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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.
This paper evaluates an intervention aimed at improving road safety in Kenya, in which long-distance minibus passengers were encouraged to speak up and admonish their driver when they felt their safety was being compromised. Evocative messages designed to empower passengers were placed in a random sample of more than 1,000 minibuses. Comprehensive insurance claims data suggest the stickers reduced accidents by between one-half and two-thirds, and driver and passenger surveys indicate that passenger heckling contributed to this reduction.
Braving freezing temperatures and gusty winds, hundreds of development experts and members of the policy community packed a Washington hotel ballroom for a discussion with David Gergen on the outlook for global development policy under new U.S. president Barack Obama. Gergen, an advisor to four presidents and senior political analyst for CNN, sees both opportunities and risks in the years ahead.
In this paper, witha foreword by senior fellow Vijaya Ramachandran, Benjamin Eifert of UC-Berkeley investigates the effects of regulatory reform by drawing on years of data across 90 countries. He discusses the characteristics of countries that choose to reform and the results of these reforms. The paper it contains valuable insights for policymakers and institutions focused on regulatory reform in weak states.
A dashing Brazilian man who keeps a flakjacket in his midtown Manhattan office, two firefighters from New York and Miami, a terrorist attack, and an attempted rescue using nothing but a string and a ladies handbag. Would you believe that this is a film about the United Nations? Sergio, which premiered on HBO this month, is the story of Sergio Vieira de Mello, an extraordinary public servant who died in the 2003 bombing of the UN headquarters in Iraq. The film (based on the book by Pulitzer-prize winning author Samantha Power) is a tribute to his leadership and service in the world’s worst troublespots.
Sergio Vieira de Mello began his career with the United Nations in Bangladesh, at the age of 23, and continued to mediate conflicts for the next three decades in countries such as Sudan, Bosnia, Kosovo, Mozambique, and Lebanon.
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.
In a little-noticed move in January, private military contractor DynCorp bought 100% of the shares of international development contractor Casals & Associates (the value of this acquisition was not disclosed). DynCorp says it plans to integrate Casals & Associates into its International Global Stabilization and Development Solutions division. In 2007, CGD research highlighted the Pentagon’s ever-expanding role in the development space. In the administration’s 2010-2011 budget proposal, 20% of the 2011 Department of State and Agency for International Development (USAID) budget is slated for “securing frontline states” (Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan). The DynCorp-Casals merger suggests a blurring of the line between development and defense in the private sector, as well.
Last week, the Government of Pakistan hosted officials from the United States and more than 30 donor countries and multilateral agencies in Islamabad for the Pakistan Development Forum. The big news from the two-day event was the announcement that the United States would accelerate disbursement of $500 million in previously committed aid to help Pakistan meet its flood rebuilding needs. (This pledge is above and beyond the more than $500 million the United States had previously committed to the immediate humanitarian needs from the flood.) What officials did not announces is what the US flood aid will be used for. My CGD colleagues Alan Gelb and Caroline Decker have recommended one proposal that the U.S. policymakers are currently considering: directing up to $500 million to finance a housing capitalization fund for flood-affected households.