Ideas to Action:

Independent research for global prosperity

US Development Policy

CGD experts track US development policy and offer ideas and analysis to improve its impact on developing countries. Also check out our Views from the Center blog and Global Health Policy blog.

 

US Backs Away from Its Commitment to Extractive Industry Transparency

The US Department of the Interior announced last week that the United States would no longer seek to comply with the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), an international multi-stakeholder organization that aims to increase revenue transparency and accountability in natural resource extraction. The move—while disappointing—is not altogether unexpected. And sadly, it will put the United States further behind the curve when it comes to corporate transparency.

Extractive Industry Transparency Rule Subject to Long Battle, Poised to Meet a Quick End

President Trump and many congressional Republicans have made no secret of their strong interest in dismantling “Dodd-Frank,” a law signed in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis to strengthen regulation of the financial industry in the United States. But it’s a small, seemingly peripheral, transparency provision focused on developing countries that’s poised to be one of the law’s earliest casualties. Congress quietly voted last week to torpedo implementation of a rule that would require U.S. firms to disclose payments made to foreign governments for the commercial development of oil, natural gas, or minerals.

Transparency Is an Agency-Level Game and DOD Is Coming Up Last

ForeignAssistance.gov is a great idea in theory—a one-stop shop for information about all US foreign assistance spending. In practice, the site has struggled to become a useful and reliable tool due to missing data and poor quality information. But if you look closely, the Department of Defense (DOD), which by some measures is one of the biggest players in US foreign assistance, truly stands out for its reporting gap. 

The Senate Tackles Corruption in US Foreign Assistance

Maryland Senator Ben Cardin recently introduced legislation to establish a tiered system of countries with respect to levels of corruption by their governments and their efforts to combat such corruption. It is great to see Senator Cardin looking for ways the United States can contribute to the global fight against corruption, and there is some smart language in the bill. Of course, it wouldn’t be a CGD blog if I didn’t also have some suggestions on how to make the bill even better.

Getting to 1504 in 2016: Long-Awaited Progress on Extractive Industry Transparency

At long last, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has published the rule requiring extractive industry investors—oil, gas, and mining companies—to publish all payments of $100,000 or more that they make to governments as part of their operations. Great congratulations are in order to all those, including Oxfam and Publish What You Pay, who have worked so hard to get this rule published!

There Wasn't a Decent OPIC Database, So We Spent Months Making One

Even among policymakers, there is plenty of misunderstanding around how the US government’s premier agency charged with advancing a private sector-based development agenda, the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), actually operates. When we searched for a database with key OPIC project-level information, we couldn’t find one. So we spent months manually entering all of the publicly available information on OPIC projects into a single location, the OPIC Scraped Portfolio dataset.

Is OPIC Corporate Welfare? The Data Says...

For years, the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) has been attacked by a handful of organizations as corporate welfare. But, were the charges of corporate welfare actually true?  My colleague Todd Moss and I spent months looking at the data to get an answer, and here it is: no

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