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Fan of Pakistani rupees - Adobe stock photo
July 3, 2018

Why Does Pakistan Have Repeated Macroeconomic Crises?

Over the past 50 years, Pakistan’s record on macroeconomic management has been mixed. The next crisis is now approaching. Most economists agree that the post-election government will have no alternative but to approach the IMF yet again for another bailout with associated policy conditionality. Against this background, this note examines three questions that economists both within and outside Pakistan are asking.

An aerial view of the Za'atri camp in Jordan for Syrian refugees on July 18, 2013. State Department photo/Public Domain.
June 28, 2018

Refugee Spending and the Macroeconomic Program in Jordan

Even with international assistance, the cost of providing refuge to so many people has strained the budget of the Jordanian government. At the same time, international partners, notably the IMF, have been insisting that Jordan take actions to bring down government debt to “more sustainable levels” through increasing fiscal discipline to tame government deficits. These dual imperatives by the international community—host more refugees and tame the budget—seem to put Jordan in an untenable situation as long as the refugee crisis continues. Something will have to give—the question is how, what, and when?

Clock with SDGs in background
June 21, 2018

Domestic Resource Mobilization in Low-Income Countries: Proposal for a Surge in Multilateral Support

Rising debt vulnerability in low-income countries (LICs) is emerging as a front-burner issue. Analysts at the IMF and elsewhere are tracking increases in public debt ratios that had fallen after the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries Initiative and the Multilateral Debt Relief Initiative. Forty percent of LICs are either in, or at high risk of, debt distress. Many factors have contributed to rising debt-to-GDP ratios: falling commodity prices, deteriorating fiscal balances, conflict, and corruption, among others. The larger fiscal deficits are fully or partially accounted for by increased public investment in about half of LICs. Which brings us to the challenge of financing the SDGs.

Cover of "Migration Is What You Make It"
May 30, 2018

Migration Is What You Make It: Seven Policy Decisions that Turned Challenges into Opportunities

Policymakers and voters reasonably want to know what the effects of immigration are, to help them decide how much immigration there should be. But the effects of immigration are highly contingent on wherewhenhow, and who. We must ask a more fruitful question: how can different policy choices generate positive economic effects from immigration and avoid negative ones? Immigration is not inherently “good” or “bad.” Its effects depend on the context and the policy choices that shape it.

Stock graphic of many connecting nodes
May 17, 2018

Reassessing Expectations for Blockchain and Development

This brief essay explores a key but often overlooked hurdle to using blockchain solutions, which is the complexity that decentralized solutions necessarily introduce. At times, the benefits of such solutions appear to exceed the added cost of complexity but often they do not. With this tradeoff in mind, the paper considers two use cases, digital ID and health supply chain management.

May 4, 2018

The USG International Family Planning Landscape: Defining Approaches to Address Uncertainties in Funding and Programming

The international family planning community has made impressive gains in increasing global access to high-quality, voluntary family planning services. However, significant challenges remain with maintaining current support and meeting the growing need projected for family planning services and commodities across low- and middle-income countries (LMICs).

May 4, 2018

Linking US Foreign Aid to UN Votes: What Are the Implications?

The Trump administration has pledged to tie foreign aid more directly to countries’ United Nations (UN) votes, threatening to punish countries who vote against the US position by cutting their foreign assistance. While the administration’s harsh rhetoric marks a shift from the recent past, the United States has been using aid to influence UN votes for decades.

Cover: Unequal Ventures
April 30, 2018

Unequal Ventures: Results from a Baseline Study of Gender and Entrepreneurship in East Java, Indonesia

A study of women and men business owners in East Java offers a unique opportunity to analyze characteristics of entrepreneurs and their businesses by gender for a country where such systematic data are scarce. The study is one of two randomized controlled trials launched in 2015 to assess the power of mobile savings and training for women entrepreneurs. This report details baseline results from the Indonesia trial, still under way, which is testing whether providing financial literacy training for women who are potential bank clients and varying financial incentives to bank agents promoting a new mobile savings product make a difference in increasing  entrepreneurs’ uptake of formal savings and in improving economic outcomes. Short-term results of the other trial, in Tanzania, were reported in the first report in this series.

Mayra Buvinic , James C. Knowles and Firman Witoelar
Cover of "Mindful Saving: Exploring the Power of Savings for Women"
March 22, 2018

Mindful Saving: Exploring the Power of Savings for Women

Mobile savings hold great promise, because they can considerably reduce transaction costs that can be unduly heavy for women. Two questions guide us: how can we encourage more women microentrepreneurs to access formal savings accounts, and is mobile saving a particularly fitting solution? This series uses empirical evidence to address these issues.

Stock photo of pills in a row
February 5, 2018

Healthcare Systems as Intelligent Payers: What Can the Global Health Community Learn from the English National Health Service?

Today, politicians are under growing pressure to squeeze more out of every dollar and guarantee greater access to better, more affordable healthcare for their citizens. In such a resource-constrained environment, wasting trillions of dollars on health every year is not viable. This note provides an overview of some of the approaches and policy options that the National Health Service in England has been using to maximise value for money.

A chart of Health Commodity Market Size in 50 Low and Middle Income Countries, 2015
December 13, 2017

An Initial Estimation of the Size of Health Commodity Markets in Low- and Middle-Income Countries

This post previews preliminary answers to one initial question: what can we say about the size and nature of health commodity markets in low- and middle-income countries? We share early insights; list the data sources we used, while also signalling others we hope to draw on going forward; and highlight our assumptions and caveats.

Aadhaar survey respondents give a show of hands when discussing issues with receiving rations
December 12, 2017

What a New Survey of Aadhaar Users Can Tell Us About Digital Reforms: Initial Insights from Rajasthan

India’s Aadhaar biometric identification scheme has registered over 1.1 billion people, including almost all adults in the country and over 15 percent of the global population. Of course, initiatives of this scale cannot escape controversy. What the debate has so far lacked, however, is data. We set out to help fill that gap with a survey focused on a digital governance initiative in the state of Rajasthan.

Stock photo of a stethoscope, a computer keyboard, and charts
November 8, 2017

Six Reasons Why the Global Fund Should Adopt Health Technology Assessment

With aid budgets shrinking and even low-income countries increasingly faced with cofinancing requirements, this is the right time for global health funders such as the Global Fund and their donors to formally introduce Health Technology Assessment (HTA), both at the central operations level and at the national or regional level in recipient countries. In this CGD Note, we explain why introducing HTA is a good idea. Specifically, we outline six benefits that the application of HTA could bring to the Global Fund, the countries it supports, and the broader global health community.

Gender in Article IV Reports by Year
November 2, 2017

The IMF: Crawling the Walk on Gender?

Under managing director Christine Lagarde, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has become a champion for gender equality. This note examines how much the IMF’s dialogue with its member countries has changed as a result of the labeling of gender as a "macrocritical" issue. In short, there has been increased attention to the issue as reflected in word counts and discussion of women’s labor force participation, but there is still a long way to go.

Photo of some British pound notes
October 2, 2017

Solving the Private Sector Imbroglio

Disagreement over how investments in the private sector are counting to aid is threatening to overwhelm the OECD Development Assistance Committee. There are no perfect solutions here; governments must find the least-bad compromise. We point the way forward.

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