Ideas to Action:

Independent research for global prosperity


CGD's weekly Podcast, event videos, whiteboard talks, slides, and more.

Forget Waiting: Three Foreign Aid Tasks for Three Months

President Barack Obama's re-election gives him four more years to carry out his US global development vision. Rethink director Sarah Jane Staats shares a few ideas that could help the administration get a running start on their second term.

The Historical Origins of Democracy and Autocracy in India and China (audio)

In his widely-acclaimed 2011 book Origins of Political Order, Fukuyama explores the divergent trajectory of political and institutional development across societies. His new CGD Working Paper "What is Governance?" presents a framework for quantifying governance across countries. As part of the Understanding India Series, Fukuyama will contrast the evolution of political institutions in India and China.

Development Impact Bonds Overview

Rita Perakis explains a new financing mechanism called Development Impact Bonds. DIBs would provide upfront funding for development programs by private investors, who would be remunerated by donors or host-country governments—and earn a return—if evidence shows that programs achieve pre-agreed outcomes.

Oil-to-Cash: Fighting the Resource Curse through Cash Transfers

Todd Moss, senior fellow and vice president for programs at the Center for Global Development, demonstrates how leaders of poor countries can beat the resource curse -- the paradox that countries that strike it rich often suffer from high poverty, dismal governance, and terrible corruption. His policy option, called Oil-to-Cash, helps foster a social contract in resource-rich countries by directly distributing natural resource revenues. Under this proposal, a government would transfer some or all of the revenue from natural resource extraction to citizens in a universal, transparent, and regular payment--and, importantly, then tax part of it back.

It’s All About MeE: Project Design by Experiential Learning (event video)

Join us for a MADS featuring Lant Pritchett. Pritchett will be discussing a new working paper, which reframes the impact evaluation debate. Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) has always been an element of implementing organizations’ accountability to their funders, and recently there has been a push for much greater rigor in evaluations to isolate causal impacts and enable more ‘evidence based’ approaches to accountability and budgeting. Pritchett and his co-author extend the idea of impact evaluation, and show that the techniques of impact evaluation can be directly useful to implementers, rather than a potentially threatening accountability mechanism.

Mead Over on Releasing PEPFAR Data

Six million people now rely on US assistance to pay for AIDS medicines that keep them alive each day.  Mead Over argues that this effort could be more effective—and the money better spent—if PEPFAR releases the reams of data it routinely collects so that researchers, US policymakers, and country recipients could use it to make better-informed decisions.

Latin America Economic Prospects in 2013

In this CNN interview, Senior Fellow Liliana Rojas-Suarez explains that while the region’s economic growth prospects remain strong for 2013, there are some factors that will limit its growth potential.

Liquidity Needs in Times of Stress: Should Latin America go Beyond the IMF? (Event Video)

Large accumulation of international reserves by Latin American countries was central in containing the adverse effects of the global financial crisis. Lines of credit from the Federal Reserve and the new liquidity facility from the IMF also played a key role, at least for some major countries. However, reserve accumulation is not free of cost, Fed support is not guaranteed and IMF resources might not be sufficient at times of systemic crises and may carry conditionality that make such assistance only contingent. This raises the question as to whether Latin America should actively pursue the effective implementation of regional arrangements capable of ensuring the availability of liquidity at times of acute financial stress. The Latin America Shadow Financial Regulatory Committee dealt with this issue by answering these questions, among others, and shared their statement publicly at this CGD event:

Liliana Rojas Suarez Discusses Risks to Growth Sustainability in Latin America

In these interviews Senior Fellow Liliana Rojas-Suarez discusses the risks to growth sustainability in Latin American countries derived from the large vulnerabilities in advanced economies. In particular, she emphasizes risks for emerging markets from the lack of solution to the fiscal cliff problem in the U.S. While Liliana is confident about China's capacity to continue on a solid growth path (albeit at slower rates than those observed in previous years), she believes that the permanent solution to the European debt crisis requires either a comprehensive write-down of the Greek debt or a separation of Greece (and possibly Portugal) from the Eurozone.

Program-for-Results: An Update on the World Bank's New Finance Tool (Event Video)

The World Bank's Program-for-Results (PforR) financing instrument was approved in January 2012 to complement the two existing financing instruments of the Bank: the Policy Financing instrument (DPL), which focuses on discrete policy actions within the direct control of governments, and the Project Financing instrument (IL), the Bank's main instrument to finance investment projects. PforR has been developed to enable the Bank to support the performance of a government program using the government's own systems, and when the risks to achieving the program's objectives relate to the capacity of the systems to achieve better results.

Latin America's Surging Middle Classes: Are They Really a Force for Change? (event video)

Latin America's emerging middle class, defined as those unlikely to fall back into poverty, has grown by 50% in recent years and now includes one of every three people on the continent, roughly equal to the number of people who remain poor. A new World Bank study finds many potential benefits from this surging middle class but cautions that these benefits can only be fully realized if countries can strike a new social contract that links middle class interests to the inclusion of those left behind. The event will include presentation of the report's key findings and a panel discussion with some of the leading experts on the region's middle classes.

Priority Setting in Health: Supporting health technology assessment in the Americas (event video)

The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) is moving to tackle one of the most difficult and important challenges of health policy: strengthening regional mechanisms for assessing which health technologies are cost effective and therefore appropriate for public funding. It's a sensitive issue that vexes poor and rich countries alike--including the United States. A recent PAHO resolution signed by the United States, Canada, and countries in Latin America and the Caribbean will strengthen a network created last year to improve the quality of Health Technology Assessment studies and their use in the allocation of public budgets.