Ideas to Action:

Independent research for global prosperity

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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).

June 13, 2011

Globalization, Wages, and Working Conditions: A Case Study of Cambodian Garment Factories - Working Paper 257

Using a comprehensive data set of working conditions and wage compliance in Cambodia’s exporting garment factories, the authors explore the impact of foreign ownership on wages and working conditions, whether the relationship between wages and working conditions more closely resembles efficiency wage or compensating differential theory, and whether the wage-working conditions relationship differs between domestically owned and foreign-owned firms.

Cael Warren and Raymond Robertson
August 6, 2009

Criss-Crossing Globalization: Uphill Flows of Skill-Intensive Goods and Foreign Direct Investment - Working Paper 176

What happens when capital and sophisticated goods flow uphill, from poorer to richer countries? With a new dataset of foreign direct investment and a measure of the sophistication of exports, CGD senior fellow Arvind Subramanian and his co-author Aaditya Mattoo find that developing countries sending goods and services uphill experience economic growth and other development benefits.

Aaditya Mattoo and Arvind Subramanian
December 12, 2008

Desert Power: The Economics of Solar Thermal Electricity for Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East - Working Paper 156

Senior fellow David Wheeler and Kevin Ummel argue for rapid, very large-scale deployment of existing solar thermal technology. Using maps of solar radiation and project finance calculations, they show that with modest subsidies solar power generated in North Africa and the Middle East could meet the needs of 35 million Europeans by 2020. At that point, solar power would be cheaper than fossil fuels and future projects would no longer require subsidies.

October 1, 2007

Does Influence-Peddling Impact Industrial Competition? Evidence from Enterprise Surveys in Africa - Working Paper 127

CGD visiting fellow Vijaya Ramachandran and co-authors Manju Kedia Shah and Gaiv Tata used firm-level survey data from more than 1,500 enterprises in six African countries to discover how and why African firms lobby. Their working paper concludes that larger, entrenched firms lobby to protect their market share, and that this inhibits competition, reducing efficiency and growth. The authors suggest that regional integration could be one way out of this trap, because it expands the number of enterprises in the marketplace as well as the size of the market, thus making it both harder and less worthwhile for domestically entrenched enterprises to lobby to protect their market share.

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Vijaya Ramachandran , Manju Kedia Shah and Gaiv Tata
February 20, 2007

Why Doesn't Africa Get More Equity Investment? Frontier Stock Markets, Firm Size and Asset Allocations of Global Emerging Market Funds - Working Paper 112

Africa receives only a tiny fraction of global investments in emerging markets. But the problem is not that fund managers are scared away by a seemingly steady stream of bad news out of Africa, nor is a general marketing of Africa to global investors the solution. Instead the authors of this new CGD working paper find that the small size of African markets and low levels of liquidity are a binding deterrent for foreign institutional investors. Drawing on firm surveys to explore why African firms remain small, the authors offer practical recommendations for increasing portfolio investment in Africa. Learn more

Todd Moss , Vijaya Ramachandran and Scott Standley
March 27, 2006

Privatization: A Summary Assessment - Working Paper 87

In this new CGD working paper John Nellis takes stock of fifteen years of privatization in developing and post-communist countries. He finds that a surprisingly large amount of assets remain in state hands. And while technical assessments of the impact of privatization are often positive, public opinion tends to be highly critical. The paper ends with suggestions for creating incentives for privatization that better serve public needs.

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John Nellis
February 21, 2006

Back to the Future for African Infrastructure? Why State-Ownership Is No More Promising the Second Time Around - Working Paper 84

African state-owned enterprises, particularly those in infrastructure, have a long history of poor performance. But moves in the 1990s to rely instead on private-sector participation and ownership have yet to deliver the hoped-for improvements. Is the solution to return to a strategy of improving state firms under public management? In this new CGD working paper, John Nellis argues that that Africa's SOEs are no more promising now than before and that private firms still have not been given a real chance.

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John Nellis
February 3, 2006

How Multinational Investors Evade Developed Country Laws - Working Paper 79

The G-8 has endorsed sweeping efforts to combat bribery and corrupt payments by international investors. Are these efforts effective? A new working paper by Theodore H. Moran says no. In How Multinational Investors Evade Developed Country Laws, Moran presents evidence that multinational corporations evade anti-corruption laws by making payments to relatives and cronies of developing country rulers. The findings will be discussed at a CGD event on Thursday, Feb. 16.

May 24, 2005

Ten Myths of the International Finance Facility - Working Paper 60

The British proposal to create an International Finance Facility in order to 'frontload' $50 billion in aid per year until 2015 has generated a lot of attention and will likely be a major topic at the G8 meeting this July. But the IFF has also been shrouded in confusion and misconceptions. This paper explains the IFF proposal and highlights some of the common misunderstandings surrounding it, including the mechanics of the scheme itself, the potential for a U.S. role, and the expectations of aid which underlie the IFF’s premise. The UK deserves plaudits for elevating global poverty on the international agenda and for seeking ways to better harness the power of private capital markets for development. But the IFF, as currently conceived, is an idea that merits more scrutiny and a healthy dose of skepticism.

May 20, 2005

Financial Regulations in Developing Countries: Can they Effectively Limit the Impact of Capital Account Volatility? - Working Paper 59

After more than a decade of financial sector liberalization, both of domestic markets and of international financial transactions (capital account liberalization), policymakers in many developing countries remain concerned about the effects that large and highly volatile capital flows have on their financial systems. However, in spite of the tremendous costs associated with the resolution of crises and signs of discontent among the population with the outcome of some reforms, to date there is no significant evidence indicating a reversal of the reform process. While one could advance a number of hypotheses explaining this "commitment to reforms," developing countries’ decisions and actions seem to indicate that policymakers perceive capital inflows as a necessary component to achieve growth and development.

February 18, 2005

Business Environment and Comparative Advantage in Africa: Evidence from the Investment Climate Data - Working Paper 56

This paper ties together the macroeconomic and microeconomic evidence on the competitiveness of African manufacturing sectors. The conceptual framework is based on the newer theories that see the evolution of comparative advantage as influenced by the business climate—a key public good—and by external economies between clusters of firms entering in related sectors. Macroeconomic data from purchasing power parity (PPP), though imprecisely measured, estimates confirms that Africa is high-cost relative to its levels of income and productivity. This finding is compared with firm-level evidence from surveys undertaken for Investment Climate Assessments in 2000-2004.

February 5, 2005

From Pushing Reforms to Pulling Reforms: The Role of Challenge Programs in Foreign Aid Policy - Working Paper Number 53

This paper considers what role pull instruments or challenge programs (such as the World Bank's Poverty Reduction Support Credits or the United States' Millennium Challenge Account) could play within the overall framework of foreign aid, asking how they could be designed to function as effective and efficient incentive instruments and how they could best complement other aid modalities.

November 23, 2004

Underfunded Regionalism in the Developing World - Working Paper Number 49

This paper argues that regional public goods in developing countries are under-funded despite their potentially high rates of return compared to traditional country-focused investments. In Africa the under-funding of regional public goods is primarily a political and institutional challenge to be met by the countries in this region. But the donor community ought to consider the opportunity cost – for development progress itself, in Africa and elsewhere – of its relative neglect, and explore changes in the aid architecture that would encourage more attention to regional goods.

September 27, 2004

Beyond HIPC: Secure Sustainable Debt Relief for Poor Countries - Working Paper Number 46

In 1999, the United States and other major donor countries supported an historic expansion of the heavily indebted poor country (HIPC) debt relief initiative. Three years after the initiative came into existence, we are beginning to see the apparent impact that HIPC is having, particularly on recipient countries' ability and willingness to increase domestic spending on education and HIV/AIDS programs. Yet it has also become clear that the HIPC program is not providing a sufficient level of predictability or sustainability to allow debtor countries (and donors) to reap the larger benefits, particularly in terms of sustained growth and poverty reduction, originally envisioned. After reviewing some of the main critiques and proposals for change, we offer here a new way forward -- a proposal to deepen, widen, and most importantly insure debt relief to poor countries.

Brian Deese

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