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Incentive Proliferation? Making Sense of a New Wave of Development Programs

8/31/11

A new wave of development programs that explicitly use incentives to achieve their aims is under way.They are part of a trend, accelerating in recent years, to disburse development assistance against specific and measurable outputs or outcomes. With a proliferation of new ideas under names such as “payments for performance,” “output-based aid,” and “results based financing,” it is easy to lose sight of basic underlying similarities in these approaches and to miss some significant differences.

Can Aid Work? Written Testimony Submitted to the House of Lords

7/13/11

The main body of this short essay comprises written testimony that Owen Barder submitted to Britain’s House of Lords in response to a question about the effectiveness of foreign aid. In a brief introduction Barder draws upon his recent experience living in Ethiopia for three years to shed light on how he thinks about the question of aid effectiveness.

The Peace Corps in a Smaller World: A New Model for the Next 50 Years

4/4/11

Charles Kenny takes a look at the Peace Corps, fifty years after its founding. Demand from developing countries for volunteers outstrips the Peace Corps’ capacity to respond. Nonetheless, he argues, the agency operates on a model designed for a very different world, and an evolutionary change in that model from a government-operated program to a grant-making system closer to the Fulbright scholarships could result in a higher effectiveness in meeting the Peace Corps’ fundamental goals over its next fifty years of life.

Solow’s Return: Inventions, Ideas, and the Quality of Life

2/27/11

In his latest essay, Charles Kenny seeks to revive Solow's model of exogenous growth; growth driven by the global diffusion of new technologies and ideas. He suggests that when it comes to quality of life improvements, institutions may be less important than exogenous factors, like new vaccines, oral re-hydration therapies, or improvements in hygiene and education practices.

Getting Better in Pictures

2/25/11

Charles Kenny attempts to dispel development pessimists' fears in this essay summarizing his latest book Getting Better: Why Global Development Is Succeeding - And How We can Improve the World Even More (Basic Books). According to Charles, better health, education, greater access to civil and political rights, infrastructure and even beer, are all signs historic progress being made in the developing world.

Getting to a “Grand Bargain” for Aid Reform: The Basic Framework for U.S. Foreign Assistance

2/1/11
Jean Arkedis

Arkedis focuses on understanding why long-term development is often subjugated to other objectives in the day-to-day planning processes of the U.S. government. She proposes one way to ensure that funding choices are made more rationally and systematically: by aligning the differing goals of aid more explicitly with redefined foreign assistance budget accounts.

Shared Goals: Measuring Overall Development Progress in Pakistan

1/14/11

A new focus on measuring development results would have far-reaching benefits for U.S. development strategy, for U.S. public diplomacy efforts, and for the strength of Pakistan’s democratic institutions. In this essay, Nancy Birdsall and Wren Elhai suggest five possible indicators that illustrate the type of measurable targets that could help the United State and Pakistan meet shared goals for effective and transparent development.

The Arc of the Jubilee

10/26/10

The Jubilee 2000 movement, which called for the cancellation of the foreign debts of the poorest nations, became one of the most successful international, nongovernmental movements in history. David Roodman provides thumbnail assessments of Jubilee 2000 from several perspectives, deemphasizing anecdotes and statistics in favor of major themes.

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