Disintermediating the State: Would a 'Universal Basic Income' Reduce Poverty More Than Targeted Programs?
A UBI is an expensive way to reach the poor, but a new report from India suggests that by cutting out the bureaucratic and political middlemen, it may be cheaper than the status quo.