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Views from the Center

CGD experts offer ideas and analysis to improve international development policy. Also check out our Global Health blog and US Development Policy blog.

Views From The Center Blog

 

Brexit: Bad News for Remittances

The British public’s shock decision to leave the European Union (EU) has wide-ranging implications, including for remittance flows. In this blog, we explore the plausible consequences of Brexit for those who depend on remittances from the UK.

Using Aid for Cash Transfers: What Do 10,000 People in 28 Countries Think?

Cash transfers might be the next big thing in international development. Yet our analysis of new survey data suggests that public support for cash transfers is modest and fragile. Donors—who are poised to leverage a promising new way of delivering aid to do more good for less money—must continue to make the public case for cash transfers, and continue to present the remarkably strong evidence that they are not misspent.

The Panama Papers and the Correlates of Hidden Activity

Unless you’ve been living under a rock in the British Virgin Islands, you might have heard of the massive leak of documents from Mossack Fonseca, a Panamanian law firm whose services included helping its clients create shell corporations and store their assets in offshore tax havens. In addition to a torrent of political scandals and crises, the leak has resulted in a renewed rallying cry to reform the international tax system. But aside from the political implications, the Panama Papers have the potential to help us better understand two things: what kinds of countries do these offshore firms do business with and are the tools we use for determining the relative risks of hidden cash any good?

Zimbabwe’s Courts Deliver “a Great Day for Women”

To combat child marriage, the UN calls for, among other steps, the enactment of laws to raise the minimum age of marriage to 18. Zimbabwe is poised to follow this advice following a Constitutional Court ruling last month when human rights lawyer Tendai Biti (a former minister of finance and CGD visiting fellow) won a landmark case in Zimbabwe’s highest court that ruled marriage before age 18 is illegal.

Two World Bank Surveys Provide (Imperfect) Evidence that De-risking Might Be Hurting Developing Countries

The World Bank recently released the results of two separate surveys aimed at gauging the extent to which de-risking is a problem. The headline result is that banks around the world are closing accounts of money transfer organizations (MTOs) and are severing links with banks in other countries.  These careful, timely reports provide crucial evidence that de-risking is a very real phenomenon and that we should be worried about it.

New Study of Somali Remittance Flows Does Not Actually Tell Us Much about Somali Remittance Flows

The FAO’s Somalia Food Security and Nutrition Analysis Unit (FSNAU) released an assessment of external remittances to Somalia, based on a survey of both urban and internally-displaced families. The headline result from the report was that apparently remittances were on the decline, but the FSNAU survey doesn’t actually tell us much about how remittance flows to Somalia have changed in the past six months.

If the Cost of Sending Remittances Goes Up and No One Is Around to Measure It, Did It Really Happen?

The World Bank does maintain an impressively large database of remittance prices around the world, called Remittance Prices Worldwide, covering over 200 remittance corridors. It is a massive undertaking which involves surveying hundreds of remittance companies across 32 different countries roughly every quarter, but it turns out that the data only cover approximately half of the world’s remittances, even though the number of corridors covered has been slowly expanding every year. For Somalia specifically, while the database covers remittances from the United Kingdom, it only began surveying US firms this year, after the closure of bank accounts.

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