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The overlapping mandates of existing IFIs and the emergence of new development finance institutions raises the question of whether the current development finance system is effectively working together to target scarce global aid resources towards areas of greatest impact. Nations face shared problems–such as climate change, recovery from the COVID-19 crisis and the threat of future pandemics, and unregulated cross-border movements of people–that can only be addressed through international cooperation. Economic prosperity has led to an increasing number of middle-income countries, bringing with it a need to examine the role of development finance institutions in relatively wealthier economies. Rising debt levels in vulnerable countries is also a growing concern in the development community, leading to a greater need for coordination on norms and standards among development lenders.
With aid representing a declining share of development finance, CGD is asking what institutional changes are needed within the multilateral development banks and other international financial institutions to reflect new realities and rise to the challenge of a resilient and sustainable recovery that resets the world on a path to achieving the SDGs? How should bilateral donors be most effective in the more complex development finance system? And how can those changes be made most effectively?
What should the World Bank optimally do with the US$10 to $20 billion it can loan each year? Has it, in fact, done what is optimal? This study suggests a simple framework within which to measure the World Bank against an optimal international public financier for development. It goes on to argue that a careful treatment of the empirical evidence on Bank lending strongly contradicts optimal behavior under different assumptions. The evidence, in fact, rejects any notion that the Bank has substituted for private capital or that it has successfully catalyzed private development finance.
In this paper I set out the economic logic for why good global economic governance matters for reducing poverty and inequality and argue that a step towards better global governance would be better representation of developing countries in global and regional financial institutions.
The Burnside and Dollar (2000) finding that aid raises growth in a good policy environment has had an important influence on policy and academic debates. We conduct a data gathering exercise that updates their data from 1970-93 to 1970-97, as well as filling in missing data for the original period 1970-93. We find that the BD finding is not robust to the use of this additional data. (JEL F350, O230, O400)
Poverty reduction is now, and quite properly should remain, the primary objective of the World Bank. But, when the World Bank dreams of a world free of poverty—what should it be dreaming? I argue in this essay that the dream should be a bold one, that treats citizens of all nations equally in defining poverty, and that sets a high standard for what eliminating poverty will mean for human well-being.
The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) are unlikely to be met by 2015, even if huge increases in development assistance materialize. The rates of progress required by many of the goals are at the edges of or beyond historical precedent. Many countries making extraordinarily rapid progress on MDG indicators, due in large part to aid, will nonetheless not reach the MDGs. Unrealistic targets thus may turn successes into perceptions of failure, serving to undermine future constituencies for aid (in donors) and reform (in recipients). This would be unfortunate given the vital role of aid and reform in the development process and the need for long-term, sustained aid commitments.
Recent literature contains many stories of how foreign aid affects economic growth: aid raises growth in countries with good policies, or in countries with difficult economic environments, or mainly outside the tropics, or on average with diminishing returns. The diversity of these results suggests that many are fragile. I test 7 important aid-growth papers for robustness. The 14 tests are minimally arbi-trary, deriving mainly from differences among the studies themselves. This approach investigates the importance of potentially arbitrary specification choices while minimizing arbitrariness in testing choices. All of the results appear fragile, especially to sample expansion.
In 1999, the United States and other major donor countries supported an historic expansion of the heavily indebted poor country (HIPC) debt relief initiative. Three years after the initiative came into existence, we are beginning to see the apparent impact that HIPC is having, particularly on recipient countries' ability and willingness to increase domestic spending on education and HIV/AIDS programs. Yet it has also become clear that the HIPC program is not providing a sufficient level of predictability or sustainability to allow debtor countries (and donors) to reap the larger benefits, particularly in terms of sustained growth and poverty reduction, originally envisioned. After reviewing some of the main critiques and proposals for change, we offer here a new way forward -- a proposal to deepen, widen, and most importantly insure debt relief to poor countries.
Controversy over the World Bank's proposed design for a multibillion dollar Clean Technology Fund reached a House subcommittee last week. When the hearing ended, Rep. Luis Gutierrez, the chairman of the subcommittee, voiced support for CGD senior fellow David Wheeler's scenario for a successful fund. Wheeler had urged that the fund focus on rapidly driving down the price of zero-emissions renewable power so that it becomes cheaper than electricity from coal and other fossil fuels, thereby helping to avert a climate disaster. CGD outreach and policy assistant Joel Meister reports on the hearing.