Ideas to Action:

Independent research for global prosperity




The cover of the paper
July 7, 2021

Financing the Humanitarian Public Good: Towards a More Effective Humanitarian Financing Model

The international humanitarian system provides a global public service but is financed on a voluntary basis. The way official donor funding is mobilised and allocated is unpredictable and haphazard, reducing efficiency and effectiveness. Donors should overcome the collective action problem that is inhibiting change and reach a critical mass of finance delivered through collective mechanisms. This paper outlines the case for - and obstacles against – change. It suggests three ways to make some progress: a multi-year common replenishment model for protracted and predictable crises; rebalancing country-level pooled mechanisms; and aligning core funding to agencies with agreed core functions.

July 1, 2021

The Indirect Health Effects of COVID-19: Emerging Findings from Kenya, the Philippines, South Africa, and Uganda

COVID-19 has caused significant morbidity and mortality, both directly and indirectly via the disruption to routine health services. Evidence on the indirect health impacts has largely been anecdotal or modeled, and cause/program-specific. We aimed to document the indirect health impacts in four countries with different experiences: Kenya, the Philippines, South Africa, and Uganda.

Diana Beatriz S. Bayani , Carleigh Krubiner , Edwine Barasa , Claire Biribawa , Alexander Broadbent , Lyle Casas , Kalipso Chalkidou , Y-Ling Chi , Herkulaas Combrink , Okethwangu Denis , Mary Kaakyo , Evelyn Kabia , Kadondi Kasera , Jacob Kazungu , Morris Ogero , Stacey Organi , Anton Paterno , Lydia Regan , Benjamin Smart , Piet Streicher , Justin Tan , Nazarius Tumwesigye , Valerie Gilbert Ulep , Jhanna Uy , Vanessa Siy Van and Damian Walker
A pile of international currency laid out in a photograph
June 30, 2021

IFC 3.1?

IFC’s board and leadership understand that meeting these goals requires a change in the way that the corporation operates, and a number of recent reforms will help it to deliver. But while these reforms are a welcome start, the IFC will have to change further if it is to meet its targets and reach its development potential. This paper discusses the rationale and elements of that change agenda, focused on ensuring the IFC best serves its ultimate clients.

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June 29, 2021

Fiscal Policy at a Time of Polarization: Addressing Latin America’s Tough Dilemmas

These challenges notwithstanding, Latin America is beginning to benefit from a more benign global economic outlook that is anchored, among other factors, in an expansion in global demand, a resumption of capital flows to emerging markets, and a boom in commodity prices. In this context, the Committee believes that, while the social and political resistance to reforms (particularly on the fiscal side) has understandably intensified, the region must rise to the challenge and convert the expected cyclical (post-COVID) rebound into a more promising scenario for job creation.

A mother interacting with her daughter, and using reading and coloring books as part of TOSTAN's Reinforcement of Parental Practices Module in Keur Alpha Senegal
June 25, 2021

The Global Childcare Workload from School and Preschool Closures During the COVID-19 Pandemic

The response to the COVID-19 pandemic saw schools close across the globe. The huge majority of children worldwide are in developing countries, and the considerable majority of unpaid care is provided by women. That means women in low- and middle-income countries were likely to have been disproportionately affected. In this note, we estimate the childcare workload in low- and middle-income countries created by school and preschool closures, and the potential distribution of that burden between men and women.

A woman running a stand to withdraw cash. Adobe Stock
June 25, 2021

New Estimates of the Impact of COVID-19 on Women’s Jobs and Enterprises

The ILO estimates that the number of women employed in low- and middle-income countries fell 4.7 percent between 2019 and 2020, compared to a 3.3 percent decline for men. Here, we examine one potential element of the story: the fact that women-owned businesses, which tend to hire more women employees than men-owned businesses, saw higher closure rates in the developing countries for which we have data.

June 23, 2021

Finance for International Development Update

This note presents estimates of Finance for International Development (FID) in 2018. FID is a grant equivalent measure of cross-border, concessional finance publicly provided for development. We introduced FID last year to better compare development finance provided by both DAC (OECD Development Assistance Committee) and non-DAC countries, the latter having gained importance as development actors in recent decades. We produced estimates of FID for 40 of the world’s major economies, which accounted for around 90 percent of global GDP in 2018.

Hand-sewn clothing hangs on a clothesline in Cox's Bazar, Bangla
June 22, 2021

Shifting Power in Humanitarian Nonprofits: A Review of 15 NGO Governing Boards

Humanitarian nonprofit organizations, from small, volunteer groups, to international NGOs with thousands of paid staff, operate in a patchwork of intersecting, competing and reinforcing missions. They share a common objective: to protect the lives of vulnerable people in crisis. When organizations fail to maintain public confidence in their mission, as in the recent spate of #AidToo scandals, the cost falls most heavily on the populations they aim to serve, but accountability to aid recipients is often missing aside from these isolated incidents incurring heightened public scrutiny.

June 22, 2021

The Unfolding of Women’s Economic Empowerment Outcomes: Time Path of Impacts in an Indonesia Trial

This paper makes the case that some interventions designed to improve women’s economic lives need to be tracked long enough for women to manifest new and beneficial behaviors. The study analyzes the time paths of the estimated impacts in a randomized trial providing financial incentives to bank agents (on the supply-side) and basic business training to women business owners (on the demand-side) for them to access and use formal financial services.

June 15, 2021

Texts Don’t Nudge: An Adaptive Trial to Prevent the Spread of COVID-19 in India

We conduct an adaptive randomized controlled trial to evaluate the impact of a SMS-based information campaign on the adoption of social distancing and handwashing in rural Bihar, India, six months into the COVID-19 pandemic. We test 10 arms that vary in delivery timing and message framing, changing content to highlight gains or losses for either one’s own family or community.Our results suggest that SMS-based information campaigns may have limited efficacy after the initial phase of a pandemic.

The cover of the case study
June 15, 2021

From Displacement to Development: How Ethiopia Can Create Shared Growth by Facilitating Economic Inclusion for Refugees

This case study is part of the “Let Them Work” initiative by Refugees International (RI) and the Center for Global Development (CGD). It outlines the barriers refugees face in Ethiopia to economic inclusion; the impacts of these barriers; and the steps that the government of Ethiopia, international organizations, donors, and the private sector could take to overcome them

Cover of Working Paper 584
June 14, 2021

Can Africa Help Europe Avoid Its Looming Aging Crisis?

There will be 95 million fewer working-age people in Europe in 2050 than in 2015, under business as usual. The paper compares business as usual estimates of inflows to 2050 with the size of the labor gap in Europe. Under plausible estimates, business as usual will fill one-third of the labor gap. This suggests a need for an urgent shift if Europe is to avoid an aging crisis. Africa is the obvious source of immigrants, to mutual benefit.

June 7, 2021

The Insurance Cascade Framework to Diagnose Bottlenecks and Improve the Effectiveness of Health Insurance Programs: An Application to India

Many low- and middle-income countries are looking to achieve universal health coverage by implementing large social health insurance schemes. India has been a frontrunner in this effort, introducing state and national health insurance schemes, especially for tertiary care. Despite these efforts, Indian households remain at risk of high out-of-pocket spending due to inpatient hospitalizations. We examine bottlenecks to the effectiveness of health insurance schemes in India by using the “insurance cascade,” a framework that traces the steps from enrolling eligible households to ultimately delivering their benefits at no charge.

An image of three young black women wearing masks.
June 1, 2021

Promoting an Inclusive Recovery by Prioritizing Gender: A “Care, Cash, and Data” Agenda for the IDA20 Replenishment

The World Bank estimates that the global pandemic could push between 55 and 63 million people into extreme poverty in IDA (the International Development Association) countries. With IDA being the largest source of concessional loans and grants for the world’s poorest countries, its upcoming replenishment cycle (IDA20) is a key opportunity to promote a more inclusive recovery—and, in particular, one that reaches and benefits women and girls disproportionately hurt by the COVID-19 crisis.

The cover of the paper
May 27, 2021

Ethical Recruitment of Health Workers: Using Bilateral Cooperation to Fulfill the World Health Organization’s Global Code of Practice

In this policy paper, we outline how the WHO defined a “critical shortage” of health workers, both for the original Code and for its newly published Health Workforce Support and Safeguards List. The paper then goes onto explore how countries of migrant destination and origin can (and should) design ethical and sustainable health worker migration partnerships that fulfil the requirements of the Code.