Ideas to Action:

Independent research for global prosperity

Publications

Topic

 

June 10, 2015

Manufacturing or Services? An Indian Illustration of a Development Dilemma - Working Paper 409

Manufacturing has historically offered the fastest path out of poverty, but there is mounting evidence that this path may be all but closed to developing countries today. Some have suggested that services might provide a new path forward, while others have expressed skepticism about this claim and consequent pessimism over the future growth trajectories of developing countries. We contribute to debate this by using a multi-sector growth framework to establish five important criteria that any sector must exhibit in order to lead an economy to rapid, sustained, and inclusive development. 

Amrit Amirapu and Arvind Subramanian
The Health Consequences of Aerial Spraying of Illicit Crops: The Case of Colombia
June 1, 2015

The Health Consequences of Aerial Spraying of Illicit Crops: The Case of Colombia - Working Paper 408

A joint US-Colombia antinarcotics program sprayed hundreds of thousands of acres of illicit crops in Colombia with the herbicide glyphosate over several years. The recent classification of glyphosate as a likely carcinogen raises questions about the health effects of that spraying campaign. In this study, two economists from Colombia’s Los Andes University, combine data on aerial spraying from 2003 to 2007 with comprehensive individual-level data on every visit to public health facilities during that period. They find that aerial spraying raised the incidence of miscarriages, skin conditions, and respiratory problems.

Adriana Camacho and Daniel Mejia
May 27, 2015

MDGs to SDGs: Have We Lost the Plot?

In September this year, world leaders will meet in New York at the United Nations General Assembly. Top of the agenda will be the passage of a resolution laying out global development goals for the fifteen years to 2030, covering progress in areas from poverty reduction to forestry preservation. They will follow on from the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which have become a common yardstick of global progress over the past decade and a half.

May 26, 2015

Data Set for "How Much Will Health Coverage Cost? Future Health Spending Scenarios in Brazil, Chile, and Mexico - Working Paper 382"

This is the data set for Working Paper 382 which examines the expansion of universal healthcare in Latin America. The authors calculate long-term projections for public spending on health in three countries and analyze different scenarios related to population, risk factors, labor market participation, and technological growth.

Amanda Glassman and Juan Ignacio Zoloa
Call Me Educated: Evidence from a Mobile Monitoring Experiment in Niger - Working Paper 406
May 21, 2015

Call Me Educated: Evidence from a Mobile Monitoring Experiment in Niger - Working Paper 406

In rural areas of developing countries, education programs are often implemented through community teachers. While teachers are a crucial part of the education production function, observing their effort remains a challenge for the public sector. This paper tests whether a simple monitoring system, implemented via the mobile phone, can improve student learning as part of an adult education program. 

Jenny C. Aker and Christopher Ksoll
Can a Poverty-Reducing and Progressive Tax and Transfer System Hurt the Poor? - Working Paper 405
May 21, 2015

Can a Poverty-Reducing and Progressive Tax and Transfer System Hurt the Poor? - Working Paper 405

Whether the poor are helped or hurt by taxes and transfers is generally determined by comparing income distributions before and after fiscal policy using stochastic dominance tests and measures of progressivity and horizontal inequity. We formally show that these tools can fail to capture an important aspect: that a substantial proportion of the poor are made poorer (or non-poor made poor) by the tax and transfer system.

Sean Higgins and Nora Lustig
The Time to Reform US Biofuels Policy Is Now
May 18, 2015

The Time to Reform US Biofuels Policy Is Now

Even as Congress was mandating large increases in the consumption of biofuels a decade ago, the world was changing. In the early 2000s, replacing fossil fuels with biofuels made from corn, sugar, or oilseeds seemed like a good idea. Increased crop demand would prop up prices for farmers, and replacing petroleum with renewable energy would reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and promote energy independence.

Global Public Goods for Development: How Much and What For
May 18, 2015

Global Public Goods for Development: How Much and What For

Updated May 19, 2015

Global public goods (GPGs) provide benefits to people in both rich and poor countries. They play a crucial role in safeguarding the social, economic, and political progress of the past century. They are fundamental to managing global risks such as climate change, infectious diseases, and financial crises that can harm developing countries disproportionately; and in exploiting opportunities, such as new vaccines, that can benefit them especially. Yet very little is known about how much governments spend on GPGs that matter for developing countries. 

Corporate Commitments to Deforestation-Free Supply Chains: An Expedition
May 12, 2015

Corporate Commitments to Deforestation-Free Supply Chains: An Expedition

This essay addresses the challenges likely to be faced by corporations and non-governmental organizations as they collaborate to implement recent commitments to deforestation-free commodity supply chains. The essay takes as its inspiration and a source of lessons learned Theodore Roosevelt’s 1913-14 expedition to explore the River of Doubt, a tributary of the Amazon River in Brazil.

Guarantees, Subsidies, or Paying for Success? Choosing the Right Instruments to Catalyze Private Investment in Developing Countries - Working Paper 402
May 5, 2015

Guarantees, Subsidies, or Paying for Success? Choosing the Right Instrument to Catalyze Private Investment in Developing Countries - Working Paper 402

Governments, donors, and public sector agencies are seeking productive ways to ‘crowd in’ private sector involvement and capital to tackle international development challenges. The financial instruments that are used to create incentives for private sector involvement are typically those that lower an investment’s risk (such as credit guarantees) or those that lower the costs of various inputs (such as concessional loans, which subsidise borrowing).

Food Security in Developing Countries: Is There a Role for the WTO?
May 5, 2015

Food Security in Developing Countries: Is There a Role for the WTO?

Trade is a key tool to bring food security to an estimated 800 million people around the world that remain chronically undernourished. Many countries need reliable access to international markets to supplement their inadequate domestic food supplies. Better policies to make agriculture in developing countries more productive and profitable, including via exports, would also help alleviate food insecurity and reduce poverty. Stronger international trade rules would help by constraining the beggar-thy-neighbor policies that distort trade, contribute to price volatility, and discourage investments in developing-country agriculture.

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