Today we launch a detailed proposal for a new era of collaboration between the United States and Mexico: bilateral regulation of temporary, lawful labor mobility across the border. I join with a diverse, five-star group of experts from both countries—chaired by Ernesto Zedillo, the former president of Mexico and Carlos Gutierrez, the U.S. Secretary of Commerce under George W. Bush (as featured in the New York Times)—to say that it is time for a new vision of the shared future at our shared border. We offer specific ways to get there.
CGD Policy Blogs
Around 1900, many claimed that Italian immigrants were harming the US by sending money abroad. All the way back to 1728, Jonathan Swift believed that outflows of money hurt Ireland. The idea keeps coming back because, if you think about it for a minute, it makes sense. Money buys stuff, and if it buys Mexican stuff, it’s not buying American stuff. But if you think about it for one more minute, it falls apart. Here is a basic course in the economics of remittances for populist politicians.
In Milan Kundera’s The Unbearable Lightness of Being, Sabina and Franz are doomed lovers. Kundera traces their demise of their relationship to a disagreement about what words mean. Sabina and Franz never realize that they mean different things when they say simple words—like “woman” and “truth.”
As the fourth anniversary of the massive, January 12, 2010, earthquake in Haiti approached, I invited CGD senior fellows Vijaya Ramachandran and Michael Clemens, experts respectively on disaster relief and labor mobility, to join me on the Wonkcast to discuss the role of outsiders in trying to assist Haiti’s recovery.
The New Transparency in Aid Evaluation: The Millennium Villages Debacle Is a Good Sign of What We’re Learning
How can we know when an aid project ‘works’?
This is a joint post with Julie Walz.
On January 12, 2010, at 16:53 hours, a magnitude 7.0 earthquake struck the city of Port-au-Prince, killing over 200,000 people and leaving several million homeless. Foreign aid poured into Haiti, at the rate of almost a thousand dollars per Haitian. For the past two years, we have been putting together the various pieces of data we could find on aid flows and foreign involvement after the quake. We found that the big international NGOs and private contractors have been the primary recipients of billions of dollars in U.S. assistance have been not been required to report systematically on how they use the funds. There has been a lack of accountability to both the funders and recipients. Our preliminary impressions based on our visit to Haiti are that this lack of accountability is if anything worse on the ground: the NGOs are frequently not accountable to the Haitian government or to the people they aim to serve. We even learned something about earthquakes--for example, did you know that Haiti’s two major faults (the northern Sententrional fault and the southern Enriquillo-Plantain Garden fault) are called slip-strike faults, and are similar to the San Andreas Fault in California? It was the southern fault that triggered the quake two and a half years ago.
Thunderstorm over Port-au-Prince
Credit: Vijaya Ramachandran
New Documents Reveal the Cost of “Ending Poverty” in a Millennium Village: At Least $12,000 Per Household
Documents recently made public by the UK government reveal the cost of poverty reduction in the Millennium Villages Project, a self-described "solution to extreme poverty" in African villages created by Columbia University Professor Jeffrey Sachs. The project costs at least US$12,000 per household that it lifts from poverty—about 34 times the annual incomes of those households.
This is a joint post with Julie Walz.
Two years ago, a 7.0 magnitude earthquake struck Haiti, plunging an already poor and unstable country into complete and utter chaos. In the days and weeks that followed, international responses and donations were overwhelming. Yet almost all of the assistance provided to Haiti has bypassed its government, leaving it even less capable than before. Humanitarian agencies, NGOs, private contractors, and other non-state service providers have received 99 percent of relief aid—less than 1 percent of aid in the immediate aftermath of the quake went to public institutions or to the government. And only 23 percent of the longer-term recovery funding was channeled through the Haitian government. Figure 1 shows the breakdown of relief aid from all donors to Haiti, by recipient.
If a researcher wants to call her work science, others must be able to reproduce her results. This “replicability” is at the core of scientific inquiry. Replicability is what turns one person’s experience into a resource for humanity, what moves an anecdote toward a fact.