Ideas to Action:

Independent research for global prosperity

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November 4, 2008

More Growth with More Income Equality in the Americas: Can Regional Cooperation Help? (White House and the World Policy Brief)

The next U.S. president has a great opportunity to lead regional economic integration in the Americas, to the benefit of both the United States and Latin America. For the Americas, the high hopes of a decade ago for a hemispheric trade agreement have faded, along with confidence in the region’s ability to act collectively to address fundamental economic challenges. The model for integration outlined here is a regional investment standards agreement—a collective effort to set common standards for key microeconomic policies affecting both domestic and foreign businesses.

November 4, 2008

Why Global Development Matters and What the Next U.S. President Should Do About It (White House and the World Policy Brief)

The need for a fresh American approach to development has never been more urgent. The economic crisis at home, the threat of failed states and hostile countries acquiring nuclear weapons, our inability to solve critical global problems like climate change alone—all these mean that America needs to find ways to engage with the developing world that go beyond our outdated aid mechanisms and our narrow focus on such issues as terrorism, narcotics, and illegal immigrants. Our economic growth, our security, and our ability to shape the new multilateral system all depend on our readiness to forge new, mutually beneficial alliances with a broad range of developing countries. To engage effectively, we must offer these countries more effective partnerships on their own development challenges.

November 4, 2008

Getting the Focus Right: U.S. Leadership in the Fight against Global Corruption (White House and the World Policy Brief)

The United States has played a leadership role in the fight against global corruption, and there aremany reasons to be hopeful about this effort. Nonetheless, corruption continues to seriously impede development efforts around the world, and the critical task of combating it will require both long-term commitment and strong support from the next U.S. administration.

Dennis de Tray and Theodore Moran
November 4, 2008

U.S. Trade Policy and Global Development (White House and the World Policy Brief)

Many Americans see trade openness as a threat. Yet access to rich-country markets is crucial for poor people in developing countries to improve their lives. In a new CGD brief based on her essay in The White House and the World: A Global Development Agenda for the Next U.S. President, senior fellow Kimberly Elliott suggests a trade policy approach that would address Americans’ concerns and still be pro-poor. One ingredient: treat market access for the world’s poorest countries as a development issue, not trade policy.

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September 5, 2008

Opportunities for Presidential Leadership on AIDS: From an "Emergency Plan" to a Sustainable Policy (White House and the World Policy Brief)

U.S. spending on global AIDS is widely seen as a significant foreign policy and humanitarian success, but this success contains the seeds of a future crisis. Treatment costs are set to escalate dramatically and new HIV infections continue to outpace the number of people receiving treatment. Three bad options thus loom ahead for U.S. foreign policy: indefinitely increase foreign assistance spending on an open-ended commitment, eliminate half of other foreign aid programs, or withdraw the medicine that millions of people depend upon to stay alive. CGD senior fellow Mead Over provides another option: implementing a sustainable policy that concentrates on prevention in order to drastically cut new infections while sustaining the reduction in AIDS-related deaths.

August 22, 2008

Power and Roads for Africa: What the United States Can Do (White House and the World Policy Brief)

Why should the United States care about economic growth in Africa? Because it is the right thing to do and the smart thing to do. Helping to spur economic growth in Africa promotes our values, enhances our security, and helps create economic and political opportunities for the people of the continent. Public interest in Africa is higher than ever—witness consumer movements such as Product Red—and bipartisan political support recently renewed funding for the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). Several new opportunities now exist for U.S. firms to compete and benefit from a win-win partnership with the region.

August 22, 2008

Global Warming: An Opportunity for Greatness (White House and the World Policy Brief)

The next president can secure a place in history by mobilizing America to confront climate change, while starting a clean energy revolution that will strengthen American security and create the next wave of economic growth. The president should seize this opportunity because climate change presents a mortal threat: left unchecked, global warming will undermine the hard-won achievements of developing countries, inflict severe damage on the United States and other rich nations, and destabilize so many societies that the international system will be threatened. CGD senior fellow David Wheeler shows how to turn the threat into an opportunity for greatness.

August 22, 2008

Healthy Foreign Policy: Bringing Coherence to the Global Health Agenda (White House and the World Policy Brief)

Faced with many urgent challenges, the next U.S. president may be tempted to let global health issues bubble along on the back burner and simply allow reasonably well-funded programs that garner bipartisan support to continue unchanged. This would be a mistake. Instead, the president should set an ambitious course to improve global health by leveraging the full range of U.S. assets to create a more just and safe world.

August 22, 2008

U.S. Foreign Assistance for the Twenty-first Century (White House and the World Policy Brief)

Meeting today’s foreign policy challenges requires a new vision of American global leadership based on the strength of our core values, ideas, and ingenuity. It calls for an integrated foreign policy that promotes our ideals, enhances our security, helps create economic and political opportunities for people around the world, and restores America’s image abroad. We cannot rely exclusively or even primarily on defense and security to meet these goals. CGD senior policy analyst Sheila Herrling and senior fellow Steve Radelet argue instead that we must make greater use of all the tools of statecraft, including diplomacy, trade, investment, intelligence, and a strong and effective foreign assistance strategy.

August 22, 2008

Don't Close the Golden Door: Making Immigration Policy Work for Development (White House and the World Policy Brief)

International movements of people can spark and sustain the development process in poor countries, helping people climb out of poverty. Creating opportunities for poor people to improve their lives promotes our values, enhances our security,and restores our faltering image abroad. The next president of the United States has an opportunity to advance a migration agenda that is one of several pillars of our leadership position on global development. CGD research fellow Michael Clemens shows how.

May 12, 2008

The Commitment to Development Index for Africa: How Much Do the Richest Countries Help the Poorest Continent?

How committed are the world's richest countries to the development of Africa, the world's poorest continent? Rich countries are usually compared on how much foreign aid they give as a percentage of their GDP, but helping Africa involves much more than aid. CGD's Commitment to Development Index has long compared 21 rich countries on aid, trade, migration, and other policies that affect the entire developing world. In the new CDI for Africa, research fellow David Roodman trains the CDI methodology on rich countries' links to this one continent. While the results may not be what you expect, one message is clear: all rich countries could do much more to foster development in Africa.

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January 17, 2008

Young Democracies in the Balance: Lessons for the International Community

Why do new democracies sometimes fail? This CGD brief by visiting fellow Ethan Kapstein explores the underlying reasons for frequent backsliding in the world's fledgling democracies and offers the international community recommendations for helping them stay on track toward political stability. Kapstein argues that the international community should encourage political arrangements in which government leaders are constrained by effective checks and balances, and economic policies that help to ensure that the benefits of growth are widely shared.

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Ethan B. Kapstein and Nathan Converse
October 10, 2007

The 2007 Commitment to Development Index: Components and Results

This CGD brief summarizes the results of the 2007 Commitment to Development Index (CDI), which ranks 21 of the world's richest countries on their dedication to policies that benefit the five billion people living in poorer nations. The Netherlands comes in first on the 2007 CDI on the strength of ample aid-giving, falling greenhouse gas emissions, and support for investment in developing countries. Close behind are three more big aid donors: Denmark, Sweden, and Norway.

September 27, 2007

Millions Saved: Proven Successes in Global Health (2007 Edition)

In 2004 a working group of experts was convened by the Center for Global Development to identify cases in which large-scale efforts to improve health in developing countries have succeeded—saving millions of lives and preserving the livelihoods and social fabric of entire communities. Seventeen of these cases were originally captured in CGD's enormously successful book Millions Saved: Proven Successes in Global Health. This brief is based on the new edition of the book, titled Case Studies in Global Health: Millions Saved published by Jones and Bartlett in 2007, which documents three new successes in Nepal, Chile, and India, and updates to the 17 original success stories.

September 17, 2007

Global Warming and Agriculture: New Country Estimates Show Developing Countries Face Declines in Agriculture Productivity

This CGD Brief, based on Global Warming and Agriculture: Impact Estimates by Country, by senior fellow William Cline, explores the implications of global warming for world agriculture, with special attention to China, India, Brazil, and the poor countries of the tropical belt in Africa and Latin America. The brief shows that the long-term effects on world agriculture will be substantially negative: India could see a drop in agricultural productivity of 30 to 40 percent; China's south central region would be in jeopardy; and the United States may see reductions of 25 to 35 percent in the southeast and the southwestern plains.

William Cline
September 10, 2007

Poverty and Inequality in Latin America: How the U.S. Can Really Help

For the past decade, U.S. attention to Latin America has focused mainly on promotion of free trade and opposition to narcotics trafficking and security threats. But there are signs that Washington is beginning to recognize the importance of helping the region tackle longstanding poverty and social inequality. Candidates at this weekend's Democratic presidential debate called for a robust foreign policy in Latin America and the Bush administration has recently shown a renewed interest in promoting development and improving Washington's image in the region. This new brief by CGD president Nancy Birdsall and Inter-American Dialogue president Peter Hakim sets forth a practical agenda for how the U.S. can help. Examples: buttress free trade agreements with aid programs that compensate losers; include land redistribution and alternative employment programs in the so-called "war against drugs."

Peter Hakim
September 4, 2007

Trade Policy for Development: Reforming U.S. Trade Preferences

By any measure, the United States is one of the most open economies in the world—importing more than $1 trillion worth of goods duty-free in 2006 alone. Yet poor nations still pay much higher U.S. tariffs than rich countries—an average of 15 percent on a quarter of their imports, compared to 2-5 percent for rich countries. Not only is this unfair, it also undermines American interests by hindering growth in the poorest countries, thereby making them more vulnerable to epidemic diseases, terrorists, and transnational criminal organizations. In this new CGD Brief, senior fellow Kimberly Ann Elliott makes the case for the U.S. to fix this problem by permanently granting all least-developed countries 100% duty-free, quota-free market access and simplifying rules of orgin.

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July 23, 2007

Does the IMF Constrain Health Spending in Poor Countries? (Brief)

This brief summarizes the findings of the CGD working group on IMF Programs and Health Spending, convened in fall 2006 to investigate the effect of International Monetary Fund (IMF) programs on health spending in low-income countries. The report offers clear, practical recommendations for improvements—for the IMF, the World Bank, the governments of countries working within IMF programs, and civil society organizations.

David Goldsbrough

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