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Elliott was with the Peterson Institute for many years before joining the Center full-time. Her books published there include Can International Labor Standards Improve under Globalization? (with Richard B. Freeman, 2003), Corruption and the Global Economy (1997), Reciprocity and Retaliation in US Trade Policy (with Thomas O. Bayard, 1994), Measuring the Costs of Protection in the United States (with Gary Hufbauer, 1994), and Economic Sanctions Reconsidered (with Gary Hufbauer and Jeffrey Schott, 3rd. ed., 2007). She served on a National Research Council committee on Monitoring International Labor Standards and on the USDA Consultative Group on the Elimination of Child Labor in US Agricultural Imports, and is currently a member of the National Advisory Committee for Labor Provisions in US Free Trade Agreements. Elliott received a Master of Arts degree, with distinction, in security studies and international economics from the Johns Hopkins University, School of Advanced International Studies (1984) and a Bachelor of Arts degree, with honors in political science, from Austin College (1982). In 2004, Austin College named her a Distinguished Alumna.
There has been an unfortunate tendency in this year’s US presidential campaign to make trade policy an “us against them” story. It is true that the US government does not do enough to compensate those who lose from trade, or to help individuals and industries adjust to the changes that more open markets bring. But rhetoric pitting poor people in the United States against even poorer people elsewhere helps neither.
The Trans-Pacific Partnership and Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, if completed and implemented, will cover a large portion of global trade and investment, but they will exclude the majority of developing countries. American and European negotiators also want these deals to be “gold standard” agreements that establish the new rules of trade for a new century. The biggest concern arising from these mega-regional agreements is that they will undermine the rules-based multilateral trading system.
Stitches to Riches is motivated by South Asia’s urgent need to create more and better jobs for a growing population. This book investigates the region’s potential for expanding and improving jobs in the labor-intensive apparel sector. It estimates the effects of rising wages in China on apparel exports, employment, and wages in South Asia, and provides policy recommendations to leverage the sector for greater job creation.
Data on Feed the Future's results are just becoming available, and there is strikingly little independent analysis of the program. While we cannot yet assess the impact on poverty alleviation or improved nutrition, we can assess how Feed the Future performs against its stated objective of offering a new, more effective approach to food security. The integrated agriculture and nutrition approach emphasizes increased selectivity in aid allocations along with country ownership and capacity building to increase the effectiveness and sustainability of the initiative’s impacts. We find the initiative has led to an increase in the share of overall US assistance for agriculture and nutrition, and that the Obama administration has increasingly concentrated this aid in selected focus countries.
Ethiopia is facing one of the worst droughts in decades, a painful reminder that food security challenges remain despite low food prices globally. Feed the Future—the Obama Administration’s global food security initiative—has been supporting Ethiopia and 18 other focus countries with projects that aim to boost farmer productivity and improve nutrition. How has the initiative performed in its first five years?
Trade ministers, while attending the World Trade Organization (WTO) meeting in Nairobi, again managed to pull a rabbit out of the hat. Faced with the prospect of complete failure, ministers worked overtime to cobble together a package of mostly small, symbolic agreements at the WTO’s Tenth Ministerial Conference. While the outcome is not being greeted with the same dismay, Nairobi looks more like the Copenhagen summit on climate change than the recent session in Paris, which managed to bridge North-South differences.
After five years, capped by five days of intense, around-the-clock negotiation, trade ministers from the twelve Tran-Pacific Partnership (TPP) countries announced they had reached a deal in Atlanta Sunday night. From information available so far, it looks like there were improvements in some areas of interest for developing countries. But I still have concerns in the three areas I wrote about in July.
The US Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee is catching flack for recommending that Americans consider the environmental consequences of eating so many burgers. Pointing to climate change and other environmental effects of meat production, the panel suggested Americans contemplate the broader implications when choosing what to eat.
At the beginning of the new millennium, a key development concern was the impact of agricultural policies in high-income countries on poor farmers in the rest of the world. Over the ensuing decade, the focus swung from the role of price-suppressing farm subsidies to the role biofuel policies play in driving food prices up. While development advocates are right to criticize the trade-distorting costs and environmental risks of current biofuel policies, agricultural subsidies and trade barriers in rich countries remain in place and the distorting impact of those policies will rise again when prices decline.
Regional trade agreements such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership and Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership could leave some poor countries behind. Here are three policy changes to help Congress and President Obama avoid doing so.
This model declaration could be issued by the United States, the United Kingdom, and other governments to implement preemptive contract sanctions in Syria.
The documentation of grave violations of international human rights laws and norms by Syrian government forces is extensive and compelling and we take note of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s statement to the General Assembly on June 7:
[It is] evident that President [Bashar] Assad and his Government have lost all legitimacy. The recent slaughter in El-Houla brought this fact into horrifying focus.
The Government of the Syrian Arab Republic is already subject to a wide range of economic sanctions imposed by our governments, but some international trade and financial flows continue and provide material support for the Assad regime’s violations of international law. In light of all this, it is the position of the undersigned governments that any new contracts with this government that support the ongoing violations, such as those relating to arms or oil, are illegitimate.
The United Nations is on the record documenting and repeatedly condemning the appalling human rights violations by the Syrian government. An Independent Commission of Inquiry appointed by the UN Human Rights Council issued its initial report in November 2011, finding that:
The substantial body of evidence gathered by the commission indicates that these gross violations of human rights have been committed by Syrian military and security forces since the beginning of the protests in March 2011. The commission is gravely concerned that crimes against humanity have been committed in different locations in the Syrian Arab Republic during the period under review.
The report noted that “customary international law provides that a State is responsible for all acts committed by members of its military and security forces” and concluded that the Syrian Arab Republic “has failed its obligations under international human rights law.” The commission called on the Government of the Syrian Arab Republic “to put an immediate end to the ongoing gross human rights violations, to initiate independent and impartial investigations of these violations and to bring perpetrators to justice.”
The commission noted that, while responsibility had not yet been proven, “[t]hese acts may amount to crimes against humanity and other international crimes, and may be indicative of a pattern of widespread or systematic attacks against civilian populations that have been perpetrated with impunity.”
Given this flagrant disregard for the rights and interest of its citizens, President Assad’s continued intransigence in complying with UN resolutions or cooperating with its designated representatives, and given that external resources to the Assad regime are being used to support the violent suppression of those rights, we, the undersigned, hereby declare that our governments will not consider contracts [relating to arms or oil] with the current Government of Syria after this date as binding on future Syrian governments.
As such, we will:
Discourage our legal systems from being used to enforce claims against future Syrian governments for non-payment of debts contracted after [fill in date].
Not retaliate against future Syrian governments that refuse to honor other contracts signed by the existing Syrian government after [fill in date].
Take the position in any future debt relief negotiations with a new Syrian government that debt contracted after [fill in date] is illegitimate and instruct our representatives in multinational institutions to behave in accordance with these principles.
Support the decision of a new government that arises in Syria to refuse to honor contracts entered into after the date of this declaration and take the position, through our representatives at multilateral institutions such as the World Bank and the IMF, that this is a legitimate action of the new government
Scarce resources. Climate change. Population growth. Rising food prices. Feeding the world’s hungry will require a giant leap in agricultural innovation. In a new working paper, senior fellow Kimberly Elliott explores how advance market commitments could pull the private sector into producing for the world’s poor.
This brief summarizes the findings of the CGD Global Trade Preference Reform Working Group and its recommendations to make preference programs better promote prosperity and stability in the world's poorest countries.