Policy guidance issued recently by Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Director Mick Mulvaney on “Reforming the Federal Government,” along with Secretary of State Tillerson’s plans to streamline and reorganize the Department of State and US Agency for International Development (USAID), have set off rampant speculation across the development and foreign aid community.
CGD Policy Blogs
In April, I attended a very hopeful event sponsored by the World Bank entitled, “Tobacco Taxation Win-Win for Public Health and Domestic Resources Mobilization.” My optimism was buoyed by seeing people from different ministries, disciplines, and perspectives all recognizing the need to raise tobacco taxes and sharing ideas on how to reduce the death toll from smoking. Then the bubble burst. I got home and saw a Wall Street Journal article about the increasing profitability of cigarette corporations in the US domestic market—a reminder that, unbelievably, we are still on the defensive against this large, growing, and completely avoidable disaster.
Why aren't tobacco taxes being addressed more forcefully and in more countries? Evidence suggests that tobacco taxes can be extremely effective—the cost is very low relative to the revenues and fully justified by the health gains.
I make five recommendations as Somalia heads down the arrears clearance/debt relief path, using Liberia’s experience as a reference point.
That sound you hear is the foreign aid community’s collective sigh of relief following the White House’s announcement of its intention to nominate Ambassador Mark Green as USAID administrator.
Our concluding message to young professionals and young people in general is this: engage with us. Tell us what you think is working in development, what isn’t, and why. You will help advance CGD’s mission to fight poverty through innovative, evidence-based policies by keeping the dialogues we foster energetic, fresh, and as inclusive as possible.
The World Bank’s soft lending arm for poorer countries, IDA, is busy rolling out a new $2.5 billion Private Sector Window. (See last year’s outline proposal for reference.) Bigger private sectors in IDA countries would be hugely welcome, so there is much to like in the broad thrust of the proposal, as suggested by Nancy Lee. But I’m left a little baffled by the details, and would love some reactions as to what I’m missing.
Most research starts from wanting to explain the causes of effects. A different approach to research is “x-centric” or “effects of causes,” which is to start from an X that is under some agent’s active control and ask: “What is the impulse response function of Y with respect to purposive variations in X?”
Congress has officially wrapped up the FY2017 appropriations process—a mere seven months behind schedule. Much has changed since last fall, including the rhetoric on US foreign aid spending from the sitting administration. And big questions have been swirling about whether the bipartisan consensus in Congress on the importance of effective foreign assistance will hold in this new environment. At least in very short term, the answer appears to be yes.
CGD Europe recently published a (UK) election manifesto on development with proposals across 19 areas. One area that raised comments and feedback was the proposals on tax, which left out country-by-country reporting. I can’t speak for others who contributed ideas to the manifesto, but the reason I did not suggest public CBCR is this: I’m not convinced by it.