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CGD research on fragile states examines how rich countries and other development actors can best assist fragile states and their citizens; related work focuses on understanding the transition from immediate post-conflict assistance to longer-term development assistance.
Program goals include
understanding the causes and consequences of state fragility;
determining opportunities for policy intervention and the sequencing of such interventions;
finding ways to improve the effectiveness of aid to fragile states; and,
identifying turning points that signal when donors should shift from post-conflict to longer-term development assistance.
CGD senior fellow Vijaya Ramachandran leads this research to help inform and influence policymakers and practitioners working on post-conflict reconstruction and development in difficult environments.
Together with CGD visiting fellow Satish Chand, professor of economics at the University of New South Wales, Ramachandran has commissioned a series of papers by currently or recently active aid practitioners in post-conflict assistance programs. Drawing upon these papers, Ramachandran and Chand plan to develop practical guidelines to help policymakers and practitioners examine and respond to on-the-ground challenges. Areas of interest include an analysis of donor relationships with the military, the sequencing and coordination of donor activity in post-conflict settings, the value of the European Union’s Stability Instrument, the revival of basic public services in post-conflict countries, and the incentives of government actors in various post-conflict settings.
Previous CGD work on weak and fragile states includes the following working papers, books and reports:
Civil War: A Review of Fifty Years of Research, a working paper by Christopher Blattman, a non-resident fellow and former CGD post-doctoral fellow currently at Yale University, and Edward Miguel of the University of California at Berkeley. The paper investigates how civil wars begin, how the actors are organized, and what economic effects civil wars have on their societies.
Over on the Global Dashboard blog, Seth Kaplan has posted a critique of CGD’s Pakistan initiative. In a post titled, “What’s Wrong With CGD’s Pakistan Initiative” Kaplan knocks the CGD Pakistan initiative for saying “almost nothing specific about Pakistan”; “ignoring the “drivers of its political economy”; and relying on “one-size-fits-all solutions.” As members of CGD’s Pakistan initiative, we welcome Seth’s critique of our work (indeed, we were happy to feature another one of our critics in a previous blog) and take this as an opportunity to clear up any misunderstanding about our approach and findings.
U.S. - Pakistan relations, troubled in the best of times, have been unusually rocky of late. A recent cover story in The Atlantic dubbed Pakistan the “Ally from Hell.” CGD’s Study Group on the U.S. Development Strategy in Pakistan argues that the strong U.S. interest in a stable, prosperous Pakistan makes savvy U.S. support for development there more important than ever. In this week’s wonkcast, post-doctoral research fellow Milan Vaishnav and policy analyst Danny Cutherell discuss the recent upsets in U.S.-Pakistan relations and offer practical suggestions, drawn from the CGD Study Group’s report and a recent open letter from CGD president Nancy Birdsall to deputy secretary of state Thomas Nides, which focuses on U.S. support for private sector growth in Pakistan.
In this working paper, Laura E. Seay traces the development of section 1502 of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, examines the effects of the legislation, and recommends new courses of action to move forward.
One of the most influential ideas in the study of political instability is that income shocks provoke conflict. “State prize” theories argue that higher revenues increase incentives to capture the state.“Opportunity cost” theories argue that higher prices decrease individual incen-tives to revolt. Both mechanisms are central to leading models of state development and collapse. But are they wellfounded?
We examine the effects of exogenous commodity price shocks on conflict and coups, and find little evidence in favor of either theory. Evidence runs especially against the state as prize. We do find weak evidence that the intensity of fighting falls as prices rise—results more consistent with the idea that revenues augment state capacity, not prize-seeking or opportunity cost. Nevertheless,the evidence for any of these income-conflict mecha-nisms is weak at best. We argue that errors and
publication bias have likely distorted the theoret-ical and empirical literature on political instability.
Construction is a vital part of development, but it often falls prey to poor governance and corruption. Making the details of construction contracts public is one proven way to help citizens get what they are paying for.
This paper examines the efficacy of loan programs in the development of domestic enterprises in the immediate aftermath of conflicts. The author explores whether the strategies employed by such programs are effective and if there are opportunities for improving the outcomes of similar projects in post-conflict environments.
3.5 million children around the world are refugees, many with little or no access to schooling. That means we won’t come anywhere near our targets for the fourth Sustainable Development Goal—quality education for all—unless we can address the refugee crisis. Save the Children International president Helle Thorning-Schmidt joins the CGD podcast to discuss how donor countries can help.
Having studied more than 200 episodes of economic sanctions in the 20th Century, people often ask me to identify the greatest sanctions success story that my colleagues and I uncovered. My answer is usually along the lines of, hmmm, well, I can think of lots of spectacular sanctions failures—for example the 50-year long embargo against Castro’s Cuba. But there are no equally spectacular successes. There were times when sanctions were decisive in achieving foreign policy goals, but most often it was when those goals were relatively modest.